In theory, the concept of balance is simple for Martha Vance: “It’s taking care of my family and still doing a really good job at work.” However, actually balancing her demanding job as the head of Accounting and Controlling for the Americas at Siemens Energy
with being a mom to a 19-year-old daughter with a intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) and a caregiver to her elderly parents is a bit more complicated. So, how does she do it? “Delicately!” she laughs.
Martha knows all too well that balance is anything but easy for working moms. “Women feel tremendous pressure to do it all,” she empathizes. She says that new moms particularly often feel like they have to hurry up and finish the mom stuff so they can get back to work to get that promotion — but it isn’t true. “The promotion isn’t going anywhere. Your capabilities don’t change because you became a mom.” Her advice? “Slow down, let go of all the expectations, and don’t miss the small stuff!”
In her own life, the small stuff — like family dinners or the time she sets aside to spend with her daughter after school on Fridays — is a huge deal, and she’s been able to prioritize it thanks in large part to the flexibility she’s found working at Siemens Energy. “The nice part about my job is that as hectic and crazy as it is, there are always personal interruptions scattered throughout my week, and I can take the time to deal with those.”
Of course, that means that she’s had to be flexible, too, occasionally pushing back family dinner time, working later in the evenings, or taking those early morning meetings with the team in Europe. “When you work in an environment you want to be flexible for you, it’s give and take on both sides,” she explains. “I will always get my work done, but I need to have time to manage my mental health and take care of my family.”
For Martha, that begins with taking care of herself, which she does by sneaking in an early morning workout before anyone else is awake. “It’s my me time — the only time of day when someone doesn’t need something from me.” While work issues do occasionally come up and she has to skip it, it’s something she tries to protect for the sake of her own well-being. “If something derails it, it throws off my whole day. I really need that mental health time.”
It helps that Siemens Energy places an intentional focus on mental health and is pushing hard to develop a culture where it’s okay to say, “I’m not okay.” She also credits a company-wide emphasis on building relationships for giving her a strong support network of colleagues and leaders. “The best thing about Siemens is the people. Developing relationships is encouraged, and there is an expectation that people work together, build networks, and lean on each other.”
She also counts herself lucky to have a wonderful husband at home who always has her back. “We do it together,” she stresses. In their spare time, the couple is building an inclusive business where they plan to employ people with IDD like their daughter.
While she resists the pressure to do it all, Martha does embrace the idea of having it all – although she thinks there are misconceptions around that. “I believe you can have it all, but you need the maturity of life to understand what ‘it’ is,” she shares. “What’s important to me has evolved with maturity, so what 'it’ means has changed over time.” These days, that means having time to take her daughter to school or her parents to appointments, fitting in a daily workout, and helping to make tomorrow better today through her work at Siemens Energy — and for Martha, that’s everything.
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