In life, we face many changes.

There could be job and career changes. And there can also be personal changes.

Sometimes deciding to step back or say “no” to commitments so you can fully concentrate on something else is hard.

One of our podcast hosts, Kathryn, just had a child — and found herself learning how to manage her professional life differently.

It’s difficult to do… but we all at times need to learn how to reevaluate our personal and professional lives — and reprioritize.

In this Think Tank of Three episode, we talk about balancing work after the birth of a child.

 

Podcast Transcript

Audrea:
Today we are going to talk about change. In life, we face so many changes. There could be job and career changes.

And there can also be a lot of personal changes.

[Intro]

Audrea:
Welcome to the podcast, I’m Audrea Fink, here with Kathryn Janicek and Julie Holton. Together, we are your Think Tank of Three.

Julie:
One of our podcast hosts, Kathryn, is experiencing lots of changes. And to accommodate them, she is stepping back from the blog and Think Tank of Three podcast and she is doing it for the very best reasons.

Audrea:
Kathryn this is a huge change for us but we are so excited to be supporting you as you walk the talk. Tell us about your decision.

Kathryn:
Many of our listeners know, I am a brand-new mom. My daughter is eight months old, we spent many years trying to have our daughter. And so, this is a pretty big shift also because I’ve spent 20 plus years just focusing on my career and so now, it’s very, very different. I did not – and if you’re parents out there, you’re going to laugh at me when I say this – that I didn’t know how different my life was going to be. People warned me, they said oh honey wait, wait, wait. And I had no clue how different your life becomes once you have a child. There’s no fitting a baby in. Like, it becomes your absolute priority.

Kathryn:
Especially if you’re a mom and you’re feeding the baby with your body, I mean this is, it is the number one thing and then your job is number two, even if you’re at your job 10 hours a day Monday through Friday, your first priority is you know where the child is and making sure your child is safe and feeding the child.

Julie:
Yeah, okay and so a quick note about that; Kathryn you mentioned very briefly about your journey to having Zofie with your husband Ted and we’ve podcasted about that so those of you listening if you’d like to hear more about that, search on our podcasts for some of those. We’ve talked about fertility, we’ve talked with Pulling Down the Moon in Chicago and some of these great organizations. And Kathryn and her husband Ted also have a podcast called Parents After 40, so check out parentsafter40.com to hear more about that specific journey.

Julie:
Kathryn, oh my gosh. So I’m not a mom, Audrea’s not a mom, so we’re learning from you. And of course we have friends and we’ve been seeing how lives change but you know especially as a woman who owns a business and a woman who is always on the go, like I’ve known you for some 20 years and you are just always on the go. So talk about, for women that are on the go, some tips that maybe you didn’t know before you had Zofie and things that you’ve already learned in the last, well more than a year since during your pregnancy and beyond. What are some things that might make it easier for others before they make this journey?

Kathryn:
It’s funny because I was in a … last year I was just about to come pregnant with Zofie and I was in a class with all these other small business owners and there were a couple of other women who were going through IVF fertility and they were talking about like well, are you going to sign her up for this great day care in Chicago, are you going to get a nanny?

Kathryn:
And I really didn’t ever think about, I didn’t plan. So first of all I didn’t plan ahead. And it didn’t hurt me, like we were just going with the flow. But I would suggest if you wanted it to be a little smoother transition to plan ahead a little bit. Think about how you want your life to look like once the child comes. And truth be told, like Julie mentioned, I was too afraid to plan because I had so many … I had miscarriages, I had failed. Ted and I lost twins.

Kathryn:
Personally, I was too afraid to plan for the successful birth of my child because I was kind of afraid I was going to jinx it or I was just afraid I was going to get myself too excited. But if you don’t have those kind of failures in your past and you’re just, you know, you’re younger and you just plan. Plan for what your life is going to look like after that nine month or 10 month pregnancy because life is going to look different. If you have a corporate job you might have three months maternity leave, which is awesome.

Kathryn:
Is it long enough? My personal opinion is it’s not long enough and you’re lucky I think nowadays to even have three months. And a lot of males, a lot of partners, so whether you’re a male partner or a female partner to the pregnant woman, you might not even have any kind of leave and I will say your partner, if you are having a child with a partner it’s so important for them to also plan ahead because that reality changes for them too, you know?

Kathryn:
What does their travel schedule look like? Are they going to take off time? Do they have vacation time that they can store? Because the person having the baby definitely needs some support. You are physically and emotionally so different for a good three months and I remember, I own my own company so I don’t have a paid maternity leave. And I didn’t know what that was going to look like.

Kathryn:
But I will say there’s a different emotional switch that happens around three months or so and that, before that three months you just, you might not be ready to work. You might not be ready to really take on eight hour, nine hour, 10 hour day because you’re physically and emotionally just different. You really have to think about the physical changes that you’re going through. Even if you adopt I mean you’re going to be up
every single hour sometimes when the baby is brand, brand new. So you’re going to go through major physical changes.

Kathryn:
And I worked overnight in television for a very long time and I lived on four hours of sleep and I thought this was going to be easy. But when you’re woken up every 45 minutes, every hour, it’s different. Like now I know why the military uses this as a way to get people to talk. Because you are, you are … this is a different kind of punishment.

Audrea:
You’ll do anything.

Kathryn:
Oh, you will. It is a punishment beyond belief and you’re going to be short with your partner too so you have to make sure, you know some people say oh we have to have a kid to save our relationship or whatever. Your relationship has to be really solid before you have a kid. Because you are going to be tested. You’re going to be really tired, you’re going to say things, you’re going to snap. You have to be on really solid footing because you two have to be on the same page. You have to be absolute partners because it is hard. No one could have prepared me for the first two months, let me just tell you that.

