How do you balance the demands of work and personal life, and what strategies have you found to be effective for maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
By choice, I was never a stay-at-home mom. I knew that in order to be a better “me”, I needed something outside the home to challenge me professionally. As a result, I feel our children grew up resilient to change and gained age-appropriate independence from their early years. Schedules and routines were must-haves, and really helped to keep our home life balanced, manageable, and predictable.
As the kids grew older, these routines helped them develop skills they use today. Just recently our son, a freshman in college commented “teaching me to grocery shop for the week has really helped me plan ahead”.
When I shifted to remote work, the flexibility allowed us to explore various day camps and activities. I was not locked into a single care provider since I could drive/walk to different locations. The kids loved it and were energized from doing the same thing each week.
Our routines allowed us to anticipate busy days, and schedule vacations easier, and gave us a way to find downtime for spontaneous activities (like seeing 2 movies back to back and having popcorn and m&m’s for dinner).
Yes, there were crazy times and feelings of being overwhelmed, but looking back, I would not have changed anything. Our kids have seen first hand how my career has grown and they know that they were a key part of making that happen.
What advice would you give to other women just starting out in their careers in tech, and what do you wish you had known when you were starting out?
The biggest piece of advice is to learn to use your voice early. Do not be intimidated by others in the room. You were hired for your role for a reason – because others believe in you – so always be confident in what you know.
I have seen many times where others (especially men) will talk over people, cut them off, or “listen just to talk”. You are empowered to ask for your time to speak, challenge decisions, and present ideas. Asking clarifying questions is completely acceptable. It does not make you seem “dumb” or less qualified. Many times there are so many assumptions happening that chances are you, you are not the only one with questions.