Contributed By Brooke Lawler, Group Account Director at Midnight Oil
Long before I knew I wanted kids, I knew I wanted a career in advertising. Honestly, the whole mom thing frightened me. My first boss in advertising set the bar high. Marianne could work late, get up early, and hit the gym – all while managing the kids’ lunches, drop-offs and play dates. I was certain I could never navigate the work-mom-life dance with as much grace, despite her assurances that I could.
Fast forward 11 years and several promotions, I am now the mom of two beautiful young boys and a blossoming career in advertising. Amazingly, having kids did not slow down my growth. In some ways, it actually propelled it. I find my mind operates at a new frequency. All that mom multitasking has, I firmly believe, expanded my synapses and increased my ability to manage stress. Plus, daily “communication” with a strong-willed toddler has forced me to enhance my empathy and negotiating skills. I now see that being a mom does give you superpowers.
Yet, while I admittedly feel like a superhero on some days, on others I feel like I am just surviving. So, when I discovered the 4A’s Mothers@Agencies course, I jumped at the chance to register. I was eager to connect with a community of other advertising moms and learn new strategies to not just survive but thrive.
The course is not at all what I expected, or, had silently hoped for. There was no fairy godmother waving a wand to magically clean our homes, provide free daycare, make our children angelic, or our clients easy. I dared to dream. Of course, we have to work. We have to show up each week and dig into ourselves. Like work and life, you get what you put into the course. Even for someone like me who enjoys a good self-discovery deep-dive, I have been surprised to uncover many new insights about myself.
The course has taught me three very important things to help me thrive in the industry and in life:
1. If You Want to Help Yourself, Know Yourself
I’m admittedly a bit of a self-improvement junky. If there’s a personality test, I have probably taken it and analyzed the results to death. With this course, I have been working hard to peel back the layers to understand what it is I value, how I self-sabotage myself, and therefore what keeps me from living out my values and vision at home and at work. It hasn’t been easy to take such a candid peek into all that is me. But, I am learning to value what I am versus obsess about what I am not.
2. Activate a Network
Yes, it’s cliché, but it really does take a village. No one can do it all. Trying to activate on all fronts often leads to subpar outcomes or worse, burnout. My husband picks up the lion’s share of kid drop-offs, I order groceries online, I have a house cleaner who does laundry, and a mother and sister who live just five minutes away. Lucky me, I know. Even with this network, I am still reluctant to ask for help at times. The course is giving me the confidence to release the guilt and expectation that I must do it all to keep my superhero cape.
3. Prioritize Your Life Around Your Values
As author Greg McKeown said in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, “If you don’t start prioritizing your life, someone else will.” I am guilty of expecting my employers or leaders to just know what I need to succeed. But alas, mind-reading is still not a thing (as much my husband wishes it was). Thus, we ad moms need to clearly communicate to agency leadership what it takes for us to fire on all cylinders. Whether it’s flextime, new technology that will make telecommuting easier, yoga classes, or taking a course like Mothers@Agencies, we should never be afraid to ask. Executives don’t know what they don’t know and it’s up to us to help educate them.
This course isn’t just helping me. It has inspired me to take action, to be an advocate for myself and other moms and parents at my agency. Like Marianne did for me, I hope to inspire more women to take the parental plunge and claim the #Admom title with pride. I’m partnering with HR and our new agency President Denise Wong (a fierce mom herself) to make changes that will help working parents. Together, we’re identifying and activating new policies that will help working moms and dads, who continue to play a greater role at home. Together, we’re finding new ways to sustain and retain the vitality of the #Admom. A win-win all around.
BROOKE LAWLER | Group Account Director of Midnight OilBrooke Lawler’s ascent at Midnight Oil has been fast and furious. Lawler, joined the Burbank-CA-based marketing agency in August of 2013 as an account supervisor and has served as a group account director since January of 2017. Saban Brands, SoftBank Robotics, Disney, and Sony are among the brands under her purview. Prior to joining MidnightOil, Brooke spent six years at Davis Elen Advertising working for clients including GreatCall, Cisco, and Wet n’ Wild Water Parks. A 2007 graduate of San Diego State University, Brooke excels at helping clients uncover their brand vision, making them top-of-mind for consumers today, and positioning them for long-term health. When not working, the mother of two young boys delights in family road trips and beach vacations.