Reflecting on being a working mom with art producer Ilona Siller

I recently dropped my middle child at college and am in the middle of the high school process with my third and last one.  As you can imagine, time timing caused me to reflect some on my life as a working mom.  I always have said that I am a better mom because I work but that now I have two out of the house I wanted to take a step back and reflect some on how that worked out.  Was I kidding myself?  Did I miss too many events?  Was I too distracted?  Was I always too busy and juggling too many things at once? 

I didn’t have to think about it too long to realize I would not do anything differently if I had the chance.  I was fortunate to have a job that allowed me flexibility to attend events and schedule travel that worked for our family.  I was also fortunate to work with photographers and clients that had children and understood family first.  Of course it meant lots of late nights or early mornings but that didn’t matter, my children saw me work.  They saw a woman business owner and that was important for me.

Well, I know I am not alone in our business.  Most reps and art producers and producers I know are women.  So, I reached out to one of the most dedicated mom and career art producer I know, Dawn Kleidon, a VP, Senior Art Producer at FCB and asked her if she thought being a working mom made her a better parent.  Her answers inspired me and I wrote a blog post about it.

The response was so positive I decided to turn it into a series on working moms and reached out to Ilona Siller, art producer at BBDO.  I follow her on instagram and enjoy her tender posts and beautiful photographs of her daughter (illonas12).  She juggles work, travel and family with grace and I smile every time I like one of her posts.  Here is what she had to say about how she does it.

Photo credit Lisa Wiseman

Do you think working makes you a better parent?  Either way, please elaborate.
Absolutely. I don’t think I would be a nice parent if I stayed home. Patience is not my thing. I  admire women who can spend hours on a floor with a toddler, playing dolls or building blocks. I was never that mom. Watching Barney often game me suicidal thoughts. 🙂

I like the fact that both of us have somewhere to go every day, to learn and better ourselves just to come back to each other for quality time that we are both so thirsty for.

What about being a working parent helps you at home?
Pride. I love what I do. I rarely complain about going to work. Having a 9 year old girl that sees me enjoy my career is a priceless lesson that I set as an example. I don’t want her to ever settle for a job. I want her to find something she would be passionate about and make a difference with that passion.

What is the hardest part of being a working parent?
The amount of hours in the day. My kid is a NYC kid and she is busy. There is an activity she attends every single night. Sitting at home with an iPad is not an option. Gymnastics/piano/choir/ballet….most of the nights we don’t get home until 9.

And of course…travel. As wonderful as it is and it is WONDERFUL, being away from your family for 2 weeks at a time can get a bit lonely.

What advice do you have for art producers thinking about starting a family?
I am no one to give an advice. Most of the days, my hair is not washed and my kid is making some exotic school lunch, because damn seamless doesn’t stuff your fridge with groceries. 🙂

But if there is a tiny little advice…it will be to marry the right person. The one that will take over when needed and love you with dirty hair.

What one word best describes being a producer and a mom?

If you work in our industry and want to be featured, please email me.  Let’s celebrate more moms!




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