Attorney Ambler T. Jackson is a data privacy and protection expert who helps organizations understand and comply with today’s ever-evolving regulatory and compliance requirements. She is a beacon of excellence in a field where black women are few and far between. The scope of her work provides users and consumers with insights that help them to protect their data in the most practical ways possible.
Walker’s Legacy caught up with Ambler to discuss another important area of her life—motherhood—and how she deftly navigates the role while also maintaining a successful career.
1. You are a smart, successful and beautiful black woman. You’re also a single mom. As a single mom, how do you balance career and motherhood?
First, thank you for this question! Second, motherhood is the most rewarding challenge that I have ever encountered. The rewards outweigh any of the challenges. I’m able to balance motherhood with my career and have a fulfilling personal and professional life because I have a great support system and I fiercely protect my inner peace. I also try very hard to never complain about the challenges of being a mother who also wants successful career. I think that refraining from complaining always allows positive energy to find me and my child; it places me in a position of strength, rather than weakness.
Positive energy goes a long way! There are so many lessons that I’ve learned while balancing motherhood and my career; I’ve learned so much about mindfulness and being present, successfully managing stress and communication.
Most importantly, I believe that it is an absolute blessing to be a mother. There are some women who are praying for children, and yet, their prayers have not been answered. I don’t take for granted the opportunity to be a mother and also have a career. I am clear that my ability to successfully balance motherhood and my career is owed to my mindset, attitude of gratitude and awesome support system.
2. How has being a single mom impacted your ambition?
After having my child, I was naturally less focused on my career and more focused on giving my all to my child. As my child got older and started kindergarten, I think I experienced a shift and felt as though I could begin to split my focus and devote more time and attention to my career and professional development. Motherhood has definitely impacted my focus and timeline for meeting certain goals, but it has not frustrated my ambition.
As a mother, if you’re a good one, you will sacrifice your goals, wants, and desires to ensure that you’ve made your child a priority. This is especially true when your support is needed the most, as there are constant ebbs and flows.
Your true ambitions really never go away though. Children have different needs at different times of their lives and as parents we have to be attuned to that, and simply adjust. For example, you may need to defer your plans, or change the timeline for your goals. The bottom line is that motherhood requires flexible goal-setting and execution.
3. How have you been able to meet some of your most critical goals while also managing your varied responsibilities?
I’ve been able to achieve success in these areas by practicing mindfulness and keeping a consistent fitness routine. I have been able to reach many of my goals by removing people, desires and things that do not serve me or my child. I am very mindful of the energy that I allow and keep in my life. I’m mindful of the energy I allow in my child’s space. I also remain committed to my fitness routine – something I’ve prioritized before, during and after I gave birth to my child. Reaching my fitness goals provides me with joy, a sense of pride and accomplishment, as well as a level of discipline that is consistent with goal setting, planning and executing.
4. What are your thoughts on work-life balance?
Work-life balance is not something that I try to achieve. Trying to achieve work-life balance can be stressful if you have goals, dreams and ambitions beyond the responsibilities of parenting and a desire for a fulfilling personal life. If you want to be ‘present’ as a parent and also pursue your goals and dreams, there is no balance: you will often have to burn the candle at both ends for short (and oftentimes long) periods of time. Life happens in seasons.
There may be a season where you experience work-life balance, but it’s just that, a season. You’re also going to have times where you have to put your head down and focus solely on your child. You have to be ok with that and know that deferring your plans until a later time doesn’t make you a failure. If you did it for your child, your sacrifice makes you an awesome mother.
5. What advice would you give a young, single mother who is worried that all bets are off in terms of success because she is a single mom?
Honor your truth every day. Put your child first and never feel like being a single mother is something negative, or that you cannot still execute your goals and be successful. Sure, achieving certain goals may take longer. Success for your child may require you to limit your social engagements for a spell. Prioritizing may also require you to sacrifice in ways that you may have never imagined. Just understand that being flexible and, when necessary, re-adjusting your timeline for achieving your goals will inevitably support your overall success.
Despite all of this, you can still be a great mother. You can have a fulfilling life and reach your professional and personal goals. You can accomplish all of these amazing feats by continuously planning, being patient and flexible, working hard and only keeping people around you who add to you and your child’s life. Remember that you’re not the first single mother to raise a child and advidly pursue multifaceted success.
Others have done it, and you can too! Pray for your child, pray for grace, and pray for the energy of two parents! Show appreciation for your support system and always thank them for being an important part of you and your child’s life. Accept this challenge with an open mind and a grateful heart. You rewards will be many.