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Working Moms

Thinking about starting a family soon. How has having a family and being a mom affected your career and how do you manage all of it?

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It is a huge huge huge adjustment. You just cannot put in the hours and have the focus that you did before having a baby. Depending on the childcare situation, you will likely have to leave the office much earlier than you used to and finish things after the baby goes down to bed. Personally, I have stayed in a position where I am not really professionally growing for the stability and flexibility it gives me to spend more time with my son. That being said, to me it is one hundred percent worth it. There is nothing that compares to the joy he brings me and I will have no regrets about taking my foot off the gas for (hopefully??) a few years professionally to be able to spend more time with him. Also, the transition back to work after maternity leave is brutal. I took 4 months and came back part time the first month back and I would say it took a good 8 months after the baby was born for me to feel like my brain was back to normal.

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It’s never a perfect time but I can honestly say that having kids did not impact my career. My priorities shifted, yes but I have been able to manage a successful career. I did not do it alone and it is hard, everyday is hard, but I don’t regret any choices I have made regarding my family or my career. For me the key is having a partner that is truly going into parenthood understanding that they are half responsible for the well-being of the children as well. My partner and I are always stressed thin but as long as he is feeling the same pain it makes it manageable knowing I’m not carrying all of the weight alone. I have been blessed to have family, friends and work that support me at every turn so find that village and build because that is what keeps us all afloat. Nothing beats those little hands wrapped around your neck giving you a hug or those small knees jabbing you while they are asleep next to you.

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I can honestly say being a parent has not benefited my career in any way. I’m tired, stretched thin, and have at times been mommy tracked. I still have no regrets. The best way to manage it all is to prioritize, plan and practice self forgiveness.

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You can have it all if you give 50% to work and 50% to you kids. Which really isn’t an option

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It has made me more aware of how much I have put my career first in my life before I had my daughter. I was so scared to have a baby during my busy season, so I planned around it and tried to have her in the off season. My old company made me feel like crap for having a rough pregnancy and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay there forever with that mentality. I now work for a firm who is so much more work life balanced and doesn’t make me feel like I have to chose between being a mom and my career especially now. My daughter is home with me and it’s been a long 8 months of this

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Wipfli

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Big takeaway: you will not manage it all. You will need help (at home and at work) and you will have to make compromises that have you crying into your pillow at night. And it is the best thing I ever decided to do (they're both grown, so I'm reviewing it "from the other side").

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^Truth. I’m over here on the other side, too!

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I’m a partner in a law firm and a mom to three kids ages 6 and younger. Having kids taught me that I don’t care about my career as much as I thought I did. I, of course, care in the sense that I want to do great work for my clients. But I don’t care as much about climbing the corporate ladder as I used to. I want to be home to put my kids to bed instead of out networking. Given the choice between my family and my job, I’m going to pick my family every time, and I’m ok with that. As far as managing everything, anyone who “has it all” is lying if they say that they don’t have help. Your spouse, family, friends, babysitters, teachers, neighbors, house cleaners, lawn care workers, grocery delivery people, dog walkers, etc. Figure out what you absolutely want to do and can do yourself, and to the extent your finances allow, delegate/outsource the rest of it.

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Can’t agree with this more. Mom of three under six here too. I was this close to quitting after my second kid was born but my family helped me reset. I took inventory of who I could rely on and who I couldn’t and built a support system around that. Even had 3 nannies working in shifts at a certain point so if one nanny is out, my whole day is not shot. Had my parents come stay with us every summer just to get me through my tax season. To avoid “whose career is more important” type of arguments, I had my husband on the “can’t rely on” list. It helped our marriage a ton as I set my expectations really low and got help from others to fill the gap.

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I’m four months in and just went back to work two weeks ago. Working remotely for a firm and caring for my baby is the hardest balance I’ve ever had to dance. But I’ve had some real clarity: 1. The working world is not built for and typically not considerate of mothers. It’s easy and quick to fail at either work or motherhood. 2. Taking time away from my child must be fruitful. That means no jerk clients, bosses, no cases that waist my time. I’m working on reworking my career over the next year so I can do things that align with my values 90% of the time instead of 50% just to have a job.

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I think it depends on how supportive your partner, family, and company can be. And also how your body handles labor, etc. My husband is a SAHD and is incredibly supportive of my career and our in-laws were supper supportive and came to stay with us on and off for the first year. I feel that while I take more time now to be with my family and for work/life balance - I don’t feel that becoming a mom has hindered or held back my career in any way. I was also lucky that my boss and the LT at my company all had young kids, so even though they are all men, they understood and were gracious when I needed flexibility.

