Years ago, after a relative scolded her and made her feel guilty for being a working mom, Allana Helland, a San Francisco Bay Area–based marketing strategist, decided to vent to a friend. The pal’s reaction, which the mom of two detailed in a recent LinkedIn post, forever changed her perspective on being a woman with a career and kids.
Allana told her friend what her relative said—that she was teaching her son that she “will always leave him…daily”—and talked about the guilt she felt “in the exhausting fog” of her first few months back at work.
Her friend laughed. “‘No, no. You’re teaching him that you will always come home,’” the pal replied.
Wow. Her friend summarized the love and determination it takes to be a working mother in so few words, and it really stuck with Allana. “That was such a precious sentiment, and it was exactly what I needed in that moment,” Allana said. “I’ve learned through the years that I am also teaching my kids so much more, as they watch me build a meaningful professional AND home life.”
Sharing this story wasn’t Allana’s first instinct, but she said she’s happy the message impacted other working moms. “It’s easy to tell the ‘rah rah, here’s a thing my company did’ stories,” Allana wrote in a comment on her post, “but being vulnerable to a wide audience is harder.”
Clearly, Allana’s son shared her friend’s attitude toward working motherhood. In her LinkedIn post, Allana attached a picture her son drew. It depicts Allana sitting at a desk, with her bright yellow hair tied in a high ponytail. Also included in the picture is a red umbrella, and, Allana told Working Mother in a private message, the family’s red car in the back—because when it rains, she can’t take her usual bike route to work. Her outfit with purple and black boots is something she actually wears. “Here’s my mom working,” her son wrote beneath the picture. “The detail is charming,” Allana wrote in another message, “and the powerful message behind it all is game-changing.”
She added a hashtag to the LinkedIn post, #womeninsolar, because she currently works on brand and consumer marketing at the solar company GAF Energy, and has been working for various solar companies since 2009. According to The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census in 2017, women make up only 27% of the workforce in the solar industry.
There’s one more detail in Allana’s son’s picture that makes her smile, and reminds her that despite any struggles she may face with family or in her industry, she’s doing the right thing. “Also, look at that giant dollar sign on my computer screen…I am crushing it!” Allana said.