There’s no such thing as one right way to be a working mom. The truth is, we’re all just figuring it out and doing our best every single day. In honor of Mother’s Day, the moms at Gallardo Labs are sharing some of their personal insight on what it’s like to be a working mom and how they make it work. Read on for some solid advice (and permission to have that glass of wine/box of chocolate/good cry over a Netflix show all moms need from time to time).
Name & Occupation: Nicole, Entrepreneur/Chief Creative Officer/Mom
Mother of…3 (two wild boys and a mini-me girl)
What did you want to be when you were a kid? Many different things! I always knew that I wanted to be some kind of artist. At one point, I remember wanting to work for Hallmark making greeting cards. During my early teens, I was also obsessed with Lois Lane and wanted to be a journalist.
How do you balance motherhood & career? I honestly still haven’t been able to figure it out! I’m always feeling guilty about spending too much time thinking about or away from one or the other. One constant goal of mine is to be present and stay focused on what’s in front of me. It’s very hard though, to force your brain to turn on and off creativity. As a mom, my work is timeboxed and I have to be suuuuper efficient with every moment. I mostly try to not stress so much about the imbalance 🙂
What does a typical day look like? (Is there even a typical day?) There is definitely no such thing as a typical day. I wake up suuuuper early (not by choice!!) and work out before the kids wake up. I also try to have an hour of relaxing before sleep to unwind. Those are the two constants. Everything else in between is a blur of video conferences, meal-preparation, design decisions, emails, homework, to-do lists, practices, brainstorming, unicorns, etc…
Any advice for new moms trying to figure this out? Know that there is no “one size fits all” guide on how to be a successful working mom. Trust me, I would’ve found it! You have to figure out what works best for you and your specific goals in life. Being a mom in tech gives you the unique opportunity to literally change the world in various ways. Whether it’s with an idea for your latest project or it’s with the next generation you’re raising at home, you should feel proud. And when times get extra crazy (trust me, they will), remember that you aren’t Superwoman! You can’t do it all by yourself and that’s ok. Define what is most important and focus on that. Try keeping a master to-do list with Evernote to help stay organized and productive. Do a brain-dump every night before bed and then prioritize your list first thing in the morning before starting your day. Lean on your support system, favorite apps, and take-out when needed. And if all else fails, laugh it out with other moms in the industry over a big glass of wine.
Name & Occupation: Nura, Art Director and Mom
Mother of…One beautifully tempered baby girl Jude
What did you want to be when you were a kid? I was so certain that I would be some kind of journalist, all the way through high school when I became the morning announcements girl. Yes, I was the girl that everyone would see on their TV in homeroom. I even did my first semester in college with News Anchor as the goal, but somewhere along the lines I found happiness in design.
How do you balance motherhood & career? Barely doing it. It’s been hard to say the least, I am still trying to find a perfect balance but some days I definitely find myself giving more to the other. Even as I type now I hear ‘Mama” in the background as I dodge her tiny hands at attempting to click the keyboard. Fun times.
What does a typical day look like? (Is there even a typical day?) Starts off at 5 am, with Jude calling my name from her crib. I make her breakfast then it’s off to the gym, which I swear is the only constant and sanity in my life right now. I come back, and then the day really begins; cooking, running errands, working in between and having to pretend to have fun playing pretend. The fuel that keeps me going, is about 7 cups of coffee a day. No joke. This is on repeat all the way till Jude sleeps and then it’s me time which means actually working.
Any advice for new moms trying to figure this out? Hang in there; I’ve learned that with time, it gets easier. And don’t be too hard on yourself – no one has any idea what they’re doing. We are all just making it up as we go. Oh, and you go and drink that bottle of wine. You deserve it!
Name & Occupation: Alicia, Content Marketing Strategist/Copywriter/Blog Manager/Mom
Mother of…one very opinionated little girl (wouldn’t have it any other way).
What did you want to be when you were a kid? A singer/artist/scientist/writer
How do you balance motherhood & career? What does a typical day look like? (Is there even a typical day?) There’s no such thing as a typical day because there’s always something that comes up out of the blue. I wish I could tell you that I practice regular yoga and meditation to keep me balanced but the truth is that’s just the mom in my best self’s fantasies. I take it one day at a time, pray a LOT, try keeping organized with several calendars, and allow myself at least one treat per day (Chocolate, wine, and trash tv are elemental for survival. Moms need treats, too.)
I also try to be realistic with my intentions for the day. I keep lists of everything I need to (would really like to) accomplish, but it doesn’t always get done. So there’s a lot of flexibility involved in getting my list checked off. Sometimes I’ll work late. Sometimes I’ll get an early start. Sometimes I’ll work while sitting next to my child and helping her do her homework. Whatever works on that particular day is what I’m doing. My only constant is coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
Any advice for new moms trying to figure this out? Be patient with yourself. Do the best you can every day, and know that that will always change. Some days you’ll be able to conquer the world; some days you’ll only be the queen of your living room. Cut yourself some slack if things aren’t “perfect.” Perfect is an illusion. We’re all just trying our best and nobody has it all figured out. And if you need help, don’t be ashamed to ask for it. It really does take a village.
Name & Occupation: Sonia, Director of Visual Design, Entrepreneur & Mom
Mother of…One super energetic and unique little girl, who is a clone of myself (it’s like we did did copy & paste)
What did you want to be when you were a kid? I wanted to be a journalist and work for CNN covering news all over the world.
How do you balance motherhood & career? With the help of my husband and Peppa Pig. I take each day as it comes and adjust accordingly. I have learned that some things are not gonna be fully done when I get started and that would have to come back later and do them. I that something’s gotta give, and that’s OK.
What does a typical day look like? (Is there even a typical day?) It really depends on the day; every day is so different and I struggle with the social pressure of having a set schedule to which kids and parents have to abide. But as much as I try, it just doesn’t work for me. If I had to describe a day that’s sort of a “normal day,” it would be when I wake up at 6am or 7am and catch up with work before the madness starts. Then, around 8:30 a.m., I hear Julia saying “Mama, ready go!!” I make breakfast for everyone, and then, around 10:00 a.m. (depending on the day), I take Julia to a pre-preschool class. We get home, make lunch, walk the dog, she naps, and I work. Then she goes to a Kids Club (sometimes) with her dad in the afternoon and I work some more. Dinner, bath time, movies…then Daddy puts her to bed and then I go play some podcasts or some reruns and I work again. But, again, no day is the same for me ever, and it all depends on who I am working with around the world.
Any advice for new moms trying to figure this out? Do what you need to do to keep your family happy and your sanity intact. Disregard the standards that have been placed on how to raise a child and do what works for you. Here are 2 key things that have help me:
1. Close instagram for a few months you (don’t need the extra pressure of comparing your life or kids with everyone’s fake instalife)
2. Repeat to yourself everyday “I am the parent” to remind yourself that you make the rules.