This Sunday, May 9th, we will celebrate mothers all around the world, both at home and at work. And with more than 70% of mothers are in the workplace, it’s not surprising work/life balance and flexibility rank at the top of the list of benefits women value the most from their employers.

We asked some of our hardworking moms at NextRoll to share their experiences in the workplace, the unique challenges they face, and what advice they would offer their peers on how to best meet family demands while still getting their work done.

What’s the hardest thing about being a working mom? What’s the hardest thing about being a working mom in a pandemic?

Stephanie Grillo [SG]: For me, I think the hardest thing about being a working mom is the guilt. The guilt that I am missing my sons’ days and potentially milestones, and guilt when I am not home for dinner or bedtime. The guilt when I had to leave work earlier to pick up the kids when my co-workers wouldn’t be leaving for at least a few hours. The guilt when I have an opportunity to advance my career but knowing it would take too much time away from my family and it may not be the right time. It’s the hardest thing about being a working mom.

The hardest thing about being a working mom during the beginning of the pandemic was EVERYTHING. I had to execute at work 110% everyday, while being a mother, a teacher, a cook, a nurse, and so much more – all while trying to bury the fear of the pandemic and being isolated from the rest of my family. It was by far one of the hardest things I have had to do. With that said, looking back, I have learned so much from the past year and it has changed my life for the better. My outlook on life and work life balance is much different and I appreciate all of the extra time and memories I was able to create with my little ones.

Lysann Somanchi [LS]: The hardest thing about being a working Mum is to see very little of my young children. I believe that especially working from home makes them aware that I am around and they ask me daily: “Mummy, can you not work?” It breaks my heart, but I love my work here at NextRoll. 

For me specifically, the hardest thing during the pandemic has been being cut off from family and their support (who all live abroad) due to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements across Europe and the UK. However, the positive side of the pandemic has been the ability for my husband to work from home, which means we can all maximise the mornings and evenings and spend quality time as a family. 

Soo Lee [SL]: By far the hardest thing about being a working mom is dealing with the “mom guilt.” Some days, I feel like the worst mom ever because I don’t have the time to read a bedtime story or play a game with my sons. Other days, I feel like I could’ve done better at work, but I just couldn’t get my brain to function on the three hours of sleep after staying up with my sick son. With the pandemic, it was like adding fuel to the fire. Out of nowhere, I now had to teach, entertain, and referee my two very rambunctious, energy-filled sons 24/7 and still try to fit in work. It’s definitely been a challenging year, but I can feel the tide turning a bit and hopefully, some normalcy coming back to our lives.

Paisley Peel [PP]: The hardest thing is finding that work/life balance. As a mom, there are so many things to juggle when it comes to parenting and managing a household and it can be easy to become overwhelmed and start letting things slip through the cracks in one area or another.  In a pandemic, especially, we are dealing with extra safety concerns, helping to facilitate online learning, and planning for an uncertain future in both our home lives and our careers. I’ve definitely had to become used to blending my two worlds, as my children are often popping up in video calls at work and the lines have become more blurred.

In the spirit of celebrating working moms everywhere, what’s the most rewarding thing about being a working mom?

[LS]: For me personally the ability to “check out” of being my “Mom”-self and “checking in” to being myself, applying my knowledge and work experience and collaborating with such talented people across the company every day is rewarding.

 

[SL]: I love knowing my sons recognize I work just as hard as Dad, and they see first-hand that a woman can have a successful career and be a great mom, too. I think one of my proudest moments was when my oldest son was 5 years old, he was looking at a book that had pictures of all the U.S. presidents and he asked me, “Mom, why are there no girls?” I told him that was an excellent question and not only should there be girls, but one of these days there will be girls!

[PP]: I love being a working mom in that I’m able to help provide for my children and contribute to building the life we want to have. I think it’s also important to set a good example for my children of following my dreams and ambitions and seeing them come to fruition. I’ve been a full time mom in the past and I found a lot of value in that role as well, but I definitely feel more myself when I’m working.

[SG]: The most rewarding thing about being a working mom is definitely the example I am setting for my children and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of each day. I love seeing my little one at my desk, pretending to host his own Zoom strategy meeting. Not every day goes as planned, but the days that I manage to “kill it” at work, keep the house somewhat clean, throw in a load of laundry, cook dinner, and still have time to be the tickle monster on the trampoline – I can’t help but feel like a superhero!

What advice would you give to working moms, or what’s one lesson you have learned from your experience?

[SL]: Don’t try to do it all. If sometimes you have to give your kids cereal for dinner and they go to bed dirty, it’s ok. No one but you and the kids will ever know and they’re probably even happier dirty and eating breakfast for dinner.

 

[PP]: My advice would be to go easy on yourself. It’s not possible to be the perfect career woman and the perfect Pinterest Mom all at once. Take some time to figure out what are the most important things to you when it comes to parenting and your career and focus on just those things – don’t try to do it all at once. Don’t feel guilty about taking some time for yourself, either. It’s okay to let some things slip by and remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

[SG]: I know this is easier said than done – LET GO OF THE GUILT. Some days are going to be less perfect than others, but always be proud of what you have accomplished at the end of the day and know that tomorrow is always a fresh start. Treasure every memory you create and let go of the little things. Last, take time for yourself. It’s so easy to allocate all of your time every day between your career and your family. If you take some time every day to take care of your body, mind, and soul, you will be a better person all around for it.

[LS]: When I first returned from maternity leave, I found it very difficult to juggle work and motherhood. I was overwhelmed with leaving the kids with a nanny we only just hired, the additional household chores, and found it hard to focus and not let my mind wander off to “how are my children doing,” “what am I cooking for dinner” etc. Today, I know I can’t have it all, and I have created an environment and routines that allow me to clearly separate the two. This helped me to be 100% present as Mom during mornings, evenings, and weekends, and 100% focused on work during the day time.

Can you tell us about some of the NextRoll programs that support you and that have helped you succeed at work and in life?

[PP]: The ERGs at NextRoll have been so helpful to me. RollWomen, in particular, has provided some great resources that have helped me grow as a professional woman in ways that have been applicable to my home life as well. NextRoll has also given us access to the Calm app, which has been great for helping me and the kids sleep at night, as we love listening to the Sleep Stories. I’m also very grateful for the fact that I have flexibility in my schedule and a very understanding manager, so I don’t have to worry about getting kids to doctor appointments or taking time for parent/teacher conferences.

[LS]: I am about to embark on our Women in Leadership program, and I am very much looking forward to strengthening my leadership and career. Over the past three years, I have been on and off maternity leave and career development wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. I do, however, believe leadership skills are complementary for my life as mom, too. Outside of that, my daily 25-minute workout routine helps me to destress and feel energized for whatever the days throw at me. And with four kids under the age of 3, as well as working in an industry that moves so fast, I can guarantee no day is the same.

[SL]: I’m lucky to work for NextRoll and for a manager who are both supportive of working parents and have always emphasized that family comes first. The flexible work schedule and the recharge days have been extremely helpful in allowing me to manage a schedule that works best for my family and work. 

[SG]: Unfortunately, because of the constant juggling I was not able to take advantage of the numerous programs offered through NextRoll. However, I am so grateful to work for a company that has supported my career and work life balance throughout the past seven years and especially these past 12 months. I am grateful to have a supportive manager who is happy to have my kids crash our weekly team meetings to demand oreos or to just say hi. I am grateful to work with a team that has been flexible with scheduling, supported me through this past crazy year, and never let the fact that I am a mother change their view of my work, ethic and accomplishments.

We’re always looking for more working moms to join NextRoll. Learn more about our culture and how we support women in the workplace.