It’s my 3rd week back from maternity leave at General Assembly (GA); I want to share these 3 Lessons from my kids (that I started typing up at 3 am when my son walked into our room and I couldn’t fall back to sleep) ….
Lesson #1 Mommy Love Coffee, Snacks & Networking in Unexpected Places
This isn’t an ad for Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks or my local cold brew locations, but my son, Jake, knows that mommy loves her coffee and snacks. Jake recognizes the coffee logos everywhere we go, as he knows that his mom is happily addicted to coffee. It’s a great way to start the day (after sleepless nights with a newborn), it’s social – “Mommy, shouldn’t we bring munchkins to soccer for our friends?” – and, IMO, it’s ALSO the best way to network and do deals.
Don’t underestimate your ability to make a business connection at your child’s art or soccer class, while also setting up playdates that keep them active and social during the week when you’re back at work. Grabbing coffee with other moms and their strollers during maternity leave (shout-out to Hoboken mommies) was one of my favorite activities; and it ALSO continues to be the best way for me to engage and catch up with my business network. A simple “let’s grab coffee to catch up over life and work” is effective and enjoyable.
Research shows that 2.25 Billion cups of coffee are consumed around the globe each year and 64%of Americans say they drink at least one cup of coffee a day. The average office employee drinks 20 cups a week. (That’s over 1,000 cups per year!)
Lesson #2: “If you can dream it, you can build it ”
The Rusty Rivets theme song on Nick Jr (duh). “Bob the Builder, Yes we can!” “It’s Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood a land of make believe.” Who else has their kids tv theme songs stuck in their head now? You’re welcome…
This dreamer and entrepreneurial spirit is why I love working at a company that focuses on innovative solutions to talent acquisition and workforce development challenges, mixed with our own learning culture. While it’s still very hard to leave the kids with my nanny in the morning and organize all of our crazy schedules, I’m engaged by my work and opportunities with my clients.
I also want my newborn daughter, Sophia, and son, Jake, to know that mommies lead teams too. During my maternity leave, my son got too used to saying “daddy works, but mommy doesn’t”. I don’t want that to be the narrative, and therefore am active with TFQ’s Girls lounge. Women should be making change happen and dreaming for big things too.
A study of over 900 companies shows that organizations with three or more women in senior management roles score higher in all dimensions of organizational effectiveness.
Lesson #3: Sh*t Happens.
Admit it. You’ve been pooped on. By your kids (Sophia is a master pooper), by your clients, and at work. 2 kids isn’t easy. Work isn’t easy. This world and global news isn’t easy. Sometimes I want to hit the “make believe monster button” to get rid of any nightmares like I do for my son, but I continue to push forward and make good things happen.
There isn’t a playbook for returning to work after 15 weeks of maternity leave, raising 2 socially conscious and good kids, and attempting to balance the drive for results and lack of sleep! My solution is to hug my kids tighter and lean on my friends, family, and colleagues, and attempt to figure it all out as I go.
A parent loses about 350 hours of sleep at night over their baby’s first year.
So, to get through it all – stay caffeinated, don’t tackle problems on an empty stomach, dream big, network everywhere you go and remember you can get through the sh*t.