Being a working mom is a lot of work. Figuring out how to be a good mother, wife and employee is an overwhelming challenge. Since this is clearly turning into more of a ‘mom blog’ I thought I’d start formally asking my mom friends to share their thoughts, tips and tricks on handling this complex role.
I want to start with my friend Lindsay. We met at an Inforum event and I was immediately awestruck. She has the style and grace of Kate Middleton and is completely approachable. We became fast friends and she is my model for working motherhood. Not only does Lindsay keep active and engaged professionally, she is a great friend. She makes time for meet ups and sends the random supportive text message that brighten your day. Her interest in connecting and supporting other working moms inspired her to start a Facebook community for Michigan Mommas Who Work It – not surprisingly, it also inspired this blog series.
I am 32 and grew up in the great state of Michigan. I am a Western Michigan Alum with a Bachelors in Marketing and Accounting. After college, I moved to Florida and took a job with a mutual fund company. That is where I met my husband Mike, we have been married for 7 years. I have been working in the financial services industry for over 10 years now and it wasn’t until we moved to Ohio and I took a job with TIAA-CREF that I realized I wanted to interact with individual clients, educate on their financial futures, and really provide confidence and comfort with this often overwhelming and stressful part of every person’s life. Up until I became a mom, I played soccer on adult leagues and was involved with various charities and local community activities. Now, as a mom, I still really enjoy these things but find it harder as it means more time away from my son Henry. I am also working to grow my business, so I have activities that take me away from my kiddo as a method of business development- so it becomes a time struggle of social things, community involvement, business growth, and family time.
Planning for Baby No. 2: My son Henry is two and we’re expecting another little one in December. Poor 2nd child syndrome. We have his crib, but its still in a box in the garage. We know we need to paint his room, but haven’t yet. I have to dig out all Henry’s old clothes and spot treat them… they are still in the basement. We are already thinking about possibly having a 3rd baby to try for a girl- BABY #2 isn’t even born yet!!! We do have his name picked out, theme of his room, and love the idea of saying “my boys or the boys’ rooms” I am excited to see what this child is like and am more anxious about labor/delivery and also parenting. I had a pretty good experience with the first and I just hope this delivery is as pleasant and that #2 is has an overall good demeanor.
Momma Must-Have: Pouches!!! Henry loves to eat these and I am thankful that he does – they are fruits and veggies in a pouch and easy to travel AND pick up anywhere if you didn’t plan ahead and pack snacks.
Daycare: Henry goes to an in home daycare. She is awesome and just recently become officially licensed, which limits her number of kids and makes me even happier.
Advice for Moms: You either deal with the situation now or you deal with it later. You can fight the battle of no binky when they are 3 weeks old OR you can fight the battle when they are 2 years old. Books will tell you one thing, but ultimately you are the parent and will determine how and what you let your child do and deal with the consequences when they arise.
Proudest ‘Mom’ Moment: I am constantly surprised by what Henry picks up on a daily basis. From the words he repeats after only hearing them once to the tasks he completes and stunts he tries to pull. He always impresses me and makes me proud.
Marriage after Henry: We are partners in crime and best friends. We enjoy our time together. I would certainly say the romance hasn’t died down, it just doesn’t surface as often. We have so much fun as a family and then when Henry is asleep, we are recharging, getting things done around the house, and gearing up for the next day. Parenting is a good challenge, we are on the same page with many things but there are other times I have to bite my tongue and remember this is his kid too and he can parent in his own way.
Maintaining your relationship: My husband is really great about making sure we connect, even if just for a few moments. He will hold my hand on the couch 40 minutes into a show or just take a break from reading to say I love you. We try to go out for date night, but sometimes you really have to muster up the energy to make it through the evening.
On Work-Life Balance
Being a working mom: I am constantly feeling guilty about not working enough to grow my business, but also have the perspective that my family is more important and I won’t sacrifice consistent time away from them just to work. I had to give myself permission to miss a night a week of seeing my kiddo and not tucking him in to bed. Once I gave that permission, it helped with the guilt. That said, I still feel like I should be doing more for my business and my family. There is a part of me that would love to work 4 days a week and have a bit more balance… maybe over time.
Making it work: Pay for conveniences. We have a cleaning lady that comes once a month, someone that mowes our lawn, and I recently found out about the dry cleaning service that comes to our office (I have had my suit coats sitting in my car for 3 weeks trying to drop them off but always forget or am racing home to spend time with Henry that I never want to make an extra stop). We can’t afford too many added conveniences but a few things that free up our time and allow us to enjoy each other is so worth the money!
Also, I am constantly reminded by other moms of a reoccurring message: if you have to work, make it count especially when they are younger. Anyone can snuggle and cuddle a baby (which is hard to miss out on) BUT if you can put your career in a position that in 10+ years you are able to be available at a time when they really need their parents. When they are faced with relationship challenges, broken hearts, and moral/ethical issues having that flexibility will be a greater benefit to them overall and allow you to be there. It is a time when you can really shape their future and who they are as growing and maturing adults.
Change in goals: I waffle on this one… sometimes I just want a job that pays me a salary for 4 days of work and other days I want a career that provides the flexibility I mentioned above. I love what I do and my ability to not only help others but to really make an impact on their lives and their future. I wouldn’t be able to give that up BUT I definitely struggle with missing my kiddo – he is just awesome! I recognize that I do not need to be one of the top producers in my office at this time. I can be a top producer when I am 50 and the kids are in college. This has been one of the biggest career goal changes.
Thanks for sharing Lindsay! If you have questions about personal finance/investment, check out Lindsay’s LinkedIn page.