Updated: Feb 17
Put a fork in me, I’m done.
When #COVID hit, the tremendous pressure and rising expectations for #working #parents, moms especially went through the roof. Many left the workforce in droves. According to an analysis done by the National Women's Law Center, from January 2020 to February 2022, nearly 1.1 Million women left the labor force, accounting for 63% of jobs lost.
It is no secret that women took the brunt of caring for #children, and teaching their kids when schools remained closed.
Damn! I even started a new executive role on April 1st of 2020, thinking the #stay-at-home rule would only be in play for a few weeks. But then the kid's school closed and that's when shit really hit the fan. I remember thinking “How the hell am I supposed to navigate this?” I was always the parent who left work to pick up a sick kid, or juggled meetings to stay at home. I was one of the fortunate ones. My very involved mom lives right around the corner from us. And she came over every single day to watch the kids while I locked myself away in my bedroom (the only room with a lock at the time and a place for my computer since my husband had the office.)
But on those days when she couldn’t come over or needed a break - the weight of their care mainly fell on my shoulders. And I did what any working mom would do. I threw snacks at them out of the view of my zoom camera, and iPad time became a thing of the past- they could watch as much as they wanted. And for me, the more they watched, the easier it was to juggle.
And now… we are back to this “new normal.” I still work from home. My company pivoted and became a “remote first” company. And I also still carry the weight of the kids' lives.
Now, I want to say, I like it this way. I want to be this involved. And while it is mainly my choice, only another working mom truly understands how heavy this responsibility is. From remembering all the appointments and activities to school schedules and parties - my brain is like a browser tab with 50,000 tabs open at all times. (Because lets also not forget there has to be one for the dog too!)
But now that the kids are back in their respective schools, work travel has resumed (to some degree), and life is back in full swing, I had to make some adjustments to my “work/mom” life to be the best mom, and best leader I can be! I want to share some of my top tips and tricks to making this whole work/mom life not just work, but as easy as it can be!
Schedule. Schedule. Schedule. We keep to a schedule. From homework time to bath time, to bedtime - we keep a tight schedule. It keeps the kids from being grumpsters in the morning and makes their little attitudes a lot easier to deal with.
AMAZON. I literally Amazon the hell out of everything. From school clothes and supplies to gifts for friends, when I get that notification or invite that I need to buy something for, I do it then and there from my phone. Boom - done. It's by far the biggest bill in my budget - but it saves me all the time in the world.
I don’t do the extras. I do not sign up to bring breakfast to school for the last day of track out (for those of you that don’t know, my kids are in year-round, so they go to school for 9 weeks and then have a 3-week break). The schools inevitably want to do something “fun” for the kids at each one - (like I have time for that!) So I leave it up to the other moms. I rely on, and THANK, the moms who stay home, that has the time to do all the extras.
I manage my schedule. I put all my big important meetings at the beginning of the day before they come home from school, so I can be 100% focused on those. I save my afternoons for emails, casual 10-minute chats, and easy projects where it is OK for me to be interrupted. It allows me the time to be work focused, when needed, and then family-focused as well.
Lunchables. Ladies. I’m not kidding you. I started out packing wholesome healthy homemade lunches. Now I toss a Lunchable in a bag and call it a day. If they eat some healthy dinners, I’m happy.
And last but not least…
I give myself grace. Ya’ll - all those tips and tricks sound great. But you know they don’t always work out. And when they don’t, I do my best to go with the flow. I don’t beat myself up, I don’t critique myself. I don’t hate myself for not being present at every single thing.
When I’m feeling particularly stressed and riddled with Mom-Guilt, I ask myself… will they remember this in 5 days? 5 years?
If the answer is no, then I take a deep breath, remind myself of that, and move along with my day.
Then I ask myself what is the value add? I’ll tell you a story about this one.
On a day where EVERYTHING was going wrong - I had to get Halle to swim lessons at 5:30. My day ended with a pretty tense meeting, right at 5 (which is right when I need to leave to get Halle). I hadn’t packed her swim bag (add another 5 minutes), and then I run out the door. As soon as I back out of the driveway, my boss called me to have “the meeting after the meeting” where we debrief about what happened. Did I have to take it? No. Did I? Yes.
So then I’m sitting at the daycare and it's 5:20. There is no way I’m getting side, getting Halle, getting her changed, and getting to swim.
But still… I go in swimsuit in hand and open her classroom door. She runs up to me and stops dead in her tracks and goes “I don’t want to go to SWIM!”
And at that moment. My brain literally took everything in. Did I really need to rush her into this swimsuit, race across town, to have her be late to swim, just to say “we got to swim?”
Or- would it be more of a value add to BOTH our lives, if I just took the L, grab Chic Fila, and we both go home and just enjoy a quiet night at home?
I think ya’ll know the answer.
That night, we enjoyed some crispy nuggets and french fries, and I even got a milkshake. Because… why not?
Because - sometimes you rock out being a leader and fail at being a mom.
Sometimes you rock out being a mom and fail at being a leader.
And sometimes - you strike a balance. And that is what that night felt like. It felt like balance.