Mother Knows Best
Motherhood is full of both expected and unexpected twists and turns. Whether it’s sharing online
calendars with their support system or having a back-up sitter on speed dial, having the right
focus and tools to blend motherhood and work can help your career and family flourish. Read
on for stories on how mothers have reached their goals with authenticity both at home and at work.
Maria Isabel Rocca
Senior Project Engineer, Marine Operations
McDermott, International, Inc.
I consider myself an “older first-time mom” because according to my Mexican
upbringing having children after 30 is considered “late”.
What changed after having a child? My perspective changed. I chose to be
a mother, and choose to make my child a priority. I always knew I would have to
be a working-mom because of my humble upbringing. After having my first and
currently only child in 2017, I had planned to go back to work; however, I was laid
off the day I returned from maternity leave.
This changed my plans and gave me the opportunity to stay at home with
my daughter for one year. I wholeheartedly embraced this, yet in parallel, I updated
my resume, brushed up my soft skills and looked for a job.
I was very fortunate to find a job in my field and return to work. The previous
sentence is loaded with logistics. Plan for baby daycare, drop-off/pick-up, baby
lunch, cooking, laundry, time with husband, exercise, volunteer as President for
the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Houston Chapter, and not to
mention taking care of myself, to name a few!
To say that it is a balancing act is an understatement. I could not do all that
I do without the support of my husband. My husband is very supportive of my
career, in fact, when I started doubting my decision to go back to work, he
motivated me and reassured me that Camila would be ok at daycare, and that
both baby and I, at this stage could use more mental stimulation. My husband is
Latino, Venezuelan, and he is not “Machista”, this certainly helps break any
Do I feel guilty because I am not with Camila all day? Yes, I do. I overcome
this guilt by telling myself that I am doing all of this for her, and that I want her to
be proud of me. This drives me.
Motherhood is what you make of it. After I pick up Camila from daycare I am
present. I am not working, I am not on my phone, I am making my time count. I
make it a point to do activities that are specific for Camila and ensure that we
spend lots of quality time together.
My strategy for managing work and family commitments are:
• My personal rule: work stays at work. I work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If I have
a deadline that requires me to work after work, I do it after the baby goes to sleep.
However, I try to keep this to a minimum. I have a demanding job, however, I set
• Communication: I communicate clearly with my husband on what I need
help with and we also have a shared calendar so that we can manage our time
commitments. Communication and facing challenges head on and together is
what keeps us strong.
• Having a readily available babysitter is out of the question, I manage this
by planning and coordinating scheduled babysitting times for date night, social
outings, etc. When this is not
possible, I stay home with Camila.
To say that I do not struggle
with culture norms that are
engraved in my brain would be a
lie, but that is how my parents
raised me, so I embrace all that I
know and adapt. I am very proud
of my career, and I do continue
to set professional achievable
goals and maintain a strong work
Maria Isabel, Camila Isabel and husband Victor Hugo Rocca.
Janille Fagundo, CF APMP®
Director, Proposal Management
Prudential Workplace Solutions Group
Emmalie Fagundo, Wilfredo Fagundo, and Janille Fagundo.
Back in college I wrote a thesis paper titled “Motherhood and the Loss of
Identity”. It was a comparative analysis of three fictional mothers coping with the
tremendous responsibility of being a mother. I got an “A”. I laugh now at how
little I knew then.
At 25 years old I was three years into my corporate career, married, and a
new mother. My Dominican parents had married in their late teens and had me
By Gloria Romano-Barrera
26 www. lat inastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol . 25, No. 2, 2019