This months Working Mom Spotlight is on Kerry Rivera. I virtually met Kerry recently and love following her blog, breadwinningmama.com. In her blog she talks about one of my favorite topics, using support systems. Check out her post and let us know what you think of her story!
Sending Out An SOS
My husband, a teacher, needed to be at work by 7:30 a.m., and I needed to make my way into the office for a 9 a.m. meeting. Given the kids’ school schedules, that left me with the task of handling the drop-offs for the day. One stop at the elementary school and another at the preschool up the street and then I would jet onto the freeway for the 30-mile commute on Southern California’s finest freeways (please note sarcasm).
I would have made it. I should have made it. But, it started to rain, and everyone knows So. Cal drivers cannot handle the rain. Throw in two accidents, and I was stuck driving five miles per hour for a 10-mile stretch. There was nothing I could do. I was tired, frustrated and utterly overwhelmed. I started to cry … hard.
The daily grind of the commute – even on the good days – the long hours, the missed time with my young kids in the evenings, and the feeling that I was always late started to wear on me.
I decided to call my Dad on that drive because I needed to talk to someone. I was losing it in the car, and I knew he would calm me down. He also asked me how he could help.
I don’t know why, but in those early years of parenthood, I was hesitant to ask for support. I just figured I needed to do this parenthood gig all on my own. I would take the kids to school every day, I would try to make every meeting, I would fill out every form and stay up late prepping for the next day. My husband helped, but together we were exhausted. Two full-time careers, three young kids and a gnarly commute translated into two tired and stressed out parents.
That awful drive and my reaction was a wake-up call. I needed to stop being a martyr and start asking for help, and especially accepting help when it was offered.
So we made a few changes. My parents, since they lived so close to us, offered to drop off my kids at school a few days week, allowing me to get on the road very early in the morning to beat the traffic and use the company gym. I also decided to ask HR about work-from options. It took some time, but eventually we settled on a schedule where I could work from home once or twice a week. And finally, I started giving myself a break. I had to recognize there would be days where the traffic would suck, or moments when I would arrive late because life happens.
As I started to implement those few changes, my life really changed. I felt less stressed. I felt like I had people to lean on. I felt like I could be a good worker and a good mother.
If only I had asked for help sooner I might have saved myself some sleepless nights and tears. My schedule isn’t perfect, but I have learned to continue to ask for what I want and need. It takes a village, and I am so blessed to have the village supporting me and my kids.
Kerry & I would love to hear from you! Do you remember a time where you wish you had just asked for help sooner? How did you feel once help was there for you, for your family, or for your career? Is there something that you should be asking for help with right now? Leave a comment below.
Kerry Rivera is a full-time working mom, juggling the demands of corporate career and family life with three kids in Southern California. By day she develops marketing campaigns for a large global brand, and at night she shifts to all things “mom and family.” The lines often blur in this age of flex-time and 24/7 technology, but she strives for balance and believes a support team is essential. Kerry shares her tips and perspective on working motherhood at breadwinningmama.com and enjoys speaking to other women about “the juggle.”
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