FLOW mothers balancing the demands of the office and motherhood

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May 8, 2022

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Working in corporate can be very demanding for persons who are parents, and particularly mothers. For some, creating a balance between work and the requirements of motherhood is still a pipe dream. Two mothers at communications and entertainment firm FLOW Jamaica share how they have been able to create that elusive work-life balance, while maintaining efficiency at the office.

Heather Wallen-Bryan, senior manager for business continuity management (BCM), has been a mother for all of 27 years. The biggest challenge of motherhood for her? Being away from her young son at times, due to the demanding requirements of her role. “My job involves managing business crises that often required me to be away from home. I was often not there during high-school exam preparation periods.” Wallen-Bryan shared, however, that responding promptly to work requests and completing activities within deadlines reduced her stress levels and enabled her to be emotionally available for her son.

She explained how she was able to carry out her role as a mother while being her best self at the office. “I ensured that I made time for conversations with my son, Yekini, and I often engaged him in my work; this allowed him to better appreciate some of my challenges,” shared Wallen-Bryan, who has worked in business continuity management at FLOW for the last 25 of her 30 years with the company. “Establishing a bond with my son from an early age enabled easy communication,” Wallen-Bryan added, as she declared that no topic was taboo and that this facilitated sharing deep discussions and perspectives with Yekini. She also made time to talk with her son’s teachers and friends as often as possible.

Through the years, Wallen-Bryan also established her own network of friends at work with whom, according to her, she had interests in common. Running, exercising and a reading club are some of the interests that the group shares. “It was important for me to have that support system while on the job. It also helped that Yekini’s father, Wilmon, is a hands-on dad and was available daily to fulfil any of the roles that last-minute changes on the job prevented me from carrying out,” she continued, while sharing that FLOW’s family-friendly work culture also made it easier for her to cope with any challenges that arose. “The company now has a parental-leave policy that caters to the needs of new mothers and fathers and facilitates even more, the demands that come with parenthood,” Wallen-Bryan said.

So, how and when did Wallen-Bryan make time for her needs? “I schedule my 24 hours each day to make time for daily exercise and reading. I am up at 5 am each day to complete my morning run before getting ready for work. Exercising frees my mind and energises me for the entire day,” she shared. “Additionally, I volunteer in various activities – community work and teaching are my passions. Giving back adds joy to my life, and my spiritual life gives me balance. Let go and let God!”

Her advice for corporate mothers facing the challenge of balancing motherhood and a successful work life? “Always make your children a priority. Children grow up fast, and you will never regain the years when you were unavailable.”

Nicole Adams, a retail sales agent at FLOW, shares Wallen-Bryan’s sentiment.
“My motivation is always my son Joshua, who is nine, along with a determination and tenacity that comes with my faith in God,” Adams shared.

Nicole Adams and son Joshua

For her, attaining work-life balance is not much of a challenge as her favourite Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,”—Phillipians 4:13, also provides added motivation, especially after the passing of her mom, a year ago. “My mother was my rock. Although she’s no longer around, she provided a great example for me, which has greatly influenced my own relationship with my son,” Adams explained.

“I also separate work from home. When I’m at the office, I know I’m there to accomplish an objective and I’m super-focused on that. After work, I look forward to winding down at home with a very active Joshua.”

Sharing details on the early start to her day, Adams stated, “My day actually begins at 5 am, making sure everything is prepared on time. I cook breakfast and dinner before leaving for work, so when Joshua returns from school, his dinner is already there.” She is also grateful for her support system, which includes her husband, Kimarly, her friends and family members.

When she is not serving customers, Adams spends her days off sharing quality time with her son and attending the movies.

She, too, gives credit to the family-friendly culture of her work environment. “I’m really grateful for the company that I work for, as I do have some flexibility which allows me to spend time with my son when I need to. The tremendous support I received after my mom passed was also a blessing.”

Her advice for other mothers attempting the work-life balance – “Be mindful of your objective, create a plan, pray and focus. Be yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.”

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