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Meet Katie: Mom & Academic Advisor

One of my favorite things about starting Livlyhood has been the INCREDIBLE women I’ve met since starting this whole thang! Katie and I connected through my blog… and now we are insta friends.

Tell us a bit about yourself & career

Hi! I’m Katie and I graduated from BYU with a degree in Psychology. During my senior year, I realized I did not want to be a therapist. Kind of scary at the end of your degree to decide that you’re not going to continue on with the plan! I loved teaching and school, which lead me to a career in academic advising. We have moved out-of-state three times in our marriage, so I have advised at three different universities and love working in higher education! One of my favorite things about advising is listening to a person’s plans for their future and how they want to impact the world and their family. We have a lot to look forward to! I was just accepted into a Masters in mass communications program and am excited to see how my career continues to unfold!

My husband and I met in college and got married a few weeks after we graduated. We have two awesome little girls that never let us sleep. True story, it took me forever to submit this because I couldn’t find a post-pregnancy picture where I didn’t have major bags under my eyes and I’m really bad at selfies. But, I love them and they’re hilarious, so I’ll take looking like a mombie for a couple years. If we ever meet in person, you can count on me showing you pictures of them. I am a proud mama bear!

How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?

While I have many women who are there to listen and help out, the biggest supports I receive are inspiration and motivation. Women are amazing! Whether I’m seeing how they mother, how they work, or how they serve, I am so inspired to fulfill my potential. That’s important to me because I don’t always see it in myself, but when I see the good they are doing, it helps me think of how I can become  more of who I want to be.

I also attend local women and leadership events as much as I can to expose myself to more great, relatable examples. It’s fun to network with women in a variety of fields and see how they impact their communities. Between women I have a personal relationship with and women I get to meet at events, I feel constantly surrounded by people who motivate me to set my sights higher.

How do you advise women to overcome “working mom guilt?”

We have to change the way we talk to ourselves and about ourselves to others. You wouldn’t let your best friend downplay her accomplishments or tell people what a bad mother she is because she works, so don’t do it to yourself! I think sometimes we do it as a way to tell people that we really do love our kids, because we worry about them judging our commitment to our families. Think about that–we feel the need to convince people we love our kids because providing for them somehow equates to selfishness. Crazy right? Since that is ridiculous, we get to change the narrative!

I’m not talking about “fake it ‘til you make it.” It’s so important that you really believe what you’re doing is valuable. Regardless of whether or not you love your current job, the work you do provides for your family. Maybe it’s financial, or maybe it’s giving you an identity outside of them which helps you parent better. Whatever the reason you’re working, it boils down to taking care of your own. And that’s pretty dang great.

So instead of saying something like, “I am a terrible mother, I don’t get to take my kid to the zoo/museum/indoor trampoline park/library story time/etc. like the other moms because I’m at work,” you can say, “One of the ways I am a good mom is that when I’m with my kids, I focus on the quality of our time. My phone is away and they have my attention.” Or insert one of the many other ways that you are a great mama, like you’re a good listener or you make sure you read with them every night.

What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?

So many things, but ultimately: Don’t let fear make your decisions. I was scared to try hard things in school because I didn’t want to fail. That’s not just me, either. Studies show women are more conservative in their decision making, partly from that fear of failure. Don’t be afraid to try new, hard, and crazy things. Don’t be afraid of what others will think of you. Don’t be afraid to fail, but welcome all the opportunities for growth that come along with it.

What is your career-related mantra?

“I can learn anything.”

This has been huge for me as I left college with a lot of soft skills, but not enough hard skills. Soft skills got me interviews and initial job offers, but you can only go so far with charm and enthusiasm. In early positions, I was given challenging assignments that required me to develop some hard skills. The combination of skills helped me find my next position, where I again had to learn more hard skills. With each position I continue to add to my knowledge base and now have a fun mix of experience. Some things are intimidating, but I have learned how to do everything I’ve attempted and that gives me confidence in my ability to do well in assignments given to me and positions I seek out..

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