Amy Walberg | Another Mother Her Way
It occurred to me in speaking to Amy Walberg that we had yet to include enough single mothers in this series that is designed to represent the spectrum of versions of balance that mothers find in their unique circumstance. Amy is the perfect voice to explore the topic - she brings a positivity, energy and pride to approaching life after divorce. On the heels of her separation, Amy founded PRESS, a spiked seltzer perfect for mom gatherings where you don't want to walk away with a headache but would like a little something celebratory. She speaks so beautifully about stepping into the situations you find yourself in, creating solutions that work and finding newfound confidence out of necessity.
Q HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
Becoming a mom opened a new chapter in my life, and really focused my perspective about the world and my role in that world. Being a parent is a responsibility, and I see this responsibility presenting me with rich new opportunities. I became so very aware of wanting to be the best version of myself, because I knew I was leading and teaching my children by example—just as my parents led and taught me in ways I only fully appreciated as an adult.
Motherhood inspired me to set new goals for myself. Some of those goals are very personal. For instance, I make it a point to do everything I can to make my children smile and feel loved every day. I know that nurturing them with love and confidence now will serve them for a lifetime.
Other goals embrace more global ambitions. I have always loved nature and cherished our planet, but being a mom took those values to a new level. Recycling was a personal habit when I was single. Motherhood has inspired me to extend that practice into my business model by instituting recycling efforts and building support of environmental causes into our profit structure. Taking an active stand for environmental responsibility in my business as well as home helps me to feel that I am doing everything I can to help ensure that the world my children grow up in will be safe and healthy.
Q WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
It's interesting. Becoming a mother has prompted me to make a lot of significant choices. But I’ve never thought of them as “accommodations.” As a parent, you just do what needs to get done. Period.
The experience of motherhood galvanized me to re-evaluate my career path dramatically. And I certainly made some choices! I decided to leave the safe but inflexible corporate world because I wanted a more flexible schedule. As a single mom in a traditional work world, it was extremely difficult to manage my time in a way that put my children first. As the sole parent, I have to drop everything when my children need me—there is no backup. I needed a career path that empowered me to manage my time according to my own priorities.
My solution was to make the huge transition from corporate employee to entrepreneur. And if I had to do it again, I would absolutely make the same choices. In fact, I credit my children for giving me the courage to take this large risk; I found strength I didn't know I had. Without them, I don’t think I’d have been willing to branch out and push myself past the comfortable and into the scary unknown. Now, I couldn't be happier that I did!
I love taking my children with me when I travel on "workations." I choose to make them part of my life and who I am, and I suppose that choice has some non-traditional consequences. My children come with me into board rooms when I am conducting meetings. And they are with me in other business situations that might fly in the face of traditional expectations. From a practical standpoint, I can't just tuck them away when it's not convenient for fear of disrupting my work. From an educational standpoint, these experiences teach them about what the world has to offer them. I think my daughter is a natural businesswoman; she’s utterly comfortable at a conference table. Both of my children love their “workation” adventures with Mom, and I love having them with me. You could say that motherhood inspired me to choose a career I truly love, and to craft a life that truly embraces my children.
Q DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Mom and Dad. I know—that’s three words! But I had incredible parents. They were an inspiration to me, and I would like to be that kind of inspiring example for my own children. Their patience, happiness, and love nurtured my own confidence and has been the foundation for my success. I want to give that same gift to my own children. And I want to be the kind of parent who makes my parents proud.
Resilient. Everyone faces difficulties in life. The people I admire most are the ones who successfully cope with adversity. They refuse to be defeated by challenges and find a way to overcome difficulties and thrive despite them. I think this quality arises from both a toughness of character, and an inspiring optimism about life. I don’t need a trouble-free path—and I don’t think anyone gets that! Resilience is about knowing how to navigate when the road gets rough—and leading by example for your children, too.
Fun. Life is meant to be enjoyed and celebrated—and delight is a wonderful attitude to cultivate. Playfulness and laughter are free—just like those smiles I love to see on my children’s faces every day. But there’s nothing I treasure more.
Q HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
This is such an important question, because we don’t stop being a unique person when we become a mother. In fact, I know that taking care of myself makes me a better, happier mom. I make sure to do one thing each day that is just for me. It could be something small, like taking 5 minutes to listen to an intriguing podcast. Or it could be something on a grander scale. For me, that might be a long workout that focuses all of my attention on who I am. I believe it’s important to not lose sight of yourself in the daily scramble of everything that must get done. We all need at least one daily activity that fills the soul. I also make gratitude a habit. Perspective is everything, and it’s amazing how wonderful your life suddenly appears when you take a moment to count your blessings.
Q EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
You aren't kidding! Balance is everything—and I can’t achieve it alone. I attribute a large part of my success to my village of generous friends, neighbors, family, and colleagues who support me and help me make my vision for life possible. They are caring people who are there in a moment’s notice when I need them. I’ve learned to surround myself with positive individuals who encourage and believe in me. They give me the extra strength and energy I need at times to keep moving forward. They also give great hugs. I’m a huge fan of including huggers in my village!
Q WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
When you are raising two vibrant curious children and building a national business, there’s always that pull to put your attention on what needs to happen next. But I’d rather be in the moment—and that’s what I’m working on. I want to silence the voice telling me about my to-do list while I'm playing Candyland with my children. I want to let go of feeling guilty while I’m taking a little time for myself. I want to keep focused on the joy of the present moment. It's important to give everything I have for the love of my littles, but it's also so important to take a break for me—so I can be the pillar they need.