building a career is hard. doing it with a baby or two in tow is even more challenging. a few weeks ago, I posted an infographic on what some working moms think it’s like to raise baby while still building a career. a very good friend of mine related so much that she was inspired to share her experienced with you all on being a young working mom in a world full of advice, opinions, and oversimplified statements. here’s what it really means to be a working mom in this day and age:
yashoda khandkar clark is by all means, a superstar in every sense of the word. I met her years ago while we both lived in san francisco, and we spent lots of coffees and drinks talking about our careers, where we wanted to take them, and how we might manage the “work life balance.” fast forward several years later: yashoda has earned a freshly minted MBA at Columbia University, scored a coveted job at a rising company, and has a baby girl that warms your heart in a matter of minutes. so what does she think of being a working mom?
yashoda is a business all-star at super chic Etsy, a growing and recently IPO’d company. she’s kicked butt from the first day she started out in corporate america and isn’t about to stop now. in fact, she’s finding ways to make the baby and work, well, work. when asked about her schedule, yashoda was frank – schedules change and life throws curveballs on a daily basis, but she tries to keep things as consistent as possible. for baby clark, that means a shared nanny during the days, where she gets to socialize and play basically all day (baby’s dream come true). and for yashoda and her husband, it means a slightly more flexible pickup schedule in the evenings so that they can leave their jobs a little later (well, sometimes), instead of rushing to meet the closing doors of a daycare program that has strict hours.
yashoda cautions that there is no “work life balance”. this perspective was the first thing we touched upon and was a theme throughout the rest of the conversation. she laughed as she explained her perspective, unapologetic and forthcoming, and the statement surprised me because I felt so relieved when she said it. we’ve all heard about work-life balance in the media and we all deal with it in some way or another. but add children to the mix and the artistic expression of “balance” is thrown out of the window.
so, instead of achieving a perfect balance, yashoda sees a working mom’s life as a give and take between home and work lives. some days, work takes most of her time. other days, it’s the baby and her personal obligations. and on particularly splendid days, both sides of her life get the right amount of attention. babies are unpredictable just like life is, and instead of trying to control it, accept it. be one with it. take the baby to the doctor’s during work hours if you want to. stay a late night at the office if you need to and if all other factors allow you to. it’s okay to not have balance. it’s okay to be a little out of control sometimes. it’s life and you’re already being superwoman by having kids and going to work!
and what about working out? it turns out, having a baby around is a workout in itself, and yashoda’s got the rockin bod to prove it. but like the rest of the interview, yashoda is refreshingly honest and says that she only has time to workout a few times a week (contrary to her 7 day a week workout schedule pre-baby). between long work hours and baby to care for, there aren’t enough hours in the day or enough energy to go around. she might recommend holding your baby in your arms for longer than normal to work on those biceps…but you’ll have to ask her.
in today’s world, big companies are doing everything they can (and then some) to help support working moms. but what can every company, big and small, do to help working moms find success at home and in the office. yashoda says the key is to be flexible. having a flexible work environment that allows for trips to the doctor’s office for baby, or for taking evening emails and calls from home, is crucial to helping moms get everything done in a day. several companies have started taking this approach, realizing that if they support different lifestyles, they get much more out of their employees. additionally, with so much press around the working mom and how few women join the highest ranks of big companies, there’s apt to be more support for the working mom.
and what was yashoda’s biggest takeaway from her new set of full time jobs? – just do it, jump into being a working mom when it’s right for you. it’s exhausting, but it’s so worth it. every parent raises their child or children differently – that’s what makes this world so beautiful. but what impressed me most about yashoda was her dedication to not only her daughter and husband, but to her job, and most of all herself. when I asked her “but how do you possibly have time for all of this?!”, she simple said – “you just find time”.
thanks to yashoda for sharing her thoughts and giving valuable time to this blog and it’s readers, you inspire us!