49 Tips For Working Moms
It's not easy working two full-time jobs. Much less so in an age where long hours have become a status symbol. So in honor of Mother's Day, we reached out to our community to ask women at all stages of motherhood and their careers what they wish they'd known before they started their second full-time job as a mom.
Because at the end of the day, it takes a village... and our village came out strong to share their tips for working moms. 49 amazing women contributed to this piece. (And it's no surprise that the most common piece of advice was to be kind to yourself... so moms, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Enjoy your day - you deserve it).
Here's what they had to say:
"When I became a working mom, I wish I knew that 'work/life balance' was not a real thing! I've learned it's about reaching a balanced spot within each of those areas, which has looked different at different times of life. When things are balanced at work, it makes family life run more smoothly. When the family feels balanced, I can be more invested at work. 'Work' and 'life' do not have to be in competition with each other - they can actually create synergy if you pay attention to the pain points and re-shift your focus and energy along the way." - Sara Klucsarits, Manager, Talent Development at Carvana
"In our constant struggle to balance a career and motherhood, we forget the fact that we cannot 'have it all.' Bridge that guilt gap by prioritizing and being selective, and always remember having a working mama doesn't hurt kids, and research proves it." - Sakshi Verma, Technical Recruiter at Netskope
"Always remember where you are and why. When you are at work - be all in. When you are with your child - be all in. Resist the urge to feel guilty about not being somewhere else and always give yourself grace." - Julia R. Kulikowski, Clinical Data Analyst at Flatiron Health
"I am a new mother in the process of transitioning back to work. Right now, I need to acknowledge that the reality is, it isn't easy. I'm exhausted and overwhelmed, it may feel that way for a while, and that's okay. Right now I feel like I have three jobs: working, being a mom, and producing milk for my baby, and I have no idea how to successfully juggle all three. What keeps me going first and foremost, is being kind to myself. Accepting help from others, stealing naps when I can, and focusing only on the most important priorities - which means letting everything else go for a little while." - Rebecca Clayman, Brand Marketing at Cloudflare
"The #1 piece of advice I wish I'd been given is to be kind to yourself. You can do it all, but not perfectly, and not all the time. Just accept that sometimes your kid is going to come first, and your job is going to have to be okay with that... and don't feel guilty about it!" - Chiara Hughes, Head of Corporate & Technical Recruiting at Carvana
"NEVER feel guilty about unplugging from the office and spending family time... Take 'me time' on a regular basis and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it." - Nancy A. Shenker, CEO, Innovator & Brand Storyteller at theONswitch
"Be kind to yourself and don't focus on the small stuff. Make time for you, or you'll find it difficult to impossible to take care of everyone counting on you." - Maria Jacobson, Sales Leader at Karat
"Know that you are enough in both spaces – at home and at work. Do not feel guilty about or ignore the need for a third space – of your own making, whatever that may mean to you. Take care of yourself and the rest will follow!" - Erin Becker, Marketing Services Team Lead, Digital Sales at Autodesk
"Take your time to transition back to work – you have just undergone some major shifts emotionally, mentally and physically and if you honor yourself and take things slowly, your boss (employer) will honor you too. Don't rush to pick up exactly where you left off – the only person that expects that of you is you – so be kind and graceful in this transition and soak in the love and light of the new human you brought into this world. I would have loved to have worked fewer hours in the days before birth, up to a year after my daughter was born…Still go into work but leave an hour or two earlier." - Elinor Cohen, Life Coach
"Embrace being a full-time mom! When I first became a working mother, I felt guilty about leaving my children so I could go to work. I also felt guilty about wanting to leave work right on time so I could rush home to my children. I wish back then, I would have known that it is okay not to feel guilty about being a mom and having a full time job. Over the years, I have learned that it is all about having and adapting to a work/life balance and being fully present in both." - Kam Smedley, Renewals Specialist II at PagerDuty
"Don't forget to practice self care. When I became a working mom, I tried to continue giving everything I had to my husband, my baby, my job. Somewhere along the way, I got lost. My identity was tied to motherhood and work and that was it. Take time to go to the gym, eat healthy, spend time with friends... anything to ensure you are taking care of your needs too. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else." - Karey Hoffman, Senior Director of Sales at Scout RFP
