CAREER

Making the Most of Working from Home as a Working Mom

By Christa Conte

As I sit in my kitchen writing this (hands up if your husband/partner/roommate has taken over the bedroom/office in your living space!), I realize that there’s not much more to say about being a mom while working remotely during a pandemic. We’ve all seen the stories of a “comparable” salary for a mother who takes care of the cooking, cleaning, etc for her household. And we’ve read about the challenges women face heading back into the workforce after a “difficult” year— though I’m not sure that word really sums it up. So, I’m not going to pretend that I’ve found the magic hourglass that gives me an extra 12 hours a day (is that even enough?) to work a full 50-hour work week while still maintaining my home, ensuring my kids are physically, mentally, emotionally and socially stable and finding time for self-care. Meanwhile, I questioned when I would have the time to write about it!

What I can tell you is, you’re not alone. We are all in this together—as women, as sisters, as daughters, as friends and as mothers. Motherhood in particular has and continues to teach me insurmountable things. In the midst of the pandemic, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Chloe. I was not ready to deliver my baby in a surgical mask or feel isolated in the maternity ward. I was not ready to send my toddler (masked) and infant to daycare so I could go back to work full-time. So, while by no means am I an expert on the topic, I do have experience, and today I want to share the three things that have guided me through this past year as a mother and remote worker:

Pressure is privilege

I’ve heard this phrase a lot lately, and it’s stuck with me. Whether it’s the Peloton instructor screaming that I “get to work out” (not “have to”) or the president of my company reminding me how much we’ve overcome as a business, I realize that I am fortunate to have a job I love, healthy children and a roof over my head. I remind myself daily that these are things that I signed up for, and while they present new/unique challenges, I’m fortunate to have them and am constantly looking for ways to give back to individuals and communities around me who do not have that privilege.

Spend your time wisely

Being “remote” is not a state-of-mind, rather a physical state-of-being that gives most of us hours back in our day without a long commute or endless distractions. With this freedom, we have a chance to be the best versions of ourselves by investing our time into the things that matter the most to us. Just like everyone tells you when you have a child and feel like you will NEVER get to sleep again: “The days are long, but the months/years are short.” This feels true with remote work—I blinked and it’s almost 2022. I’ve made a promise to myself to make each day count. While some days feel like one long Zoom call, you can make the choice to block your calendar to get work done the next day.

Get out of your comfort zone!

While we’ve all finally adjusted to this new normal and can bask in the safety of our new routines (who doesn’t love a good mid-afternoon shower break?), we have to remember that being too comfortable is not a good thing. As communicators, breaking out of our routines can inspire creativity and new ideas. That doesn’t mean you have to physically go outside if you’re not ready—although a good walk around the block does wonders. What it does mean is, switch up your day—take a walk while you’re on a call, throw in a random icebreaker on your next Zoom meeting or catch-up with a colleague over coffee in your hometown (safely, of course).

Christa Conte

Christa Conte is an EVP with Hotwire, a global communications consultancy, where she leads some of the company’s largest accounts through internal/external issues, crises, pivots and more! As a mom of two kids under four-years-old, Christa enjoys exploring her hometown of Hoboken and the rest of the Garden State’s beautiful beaches, boardwalks, parks and playgrounds with her family.

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