Life hacks, fun memories, and a few horror stories from Cypress North’s resident moms.
I sat down with two of my favorite fellow working mothers, Jess Budde and Christine Zirnheld (aka Shep!), to talk about their experiences on this month’s episode of The Agency Scoop. We had a great time comparing stories, sharing tips and tricks, and laughing at ourselves.
Maternity Leave is Just The Beginning
We started the episode by talking about our maternity leave experiences. Planning for maternity leave is difficult and feels like you are sailing uncharted waters. And somehow the insurance companies make it even more confusing!
Then, you come back from maternity leave and it’s like you forgot what your job description is!
Balancing the emotions of leaving your child to return to your career (Will they forget who I am? Are they safe? Am I missing out on anything?) and the excitement of being back with your colleagues to have time to focus on your career can be tough.
Those first few months can be a struggle no matter how prepared you feel.
This is the most important time to connect with your other mom friends.
Talk to those that have been through it or are going through it, within your company or outside of it. It feels new and foreign to everyone so find another person that can relate to help you through!
Make the Most of Your Moments
In the first few weeks of going back to work, when your baby still sleeps most of the day away, it can feel like you are missing out on so much.
You commute home to spend an hour with the baby before they go to bed for the night. That hour also encompasses dinner and bath time so the minutes go by quickly while you do what you have to do and it is easy to feel like that hour wasn’t “quality time.”
It’s important to not get caught up in what you are missing, but remember to cherish those hours in the morning when your precious baby woke you up 2 hours before your alarm to play, and weekends when you are uninterrupted by work.
Whether we like it or not, before you know it, the kids get older and they stay up later. That’s when your commute turns into quality time because they are telling you about their day and you have quality time with them in different ways!
From a work perspective, being a mother has forced me to have better time management skills because I don’t want to be working late because of wasted time during the day.
It’s easier to set boundaries with myself and others knowing I have a reason to leave work at the end of the day. This goes for my personal time as well when deciding what other commitments I want to make.
Give Yourself Grace
One of my favorite pieces of motherhood advice was from an article about the author Nora Roberts.
Someone asked her how she juggles writing books and motherhood and she referred to the common image of having “so many balls in the air at one time.”
Her advice was to remember that some balls are glass, so they shatter when they hit the ground. Some are plastic and will bounce when they hit the ground.
It’s important to recognize, this isn’t saying that work is a plastic ball and family is a glass ball.
All of us have hundreds of balls in the air at any point, some categorized as work or family but each glass or plastic on its own.
Feeding the kids dinner and making sure they are safe are glass balls, making sure they have on a red and black shirt for spirit day at school falls under plastic for me. I try to keep them in the air but if they bounce, I try to stop myself from feeling guilty.
This single analogy has helped me more than any other piece of parenting advice I’ve gotten over the past 7+ years.
Find Your Village and Call on Them
Having a support system as a working parent is crucial.
We all feel like superwoman (or want to feel that way!) but the truth is, it’s not sustainable to do it all yourself, all of the time.
As moms, we tend to not ask for help when something seems little or insignificant, but those items add up to a huge mental load. Chances are, the person you ask for help doesn’t see them as a big deal either and will be happy to help you.
In Shep’s case, she hates carrying bags into the house from the car, and her husband knows this so he comes to the rescue each day!
My parents are always up for driving the kids places or picking them up. I have three kiddos with varying sports and activities so if my dad can take a half hour out of his day to drive one somewhere, it can seem insignificant to him but paramount to me.
More Tips, Tricks, and Hacks
We talk about more tips and tricks in the full episode, so make sure to listen on YouTube or your favorite podcast player. We’d also love to hear your advice, challenges, or questions as a working mom!
About The Agency Scoop
Each episode, we tackle a specific topic with another friend from Cypress North or pull in leaders from other companies. We’ll chat about what’s helping our agency grow, how we work with clients, things that bring us joy, and even the challenges we face. Please subscribe on your favorite podcast player to follow along!