"It's a significant transition that will require you to rewire the way you're used to things. Be patient with yourself along the journey and realize that nobody is expecting you to figure it out right away. I was so hard on myself in the beginning. It wasn't until later that I realized my mindset was sometimes getting in the way of me evolving into my new identity more than the new challenges themselves." - Hamida Khalifa, People Partner at Asana
"I had such a hard time returning to work because I was feeling guilty about leaving my kids. I wish I had known that my babies would be fine in daycare and that they'd develop independence skills that they would not have done otherwise." - Abby Carrales, Security Compliance Specialist, Cloudflare
"Many things will be out of your control when you go back to work. Get mentally prepared for that. Invest whatever it takes to find the right care provider for your little one - someone you can trust 100%! Otherwise, the hours spent at work will be unproductive and you will be constantly on your phone texting your nanny or wondering if your baby is doing alright at daycare." - Boryana Kalinova, Business Operations and Planning Lead at PagerDuty
"Always create your own definition of ambition and success—and realize that up is not the only way forward for women. It's easy to get caught up in the power sisterhood's mantra that it's every woman's responsibility to get to the top of business and government. While certainly more women should be at the top…it's not a path that all women should feel pressured to follow. Today there are so many more opportunities than when I was a young mother to work in lucrative, professional ways that fit and fund life. And these options are often much more practical for women in the everyday sisterhood who are also caring for children and aging parents." - Kathryn Sollmann, Career Coach, Speaker, Author
"Do not compromise on your career growth, and never settle for less than you want to be. Fulfilling your potential will make you a happier person and a better mom." - Limor Bergman Gross, Director of Engineering at DigitalOcean
"Let go of perfection. Give yourself time to acclimate and adjust to being back at work, balancing a career and motherhood is no easy feat. Make a list and prioritize, otherwise you feel like you're always in a state of chaos and one step behind. And always remember to make a little time for yourself!" - Tamara Rodriguez, Customer Success Manager at Checkr
"Everybody has an opinion on what a mother should do, but only a mother knows what works for her family and herself."- Emilie Abblard, Software Development Manager at Autodesk
"There are going to be things that other people think are important that aren't important to you - that doesn't make you wrong. Decide what you value, what you're good at, and what brings you joy - and do those things. Explicitly choose not to do the other things, and don't feel badly about it." - Kate Reading, Engineering Manager at Asana
"Don't be afraid to accept and/or ask for help!' Being a parent is hard and there are unique challenges faced by moms working outside the home. As a first-time mom I held myself to an unrealistic standard, but the reality is that it truly takes a village! So don't be afraid to take your friends, family and neighbors up on their offers to help- this is NOT a sign of weakness. And one day, when you're no longer a sleep-deprived zombie, you can return the favor!" - Nicole Rackiewicz, Attorney at Rosenberg, Klein & Lee
"Having a strong partner at home, but also at work was key for me to succeed as a working mom. My husband is a true partner, he's in it with me all the way, at nights, in the morning, but also during the day if my work prevents me from attending mommy duty. When I went back to work after my first child, I realized I also needed that level of support at the office. There will be days where you will be late to work, where you'll have to rush back home for an emergency or simply need a day to SLEEP. That's when you'll appreciate having a strong team to support you, to elevate you on the good days, but especially on the bad ones." - Alex Schinasi, CoFounder of Ivy
"Relying on your colleagues to help run a project, or relying on your most trusted personal network (your partner, family, or friends), when you need advice or an extra set of hands, is far more rewarding than I expected. Just because you can get everything done doesn't mean it's the best option for your team, for your family, or for you." - Daniella Vallurupalli, Head of Communications at Cloudflare
"It is ok to ask for help – You don't have to have it all figured out. Motherhood has constant learning curves and there are many mothers (and fathers) out there that can provide great insight and advice. Remember, you are not alone! Surround yourself with the right support system and advocates because that will make you feel more confident transitioning back into the working world." - Julia Roquemore, Sr. Manager, Global Talent Acquisition at Cisco Meraki
