Happy May and Mother's Day Month, Moms! We're so excited to introduce you to a really special mom in our community, Amy Buck-Conrad. Amy is not only a rockstar mom and professional, but she's a Working Moms of Milwaukee event ambassador AND expecting her second child later this month! Read more about Amy, how Covid is impacting her life, the advice she'd offer to new moms, and much more in our exclusive interview below!
Please tell us your full name, employer and profession.
Amy Buck-Conrad, HellermannTyton, CRM Business Analyst
How many children do you have?
Lilah, 3.5 yo and a little boy due in mid to late May
Tell us a little bit more about you and your family.
We have a small family, immediate and extended. However, we really have a great and strong network of friends that are like an extended family to us. Although I am an only child and Bob, my husband, has only 1 sister, Lilah has a large group of “aunts” and “uncles” that truly care about her and I know would be there for her if anything was every needed. As an only child I came from a very small family, so I look forward to giving Lilah a sibling to have with her through whatever life brings to us.
What is the best part about being connected with Working Moms of Milwaukee?
I originally started attending WMM events because I was so excited to find a group that had family events on the weekends. As a mom with an “office job” I couldn’t take my little one to library story time at 10:30 on a Tuesday! Being able to get out and meet other women with children my age and have kids for Lilah to socialize with on the weekends was great. What I did not expect was the sense of community that came out of it. I really find it valuable and that is why when there was a call out for event ambassadors, I knew it was something I wanted to do. I excited to help facilitate other women being able to make these kinds of important connections, regardless of whether or not people in their direct “friend group” were at the same stage of life with kids as them.
How has Corona Virus impacted your life?
I have had to learn how to work from home and to keep my 3.5 yo entertained. It has been an interesting challenge and I see why my job and caring for my child all day are 2 separate full-time jobs. Also, as a pregnant mom it has been something that I have given extra consideration to and educated myself on more than I might normally have.
Explain/describe one of your proudest mom moments recently.
Recently I have been so touched with how my daughter has been about her upcoming baby brother. She has been recognizing toys she doesn’t play with and saying they are for baby brother. Or even clothes that don’t fit her now are “for baby brother” in her mind. She wants to give baby brother hugs in my belly and tells him she loves him. As an only child I was a bit nervous about how this was going to play out, but I am so proud of the sweet and loving little girl I have. Now let’s hope that holds, at least partially, when he is really here!
What's the hardest part of being a working mom?
Try to find the time for everything. I have always been someone who is independent and has a strong sense of self. In my relationship with my husband we have our time together and we also always have our time for our things. When I had my first kiddo finding me time in the world of work and child was one of the biggest struggles for me. It was hard deciding what was going to be the thing to give. If it was time that I felt like I should be spending with my kiddo I felt such mom guilt. But if I completely gave up on the things that made me feel like me, I wasn’t going to be the best me for my daughter, or my husband. And, well, work was work, and had to be done. Over the years I have come to terms more with the idea that sacrificing a little time with my daughter to do something that really makes me feel like myself is not really taking away from her. Of course, I love to play and spend time with her. But taking time to help me feel like my fullest self gives her a better mom in the many other times we spend together. It also gives her a good example of what a happy, multi-dimensional woman can be and how there can be many parts to being a woman and a mom. And when my son comes it will get extra hard again, but I’ll just have to remember that it is important for him to see that too. Not that mommy can “do it all” or anything. But that there are different pieces that make up a person and that is not just ok, but a truly important and valuable thing.
Do you have a favorite place to go in Milwaukee? If so where and why?
I love being outside in Milwaukee, when the weather permits. I love seeing the lake, but I think most of all I love the parks. Specifically, the parks with beer gardens. Being outside in the sun and warmth, having a drink, sitting and talking with friends, having playground time for the kiddos, it’s really what I look forward to the most whenever it gets nice outside.
Do you have any words of advice for other working moms, especially those that are newer working moms and learning how to navigate this new world?
I would go back to what I said earlier about the challenges of being a working mom. First off, it’s hard! And don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. Secondly, mom guilt is real, but don’t let it overtake you. Thirdly, it really is important for you to still have an outlet that is for you, whatever that may be. Maybe it’s a girl’s night with your friends on a regular basis. Maybe it’s exercise. Maybe it’s a hobby like crafting or collecting something. Whatever it is, dedicate some time to you. It will make you a happier and healthier momma to the ones you care for. And that will pay off tenfold in the long run.
What is Milwaukee's biggest opportunity to improve the lives of working moms and better support them?
What jumps to my mind is not a Milwaukee specific issue. I think a lot of the challenges that face working moms today are self-perpetuating rhetoric and unconscious bias. There are so many ideas that it seems that society and women have or put on themselves, but we don’t even really know where we heard them. The pressure to breast feed, the pressure to do it all, the pressure to have a Pinterest perfect home, the pressure to have all the right non-screen enrichment opportunities for your child at every age. Think we could all benefit from taking a collective deep breath and giving ourselves a break. I hope that connecting through groups like Working Moms of Milwaukee, whether it is on the Facebook page or group, or at the in-person events, we can start to see that there is not one right way to be a mom.
What are you most excited about with the new addition to your family?
I’m excited about every new minute and experience. But to be honest I’m nervous as well. I am an only child, so I have no model for how to handle 2 children’s needs at the same time and how to make them feel special in their own ways. But I think it will be so exciting to see how they interact with each other. With my daughter’s personality I am confident that she will love to take care of her baby brother and show him how to do things (the “right way” lol!) I am also really excited to see them grow together. To seem how they interact and play. How they work together or how they differ. And most of all for them to have each other, to have gone through the experience of growing up together, and to always have that bond to connect them.
What are your plans for Mother’s Day this year?
I am never the one that makes the plans for Mother’s Day. That being said, Mother’s Day is going to be very unpredictable this year. I may be eagerly anticipating the arrival of baby #2 or he might make any early appearance. We may be able to be out and about, or we may be spending the day at home. The important thing is I will get to be with my family, without which I wouldn’t be a mom. And hopefully doing some relaxing no matter what the scenario!