There are a few, still moments every morning when the house is still quiet, the bustling traffic outside their NYC apartment is muffled, and Shannon is able to savor some one-on-one snuggles with her only daughter Sam before the days begins. As part of my new series, Monday's Moms, Shannon has graciously opened a window into her life as a full-time working mom. She and her husband live and work in the heart of New York City with their daughter Samantha who just turned 1 last week! You may recognize Sam from this post that I did a while back that featured her adorable, happy nature while playing with her nanny, Rachel.
Shannon's story demonstrates a convicting glimpse into the decisions and lifestyle of working moms so I hope you enjoy reading and learning how their family makes it work and finds happiness in their every day!
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have a daughter, Samantha (Sam), who turned one on June 28
What is your job? Are you full-time/part-time/whenever-you-get-time/or other!?
I work full time in marketing at PwC, a Big4 accounting firm. I’m fortunate to work for a firm that truly “gets it” when it comes to striving for balance and flexibility between work and home. My schedule is hectic, but I’m still able to be with Sam in the mornings and I leave work at a reasonable hour to be with her before bedtime. I can then log back on for a bit to wrap up my work day.
I realize that my current form of work/life balance doesn’t exist everywhere – and it’s certainly not prevalent in the US. I’m glad to work for a firm that’s truly invested in the issue. As a matter of fact, our CEO even recently served on a panel at President Obama’s 2014 White House Summit on Working Families.
What factors influenced the decision about your working lifestyle?
I always knew I wanted to be a working mom. I like the idea of serving as a role model for my daughter to instil independence, and it’s important to me to show Samantha that while I love her, I am more than a mom, and that I’m a person with my own interests that are not centred around her.
Ultimately, I would work even if I didn’t need to financially. Which brings me to my second factor – the financial end of things. In today’s world, it’s increasingly rare to find families who can get by on a single income. Add to that the fact that we live in NYC – which is notoriously expensive – and the choice for either of us to not work disappears.
How does/do your spouse or other family members play a role in your work lifestyle choices?
My husband plays an active role at home, and we both strive to make it a 50/50 effort. It’s certainly not a perfect science, but I feel very fortunate that he’s so engaged. We do our best to alternate being home in the mornings and evenings, and we split responsibilities down the middle. Otherwise, neither of us would be able to sustain!
We don’t have a lot of family nearby, so not having “on the ground” support is a real struggle. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important for both of us to be involved.
What do you feel you have to sacrifice, if anything, in order to have the working lifestyle you do?
The time away from Sam is certainly a sacrifice – and a heart breaking one at times. Although I’m very secure and content with my decision to work, it’s still hard when I have to miss activities, doctor appointments, and the little moments in between. This makes me truly appreciate my relationship and time with Sam. I should also note that because I’m a working mom, I rarely get any time for myself, and that is a big sacrifice, too.
How do you find balance between family time and work or social time?
Wait, does that balance exist? If so, please immediately find the person who has figured this out, lock him/her in a room, and force the secret out to share with all of us!
What is your favorite part of the day?
I have two favorite parts of my day. First, there are the minutes after Sam gets up in the mornings when she’s especially snuggly, and everything is so still and quiet before the rush of the day. The three of us spend time just being together, talking and enjoying watching Sam as she grows and increasingly becomes part of our world.
The second is my iced coffee on my commute to work. I seriously could not live without coffee in my life, so that’s also a favorite…
What do you do to relax / for fun?
I recently got back into running over the winter and ended up participating in a half marathon in April. Exercise is the best stress reliever for me, and I always feel more focused and refreshed when I make the time for it.
What do you “splurge” on?
My NYC rent for my apartment
What do you like most about being a mom?
I’m sometimes surprised at how good I am at being a mom. I realize that may come off as arrogant, but it’s definitely not meant that way. I had no idea what kind of mom I would be – or if I’d even be good at it! When I married my husband, I knew I eventually wanted to have children with him. I never felt, though, that I needed to have children to complete my life. So when we starting trying have a family – and were met with over three years of infertility struggles – I had to think long and hard about how much I wanted to fight for a baby. I’d say I made the right choice.