You guys! I’m so excited to share this post with you today. Shraddha is not only my cousin, but she’s also one of my favorite people ever. I’ve looked up to her since I was eight years old, and as I’ve transitioned into different roles in life, she’s always been there with amazing advice and calming words.

Not only is Shraddha a working mama to two beautiful boys, but she’s also #marriedtomedicine! On top of all that, she’s a blogger/Instagrammer with the Chai Mommas. Talk about superwoman!

With that, here’s Shraddha with some must read insights!

1. Tell me a little more about your family – number of kids, names, ages.
I’m married to medicine! Parita, you know all too well what that’s like and the impact which is secondary to the family and our lives, BUT with that said, I’m lucky to be married to a man who is very active in the lives of his boys and from the very beginning at that. And it’s not like he wants some special recognition for it. He firmly believes in 50/50 and adjusting that percentage plus ebbing and flowing as needed in our lives…both as parents and spouses. I truly 100% feel supported and know we are IN this together. Family is everything to us and OUR little unit comes first. We’ve been through our fair share of scares leading up to and into parenthood and it’s only made our commitment to each other and our boys stronger. While we are far from perfect and don’t have it all figured out, I simply love us.

My two little guys are Jai (7) and Shailen (5).

2. Tell me more about your line of work, role, responsibilities, etc.
I work in HR and specifically in talent management. I’m a senior manager which means I’m responsible for my team and the clients we serve within Health Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, in addition to leading C-Suite recruitment. In my role, I feel like I can’t truly shut off. And part of that is being so accessible (via email, text, phone) all the time. Even as I write this, (it’s Saturday morning 8:30 am) I’m being reached out to regarding a directorship position. This sometimes becomes a point of contention between my husband and I, especially during the times when he is completely free and has committed to being 100% present with us yet I’m still replying to emails. We (me) are working on this daily.

3. Walk me through a day in your life.

5:30 am – wake up, stretch, go downstairs to start lunches; eat breakfast while sipping on warm lemon + turmeric water; then shower, get ready, etc. Boys are up by 7 am. Help get them ready, fed and out the door to school by 7:30 am.

After school drop offs, I head to work by 8:45-9 am. Work, work, work. I also try to eat lunch at my desk. In fact, I bring my lunch 95% of the time. Sunday meal prepping helps me get really organized with what we are all eating. It’s really the only way I feel sane to be honest. I leave work by 4 pm at the latest, pick up the boys and head straight (usually) to one of their after school activities. Right now, we are booked with something every single day except Sunday. Either basketball, Kumon, Tae Kwon Do or piano, and times two since they both do everything. This means sometimes dinner is on the way to one of these activities or as soon as we get home. Then it’s a little homework, bath, a lot of snuggles and bedtime. My hubby and I eat after they go to bed around 7:45. It’s too late if you ask me, but we really need the alone time and it’s really the only point in the day where can connect and catch up over a meal. I look forward to this part of our day. But I try to wrap it up by 8:15 and then I intermittent fast until noon the next day.

4. How has becoming a mom influenced your role at work?
Honestly, it’s been a challenge. I haven’t moved up as quickly as I know I have the potential and ability to, but I wouldn’t change anything. I’m finally where I want to be professionally and I feel good. I’ll always value my decision to balance and go with the flow, taking the opportunities only when they reflect my mantra of family first.

5. What is your favorite tip on how to integrate work and life?
Let go of the guilt. It’s a struggle to balance it all. I’m still learning, 6 years later. Just go with the flow, shift, and adjust was needed. Forget about a magical formula. There isn’t one. Only you know what works, so go with that.

6. How do you handle mom guilt?
It’s hard. But as I’ve gotten older/wiser (haha), I’ve realized that most of the time just me. No one else is thinking about it as much or for as long as me. They’re over it (whether it’s work or the kids or the hubby) and so I just need to keep that in mind. Deep breaths help too.

7. What is the most surprising part of being a working mom?  And the most rewarding?
For me, it’s been how much I need it. How I actually crave going into work and making a difference. I thought I’d want to be a stay at home mom when I first got married. I’m still surprised by my decision to work and keep working after kids.

The rewards are endless. I do love what I do, so that’s a big one. But I do think long term, that it’s going to be impactful for the boys to have seen their momma work and still be there for them and our family. Sure I sacrifice a lot, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Another reward has been being able to connect with so many other working moms along the way. Each of my sister-in-laws work and it’s yet another way we just “get” each other and ultimately feel closer because of that. I also like to “get ready” each morning. It just makes me feel more life myself, and sometimes if I’m lucky, I get a little me time, albeit sometimes a little frenzied, each morning because of that.

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?
Me time is every Monday and Wednesday right now when I get to go home after I drop the boys off at basketball (daddy meets us there. I run home so I can get their dinner prepped. But I also get time to catch up with friends and family, and sometimes I get a good hot shower in. Basically, I get about an hour to do whatever.

Other times, it’s a morning yoga session (I love yoga with Adrienne on you tube) before everyone is awake. I also journal before bed.

Guilty pleasure…hmm, used to be an Anthropologie or Target run, but I’m on a no shopping challenge – I didn’t buy one thing in January! Let’s see…I love a good piece of dark chocolate or a matcha latte. And a good spicy margarita with salsa and chips!!

9. What’s your mama mantra?
Just breathe.

10. What’s the best piece of advice you received when returning back to work after having your baby?
Take it one day at a time. And don’t feel bad about taking scheduled time to pump, eat and refuel.

11. What advice would you give to mamas-to-be about returning back to work
Know nothing is permanent. Work isn’t forever. Kids won’t be as needy forever. If you go back to work and it’s not working out for you, it’s ok. If liking going to work makes you feel less motherly or guilty, don’t let it. Do what you need to. We are all different and going through different things. There’s no wrong or right here. Leave others’ opinions of what you should be doing at bay. Listen to that inner voice and let it always guide you to what is right for you and your family.

Thank you so much, Shraddha, for your sage advice. I love all of this and you! Those boys of yours are so lucky to have you!

By Parita

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