Brittany Valdes of The Mom Economy: On Building a Community to Support Working Mothers
“Women shouldn’t have to choose between their babies and their business.” As a pregnant mom with a high profile tech career, Brittany Valdes once believed she would have to leave her career to be able to prioritize motherhood. However, the overwhelming support she received from her work community - combined with her faith and a strong support system at home - inspired the now mom of three to create the Mom Economy. The nonprofit works to challenge the stereotypes of mothers in the workforce and change the narrative for working moms.
Brittany, tell us about you:
Ten years ago, I faced a dilemma: I felt I had to choose between pursuing my career in tech and embracing motherhood. I remember being in my final interview with Microsoft and I was three months pregnant at the time. I told the hiring manager “I’m pregnant, so I don’t think that it’s right for me to take this role.” He looked at me and said “You’re the perfect person for the job and when you accept this offer, you will not only have a team that will support you in your new role at Microsoft, but you will have a team that will support you as you step into motherhood.”
Little did I know that response would spark a transformation in me.
Ten years later, I am a proud mother of three sons, having taken not one, not two, but three parental leaves. These benefits and this mindset transformation led me to start a non-profit called The Mom Economy where our main mission is to provide parental leave and benefits to female entrepreneurs.
Tell us all about The Mom Economy:
Empowering women is at the heart of The Mom Economy. The mission of our non-profit is to empower moms, challenge stereotypical representation of today’s workforce, fast track tech career advancement to higher paying, more influential roles, and support women’s business ventures through a variety of our programs. Our organization is growing as we push to rewrite the narrative for working women at every stage of life. We believe women should be able to choose both a successful family life AND career aspirations without sacrificing one over the other.
Our mission is to eliminate the need to choose between work or motherhood.
What was the most unexpected part of your own motherhood journey?
As a mom of three boys, I’m always thinking of the actions and contributions I’m making and how it’s modeling the next generation of leaders. So, I’ll tell you what I tell my boys: “First, don’t let anyone tell you what your ‘barriers’ are.”
We live in a world and culture where everyone wants to tell you what you need or don’t need to be successful. You want to know why moms are resilient? It’s because we use barriers as leverage. When most people try to go around obstacles or find the path of least resistance, us moms find a way to use it to our advantage. You don’t build resilience without hard and yes, painful work. Your muscles won’t grow unless you add weight. Adding the amount of weight that you feel like you can’t carry alone. As a mother, female and entrepreneur I take on more weight that I can possibly carry which means I have to have community. I can’t do it on my own and I know it. I make it my priority to surround myself and invest every ounce of my existence into the people who I love and those who are in my circle.
What struggles have you encountered balancing work and motherhood? How do you navigate them?
We must strike a balance between using technology to our advantage and preserving our sanity. Sure, technology can fast-forward us to our ambitious goals, but what if we miss out on life's precious moments along the way? We need to be present, engaged, and connected with our surroundings, not just striving for the next social media-worthy post.
How does Matrescence’s Mission to “mother the mother” resonate with you as a mom? In your career?
You may be wondering how it is possible to juggle all these roles; a career at Microsoft, running a nonprofit and starting a business. I call my ritual the Latina trinity; My Faith in God, support from my family and support from the community at the Mom Economy. These are the pillars I’ve built my life upon. I've learned that leaning into community is vital, that sharing our stories is not only therapeutic but transformative, and that supporting one another is the key to unlocking our true potential.
How does The Mom Economy make life easier for moms?
The Mom Economy helps you seek out the support you need and surrounds you with individuals who inspire and challenge you. Remember that you are not alone on this journey, with the right community you can navigate each season of life, with its unique challenges and joys.
Follow the Mom Economy on Instagram.