March 18, 2008

Exclusive interview with Elaine Alquist

Posted in Inspiring mothers tagged , , at 5:14 pm by siliconmom

Meet Elaine Alquist, California State Senator for District 13 (the heart of Silicon Valley), former State Assemblywoman, proud Greek-American and mother of two. Despite her high profile job she says, “nothing is as important as my being Peter and Bryan’s Mom and Jasmine and Logan’s yia yia – Greek grandmother!”

She recently took some time from her busy schedule at the Capitol to address some questions for siliconmom readers.

Q: Did your identity change when you became a mother? How?

A: Yes, “mother” superseded my personal identity the first three years of older son’s life.

Q: What hurdles have you overcome since becoming a mom?

A: Getting back into the workforce – reinventing myself. Balancing family and individual needs and priorities.

Q: What tips would you give a new mom?

A:
1) Set your priorities.  You can do all things – not necessarily at the same time.
2) Be sure they are your priorities.
3) With each child you get one chance to be a good Mom.
4) Know that all things will pass.

Q: How have your notions of motherhood changed as your children have aged?

A: At 63, I better understand the impact of parents’ behavior on a small child’s world and on a small child’s feelings and behavior.

Q: Have you had an “ah ha” moment as a mom? Could you please share it with us?

A: The first time Peter said “I love you, Mommy” and Bryan said “I love you, Mommy.” And as adults when each said “you’ve always been there for me, Mom, and I’ll be there for you.”

Q: Did you take time off when your children were young? If so, what were the challenges re-entering the workforce?

A: I created a self-referral K-8 counseling program for a public school district in St. Louis in 1969. The program was presented at the national APGA conference as I gave birth to Peter.  I took three years off; my self identity decreased, then got my realtor associate license, sold houses in St Louis and took eight weeks off after I gave birth to Bryan. When I showed or sold property, my parents were always there to help. My sons were four and eight when we moved to Santa Clara County. I had double hurdles of finding a good job (I became a financial analyst at Stanford University) and good childcare. I should mention that I was elected to a college Board of Trustees during that 3-year period that I did not have a professional job.

Q: Do you have a mother mentor? If so, who is it and how do they fill that role?

A: My Mom and Yia Yia (Greek grandmother) – both have passed on.  The main focus of their lives was to be a great Mom and a great yia yia – which now is my goal.
For more information about Elaine, check out her website at http://dist13.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=NONE&SEC={73CEE83C-3804-41C4-9B27-D0779CA9D150}
Elaine also invites emails:  senator.alquist@sen.ca.gov.

 

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