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Came here to say this. I actually think one of the best indicators of how well you’re able to manage “having it all” is how much of a true partnership you and your SO have. How will you navigate weeks when you’re in the trenches at work, how open/able are you to bring in outside help or family to pitch in, how will they do if a business trip comes up, do you view one persons career as more important than another? Talk about these things and try to get on the same page. I frankly couldn’t juggle my job with 2 kids if I didn’t have such an incredible husband. He also has a demanding job but we collectively understand that demands of each ebb and flow and he’s always willing to jump in on the home needs when I can’t

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I think it really depends on your team and especially the team leaders. I was a high performer before I had a baby. I had a hard time as a first time mom and my baby had a lot of developmental issues where we were in the hospital and seeing a lot of specialists. My first month back, my partner told me that my 100% now was only 80% of my pre-baby self and that I should hire more people to help at home so that I could be at work more and come back to my pre-baby self. I couldn’t leave fast enough. My team now is great and so understanding. It probably also helps that they didn’t know what my performance was like before I had a baby.

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It hasn't negatively impacted my career because I'm at a small law firm so I don't have the big law grind. But I am perpetually exhausted and feeling guilty. Plus my son is three so he's a jerk right now.

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I’m in early pregnancy and between the fatigue, nausea, headaches, and cabin fever, have never felt this unmotivated in my life. That said, through pregnancy complications I’ve also realized being able to have a child is a privilege. It’s something I’m willing to give up rapid career progression for. That said, really hoping the motivation returns second trimester and after childbirth.

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Congrats D1! So glad to hear that the morning sickness goes away. Also glad that the holidays are coming so you can get some well-needed R&R. Hoping we’ll both be feeling more motivated soon after the holidays!

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It’s one of those things, you have to manage priorities. I’m half way through my pregnancy and know my career will take a back burner for the first year but then I’ll get back at it. If having a family is important to you, you’ll make it work!

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Def agree with SM2...the early years...up until probably 8...are easiest in terms of figuring out how career and family mesh together. The early years are physical exhaustion but you can handle work and kids. The teen and tween years are mental and emotional exhaustion...MUCH harder to find a balance. At least that has been my experience.

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My son is 5 and I started as an associate when he was about 5 months old. I’m currently a Tax SA2 going on 3, with my teams looking into getting me acting Manager come next busy season. I could say that I’ve barely slept in the last 5 years (only sleeping in better now since wfh). However, I’ve managed to keep high work performance (currently on Digital Accelerator tour) and maintained a great bond with my son. The only thing I regret is not getting my CPA done before my son was born, but now that he’s older I think I can reassess my priorities. It truly matters to have a strong village supporting your family and very understanding teams at work.

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I’ve got a Director when I came back from maternity leave, and VP when my kid was 3. When I was going on maternity leave my boss begged me to come back sooner and promised a bonus. But it was super hard to do both. I had a babysitter and a cleaning lady. My husband has a career too. When my kid was very little he was diagnosed with autism, so I had to organize the whole recovery plan, and when he was about 1 yo I quit, stayed at home for a year. Then found a new job as director and got a promotion to VP in a year. I was doing M&A and travelled a lot, but when I was traveling to places like Italy, Spain or Dubai I was taking my mom and my kid with me, and sometimes my husband could join. My mom was looking after my kid and they had fun going around together, and I was working. His diagnosis traumatized me a bit, so I was bonding with him at every opportunity.

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Also just wanted to add that as kids get older, I’ve found that it’s even more important that you be available and home, much more than when they’re younger. The conventional wisdom seems to be that when kids go to school you’ll be able to focus more on work. That may be - for elementary age. But as they get into middle school and the teenage years there are huge things at stake that require presence. Little kids need someone’s eyes on them, yes, but teenagers need YOUR eyes, ears, and full attention, and for them to know you are there for them always (even when you don’t have a front row seat to their lives as much as when they’re younger).

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I was at insurance defense firm when I had my daughter April 2019. I struggled with managing 2200+ hours/year, giving my daughter enough attention, giving my marriage enough attention, and getting remotely any self care. Switched to a firm where my requirement dropped to 1900 and other than a pandemic, it’s been a great move to balance it all. I agree though, if things don’t change to improve building my career to move toward partner, in house will be my goal after I pay off my student loans.

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The amount of impact is going to be directly related to the amount of support that you receive. If you have a really great partner, your career shouldn't take a huge hit. If you don't have a great partner, be prepared to do it all yourself. Also, kids get sick... all the time. How is your company with sick leave? That will also make a difference.

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I do not have the career I would have without kids. I absolutely love my kids, but I had to leave the job of a lifetime with an incredible career trajectory in order to step back and be the mom I wanted to be. I think it’s a lie to tell girls they can have whatever they want. Some women absolutely make it, and I don’t know what their secret is...but from my experience and perspective, our world is just not built to accommodate moms.

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