On Being a Working Mom and Provost

I am the mother of five children, ranging in age from 15 to 20 years oldI am also a provost and senior vice president of a large university. Being a “power mom” comes with a host of unique challenges requiring skilled navigation to ensure no one part of my life overtakes the other. It is acknowledging the ebb and flow - that sometimes my work takes precedence and other times my family, depending on the situation. 

I enjoy my job immensely and get great personal satisfaction from it. I crave intellectual stimulation and thrive on day-to-day ambiguity. I also love my children, but I realized early on in my life that to be the best mother I could be, I needed to be in an environment that allowed me to pursue my growth as a professional. This meant prioritizing my needs as an individual and making peace with “mommy guilt.” It also meant accepting and letting go of the day-to-day minutiae of my children’s lives. I was never the mom who attended sports games, played dolls, or volunteered in my childrens classrooms. But I was the mom who taught them how to do laundry, cook, clean, problem-solveand drive. I opted out of family trips to Disneyland for trips to China, Germany, and Greece. 

I have been lucky enough in my career to work for great bosses who supported me as a working mother. In my job as provost, I make sure to pay it forward to all working parents. I do not subscribe to the idea that women should be expected to work like they do not have children. I am transparent with my teams and my family – I do not have all the answers. Professional and personal lives should co-exist, and today’s technology supports this. My husband and I regularly participate in group texts with the kids throughout the day. I FaceTime them when I travel. My children use the apps SnapChat and BeReal to show me glimpses of their days, and we have a shared Google Drive that keeps the family on track witcalendaring, documents, and homework. 

It is true that working moms still shoulder most household and family responsibilities even if they have a supportive partner. And this does not include the mental load representing women’s invisible labor in any family unit. There is no easy or quick solution to this. For me, I have worked on overcoming my need for control and perfection and try hard to practice self-compassion. I am only one woman. And am I a perfect mom? No, and I am not trying to be. 

Constance St. Germain, EdD, JD
Provost | SVP Academic Affairs, Capella University
Share this post:

Comments on "On Being a Working Mom and Provost"

Comments 0-5 of 1

Gail F Baker - Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Thank you for this great insight! So many are juggling parenthood and work during these challenging times. Appreciate your perspective.

Please login to comment