The media narrative on working moms isn’t always pretty. Generally they seem to revolve around questions like: How do they do it? Can they have it all? There are many mornings that begin with #facepalm because of some story that seems to reinforce a tired narrative that doesn’t describe my life or the lives of many women I know.
So it was with relief, amazement and joy that I read this Inc. piece about Michelle Zatlyn at CloudFlare. Yes, the CloudFlare that has partnered with us to launch the Path Forward program in California. Salvador Rodriguez, the reporter who also wrote about Path Forward, profiled Michelle and her ability to be the cofounder of a $1billion tech company and the mother of two young children. Michelle has started talking more openly about being a mom, where previously she didn’t, in order to be a role model to younger women contemplating careers in tech. My favorite quote is this one: “There are trade-offs and it’s not always easy, but you can do both.”
The article goes on to outline Michelle’s strategies for making it all work. What I love is how down-to-earth and practical the advice seems. And I also love how free of guilt the piece is. There’s no lamenting about the trade-offs. There’s no downplaying of the importance of her job. Neither Michelle nor the reporter felt the need to let us all know that of course she find motherhood the most important job she has. The overall tone is positive and uplifting and I’d love to see more pieces like this to counterbalance the overwhelmingly negative image that is often portrayed.
It probably seems obvious, given my job, that I’d be on the lookout for great stories like this one. But the truth is I have always collected stories of amazing women doing amazing things while also raising (presumably) amazing children. I found these stories inspiring and I felt certain they reflected a reality I could create in my own life. I believe in the power of positive stories to show how we can create the life we want to have for ourselves. I also believe in amplifying these positive stories. I’m sharing Michelle’s story as far and as wide as I can because I want stories like hers to get more attention than the laments about how difficult it is to “have it all.”
If you see an inspiring story like this one, please share it with us! You can email [email protected]. We’ll share the stories we find on Twitter, Facebook and here on this blog. Let’s all amplify these inspiring stories.