Powerhouse Mama & VP of Creative Projects at Nordstrom, Olivia Kim On Post-Birth, Pregnancy Style, And The Realities Of Being A Working Mom

In celebration of our newly launched collaboration with Nordstrom, we’re thrilled to invite a fresh crop of passionate, powerhouse mamas and mamas-to-be into our community.

While the concept itself may not be novel, women are banding together in ever-more creative and compelling ways to contribute to the magic of the workplace.

Therefore, we recently spent a day at The Riveter in Seattle with the ever-inspiring female-centric Nordstrom creative team—some pregnant and some not—getting their take on what is meaningful change. Plus, we chatted with the brilliant Olivia Kim, who heads up the female-led team as VP of Creative Projects at Nordstrom, talking about womanhood, pregnancy style, life after baby, and the realities of being a working mom. 

Read more on the rest of her badass team here.

Do you believe there are barriers to working as a mom?

I remember reading this article entitled Why Women Still Can’t Have It All back in 2012 by this incredible writer, Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly the Dean at Princeton of Public Policy. In the article, she delved into how challenging it can be for women to be working moms. Siting how everything about our society from the time of school-drop & pick-up to finding after-school care, makes it inherently difficult for moms to work. Plus, she spoke about the perception of employers when choosing between two incredible candidates, one with kids and one without. Oftentimes employers choose the one that doesn’t have kids thinking they’ll be more committed and less likely to leave work early. Plus, it’s not mandatory for companies in the US to offer maternity leave. Her only hope was that a woman or more women were in legislature. I reread the article during my maternity leave and cried because I couldn’t believe how little has changed since in six years…it’s not evolving fast enough.

With that in mind, what innovative new solutions do you believe in for working moms?

As a team leader and a working mom, there are little things that I encourage such as working from home or taking meetings via video conference or FaceTime. Plus, instituting flexible hours. For example, I craft my day differently now and put in the time where I need to. I’m up at 5 am before Cleo’s awake, I work for an hour, then spend time with her and head to the office around 9:30 am. I leave the office around 5 pm, have dinner with Cleo and then I’ll put in another hour of work after she goes to bed. Cumulatively I’m still putting in the same amount of hours, but I’m more efficient with my time as a mom. I joke about how incredibly foolish I was with my time before I had my daughter. Coffee dates for hours and so on! Now my coffee dates are over the phone while I’m doing other things!

Your pregnancy and post-pregnancy style?

I didn’t buy a single piece of maternity clothes. I wore my regular clothes because they’re all somewhat oversized. Maybe there was a zipper here or there that wasn’t zipped but I made it work. My post-pregnancy wardrobe has not changed either. A lot of what I wear is textured, over-the-top, and embellished which Cleo thinks is funny. She loves playing with my bedazzled sweaters or spectacular dresses, so I let her even if she has oatmeal all over her hands. I don’t like when things are too precious. I like the idea that my clothes are not decorative but rather meant to live in. I’m a full-time working mom, but that shouldn’t mean that I have to wear boring clothes because I have to hold my baby.

What was your pregnancy experience?

I had a difficult pregnancy. In short, I was in two doctor’s offices twice a week for 36 weeks. It was a lot of work. It was stressful, but 500% worth it and I’d do it again!

And, your post-birth experience?

I feel like no one talks about the ugly side of pregnancy. I think about my own experience post-partum and how I essentially felt released to the wolves. After having gone through the most traumatic experience my body had been through I didn’t even have a follow-up appointment for six weeks. Plus, no one tells you about the assembly line you have to set up in your bathroom as soon as you get home which includes, three creams, witch hazel wipes, a giant pad, a giant squirt gun that you shoot up your vagina, there’s so much stuff! We, as women, need to get better about sharing the darker, ugly sides of pre, during, and post.

Also, post-partum depression is another issue that I feel like no one is addressing. The doctors mention it and tell you to raise your hand if you have concerns. But you’re dealing with so much, how are you even supposed to know if you need to ask for help. There were days that I would be crying and couldn’t distinguish between exhaustion or depression. Bottom line, it’s hard and it’s crazy.

An unexpectedly challenging part about becoming a mom?

The challenging piece exists in the fear and vulnerability of making decisions for another human and the responsibility that goes along with that. Plus, the mom guilt. I constantly have the sense that I’m failing as a mom because I’m not hand-pureeing organic baby food for my daughter. I don’t have time for that. So, do I feel mom-shame for buying my daughter’s organic baby food from Whole Foods? Slightly. Ya. 

An unexpectedly amazing aspect of parenting?

The most amazing thing is seeing the lightbulb click in her head when she discovers something new! This weekend we took her to a pool for the first time ever. As I was dipping her in the water, I realized she had never been in cold water before, only bath water. It’s an incredible experience for me to experience all these “firsts” with her.

What kind of mom are you?

My mom is my best friend and Cleo is my best friend, therefore I’m so fortunate that my mom moved out from NYC to help me with Cleo. Growing up my mom was an incredibly generous mom, both with her time and her affection. My sister and I are only twelve months apart, but polar opposites. She allowed us to indulge in who we were as individuals, embraced our distinct personalities, and never clumped us together. With that experience, I try to do the same with Cleo and encourage her to determine her own label. I’m also really tactile with her and I let her touch everything from flowers to pine cones and pebbles. I try to expose her to as much as possible, rain or shine, we go out into the world!

Share Post