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‘Don’t think about what you didn’t do yesterday’: DC’s first Working Mom Conference is coming up


A panel of 12 experts will discuss the significant issues working mothers face during a three-day conference this weekend in D.C.

This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference from our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.

Three years after the start of the pandemic, women with children are working more than ever. According to a report by the Hamilton Project, women between the ages of 25 and 54 are participating in the workplace at a rate of 77% — an all-time high.

But that participation comes with significant challenges, including achieving work life balance, time management issues, the cost of child care, dealing with stress and feeling guilty.

An Odenton, Maryland, woman wants to help moms address some of these challenges.

Christa Bright, Founder of the first Working Mom Conference (Courtesy Christa Bright)

Christa Bright, founder of the first Working Mom Conference, said she created the platform for women to have a space to “mindfully talk about the challenges working moms go through.”

She and her team have put together a panel of 12 experts to talk about the major issues facing moms during a three-day conference taking place this weekend in D.C.

Bright, the mother of an 8-year-old boy, said one of the major issues facing working mothers is balancing work and taking care of their homes. “What is work-life balance? Does it really exist?”

Mothers of young kids aren’t the only ones struggling to balance work and life, said Bright: “I’ve had mothers come and say, ‘Motherhood does not stop at 18 — we are still mothering. We have adult kids with their children themselves. And it comes with one of our biggest challenges.’”

Bright also said motherhood is chaotic. Things happen that are beyond a parent’s control, but she believes that, “One of your most controllable environments is your workplace.”

Mothers should be asking some critical questions, according to Bright, such as, “how can I make sure that I have flexible work hours, that I have good health benefits, that I’m getting the training that I need in order to succeed?”

Self-care will be another issue discussed with the conference’s diverse group of participants, according to Bright. She said D.C.-based psychologist Dr. Amber Thornton will be one of the experts addressing that issue at the conference.

“If you have to wake up and get your child ready, and then drop them off at day care, and then go to work,” you are invited to attend, Bright said.

Career development experts will be available to help women who want careers and they will also address women in leadership positions.

Bright said she wants women attending the conference to be mindfully present.

“Don’t think about tomorrow. Don’t think about what you didn’t do yesterday. Connect with working mothers here and build that bond that you need in order to achieve what your goals are,” she said.

In fact, Bright hopes that working moms who attend the conference will befriend each other.

“My community and my village are my mom friends,” she said.

The conference takes place from Friday, Oct. 20, through Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Westin in Center City. To find out more, visit the conference’s website.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.