How Does Being a Mother Make You Better at Your Job? 8 More Women in Entertainment Weigh In

Resilience, empathy, perspective—what having kids taught them about their work

Editor's note: The piece below is a sequel to last year's Mother's Day piece from Tami: 8 Women, 1 Question: 'How Does Being a Mother Make You Better at Your Job?'

There's a proverb that "if you want something done, give it to a busy person." I would also argue that if you want something done, give it to a working mom. IYKYK—and if you don't, I'd like to introduce you to the amazing women below. 

Trisha Choate, Hulu

Head of Content Creative Marketing
Recent Work: The Dropout, Only Murders in the Building, The Kardashians
Mom to Penelope (7) and Henry (5)

Moms are superheroes. It wasn't until I became a mother while also being a studio executive that I truly realized the power of the working mom. Moms are master multitaskers who are able to manage demanding work schedules along with keeping the household going and the children happy. Being a mom makes me better at my job because I come to the table understanding sacrifice. There truly is never enough time to do it all, but being a mom allows me to bring focus, care and compassion to my work so I can prioritize doing whatever it takes to get the job done.

Jaling Bohannon, Paramount+

Production Project Manager, Creative Marketing 
Recent Work: Halo series 'on the next' promos, The Offer limited series countdown promos, P+ brand spots 
Mom to Leiling (2)

If you've ever been tasked to plan a trip that involves packing for a toddler, you most likely know packing for even a simple day trip usually ends up being a whole military operation. Becoming a mother has enabled me to further appreciate the importance of strategic planning and prioritization, especially when I value producing high-quality work as well as being completely present with my daughter. 

Motherhood has also prepared me to be OK with uncertainty and rolling with the punches. Having had to give birth and raise a toddler during a pandemic, as well as sending late night pre-scheduled work emails while being covered in the "baby trifecta" (pee, poop and vomit), I have learned to accept that you can't always prepare for everything! Being flexible and adapting to constantly changing work situations are essential skills to have. Just as you will encounter many unexpected situations as a parent, there will also be many scenarios at work that are beyond your control. Thankfully, those scenarios at work only figuratively involve wiping something up.

Finally, if you have ever observed a toddler playing on their own, you will probably notice a toddler's unwavering sense of curiosity and wonder for the world around them. My daughter is constantly trying to touch everything, figure out how things work, and create new uses for mundane items. Her ability to learn and create is fueled by endless imagination, which inspires me to never want to stop learning or cease to be curious. Being inquisitive, having a yearning to continually learn and develop my imagination, has helped me think outside of the box in many work situations, and I've learned to have confidence in these attributes to problem-solve unexpected situations … that ARE bound to happen. 

Bridgette Wright, Sony Pictures Entertainment

VP, Global Creative Advertising
Upcoming projects: The Woman King and I Wanna Dance with Somebody
Mom to a 7-year-old and a grown 25-year-old

Being a working mom can be challenging, as you are constantly trying to balance work, family and time for yourself. We call it being in "mom mode." It can be overwhelming, tiresome and enriching simultaneously. Navigating motherhood has made me the ultimate multitasker, mentally more robust, and a more blooming problem solver, helping me be a better creative executive and team leader.

Amanda Levin, Focus Features

VP, Creative Advertising
Recent Work: Belfast theatrical and awards AV campaigns, Downton Abbey: A New Era theatrical AV campaign, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris trailer
Mom to Izzy (10)

Motherhood has made me more empathetic, more pragmatic, and a more efficient problem solver. But what surprised me (happily!) is the joyful perspective I've gained, and I love bringing that energy to my workday. It's an openness that encourages free collaboration, an approachability that says, it's OK to be human, and it's a playful curiosity that wonders, what if we turned it all on its head? As a creative, this outlook has made my work better without a doubt.

