Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Juggling Work and Life! Guest Post by Elizabeth Barajas-Guerrero

We asked a proud momma & (constantly-traveling) 
professional to share her take on balancing 
life and work with HerMamas.com

Is work/life balance possible for a mommy? I had never really given this much thought until I had my son. Before my little man came into my life, I was pounding away countless hours at work. I set a goal to establish myself in a company and quickly climb up the corporate ladder. I purposely joined a company where people like me were rare. A degreed, Hispanic female was like finding a needle in a haystack in a company solely dominated by males. The first few years were tough; I would come home crying because of how badly my co-workers treated me. But I stuck with it, I found a mentor and together we came up with a career path for me. Within 4 years, I had three promotions.

Traveling for work is something I’ve always wanted to do. At airports, I would always admire professionals who were traveling for business purposes. They appeared to be important and valuable to their company, qualities that I strived for. It was during my forth year that I was promoted to a position that would require me to travel. I was beyond ecstatic, I was given new responsibilities and the opportunity to see visit various US cities. Right before I started my new role, I found out I was pregnant. I was beyond excited for the pregnancy. Everything was working out as I envisioned, I had an amazing husband, we were expecting and I had established a career for myself.

The first few months of traveling were great. I always felt like I had a companion with me. I loved eating out and asking my unborn son what he wanted from the menu. Each city was a new adventure. I was happy and thriving in my role. I did so well that I was offered a different opportunity, one that required much more travel. I took the promotion without hesitation.

The ease of my travel arrangements came to a screeching halt when my son came 10 weeks early. I hadn’t arranged a day care yet and I couldn’t. My doctor told me I had to avoid daycares because my some was born very early and could easily catch a respiratory infection. The only thing I could do to help build up his immune system was to breastfeed. I made it a goal to breastfeed him for 6 months. My mom offered to stay with me a few months until my son was strong enough to go into a daycare. Now I had to figure out my work arrangement. Thankfully my manager is a mother and understood what I was going through. She cleared my travel schedule and let me work from home so I could breastfeed my baby. It was finally coming together and I was able to focus on work and motherhood.

Before my mother left, a neighbor/friend offered to take care of our son. We trusted her with him and knew he would be better with her than a daycare. I stopped working from home and went back to the office. As soon as I came back, the traveling started. And in no way was it like before. I felt and still feel guilty during each trip. It’s not fair to my husband or to my son. My husband is left to take care of my son and my son is without his mother. It’s a rather complicated situation. You see, I worked hard for this position, there are only 4 other people in my company that do what I do. I am well-respected and fondly thought of. I’ve thought about stepping down, but I’ve worked too hard to go back. Thankfully, my husband understands this and supports my career.

God blessed me with an amazing husband or "baby-daddy" as I fondly call him. He supports my career and works around my travel schedule. I couldn’t imagine being a single mom (and my respect to those who are). My husband is my rock. He helps keep me sane and constantly reminds me of how good of a mom I am. Now he is human and there are times where he feels like there is a disconnect between us. I’m away for days at a time and have little time to talk at night. So I can understand where he’s coming from. When he starts feeling this way, I reaffirm my love and commitment to him. I’ve learned that after each trip no matter how tired I am, I need to spend time cuddling on the couch with him or cook a family dinner. This is his “love language” and I finally understand it.

There are also times that my husband grows frustrated with our son, he is no angel. I try to take the ease off by bringing him a few bottles of local brew from each city I visit. I also bring my son back a trinket, I love hearing his “OH GWOOW.” Call me crazy, but this is like my peace offering for being away. If it weren’t for my husband, I don’t think I would be able to maintain my work/life balance. He keeps me grounded and helps in my corporate ladder climb.

Elizabeth with her husband & adorable son.

For this momma, balance comes down to partnership. She gets to achieve her professional goals thanks to a very supportive husband.Sounds like the sky's the limit for this working-mom and her precious little family!

How do you juggle work and life (motherhood/relationships/goals)? 

Who's your go-to supporter? 
Comment below or submit a guest post, TODAY!

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