I’ve known Theresa Motko, Instrumentation and Controls Supervisor at Entergy-Nuclear, since we were teenagers -- way before she was lending her skills and talents to the STEM field. Recently, we caught up and discussed her career path. She shared with me what life is like for her and her husband Richard as they juggle their jobs and caring for their two children, Avery (7), and Cameron (4).
How long have you been in this field and what is your role?
Fifteen years this February. I started at Indian Point Energy Center after I graduated from college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Currently I’m a supervisor in the instrumentation and controls department, where I oversee, schedule, and coordinate work activities on the control systems that provide protection and indication of both nuclear reactors.
Walk us through a typical day or week as you juggle motherhood and working full time.
My day starts at 4:30am, I'm in my office before 6am and typically leave around 4-4:30pm. Then I have to pick up the kids and take them to their activities. In any given week they have religious education, basketball practice for both kids (never at the same time because that would be too easy), cheerleading, and taekwondo. Now soccer is starting up and Avery has expressed interest in swim team. Then it’s time to go home, cook dinner, make sure homework is done, clean up, do laundry, drink a gallon of wine and hit the sack!
Do you make time for yourself and your husband? If so, what do you do?
I try and do Zumba class once a week for myself. Then Rich and I try and have movie night on the couch, but one of us usually passes out within the first 5 minutes! Or we get a babysitter and have parents’ night out with other friends.
How has your career changed since having a family?
It has made me more efficient and I prioritize differently. I want the time away from my children spent on something that matters. And I try to accomplish as much as I can while I'm away from them. But time at home with family is sacred as well. I am present. So I limit checking emails to after the kids are in bed.
What challenges do you face?
Typical working/bad mom guilt for not being the one to pack their lunches, not making every soccer, cheerleading, or taekwondo game. I overcompensate and send in things like Minion pudding cups for Valentine's (thank you, Pinterest). I think the biggest challenge is finding a work-life balance that I'm comfortable with.
If you had a Fairy godmother (or boss) what wish would you want granted?
I would like the gift of teleportation!
Nicole Wolfrath is mom to two feisty girls in elementary and nursery school and has worked full time as a college career counselor for the past 15 years. She holds leadership roles on her children’s school boards and PTA, loves to create art when she can find the time and is passionate about women’s and parenting issues, which she advocates for through teaching and blogging.
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