I don’t talk about my kids much on LinkedIn or Twitter, so maybe it’s really easy for people to think that ALL I DO IS SALESFORCE.
I was thinking about this last night, and how maybe it doesn’t set others up for success, or at least it doesn’t manage people’s expectations? I know there are tons of women in the Salesforce ecosystem (or any ecosystem really), many of them moms, who have to balance a full-time job, learning, mom duties, and just life in general.
I thought maybe I’d share some of this juggling with you, in hopes that it helps someone else in a similar place, or maybe just inspires someone. And maybe a little to just get it off my chest, because writing is therapeutic! 🙃
A Day in the Life
I have more than 800 Trailhead badges. I have 17 certifications. I have 13 super badges. I love learning new things — it’s part of who I am as a person. All of these things definitely don’t come easy and they all happen “after hours.”
As a Mom, and the most hands-on parent, I am constantly on the go. In the mornings I walk my youngest to school and then hurry home or to the office (4 times a week!) before several back-to-back morning meetings. At 11:45, I walk to pick her up from school because she just started kindergarten, and they are having half days for the first month! 😮 We walk back home and eat lunch. I usually have at least 1 if not 2 meetings during my typical lunch hour. Then I work from my home office while she plays or does homework next to me. As many of you know and have experienced, this means constant interruption and her being in and out of every virtual meeting I’m in. 🙃 At around 4 or so, my older daughters who are both in high school get home. I try to finish up work by 5. Then it’s time to make dinner. Then it’s time to take my oldest to color guard practice — twice a week, and pretty much every weekend during marching band season. Practice ends at 9:00pm. I love watching from the stands or walking laps around the football field while they practice. My youngest usually comes with me too, because she loves to watch her sister! In between whatever activities we’re at, whether its color guard practice, drama club, swimming at the YMCA, or doctor appointments… it’s homework, “Mommy, I’m hungry,” and trying to find time to have grown-up conversations with my husband. Conversations with my husband who travels a lot for work, often for weeks at a time. My middle child also has lots of doctor’s appointments because she had a kidney transplant and it needs a lot of maintenance and supervision.
If I was reading this, I would 100% say “wow, this lady has no time for learning.” But because learning is so important to me, and because I’m a woman and a mom, I have to make time.
When I’m sitting in the parent pick-up line I’m able to get through a quiz-only module on Trailhead Go. When I’m sitting in my youngest’s room at night scaring away the boogie man, it’s a great time to put my earbuds in and catch up on a recorded webinar or class. If by some miracle I don’t have a lunch meeting scheduled, I try to make that my learning time. That’s also when I schedule my certification exams! I love when people create YouTube content, because that’s more asynchronous learning that I can do on my own either late at night or early in the morning.
I live and I die by my Google Calendar. If it’s not on the calendar, it does not happen – it doesn’t exist. I copy that calendar onto a giant whiteboard by the front door so everyone can see it, and because I cannot for the life of me get my children to adopt a digital calendar. They’ll have to learn the hard way like I did!
FOMO No Mo
Being a mom is hard. Being a Mommy Trailblazer is harder. Sometimes it can get overwhelming because there is always so much going on in the Trailblazer Community. I go through some pretty tough periods of FOMO on days when I just can’t show up. Or can’t be present. Or can’t contribute. Because I want to DO EVERYTHING! I want to learn everything and take advantage of every opportunity. But that is NOT POSSIBLE. And I guess I’m here to say that that is TOTALLY OKAY.
There are so many opportunities available and you should 100% take advantage of the ones that you are able to. Before I can sign up for anything, I check the school schedule and extracurricular schedules, and maybe most importantly my husband’s travel schedule. I don’t go to every conference or every after hours event because, as much as I like showing up for the Trailblazer Community, I LOVE showing up for my kids. I’m 1 of 2 “section moms”, so I organize communications and volunteers and do whatever else the color guard needs. I try to be at every marching tournament and every winter guard competition. On Saturdays we do ballet class. Evenings we do swimming.
