What’s in the space between where you are and where you want to be?
I really believe that God and the universe reward your efforts. So for me, that space is filled with fearless and focused hard work.
You have a blog called Mom of All Capes. What are your favorite capes that you wear?
Being a working mom requires you to have a multitude of capes at your disposal. I’d say my faves for saving people at home are “life coach”, “sports coach”, “super hugger”, and “homework helper”. The “community builder” and the “cheerleader” are others capes that make frequent appearances.
You frequently use the hashtag #LetsK12Better. What are some ways we can have a better education system?
I use the #LetsK12Better hashtag to share best practices, ideas and innovative examples of what is possible. Raising a well-rounded, emotionally adjusted 21st century child requires a network of caring adults.
Parents, teachers, principals, social workers, law enforcement, and school board members must collaborate on creative solutions because kids have the most at stake when it comes to school budget deficits and ed-reform policy.
Teamwork from all stakeholders is a critical step toward improving our education system FOR ALL KIDS.
I want to facilitate a dialogue around solutions! Let’s get out of our silos and begin exchanging ideas and experiences that work for our schools and communities, because better K12 education ultimately means better people.
You also have #girlsinstem at the top of your instagram. Yes! What are some ways we can get more girls interested in STEM?
Exposing girls to STEM experiences like making and playing video games; free coding clubs; playing musical instruments; and participating in the school science fair are a few really great avenues that expand interest. But I’ve found that it must be meaningful. You must show transfer- Where’s the connection for her life? How does this tie into her interests? What kind of job does that become?
Ask the girls in your life, “Where are the hidden STEM jobs in our everyday products?” The person that makes up nail polish colors is a chemist. The person who designs your favorite phone app is a coder. The person who designed the seats in your car is an engineer.
You can prepare them to step into futuristic industries as they become available by building up their confidence, and their math and science skills.
Dare them to solve problems and dream big! Keep girls focused on a reality that they have the power to create and empower them to have courage to make their ideas real.
What’s something we get wrong about motherhood?
Moms are out here trying to balance everything with no networks. How? How can we believe that a woman should go back to work after 6 weeks or even 6 months after having a baby? Moms grow people (in their bodies!!!! Like someone comes in and invades our form and we let them).
It’s an important, labor intensive task from inception through delivery – and on – to when we release our children into society. We’re acting like it’s easy to do.
As a society, we fail to support mothers as they raise their children and our future workers and citizens. Children are our best natural resource and their mothers (and fathers) are the vehicle through which they become our next workforce, our next innovators, our next politicians. We shouldn’t shame women into societal submission.
We should support their career ambitions with adequate leave and family planning options. We’re not cultivating a nurturing environment for current and future humans because moms are stretched thin. It’s not sustainable and it’s a detriment to society.
Who do you go to when you’re needing support and guidance?
I go to my mother and my mother in law. These are my “wisewomen” and I lean on them daily for advice, prayers, and encouragement. They know what to say and they tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. Everyone (even men) need “wisewomen” – grandmas, moms, aunts, or mentors, that have seen it all before and can help you keep it in perspective.
When was the last time you practiced self-care and why is self-care important to you?
I often practice self-care on the weekends. Our weeks are intense, so I make sure I do something small or large for myself over the weekend. Self-care is an important part of my survival and I want to be a good example for my daughters by prioritizing my mental, physical, and emotional health. When executed consistently, self-care takes surviving one step further- it becomes thriving.
When was a time that self-doubt was at its worst for you while on your career and life journey?
I was in graduate school, my husband and I were in a mutual three year separation, and my girls were very small (I had three kids under four). I was working full time and I felt like I was going insane.
In fact, I think I was hanging on by a thread. It was excruciatingly painful, but I’m grateful for every moment. I learned so much about my resilience and my ability to persevere during that time.
Imagine that all your life’s work disappeared and you only had 1 minute to tell the world what you truly believe to be true. What would you say?
Love your kids. Hold them. Discipline them. Teach them. Inspire them. Cultivate their talents. Listen to their stupid little stories.
Laugh at their terrible jokes. Teach them to pray and meditate. Challenge their opinions. They are your greatest contribution to the universe.
What’s something that’s been bringing you joy lately?
Other than my kids, twenty minute naps. I know it sounds lame, but a solid twenty minutes or couple hours of rest does wonders for the mind, body, and spirit.
What’s something you’re working to unlearn?
I’ll start with me… I’m learning that the energy I can give is enough and what I don’t have, I can’t give.
The ‘”I can do it all” attitude is gone. There’s pressure on moms to be these unicorns that work, cook, clean, chauffeur, lead the PTA, stay fit and active, and be a great partner… I mean, I do all these things but I can’t say I execute these with an equal level of proficiency all the time. Knowing my best fluctuates each day is an empowering epiphany.
Amber Coleman-Mortley is a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working in edtech. Amber is an NBC Parent Toolkit expert. Through her blog MomOfAllCapes, she encourages parents to partner with their child’s teacher to create a community of adults aligned to benefit the growth of each child. Amber holds an M.A. from American University School of Communications in Media Entrepreneurship and a B.A. in African-American Studies from Oberlin College. Instagram. Twitter. Web.
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