Women want many things — like a happy family, an education, a career, fitness, fashion and fun — just to name a few. We assembled a team of local wonder women, including moms with mom-entum, sisters who serve, ladies who launch and more for some girl talk about what it takes to want for nothing. Read on to find pages and pages of woman-to-woman advice for Millennials and grandmothers alike. You want it? We’ve got it.
Mothers of Invention
Women are redefining ‘working motherhood’ on their own terms
Amy Hackworth is the mom to two boys. She also writes a weekly column for the Design Mom blog, manages the back end of her husband’s photography business and works as a freelance writer. Her experience in juggling family life and work got her interested in researching how other women approached the mommy track. She interviewed working mothers from numerous industries including law, medicine, education, computer science and entertainment. She then presented her findings at the 2013 BYU Women’s Services and Resources conference.
She learned from these winning women that there are a million ways to make it work. And happiness comes from confronting the myth of supermom instead of chasing it.
Amy also discovered that while some careers are easier to do from home, almost any job can be motherhood friendly.
For jobs that are more demanding of office time — like an attorney — it’s a matter of flexibility and patience in determining the ideal set up.
And passion is key.
“When you find a career you are truly passionate about, it’s easier to carve out a path,” Amy says. “The obstacles are worth conquering.”
When working from home, one common temptation women run into is letting the Cartoon Network become their babysitter. Amy says many women think because they work from home they can’t utilize child care the way other women do.
“It’s better for me to honor my kids by being present when I am with them,” Amy says.
A supportive husband and children are another crucial factor in making work and motherhood mix.
“People generally think of child care as the mother’s domain, but when the mother is working, there needs to be sharing and support from both sides,” Amy says. “When I’m slammed with a big project, my husband steps in.”
While her mind can go a million miles a minute, Amy’s hands can only do so much. Estimating what can truly be accomplished is an art and, when mastered, makes life much easier.
“I’ve learned that before I say yes to something, I ask myself, ‘Does this piece fit into my life right now?’” Amy says.
In addition, Amy says taking time to assess your children’s happiness and the status of your relationship with your husband is imperative. When things aren’t peachy, correct your course.
Amy recalls a time when she was particularly busy with work and decided to cut back on volunteering at her daughter’s school. She took comfort in the fact she could go back again when things lightened up and that others would step in to help.
“It’s dangerous to hinge your self worth on any one thing,” Amy says. “Life is constantly changing, and realizing your importance comes from many areas is comforting.”
In Amy’s momversations with working mothers, she heard totally conflicting advice on whether it’s a good idea to put a career on hold when children are young.
“One woman told me it’s fine to step away for a few years,” Amy says. “Another told me that in her specific career, it was vital to stay current in whatever small way she could.”
Savvy financial planning and using resources wisely is another important piece to the puzzle.
One of the women Amy interviewed knew she would eventually stop working to care for children — shrinking the household’s two-person income down to one income. Instead of living off of both incomes while they could, they saved the money she brought in. It came in handy when her husband was out of work for a period of time.
Of all the things Amy learned in her woman-to-woman research, one of the most important is that giving fellow women a break — no matter their work situation — is essential.
“The power of vulnerability is a great equalizer,” Amy says. “We all have sinks full of dirty dishes sometimes, and being honest with each other brings us together.”
Horses and Hope
Coveys turn their sadness into a quest to get young women back on happy trails
If a dog is a man’s best friend, then a horse is a girl’s best friend. Bridle Up Hope: The Rachel Covey Foundation helps young women struggling with self-esteem find hope through riding and caring for horses.
The non-profit organization was started by Sean Covey and his family in honor of his daughter Rachel, who passed away in September 2012 due to the effects of depression. Riding horses had always been a bright spot in her life.
“Horseback riding, specifically endurance racing, was so great for her,” Sean says.
Originally it was Sean’s daughter Elle who got the family into horses.
“She told us she wanted to be a cowgirl,” Sean says. “So we told her if she saved up half the money to buy a horse she could get one — thinking it would never happen.”
But Elle galloped toward her end of the deal and before they knew it, the Coveys had two horses and both Elle and Rachel were involved in equestrian competitions.
At Rachel’s funeral, one of her friends told Sean that riding horses with Rachel had buoyed her up during a difficult time in her life. As more people told the Covey family about similar experiences, they got the idea to start the program.
