Jul 29, 2015


Angélica’s Corner: My Crazy Life as a Working Mother

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At the 2012 Hispanicize Event with Mercedes Sanchez & Los Pichy Boys

My google email inbox has 121 starred messages. This means that I have read the email, have replied to the recipient but I still need to “do” something else to put closure on that email.

My TO DO list is overflowing with categories and sub-categories of list of items that are also screaming to be taken care of ‘last week.’

For years I have kept a comprehensive TO DO list which includes small reminders, today’s schedule, and next week’s projects, including a list of BIG ideas I would like to pursue in the future, etc.

My sister, who’s a realist, used to tell me: “you’re spending too much time on your TO DO list…Just do something on the list…”  and I would smile because she had a great point there.

Too Much Traveling

The last three months have been grueling.

The month of April was purely insane.  After a full day of private practice (as a Psychologist), I came home late, packed a small luggage, left a calendar of events for the kids, made sure groceries had been done, and went to the airport the next day (with an hour of sleep) to catch a plane to head over to Miami.   I attended The Hispanicize Event, where I was invited to be a panelist on two sessions.  I delivered my presentation while struggling to keep a spasmic cough under control.  Weeks before, I had been sick with a bad cold, and was left with a persistent cough.

A few days later, I came home on a Saturday to celebrate my 6-year old daughter’s birthday party.  I had purchased ahead of time all the party decorations, the piñata, the birthday dress, the games, and the giveaway goodie bags.  I spent that Saturday celebrating her birthday party with friends and family, and then began packing that night for a week-long trip to Boston.  Again, no time to sleep before making it on the plane.

The body speaks to us in many ways. We may choose to ignore it for a while, but it certainly catches up to you.  My cough got worse — by the time I got to Boston, I could hardly speak without going into a cough attack.  Did I ever consider not going to Boston?  Of course I did, but this was my second week training as part of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University.  The training is done with your fellow Hermanas, and missing out on this week would mean not being able to complete the commitments of the program.  So, I went through the entire week coughing and feeling sick.  God bless my fellow NHLI Hermanas, who put up with my constant coughing — of course, as per the doctor’s evaluation, the cough was not contagious, but I have no doubt it was disruptive.

The end of that week came around and I had to drive back to NY to pick up ALL my kids to drive back to Harvard to attend my oldest daughter’s parent/student orientation weekend at Harvard.  Yes, she was accepted to Harvard and will be attending this fall. We’re very proud of her and happy for her.  But by the time I got to Harvard I was beyond exhausted.  Aside from that, I had to deal with the other 3 kids — ages 3, 6 and 11.  Have you ever been in car with 3 bickering children for 5 hours?  OMG!

We got there early, just in time for my daughter to register for the weekend event.  As we walked through Harvard’s courtyard, approaching the big white building with a huge “WELCOME TO HARVARD” banner, I stopped and asked my daughter to turn around and look at me.  I told her:  “I’m very happy and proud that you’re going to Harvard…but I must remind you to never forget who you are and where you come from.  Don’t you ever change for Harvard. Make Harvard change for you.”

I delivered these words with great conviction and I have no doubt my daughter heard me loud and clear.

I took a photo of her and my 6 year old, knowing that one day we would look back at this photo and say: “Look how young you two look on that photo!  That was your first weekend at Harvard!”

We kept walking towards the big white building and went up the stairs with tears in my eyes.  This was the beginning of my daughter’s journey into her own life, the culmination of years of parenting and schooling.  Then, I looked back at the evil twins (this is how I call the 3 and the 6 year olds), who were running madly all over the place, and realized that I had another 15 years to go before the last one went to college.  Then I really felt like crying out loud…LOL.

My husband, who was also out of town at a conference in Las Vegas, flew in to Boston and met us there.  Bless my husband’s heart. He took over with the kids and I was able to relax and rest.

I was planning to write about the next million business trips I’ve taken after Boston, but I’ll spare you the boredom of the details, unless you really, really want to hear more about it.

How crazy is your life as a working mother?


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Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Dr. Perez-Litwin is the Founder & CEO of ELLA Leadership Institute, a multi-platform professional development organization designed to advance the careers and leadership of women. She's the creative force behind the LATINAS THINK BIG™ national tour, sponsored and live-streamed by Google.

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  1. Angelica, enjoyed reading your post immensely! You’re an amazing individual that works very hard in your profession, speaking at conferences, and taking care of your dear family. I am glad you found some time to relax and take care of yourself. We all need some quiet time for ourselves as well to give us the strength on our journey of life. Many congratulations on your daughter going to Harvard!! :-)

    • Dear Isabel,

      It’s SO nice to hear from you here on the site! And, yes, we all definitely need to make time to relax and take care of ourselves — I know I do! I’m hoping to take a short vacation in July, before my oldest goes to college. Thank you for your comment! Abrazos!

  2. Wow, I am moved by your commitment to your commitments. I can see them clearly to your family. Congrats to you and your daughter for her acceptance to Harvard!! My boys are five and two. And yes, things are cray-cray around here. Blogging, working, being a mom and a wife, taking care of my own health and doing all my other community activities is exhausting. But I love it and seeing women like you do all that you do, inspires me to keep going!

  3. Haha! Angelica, I love it and I am so, so proud of you and your hijita who is going to Harvard!! Such powerful words you gave her. You are such a great mom and I know it must be scary to let go after all of these years. You’ve raised a beautiful, amazing, strong woman and if she’s anything like you, I know the roots of her familia will run deep. Congrats to your family!! It’s so exciting to see your journey and I loved connecting with you at some of these events you attended. Congrats also on being an NHLI leadership alum!!!

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