Happy almost-Mother’s Day! Sunday, May 10th is just around the corner and the occasion got us thinking about what it means to be a working mom in this moment. There is no shortage of discussion about how to best manage a work/life balance in our “new normal.” We’re seeing expert advice on everything from how to excel at our new teaching roles and maintain work productivity to keeping partnerships functional.
Experts suggest scheduling, being patient, showing yourself some grace, and managing expectations. As many of you know first-hand, this is much easier said than done.
At Intesa, we have the unique advantage of a company culture that has valued a healthy work life/balance since day one. Our founder, Margie Newman, and partner, Maddy Kilkenny, are both mothers of young children who embody a work culture that values life outside of work as much as they value a culture of excellence in the office. For all of our good intentions, however, our team of go-getters can be just as tempted to the “pull” of almost-finished projects, one more email, late night cell phone pings, and urgent deadlines as everyone else. Work/life balance — even in normal times — can be an elusive ideal.
“You think being a working mom is challenging now? Hold my beer.” – COVID-19
Even with leadership that values (and even sometimes enforces) work/life balance, COVID-19 and the resulting work-from-home-with-kids dynamic have presented unprecedented challenges to the working moms of Intesa. So, moms of Intesa, what’s keeping you going?
Margie Newman, Founding Partner
“Structure – or even just an attempt at it – is what keeps me and my kiddos from losing our minds. From daily Intesa team huddles, to mostly-firm coffee, breakfast, lunch and snack times, to Kindergarten and Second Grade Zoom class calendar invites. Establishing a routine, trying to stick to it, and being flexible if we don’t is what keeps us sane. We’re all doing our best. Sometimes that involves a closet cry or shower wine, but this, too, shall pass. I’ve also found great fulfillment in writing cards and letters to clients, colleagues, and friends over the course of these past 50+ days. Also: Tiger King. Tiger King helped me a lot.”
Mindy Wright, Account Manager
“I have two kids under four years old and my husband is still working outside the home as an essential worker so I think at this point I’m running on momentum and sheer stubbornness. In all seriousness, I’m grateful to get up every day to a healthy family and a healthy to-do list. We have incredible clients who are leading in the fight against COVID-19, helping those who need it, and looking to the future and I’m privileged to help tell their stories. Working and momming at the same time is (very) tough, but I love my jobs!”
Nancy Schroeder, PR Director
“While it’s hard to grasp how much has changed, sharing daily ups-and-downs with my colleagues have made it much easier to cope. I have the oldest kids of the bunch (11 year-old twins), and our Zoom calls make me appreciate that they’re pretty easy + self-sufficient when compared to babies, toddlers and super active youngsters (although I did catch my daughter trying to open a can of corn with a steak knife.) Other things I’ve realized: it’s ok to be just “ok;” go outside when I need a break; and meal burn-out is a real thing. Even Sam Sifton, of NYT’s food blog, admitted he’s SICK OF COOKING! I couldn’t agree more, although we did manage to eke out homemade bread and cinnamon rolls – just once. Lastly, Fortnite and FaceTime were once seen as evil distractions; now they’re incredibly useful platforms that are keeping my kids virtually connected with their pals in real-time, which is really, really important today. Strict screen time limits? Not so much over here right now, and that’s a-ok by me.”
Maddy Kilkenny, Partner
“When your 3 yr. old runs behind you in the middle of a Zoom call with an elected official and yells “Mommy I have poopy,” you get a lot of perspective. If this quarantine has taught me anything about being a mom, it’s that I need to exercise more patience. As I lamented to my dad the other day that my boys just aren’t listening to me anymore, he replied with “Well, they’re hearing you a lot more.” So true. Our kids are seeing so much more of our lives than usual, and us of theirs. It’s so important to be patient and understanding of our kids and those around us. Easier said than done, which is why quarantine has also moved gratitude to the front of my brain. Gratitude for my husband who believes that our marriage is a partnership, and gratitude for our clients and coworkers who understand moms will always be moms first and everything else second.”