Mothers make the world of trucking go round
Mother’s Day honors motherhood, the women who create maternal bonds in our lives and the influence these mothers have on our society.
FreightWaves interviewed four mothers in the industry, including three drivers and a mother who helps run operations, a job commonly held by women in the industry.
Anna alderete is a mother of three daughters and a grandmother of three grandchildren. She was a stay-at-home mom for 10 years and became a truck driver to gain financial independence. She has been driving since 2012 and currently drives for TMT Industries.
Anna can be easily spotted on the road in her pink underwear, a personalization provided to her by her company. TMT Industries was the featured truck and driver in the May issue of The Truck Club.
LaKeesha Martin is the mother of one biological child, two stepchildren, five adopted adopted children and the grandmother of three grandchildren. She is a CDL Driver with over 26 years of experience and the creator of TruckersLyfe: Helping Highway Heros, where she is commonly known as Queen Kee to her mentees.
She is also the author of the HER Method: You Are Precious Cargo, a personal protection guide for truck drivers.
Tracy gaudette is the mother of two children. After a painful divorce, Gaudette decided to start her new life as a truck driver, a career her mother and stepfather once had as a team. She has been driving for over five years and has driven for US Xpress Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: USX).
Tracy was named US Xpress Team Driver of the Month and Team Driver of the Year. She received the Member of the Month award in October from the Women in Trucking Association.
Melissa Gaglione has a blended family with her fiancÃ©, of whom she is the mother of 5 children. She is the COO at her fiance’s towing business and President of Safety4her Inc., a high-visibility clothing line for women working in the logistics industry.
Melissa started the business after finding that regulatory-compliant clothing was too long or too loose and heavy for most women and decided to design well-fitting safety clothing, including pending safety leggings. patent.
She is also a member of the Women of Towing and Recovery Association and the Women in Trucking Association.
These interviews have been edited for clarity and length.
FREIGHTWAVES: How does it feel to be a mom in the industry?
ALDERETE: âI had never spent more than 3 days away from my daughters so it was really hard for me when I started driving a truck. Fortunately, the rescue and recovery fleet was very flexible and I would be away for two weeks and at home for a week. [at a time]. It helped me get started.
MARTIN: âThe worst part about being away from my kids was not being able to hug them when I wanted to. Before there were things like Zoom, I looked forward to phone calls at the end of my driving day.
âA mom who drives a truck has dilemmas that hurt her heart, like a deployed military mom. Mom’s guilt is just that, because for the most part, fathers who work away from home are not stigmatized for their decision to be away from home. Adaptability and clear communication with my little ones early in life helped us overcome obstacles.
GAUDETTE: âIt can be difficult sometimes because when your kids need you you’re hundreds of miles away and you have to try to sort things out over the phone. But on the plus side, both of my kids think their mom is one of the coolest moms in the world. “
GAGLIONE: âIt’s definitely an act of juggling! I think as women we try to do everything and learning to slow down and smell the roses has helped. We have a blended family of 5 children so I can say there is never a dull moment and I don’t know what silence is anymore. Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
FREIGHTWAVES: What could the industry change to help mothers?
ALDERETE: âRight now the industry is very mother-friendly. Truckers are in such demand, companies will work with you to find the perfect schedule. You may need to gain some driving experience first, but once you’ve got about two years under your belt and a clean record, you have options.
âI think there is also less gender inequality. The prices are equal in all areas. “
MARTIN: âIt would be helpful if more truck stops included child friendly areas. Some truck stops have dog walking areas to accommodate pets and it wouldn’t be a big step to add a swing or a jungle gym so the kids can stretch their legs.
âThere are changing rooms in the women’s restroom, but if they added a family restroom separate from the public restroom, that would be a good start. Many stores and airports have added these features to help families. This area could also serve as a breastfeeding station so that breastfeeding mothers have privacy. They might also designate a family shower stall much like the one they have for the disabled. The extra space and time to clean up with your little ones can be difficult inside a regular shower stall. “
GAUDETTE: âI think parents, not just mothers, need support and maybe one way would be to be a little flexible with the time at home. The company I work for (US Xpress) has been great in this regard and I have no complaints. “
GAGLIONE: âI think being more open to understanding men and women is not the same thing and we need different adjustments in some areas. One of the main areas is safety clothing, because we are not the same shape as men.
âAnother area is the emotional security of women. Balancing being a mother, manager, owner, and other hats can be difficult for women to deal with emotionally.
FREIGHTWAVES: Are your kids already going on the road with you or your other half?
ALDERETE: âI took each of my daughters on the road with me. My youngest, Jelly, was my first passenger when I was 13. We managed 11 states in 6 days. My second born, Andie, has run with me several times. I believe she saw almost 30 states. My oldest has raced locally with me in Las Vegas and San Diego a few times. I love deploying them with me! “
MARTIN: âWhen they were little, between the age of birth and the age of five, they came. Car seats, backpacks, games, and diaper bags have all found their way into the sleeper area.
âWhen they got to school age I had help from family members and adjusted my long distance driving to a dedicated regional lane that allowed me to be home every Friday. . My truck quickly became a summer camp because they packed their bags to ride with me on their breaks. This is the system I put in place when I was a single mother.
GAUDETTE: âNo. My oldest is a newly engaged adult, so her life right now is working, saving and planning a wedding. My youngest is old enough, according to company policy, to get on the truck but the pandemic struck and she was quarantined and studied remotely. She recently started going back to school in person and loves socializing with her friends. not take him away from that.
GAGLIONE: âWe didn’t and honestly I try to focus on the family when we take our vacations, even though that really never happens in the transportation industry.â
FREIGHTWAVES: What’s your perfect Mother’s Day gift?
ALDERETE: âI know it’s cheesy, but of course that would be having my three daughters under one roof. A bit difficult when my Navy is based in Okinawa and my Sailor is based in Port Hueneme. We will try again next year.
MARTIN: âTo be able to hug, hold and hug my children and grandchildren. I haven’t been able to visit them physically for about a year and a half. Due to the dangers of my exposure to COVID-19, our family decided it was safer not to have in-person meetings.
GAUDETTE: âEverything that comes from my children that shows me that they are happy that I am their mom. Every year, that’s exactly what they do.
GAGLIONE: âIt’s the little simple things. I’m always busy and running around so the perfect gift is for my kids to tell me they’re happy and know they are loved.
FREIGHTWAVES: How are you spending Mother’s Day this year?
ALDERETE: âI’m going to spend it with two of my daughters. We are going to chat on video with my Navy. “
MARTIN: âI have no plans for this Mother’s Day. Usually I answer calls from children and grandchildren.
âMy husband did a lot more things during the day than the kids, to show his appreciation. I have been a widow for 12 years now, so this tradition has long since become a pleasant memory.
“I already set aside every Sunday to take care of myself, so I’m probably going to do one of my favorite things to do and schedule a massage.”
GAUDETTE: âThis year I’m going to work but I was just home on vacation at the end of April and we celebrated Mother’s Day while I was home.â
GAGLIONE: âNormally we just go out and maybe have dinner. We are a fairly active family and love to be outside of boating, swimming, biking and more. ”
Click here for more articles from Grace Sharkey.
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