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I Asked 6 Women How They Balance Kids and Career. Here's what they said...

#INSPIRATION #AMLIFESTYLE

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I'm sure your social feeds were flooded with motivational phrases and girl power this Women's Equality Day. I know I took a moment to spread the love on my business and personal pages. It's so inspiring to see more and more women climbing the career ladder everyday. But now that I'm in my early thirties, one thought that regularly comes to mind is: how am I going to manage pursuing my demanding career as an entrepreneur AND raise kids? And actually spend time with them??? I know it's 100% possible, but with work, household responsibilities and life in general I really wonder how it's all done.

That's why I turned to six women who are killing it in their careers and raising kids all at the same time. Read on for a few tips and tricks that will hopefully make the balancing act a bit easier! 

Image courtesy: Erin Halper

 

Meet Erin Halper, Founder of The Upside (Became a mom at 32)

2 Kids (6 & 3) | Doing it with a partner | Living in New Jersey

"There are more and more options for working mothers to have a fulfilling career. You have to know where to look and not be afraid of the unknown!"

Do you think it's most important to focus on career before having kids? Having kids and then working on your career? Or do you believe in doing it all at once?

I believe that it's an evolution for each person. For some, they have kids later in life and have an opportunity to focus on and build their careers first. For others, they have kids earlier in life and must focus on doing it all at once. I do believe that we should focus on our careers as much as possible before having kids. It almost always gives you an advantage when trying to juggle both.

How do you balance kids and career on a daily basis?

Having my own business affords me a lot of flexibility that most working moms do not have. I take advantage of that by spending time with my kids in the morning before school and being home by 5pm most nights to cook dinner and do the whole night time routine. It's exhausting to work all day and then have no down time until after 8:30pm, but it's worth it to spend time with the kids. I also try to take short cuts wherever I can in order to buy more time. For example, I order a meal kit delivery service every week so that I don't have to meal plan or shop for dinner groceries Sunday night. This small choice buys me at least 2 additional hours with my family each week. Not to mention unmeasurable sanity!

One piece of advice you would give to an expecting mom with a demanding career? 

Think outside of the box and don't be afraid of jumping ship and trying something completely new. I see too many women settling for average and below average career situations because it's easy or safe, yet they are unhappy. You have one chance to live this life and only so many chances to have the career of your dreams. You don't have as much to lose as you think!

One piece of advice you would give to a mom who is looking to jump back into her career?

Drop an email to every single person who knows and respects you and let them know you're back in the game. Say it with confidence and excitement and opportunities will magically come your way.

Image courtesy: Louise Heite

 

Meet Louise Heite, Director of Operations at Journey Meditation (Became a mom at 28)

2 Kids (5 & 2) | Doing it with a partner | Living in New York City

"The struggle is real but as the kids grow older the easier it gets. Drop some of your high standards (when outsourcing things it is hardly ever done the way you want, give clear instructions, set clear expectations and be happy) also make sure you make time for yourself (easier said then done) but I am a firm believer in happy mama, happy family."

Do you think it's most important to focus on career before having kids? Having kids and then working on your career? Or do you believe in doing it all at once?

I believe in doing it all at once, truly think that is the only way but not sure if the workplace is ready to accept this as yet. 

How do you balance kids and career on a daily basis?

Organization and planning are my mantras. Planning lunchbox and dinner menus ahead of the coming week so the fridge is provided and the time taking to prepare is limited. Providing good instructions to the after school babysit, setting clear expectations so there are no disappointments. Making sure to balance quality time with the kids in the morning at the breakfast table and claiming that same quality time at the dinner table or bed time story. Going for a workout after bedtime to release any tension built up during the day and making sure enough (at least one) FUN moments are scheduled in during the week for my husband and me. 

One piece of advice you would give to an expecting mom with a demanding career? 

Get help! Don't try to be a superwomen and do it all yourself. Outsource the dull tasks (cleaning, washing, ironing, etc) so you can enjoy optimum quality time with the family. 

One piece of advice you would give to a mom who is looking to jump back into her career?

You are beautiful, you are strong, you are worth it, so go for it.

Karen EldorImage courtesy: Karen Eldor

 

Meet Karen Eldor, Freelance Writer and Copywriter (Became a mom at 32)

2 Kids (7 & 4) | Doing it with a partner | Living in Montreal, Quebec

"I believe there's no such thing as perfect balance -- something has always "got to give", it's simply up to you to make your own rules, do what works best for you, and prioritize accordingly."

Do you think it's most important to focus on career before having kids? Having kids and then working on your career? Or do you believe in doing it all at once?

Do it all at once! There's no perfect rhythm or order, and you learn important soft skills in each stage (for example learning how to multitask at work is a great quality while being a mom, as is learning to say no.)

How do you balance kids and career on a daily basis?

Becoming my own boss has given me more flexibility to pick up my kids from school and attend plays/events during the day, etc. and I choose to work early mornings and evenings to make up the time if I have to! It means setting my alarm for 4am sometimes (gross, I know), on those days when I have a lot of deadlines. And working at night while my hubby is enjoying some Netflix. 

