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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

How My Twins Help Me Lead

Sure. Children change you.

I'll agree with that, although early in my pregnancy, I would have argued tooth and nail that that wouldn't be the case.

Good thing I listened to my OB-GYN who said, "You need to let go of the control. You'll never have it again. And yes, children will change you."

But what I didn't realize was how much the introduction of two new faces in my world would change me as a leader.

The passion that I bring to my work is what I hope that other leaders bring - the work for children who we view as our own. As they recently joined me on a lobbying trip to Washington DC, they knew I was there advocating for the reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and what is best for California schools. Many of the stories I shared were from their school in San Jose Unified.

And then there's that part about being a working mom. When I was growing up in the 70's, almost all of my friends and I had mothers who were at home when we returned from school. My own parents were mortified that I'd go back to work as a principal after the girls were born. But being a working mom also had an impact on me.

Many studies have reported that parents' attitudes toward gender roles and work greatly affect their children's attitudes. It is more than just being a "role model." I'm modeling the skills of balance (albeit not always as balanced as I'd like to be), making a difference, taking on responsibility, making tough choices, and more.

But there's more.

Fifty years of research now shows that children of working mothers get better grades, are happier, and spend just as much quality time with their mothers. Most importantly the studies also show that your children will love you whether you work or not. Whether you lead or not. Whether you're a superintendent or not.

And it seems that my daughters get that. After all, one just dedicated her recent Presidential autobiography to me, for "being the ACSA Vice President and for running the New York Marathon" (and I didn't even need to pay her to do it. Well, maybe I'm a role model and leader in more ways than I thought.

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