I had to unlearn self sacrifice as being the ultimate expression of love. Because being a martyr is unhealthy and unsustainable. Once I learned to verbalize my needs and know I am worthy of having my needs met, everything changed.
Principal Consultant at The People Design House. I advised early stage start-ups on building value aligned, people operations that will scale with their rapidly growing companies.
# of Children and their Ages:
4 year old and another expected December 2022.
What do you love about being a working mom?
This is a really tough question.
I love having financial security and I love that the work that I do is aligned with my values. However, my identity isn’t at all tied to my career.
I hope the thing I model for my children is that my value as a human is far greater than my ability to produce in a capitalist system.
What is the biggest challenge of being a working mom?
Accepting the reality that no one person can do it all or have it all. It’s all about making value aligned decisions.
For me those decisions have looked like walking away from a bigger title for the sake of my mental health and accepting a role with a lower salary in exchange for the flexibility I need to show up for my family in the ways that bring me joy.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change about working mom life?
American mothers need more systems of support.
The fact that I am considered privileged to have access to paid parental leave and affordable childcare is shameful.
These things should be the baseline for every American family.
What tips do you have for other working moms?
Cultivate community, ask for help, and accept it when you are offered it. You have to prioritize your mental health in order to show up fully for your children.
We aren’t meant to mother in isolation and none of us have the ability to do it all.
If you have the ability or means to delegate something, do it.
Any relationship tips for working moms?
I’ve been with my partner for 14 years, married for 7. I can only speak for myself and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. For a long time, I lost myself in what I thought it meant to be a good mother and a good partner.
I had to unlearn self sacrifice as being the ultimate expression of love.
Because being a martyr is unhealthy and unsustainable. Once I learned to verbalize my needs and know I am worthy of having my needs met, everything changed.
My marriage is a lot healthier and happier because of that. Oh, and read Fair Play.
What’s the best piece of advice your own mother gave you?
My mother taught me to know my worth. She instilled a level of self confidence in me that I will be forever grateful for. I hope to pass that down to my children as well.
What stresses you out?
Raising children during a global pandemic and climate crisis, in a white supremacist capitalist patriarchal country in a time of rising authoritarian political ideology while living in a state where guns have more rights than women.
Otherwise, I’m very laid back.
How do you mother yourself?
I have been slowly but surely cultivating a community on my instagram where I share my motherhood experience. It has become a place where I can relieve stress through humor and be vulnerable with people in a similar phase of life as myself.
I love writing, photography, gardening, parenting, Meg Thee Stallion, and complaining about capitalism. It can be hard for mothers to maintain a sense of self and avoid isolation during the early childhood years, and I’m grateful for the community I am creating that helps me feel seen.
Thank you, Imani for being you and for using your heart and voice to talk about the things that matter most in your life on your motherhood journey. We support you and your message.
Please follow Imani at @realgrowingpaynes and use IMANI20 for 20% off your purchase of Moment CBD mints made working moms like Imani who knows and celebrates her own worth.
Photo credit @angeladoranphotography