Happy FriYAY! I’m back with yet another ‘Diary of a Working Mom’ Q&A! Like all the others, today’s interview is full of insights and ‘yessss…me too!’ moments.
Ami and I know each other via her cousin Monica, who is one of my good friends from college. I really loved Ami’s fun loving personality the couple of times we’ve met, and through the magic of social media, I’ve been able to keep up with her motherhood journey.
Enough of my rambling…here’s Ami!
1. Tell me a little more about your family – number of kids, names, ages.
We have the boss of the family, Alina (3), her trusty sidekick/little brother, Dilan (1), and, and of course, my husband Jay and me (Ami) – who are just along for the ride.
2. Tell me more about your line of work, role, responsibilities, etc.
I work in public relations (PR) for a New York City PR agency, but I work from home full-time since moving to NC. I currently manage two NYC-based teams and help clients with all their PR needs (campaigns, events, social media content, media interviews, press releases, celeb relationships, etc.)
3. Walk me through a day in your life.
With two toddlers, no day is the same – but most weekdays, we try to follow:
- 6:30 am: Jay leaves for work
- 6:45 am: Dilan (and, I, by default) wake up, brush teeth, change clothes, have a morning cup of milk and play
- 7:45 am: Alina joins us and so begins our morning of negotiations – brush teeth and (hopefully) eat breakfast
- 8:30 am: Our Nanny arrives (while I’m still negotiating/begging Alina to eat; Dilan is usually on breakfast #2 by now); our Nanny watches Dilan while I usually help Alina pick out her outfit and do her hair
- 9:00 am: I sneak into my home office to start a full day of conference calls and hopefully some work; the kids are off to their morning activity (library, kids museum, etc.)
- 2:00 pm: The kids come home and pop in to the office for a quick “Hi Mommy!” (usually during a conference call)
- 5:30 pm: The nanny leaves, and I try to bribe the kids with something while I wrap up a conference call
- 6:15 pm: Jay’s home, the kids are (hopefully) starting dinner, while I whip up something for us
- 7:00 pm: Jay and I will try to squeeze in dinner with the kids while we Facetime Dada, Dadi, and Dada; followed by family play time (the best time!)
- 7:45 pm: Baths are done and it’s time for storytime (Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Numbers and princess books are the current favorites)
- 8:15 pm: Divide and conquer bedtime
- 9:30 pm – midnight: Adulting – dishes, pick up toys, finish up any work, showers, and hopefully sneak in a little TV and dessert (current rotation: Top Chef and chocolate chip cookies)
- Too late: Go to bed promising the next day, I’ll go to sleep earlier
4. How has becoming a mom influenced your role at work?
I’ve always had high standards (for myself and for my teams) and can be tough on myself and my teams. I think being a Mom has made me a little more of softie – after all, everyone is someone’s bab
5. What is your favorite tip on how to integrate work and life?
It’s the same thing I have to remind myself everyday – be flexible. Every day isn’t going to go to plan. Some days will be perfect – they’ll eat every bite, nap and be full of smiles. Some days the dishes will pile up, the toys will take over, and the work never ends. At the end of the day, we are all happy and healthy and it all works out.
6. How do you handle mom guilt?
If I’m being honest, I have lots of guilt. I have wife guilt. I have friend guilt (if you’re reading this – I saw your text, I love you, and I will text you back in approximately 5 years). I have daughter guilt, but I don’t have mom guilt.
I know from the deepest place in my heart that I everything I do, I do for Alina and Dilan. I work so Alina knows that she can be whatever she wants too and it’s possible to be a mom and have your identity too. I sneak a date night with Jay so the kids see Jay and I are a united front, and we do actually like each other. I know I try my best every day, and hopefully, when they are old enough to understand, they will see it too.
7. What is the most surprising part of being a working mom? And the most rewarding?
The most surprising is by far, how hard it is. Don’t get me wrong – I knew it was hard, but it is like REALLY, REALLY HARD. So kudos to all of you – my Mom, my sister in law, my friends and to all of you reading this right now – for making it look so easy and tricking us all into have kids and working.
The most rewarding is how pure and unconditionally they love me. For everything I did or didn’t accomplish that day, they don’t care. They love me just the same.
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?
Jay and I just aren’t in a season of life where there is as much opportunity for “me time” as we would like, but small wonders – like a long, hot shower – go far. Also, I travel decently often to work (to great cities with great restaurants) and I take full advantage of my kid-free time (while my sweet husband holds down the fort).
My guilty pleasure list is longer than it should be – but dessert, a cold Cherry Coke, hanging out with Jay, and mindless TV often top the list.
9. What’s your mama mantra?
Say it with me Mommies: “This too shall pass.”
The good and the “bad.” There will be a day where Alina will pee somewhere other than my hardwood floors, but there will also be a day where she doesn’t yell “MOMMY IS MY BEST FRIEND” at the top of her lungs. There will be a day where Dilan will not wake up at an ungodly hour, but also a day where he won’t want to spend every waking moment with his Mommy. I just try to soak it up and remind myself every day, one day I will miss this.
10. What’s the best piece of advice you received when returning back to work after having your baby?
My Mom unexpectedly passed away three weeks before I had Dilan. She was my best friend, my go-to source for everything Mom-related, and, like Parita mentioned in a recent post, my safe place. She gave me lots of unsolicited, but usually correct, advice – and in honor of her, I’ll tell you what she basically told me every day: “You can do it.”
There were so many days, especially after I had Alina, that I just felt overwhelmed and like I couldn’t handle it all. But the truth is my Mom, like many women before her, did the whole Mom thing before iPads and Amazon, working 12 hours a day, with her Mom a half a world away, and without swaddling expertise of my husband. If she can do it and thrive, then, I can certainly survive, right?
11. What advice would you give to mamas-to-be about returning back to work?
As my mom would say if she was here, “You can do it!” Just remember, a new routine is an adjustment for everyone. It may take a little time, but you’ll hit your stride and find a schedule that will work for everyone. If you’re happy and healthy, you’re doing something right.
Ami, thank you for taking the time to share your heartfelt responses! Your little crew is very lucky to have a mama and wife like you.
One thought on “Diary of a Working Mom – Q&A with Ami Shah”
It’s really not easy being a working mom but when you realize the reason you do what you do, then everything just makes sense because it’s worth it. Again thank you for sharing.
Henry recently posted…Best Bath Toys For 5 Year Old