I'm introducing a new series featuring interviews with real millennial working moms (MWM)! Every month I will be profiling a different MWM to get the inside scoop on motherhood, balancing work and home, and carving out 'me' time. Oh, and I'm including fun little tidbits like their drink of choice and trashy TV picks 'cause let's be honest, we all need our little indulgences.
Our very first (!!) MWM is the hilarious and warm Lindsay Jones, mom to adorable 8 month-old Georgia, badass humanitarian, marathoner, and good friend of mine.
What is your job title?
Full-time Social Worker at a community health centre and on-call Psychosocial Delegate for the Emergency Response Unit of the Canadian Red Cross.
What do you love most about your job?
The money, obviously!
Kidding. No...I love my job because I get to meet incredibly interesting people that I would never get to meet in the bubble of my everyday life. While the work can be emotionally heavy and taxing at times, as many of my clients are living in poverty or struggling with mental health or addiction issues, I feel privileged to help find solutions to better themselves and their situations. It's wonderful to witness someone take control of their life and find the happiness they deserve. I feel fortunate to be involved in such meaningful work.
I know you're currently on maternity leave, but can you anticipate how being a mom will influence your role at work?
Being a mom has made me even more sensitive to what life is like for all types of mamas, but especially single moms. As a social worker, I work with so many young women going it all on their own, mostly not by choice, and I am now, more than ever, in awe of them. So, I can see myself carrying that renewed admiration with me in my work. I am so thankful to have a supportive and loving husband to share parenthood; I can't imagine doing it all on my own! So to all the single moms (and single dads) raising tiny humans all by their lonesome, I raise a glass to you. You're amazing!
What do you find most challenging about being a millennial working mom?
I'm realizing that the biggest challenge for me as a MWM is negotiating the guilt I feel over wanting to stay the course of my professional pursuits while also being the best mom I can be. In this day and age, most would agree that the two are not mutually exclusive, and in fact can be a great fit for both mom and baby. However, in my line of work, it isn't that simple.
My humanitarian work with the Red Cross is where my passion truly lies and is where I feel most in my element. Pre-baby, I made decisions freely and quite honestly, selfishly about deploying abroad. When the Ebola epidemic hit in 2014, for example, I knew I wanted to travel to West Africa and join the response effort, and that nothing was going to stop me...not even a boatload of worry and anxiety from my friends and family. And that's what I did. I spent over a month at an Ebola Treatment Centre in Sierra Leone, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
In this post-baby era I now find myself living in, I'm not sure what my career with the Red Cross will look like. Part of me can't wait for the next opportunity to jump on a plane and get to work, while the other part of me is saddled with guilt over the eventuality of leaving my baby for a whole month. I decided not to accept any deployments in her first year while she's still so young, but as we get closer to her first birthday, I wonder when it will start to feel like the right time to get back into that type of work.
So the biggest challenge for me is striking a balance between staying true to my values and professional goals and being the kind of mother that I always wanted to be....loving, caring, devoted and inspiring. I want to be someone my daughter will one day look up to and be proud of...but at what cost? These are some of the things I worry about.
What has been most surprising about motherhood?
I am most surprised by how much I love spending time doing the weirdest, most menial activities with my daughter. Before I became a mom, I used to watch other moms running around after their kids all day and think to myself about how exhausting it all looked...and how I didn't know if I could ever do it...or if I would ever really enjoy it. But now that I'm in it, I get it. Every little moment with Georgia is pure joy for me. I even love watching her eat her food and the sounds she makes while doing it! How weird is that? I get consumed by studying her little face and its expressions. Most days fly by for me, and I never understood how that would happen. I always thought I would be itching to go back to work from mat leave, and here I am, 8 months in, dreading the day I have to leave her. I didn't expect that. I didn't expect how much I could love this little person and how much she would change me.
How do you carve out ‘me' time and what does that look like for you?
Carving out 'me' time is essential. I decided a couple of months ago to commit to running everyday. I'm from a family of runners and have always been a runner, but more recently I realized that I needed to make it part of my daily constitution (and with the NYC marathon looming, I needed to kick it up a notch anyway!). So everyday, often pushing Georgia ahead of me in the stroller, I set out for an early evening run - sometimes along the river, sometimes through parks and wooded trails - to clear my mind, to get fresh air and to do the body good! For me, it's the perfect way to find peace and quiet while doing something that I love. Oh, and a glass of wine or two doesn't hurt either!
What is one essential beauty product you can’t live without?
Just one? Haha, how about three? I choose nail polish (I love Essie's colors), coconut oil for smooth skin, and Sephora Colorful Blush to brighten up a tired face.
What is your drink of choice?
Again, just one? Haha, this time, I have two. Strong coffee first thing in the morning and a cold, crisp, Sauvignon Blanc in the evenings.
What is your favorite item of clothing for work?
Given what motherhood has done to my body, I'm going to go with a really, really, really good bra. But once the girls are in place, I'd say my favorite must-have for work is a shirt-dress with cute boots.
Must-watch trashy TV (be honest!)?
Sooo embarrassing, but all the Real Housewives franchises (New York and Beverly Hills being the best), The Bachelor/Bachelorette, and (face-palm) Southern Charm. I told you, embarrassing.
If you could offer a piece of advice to other millennial working moms, what would it be?
Let me start by saying that I in no way feel qualified to give advice at this stage in my life! But if I had to...I'd say this: don't forget about mama bear in the equation. Because if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! Take that little bit of time each day to do something just for you...no matter what it is. Being a mom is a lot of hard work, and a lot of prioritizing someone else's needs and interests all...day....long. It's so easy to lose yourself in the mix, so set a little time aside every day to be selfish and do something that helps you recharge your batteries and think of something other than sleep schedules and teething.
So in summary...
Eat the cheese. Drink the wine. And be kind to yo' self.
Want to be the next MWM profiled on VocationElle? Fill-out the form below and we'll be in touch!