Working Outside the Home Made Her a Better Mom

Dec 26, 2021

We are so excited to introduce you to the guest on today's episode of the Mother Plus Podcast! Mandy Siglin has a PhD in Molecular Pharmacology and Structural Biology from Thomas Jefferson University. She lovingly served as the Director of Juniata College’s Health Professions Program for five years. When family circumstances took her away from her Director position right before the pandemic hit, she had to make a pivot. Inspired by her ability to change the students she worked with in the past with her unique science and mindset perspective, she founded ThiveMed, a company dedicated to the wellbeing of pre-med students. Mandy uses strategic, evidence-based practices to help students increase their confidence and lower their stress and anxiety around standardized entrance exams for admission to professional school.

Mandy lives in NC with her husband, Josh, and three children.

What happens when the right thing for your family isn’t the best for your career: making a pivot during a pandemic.

When Mandy's husband got a fantastic job offer out of state, she made the difficult decision to change directions with her career . . . right before the pandemic hit. We loved her honest straight talk about how challenging it can be when what's best for your partner or family isn't the best thing for YOU. Mandy reflected that her husband's new job was best for his career, and best for the family, but was not necessarily the best thing for her professionally. 

She candidly told us, 

"It was not the decision that, if I were making decisions on my own, I would have made."

Her family's move shook up her identity, and she told us that unexpectedly staying home with her children during early pandemic months was "one of the biggest struggles in my adult life."

We are totally inspired by how Mandy took her previous job experience, her background as a scientist and her skills with mindset and yoga, to create a program to support the mental health of med students preparing for the MCAT. 

When work makes you a better mom: Mandy's guilt-free perspective 

Mandy shares why it was so challenging to stay home with her kids when she was between professional steps: 

"I had always been someone who's thrived having something to do. I love talking to adults. I love coming up with new ideas. I love being with other people." She told us that working outside the home was her thing, and that she always knew she was a better person for it, that she was a better mom because she wasn't always with her kids. 

Mandy talks about how important it was that she felt good about the people who provided care for her children:  

"I think that is what took away the guilt. Whenever I had people taking care of my kids that I knew cared about them deeply, there was no guilt."

WOW. What a healthy, refreshing perspective! Mandy's advice to other moms is to try to find that kind of support whenever possible, and when it's not realistic, to find windows of time where you can take space for yourself, be it minutes or hours. She reminds us of the importance of giving ourselves permission to walk away from our children when we need a break. 

Honor your motherhood style: why a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work when it comes to parenting choices. 

Here on Mother +, we talk a lot about following what lights you up, and we love how Mandy incorporates that principle when she talks about how important it is to honor what type of parent you are, whether what lights you up is staying home with your kids all day, homeschooling, working part time, or working 80 hours a week and being fully present with your kids when you're home. 

"Everyone needs to be introspective and understand where their energy comes from. I think it's just figuring out what gives you purpose in life. It's not a right or a wrong."

Mandy shared her feelings on cultural expectations and how that factors into the guilt and pressure many moms experience. She emphasized how important it is to really figure out who you want to be as a mom, despite the societal pressures. "Once you can figure out who you want to be as a mom, you can slide all the other stuff."

Be authentic and follow your gut when starting your business

Mandy urges listeners to remember that you do not have to do what everyone else is doing, and you do not have to be perfect!

She talks about the extreme highs and lows of starting a business, and how important it is to not feel pressure to have everything just right or think you need "all the things" (logo, website, branding) before you take the plunge. Sound familiar? We've talked about that one before with several other guests-- we'll keep repeating it until we convince you! 

Mandy told us: 

"I have started equating starting a business to getting a PhD. When you start a PhD, you're like crazy excited and you've got all these ideas and everything's going to work just like that. And then you get into it and you're like, oh, this is so much harder than I anticipated."

In her new business, she loves working with a partner for accountability and bouncing ideas around, and highlighted her personal preference of talking to people to move her message forward rather than focusing on reliance on a website and social media. 

One of our favorite messages she shared was reminding us that small, incremental steps are the key to success. Don't get hung up on the details-- take it one step at a time!

Mother Plusser Takeaways: 

  1. Don't let guilt consume you when you choose to work outside the home or put yourself first. 
  2. Remember that motherhood is NOT a one-size-fits-all: honor the type of mother YOU are!
  3. Be authentic in your business/passion/project: you do not have to do things the same way everyone else does!
  4. Celebrate small steps to success--don't get overwhelmed or derailed by perfectionism!

Here's where you can find her, and check out our episode here!



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