In this profile, we highlight Raina Baker, a mom making a difference in the Detroit community through educational programs and outreach. She shares how she strives for balance between her roles and mom and Director.
Profile: Raina Baker
Director of Children and Educational programs, Motown Museum
Raina coordinates programs revolving around literacy and the arts.
Karrie : Tell me a little bit about your background?
Raina: I’m a native of Detroit and studied broadcast journalism at Howard University with hopes of becoming an anchor. I remember visiting Howard when I was five years old and telling my mom “Wow, this is where I want to go.” So, I applied to Howard and went there. After college, I executively produced for Jeff Johnson at BET. I had become disenchanted with news and overwhelmed with having to consume it on a daily basis. Eventually, I moved back to Detroit and now I work for Motown Museum. My focus right now is to help young people discover their gifts and learn how to best articulate them. I’ll always be honored to help people shape their own stories and find the words when they don’t have them; I’m grateful to have found a home to foster that such as the Motown Museum.
Karrie: What does me time, look like for you with a six-month-old?
Raina: Self-care has evolved for me it’s no longer just about the physical, it’s about making sure I take time out of each day and pray, be still, and meditate. I had to learn how to breathe! I feel like I’ve been holding my breath figuratively, literally, and spiritually.
Everybody always thinks I got it together, but I actually have severe anxiety and I’m open about it because in high school especially I tried to be a perfectionist. And it’s unhealthy and it’s unrealistic. People held me to such a high regard and I wanted people to know that I struggle. Sometimes self-care means dropping my daughter off so that I can have the day to myself to run errands and just be. I think moms have to realize the importance of that—being able to just be.
Karrie : What does work-life balance look like to you?
Raina: It’s challenging because my hours at the museum are from 9:30 am-6:00 pm and I try to leave as early as possible. But, this is the type of job that you take home with you. I get texts at 1:00 and 5:00 am. A lot of my peers are older, and their children are older, so they’ve forgotten what it’s like to care for a 6 month old.
One thing I want to instill in my daughter, is the power of her no. I don’t want her to get caught up in trying to please everybody to the point that she has stretched herself too thin.
Karrie: How understanding is your organization to the needs of a working mom?
Raina: I had to set boundaries with my company and stand strongly behind them. Most of my co-workers try to be conscientious about not calling me really late or early. I had a conversation with my boss about my needs as a new mom. I keep her in the loop about upcoming appointments, needing to pump milk, etc. She understands that if I need to go fulfill a mommy duty, I just have to go.
As employees we have to express our needs to our managers and not assume that they know what we need.
Karrie: So how do you find the balance?
Raina: Prioritizing is key. I try to dedicate my first hour home to Z after work. It’s important for us to have those moments. After that, I try to prep as much as I can the night before so I’m not overwhelmed in the morning. I get our clothes out, put the bags in one place, clean the breast pump the night before as often as I can. In the morning, I try to hold her for a while because we start moving. I also burn oils and do mists for us when we need to relax.
Karrie: What advice do you have for other working moms struggling to find balance and fulfillment in both work and motherhood?
Raina: Be gentle with yourself and understand it takes time. We think because we may have been nurturers prior to becoming mothers and worked full time before that’ll be easy to get into a routine, that we’ll be 100% sharp. That isn’t the case. Well, it wasn’t for me. Give yourself time to learn your baby, you’re working around their schedules for a while. Give yourself time to understand this new identity.
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