Located in Highland, the foundation’s facilities include an indoor and outdoor arena where young women between the ages of 12 to 25 come for weekly riding lessons and equestrian training with skilled horse trainers.
A dozen girls have already gone through the program, and the foundation has plans to expand across the country. Young women who want to participate in the free program simply fill out an application and write a 500-word essay about why they want to get involved.
As the participants ride horses, they develop skills to deal with their day-to-day life, such as getting out of their comfort zone.
“When you ask them to jump on these massive beasts it can be scary,” Sean says. “But they are learning about facing their fears and building trust.”
The experience also helps them forget their big-picture problems for 90 minutes and focus on listening to and guiding the horse.
“Sometimes they just need to get out of their head for a little while,” he says.
Goal setting and teamwork are big focuses of the program as well as responsibility, which is taught as participants are expected to take part in caring for the horses.
“Instead of just having them show up and get on the horse, we have them go out and bring the horse in from the pasture, saddle them up and bridle them,” Elle says.
Elle has witnessed firsthand the changes in participants.
“The girls start out really shy, but soon they look forward to each lesson and they start smiling again,” she says.
As the father of four daughters and the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Sean Covey is well acquainted with the challenges young women face when it comes to self-esteem, confidence and body image issues.
“There is so much media that focuses on looking just right,” Sean says. “There is also a lot of bullying, and technology is removing girls from nature. All of those things create a cauldron of challenges that make a difficult environment for girls to thrive.”
He is quick to point out that young women dealing with these issues come from all walks of life.
“There are girls from every end of the spectrum who struggle with these issues, from good families and unhealthy families,” Sean says. “We love helping them realize their self-worth and unleash their capabilities.”
School of Thought
UVU First Lady opens doors for women to improve by degrees
When Matt and Paige Holland moved into the president’s home at UVU in 2009, they unpacked their belongings and their four children. Then they began going through their goals for the growing studentbody at the Orem campus.
“I loved listening to Matt think through his chief concerns,” Paige says. “One was the low level of women completing degrees at UVU.”
As soon as he said that, Paige knew that of all the initiatives where she could put her limited time and her name, this was the one with which she wanted to go to the head of the class.
“It struck an immediate chord,” she says.
Education is part of the DNA of the Hollands. Paige finished a bachelor’s degree and was working on her master’s when she married Matt, who has a Ph.D. from Duke and other post-graduate experiences, including a fellowship at Princeton.
Now as a full-time mother and more-than-full-time wife, Paige leans on her learning every day.
“Because of my education, I feel so much more confident and better equipped to be a support and partner with Matt in his work at the university,” she says. “And I cannot tell you how much time I spend guiding my children in their educational and extracurricular activities. That guidance is dramatically influenced by the things I learned and the aspirations I gained as the result of attaining a college degree and starting graduate work.”
Paige also gives education “straight As” for preparing her for service in the PTA, community and church.
Now this first lady of UVU is opening doors and helping female students walk through them on their way to successful careers and balanced lives. The campus has made headline news and viral excitement with its Wee Care Center and Women’s Success Center.
“I am very proud to be part of UVU’s sweeping effort to make a difference in this area,” Paige says.
The approach is multi-faceted, and the metric of success is an increase in the number of female graduates. Although the change in LDS missionary ages has temporarily converted many students to full-time church service, the culture on and off campus is gradually recognizing the long-term reasons for women to get more than a “Mrs.” degree.
“Matt and I are working hard on things we believe are making a difference, but the full effects may not be seen until some future administration,” she says.
But the Hollands aren’t doing it for the recognition or accolades. They simply want the community’s daughters to grow their experiences and harvest opportunities and personal growth. Paige is most proud of her own crop of children, and she has a clear message as they navigate potentially conflicting messages.
“I tell my girls it is absolutely necessary to prepare for and attend college and do everything they possibly can to complete college, because educational attainment will only help them in their efforts to be a wife and mother,” she says. “I tell them a college degree will also make them strong and prepared to share gifts, serve communities, take advantage of opportunities and stand with strength and confidence in our increasingly uncertain world.”
Although Paige is passionate about education, she’s also respectful of numerous paths to success.
“For a variety of reasons, not everyone has an opportunity to participate in or finish a college degree,” she says. “Some of the most impressive mothers and professional women I know never finished a degree. It is important to be respectful of the situations we individually face.”