A momma’s boy (or girl) may sometimes have a negative connotation. But why? Where would we be without mothers? Physically and emotionally, we wouldn’t be where we are today. From our birth mothers to grandmothers, and any mother figure in our lives, it's important to show gratitude and appreciation for them. That one Sunday a year in early May is often when we celebrate mothers in the United States, but really, they should be celebrated every day.
Being a parent can be considered a full-time job, and we want to know a little more about how a few incredible women hold essentially two full-time jobs. We sat down with Alisha Terry, Head of Channel Marketing & Ecommerce and Joyce Robertson, HR Recruiting Coordinator, two employees at Neato Robotics to learn a little more about how they juggle their work and mom duties with ease.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
Alisha: I love getting my kids to laugh and smile. It gives me an excuse to be extra silly! Being there for them and seeing them grow and develop into their little personalities makes me laugh too. The pure joy on their faces makes the days that much more fun!
Joyce: Knowing that I created decent humans that respect themselves, their siblings, family, and people they meet makes me proud.
Q: Tell us a little about your kids.
A: I have 2 daughters, 20 months apart, which means it’s never a dull moment in the Terry household. My 2.5 year old, Maika, loves figuring out how mechanical things work and is a super goofball. I think she could be a future mechanical engineer one day just like her daddy (no pressure though)! My 9 month old, Kestrel, just started to crawl and just adores her older sister. I’m looking forward to seeing how the sibling dynamic plays out once Kes starts chasing after Maika!
J: All my children are adults ranging in ages from 23-29yrs old. They each have different things about them that make me laugh. I have four children, three who are here on earth with me, and my oldest who passed going on 3 yrs. in November. I have three sons, one daughter. They love to pick on me, especially if they know I will get annoyed, but they do it in love just for the laugh. They are all strong, determined, and independent.
Q: What advice have you been given as a mother to balance work and home life?
A: There hasn’t been a lot of advice out there on how to balance work and home life unfortunately. I think the expectation is that moms just kind of get it all done somehow. It’s certainly a logistical challenge every day from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep with childcare pickup and drop-off times, work meetings, doctor appointments and everything in between! The advice I do get the most about being a mom is to just enjoy the moments; they grow up so fast and the number one regret in life is working too hard to not enjoy these times.
J: I personally was never given any advice, so I had to learn on my own how to balance that. It’s never easy and I felt I shouldn’t ask for help because I was their mom. I never understood the meaning on the airplane when they say to put your mask on first, I always thought why wouldn’t I help them, then myself? I later learned, they can wait, I need to care for myself first before I can help anyone else, including my children.
Q: How do you balance being a working mom?
A: Not dissimilar to my work, I do a lot of planning and tight calendar coordination. This is so important because raising kids are a priority, then reaching my work goals and helping my husband run our family business renting out campervans (Trekker Vans, trekkervans.com). Any remaining time I have for myself, I rest!
Long-term planning also helped with getting both my kids into childcare situations. It literally took me more than a year on a waitlist to get my toddler into preschool, and luckily I was able to find a nanny-share for my baby. Childcare has certainly helped, and I’m so grateful that I have this luxury where so many other parents don’t. The pandemic has certainly made it challenging with kids home sometimes while WFH, but you make it work. Being present with my kids is very important, so if that means long hours at night after kids go to sleep, so be it, but I try not to make it a habit!
J: I first learned how to balance this role quickly after my divorce. Luckily, my kids were at the age where I could sit them down and have a set of rules. I then had to learn through my son’s death that you can’t go back and change anything. Meetings can be rescheduled, bills can be late, but you need to live your life. I’ve learned to balance that with being a better communicator, asking for what I need, letting my kids know when I can’t but I can later and to use my calendar not only for work but for my personal life with my kids.
Q: How does working at Neato Robotics make your work-life balance easier?
A: The flexibility of working from home during the pandemic has been extremely helpful. I estimate that I can accomplish 3-4 more hours of work each day by avoiding my commute and being able to spend more quality time with my family. That being said, I enjoy seeing my colleagues face-to-face, and I look forward to doing that more often as the pandemic improves and it’s safe for everyone. Neato has been very flexible and that is very much appreciated.
J: Working at Neato Robotics has allowed me to be very flexible. My kids may not need me as much, but there have been times when they have needed me or I’ve had to rush out to be there, I know I am able to do so. Not only the act of being able to leave, but with the understanding of why.
Q: What advice do you have for other working parents out there?
A: I just want to say you are doing great and you are amazing! I had no idea all the work that is put into raising even just one child. I see you and I admire all the commitment that you put into both family and work to do it all. Do what is best for you and your family first and foremost. Everyone’s needs and approach are different. Hang in there, have fun while you are doing it, and don’t hold on to too much guilt.
J: Don’t beat yourself up if you “miss” something. For example, if they are in daycare for the first time and you are returning to work, you aren’t “missing” anything, the kids aren’t going to say or think “you weren’t there” for me. They will roll over again, clap for the first time again. However, prepare yourself for the times they really need you. School plays, sport events, Back to School night. Those are the times they need you the most.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
J: Being a parent, it’s not easy, yet it’s so rewarding. I’m aware of so many parents who struggle with the work/life balance, however, speak with your manager about how the both of you can create that so you are present for work during working hours so you can be present for your kids at home. Also, learn to ask for what you need, either from your manager, your spouse, your co parent partner, family, or friends. No one knows what you are experiencing but you. However, creating a balance is easier than you realize.
(Joyce Robertson and kids)
(Alisha Terry and kids)