Systems for parents who want to do good work in the world and at home.
Ana Basquez may be a new mom. But she is already a strong and wise mom.
I spoke to Ana on a Saturday afternoon when she was hard at work at her job as a legal assistant. She was kind enough to break her intense focus on work to grant me 30 minutes of her time, and we chatted all about her first year as a working mom. Ana had lots of practical advice and thoughtful insight to share with me! But let’s back up for a second and talk about Ana’s first year as mom.
Ana’s daughter Cami was born in 2015. It was clear that Ana loves being a mom in just the first few minutes of our conversation. She speaks about her time with her daughter with joy and wonder. But Ana also acknowledges that becoming a mom comes with its struggles. She shared how her experience of becoming a mom was stressful and joyful, scary and fun, often all at the same time. It’s a feeling that all of us parents know well.
Essential Values – when we know them our choices make sense
Ana deeply values the time she has with her daughter. Even though there is a financial cost to her and her family, she works fewer hours so that she can have time with her daughter, and with her husband, as much as possible. But Ana is still a full-time working mom, and as we all know, that role comes with its own challenges and gifts.
As Ana talked about her return to work after maternity leave, I was impressed by the way Ana clearly explained this:
Her priorities at work are tied to her priorities as a parent.
Ana has suffered the guilt that moms are all too familiar with – the guilt of leaving their kids to work, the guilt of leaving work to take care of children, etc. But Ana combats this guilt by being super clear about the reason for her choices. As she said, “I have to realize that what I’m doing is for her [her daughter] to have a better life.” Ana is a great example of someone who knows her essential values which help her make choices that actually align with her values.
Working Moms Get Efficient FAST
As a working mom, Ana is developing her ability to work even more efficiently and effectively than she had before. She has always, always, been a hard worker, and that reality hasn’t changed. Before Cami was born, work was one of Ana’s top three life-priorities. She would go into work early, she would work weekends routinely. But since Cami was born Ana has learned to be even more hyper-focused and hyper-efficient with her work hours in order to do the best job she can in the time she has. She stays focused on the task at hand and recognizes that she doesn’t want to waste her work hours getting distracted by social media, and other distractors.
Ana acknowledged that she isn’t a natural “planner” and that has been a struggle for her since becoming a working mom. In her pre-mom days she was used to the flexibility of working when she needed to rather than being tied to a baby’s schedule. But she is proud that being a working mom has led her to gain new skills, including learning to sync her calendar, to be more organized, and to be even more efficient in her now more limited work hours.
Ana turned to blogging after returning to work and finding a lack of relatable blogs out there for working moms. Much like one of my other featured moms, Christyl, Ana wanted to create a space to share her own experience as a working mom, but also to reach out to other moms who were struggling with the same things. She now focuses her blog more on health, beauty and wellness tips and wants it to be a positive space to support and encourage women of all backgrounds to embrace this amazing life. When I asked Ana what advice she had for new moms, especially the ones who were going to be going back to work soon, she had two really thoughtful pieces of advice.
Firstly, “have an open mind.”
As a parent Ana has learned that there are things she thought she would never do, but then needed to. We’ve all had that experience and this advice is especially helpful for parents like Ana who are learning new ways of functioning at work to meet their families needs.
Secondly, remember “your way is not the only way.”
Ana emphasized that work-life balance looks different for everyone, a sentiment I agree with wholeheartedly. She believes that moms and dads need to live it for themselves to find both the hows and the whys that make sense for them. Ana’s “why” is always to provide a good life and be a strong role model for her daughter. Knowing her “why” makes all Ana’s “how” choices a bit more focused.
This May Ana celebrated her first mother’s day as a mom. It was an exciting and joyous time. But while talking to her, it is clear that Ana has a wise soul, even as a young mom. Her daughter and her family are her “why” for all she does, and she also knows that being a mom means she is always learning and growing. I appreciate this wisdom and am glad Ana was able to pass it along to me – and to all of us.
Ana is a first time working mom to a sweet baby girl. In her blog, The Blushing Mama, she shares her experiences as a new mom as well as health & beauty tips and recipes. She loves spending time with her family outdoors and working out. Her blog is dedicated to mamas and all women in hopes of creating a positive space to support and encourage one another in this amazing life.
Real Moms. Real Life Lessons.
A free guide to help you put work-life balance lessons from real working moms into practice.
Create Clear Priorities
Use Time Wisely