Working Women: 3 Target Moms Talk Work, Play and Everything in Between

October 11, 2012 - Article reads in
team
Milagros Hanson

There’s no such thing as a “9-to-5” when you’re a mom — it’s more of a 24/7 gig. So how do working women balance the professional and the personal?

Below, three Target supermoms — Kelly McGarrity, Mila Hanson and Shameka Etheridge — share their stories on how they make it work, and still have time for baths and bedtime reading.

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Kelly McGarrity
Target Store, New York

As a leader of a New York Target store, Kelly McGarrity has quite the job at Target. But perhaps her biggest job is being a wife to her husband, Michael (the two have been married for 17 years and known each other for 25!), and a mom to 9-year-old daughter, Sofia. Originally from Michigan, Michael and Kelly said goodbye to the Midwest and headed to the East Coast, where they now call home.

What does Sofia think of your job at Target?
KM: I always wore black at the company I worked for previously. On my first day at Target, I was wearing red and she was like, “Oh my gosh, you look so nice — I love red!” And now she compares other shopping experiences to Target. When we’re at other stores, she’ll actually start straightening things or rearranging shelves. It’s hilarious.

How has Target affected your family?
KM: Target has helped teach my daughter about giving back. Target supports the Pajama Program, which gives pajamas and bedtime books to underprivileged children. For one of Sofia’s birthday parties, she asked that her gifts be donated to the Pajama Program. And for Christmas last year, she wanted to donate her old toys. It has been really amazing watching her learn about giving back through my job.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about being a working mom?
KM: Somebody whom I thought was a really good working mom said to me, “Don’t underestimate the ability for kids to be resilient and adaptable.

What must-have products should other moms check out at Target?
KM: Up & Up Wipes are one of my favorite things. And I really love the EOS lip balms — there are a lot of different flavors and they last a long time.

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Milagros Hanson
Target Headquarters, Minneapolis

There’s no “seven year itch” for Milagros “Mila” Hanson. As an executive assistant in Business Development, Mila has worked in multiple finance roles during her seven-year (and counting) stint at Target. And now, Target has become a family affair — a few months ago, her 22-year-old daughter joined the Product Design and Development team in Merchandising at Target. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we chat with Mila about how she raised her kids to be proud of their heritage.

What does “family” mean to you?
MH:   It’s easy to get along when things are going well, but you realize that you are a family when times are tough and everyone pulls together to get through it. During those times, our family grows closer.

When your kids were growing up, how did you teach them about their heritage?
MH:  By the three F’s — faith, family and food. Our faith is the first and most important thing in our lives. Second, your family will always be there for you. And third, no matter what we’re celebrating, there is always a lot of Spanish food.

Have you learned anything on the job at Target that you applied to your home life?
MH:  I’ve taught my children to value and respect diversity, so I love that my work and home values reflect each other.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about being a Latina mom?
MH:  Teach your children to be proud of their Hispanic heritage. As a young girl, I allowed people to call me “Millie” (which I disliked) because it helped me fit in. A Latina friend asked me why I wasn’t using my given name. She said at the very least have them call you “Miracle,” which is what Milagros translates into. I learned to be proud of my heritage and have passed that on to my children.

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Shameka Ethridge
Target Distribution Center, Texas

As a group leader of a Distribution Center, Shameka Ethridge has been part of the Target family for three years (and was recently promoted — props!). And as for her family, “we’re a little non-traditional,” as she puts it. Shameka and her four children — 13-year-old Kezia, 10-year-old girl Hannah, 4-year-old CJ and 3-year old Cayden — reside in Texas while her husband, who is in the army, travels everywhere from Afghanistan to Iran. “We had to decide whether we wanted our kids to jump from place to place or grow up with the same people from kindergarten. We decided to do the latter,” Shameka says.

Have you learned anything on the job that you apply to your home life?
SE: I help people reach their potential—both at home and at work. Hannah wants to be a chef, so she helps me cook. And Kezia wants to be an entertainer, so she keeps the kids occupied if I’m doing something.

What do your children think of your job?
SE: They love it! I have met some phenomenal people at Target, who have also met my kids during community clean-ups and other volunteer events. My kids know team members by name — it’s just a big family atmosphere.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to working moms?
SE: You have to build a routine and make sure you allot some “you time.”

What is the first “mom-duty” you take care of after you leave work?
SE: The first thing I do is take that 30 minutes of “me time.” You’re racing against the clock, but you’ll be much more focused if you take 30 minutes to do absolutely nothing, read a book, magazine or mail. I make sure I take that time for myself and then, after that, we get straight into homework.

What three items are most frequently found on your Target shopping list?
SE: Juice — my kids have to have juice or they go crazy, eggs and sugar because sweet tea is a staple in our house.

Has having a family affected your shopping habits online vs. in-store?
SE: I love the in-store shopping experience so much—there’s something about the Target colors that make you feel welcome.

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