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Career, motherhood can be a tricky balance

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators
Senators CFO and executive vice-president Erin Crowe has found a healthy balance between her busy home life and duties with the National Hockey League team (Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC).

A career and motherhood can co-exist. This is what momcafe thinks.

And the guest speakers at the Jan. 28 hockey-themed momcafe event in Stittsville provided lots of proof that this true.

Both Erin Crowe, who is executive vice-president and chief financial officer of Senators Sports & Entertainment, and Theresa Dostaler, a self-employed entrepreneur and founder of the Facebook site “Hockey Mom in Canada,” confirmed that a woman can have a successful career and also be a mother. It’s all a matter of balance and setting priorities in your life.

Crowe grew up in Nepean and joined the Ottawa Senators organization in 1996, moving up over the years to become an executive vice-president, chief financial officer and alternate member of the National Hockey League’s board of governors. She told the 30 in attendance at the momcafe “Hockey Mamas” event at the Wildwood Steak & Chophouse at the Amberwood Golf and Country Club in Stittsville that a person’s life does change when children arrive on the scene. This is when decisions have to be made about when to focus on family and when to focus on work.

“Competing priorities continue to be a bit of a struggle,” she admitted about her own life, which now sees her not only as a career person but also as a mother of a four-year-old (Owen) and a two and a half year old (Reganne).

Competing priorities directly impact the work-family life balance, Crowe said, admitting that she is reasonably happy with the work/family life balance that she now has in her life.

She admitted a big factor in balancing her family and work lives for herself and her husband has been the employment of a nanny, whom she described as “vital to making our lives work right now.” Crowe is now able to combine her job and family life because she has someone at her home to help her.

“It’s a luxury, but it really does work for us,” she said about her nanny and her family.

Another tool which she and her husband use is the Google calendar on which they both mark whatever commitments that they have. They have found this helps them both plan out their days and to manage any conflicts which might arise.

While admitting that she used to be a fanatic gym user, Crowe said this has waned somewhat and although she did train for and run a half marathon last spring and hopes to do so again this spring, she is now just trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“Just trying to be active is really important,” said Crowe.

“I really feel strongly that you can be a successful parent and have a career,” she added, but noted that a person has to figure out the priorities involved, understanding that these priorities will change at different times in life.

She said working and having a family is not for everyone and some may make different choices in life than she has made.

“Do what makes you happy,” she said as advice for those wondering whether they should combine work and family or should become a stay-at-home mom.

Those at the event got a similar message from Dostaler, a former Ottawa resident who relocated with her family to Madoc and now operates her own home-based consulting business, Synergy Research and Evaluation Consulting. It has founded the Facebook site “Hockey Mom in Canada,” which hopes to be the largest network of hockey moms in the world and she is indeed is a hockey mom herself with two children in the sport, meaning being in a rink from four to six times a week.

“It’s a hockey household but we love it,” she told those at the momcafe event.

There had come a point in her family life where both she and her husband were working hard but had a young family. “We had no balance, we had no time,” Dostaler said, noting both she and her husband missed spending more time with their children and due to their hectic schedules, never enjoyed a good meal together, instead eating less nutritious fast food.

She said that it comes down to a question of core values and a person’s identify. “What is really important?” is the question that people in this situation must ask themselves, she said.

“There are options other than staying in a place you don’t want to be,” she said, noting that she herself took her skills from the workplace and started her own home-based consulting business.

Dostaler now has flexible hours and can spend more time with her children. She also was able to fulfill her dream of learning about social media and started her “Hockey Mom in Canada” Facebook site, which now is a network of over 5,600 hockey moms.

-- Story courtesy of John Curry, Stittsville News/

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