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Balancing Becoming a Working Parent

Although parenthood is amazing, it’s no secret that it has its fair share of challenges. At LaSalle, we are lucky to be part of a culture designed to help new working parents adjust, and thrive at home and work. We’re proud that Fortune Magazine recently named us one of the best 50 places to work for parents.

One of our newest parents, Kitty Brandtner, gives us some insight into the transition. Pregnancy isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, which she experienced first-hand. Here are her tips to balance becoming a working mom:

 

Walk us through your journey, and any challenges you faced during this time:

Pregnancy is a different experience for every woman, but it’s not always easy.

I went through prenatal depression, which affects between 5 to 10 percent of women. It completely changed my perspective on everything, including work. Mostly, it impacted communication with coworkers and leadership. I found that being open and honest was key. I was extremely lucky, because my leadership team was incredibly supportive and understood I was working through something. I remember as I was getting better, I started to feel more like myself and participated in a management meeting. Our CEO, Tom Gimbel, smiled and said, “welcome back!”

Opening up to clients was also great, and you have to remember that many folks in the workforce are parents. The empathy the business community has shown was really nice to experience.

My goal is to put a face and voice to prenatal depression, so other people know it’s okay. It’s normal and you can overcome it. It’s an illness, and shouldn’t have this shame that goes along with it. People usually don’t know what to do, how to help or how powerful hormones can be. It is scary, but there are a million things that you can do.

 

What advice do you have on the transition back to work? 

The challenge I’ve had with returning to work is balance. It’s important to find time to focus on your career, focus on your baby and focus on yourself. I think I came back to work a bit too aggressively. I was excited to be back and couldn’t wait to dive in, so I did. I would have 10 meetings a week, and drinks or dinner with clients every night. Don’t do that because being sick with a newborn is not ideal, and I got bronchitis!

Make sure to have boundaries, and don’t be afraid to say no. That doesn’t mean you can’t participate in things, just care for yourself, too.

 

How did you feel coming back to work?

When I came back to work, there were balloons, a sign and my favorite Starbucks drink on my desk. The welcome was so heartfelt and warm, and that made it easy. LaSalle made it super comfortable and awesome.

I grew up with a single working mom, so it was instilled in me that you should rely on yourself. As a woman, you can do whatever you want, and I want my daughter to feel that way as well. When she’s old enough, I want her to know you can have a family and a career. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. I have a role model in my boss, Maureen, who is a working mother and Chief Revenue Officer. LaSalle has such an army of strong, female leaders that I always feel I have people I can ask for advice.

The important thing is realizing that you can’t be at the same speed as you were before you had kids, and that’s okay. I can still be good at my job and a good mom, but I don’t need to be 110% of everything every day. Knowing my CEO and boss agree with me has been very helpful.

 

Especially in the face of unexpected challenges, Lasallians demonstrate empathy, understanding and support. It’s important to remember that not every place is like LaSalle, and you should adjust accordingly.  Although it’s sometimes good to be transparent, if you’re new to an organization, be cautious of oversharing. Every story is different, so we hope Kitty’s advice helps you navigate your unique situation.

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