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08 May

Mother’s Day: Swinging between the playground, work, and emotional state, or how to be a working mom

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Table of contents
  1. Navigating the new normal: Motherhood’s transformative journey
  2. Moms as time masters
  3. Main helpers to structure working moms’ tasks
  4. What marketers can do to simplify moms’ lives
  5. Life’s main project
1.
Navigating the new normal: Motherhood’s transformative journey

Remember the golden rule: "Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others."

Oleksandra Khlystova

Oleksandra Khlystova,

PR Team Lead at Stripo, mother of 2-year-old Daniil.

At a stand-up comedy show, when a child’s cry was heard, the comedian asked the mother who came with her kid to leave, claiming that they were disturbing others. Opinions in the audience were divided, and I kept thinking about the woman who, with a baby, finds the strength, courage, and mood not to postpone anything, to live fully, and probably also to work… But how can she manage this?

Every morning, my day starts with the main project, which greets me with: ”Good morning, Mom!” as soon as I open my eyes. From 7 AM to 8 AM, I prepare breakfast and have morning small talk with my 14-year-old son, and only after understanding his schedule, achievements, and plans for the day can I move on to work processes, meetings, tasks, and goals. And there’s no other way. This is my daily routine of planning and discipline.

How to be a working mom _ Olha Onykiienko

Every second, 4.3 children are born in the world, and statistics on working moms show that 70% of women with children under 18 work. In my humble opinion (and a bit of experience), this means:

  • a woman’s workday increases from 8 full hours to 24 hours a day, adding a variety of child-related activities to the task list;
  • any mom can be hired as a coach in effective time management, the art of negotiation, and efficient planning.

Sometimes, the biggest challenge is to talk louder than children on the playground during a phone conference. I've learned to schedule important calls for times when my child is engaged in less active games or during rest. Using noise-cancelling headphones has also become my lifesaver in such situations.

Kateryna Kabakova

Kateryna Kabakova,

CEO of Serpstat and mom of 4-year-old Sofia.

Mother’s Day _ Kateryna Kabakova

Yes, of course, you can dedicate all your time to your child, but by taking maternity leave, even for just one year, you not only lose qualifications but also about 40% in earnings, not to mention your career. What’s more, 23% of working moms said they declined a promotion because they were juggling work and parenting duties.

But being a mom, coping with everything, climbing the career ladder, and meeting all KPIs are both possible and interesting. So, I spoke with some very busy working moms, and I want to dedicate this material to everyone who is in the same boat as us for Mother’s Day to support each other. And also to those who have not yet decided to take the step: motherhood + work.

Navigating the new normal: Motherhood’s transformative journey

When I became a mom, I stopped to understand what had me so tired before. It's a joke but also kind of true. Motherhood is the ultimate crash course in time management. You constantly discover hidden reserves of strength, resources, and patience within you. You learn to stay true to yourself while keeping up with your usual tasks, plus there's a new full-time project added to your plate — actually, make that a 24/7 gig.

Oleksandra Khlystova

Oleksandra Khlystova,

PR Team Lead at Stripo, mother of 2-year-old Daniil.

Motherhood’s transformative journey _ Oleksandra Khlystova

Do you know how many changes occur in the physical and psychological states of women after childbirth?

  1. Hormonal changes: After childbirth, women experience a sharp decline in hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, as well as changes in thyroid hormones and the release of oxytocin. These hormonal fluctuations can significantly affect mood, energy levels, and the overall emotional state.
  2. Physical recovery: The body needs time to recover from the physical strain of childbirth. This includes recovery from childbirth injuries, changes in blood volume, and the process of returning the body’s organs to their pre-pregnancy state.
  3. Emotional and psychological changes: Many new mothers experience “baby blues,” a common condition characterized by mood swings, sadness, anxiety, irritability, and feelings of depression. These feelings typically occur within a few weeks. However, some women may develop postpartum depression, a more serious and prolonged form of depression.
  4. Lack of sleep: Caring for a newborn often leads to significant sleep disruption. A lack of sleep can affect cognitive functions, mood, and physical health.
  5. Relationship issues: Adjusting to the new role of a parent can also impact social relationships and dynamics, especially with partners and family members, which can potentially lead to stress and conflicts.

