Habitat for Humanity; President of Habitat Roaring Fork.
Gail Schwartz: Mother of 5, grandmother of 4. Gail has served twice as a Colorado State Senator. Her list of other accomplishments includes: Commissioner of Higher Education, CU Regent; Director of Development for APCHA; Renewable Energy consulting; and Senior Executive at a ski resort design firm.
“Working and children came at about the same time early in my life when I arrived in Aspen in 1973.
Handling both work and kids came pretty naturally, as I have always been industrious and hardworking trying to make ends meet. For a time as a single mom, things were more stressful having to support two little girls.
In spite of daily challenges and the pressures of work obligations, nothing replaced the blessings of motherhood and my children remained my first priority.
For working moms, there is always the underlying guilt of never being able to do it all!
I recommend just doing your best and most of all to be kind to yourself and your partner. Your children are a part of your being and bring a gift of joy and awareness that cannot be replaced. They teach us what we are capable of.
Finding personal time can be challenging for young mothers. It takes a wonderful partner to share in the responsibilities of the home and children in order for you to find a little time to recharge. Children certainly manage to help one keep life in perspective!
I consoled myself at times, that there would be more personal time as they got older. I found that yoga, meditation retreats, biking to the Bells, and cross-country skiing were my salvation with spurts of time, intense doses of fresh air, and exercise.
My story as a mother is complicated.
My daughter, Shannon died at eight years old in a car accident and would be 47-years-old today. My next tragic heartbreak was our little son Blake, who died of complications shortly after his birth in 1985. This took an immense emotional toll, as there is no loss greater for a parent than losing a child, let alone two. In my experience, we are not quite emotionally equipped to bury our children, but we must find ways to move forward.
We are blessed with three grown daughters – Brendan, Aime, and Rachel – who today are beautiful, hard-working young women. I encouraged them to develop the confidence to achieve a career and education in order to give them independence, no matter what life had in store for them.