I’m so excited to share the very first Q&A post in my ‘Diary of a Working Mom’ series. Like I mentioned earlier, this series will include interviews with fellow working moms as well as topic based posts related to the working mom life – energy management, routines, schedules, tips, tricks, etc. I love learning about how fellow moms integrate the various and sometimes dissonant part of their lives and figured many others may be able to relate to/benefit from this kind of a series.
With that, I’m so excited to introduce one of my good friends Ankita Patel. Ankita and I have known each other since college but really bonded years later. She is an amazing human being and mom who always keeps it real when it comes to the ups and downs of motherhood. She is part of my ‘go-to’ tribe of mamas (i.e. a select group of women who get bombarded with texts whenever I need help!) because she always knows what to say or do (or buy!) in a given situation.
And now, here’s Ankita!
1. Tell me a little more about your family – number of kids, names, ages.
Hi there! My name is Ankita, and my family consists of my husband, Jayesh, our almost 2 year old son, Niam, and our sweet pup Zoie. We also have a baby girl on the way due in the beginning of August. Jayesh and I have been married for about 7 years, and we currently live in Naples, FL.
2. Tell me more about your line of work, role, responsibilities, etc.
I work for a medical device company called Medtronic. I’m a clinical specialist in the Nueromodulation division. Essentially, I’m the representative in the operating room whenever a patient is getting a spinal cord stimulator or intrathecal pain pump. I do all the testing and patient teaching to make sure the devices are working correctly during surgery. I mainly work with chronic pain patients. My schedule can vary greatly due to surgery schedules, so sometimes I’m out the door at 5:30 am and other days out the door by 8 am. I’ve been with the company for twelve years now and have been lucky enough to be able to transfer from Atlanta, to Chicago, to now Naples!
3. Walk me through a day in your life.
Our day-to-day is pretty busy as you can see below…
4:50 am: I wake up. If I have an early surgery, I’m up getting ready for work, taking Zoie out for a walk, getting breakfast going, and packing Niam’s lunch. If I don’t have an early surgery, then I head to my gym for the 5:30 am boot camp class.
6:30 am: I’m home from the gym. I then take Zoie out and pack Niam’s lunch. Jayesh and Niam are usually up by now so they’re eating breakfast, making morning smoothies, etc. If I have to leave for work later, I get Niam ready for school, and Jayesh gets ready for work. We switch it up based on our schedules.
7:30 am: Jayesh is off to work. He usually drops Niam off at school on the way.
8:00 am – 5:30 pm: Typical work hours
5:30 pm: One of us picks up Niam. Niam goes to school from 7:30-3:00 pm. We are lucky to be part of a wonderful nanny share in the afternoon. She picks him up and then either Jayesh or I pick him up based on our after work schedules.
6:00 – 8:00 pm: We get home, take Zoie for a walk, eat dinner, play with Niam, and go through his bedtime routine.
8:30 pm: Niam is usually asleep by 8:30 pm. Although recently, he’s been fighting that. Ha!
8:30 – 9:30 pm: Jayesh and I clean up, finish up work emails, watch TV and/or read.
By 10:00 pm, we are all usually asleep! 🙂
We typically do a lot of meal prep and laundry on the weekends. Not much house stuff gets done during the week.
4. How has becoming a mom influenced your role at work?
I think the biggest way it’s influenced me is with my time management. I’ve learned to work more efficiently at work and with household chores. I also have better work-life balance. I dedicate my working hours to work and the rest of my time to my family and friends.
5. What is your favorite tip on how to integrate work and life?
Be kind to yourself and don’t sweat the small stuff. Let go of the messy house or the piles of laundry. It’ll get done eventually, maybe just not in the timeline you want. It is so important to have perspective. Your child isn’t going to remember a messy house or dirty dishes!
6. How do you handle mom guilt?
Ugh the mom guilt! It will forever haunt me. Ha! I’ve come to the realization that working makes me a better mom. It helps me appreciate and really focus on the time I get to spend with Niam. I also feel like for me personally there is no way I can teach Niam or provide him with the social interaction he gets from school. I have a whole new respect for teachers and everything they do! Also, as long as Niam is happy that’s all that matters to me and Jayesh. He loves his teachers and classroom. I have to step back a lot and give myself perspective. If he’s happy and thriving, there’s no reason to put so much pressure on myself about what I should/shouldn’t be doing.
7. What is the most surprising part of being a working mom? And the most rewarding?
Surprising: How fast the day goes. There’s no down time…it’s just go go go until bedtime
Rewarding: Coming home to a running toddler’s hug and smile. Niam is always excited to see me no matter what, and I LOVE it.
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?
My gym time is my me time. I love my boot camp class, and it’s the best way for me to start my day. I feel refreshed and good that I did something for me. My guilty pleasure is all the Shonda Rhimes shows…can’t get enough!
9. What’s the best piece of advice you received when returning back to work after having your baby?
Take it a day at a time and embrace the chaos. Babies are unpredictable. Throw all the planning and expectations on how the day will go out the window. You just have to roll with it all!
10. What advice would you give to mamas-to-be about returning back to work?
I’m not going to lie. The transition is hard. Try not to let the mom guilt weigh you down. Remember – your baby will be happy as long as he/she is loved and cared for. It isn’t only the momma who can provide this for her child.