The demands of being a working parent in motorsport

The worlds of motorsport and parenting collide for many and balancing the demands of both requires commitment, compromise, and continuous sacrifice.


Both are connected by a common denominator, defined and divided by time, and requirements and expectations shape and curate each person’s way of life.


As a mother, Maserati MSG Racing’s Director of Strategic Communications, Liz Brooks, carefully juggles her high-pressure profession with her personal life.


This International Women’s Day, she shares her experiences of balancing an intense career in motorsport with her responsibility as a mother.


“It will come as a surprise to no one that as a full-time working single parent there are definite sacrifices that need to be made,” she explains.


“I think we are educated that in life, you can have it all. You can have the job, the life, the family, and the love. That these things are a given if you work hard enough. But the simple truth is, you can’t easily have it all. You have to prioritise.


“Trying to juggle a really demanding job with being a good mother, a present family member and a reliable friend is a lot. There are sacrifices that need to be made.


“The sacrifices I personally make are always time-focussed, in that when I’m travelling to races, I’m away from my son, Felix.


“We stay in contact a lot. He’s 10, and it’s all he’s ever known. Since long before he was born, I’ve worked in motorsport, so it’s all he’s ever understood.


“The best way for me to deal with my personal compromises is by being super organised, and to make sure that when I’m away, he has the best possible care. I wish I could always be there,but I simply can’t be in two places at once and the nature of my job requires race attendance.”


Making sacrifices naturally leads to conflict, however, and while it’s possible to find the perfect balance with careful planning, Liz explains that sometimes, circumstances are beyond our control.


“I think a constant conflict that I have as a parent is that even if you’re incredibly organised, there are some things that are completely out of your control like school events, parties,and birthdays. There are also so many ad-hoc things that pop up too which require travel so my job requires a huge amount of flexibility,” she continues.


“For the first time in 10 years, my son’s birthday clashes with a race this season, and I’ll be in São Paulo. For sure, that is a massive conflict.


“As a mother, all I want to do is be with my child on his birthday but as a professional, I need to be with my team that weekend. It’s just not possible to do both.


“The best way I reconcile myself with the sacrifice and compromise is that fortunately, I absolutely love what I do. No two days are the same.


“My job is interesting, I work with some incredible people, and I do a lot of problem solving which I really enjoy. I’m genuinely very fortunate that I get to do something that I love every day.


“I think this sets a great example for my son too. He sees how hard I work, and he’s fortunate to have a very nice life because I work hard.


“I’m not there all of the time, but the time that we do have together is incredibly special and I feel fulfilled, because I’m doing something every day that I really enjoy.”


In the sacrifices she makes, Liz makes sure to set a good example as a parent, and believes understanding compromises through clear-cut communication is of paramount importance while being able to draw a line between professional and personal.


“In my case, my son’s father works in Formula One, so both of his parents are working away from home regularly. It’s interesting to think about the impact that has, I hope it’s fostering a strong sense of resilience and independence in him.


“I think the impact is that he has two parents doing jobs that they absolutely love, and when you have clear communication with your children, they see the example we set.


“There is compromise, and I don’t think there is a perfect solution and that’s a very important point. I think everybody is striving for perfection and we see that constantly on social media.


“People generally tend to put the good things on their social media, and the truth is that it’s tough being a parent in motorsport with the amount of travel we do, and the long hours wework in stressful and sometimes very difficult circumstances .


“When you get home, your child doesn’t want an exhausted parent. They want a fun parent with lots of energy to be back and you have to quickly switch off from what happened at work and go into attentive parent mode.


“It’s a good way to keep you grounded. You have to shake it off and you have to be your best self for your child.


“You can’t have everything, it is a big compromise, and it can be absolutely exhausting, but it’s a choice. We’ve made a choice to do this, and you need to make the absolute best of it.”


In travelling with Maserati MSG Racing, Liz is part of a family with shared understanding, and this supportive environment allows her to strike the perfect balance in her life.


“Team is everything, and I wouldn’t be sacrificing time with my child if I didn’t absolutely love and believe in the team that I work with.


“In our team, we have a real family vibe. We’re all in and we fundamentally believe that to be the best at your job, you need to be your whole self and bring your whole self to work.


“There is a lot of understanding and empathy around people’s different personal commitments, whatever those commitments are.


“Working with our senior management team, and in particular our Chairman, Scott, made it clear from the start that there is no compromise – if you need to be with your family for whatever reason, you need to be with your family, so at work, you’re fully focussed.


“There is a great understanding and that makes it a lot easier.”