Before becoming a mom, I was a crazy workaholic. Work was my universe, and even when I got pregnant, I worked full throttle almost until the very end, except for occasional visits to doctors and tests.

I used to think to myself: all women give birth, and I'll manage it.
And that, as it turned out later, was a very naive judgment. After a difficult childbirth and coming back home, everything turned upside down: suddenly, I stopped belonging to myself altogether. My entire time, space, and thoughts were occupied by this little human. I constantly wanted to sleep and simultaneously keep the baby in check because I was supposed to be the best mom.

So, honestly, I can barely imagine how one can be a great mom to an infant and work effectively. I wouldn't have managed it so precisely.

Viktoriia Abed

Viktoriia Abed,

Chief Revenue Officer at Pitch Avatar and mom of 12-year-old Kira.

Work-life balance as a mom _ Viktoriia Abed

Another danger for young moms is postpartum depression. In the USA, 1 in 8 women suffers from postpartum depression, which means that during this period, support and encouragement from loved ones, time for a psychologist, and personal time for self-care and attention to one’s physical and mental health are more important than ever.

  1. Time for yourself: It’s important to find time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. It could be something like reading a book, meditation, taking a walk, or simply enjoying a cup of your favorite tea. These moments help rejuvenate the soul.
  2. Physical exercise: Regular physical exercise helps reduce stress and increases energy levels. Even short sessions, such as a 30-minute walk or yoga at home, can make a big difference.
  3. Professional help: If stress or emotional difficulties become too burdensome, seeking professional psychological help can be beneficial. Therapy or counseling can help you cope with challenges and learn to better understand your emotions.
  4. Flexibility and planning: I’ve become more flexible in my expectations of what I can realistically accomplish in a day. Effective planning helps me organize tasks and reduce stress from feeling overwhelmed.
  5. Learning to say “No”: Learning to say no and setting boundaries in both work and personal life has helped me preserve my emotional well-being. It has reduced stress and provided more time for relaxation and recovery.
Kateryna Kabakova

Kateryna Kabakova,

CEO of Serpstat and mom of 4-year-old Sofia.

Some women may feel a loss of their own identity after giving birth, especially if they encounter changes in their professional or social aspects of life. It’s crucial not only to recognize this but also to overcome it day by day.

Motherhood helps me focus on how I want to show up, which requires a lot of self-reflection and examination of how I show up in relationships.

Work is nothing BUT relationships.

Yes, being a mom can be stressful. Yes, work can be stressful. Stress is a part of life.

I work hard to try and manage my stress. Part of that is activities that I know relieve stress (moving my body, writing, meditating, etc.) The other part is learning how to communicate more effectively — setting expectations, prioritizing, and asking for help.

And some days, it’s okay to not be okay. The bad days won’t last forever. They’ll come and go. I have to remind myself of that.

Emily McGuire

Emily McGuire,

Email Marketing Consultant and Senior Email Marketer and a mother of a 7-year-old.

Moms as time masters

But let's get back to the main part of our story — work and its combination with motherhood.

At first, synchronizing was very difficult. But most of all, what annoys me in life is chaos, so I try to organize everything. So, at one point, I told myself, “Stop and organize everything!”

Then, I learned how to switch between my work and my child. When I’m at the playground or just at home, I spend time with my little one. And for work, I set aside time in the office or at night after putting her to bed.

And when my daughter turned 2, I started learning again — I took exams at the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK, and my career took off. The study was quite intense, so without clear time management and juggling between being with my child, working, and studying, failure would have been inevitable.

