Please describe a favorite pair of work shoes and tell us what sound they make?
Surprisingly, any pair of sneakers. I used to be a heels-only kinda person and, in my growing maturity, have come to relish comfort. On Fridays, I have a pretty strict #KicksFridays rule and I so appreciate that I work at a place that embraces that and allows my personal rule to influence others. Wearing sneakers allows me to stay connected to young people AND support me as I walk through all of the hallways of our school.
Your occupation: I am currently the Associate Head of School at The Park School of Baltimore.
What age children do you have? My son is 12yo and my daughter is 8yo. I also have a magical stepdaughter who is 20yo.
What does your child think you do all day? (please ask them and tell us in their own words if you can!)
Meetings. Stand in front of a computer because of your standing desk.
How do you and your family benefit from your being a working mama?
My husband and I believe that it is important for our son and daughter to see an ambitious, career-driven woman in their lives. I hope that my kids benefit from seeing that women can do dope things.
What are some steps (pun intended!) you took that helped make the transition back to work, work for you and your family?
I feel really lucky that I have a partner who fully enjoys being a parent. Joe, my husband, is a fantastic dad and loves exercising that role every single day. I am also lucky to have colleagues who have embraced my working mom status and have held my crying baby, have emailed me work to do at home, have told me that family comes first. I feel grateful for my tribe.
What is one of the challenges you face as a working mama? How do you navigate this?
Being present. Whether at home or at work, I never feel 100% present. My mind is always on the other aspects of my identity. I would love a manual on how to combat this! I am a planner, so I rely heavily on Bullet Journal to create a schedule to give myself time for work/home/self. It’s not perfect and I sometimes cheat but it helps me stay somewhat present in my multi-lives.
In Mama’s Work Shoes, Mama and Perry establish some routines like putting each other’s shoes on in the morning, and pulling them off when they get home. Does your family have any ritual, phrases, objects, or other magic tricks that have helped your child navigate transitions or separation?
My kids share a love of sneakers, so we pick out favorite kicks for one another. Since they are students at my school, we get to travel back and forth together. In the mornings, we always make sure to hug each other and wish each other a good day of school.
What has your child done or said which indicates that, despite challenges, they are doing mighty fine? At dinner, I always ask: What is something that made you laugh today? They ALWAYS have fantastic stories. This assures me that they are more than fine.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to future working mamas?
Do something that is JUST for you. Take a yoga class, go to a farmer’s market, get the extended massage pedicure. Whatever it is, do a thing you love.
What’s one question you’d love to ask other working mamas?
How do you stay awake past 10:30pm?
Thank shoe for being and sharing you, Priscilla;)
Win a copy of Mama's Work Shoes! go to @caronlevis on twitter for how!
Mama’s Work Shoes (Abrams) text by Caron Levis, art by Vanessa Brantley Newton
All about the adjustment a toddler makes when her mother returns to work, this humorous picture book takes on a big emotional milestone with a light hand.
Perry knows all of Mama’s shoes. She knows that the zip-zup shoes are for park. She knows that the pat-put shoes are for the rain. And she knows that no-shoes are for bath time and bedtime. But, one morning Mama puts on click-clack shoes, and Perry wonders what these new shoes are for. When Mama drops Perry at Nan’s house, and the click-clack shoes take Mama away for the whole day, Perry decides she hates these shoes! Perry later hides the click-clack shoes . . . and all of Mama’s shoes, just in case. Mama then explains that the click-clack shoes bring her to work in the morning, and they will also bring her home to Perry every single evening—clickety-clack fast!