Community bonds over parenthood

Marquette+Moms+is+one+of+eight+employee+resource+groups+on+campus

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

Marquette Moms is one of eight employee resource groups on campus

The employee resource group, Marquette Moms, works to help moms find a community at Marquette and learn how to juggle the responsibilities of being a working mom.

Marquette Moms is a group aimed at supporting moms on campus as they strive to balance work, professional development and family. It is one of eight employee resource groups on campus. 

ERGs are groups that work to promote a sense of community, build personal and professional networks, enhance employee support and retention and assist in attracting new employees to Marquette to foster a diverse and inclusive community.

Brigid Kinsella-Alba, mother of five and coordinator of mission programs for the Office of Mission and Ministry, started Marquette Moms 12 years ago.

“It’s a lot to juggle as a women having kids and having balance between your career and your home and trying to be the best parent you can be and then also trying to be the best person you can be at work and serve at work in the most full way possible,” Kinsella-Alba said. “Just knowing that you’re not alone and that there are other people that you can talk to is really important.”

The group is open to all women with children across Marquette’s campus.

“It’s people with kids in high school and beyond, and people with infants. It’s really for anybody, so the openness of that space and having that wide gamut of people gives you an opportunity to not just talk with people in our area, but it connects you with people all across campus,” Kinsella-Alba said.

Through lunches, retreats, service projects and Microsoft Teams chats, Marquette Moms share research, articles, advice and experiences to help moms grow as both parents and professionals.

“It’s just a place where moms in all stages of motherhood can connect and share ideas and know that we’re valued at Marquette,” Sue Cirillo, office associate for the Office of Mission and Ministry, said.

Kinsella-Alba said knowing there are other people who support you is the most important part of it. 

“I just had a miscarriage and it turned out that one of my friends also just had a miscarriage and we were both really struggling and we both shared it within the group on the same day and to have each other and this group has just really helped get through that hard time,” Kinsella-Alba said.

Kinsella-Alba said the group is all about learning how to handle challenges together.

“One of the challenges that we had on campus was that there weren’t very many places where women could pump,” Kinsella-Alba said. “And so we took on this project and now there’s a map of wellness spaces on campus just to take some of that pressure off when women are coming back from having a baby and they know they have some place to go.” 

Cirillo said that the Marquette Moms Microsoft Teams chat helps moms feel supported as well. Members share stories, inspirational messages, ask for advice or just check in with one another. 

“This one was big, ‘Marquette Moms checking in to make sure everyone is okay after yesterday’s events at the Waukesha parade,’” Cirillo read from the chat.

Eliza Gomez, office associate for facilities planning and management, said at the beginning of the year, members were posting ‘Something new in 2022’ talking about things they wanted to try in 2022 that they normally wouldn’t have time for.

“People had so many things on there. Somebody put that they’ve been wanting to try rock climbing and then someone else said ‘I do rock climbing, come join any time,’” Gomez said. “That’s one of my favorite things, sharing stories because you might not ever have these conversations with other moms if you weren’t on there.”

Along with keeping up their Teams chats, the group will also host their annual Mother’s Day lunch in May to help make moms feel special. 

“It’s always important for every employee to have a safe space where they can go and not feel judged,” Gomez said. “It really is a sense of community.”

This story was written by Bailey Striepling. She can be reached at bailey.striepling@marquette.edu.