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Surviving and Thriving in Working Parenthood

Hi Passion Fit Crew!

I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the start of spring. Also, Happy Easter and Happy Holi to all those who celebrated last week!

Life has been extremely busy on my end as I recently started a new job as the Director of Enterprise Sales for a health, wellness and fitness video technology start-up in Silicon Valley called Grokker. I’m really loving and enjoying it, however, in trying to balance my new job, my personal health and fitness brand, Passion Fit and my family’s needs, I definitely have a lot on my plate these days. Therefore, for my blog post today, I wanted to share what I’ve been experiencing and learning with fellow parents out there, because it’s important for us all to stick together and remember we’re not alone in our efforts to make it all work.

It’s definitely not easy managing work and little ones. My husband, who’s an executive at Google, and I have two boys who are eight and five years old and are in third grade and pre-k respectively. While I’ve worked throughout my eight years so far as a mom, every stage in my children’s lives and my career has brought new opportunities and challenges. Since my kids were born, I worked for Google for about  six and a half years, then spent the last year and a half building and running Passion Fit, which I’m still continuing to do, and now I’m working full-time again for Grokker.

In addition to school, my boys are in basketball, soccer, baseball, karate, swimming, a reading and math program and piano at different times throughout the year. Yes, it’s a lot of activities, but it’s important to my husband and me that our kids are well-rounded and have a chance to try different activities, learn, grow and have fun. They also have a lot of energy and need to channel it in productive ways, otherwise they’ll be bouncing off the walls!

Some parents choose to have nannies, babysitters or family members watch their children after school, while others choose daycare or onsite after school programs. My husband and I chose the daycare/onsite after school program route for our kids and it works pretty well for us, though every family needs to do what works for them. I also work from home one day a week, which helps provide some balance. However, I think the biggest struggle is the fact that corporate working hours don’t coincide with school hours. Also, it can be very difficult when the kids get sick, have special days off school for teacher training or other holidays that companies aren’t closed for. Also, driving the kids to and from school, their sports and other activities requires a lot of careful planning and organization and sometimes carpooling with other parents. And did we talk about homework yet? Volunteering in the classroom? Occasional work travel? A social life? Play dates and birthday parties? Making school lunches? Cooking? Cleaning? Bath time? Bed time? Needing to get back online many nights to work after the kids go to bed? And what about exercise? That’s something I have to get up early in the morning to do, or it won’t get done. Yep, it’s a lot, yet so many of us do it every day.

On the flip side, I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to be a hands on mom to my sons and also have a career that I love. I often say, “When you have kids, you don’t have to check your ambition at the door, but you do have to keep your ambition in check.” So that’s what I try to put into practice every day. I don’t always get it right and make plenty of mistakes along the way. But I keep trying my absolute best at home and at work and I try to be real and authentic through it all. That’s the best I can do. I used to feel really guilty about working while raising young kids and I still do at times. However, having the experiences of working for other companies and running my own business from home while trying to raise a family, I’ve been on both sides and each has it’s pros and cons. It will never be perfect, but I really like where I am now and I love the fact that my job entails helping other companies and people focus on their health, wellness and fitness in addition to their work. Therefore, my work inspires me to strive for as much balance as I can by trying to get enough sleep, managing my stress, exercising regularly, eating healthy, breathing and relaxing on the weekends. I know all too well that those things are critical to making it work and if they fall out of whack, everything else will too.

At the end of the day, I want to ensure I’m there for my kids and give them the security and confidence that they are deeply loved and cared for, while also being a productive and high-performing contributor at work. There’s always give and take, sharing responsibilities with my husband and days when things run smoothly in both areas, in one area and not in the other or in neither. But such is life. In my mind, it’s still a gift to be able to have both my family and career in my life and having both allows me to truly be ME. I like learning, growing, challenging myself and having something that’s my own. I also feel I’m setting a good example for my sons that both parents can work and be present at school and at home. It certainly isn’t easy, but for me, it’s always worth it.

How do other parents feel out there? What works for you and what doesn’t? What are your biggest challenges and opportunities? Do you feel it’s all worth it? Feel free to think about these questions and also share your thoughts in the comments section below if you’d like. I’d love to hear from you!

That’s it for today, Passion Fit Crew! I’ll be back soon with another blog post. Until next time…

XOXO,
Reena