Lizzie Broussard is a working mother of two. She in no way means for this blog to stand as a way for all moms to live their life. She is merely offering up her experience to the other moms out there to share her story.
There’s a time in every woman’s life when she starts to think about motherhood. For some women, it’s in their early 20s. For others, it’s not until they hit 35. For me, I always knew I wanted to be a mom. Finishing up high school and choosing my major for college, I thought, what career would allow me to be a good mom? What career could I leave for a period of time to raise my kids and come back to? Unable to answer those questions, I just picked my passion – English Literature – and resolved to figure out the mom dilemma later. After all, I was 19 and nowhere near ready to have kids.
After college, I happened to fall into my first job in the software world as a Quality Assurance Analyst – or tester. Although I spent the past four years analyzing literature, quickly I realized how much I loved the software world. I learned quickly and learned to love it even more quickly. Everything was constantly changing and innovating. There was tons of room for creativity and passion. The industry was young and so was I. Again, I thought about how I’d manage kids in a job like this, but didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. After all, I was 23 and kids were a long way off.
Through the years, as I made a place for myself in the software world, moving from tester to specification writer to project manager, I realized just how flexible the software world was, but also how solitary the work can be. Nearly 90% of my job is accomplished behind a computer screen, by myself. So in 2011, at 27, when I had my first daughter, I knew I could ask for flexibility in my position as opposed to leaving the workforce altogether. First, I didn’t want to quit working. Remember all those things I said about the software industry above? They still stood years later. I loved my job and I really loved working. But I also wanted to be home with my daughter. I didn’t want to “miss it all.” So, unlike any of my other coworkers at the time, I asked my boss for a flexible schedule. I’d still work 40 hours a week, but one week I’d be in the office for two days; the following week, I’d be in for three. This would allow me to attend meetings, keep a presence at the office, and work with my developers, all while having lazy mornings with my daughter, play dates with friends, and cuddle sessions in the middle of the day. It was the best of both worlds.
Now, I won’t say it was easy. I had to work hard to make it work. There were late nights clocking hours and early mornings getting things done. But I did it. And I loved it. I got the best of both worlds—mommyhood at home and work life in the office.
Then I met Calvin. I was looking for a new job and I caught wind that he was open to flexible schedules. This was of utmost importance to me. I knew the software industry leant itself to working at home; I just needed to find an employer that felt the same way. During my interview with him, I was going on and on about how I could be available 24/7 for this job. I’d work from can’t see to can’t see just as long as I could still have a flexible schedule. Then Calvin said something I thought I’d never hear an employer say.
"Do you think you work too much? Wouldn’t you like to work a little less?"
I think my jaw hit the ground. Calvin was not only asking me to work for him to help him build his company, but he was asking me to spend more quality time with my daughter—not always worrying about getting my 40 hours in. I don’t think it’s hard for you to imagine that I gave the most enthusiastic "YES!" when Calvin offered me the job at Envoc.
Now I work 30 hours a week. I’m in the office three days a week and at home two. Wednesdays and Fridays are still special for me. I get to do all the fun things with my daughter in the middle of the week and beat the weekend crowds at places like the mall and play yards. We go to the park, play at splash pads, and meet up with friends. The rest of the week, I work hard, but I love it—so it’s not really work at all. Best of all, my bosses know that just because I’m not in the office every day, it doesn’t diminish the work that I do or compromise the projects I manage. Most of all, I’m not seen as a “part-time employee.” I feel like I contribute to the company in a real and meaningful way each and every day.
And 10 weeks ago, my life just got a little more interesting with the birth of my second daughter. Right now, both girls are fast asleep in bed while I get a little work done at my dining room table. In all my wildest dreams I never thought I’d be able to have such a fulfilling work and home life balance. Without the flexibility and innovation spearheaded by the software industry, I know I wouldn’t be able to have such an amazing work arrangement. And that’s how software has allowed me to be the mom I’ve always wanted to be.
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