Happy October, Moms! 'Tis the season for pumpkin spice, Halloween movies and social distancing. We are honored to introduce you to one of the moms that makes this organization an amazing space for other moms, Sara Mason. Sara is a retail store manager at Starbucks and mom to two adorable boys. Read all about Sara in our exclusive interview below!
Please tell us your children's names and ages.
Connor, age 4, Nolan, age 2
Tell us a little bit more about you and your family (immediate and/or extended).
I love tacos, coffee, cats, and all things pumpkin spice. In my spare time (which is rare in this current season of life) I love to draw and paint. We have 2 energetic little boys. We live in the Jackson Park neighborhood of Milwaukee, we are currently working on updating my grandparents old house! I have been married to Colin for 5 years, together for 15, we met at UW Oshkosh. We currently work opposite schedules, both in the service industry, so that we can avoid childcare and that has proven to have its challenges, but overall works great for our family. Our extended families all live in the area. We depend on them a lot for help with the kids also, and we are super grateful for them. I am very close with my 2 sisters, they both live very close by and the boys love spending time with their Aunties!
What is the best part about being connected with Working Moms of Milwaukee?
I found the group exactly when I needed it. I had pretty severe postpartum depression after my first child, and I really struggled with going back to work and balancing working and motherhood. The group was formed in December 2017 and I am pretty sure I am one of the first people to join the Facebook group because I was so excited to find out about it! I have been the moderator for Wisconsin Mom Force for over 2 years. I was feeling much the same way founder Susannah did about the support available to moms in our area. Though this group not only have I made some lifelong personal connections, but also been able to impact our community by being active in WMM’s Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace awards, and Working Mom’s Day!
Explain/describe one of your proudest mom moments recently.
My oldest, Connor, just started K3. It’s currently virtual and he’s doing great! I love seeing his excitement about learning! Another proud moment is the success I have had with breastfeeding my youngest, Nolan. He has been nursing for 28 months!
What's the most challenging aspect of your personal life right now?
So. Many. Challenges. (As we are all experiencing right now) my husband and I work opposite schedules to make childcare and now virtual school work, so we definitely don’t get to spend as much time together as we would like. And “date nights” are tough for us in the service industry because we are working when most of our family is available to babysit. Another challenge is due to the pandemic and being unable to travel, I had to postpone a trip to visit my BFF Stacie who lives in Texas and it doesn’t look like we will be able to reschedule anytime soon.
What is the most challenging part of your professional life right now?
The biggest challenge in my professional life is learning to adjust to procedures related to COVID-19 safety, and also just leading in the service industry during this time, learning to adjust approaches to both customers and team members as there is a lot of change all at once for everyone!
What's your advice for other moms that hope to be in a management role in the future?
My advice is the make sure you set boundaries for both your personal life and professional life. Managing people and being a mother are actually not all that different, but I believe if you don’t set boundaries you will just feel like you’re taking care of others all the time and leave no time for yourself. This is something I am still working on!
Do you have a favorite place to go in Milwaukee?
My favorite place to go is in Milwaukee is the farmers markets (South Shore is my favorite) and beer gardens (Whitnall Park). We found that Whitnall Park Beer Garden was nice and spaced out, and had a playground, and was a nice activity for us to do this summer. Also favorite restaurant would have to be Crafty Cow in Bay View!
Do you have any words of advice for other moms, especially new moms?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support. You can do anything but you can’t do everything.
You’ve been vocal in the Mom Force about mental health which is awesome. Why (in your opinion) is it important to talk about mental health in motherhood?
Well, postpartum depression sucks. There’s just not a ton of information about it out there that is approachable. I want to make it more approachable by being open about it. I feel like because I have navigated through it, at least a positive to come out of it would be to be able to help other people, even if it’s just letting them know they aren’t alone. I honestly didn’t seek treatment for PPD until I read about Chrissy Tiegen being diagnosed. It’s hard for a lot of people to talk about, but I have no problem sharing, it helps me cope and work through it. I am also so lucky to work for an employer that I think is on the forefront of mental healthcare for partners (employees). Starbucks provides an awesome employee assistance program, as well as free subscription to Headspace, a mediation app. As well as extensive training on mental health for managers. Basically it’s something that I deal with on a daily basis, and I am passionate about spreading awareness in many areas of my life.
What’s your coffee drink of choice?
Well it’s currently pumpkin spice season, so a pumpkin spice latte or pumpkin cream cold brew always hit the spot. But my regular order is a tall quad blonde Americano with room, light oat milk and cinnamon.