Find your Fortitude and Keep Going; One Super Mom Feat at a Time
Transitioning into motherhood is not easy, transitioning into a working mother is even tougher. One of the first feelings I experienced on returning to work after my maternity leave was anxiety and self-doubt. I was overwhelmed by the thought of committing myself to a full time job without having to compromise the time I spend with my son.
 
Over the course of the next 18 months, I slowly gained confidence that I could manage both and yet have some semblance of and normalcy in my life. Here are some tips that helped me get through and find a way to successfully balance work and family. I hope that some of these will resonate with the working parents at PayPal and they find it useful in navigating their own personal challenges.
 
First and foremost, have faith in your choice (to be a working parent) and trust in your abilities. There are ample studies that prove that working parents are no less productive or successful than stay at home moms.
A little planning can go a long way in time management which is so precious for working mothers. This will help ensure you maximize your productivity during the time you spend at work. Simple things like making a to-do list, allocating time for emails and meetings and blocking time out for family can go a long way in helping you feel that your life isn’t chaotic.
 
Prioritize and delegate. I know these words can sound like a broken record to a lot of us but these are your most powerful tools in effective time management.  What is the point of trying to do everything and failing? Prioritization will make sure your goals are achievable. And delegation is about maximizing the potential of your colleagues and your entire network.
 
Set aside 30 minutes each Sunday to plan your week with your partner. This will help you better plan for that upcoming team event or that late evening call.
 
Plan your child’s day and routine as well (to the extent possible). Feeds, nap times, bath time, playdates, park visits, leaving specific instructions with your child’s care giver can help you keep calm when you are away at work. I went as far as even specifying minute things like maintaining air conditioner temperatures.
 
Optimize your commute schedule. Avoid travelling during peak traffic hours to save time.
 
Plan your leaves wisely. Adding a day of PTO to an extended weekend can give you four days of uninterrupted time with your child.
 
Preempt and prevent things that make you anxious when you are away from work.  Baby proofing your home, laying out shock absorbing rugs for trips and falls, removing choking hazards can quell a lot of anxiety mothers have about their child’s safety when they are away. This one was particularly relevant for a paranoid mother like myself!
 
Another particularly tough one is the need to travel for work. My personal advice is to always discuss with your manager about how soon and how long you feel comfortable with travel. Express you concerns if any and figure out what works best for you. Our company values will always be an enabler in your decisions and will never compel you to choose one over the other. If you do choose to travel, leverage the support system you have around you. Parents, grandparents, siblings, friends can all contribute in their own way. Have faith that you are leaving your child in good care and you can always buy some gifts on your way back worst case if you still feel guilty!
 
Leverage the flexibility and support that PayPal provides for its working mothers. Work with your manager and team, seek support when you need it. And you will be amazed by how far your colleagues are willing to go to help you succeed during this demanding phase of your life.
 
And finally, know that trade-offs are inevitable and working mom guilt is normal. You are bound to be heartbroken when your child’s day care informs you that your little angel walked for the first time today. But remember, you are the only one she will run to. Loving your job does not make you any less of a mother. Motherhood was meant to enrich our lives, not enslave our conscience.
 
So find your fortitude and keep going; one super mom feat at a time!
 

Andaleeb Shadan, Senior Manager, Resolutions and Protections

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