"Ask for help from your tribe - family, friends, place of worship, neighbors - and ask often. Asking for help doesn't mean you're not a good mom or you can't handle the life of a being a working professional and a parent. Sometimes we just need an extra hand and too often we're afraid to ask - and offer help to fellow parents, working or not, because sometimes the ones who need the most help are the least likely to ask." - Amy O'Hara, Associate Director of Corporate Communications at Carvana
"Ask for help! Being a new mom can be hard physically, emotionally and mentally. Don't be afraid to reach out to family, friends, and your employer." - Robbie Fang, Director - User Operations at Checkr
"Motherhood has the power to transform you in a way that is beneficial to your work. You develop new skills in parenting that will actually help you outperform your former self. You become more bold; you are able to ruthlessly prioritize; and your focus at work hits a new level. These are important skills for anyone, especially leaders. The neuroscience supports this, and the best workplaces acknowledge this and are happy to have parents on their teams." - Janet Van Huysse, Head of People, Cloudflare
"I just came back to work after having my second child. Having spent most of my adult life driving my career (waited till I was 40 to have my first baby), the biggest shock to me is that I am not able to come back and perform work in the same way that I did before I went out. Motherhood transforms you in so many unexpected ways: your values are different, what used to upset you doesn't matter anymore and you suddenly feel passionate about things you never cared about, and I discovered a crazy strong nurturing instinct I frankly never knew I had. All of this impacts how you do your work... and you may even feel like you're failing, but ultimately the changes that impact your work are in fact positive. " - Renee Taormina, People Systems and Operations, Cloudflare
"It's okay to realize that working makes me a better mother and being a mother makes me better at work. I'm constantly reminding myself of this on those days when juggling it all seems too hard and it's so easy to fall into the trap of feeling guilty about not spending enough time with my family or not putting those extra hours in at work. I need to remind myself that my contributions at work and at home are much more impactful because of the soft skills I continue to develop as a working mother." - Gigi Chiu, Solutions Engineer, Cloudflare
"Working moms are given super powers. Before the birth of my first child I couldn't fathom how I would balance a full-time career and motherhood. Yet, it all worked out beautifully and I wish I didn't spend so much timing worrying about the logistics and "what ifs." Somehow working moms are able to do the impossible, and are given strengths that allow them to be some of the most productive, efficient, and skilled multitaskers at home and in the workplace." - Katie Bouwkamp, Senior Manager of Internal Communications and Employer Brand at Smartsheet
"As much as I am attached to my baby, I never imagined how much I'd actually want to go back to work after maternity leave- I wish someone had told me that it would actually be a relief to go back to talking to normal adults again; I wouldn't have been so apprehensive about the transition." - Laurel Kiskanyan, Senior Recruiter at DigitalOcean
"It's ok to enjoy being a working mom! I couldn't afford to be a stay at home mom so I went back to work after my first son was only 6 weeks old, I felt very guilty for many years because it felt selfish. Once I gave myself permission to be a working mom, it was freeing, I was a better employee and a better mom." - Stephanie Mirch, Head of Customer Success at Nanit
"I have been a working, single mom for my entire career in tech. My advice to new moms who work outside the home is to work for good people who value you in and outside the office. There will always be times that you feel as though you don't measure up as a mom and as a professional, but most of the time you will feel valued and fulfilled in both settings. If you thrive at work, it will reflect in your parenting. Don't sweat the one time you miss pickup because you're absorbed in your work. Your child will survive, your village will back you up, and you'll only make that mistake once." - Susan Hobbs, Chief of Staff, Cloudflare
"You should feel empowered to prioritize your family and don't make excuses for doing so. I have worked in very male-dominated industries my entire career. Once I became a mother, I recognized that I need to articulate how they could best support me, and they did, but I think many women are afraid to speak up and set boundaries about hours, travel, etc. Once I did, it was respected and honestly, often times championed." - Paige Guzman, VP Marketing at PAX
"If you find yourself in a toxic workplace or abusive boss situation - leave. You might think you're doing the right thing for your children by staying, but you're actually emotionally damaging yourself in the process. Don't be afraid to aim higher." - Brenda Elwood, PLM Program Manager, Hardware Engineering at PAX
