Welcome back to My Full Life!
If you’re a new reader, My Full Life is a new series featuring working moms such as myself. My goal for this series is to ultimately gather together a tribe of women that my readers can go to for advice and feel they are not alone.
Today’s interview is with my friend Kristin. She’s a fellow marketer, working on one of the largest brands in the country, Walgreens. She was extremely honest in her interview, opening up about her quest to find work/life balance after hitting rock bottom.
Tell me a little about yourself- what you do and what your family looks like.
I’m a marketing specialist at Walgreens. I’m married to my husband Rob and we have a two year old son named RJ. Our family life is fairly steady and low-key. We enjoy spending dinners together and try to get outside and adventure on the weekends or visit with family and friends.
How did you get in your current role?
I worked at Leo Burnett/Arc ad agency in the city for 8 years before transitioning to my current role. Around this time last year, my son was getting close to turning one and I was itching to find something closer to home to make my work/life balance and commute (and stress levels!) better. I now work in the suburbs and have a much more manageable commute and work agenda – I still am able to work in an industry I love and get home much earlier to spend time with my family.
What accomplishment are you most proud of professionally? What about as a parent?
Professionally: Being able to manage a full-time, demanding job and still be able to make room for spending quality time with my family every day.
As a Parent: Being there to experience every new milestone my son meets. It’s really fulfilling and exciting to see how much he’s learning and experiencing as he grows!
Tell me a bit about what your work days look like. What do your routines look like?
We are pretty locked with our routine during the work week. I have to be at work by 8:00, while my husband doesn’t start until 10:00. So with that, I get up around 6 and usually around the same time as RJ will wake up. Rob gets RJ and feeds him breakfast while I shower and get ready. Once I’m done, I’ll take over play time with RJ and Rob will go to shower. After he’s ready, I will head out to work and the boys will play/go for a walk until they leave around 9:00.
Rob drops RJ off at daycare and he’s there until I’m out of work and pick him up around 5:00. I make RJ dinner and we get to play until Rob gets home around 6:00. After then, we’ve been taking family walks around the neighborhood when the weather is nice and then put RJ down to sleep around 7:00. Then, Rob and I get some quality time together to have dinner and relax before we head to bed!
What do your weekends look like?
Fairly relaxing – we go outside a lot, either taking long walks or RJ to the park, and try to get house work and errands done. We moved to our new house this past November, so there is an unending list of things to do! We also have family come by to visit most weekends and enjoy that a lot.
What has been your biggest struggle as a working mom? How have you overcome it?
Lately, we are working through our busiest time of the year in regards to the marketing campaign I am running. I’ve been coming home and working until late in the night against tight deadlines, and it’s been really tough to focus on spending time with my family and taking care of myself.
I recently hit rock bottom with the amount of anxiety and stress I’ve been carrying when I suffered through a 5-day migraine that totally debilitated me. I couldn’t work, spend time with Rob and RJ, or really eat and drink and I spent a couple of days at the doctor office and one day in the ER. It’s like my body told me to calm down – I was not taking care of myself and was otherwise focused on work and taking care of my family and home when I could.
Now that the migraine is about over, I have re-hauled how I want to address my work/home life balance. I need to take time to take care of myself first, then family, and work last. If I want to keep enjoying the quality time with my family, I need to make sure I’m keeping myself happy and less anxious. Work will always be there, but it shouldn’t overtake the other two priorities. As long as I keep reminding myself of this importance, I think I’ll be able to move toward being the best version of myself.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself as you were preparing to return to work?
Take it easy on yourself and understand your limits. There is no rush to get back in to everything immediately – take the time to re-learn and adjust your routines and tasks as you’re basically coming back as a different person than you were before.
Tell me your thoughts on balance. Do you think it truly exists? How do you make time for your family, career, relationships and yourself?
I think it can exist, but only for a certain amount of time – I don’t think there can always be a balance and we have to adjust to changing circumstances.
The way I’m finding the balance between family, career, relationships, and myself lately is through scheduling. In order to make the time to focus on these priorities, I have to plan and schedule it, otherwise it won’t happen and I will get derailed. This is nice because I’m able to physically carve out time for each priority in my life and have something to look forward to.