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Working Moms: Catharine Weiss

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Lasell chapter.


 The road to balance between motherhood and professionalism is a rocky, but rewarding one. Fashion merchandising professor Catharine Weiss has walked this road, and came out on the other side as a caring mother and passionate professor.

    Prior to having her first son, Weiss worked in the fashion industry in both New York and Boston. One job, in particular, was for the MFA. The management position required global travel, marketing, and sales negotiation skills. These experiences make Weiss an invaluable asset to the Fashion Department at Lasell College. After having her first son, she struggled to find a balance between her work and home life, ultimately making the decision to enroll her son in daycare so she could continue her professional career. When her son got sick, almost on a weekly basis, she sacrificed her professional life, quitting her dream job to stay home to take care of her son. At that point she had to do some serious soul searching and felt compelled to do the right thing; to put her son first and career second.

    “The answer was that I should have hired an at-home nanny to help me, but there’s no manual that tells you what to do. My son’s dad tried to help, but it’s hard because children always want their mom and there’s nothing we can do to change that because of the physiological connection between mother and child.” Weiss explained. “I learned the hard way with my son and now I know what I’m doing better with my daughter.

“When my daughter was very young and I needed to go back to work, I hired an at-home nanny. It was very expensive and took a huge chunk out of my salary, but I did what I thought was best for her and for my job. I knew she would be constantly sick if she went into daycare.  Daycare is so expensive and I can’t imagine the burden this has on single mothers, especially when the child is sick because of daycare,” said Weiss. She believes that if you choose a daycare, make sure it’s small and in someone’s home, and that they are licensed by the state.  

“When I went back into the industry, I ended up traveling again. One more time I had to do some soul searching. It didn’t feel right to be away so much, so I was fortunate to have the opportunity to teach,” said Weiss. “I could stay in the business, work with amazing students and do the right thing as a caring parent. Teaching offers a conducive schedule for a mom, and the environment at Lasell is pro-family. They are so supportive.”

    Weiss went on to speak about the inequalities between men and women when it comes to parenthood. A firm believer that men should have more of a role as fathers, she says they should hold their share of the responsibility, or you shouldn’t be with them in the first place. Having children is not this automatic stepping-stone to adulthood that society portrays it to be. You need to be unshakably committed to your children. If you cannot embrace the responsibility of being a parent and you can’t handle it, you shouldn’t have kids.

    She urges mothers not to forget that when you leave your industry, even briefly, you need to stay current and realize that technology doesn’t wait for you to go back to work.

    Weiss later referenced Carol Gilligan, American feminist, author, and mother. “There is feminism and feminists. There are feminists who want to be equal to men in all aspects. Gilligan’s feminism embraces the notion of equality with an acknowledgement there are physiological differences between men and women, especially when it comes to parenthood,” Weiss explained. “We have a care gene embedded into our genetic makeup and I assure you when your baby cries you are hardwired to react.  It goes to your core. I’m not saying that women should give up their jobs but there needs to be a balance.”

    As a mom, Weiss encourages her kids to stay focused and try hard at whatever they do. Because of this, her son, now 19 years old, competes as an alpine racer. He told her he wanted to be on the Olympic Ski Team, so their family did what it took to make it happen. He is now training to hopefully join the National Ski Team someday. With each hardship and sacrifice comes the reward of seeing your child succeed, whether it’s a good grade on a test or winning a spot on an elite ski team.

    “I push my kids to be happy and never say never to their dreams,” said Weiss. “I think burdening kids with hyper-control eliminates their feelings of accomplishment. My kids have a keen sense of doing the right thing and I’m not sure how they have adopted this mindset, but it’s so great to see.”

    At the end of the day she cherishes the small moments with her children, like snuggling with her daughter before work and school, and teaching her the importance of saying “I love you” everyday. Weiss has taken the time to instill good values into her children, concluding that the reason parenthood is rewarding is because you’re growing as an individual and you’re also helping your kids to grow too. As you get older you realize all the self-adulation, the me-ness may offer you an ego fix, but the real value in your life should be the job you do raising your kids or being a good daughter or member of your family. When you are young, you should never let go of your dreams but you will find a turning point in your life where you just want to give back. When all you have wanted to do is done, and you are ready to help the next generation get there.


Corinne is an associate on the integrated marketing team at Her Campus. She graduated with a degree in Fashion Communication & Promotions major from Lasell College in August 2018. Before joining the team full time she served as staff writer, social media manager, president and co-campus correspondent of her chapter over her three years at Lasell. Corinne is passionate about sustainable fashion and fashion show production, and served as College Fashion Week Intern for two years. In her free time she enjoys exploring new museums, going to concerts and traveling to new cities.