"Speak up honestly and frequently about what you need to be successful now. Becoming a mom is hard work and requires a whole new set of priorities, insights, and attempts to balance your life. Your needs will ebb and flow as your child(ren) grow, and a good employer will listen and understand this." Nora Moravec-Gallagher, Customer Success Manager at Karat
"You won't always feel that you are doing well at both and that's ok. Some days are better than others. Find a company that supports parents and allows for flexibility so that you can find a good balance for yourself and your family." - Nicole Stanley Polizzi, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition at PAX
"Put it on the calendar! Before becoming a parent, I was pretty impromptu with scheduling things. I've now learned to lean into the fact that toddlers thrive on schedules, and just get everything into a preset rhythm - from weekly grocery shopping, to standing date nights and dinners with friends, to a designated day each quarter for catching up on home maintenance or finances. This gets the to-do list out of my head and into an app, so I can stay present in the moment with my family, friends and colleagues." - Urmila Nadkarni, Senior Software Engineer at Convoy
"Being a mother is the most rewarding job you will ever experience but it is also not an easy one. My advice to all first-time moms is to embrace the power of "No." It is going to be hard, but once you learn that skill, you will free up a bunch of time to focus on things you really need to. Don't be hard on yourself and set your own boundaries. You are the best role model your kids can have." - Deepika Khowal, Customer Success Manager (#Mom first) at Autodesk
"Figure out what is the one important thing you want to do each day to feel happy as a mom, and set boundaries around that. It could be dropping your child off to school every morning, or being home in time for dinner. Plan your work day around it. Learn to set boundaries and protect what is important to you as a working mother. But, also learn to accept less than perfection from yourself. Once in a while a work trip will come along and your kids will not see you for a couple days. It is ok - they are watching and learning from you how to balance their lives too." - Sangeeta Chakraborty, Vice president Customer Success at Checkr
"Your kids won't recall if you made the perfect Pinterest-ready treats for the class party, or if the house was sparkling clean every night. They'll remember the fun, silly, sweet moments they spent with you, so make room for and prioritize those times, and try to let the other stuff slide." - Nicole LeClerc, Content Designer at Autodesk
"There is no right or wrong way to balance it all, hone in on finding the groove that best fits your situation and needs. Be fully PRESENT wherever you are - at work or at home. Carve out dedicated time to take care of yourself!"- Shauna Wu, Senior Events Manager at Smartsheet
"Don't look at email or texts while you are spending time with your children off-Hours. Looking back, I wish I had created better boundaries." - Mary Ann Bianco, VP Customer Success
"Multitasking is nearly impossible! Try to focus on the task at hand, if you are with your kids BE present with them, resist the urge to open emails by turning off the notifications after business hours. If you are at work BE present there. Not everyday is a perfect split of responsibilities, but if you give 100% to what is in front of you then you will accomplish a lot." - Rebecca Arsham, Online Program Manager at Autodesk University
"The time away from work you have to spend with your kids is gold! They are also your motivation to challenge yourself and get things done! Kids learn from just seeing what you do and I want to teach my daughter that the world is hers!" - Cynthia Newsome, Deal Development Executive-Sales Operations Services at Autodesk
"Working mothers: you are amazing! What I have learned about being a working mother is that you may not be able to give your kiddo(s) all your time, but when you can, give them all your hugs and smiles. That's what they care about anyway." - Lily Kerrigan, Inside Sales at PAX
"Be present. When you're at work, be efficient and enjoy the time with your colleagues. When at home, put your phone away and fully engage with your kids. Sometimes you can get more done when you try to do less... Make small adjustments as you need them. Leaving 15 minutes earlier, packing bags before bed, trying a new workout. Feeling overwhelmed doesn't mean everything is broken, it just takes a few tries to find what works for you." - Trish Tormey, Product Marketing Manager at Asana
I thought about writing this blog piece like one of those quizzes that used to be on the back pages of Seventeen and Cosmo where each question would offer several answers of varying point levels and you'd pick one answer per question, tally up your points at the end, and match your score to one of several possible results.
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