Friday, July 27, 2012

To working moms out there…

Visiting Robert, UCSC 2011

As soon as the news broke that Marissa Mayer has joined Yahoo as a CEO while she is expecting a baby in October, I started overhearing people talking about it. I have to say that quite often I heard people wondering if it is possible to combine such a job with being a first time mom, I have to say Yes, it is!

I am a mom of two boys, Robert and Alexander. And I have parallel careers as a children’s book writer, a blogger, and an attorney. While my boys and my family always come first, I belong to the type of moms who wants to work and be with her children at the same time… and that’s exactly what I do.
When Robert was born, I would work on my Thesis while he was asleep in the park for hours.  Having time restrictions forced me to learn to be productive during those few hours I had. When little Alex was born, we were faced with the challenge of fighting Autism. I had to put everything on hold and spend all my efforts on intensive early intervention therapy.

As Alex got better and I was able to spend more time working, I brought more work home. I had Alex participate in some of my projects – sometimes he would give me his prospective on stories, or colors or shapes of designs…  Now, I review my files while he does his homework, I write while I am waiting for him to finish his Taekwondo class or when he watches TV or plays in his room, or goes swimming with dad.  And when the day is over, we talk about school and stuff until he falls asleep.

This doesn’t mean that I am at home the entire 24 hours, and I don’t believe I should be – it is not good for me and it is not good for the kids. Sometimes I have to work away from home or even out of town. Sometimes I have to take a break and go out with my husband, our friends, or spend time with my girlfriends. All this does not stop my strong connection with my kids. It actually does the opposite – my kids see the more relaxed version of me when I am home!

Okay, my life is not picture perfect – I do get stressed, or frustrated, or overwhelmed.  I have a long list of things to do daily, and looking at it alone can be overwhelming. But if I don’t complete everything in the to-do list, then so be it!

To all working moms out there, here are three tips that made my journey possible:

First, build a strong support system! When people say that it takes a village to raise a child, they are not lying. I would never be able to do everything I do without tremendous help from my husband, my family and friends, teachers…

Second, try to avoid multitasking so you can do your best in whatever you do at a moment. This way you can be so much less stressed and so much more productive! Work if you are at work, play if you are with kids, and relax if you are out with your man and friends having a glass of wine. While it may sound impossible, you can master the skill.

Finally, never feel guilty, and never apologize for being who you are and doing what you love.

With love always,
xo, Zuma A.

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