By Jessica Maldonado | Public affairs director, PolicyWorks

"Soccer mom" was a label I swore would never fit me. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the problem with labels is that they’re hollow words that don’t really fit anyone.

No matter how sure my younger self was that I wouldn’t be a soccer mom and drive a minivan, I’m now taking my son to sports of all kinds on a daily basis. (I’ve still managed to fight off the minivan.)

I’d like to think the soccer mom of today looks different than the soccer mom of my youth, but that would be a disservice to all the moms who have come before us, including my own mom, who somehow balanced a professional career with two very active daughters.

Technology may allow moms to multitask more than ever before, which can be both a blessing and a curse. I’m surely not the only one who has taken a conference call from the sidelines of a sporting event. Companies also are recognizing the flexibility needed by working moms and have modernized policies to allow parents to be where they need to be when they need to be there, trusting their employees to put in the time needed to finish the work.

But perhaps the biggest improvement is that there are more public conversations about the need to be kind and supportive of other women, because we never truly know the struggles each other is facing.

The truth is, sports moms are a variety of unique individuals, and I’ve been lucky to find a tribe of women to help navigate the learning curve of raising kids. From soccer to baseball to football to basketball, these moms have been there for all seasons of life for not only our kids, but also for each other. The moms are all different -- they work in law enforcement, education, financial services, health care, or are stay-at-home moms who have just as much drive and as many goals as the rest of us. Some moms have one kid, some have four kids. Some have husbands who travel a lot, and some are the true heroes as single moms.

This sports mom squad I’ve found has been instrumental in the ups and downs of parenting and life the past year. We’ve also made sure to find time for ourselves, even joining a sand volleyball league over the summer. In a twist of events, our kids came to cheer us on. Although it was just for fun, it’s also a reminder we all need people cheering for us.

Whether you’re a soccer mom, a young professional, at a turning point in your career or navigating another aspect of your life, we all need a tribe of trusted women and friends.

Find yours.

Jessica Maldonado is the public affairs director for PolicyWorks, assisting clients with public affairs, communications and grassroots advocacy. She is a member of Lead Like a Lady, a Business Record Forty Under 40 honoree, a member of ABI’s Leadership Iowa class, and a 2013 graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute. Contact her via email.