When my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family, my continued career was never up for debate. While I could have used a longer maternity leave (like what all the other developed countries offer new parents), I didn’t want to stop working altogether after becoming a mom. And since returning to the office, nine years ago after my first leave, I’ve realized that motherhood actually made me a better coworker. So it really boggles my mind that companies don’t work harder to retain female employees after they become moms.
I do feel overwhelmed by my life at times, but I don’t think that is totally attributed to working full-time and raising two children. My family and I live in New York City, and it's somewhat of an understatement to say the pace here is fast and the culture is competitive. I’m a third generation New Yorker, though, and with parents who worked two jobs so I think the hustle is embedded in my DNA. As a result, I expect to take on a lot. Luckily motherhood has helped me prioritize. My kids always come first because, while I love having my career producing branded content (with a side hustle as a freelance writer), I am not saving lives with my job. I work in entertainment, and there is value in that, sure, but I’m not kidding myself that late nights at the office will serve me better than immersing myself in a game of Clue with my kids before bed. My family nourishes me in ways my career never could, and my family can’t be my “everything.” I need to have a life outside my home, and to cultivate those parts of me that were in play long before I became a mother.
I will never have enough time, it feels, but I’ll take the occasional disarray of my life over giving up a career I have spent two decades growing. So, with that in mind, these are some of the ways motherhood has actually made me better at work: