We asked RV parents to reflect on the challenges (and triumphs) of raising kids – all while excelling in their careers. They didn’t disappoint.
Q: What’s your biggest life-hack for balancing a full slate of work AND family responsibilities?
Allison Blackwell: Figuring out what my biggest priorities are, understanding that they’ll shift on a week to week basis, and then finding ways to spend less time on the lower priority items. For example, I’m always going to prioritize time with my son after work, but when our brand partner is in town, I might have my childcare watch him an extra hour while I spend time building that relationship… and while my Roomba vacuums my house for me.
Neha Takesale: A very supportive husband who believes that my career is equally important as his, and the responsibility of a child is not only my job but his too.
Jackie Fortune: A wise leader and #MomBoss at RV once gave advice to occasionally take a day off work and do whatever would be in your child’s routine that day. Not a day when you are traveling or bringing your kids to an appointment, but a day where you get to see the world through their eyes and have a chance to fill up your ‘parent tank.’
Q: Has being a parent helped your career?
Heather Cheney: Yes! The chaos of family life has made me even more adaptable at work. I’ve learned to roll with the punches and not get flustered, even when there is constant change.
Chelsea Mister: You begin to realize just how productive you can be in a short period of time. The amount of work that can be tackled in a 2-hour nap slot makes you feel like superwoman. Only one hour to design a presentation, create a new logo AND sit in business reviews? Oh, I’ve got this.
Jackie Nelson: I’m more understanding of my co-workers with kids and the struggles they’re going through at home. I also think I’m more efficient with my time in the office, because I’d rather get everything done than be distracted at home.
Q: Where do you find special points in your day to connect with your children?
Carla Sweeney: We try to eat dinner together every night, and we go around and talk about the best and worst parts of our day. It’s a great daily peek into the highs and lows of our time apart.
Ashley Martin: My little one’s daycare has an app that gives small videos and pictures of her activities. Taking time to see what she is up to always makes me smile and puts me in a good mental space.
Vickki Trujillo: With a soon-to-be high school freshman, the rules are a bit more lenient at school. We are able to text each other between 11-2, and we’ll normally try and find the funniest meme or joke to send to each other to stay on a positive track until the end of the day.
Q: Name one lesson that applies to both parenting AND leading a team.
LaShawanda Elder: Be coachable. No one has all the answers. Sometimes what you think is correct may not always be the best way to handle a situation at work. And the same goes for being a parent. If you want your child to do something, you may have to approach it a different way to help them understand.
Taylor McKenzie: Patience! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the speed of RV and life. Stop and focus on the present. By giving my full attention to whatever’s in front of me – the meeting, my child, a 1:1 catch-up – I feel more fulfilled and accomplished.
Heather Dinolfo: Empathy. Being a caring parent and co-worker requires that you approach all situations with empathy. While empathy for a child and empathy for an adult don’t look the same, you have to meet everyone where they are and understand the sum of all the parts that contribute to all situations.
Q: What was the hardest part about coming back after maternity leave? What advice would you give your past self in making the transition easier?
Lindsey Dunham: MOM GUILT all around. Guilty that I left my child for work and feeling guilty that I leave work early for my child. I would remind myself that I shouldn’t feel guilty for either. Go to work and show your child how to be successful. Leave work early and spend time with your child. No one is going to bring up that time you left 30 minutes early one morning so you could get to work early and no one will mention you leaving work early to get home.
Jessica Grimm: Being separated from my son was excruciating. Finding other moms to talk with helped me through it. I cried on their shoulders many times. They kept telling me it would get better – and it does.
Stephanie Lim: Coming back to work is bittersweet. It’s hard to leave your small baby in the care of others after 3 months home together. However, knowing you have a great team to come back to definitely makes the adjustment easier. My advice to other parents is to be patient and allow yourself some grace. You can’t completely adjust on your first day, or even first week back. And don’t judge how you handle the transition on a daily basis – it’s a journey and you’ll settle into new routines.
Q: As a Mom Boss, you are constantly taking care of others. What rituals or self-indulgences do you save for yourself to reward the Mom Boss that you are?
Carrie Willey: For me it is not so much about rewarding myself as it is about maintaining a sense of identity beyond the labels of the roles I play in my life (“mom”, “wife”, “employee”). It’s easy for me to be consumed with those roles and those labels. When I need me time, I mediate. I go to therapy. I write in a journal. I try to maintain my relationship with myself which seems to be the one that slips away the easiest since becoming a mom.
Pallas Yim: Wine. Lots of wine. 🙂
Q: Any other wisdom you’d like to share?
Lucy Thomas: Having my daughter has helped me gain some perspective in terms of work-life balance. I value my time at home more than I used to and try to make the most of it.
Kelly Shockley: For the tough stuff: It won’t be like this for long – and you won’t even remember it. For the best stuff: Remember this!!! It won’t be like this for long!
Courtney Jeffus: Give yourself grace! Being a mom/working mom is challenging and it’s easy to feel like you’re not getting it all right. No day is perfect, but you just keep doing your best and you give yourself the grace to not be perfect. Also, find other working moms who can help along the way… we have so many awesome ones at RV!