Viktoriia Abed

Viktoriia Abed,

Chief Revenue Officer at Pitch Avatar and mom of 12-year-old Kira.

As it turned out, everything is achievable if you clearly see the main goal you are striving for, focus on key tasks, and rethink your attitude toward time.

Here are the main priorities in the life of a working mom shared by my guests:

With motherhood, my work priorities have undergone both partial and radical changes.

  1. Work-life balance. Above all, the balance between work and personal life became more important. I began to value the time spent at home with my child, which influenced my decision to have a flexible work schedule or the possibility of remote work when needed.
  2. Focus on efficiency. Time became a more valuable resource, so I started looking for ways to increase productivity while reducing the time spent on work. This meant optimizing work processes, delegating tasks, and using better project management tools.
  3. Responsibility and values. I began to pay more attention to corporate culture and the values ​​of the company I work for. Working in an organization that respects the need for work-life balance and supports parents became a priority for me.
Kateryna Kabakova

Kateryna Kabakova,

CEO of Serpstat and mom of 4-year-old Sofia.

Companies’ attitudes toward working mothers have become one of the main priorities not only in women’s lives but also in choosing a workplace.

I've always been a hard worker, and I used to work till midnight. Once, this led to both professional and personal burnout, with some serious health repercussions. Motherhood has thankfully put the brakes on this tendency, and I'm really grateful for it. I'm still as productive and proud of my achievements, but now I make sure also to take care of myself and my family.

I love my company as it offers flexible working hours and an opportunity to work remotely. This allows me to manage my home responsibilities with fewer commutes and more presence at home. That’s why it’s vital for businesses to implement these initiatives to support working mothers.

Oleksandra Khlystova

Oleksandra Khlystova,

PR Team Lead at Stripo, mother of 2-year-old Daniil.

I know some moms fortunate enough to work for companies that provided fully paid maternity leave for three months (sometimes more).

I know moms who worked during maternity leave, who went back less a month after giving birth or took unpaid leave. 

I know moms who returned to work and were re-org’d out of their old roles.

I know of moms who were laid off during maternity leave.

I know pregnant women who were laid off.

In general, I have seen companies view women as unreliable because of their ability to procreate and their need for time off to birth a child, recover from a major medical event, and make sure their newborn makes it through their first precarious few months.

It’s like they think that women don’t need to work. They do. Not everyone has the desire or luxury of having a second income to rely on in their family.

I am very fortunate that I work at a family-friendly company. Flexibility is a must for navigating kid and work life. If I need to take my son to a dentist appointment, it’s not a big deal. If my kid is sick, I work remotely so I can take care of him while I get my work done on the couch next to him.

The challenge that most moms I know face is work environments that aren’t flexible and require demanding schedules.

I joined a company (that I interviewed as much as they interviewed me) that understands people have lives outside of work. I’m really proud to be part of a company culture that values that.

Emily McGuire

Emily McGuire,

Email Marketing Consultant and Senior Email Marketer and a mother of a 7-year-old.

By the way, the pandemic period has influenced the lifestyle and working principles of mothers even more. However, women, by nature, are adaptable, and in the case of working mothers, they are also very structured in multitasking.

Main helpers to structure working moms’ tasks

My day is scheduled by the minute, and it’s very important to stick to the timing; otherwise, tasks will pile up. So, I keep a Google Calendar for all activities and meetings. It’s crucial to divide this calendar into two colors, one dedicated entirely to work and the other to personal life. When my calendar “changes color,” I switch gears. Without this system, it’s difficult for me, and my son has access to the calendar, so he knows exactly what plans I have for us today.

I can't imagine a day without planning. However, staying flexible is key, and having a Plan B, C, and even a Plan D is essential if all else fails. Picture this: your child falls ill and can't go to daycare, but you have a critical day at work and can't take time off. So, you've got to be prepared for every possible scenario.