One piece of advice you would give to an expecting mom with a demanding career? 

Prepare to be able to ask for help (and accept help if a family member or friend offers!) It can take a village. Also, be kind to yourself and don't be hard on yourself. Finally, enjoy the little precious moments with your little ones -- the time goes by way too fast! Savor it.

One piece of advice you would give to a mom who is looking to jump back into her career?

Do what makes most sense for you and do something that fits "your new normal". Also do something you enjoy, otherwise you'll resent that time you're away from your littles ones. 

Veronica Horner, Co-Founer Maia ModaImage courtesy: Veronica Horner

 

Meet Veronica Horner, Co-Founder of Maia Moda (Became a mom at 31)

1 Kid (22 months) + 1 on the way! | Doing it with a partner | Living New York City 

"Find your community! Unfortunately your childless friends and even husband won't always get it, make sure you find moms out there that you can relate to and talk to about all the ups and downs."

Do you think it's most important to focus on career before having kids? Having kids and then working on your career? Or do you believe in doing it all at once?

I do think the easier route is to really push your career as hard as you can before kids, however there are limits and there does come a time when you need to consider the risks and disadvantages of waiting too long or for that perfect time (because we all know there never is one). I'm very happy with how our timing worked out with kids, I feel like I established a great career, got to travel and collect some amazing pre-kid experiences. However, at the same time, having a child is so amazing and I will say some days my only regret is that I won't be able to spend as much time with them as I would if I had started earlier.

How do you balance kids and career on a daily basis?

I don't multitask. When I'm spending time with my child I don't try to get any work done, it will only take me twice as long with less quality then if I just wait until I'm back at my desk fully focused.

One piece of advice you would give to an expecting mom with a demanding career? 

Keep pushing and don't slow down. Squeeze in as much as you can before your maternity leave and then you can spend your leave planning your re-entry into the workforce. During my pregnancy I worked as hard as ever had and ended up getting promoted, was great to get the title boost before my mat leave.

One piece of advice you would give to a mom who is looking to jump back into her career?

Things will be different and that's ok, you now have two jobs you are balancing. Be kind to yourself.

Jena BooherImage courtesy: Jena Booher

 

Meet Jena Booher, Founder of Babies on the Brain (Became a mom at 28)

1 Kid (2.5) | Doing it with a partner | Living in New York State

"I never said making work Work for mothers is easy. I say it's worth it."

Do you think it's most important to focus on career before having kids? Having kids and then working on your career? Or do you believe in doing it all at once?

I think it really depends on the values/desires of mom. I have seen it sliced all different ways and each working well for the individual. I think the tricky part centers around "choice." Many women don't feel they have a choice between their career trajectory and having children. Barriers that limit choices include high costs of childcare, structural and relational obstacles and work, lack of support system, and an unevenly distributed division of labor at home. I think the more important question is deciding what you want and then evaluating what's standing in your way from getting it.

How do you balance kids and career on a daily basis?

Luckily what I am working on in my career and grad school invigorate me in a way that my past jobs never could. Also school feeds into work and work feeds into school, so I am able to kill two birds with one stone. This leaves me with a good amount of time to spend with my daughter. I try to not schedule meetings/calls first thing in the morning. I like having slow mornings with her, cuddling in bed before either of us have to wake up for the day.

One piece of advice you would give to an expecting mom with a demanding career? 

Reflect long and hard on what you want. This is of paramount importance. Oftentimes I see mothers overlook or discount their needs. It's critical to your mental health and even related to the health and well-being of your child. Figure out what you want and work on getting it. Also be open that your "wants" may change. And that's ok too, but always be reflecting on them.

One piece of advice you would give to a mom who is looking to jump back into her career?

I live by a mantra that good things come to those who hustle. Moms are some of the most intense hustlers out there. Keep doing what you are doing and keep your eye on the prize and good things will come.

Kate Anderson, Operations Director at iFundWomenImage courtesy: Kate Anderson

 

Meet Kate Anderson, Operations Director at iFundWomen (Became a mom at 27)

2 Kids (3 & 1) | Doing it with a partner | Living in Boston

Do you think it's most important to focus on career before having kids? Having kids and then working on your career? Or do you believe in doing it all at once?

Doing it all at once.

How do you balance kids and career on a daily basis?

Every day is different but I try to make a concerted effort to have time for my kids and time for my job. I like to take my kids swimming because it is an activity where I can only concentrate on them and not be on my phone.

One piece of advice you would give to an expecting mom with a demanding career? 

Get your kids on a napping schedule and have an early bedtime. Early bedtime is essential to maintaining sanity and having a happy marriage and life.

One piece of advice you would give to a mom who is looking to jump back into her career?

Find something that you really enjoy doing and helps bring you fulfillment and learning opportunities.

 

Finding balance in the day to day is so important and so challenging all at the same time. Reading these tips has made me feel a little less freaked out about the idea of adding kids to the equation, especially since I'm still trying to figure out work/life balance without them. 

Are you a busy mom? Working or not working, tell us how you balance it all below! 

 

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