I’m so excited to kick off 2019 with another set of awesome ‘Diary of a Working Mom’ stories and interviews. I have some some awesome mamas lined up – some who work outside the home, some who work from home, some who have a side hustle, some you turned their side hustle into their hustle hustle, etc.!
My very first interview of the year is with Sonia Amin Thomas. Sonia is the sister of one of my college BFFs Sweeti. And while that’s how I thought of her for a quick second, I now consider her a friend as well. She’s one of the first people I think of when I hear the word ambitious. She’s a super accomplished professional and an amazing mama to cutie pie Leia. Not to mention a blogger as well. Personally, I love how Sonia integrates her life from spending time with her husband, to making time for friends, to indulging in self-care when possible.
With that, here’s Sonia’s Q&A…
1. Tell me a little more about your family – number of kids, names, ages.
I have one daughter, Leia Audrey Thomas, and she’s 3 months old.
2. Tell me more about your line of work, role, responsibilities, etc.
I’m an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at a pharmacy school where I teach. As part of that job, you’re also supposed to have a clinical hospital site where you practice and take students on rotation, so I’m also a clinical oncology pharmacist specialist. My week is split between teaching at the school and being at the hospital with the oncologist education patients on chemotherapy. I also work one weekend a month at the hospital as a clinical pharmacist.
3. Walk me through a day in your life.
My day starts at 5:30-6 am (depending on when I have to leave for work). I workout for 30 mins at home, shower, wake Leia up and feed her between 7-7:30 am. I then eat breakfast and pump at home for 20 minutes, wash everything, and rush out to start my work day. The process from wake to when I leave the house takes 2.5 hours. We have a nanny Monday, Tuesday and Friday, my Mom is with Leia on Wednesday, and Jibin’s (my husband) mom is with her on Thursday. When I come home from work anywhere between 3-5 pm (depending on where I am and what’s going on), I heat dinner that has been pre-made (I have a notes section on my phone with dinners listed out for a month along with grocery lists, so anything I do during the week for dinner prep is 30 mins or less). I simultaneously entertain Leia, wash all the pump parts and sterilize with her bottles. We usually eat around 5:30-5:45 pm and then hang with Leia for 30 mins as well as let her play on her own for at least 30 mins. Her bedtime routine starts at 6:30 pm. Jibin usually finds her while I pump, and she’s usually asleep by 7:15. I then get things ready for the next day to make the morning easier, and Jibin and I hang out for a bit before I go to sleep at 9:30 pm. I also currently wake once at night to pump/feed.
4. How has becoming a mom influenced your role at work?
I’ve realized I want more time at home with my family. I was recently offered a position at work in which I could move up the ladder, but it would require longer and later hours and a lot more of my time overall. A great career move, but family life is more important to me right now!
5. What is your favorite tip on how to integrate work and life?
If you enjoy your work, this shouldn’t be an issue. I LOVE what I do. Oncology pharmacy is my heart for sure. My husband and I are both bloggers as well and we set aside “blog hour” on various evenings to get that done since we both love it. I also like to be very efficient at work and get things done quickly so I can be all work at work and all play once I’m home. I prefer to keep work and home life separate!
6. How do you handle mom guilt?
I am blessed with a great career and being efficient really minimizes my mom guilt. The guilt I felt was during sleep training. We’ve been using a method called 12 hours by 12 weeks, and I misinterpreted the book and felt bad for doing the training wrong. But I just told myself that as long as she’s getting as much food and sleep as she needs, she’s fine!
7. What is the most surprising part of being a working mom? And the most rewarding?
Surprising – no one understands how incorporating pumping into your day is a big challenge!
Rewarding – people definitely admire you and have a different kind of respect for you once you’re a mom!
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’m lucky in that I started putting Leia on a schedule very early on. So because her naps are at a set time, getting ‘me’ time was easier than I thought! Also, every Wednesday evening, my hubby has work meetings. Once Leia is down for the night, I have time to relax by watching TV, catching up with friends on the phone, reading a book or working on my blog. My guilty pleasure is binge eating on sweets!
9. What’s your mama mantra?
I can’t predict everything with Leia, but I can help by prepping and planning as much as possible in advance!
10. What’s the best piece of advice you received when returning back to work after having your baby?
Leave work at work and cherish your time with Leia when you come home. Also, when she smiles, it’ll make the worst day worth it.
11. What advice would you give to mamas-to-be about returning back to work?
Take as many photos and videos as you can when you’re home with your baby. It’s fun to look at them at work when you’re having a rough day or even taking a break. Also, set a schedule, prep in advance and sleep train!
Thank you, Sonia, for taking the time to share your thoughts and life with MIS readers! Loved what you said about prepping in advance…it’s a life saver for sure!