Oleksandra Khlystova

Oleksandra Khlystova,

PR Team Lead at Stripo, mother of 2-year-old Daniil.

I've been working in the IT industry for over 14 years, but every day, I go old-school and write down all my tasks in a notebook (because I love to mark them off with a pen). So, with the arrival of my child, my daily entries were divided into "work" and "family," and on my wish list was the desire to "spend more time with the child."

Viktoriia Abed

Viktoriia Abed,

Chief Revenue Officer at Pitch Avatar and mom of 12-year-old Kira.

Tools like Trello or Asana help me keep work projects under control. For my personal life, I use task list apps that can be shared with my partner or nanny so everyone is aware of what needs to be done. Artificial intelligence has become the basis for saving time on some tasks. I can't imagine my day without my daily planner and time for self-preparation in the morning. This short moment of solitude helps me mentally prepare for the day, set goals, and gather my thoughts.

Kateryna Kabakova

Kateryna Kabakova,

CEO of Serpstat and mom of 4-year-old Sofia.

What marketers can do to simplify moms’ lives

Planning the day, week, month, task detailing, Plans B, C, and D for various scenarios, home management, and strategy and KPI execution at work, time for oneself, and personal development... This is only a small part of the lives of working mothers. However, mothers themselves are clients and consumers of many goods and services. Often, marketers do not take this into account.

For example, the gym I used to go to had a huge kids’ room but without a single animator or nanny. And you couldn’t bring the child into the workout area. So, how can I take my son with me and not leave him alone in the kids’ room? Also, when ordering any service through an app, I would like to understand whether I can attend with my child and what he will be doing while I am receiving the service.

Asking our respondents, the request is always the same, and it’s more related to services. Not depriving a woman of the opportunity for a full life while helping her with the child, instead of asking her to leave the show or restaurant.

In my opinion, children's rooms, additional parking spaces, and support are necessary, but it all depends on the age of the child. Sofia is almost 5 years old, and the request is the same — occupy her so that I have time to receive the service.

Kateryna Kabakova

Kateryna Kabakova,

CEO of Serpstat and mom of 4-year-old Sofia.

And of course, every mom appreciates it when brands and services remember her and offer something special for holidays or in their loyalty programs. We’ve described many ideas on how to do this in our article.

Life’s main project

Looking at my teenager, who is already completely independent, I sometimes recall my schedule when he was a toddler — all the classes, exploring the world, a million of his questions, and the total exhaustion that came alongside multitasking. I ask myself, “Knowing all this would come, would you still take the risk?” And the answer is obvious. It’s hidden in the phrase: “Good morning, Mom!”

Yes, there's no perfect timing, and your decision was the right one. Keep your head up — you do your best.

Oleksandra Khlystova

Oleksandra Khlystova,

PR Team Lead at Stripo, mother of 2-year-old Daniil.

Look at motherhood as preparing for the most significant project in the world; then motherhood won't feel like a challenge but rather a pleasure.

Viktoriia Abed

Viktoriia Abed,

Chief Revenue Officer at Pitch Avatar and mom of 12-year-old Kira.

Motherhood can often be discussed as a precious, miraculous life experience. In many ways, it is.

In other ways, it will challenge every part of you. Who you think you are, who you want to be, and how you want to show up in this world.

Lean into the challenge. Let go of what you think you should be doing. Stop trying to be perfect. It won’t be.

Once you shed all of those expectations, you’ll find your way. There’s nothing more freeing.

Emily McGuire

Emily McGuire,

Email Marketing Consultant and Senior Email Marketer and a mother of a 7-year-old.

You're strong, you'll manage, and ahead lies a wonderful adventure!

Kateryna Kabakova

Kateryna Kabakova,

CEO of Serpstat and mom of 4-year-old Sofia.

Being a mother is also a job and perhaps the most interesting one in life. Happy Mother’s Day to you, our best experts! From all of us at Stripo!

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