After her second child, Liz McGrory found it hard to balance home and work life. That’s when she discovered the benefit of working mom coaching. While pregnant with her third child, Liz decided to quit her corporate job and work full time on her own company, in which she coaches other working moms and focuses on channeling Mommy Energy – a force, she says, that is almost like a superpower.
Tell me about your children. Names, ages and interests.
Luke is 6, Lily is 5 and Leanna is 18 months. Luke and Leanna were actually almost born on the same day! It was getting late on the day before Luke’s birthday and I was like “This has to happen now” and thankfully she was born at 8:09 PM! I was obviously happy that she was born healthy and happy but at the time, making sure they didn’t share a birthday seemed pretty important.
Luke loves Legos and Skylanders – I think if he could do both at the same time it would be his dream. He also loves the outdoors. He’s playing soccer and baseball! He is so social, the game for him isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about the people he sees.
Lily is fast, she’s definitely a runner, she has so much energy. She loves soccer and ballet. She also loves singing and My Little Pony.
Leanna is the happiest baby. She just wants to do anything Luke and Lily are doing. She’s the mother of the kids for sure. If the kids are doing something wrong and I’m disciplining them, she will hold up her hand for the stop sign, telling them what to do.
What were some questions you had or challenges you faced as a first time mom?
Definitely figuring out how to leave Luke at day care, I just didn’t get how other parents did it. It was heart wrenching to me. Eventually I guess I just got used to it. It was hard, we changed day cares a few times but I knew it had to be done. My career was going places so I had to leave him there, it wasn’t a choice.
How did becoming a mom change who you are?
It definitely taught me about love and leadership. Before Luke, I didn’t know I had any more love to give. But when he was born, it was this immense love that was different than the love I have for Jimmy, my husband. It was like my heart grew bigger. In terms of leadership, I learned how to set the law. Disciplining the kids and doling out time-outs was hard at first but necessary to teach your kids how to behave. We love 1,2,3 Magic, it works wonders. I also had to learn to stick up for my children and to know what’s best for them.
Who do you go to for parenting advice?
My parents and my in-laws are definitely the first line of defense. But besides them, our neighbors are really helpful. They’re all older couples but they know the kids well so they’re always a great help. I also go to the Internet, magazines and books. And I belong to a mom group.
What is your favorite thing about being a parent?
The funny things they say for sure! I just love watching them have conversations between themselves and seeing their personalities emerge.
How do you juggle work and family?
By knowing my values and priorities. You know I run my own company and I’m about to start writing for about.com so I just realized I have to go after certain feelings not goals. If I want to be happy then I figure out what will make me happy and go for it. You also have to manage your energy. I realized while working that having the cleanest house on the block wasn’t as important to me and spending time with my children and succeeding in my professional life. Now our lives are a little messier but it’s definitely worth it.
Are there routines or systems that you’ve set up in your family to help things run smoothly?
Not really. We have basic schedules throughout the day but it’s nothing too intricate.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you had your first child?
Not to be so uptight. I was constantly worried about Luke, always looking over his shoulder. As you have more kids and you learn more you become far more relaxed. To be honest though, even if I could tell my younger self not to be so worried all the time, I don’t think it would have changed my behavior. You just have to learn yourself.
How do you and Jimmy handle responsibilities?
We co-parent. It’s more on my shoulders because I’m around home more often. We both do discipline and cleaning. I had to learn to ask him for the help I need, though, and I had to learn to ask not just tell. When parenting you have to learn to have respect each other in different ways.
What do you do for fun or to unwind?
I always read before bed, it’s the only way to stop my mind. I love to run – in October I ran my first half-marathon. I crochet, especially when it’s cold, and I garden. We love to have fresh tomatoes in the house.