I’m back with another ‘Diary of a Working Mom’ post! Today’s post is with someone who I truly admire yet haven’t spent that much time with (it’s a long story, but we have a lot of mutual friends and follow e/o on social media). Varsha is a mama to two adorable boys and married to an entrepreneur husband.
When I think of the ultimate working mom, Varsha definitely comes to mind. I think you guys will truly enjoy her responses and find a lot of value in what she has to say.
Enough from me and more from Varsha…
1. Tell me a little more about your family – number of kids, names, ages.
We have two wonderful and VERY energetic boys: Dilan (6) and Asher (almost 4).
2. Tell me more about your line of work, role, responsibilities, etc.
I’m a systems engineer and travel about 40% of the time. My role is heavily male dominated, but this doesn’t bother me. I work quite well with men and have gotten used to being the only girl in the room many times. Anil (my husband) is the founder and CEO of his company. Like most other working parents, we go about a million miles an hour at all times. We both love what we do and somehow make things work. After six years of being a working mom, I finally feel like we’ve got a pretty well oiled machine. 🙂
3. Walk me through a day in your life.
I work out a few days a week and wake up at 4:15 am to make that work. On regular days, I’m up around 5:30 to get myself and breakfast going. I like to be completely ready before the kids are up (usually around 6:45), but this doesn’t always happen :-). We get the kids dressed, do breakfast and are out the door around 8 am since Dilan’s school starts at 8:30. On efficient days, we get the dishwasher unloaded and the kitchen is clean (I hate clutter, so it’s always a goal of mine to have clear counters), but when socks and shoes take forever, this doesn’t happen. Ah well, as long as we all get to work and school safely. I drop off and pick up both kids and we’re usually home around 5:30. I start dinner at 6 and Anil usually joins later. I have a solid rotation of meals that we choose from. Tuesdays are Taco Tuesdays and Chipotle is a regular take-out meal for us as well. Anil usually does bath time around 6:45, followed by books (all of us reading in one bed) and then lights go off at 7:30 pm. We then prep lunches for the next day, do some errands and house work and go to sleep. We rarely watch TV during the week, but it’s my goal this year to get through at least one book!
4. How has becoming a mom influenced your role at work?
I feel like I’ve gotten pretty efficient at work. We don’t have family or a nanny around to help when one of our kids gets sick or we need an extra hand. I definitely don’t have a “village” of people who can watch our kids, which means that whatever I do at work needs to be efficient and excellent, just in case I need to fulfill any unexpected mom duties. It’s awesome to work with people who are family oriented. They get it when I need to pick up a sick child or have to work from home. It’s the best part about my role.
5. What is your favorite tip on how to integrate work and life?
Keep on smiling and swimming. Also: lists and calendar invites. I have a list for everything from the last time the boys got haircuts to when I last washed their sheets. I keep this in Notes on my iPhone and it keeps all of us organized.
6. How do you handle mom guilt?
Exercise, chocolate, and a good old fashioned. Also, venting to Anil and people at work!
7. What is the most surprising part of being a working mom? And the most rewarding?
There’s always a curve ball coming your way. It’s the most rewarding to be able to deal with those curve balls without losing your $hit! 🙂
8. How do you carve out ‘me’ time? What does ‘me’ time look like for you? On that same note, what’s your guilty pleasure?
I exercise to relieve stress. It helps clear my mind and I like that I’m 36 and in the best shape of my life. It’s very rewarding. As I mentioned, a good old fashioned goes a long way as well! 🙂
9. What’s your mama mantra?
Work as hard as you love. Love fuels my days 🙂
10. What’s the best piece of advice you received when returning back to work after having your baby?
Someone handed me a list of airports with pumping rooms. I nursed Asher for 17 months straight, so it was so helpful to get that. These days, you can find nursing pods and rooms everywhere, but a few years ago, you couldn’t. Someone also gave me a handmade curtain to put over the one window strip looking into my office. I could pump at my desk every day and it made all the difference.
11. What advice would you give to mamas-to-be about returning back to work?
Those first few years with a baby are the hardest you’ll ever work, but don’t let that discourage you. The most challenging year of my life was the one with a young toddler and newborn, but if you can just make it through that, you can do anything life throws at you. 🙂
Thank you for your insights, Varsha! Those boys of yours are lucky to have you!