Intelligence

Why I Came Back to Work After Having Kids

ishviene_arora

Ishviene Arora

COO

Friday, March 8 is International Women’s Day. Over the last few years, we’ve taken this opportunity to showcase the incredible work our female staff has done and highlight the milestone steps for women in the industry. In addition to recognizing those, it’s also important to bring to light some of the tough decisions women are faced with every day to make these significant strides.

The decision to return to work post-kids was a big one for me. Surprisingly it was harder for me the second time around, for numerous reasons which probably deserves its own blog post! But for the purposes of keeping this brief, my second son was premie and we had just launched Vested, another baby in its own right. It’s been three (very, very) short years since my second son, Aveer, was born. Proud, in love and exhausted, the months following his birth were a joyous blur. Aveer’s brother Jairaj was just three years old at the time and growing up so fast—how could I return to work and risk the chances of missing out on a single smile or step all over again?

This choice was far from easy and deeply personal–what works for me isn’t right for every mom, nor should it be. But it’s a choice I don’t regret.

Here’s why I decided to continue working after having kids:

Passion: At the end of the day, this was by far my biggest motivator. Whatever your career path, I can’t stress enough the importance of feeling passionate and motivated not only by what you do but the people you do it with. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have spent over a decade working with my co-founders. We don’t always agree with each other but they push me to be the best version of myself – so find people who push you every day. Three years in, I also have an incredible team that I couldn’t imagine not working with. And of course I love what I do and care deeply about my clients and their success, so being able to tell their stories and elevate their brands was a huge driver for me. Plus, having poured my heart into building Vested, I felt strongly about seeing it through.

Conversation: It’s so easy to get absorbed in baby talk. As crazy as we all are about our kids, it was also important to me to stimulate my brain. Especially working in financial services, I’m dealing with complex and in-depth topics on a daily basis. It’s one of the things I love about my job, let’s be honest my kids are smart but I don’t think they were ready to talk about active vs passive investing or regulation!

Identity: Because I’ve worked so hard to progress in my career, much of my sanity is dependent upon succeeding at work; work is part of me at my very core. Of course, after having kids, they’re part of my core identity, too–but maintaining both of those keeps me sane and fulfilled. I think moms tend to feel guilty, and like they have to choose between being a “good mom” and being a “good professional.” Choosing to go back to work doesn’t make you a bad mom, or make you love your kids any less — for me, doing anything but returning to work would be abandoning a part of my true self.

Once I came back, it was the smoothest, most perfect transition and I never looked back! (spoiler alert: it was quite the opposite)

After my first day back at my old job (this was post-my first son), a client told us we were being fired. What a welcome back, particularly as I was already in a fragile state having left my 4-month-old baby. But I managed to take a deep breath and a step back and remember why I was here.

“Give me two weeks,” I said. Not only did the client decide to keep us on, but they wound up extending their contract and taking on more work with us. It was a big moment of confirmation for me and really underscored what motivated me to continue my career.

In many ways, being a mom has helped me progress at work. I think women tend to be organized and excel at compartmentalizing things. Having kids has added to that in terms of brain space, but it lets me be that much *more* organized. I’ve had plenty of late nights going through different check-lists to ensure things are getting done, but they always get done.

Again, the decision was close to my heart and depended largely on my situation. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company with an extremely supportive team, and that gives me the flexibility to pitch a new client, check in with my direct reports, handle client requests and still make it home in time to tuck the boys in. This might mean tying up loose ends at 9 P.M. after the kids are asleep, or catching up on emails on a Sunday afternoon

The sacrifices aren’t always so simplistic, and there are plenty of days I feel defeated or that I’ve messed up somehow, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not proud. Proud of being a female role model for my children, proud of my work, and while I’d never say I “have it all,” or have mastered the non-existent “balance,” I’m proud of trying.

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