Mom to Preston
Real Estate Broker
Length of maternity leave: 4 months
Childcare: Part-time daycare and Family
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
My experience returning to my own business was a lot more of a roller coaster than anticipated. After working in real estate for the past 7 years, I had no idea what my return as a self-employed real estate broker and full-time mom would look like. I envisioned my family helping with my son and my husband chipping in during random night and weekend appointments. I thought I would get back to the swing of things a lot more swiftly. In reality, I faced the challenges of re-starting my business and learning how to juggle an even more important role, mom. On a financial note, all the leave money that was saved up was burned through much quicker than anticipated as I was dealing with outrageous medical bills from having a premature baby and a lengthy hospital stay from Preston and I. The other unplanned part was a how much I emotionally fought needing more childcare because I didn’t want “someone else raising my child”. Not to mention it is very expensive to hire any sort of childcare, so we had to rely on family sporadically watching Preston while I ran to showings, organized marketing, met with clients, etc. (OR doing paperwork and computer work while utilizing my gym childcare). Mom hack - find a gym that has childcare. It is amazing!
When my son was 2 months old, my world was rocked when my mom suffered a serious stroke and began the path of recovery and therapy. Family being the center of life for me and my husband, we wanted a hands on role in aiding with my Mom’s recovery. So, maternity leave was extended for personal reasons. My mom is doing great now! Fast forward and my son is 2 years old and being back at work as a full-time broker feels right and fulfilling. Shoutout to my awesome in-home daycare provider for making it possible for me to work! My family needs the second income and I love what I do. My job challenges me and brings me a different sense of purpose and drive. I’m lucky that if I have to bring my son to appointments, I can. I have shared my job a lot with my husband and it only feels natural I can do the same thing with my son.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
Being a working parent is challenging in many ways but for me the first thing that pops into my head is the “mental load”. We as moms take on a lot (meal prep, grocery shopping, work, clients, almond milk v regular milk, bills, home repairs, dinner parties, birthday gifts, rides). I can only speak for my personal situation but one challenge I face every day is finding a sense of balance in a job and career field that moves fast and has inconsistent work hours. I’m a natural type A, so the challenge for me is making my career run and operate as smoothly as possible while having time to slow down and enjoy life with my close friends and family. My desire to run a business and work as a full time broker is because I want flexibility to travel with my family, the ability to be the primary caretaker for our son and work in an environment where I’m in control of my business.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
I enjoy the challenge of working in an industry that forces you to wear many different hats from sales to psychology and marketing. As a working parent, I have come to realize I love and hate the escape. I love having conversations unrelated to baby food and vaccines and I love my work world because I often have the opportunity to connect with other parents in similar positions. The fulfillment real estate brings to me is helping hard working and goal-driven families, first time home buyers, investors and “move up” buyers. Also, the long term friendships I make from my job are so special. I enjoy brining home positive real estate stories for my son and telling my son positive work events from my husband’s work day and my own.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
Yes 110%. I’ve adjusted the way I run my business. I’m more likely to outsource work and take less money in order to buy myself more time with my son. If it means working alongside a trusted colleague and teaming up for a client, I will do that many times rather than earning more money and having way less time with my son. The business I do has gone down and I have a hard time saying that because I’m a very active broker and the reality is when I work 6 days a week and have a 2 year old I don’t have the woman power to work 6 active clients at one time. My priorities have changed from the 24 year old broker working 9am-9pm Monday-Sunday. Now, I want to be home for dinner, bed, bath and story time. Another learning curve I have faced is saying “no” to random networking, lunches or even educational real estate classes because I want my son to be #1.
Knowing what you know now, what’s one thing you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself as you were preparing to return to work or getting ramped up in your role?
Cuddle more, relax on laundry and cooking , haha. Everyone warned me the newborn phase would go by quickly. It went by at rocket speed. I wouldn’t do a lot different because I think I had to learn each motion as it came for me. The few months I beat myself up about my son’s reflux, I wish I could have told that very stressed out mom “he will gain weight, he WILL stop spitting up everything”. I’m happy my husband and I were slow and particular to choose daycare and I’m happy we have family that we fell back on during tough times. Working with your partner and getting in the groove of becoming a “team of 3” takes on the ultimate test when balancing 2 careers, and a whirlwind of new parental learning curves. Your marriage will be tested.
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
Part time daycare (7/8a-1p), sporadic family members (grandparents, Nana, aunties, uncle, Kids World)
Pros: We LOVE our in-home daycare and being that it is part-time it is “only” $700/month. We love the interaction our son gets with the other children and the convenience of the home being only 15 min.
Cons: It is part-time and often times real estate appointments are at 4 or 6 in the evening or weekends which makes for a A LOT of shuffling with my husband’s schedule (sales manager for similar industry) , or arranging relatives or babysitters to help out where needed.
Anything else to share?
Stay at home moms, working moms— you are all amazingly strong and powerful! The idea that we have to find balance is sometimes over rated because it is ok to feel as though one day you are a rockstar do-it-all mom, realtor, volunteer, runner and the next day you're winning if you get a shower and make it to a meeting with your hair done. It is tough but as long as you're living out your vision of a meaningful mom life, you are doing right by your family.