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NEW YORK — When it comes to balancing one’s career and motherhood, the consensus at the 35th Annual Outstanding Mother Awards on Thursday was that’s a big myth.
“The truth is there’s no such thing as balance. On occasion, there’s a decent blend,” said Dottie Mattison, senior managing director of the Guggenheim Partners (and a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive). Mattison, who was one of the award winners, said she attributes her success at motherhood to teamwork, especially a very supportive husband, and gratitude.
This story first appeared in the May 10, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Everything I have, Craig decided I should have,” said Mattison, who also praised her three sons. Mattison shared a little secret, which she said will probably embarrass her family. Every night she comes home from work (or most nights when she’s not traveling) and before she walks into the house, “I kiss the door,” to show how grateful she is for her life, and how fortunate she is to be able to leave it for awhile and go to work.
Margarita Arriagada, chief merchant at Sephora USA, said, “The person who should be standing up here to get this award is probably my husband.” Arriagada, who’s traveled extensively throughout her career, said she has a “great husband who held us all together.” She also said her mother has been her greatest inspiration “all five feet of her,” and could be the poster child for “Yes, we can.” Arriagada said her husband stayed home with the kids. But that’s not to say she wasn’t involved. She would leave Polaroid pictures for her husband, showing the socks, shoes and accessories to dress the kids in, and prepared menus for dinner. “Really I should have been institutionalized,” she said.
When Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of HSN Inc. and mistress of ceremonies for the awards, returned to the podium, she said to Arriagada: “The next time my daughter tells me I’m a control freak, I’m going to have her call you.” Grossman also noted that when people ask her “How do you balance your career and motherhood? My answer is, ‘I don’t.'”
Debra Messing, who said she was humbled to win the award, came to the event with her mother, Sandra Simons Messing, who her daughter said always had “hope and chutzpah.” She felt that nothing studied was a waste of time, and when Messing told her mother she wanted to be an actress, her mother said, “It has to be someone, why not you? Then my brother said he wants to be president.”
Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, was in Japan and her daughter, Christina accepted the award on her behalf.
To kick off the awards ceremony, Mark Shriver, senior vice president of U.S. Programs for Save the Children, auctioned tickets to a Taylor Swift concert, a Justin Bieber concert, Macy’s 87th Thanksgiving Day Parade and the 37th annual 4th of July fireworks. Proceeds from the luncheon and live auction go to Save the Children.