Once again, in what seems like a flash, we are gearing up for the rite of passage August always brings; that is right, we are talking about going back to school. This year instead of choosing which superhero or princess will be emblazoned on children’s backpacks and lunchboxes, or weighing the pros and cons of mechanical pencil versus lead, parents are facing a litany of harder pressed questions and options.
What works better, in-school learning or virtual? If virtual is chosen, should a new computer be purchased or is the onus on the district to provide them to each student? Should you follow your school’s curriculum or transfer to a private school? Who, if anyone, should remain home with the child to help them? If someone needs to work, but their children will be in daycare, how much time will parents have to dedicate to their children after work to help assist with the assignments? The questions, and options, continue to pile up as the start of the school year in only a few weeks away.
Our publication was fortunate enough to sit down with local resident, mother, and CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Angelica Pickles-Mormont, to discuss how she is balancing motherhood, work, and the uncertainty COVID-19 brings.
Mrs. Pickles- Mormont, thank you for joining us. I know how busy you are and we are grateful you were able to sit down to speak with us about all things parenting in the time of COVID-19.
It is my pleasure, and please call me Angelica!
Sure thing, Angelica. Can you provide our readers with a brief description of your job?
I am the Chief Executive Officer, or CEO, of Mega Corp, a financial holding company. This year marks my thirteenth year on the job.
Your mom, Charlotte Pickles also held the title at the company for a long time, right?
She did! There was some corporate restructuring at one point a few years back and she found herself bumped from her job. It was then I swore to one day find a way to get the job back into the hands of a strong, capable woman.
Your mom is pretty well known for being a no-nonsense, take charge kind of personality. Do you find yourself taking the same approach with your children?
(pause) You know, when I was young it always seemed like she was larger than life, untouchable, and nearly unapproachable. Don’t get me wrong, she was an amazing mother, but she was not like any of my friend’s moms or like any of my aunts. It finally set in when I graduated college that she was not being mean or cold, she was setting me up to have the same no-nonsense approach.
She always let me know the world for mine for the taking. She would always say, “if Angelica is ever going to make it in a male-dominated power structure, she’s got to eat, breathe, drink, and sweat self-esteem.” She saw potential in me and pushed me to make sure I knew the potential was there. Was it unconventional? Maybe. It worked, though!
I have struck a balance with my children between my parent’s personalities. They know they have all of the power in the world and it is up to them to harness it, but I am a little more relaxed. I have also implemented specific hours a night where no cell phones are allowed. My mother succeeded because she made herself available 24-7 and they always took advantage of the fact. I have set up hard boundaries with technology usage after work hours.
She has interviewed with our publication several times and she is always a doll. You have a lot of her traits.
Thank you! I have always wanted to be just like her, so I take that as a compliment.
With school starting and there being countless variables about how to approach the school year, do you mind sharing your plans?
My parents always impressed the importance of education on me and I’m passing it on to my children. I began an initiative with Mega Corp to make sure every employee’s child will have a fair shot at a good education. The building has a daycare center for the parents who are working. We worked tirelessly to reroute funding to bring in tutors to work with children who are of school age if our workers choose to enroll their children in virtual learning. It is important that children and parents be able to bring their best to school and work, respectfully.
That is an incredible gesture on behalf of you and the company.
It is an absolute privilege to work with a company this generous. We also procured enough laptops to hand out to each child at the two local schools and we are opening up another wing in the daycare center to bring in students of people who do not work in the building. When I can’t control something, like the ramifications from COVID-19, then I tend to overcompensate in other areas. Right now I want to make sure children and parents have the things they need.
It certainly sounds like you have a solid grasp on this.
(laughs) I would not say I have a solid grasp on anything, but thank you. I always like to say that I might not have been a gold medalist in the Olympics, but I handle the balance beam of life with the confidence of one.
What advice do you have for parents who are struggling right now with what to do in regards to school?
School is important. Education is important. With that being said, what is even more important is loving your children and trying your best. What works for one family does not work for another. Every single parent right now is facing an insurmountable amount of stress and pressure. Do your best, even if your best one day is cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, go easy on yourself. This is a tough environment and we are all in this together. All of those sound like cliches, but it is true. Someone’s “best” changes day by day, and that is okay.
There is a lot of uncertainty about the future. I would like to wrap this interview up by having you tell me one thing in your life that is certain.
Outside of the certainty of me loving my children, husband, and job, one certain thing I am able to share is I will be running for school board president this year. I have several concrete plans in place to help the schools as much as possible. Keep your eyes on the lookout for my signs once the election nears. I think Pickles for President has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?