It's Working Project

"My biggest challenge was forcing myself to have a paradigm shift away from guilt to instead focusing on the positive aspects of being a working mom."

What is one piece of advice you wish you could offer your former expectant self?

Be present. If you’re at work, be at work. If you’re at home, be at home. For me, I had to compartmentalize and realize that it’s hard for me to be a good mom when I’m working and I’m not a great employee or boss when I have kids hanging on me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve breastfed through Board of Director meetings and have had my fair share of visits to the office with kids in tow, but when that does happen, I embrace the duality of my role in that moment rather than trying to be 100% for everyone. When I can be present at work and with my kids, even if life isn’t really “balanced,” I can at least be in the moment.

FOR MOMS: If you breastfed, was there a place for you to pump that met your needs and was conducive to your success? If you breastfed, how did you decide to continue? FOR DADS: What, if any, adjustments did you (or your workplace) make to your schedule after having a baby? Was it specific to your manager or larger, whole work culture?

I pumped at work for 9 months with both of my kids. That’s 1.5 years of pumping! I was extremely blessed to have an abundant milk supply, so I had lots of stored milk and didn’t feel the pressure that many women have to pump for immediate use. At work, our environment is rather casual so it was easy to step away for a pumping session.

How easy was it to put a childcare arrangement together and did it work for your family?

Finding good childcare was difficult for us. We’re on nanny #3 and have finally found someone who we know will be with us for years. Many of my friends come to me now for advice on childcare and I tell them to 1) trust your gut, 2) if it’s not working, change now – don’t wait and 3) remember that they work for YOU and should be making YOUR life easier.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

I can vividly remember one day while I was driving home and I started to do what I call “The Math”: Awake at 6:30am and I left at 8am = 1.5 hours. I’ll be home at 5:30pm and he goes to sleep at 7:30pm = 2 hours. When I realized that I was only spending 3.5 hours with my son, I just started balling. My biggest challenge was forcing myself to have a paradigm shift away from guilt to instead focusing on the positive aspects of being a working mom. “The Math” can make you crazy, but if you can shift your thinking, you can break free from “The Math”… who really ever liked math that much, anyway?

Who was your biggest source of support in returning to work? What was your biggest pregnancy indulgence?

My mom. She paved the way by starting a business that has now given me the ability to put my family first while still having a successful and meaningful career. Now that she’s retired, she has amazing perspective. She had my job for 30 years before me and raised 2 kids while doing it, so I’d say that she “gets it.” I call her on my drive home all the time to vent.