Wendy Lofgren-Aviles: 5 Messages to My Younger Self About Being a Working Mom
By Wendy Lofgren-Aviles, Senior Credit Officer, Citi March 29, 2013 03:32 PM
Dear Younger Self,
Congratulations on the birth of your first son. As you learn to balance your career and motherhood, I've taken the liberty of writing down some helpful tips for you during this new journey.
1) You don't have to do this alone
a) Never underestimate how the value of help family and friends can provide.
b) Forget work-family balance and think "integration." Though they are still young, children can have an understanding of your career. Continue to show them how proud you are of your accomplishments. Your ambition could help fuel them to set their own goals early in life.
c) Determine what your hourly rate is or what an hour of your time is worth. If you can find someone else to do a task for you at a lower rate, solicit help and do something more valuable with your time.
2) Be organized
a) Take the time on Sunday to cook at least three meals. Invest in a good set of plastic storage containers and store the food to serve for dinner during the week.
b) Manage your personal "to do" list like a time-sensitive, professional deliverable. I will give extra points if you create it with an online planner.
c) Be "diplomatically assertive." If you would like your mother-in-law to fold laundry or need help from a work colleague, you need to ask.
3) Use technology to be more efficient
a) Setting up play dates with your children's friends will prove to be one of the most time consuming and organizationally challenging tasks. To streamline the process, only setup play dates with other parents who utilize email or text messaging.
b) Set up those play dates during your daily commute.
c) There is nothing wrong with sending your husband an email reminder to pick up milk (or any other errand). Don't forget to flag the email for follow up.
4) Make sure to network
a) Everyone has moments of frustration while trying to balance a demanding career with a personal life. Network with other women to hear their stories and know that you are not alone. b) Never forget to pay it forward. You will benefit from friends and colleagues guiding you throughout your career. Always say "thank you" and make sure you do the same for others.
5) Approach your career with passion and be open to creativity
a) After having a child, you may lose some mobility. However, try to take advantage of short-term opportunities your employer may provide. For example, Citi offers creative opportunities for short-term international assignments. A one week guest reviewer opportunity in El Salvador is comparable to a vacation if you have three kids under 7 years old!
b) Arrive at the flight departure lounge 30 minutes early. Buy a coffee and a newspaper, savoring the fact that you can peacefully read it from cover to cover. Do not feel guilty to enjoy these quiet moments.
c) Develop a personal board of directors for career advice and sponsorship. Your husband should not be on this board and your sponsor should not turn in to your "work-husband."
Wendy Lofgren-Aviles is a 15-year Citi banker, a Senior Credit Officer, and the global re-engineering director for the Office of the Chief Appraiser. She is a wife and a mother. A strong supporter of women's initiatives at Citi, Wendy constantly pursues creative solutions to work-life integration, completely aware that "it takes a village" to make it all come together.