How do you deal with a career AND kids?

General Mills
Ohboyohboy

General Mills

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Gerson Lehrman
Ohboyohboymore
Nov 13, 2017 34 Comments

Posting this in the women in tech section not because I️ think this is a woman only responsibility but because I️ want to know how women deal with it.
I’m trying to rise in my career but I️ feel like I’m being held back by my kids and home life. I️ come home from work fully ready to grab a snack, do the kid routine (play, read, dinner, bath, sleep, etc) then spend some time studying for myself. But by the time I️ put them down I’m exhausted and end up binging on Netflix or crap on YouTube. How do you guys manage it?? Right now I’m feeling like a failure both as a mom and at work.
I’m 35 and feel like I’m super behind. Both the kids are adopted so I️ took time off each time and started at a new company when they were 6-9 months old. Many of my friends (all men) have made it to VP / manager / director roles and I’m at a senior DBA role.
Details - a 5yr old and a 2yr old. My husband is an equalish parent (he does his share of the kids and house work but I️ still have to remind him). Plus I’m in grad school taking classes 1-2 nights a week. At the rate I’m going I’ll be done with the degree when I’m 38. I mostly went back to school to switch to a Data Science career track and to feel more confident in my skill set. Am I️ crazy? Am I️ taking on too much? Tagging the major tech companies because it’s my goal to end up there.

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TOP 34 Comments
  • Cisco / Eng Smsht
    I just decided that until the younger one is 3, I am in a survival mode. I put kids to bed and go to sleep in 30 mins max. Without enough sleep I won't be productive at work. I only take the training that happens during work hours/sponsored by work. I have a good example though: my senior director worked part time for 8 years when her kids were young, however she is where she is now. For me climbing to the top is not a goal, it might be quite frustrating and insecure there. I focus on being employable in 10 years and measure my progress by how many pings I get from recruiters without being actively looking and going to interview occasionally.
    Nov 13, 2017 3
    • General Mills
      Ohboyohboy

      General Mills

      PRE
      Gerson Lehrman
      Ohboyohboymore
      OP
      Survival mode is so true!!! Right now I️ go to class one night a week, come home late (6ish) one night week to study for 2 hours before I️ get home, and spend 2-3 hours out of the house studying on Saturday mornings. It all goes to hell though when winter hits and the babies are sick. Have to find a way to adjust to their schedule.
      Nov 13, 2017
    • Cisco / Eng Smsht
      I miss studying but I became really selective and access whether it will really help my career and what are the specific outcomes I expect. We have a data science education at Cisco in the form of a 6 months program, but I've interviewed people who went through it first and also with my friends data analysts/scientists and decided that I don't need it. Unless I am ready to make it a fulltime career it doesn't make sense. It is just like studying a foreign language that you won't get a chance to heavily use on a daily basis - it will fade away. On the other hand I have come to realization that the best way to progress in my career is to leverage the networking and practicing my interview skills. Especially if I want less technical and more people-oriented role where it is harder to test the qualification on a whiteboard. Kids teach us to work smart, not hard; to multitask and to prioritize.
      Nov 13, 2017
  • Pure Storage orangeg769
    First of all congratulations! You’ve tackled some pretty big milestones in your life with starting a business, adopting children and being a parent. I think it’s easy as women to be self-critical and to focus on what you haven’t done vs looking at what you have.
    I understand the duality of feeling like the clock is ticking on your career yet wanting to be a fully present minded mom. As another poster said, I think you need to be patient with yourself. Is getting that title really what’s going to bring joy and fulfillment?

    Having a two-year-old and a five-year-old is a ton of work but it’s also a critical time in their life. My kids are that age as well and it’s absolutely magical and brutal - I struggle also, but I know that this time is fleeting and so for me, I’m more interested in experiencing joy through my children than ladder climbing. If you’re looking at it like you’re being held back by your children - that’s a tricky place because resentment can creep in - and that’s not fair to them.

