From Code to Cuddles:
Tips for Work-Life Balance
as a Mom in Tech
The tech industry is known for its fast-paced, demanding nature. Whether you work as a coder/developer, an HR or marketing professional, operations, or anything else in the industry, being a working mother in the tech industry can be especially complex. This industry relies on up-to-the-minute innovation and balancing the demands of coding, meetings, deadlines, and parenting can feel overwhelming at times.
Here, we’ll explore some practical tips and advice from a few moms working here at Newfire. We hope you’ll discover new strategies for working towards a stronger work-life balance, and find some solace in the fact that while you likely can’t “have it all” everyday, you’re surrounded by a community of hard working mothers/tech workers who have your back! Let’s dive in and chat more about that elusive work-life balance for moms in tech.
Tip#1: Communicate Your Needs
Effective communication with your employer about your needs can be crucial to your success. In many cases, moms are the primary caregiver within a family unity. Having access to reasonable flexibility around working hours and remote work options, as well as clear boundaries for overtime work, can be beneficial for both their employer and their family’s needs.
Let’s back up and say this first – asking for what you need as an employee, as a mom, and simply as a human – it’s really hard! And having to ask for things that revolve around parenting can come with a sense of stigma. However, as moms, the more open and honest conversations we have with our managers and the more we speak up and confidently ask for what we need to thrive in the workplace, the more opportunities we create to affect meaningful change!
Pamela Paniagua, a software engineer at Newfire Global Partners, shared her experience:
“I am the primary caretaker for my son and my son’s father does not live nearby to provide any consistent in-person support. I am in charge of my son’s school as well as all the other caretaking needs. I communicated my need for some flexibility in my working hours due to my responsibilities as a mom, and my manager was incredibly supportive. As a result, I have more flexibility when I need time off and also a flexy schedule that allows me to run errands while my son is at school. I’m fulfilling my work and parent commitments without feeling overwhelmed.”
Gabriela Mata, the Marketing Director, also emphasized the importance of effective communication: “Being a mom and a manager of a global team is not easy, especially when your team is spread across different time zones. The demands can be overwhelming at times. However, before accepting this role, I made it a point to clearly and confidently express my needs to my manager. Her understanding and support truly made a significant difference for me. The best part of my role as manager is that now I have the chance to create that positive impact on my team as well.“
As our employers continue to hear from parents regarding their unique challenges, the hope is that they’ll become more willing to accommodate so that moms can thrive both within the workplace and at home. Satisfied employees who feel supported by their managers and company leaders are much more likely to achieve excellence in the workplace. By effectively communicating your needs, you can work towards creating a supportive work environment that allows you to excel in your tech career.
Tip#2: Build a Strong Support Network
Building a strong support network can become a key strategy in managing the demands of both work and family life. Identify the people in your life who you trust and who support you unconditionally. These people could include your partner, family members, friends, neighbors, and even coworkers. Enlist their support, and delegate tasks and responsibilities when possible. And while this may not be accessible to all, if you have the financial means, consider outsourcing some things that can help you free up some time and energy, allowing you to focus on your work and family without feeling overwhelmed.
Irena Levanić Papić, Product Owner, shared how her support network has been instrumental in helping her manage her career and motherhood. She said, “My husband has been a great support for me. He takes on equal childcare responsibilities and care tasks, household chores, and cooking. All of this provides me with the necessary time to focus on my work and then remain present with my kid when I’m at home.” By leaning on her support system, Irena is able to create a better work-life balance and excel in her tech career while also being an engaged mom.
Tip#3: Give Yourself Permission
One of the most common challenges faced by moms who juggle professional careers and motherhood is guilt. Guilt for pursuing their careers while also being mothers, guilt for not being able to spend enough time with their children, guilt for not being able to fully focus on work due to family responsibilities…and the list goes on. It’s essential to recognize that these feelings of guilt are normal but can also be detrimental to our overall well-being if not addressed.
If we can practice self-compassion and give ourselves permission to understand that pursuing a successful career does not make us any less of a loving and caring mother, we can unlock new and unexplored potential. Research has shown that children of moms who pursue professional careers tend to excel academically, have higher earning potential, and exhibit leadership qualities. Talking to other moms in your network and sharing your experiences (both good and challenging!) can help us to empower each other and possibly alleviate feelings of guilt.
Additionally, taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and feeling satisfied both at work and at home. Carving out time for the self-care activities that light us up and/or ground us, as well as setting boundaries and learning to say no, can be helpful to avoid overextending and feeling overwhelmed. Practicing self-compassion, exploring who you are outside of your roles as a mother and professional powerhouse, and taking care of yourself is NOT selfish, it’s how we care for ourselves!
Wrapping Up & What Comes Next
As a working professional and parent, take a moment to reflect on whether your current employer supports you in your role at work and at home. If you’re unsure, consider exploring a new role at a company whose culture reflects your values.
Sofiya Heleta, one of Newfire’s HR leaders, shares: “As a mom of two kids, it’s very difficult to keep the right work-life balance, family balance, personal development balance – actually, anything connected with the word ‘balance.’ But at Newfire, I’ve found that balance. Flexible hours, supportive and wonderful teammates and company leadership, learning opportunities, the possibility of working remotely, and our generous PTO policy help provide lots of family time but also help me to be a productive team member. And ultimately, Newfire feels like my second family!”
Newfire Global Partners supports gender equity in tech, and we continue to work hard to provide all of our working parents with opportunities to support their careers while also being available and engaged in their homes. Want to explore what might be available here at Newfire? Check out our open roles or reach out directly to our recruitment team to have a general discussion about our unique company culture and how we support parents with flexibility and empathy.