Working Mom Conference: The Takeaways

Nakeia Jones speaks
Photo of Nakeia Jones by Heather M. Ross

Moms Meet

It’s hard being a full-time mom and a full-time professional. But moms are innovative—and they’re looking out for other moms.

At The Working Mom Conference, an inaugural event this fall in Washington, D.C., which will return annually, moms gathered for socializing, expert anecdotes, a marketplace of goods and services from other working mothers and giveaways.


This year’s conference featured speaker Natasha Hastings, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and world and U.S. national champion track and field sprinter.

Other speakers included authors, life coaches, psychology professionals and CEOs. Speakers shared their solutions for balancing motherhood with their careers, led workshops and held panel discussions on key motherhood topics.

Many presentations encouraged women in career advancement, while also acknowledging the areas in which working mothers might struggle, such as managing conflict—in the workplace and at home—and burnout. The conference also covered relevant topics such as estate planning and a post-pandemic state of motherhood study.

Here are some of the key takeaways from an expert panel of “founding mothers” held at the conference on the most pressing issues facing mothers today.

The panel included Christa Bright, founder of The Working Mom Conference; Danielle Melton, CEO and founder of MOTHERboard Society; Jamie Sabat, CEO and founder of Distill + Express and Ashlei White, founder of The Bawse Mom Movement.

Should Moms Be Expected to Stay Home?

The panel opened with a simple question—one most attendees agreed on the answer to: should moms be expected to stay at home?

Rather than a simple, resounding “no,” the panelists discussed the merits of staying home. Ultimately, they came to agree that whether moms are working from home, from the office or not at all, motherhood isn’t a one-size-fits-all journey.

While financial security is a powerful motivator for working moms, identity is also a factor in choosing when and how you’ll work as a mother. Choice, Sabat says, is critical.

The discussion addressed the idea that women staying home with their children could be “undoing historic progress” when it comes to women’s rights and equity in the workplace. Panelists Sabat and Bright argued that the push for equality isn’t about being in the workforce over being a mother, but rather the option to do both or one or the other.

Resume Gaps

The pressure of having to choose between working and motherhood brought the discussion to another important topic for working moms: resume gaps.

“As women and moms, we fear to answer those questions,” White says.

But, as White pointed out, men have gaps in their resumes, too. Women should not need to fear bringing up maternity leave, White says. She advised mothers to be upfront if asked about an employment gap and say that they were raising children during that time.

Motherhood and Identity

White’s experience as a mother, author, speaker, life coach and entrepreneur helps her motivate and encourage moms like her to stand up to societal expectations and meet their own goals.

The panelists touched on the intersection of career, motherhood and identity in their discussion—and the importance of the latter.

“Invest in yourself, no one can take it from you,” Sabat says.

Sabat emphasized podcasts, enjoying nature and going on walks as elements of self-care. As a mother, Sabat practices conscious parenting, which she now shares with others through her books, speaking engagements and Distill + Express.

The panelists placed emphasis on working moms as people, with their own wants, needs and desires. “I was a woman before I was a mother,” White says.

Learning Self-care

One of the needs that often gets pushed to the side when you’re busy with work and kids is the need for self-care.

A study published in Midwifery pointed to limited resources like money and social support and difficulty accepting help and setting boundaries as barriers to good self-care practice.

Melton agreed with the need for the practice, noting mothers need to take care of themselves first before they can focus on their careers and motherhood.

MOTHERboard Society, which Melton founded and continues to lead, helps moms build a “battle-plan” against burnout and seek professional and personal fulfillment.

“There’s a well-defined strategy for abolishing burnout, living life on your own terms and producing a harmonious, successful existence as a working mom,” Melton says.

For many mothers, the conference was also an opportunity to network and build connections with other working mothers. Learn about future opportunities to connect with working moms, plus other resources at


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