    This is a moment where your priorities might need to shift. You won’t lose ground if you maintain your business relationships while keeping your head down with your kids and current job. Relationships propel careers to vp titles faster than skill. Because at that level, it’s all about who you know.
    Nov 13, 2017 1
    • General Mills
      Ohboyohboy

      General Mills

      PRE
      Gerson Lehrman
      Ohboyohboymore
      OP
      The resentment towards them is exactly what I️ fear. Luckily I️ work for a very family friendly company and I️ get to be home by 4ish every day. I️ get some solid bonding time with them so they know that at the end of the day they are the loves of my life. But being career driven has always been a cornerstone of my personality. My kids fulfill me definitely, but so does work. Thanks for the reminder about relationships.
      Nov 13, 2017
  • Microsoft VSpu81
    You are doing a great job!!! Age is nothing but a number. We women are adding +10 years to the average age of achieving our life/career milestones compared to women back in the '80s and' 90s. But we'll live longer with better health too! Gender-based income inequality is a much larger debate.
    Nov 13, 2017 1
    • General Mills
      Ohboyohboy

      General Mills

      PRE
      Gerson Lehrman
      Ohboyohboymore
      OP
      Thank you for your kind words! It’s amazing what a difference a little bit of encouragement can do
      Nov 13, 2017
  • Survival mode here. I only started interviewing again when my son turns 3 and more independent. Though it might be exhausting, those moments (put kids to bed, arguing over toddler logic, etc), they are so rich to the soul. I am very sure 20 years from now, we will look back and remember these sweet moments instead of cracking codes so that someone can watch their cat videos better. The key to me is to outsource and be ok with a messy house :)
    Nov 13, 2017 0
  • Apple Pocketeer
    I’m amazed, and have a great deal of respect for you and other parents like you. Go OP!
    Nov 13, 2017 1
    • General Mills
      Ohboyohboy

      General Mills

      PRE
      Gerson Lehrman
      Ohboyohboymore
      OP
      Thank you! I️ need to keep reminding myself that no one expects me to be an unachievable ideal but some days my doubts creep in real hard
      Nov 13, 2017
  • Microsoft Dinglegn
    Held back by kids and home life? Kids are a huge commitment one that changes careers given the dedication/time needed to raise a family. I can’t imagine how you would have more time to work with two you children, unless your husband becomes a stay at home parent. I don’t think it can be both ways unless the children suffer from lack of parents in their life. Seems like you already have a lot going on so be patient and finish your schooling.
    Nov 13, 2017 1
    • General Mills
      Ohboyohboy

      General Mills

      PRE
      Gerson Lehrman
      Ohboyohboymore
      OP
      We are debating whether my husband should be a stay home dad for a few years to help balance the load. He’s in academia and would do his research / writing while the kids are in school. After school he’d take on the majority of the home responsibilities so I️ can concentrate on work. But that plan is at least 2-3 years away. Trying to find ways to manage until then.
      Nov 13, 2017
  • Yahoo / Other Tul
    Slow down. This isnt a race. Your kids will be adults in what will seem like a blink of an eye one day. You surely arent poor. Prioritize kids while they still need you then go hard at work.
    Nov 29, 2017 0
  • Juniper / Ops shitposter
    if your goal is to end up in those companies, you should either be very smart and be able to get a lot of work done in a short time or be a workaholic and put in long hours at work. Many people in those companies are DINKs. you'll be at a disadvantage if you're raising kids along with your work.
    Nov 13, 2017 0
  • Microsoft / Eng gxitdv
    When they get more independent, it definitely gets easier, just be prepared to spend a lot of mental energy helping them learn how to do stuff. I think this is the biggest drain on me. It's not the physical, it's still the decision making and remembering/reminding. It can be written down in a million places with the exact steps and routine but kids still need you to remember/remind them. To this end, husbands often drain this mental energy as well.
    Nov 13, 2017 2
    • General Mills
      Ohboyohboy

      General Mills

      PRE
      Gerson Lehrman
      Ohboyohboymore
      OP
      YES!!!! The mental drain is what’s killing me! I’m trying to streamline things at home but wanted to see what everyone else does. For me it’s laying out clothes for work / school the night before, cooking massive amounts of food once a month and freezing it so there’s always food available, and having bins available for kids so they self-cleanup (specific spots for books, papers, dirty laundry etc). Now if I️ could just get the family to cooperate 😂
      Nov 13, 2017
    • Cisco / Eng Smsht
      If you are delegating something to your husband you need to be ok that he will make mistakes and not rush take it back into tour own hands. If my husband didn't prepare a bottle for the night feeding he will end up going downstairs, washing the bottle in the middle of the night. Yes, the baby will cry for a little longer but the dad might remember the next time rather than I'd have to keep this on my list again and again.
      Nov 13, 2017
  • Boeing opFx28
    I learned after trial and error that success does not always equate to happiness. Remember to be present for the kids and SO. Appreciate the little fleeting moments and take care of yourself as health is something people often forget about until it's too late. Set small achievable goals and days off to catch up/study/pamper/breathe. It's not a rat race and as others have mentioned you are doing just fine.
    Dec 28, 2017 0

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