I Became a Mom and a Leader at Work At the Same Time — Here’s How I Hold Space for Both

Sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corporation

I Became a Mom and a Leader at Work At the Same Time — Here’s How I Hold Space for Both

Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin


The prevalence of “mommy-tracking” continues to force too many women into de-escalating their careers as their families get bigger. But for Kanan Lauzon, being mommy-tracked wasn’t something she had to fear at Lockheed Martin, her employer of the past 11 years. In fact, Lauzon prepared to take a 12-week maternity leave with her first child and transition into her first leadership role with the company at the same time.

Today a Manager of Talent Acquisition for the aerospace, defense and advanced technologies company, Lauzon credits Lockheed for supporting her as she simultaneously learned how to navigate first-time motherhood and first-time management work.

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“When I came back from leave, I dove headfirst into my new role,” she recalled. “I was learning and experiencing new situations as both a mother and a leader, which was stressful but exciting at the same time.” 

Making both roles work today means learning how best to nimbly prioritize and hold space for what’s important — not just what’s urgent. Lauzon shared how she’s accomplishing that and more.

How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?  

I have been with Lockheed Martin for 11 years! I started as a recruiter in 2009 and grew my career within Talent Acquisition. I transitioned into a leadership role in 2016 and now oversee a team of 21 employees responsible for talent attraction and full cycle recruiting/hiring execution for Production Operations, Functions/Lines of Business, and our Services client groups. 

How did you prepare for maternity leave and what advice can you offer to other moms who are expecting their first child?  

I went on maternity leave with my first child right as I moved into my first leadership role. Due to the timing of my new position, I was able to prepare for my leave by transitioning my old scope of work to other team members and closing out on pending projects and work while I was still in the office. 

When I came back from leave, I dove headfirst into my new role. I was learning and experiencing new situations as both a mother and a leader, which was stressful but exciting at the same time. With my second child, going out on maternity leave felt like a whirlwind experience, as I had advanced in my career, resulting in significantly more responsibility and work scope. I prepared for my leave as much as I could by training team leads and an associate manager reporting to me on client-related work scope that they would need to continue in my absence. My advice would be to start documenting process/training information early on so it’s not overwhelming toward the weeks leading up to starting your leave. 

How long were you on maternity leave and what was it like to return to work?  

I was on maternity leave for 10-12 weeks (a couple weeks less with my second child). Returning to work definitely had its challenges, but it was nice to transition into a different schedule as well as interact with my team and peers.

What type of programs does your company offer to new and expectant mothers? 

All eligible employees who have been employed with Lockheed Martin for at least six months may take up to four weeks of paid parental leave to bond with a new child. This includes births, adoptions and foster care placements. 

How has your morning routine changed since becoming a mom? 

The only constant in my morning routine is change! How the kids slept and what time they wake up dictates my morning schedule now. I miss the ability to hit snooze from time to time, but I wouldn’t trade seeing both my girls every morning for anything, even if it is only during the morning rush to get to daycare and work.   

Why do you think your company is a particularly great place to be a working mom? 

I’m grateful to work for a company and a leadership team that truly values their employees. We offer parental leave, flexibility, remote work, healthcare options and even resource groups to connect with others in similar situations. I also feel blessed to work with a supportive and amazing team! 

How has your role as a new mom made you a better employee?  

I think it’s made me more aware/empathetic of other peoples’ personal situations in general. It’s also turned me into a master multitasker!

What’s your go-to stress-relief activity or routine?  

One of my personal struggles has been carving out “me” time. With two kids under the age of 4, it’s been challenging for me to focus any amount of “spare” time on myself. This year, however, I made a personal commitment to dedicate 30 minutes daily to exercise. That half hour doesn’t always look the same from day to day, but it’s something small that I make a priority to do for myself, which I think is the key to feeling better physically and mentally. Sometimes it’s a walk with the family pup after the kids go down to bed, sometimes it’s escaping for a run alone on a Saturday morning… and sometimes it’s carting the kids with me on a bike ride.

What kinds of boundaries do you follow to separate work and family time? 

Work and family time are both important parts of my life, but I try to dedicate my attention to one or the other during their appropriate times. It doesn’t always work out perfectly and sometimes the two intertwine, but my kids (even at their young ages) will be sure to remind me that it’s THEIR time by knocking the phone out of my hand or trying to close my laptop. We also eat dinner as a family every night – no cell phones allowed. If I need to log on or check my work email, I will do it after dinner.  

What are you especially good at as a mom? What about at work? 

I’m not sure if everyone would agree that I’m good at it, but I try to be responsive and manage my expectations for myself, my kids and my team, taking it one day at time. We all have overwhelming days, but I try to not let that impact the rest of the week, month, etc. and really focus on what I CAN accomplish versus focusing on what I can’t get to. My kids have taught me how to reset and move on. If they have a meltdown, they release it and it’s like a new day 15 minutes later (sometimes, those 15 minutes can feel like days!). They don’t even remember what they were upset about.

What’s your #1 tip for new moms who are navigating the delicate balance of working and mothering?  You don’t have to do everything perfectly! There are a lot of pressures especially from social media to be the “perfect” mom balancing work, kids, school, weight, the list goes on… Just remember to do the best you can, and YOU are enough! Take time to reset. I recently read this quote and it resonated with me for both work and motherhood: “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” – Steven Covey
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