I don’t know how people can go to as many Salesforce events as they do, but I think I’ve learned over time how to show up when I can and be okay with that. It took me a long time to be okay with it though. In fact, when my youngest was born, I took her to Dreamforce with me! She’s been to THREE Dreamforce events, more than some admins I know! Older sisters are the best, and mine came along to watch the baby while I was in sessions and stuff, and I walked back to my room throughout the day to nurse and hangout. I don’t recommend this 😂
I needed to bring my kids along to Tahoe Dreamin recently because my husband was traveling and my mom couldn’t come over, but I was already scheduled to speak and didn’t want to let people down. So I brought the kids along with me and it was the most stressful conference ever. When I was with the kids, I had FOMO about what was happening at the conference, and when I was at the conference I was worrying about the kids. Ugh. 🥴
Some people look at my number of badges and number of certifications and say “oh wow, I will never have time to do all that!” And I tell them, this took me 10 years! Its not fast, and it’s not easy, but stick with it.
I have been incredibly lucky to have had the managers that I’ve had over the years. They’ve all understood that I’m a Mom and my kids come first. They’ve allowed me to work from home, take time off, bring my kids to the office… you name it, they’ve supported it.
I know that not all women (or even every parent) have had this support system in place.
I’ll tell you a story about being a parent at Slalom.
When I was going through the interview process, my youngest was home because her preschool was closed for a week due to Covid. I kept seeing posts on social media about how Slalom was the best place to work for parents, and so I didn’t stress about a 4-year-old being in the same room during my final interview with the top Salesforce person in Southern California.
It was kind of a test for Slalom, maybe, to see if they really hit the bar on that claim.
I started getting a bit more stressed as the clock ticked closer and closer to call time, but there was nothing I could do about it. As soon as the call started and he saw my daughter in the background, he said hi to her and asked her age and name and what not. It was such a natural thing for her to be there. And then, her being 4, she came to sit on my lap at some point. I was kind of horrified because we’ve been in this place for so long where kids are separate from work. But he didn’t even blink. Again, it was like it was the most natural thing that could have happened.
Needless to say, Slalom passed that test with flying colors, and I guess so did I, because I got a job offer the next day. In the 8 months that I’ve worked for Slalom, my kids have shown up in a number of meetings, and I’ve seen other people’s kids. I love that it is so accepted and welcome.
Before I got to that interview, I asked some other questions to make sure that I could still be a Mom and contribute to work. Things like how many nights a week I’ll have to be with clients or at events. How much will I need to travel? What are the typical working hours? Things I needed to know to gauge if I could make it to a kidney doctor appointment in the morning or pick up my kids from school. Would I need to pay for after school care or was there enough flexibility where I could pick up my kids and continue working. Someone might also ask, of course, about in-office or work from home requirements. If you’re required to be in the office (or want to be in the office), do they offer mother’s rooms or other facilities if you’re a new or nursing mom? Can you balance your time around appointments, like working later in the day if you have an early morning doctor’s appointment or parent teacher conference.
Support Your Moms
You may or may not know if someone is a mom. Maybe they are like me and are relatively private, or maybe they just don’t mix work and home. Some of the things that have helped me, certainly, and hopefully others will do to support other Trailblazer Moms:
- Try to schedule events during normal working hours.
I often can’t attend an after work happy hour because of mom duties. I definitely feel like I’m missing out by not attending these types of things, and find that when I am able to attend, it’s mostly men
- Consider recording your content so it can be accessed asynchronously.
I know I just recommended hosting your events during working hours, but within working hours, there are only so many things you can do that aren’t your actual work. Making your content available to people on platforms like YouTube, blogs, or even paid platforms like Udemy is extremely helpful to moms who are looking to consume that content after hours.
- Take advantage of women-only study groups like RAD Women Code.
RAD Women is open to anyone who identifies as a woman, and the chances of being in a group with other moms is very high, and they’ll be more likely to understand your chaotic schedule and be flexible with learning times.
- Promote flexibility in work schedules.
Mommy Trailblazers will be high producers of high quality work, but maybe not during the hours everyone else is producing. Be flexible with school schedules, closures given the pandemic and other events, and appointments. I do some of my best work in the middle of the night when I can focus in peace!
- Tell your story.
I am guilty of not telling my story (until now!) and I have a really hard time advocating for myself. I’m more of a go with the flow kind of gal, which hurts me sometimes. The more we talk about our Mommy Trailblazer stories and circulate that 6pm call times are during your family dinners, or your 8pm call with a different timezone is during your bedtime routine, the more we can change and make it better for all Mommy Trailblazers.