Transitioning from being a working woman to a working mom is a difficult one to navigate. Darla Persons did just that this year when she welcomed her first child, a daughter. Though she works from home as an account manager, handling the food distribution between warehouses and retailers in the organic food market, she did not realize to what extent motherhood would change her life. Few women do. Advice can come from everyone, but until someone has experienced the change themselves, it is very difficult to truly understand.
Darla is no stranger to challenge. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 as a truck driver, but spent most of her deployment on foot, patrolling local villages. This deployment with the 10th Mountain Division earned Darla an Army Commendation Medal with Valor for her bravery and selfless actions during an attack. She is spirited and driven and used her drive to earn not only the first college degree in her family’s history, but to continue forward and earn her MBA as well.
As an account executive, Darla must travel twice a week to meet with vendors and attend food shows. The most difficult part of motherhood, she’s found, is leaving her daughter in another’s care while she travels. “It’s hard to leave her with a babysitter, even though I really like her. It’s hard leaving my baby, period.” On days when she isn’t traveling, she has learned to coordinate work calls with nap time and takes advantage of playtime by answering vital emails. There is a balance for working mothers, and finding the right balance takes time, effort, and love.
“There will be really hard times, emotional times, and frustrating times. But it is oh so worth it.”
When asked what advice she wished she had received prior to becoming a mother, Darla said, frankly, “I wish someone would have told me how freakin’ hard it is. Like, so hard! And nobody told me I would have virtually no time for anything.” On that same line, if she were given the opportunity to give advice, she would tell soon-to-be mothers, “that not everything is rainbows and butterflies. There will be really hard times, emotional times, and frustrating times. But [it is] oh so worth it.” It takes grit and determination to get through the first year of motherhood while holding down a career. When discussing her new priorities, Darla admits that some days she can’t even get dressed until noon because she is so busy feeding, changing, and bathing her daughter while also sending and receiving business emails and calls.
The path of a working mother is a bumpy one with unexpected difficulties, but the journey is worthwhile. Darla Persons is navigating her new life day by day and while she is tired and stressed, she loves her job and she loves her daughter. She is a compassionate soul who understands that difficulty begets joy, and motherhood is no different.