Megan Martin Strickland | Another Mother Her Way
Megan Strickland is who I imagined meeting as we built community around Mother Untitled, embracing this chapter to pivot out of a career in finance that wasn’t quite right, lean into time with her children and allow herself the time to do self-discovery on what came next. I am learning from her commitment to be lenient on herself until finding the right fit (which she can report she has now!), her appreciation for the big and little acts of love in her village and her honesty on what she (and I) am constantly working on improving about ourselves as mothers and women.
Q HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
I feel like I have changed SO much since becoming a mother, but I also have these fleeting moments when I still feel like a 25-year-old and can't believe these children are actually mine. Before Clayton was born, I was not what anyone would describe as "maternal." I never babysat growing up. I didn't know how to change a diaper. I couldn't cook (still can't unfortunately). But as soon as that baby was in my arms, I felt this weird sense of calm (mixed with some sheer panic) and confidence that I was meant to do this and meant to be this child's mom. In addition to becoming perhaps a bit more maternal, I think I've become less selfish and more loving since I became a mother. I sweat the small things less. I am more accepting, and I am consciously grateful every singe day, which is new, for all the good in my life, and especially for the health and love of my children and my husband.
Q WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
I left my career in finance after my son was born, in part because I wanted to experience life with my newborn baby and in part because my a career on a trading desk (which was all I had known since graduating from college) could not have been a worse fit. So leaving finance to stay home with my son for a little while was what my soul, my heart and my mind needed. However, ever since then, I've been on this personal journey to figure out what my career trajectory, industry and role should be to keep me stimulated, challenged, intellectually engaged and building new and meaningful relationships, while also allowing me the flexibility to be able to do preschool drop-off and take my daughter to her toddler gym class.
During this career discovery (if you will), I've gone from full-time finance to part-time non-profit work, back to full time at Stanford University, to my current (and most rewarding) role which is business development for a start-up in Silicon Valley focused on empowering women in the workplace and helping women who have taken career pauses get back into the workforce. Despite the very far from straight path my career has taken since leaving finance when my son was born, I would make all of these decisions again in a heartbeat if you told me it would give me the space to figure out my true career path AND allow me to raise my children in a way that works for our family.
Q DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Loving, supportive and honest. I want to be and strive to be a mother that teaches my babies how to be loving, kind, generous and respectful of themselves and others. I want to teach them how to be self-confident but also empathetic.
Q HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
Soulcycle, bar method, and walks with girlfriends (or my husband if I can drag him along) are my best medicine for staying sane and decompressing. In addition to exercise, I love a good glass of Sauvingon Blanc, a night out with my husband, a girls night or for a really special treat, a good facial.
Q EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
My husband is my number one supporter - both, of me as a mom and as I have gone down this career discovery path. He's never judged and only encouraged. He's also a wonderful father who my kids idolize and adore. We also are really lucky to have a lot of family within walking distance, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, who provide home-cooked delicious meals, babysitting, bounce houses, baseball tips, rides home from preschool and unwavering love and support. The other very important component of our village- for which we are eternally grateful- is our dear friends, who we consider family, and have been there every step of the way from bringing food and wine to the hospital right after our babies were born to birthday celebrations, random pizza nights, weekend adventures, and providing a shoulder to cry on, a space to vent, a joke to cheer me up, or a sounding board for advice. Lastly, we have amazing, loving family in Georgia and Florida, and while they may physically be further away, they are always a part of everything we do and we could not do this without their trips to California, FaceTimes and unconditional love.
Q WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
Patience, definitely, patience. I'm sure I have a lot of areas that could use improvement but trying to slow down and take a deep breath before responding is what I am really focused on right now-- both, when dealing with my little children and in my life more broadly.