Life provides many learning opportunities that shape who we are and how we connect with others, but lessons taught by our mothers tend to stick with us the longest. Like ancient wisdom passed down from generation to generation, these women with one foot in the past and one in the future share their knowledge through experience and empathy.
Katrina Clark lost her mother Annetta Hale about a year ago, but she remembers the support Hale provided when she became a new mom. To help acclimate her to motherhood, Hale would stay with her in Nashville to help with the physical or emotional support she needed in those early days.
“If I ever had a tough day, she was always there for me,” said Clark, director of Inclusion and Diversity at Unum.
Clark delivers that same boost of encouragement to her 22-year-old daughter Chyna before her dance performances and during her college career.
“Being there for my daughter in the same way teaches her how to show up for the people you love the most.”
As a mother of three, Polly Nicholas, senior vice president of Unum Solutions knows it’s not easy to integrate a working mother’s personal and professional life. Motherhood taught her to be effective with her time, so she is present for her family and for the work she is passionate about.
“My kiddos taught me to be intentional with my time because it is precious,” said Nicholas. “Unum’s generous time off program and support of behavioral health are important. My own self-care and planned timed away with my family help me be a better leader, partner, and parent.”
Workplace benefits like paid leave are proven to benefit a child during their early stages of life, and maintain the mother’s happiness. Katie Moydell, Growth and Risk Operations Manager at Colonial Life says maternity leave helped her focus on taking care of her son Collin.
“Unum and Colonial Life make it easy for working moms to find balance in our lives,” said Moydell. “Maternity leave was fabulous to have, and it was great to know I was able to take that time away to be with my son.”
Parents are responsible for raising the leaders of the future. Moydell says she shows Collin how to be an empathetic leader by teaching those lessons through example.
“I grew up watching my mom volunteer with the local children’s shelter, and I always knew I would do the same,” said Moydell. “Volunteer work is extremely important to me, and something I want to pass down to Collin.”
Moydell knows her lessons are working when other people notice Collin’s kindness. His teacher recently told her he helped a fellow classmate who sprained their ankle walk back to class.
A Growing Relationship
As children enter different stages of life, a mother’s relationship with them evolves to provide support through new and challenging moments. Liz Rickett, senior vice president chief transformation officer at Unum says she has given her two sons valuable advice she hopes they’ll carry into adulthood.
We spend time talking about their challenges and how to overcome them,” said Rickett. “As they get older, the relationship you build with them and the trust you have with each other grows.”
Gratitude extends beyond flowers and gift cards on Mother’s Day, it’s about taking time to personally let mothers know they are noticed and appreciated.
Nicholas says, “It’s the simple things, reflect on the moment when your mom made a difference in your life and share that with her.”