Karolina Plaza, Lionsgate

Director, Digital Creative Advertising
Recent Work: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, The Devil You Know, My Fake Boyfriend
Mom to Alessandro (2½)

Bringing more patience and empathy to the workplace gained through motherhood to my 2½-year-old son Alessandro, and having unconditional love for him that encourages me to offer the best for his future, naturally pushes me to deliver outstanding results.

René Ridinger

Film and Series Publicist
Recent Work: My Octopus Teacher
Mom to Dashiel (15) and Beckett (13)

A former boss of mine gave me a great piece of advice as I returned to work from my first maternity leave. She said, "It's not about work/life balance, it's about work/life integration." And she wasn't wrong. I have pumped breast milk on more work calls and answered more emails at baseball practice than I can count. 

I found there were two things being a parent allowed me to have a stronger sense of in my work: prioritization and empathy. I developed a stronger sense of clarity about the pieces of projects I should focus on so they could demand my full attention. I also found that thinking about certain projects through my kids' eyes allowed me to think differently and have more empathy in the process.

Kids also drove home the realization that some of what I do can be ridiculous to the world outside of Hollywood. When you watch your kid stand next to Beyoncé and be totally nonplussed, it puts everything in perspective.

Ashley Falls, Clio Entertainment

Executive Director
Mom to Leo Wilson (18 months)

Being a mother has propelled me as a leader in so many ways. It's made me quicker and more creative with resolving the many obstacles that arise in the workplace. It's also taught me that the most beautiful creations can come when you color outside the lines. But most importantly, motherhood has taught me to trust my instincts.

Helen Ahn Cutler, Workshop Creative

Senior Editor/Creative Director 
Recent Work: Spark, ReVision Movement, Soapbox and Clios
Mom to Gia (15)

I am not sure if being a mother makes me better at my job, but what I am always looking for is how to be a better mother. I read the answers from last year's story here in Muse and was humbled and inspired by the words of my fellow industry moms. It was intimidating, because being a mother is not something that comes naturally to me. I don't think it is easy, I worry constantly, feel awkward, am very often outraged, and I never really know what the right thing to do is. I was not sure I should even be someone in the spotlight to answer this question or be in the company of so many great mothers.

But as I was sitting at a BTS concert in Las Vegas, listening to the song "Home," it really resonated with me and made me think of this industry, the friends I have made, the chosen family that I have built across two decades, and how they have witnessed, supported and nurtured my journey through motherhood, through my career, through my life. The song is about being with the people you love, in a place where you feel whole and seen. For me, home is this industry. I am someone people love to love and love to hate. It is not easy to be in my circle. I am a handful. But somehow, this corner of the world allows me to show up as my true authentic self, my very loud self. You have all made me a better person and a better mother. 

If I were not a mother, I would completely lose myself in this job that I love. Motherhood brings balance to my life, and my office husbands remind me ... Hey, aren't you supposed to pick up your daughter? Hey, you should still take that trip with your daughter because work will be here when you get back, family comes first. (These guys are the best, thank you, I see you.) So for anyone out there wondering if they can still succeed in this field and be a mom, the answer is yes, because we are all here to help you make that happen, to have your back. WE are your chosen family. We are HOME.

Motherhood is a process of constantly improvising in the moment, writing the rule book as you go along, wondering if you did the right thing, making mistakes, saying you are sorry, celebrating the victories, day drinking, consulting with the girlfriend council and my sisters ... parenting by community. I couldn't have this incredible life without all of you, and it is something I will never take for granted. Whenever you doubt what your place is in this world, I would tell you the words of Kim Nam-joon: Love yourself. Speak yourself. I had to be reminded of this to believe I deserve this audience, this life. I am your work mother and I believe in you and tell you that you deserve all of this and more. Mother knows best.

Profile picture for user Tami Shelly
Tami Shelly
Tami Shelly is partner and creative director of Greenlight Creative Inc.

Advertise With Us

Featured Clio Award Winner



The best in creativity delivered to your inbox every morning.