Audrea:
What were some of the things that were different for you that you didn’t plan for? What were some of the unexpected I didn’t anticipate this thing?

Kathryn:
The hormonal mental feeling, the you know, you hear about post-partum depression. But you think it’s, well it’s not going to happen to me, you know? There are, for example when I would breastfeed. And it still kind of happens now but when I breastfeed there’s like this hormonal change that happens to let the milk out that I didn’t know anything about this. I never read any breastfeeding books before I gave birth because I thought it happens and nobody has lactation consultants. Like this has been happening for millions of years for women, it should just, I’ll breastfeed, milk will come out, my child will miraculously come to my breast and she will fill her belly.

Kathryn:
And I thought you know this was just going to happen. But there are things, a) I had a really hard time and I didn’t give up but some people absolutely have medical reasons that they cannot do it. There’s things that happen, they get … have to go on antibiotics and they, it just stops for them. But there’s this hormonal change that happens too, like I would tell Ted that I became, when I started breastfeeding you know, you’d think it would be so wonderful. You’re sitting there feeding your child, looking down at her but there was a hormonal thing that happened with me.

Kathryn:
And it happens with a small percentage of women where I got really low and sad when I would breastfeed. And it just happened for like the first five minutes of that breastfeeding. I don’t know if it can be called depression or post-partum. I don’t know any technical but I had to Google it really fast because it kept happening to me where just for the first five minutes I became really sad and I couldn’t understand it because 
why would I be sad when I’m sitting there having a wonderful moment breastfeeding my child.

Kathryn:
Or I’m pumping at that moment. But it’s, so I looked it up and a small percentage of women just have this hormonal thing that happens when they breastfeed and they just become really depressed, sad, lonely. I just felt low. And I finally told my husband after like a week of this, I’m like something’s happening can you just keep an eye on me. And that’s another thing, is like just having a partner, having a mom around, having someone who can keep an eye on your after you give birth. 

Kathryn:
I thought like oh, I don’t want anybody around, I don’t want any parents and I’m really thankful that my parents came in before I gave birth and they filled my freezer, this is a big tip. Have someone come through and fill your freezer with a bunch of food because you won’t be in a place where you have time or want to cool. And a bunch of takeout food or delivery food isn’t really healthy for you or the baby. So they filled my freezer so step one is have someone come and fill your freezer.

Kathryn:
Have someone checking on you, especially if you’re going this alone. You know if you have a woman in your late 30s or 40s and you’re like this is my last opportunity I just want to have a baby. Have someone in your house checking on you, living with you for a couple of weeks, months, something because you might have these dark moments where it’s just good to have, I told my husband too, don’t let me go too dark for too long because I’d read from celebrities who would talk about being in post-partum and they didn’t know, they didn’t really get help until like nine months, a year later and so I asked Ted to just keep track of me and get me the right medications or help or therapy if it went too long.

Kathryn:
So I think that’s another big tip is just having that conversation before because we know so much about post partem disease now, we know more about the disorder now, just having somebody check on you. And also knowing what your plan is so if you’re, if you work for yourself, deciding what we did is we hired a nanny before Zofie was born. We hired a nanny two days a week. Because that’s all I thought I would really need. Especially at the beginning. But I will say that I’m so happy because I had someone in my house after the mom left, after the mother-in-law left.

Kathryn:
Someone who was an experienced mother there helping me and I will say that it was a really good decision. Was I back at work full time? No. But I was having, I had someone in my house to help me when I had questions about diaper rash, because that didn’t happen until weeks later. I had someone in there who could just help me so I could put a load of laundry in. I will, I do not regret having this person here for two days a week to help me. We need our tribe.

Kathryn:
Back in the day, in Europe, you think about you had moms upstairs living in, with you upstairs. People lived a lot closer. Nowadays you have moms who live states away from 
you. Maybe your mom has passed, maybe your grandmother is no longer living. It’s okay to go I need help. Before I got pregnant, I had a friend tell me that she was going to get a night nurse and I was like, why would you need someone to help you to be there and help you at night? And now I understand why. You absolutely need the help. It’s okay to ask for help. 

Julie:
Kathryn, I love to hear you talking about asking for help because I think whether we’re talking about having a child or anything in life, it doesn’t matter whether you’re working full time or not working or where you area and what you need help with, that’s something that universally people have a really hard time with is asking for help. And so if people take away one message from this podcast today it’s ask for help. Reach out to your tribe because this life is not meant to be done alone. And so I really love to hear you talking about that.

Julie:
And so I want to ask you know, as you’re talking about this, and I’m hearing what you’ve been going through and as you’re sharing that and thank you for sharing that because I think that’s a message that so many women need to hear, I’m sure you got to a point where you had to make decisions before decisions were made for you on how to shift priorities, how to shift activities. How do you decide what to keep, what to drop? You’re having the biggest year of your business. How do you decide what clients take or not take and balance? How have you started finding that balance to make those decisions for you?

Kathryn:
It becomes a lot easier when you have a new priority. I will say that. I would before just take extra clients even if my plate was full. And I would say okay, I’m going to work on Saturdays and Sundays, I’ll just expand my hours. Because we’re also taught some of us read books and time is a variable you can control. We always have enough time. You can work until 11:00 at night as an entrepreneur and when you own your business you can work all weekend long. And is that the healthiest thing to do? I don’t think so.

Kathryn:
Because if you also read other leadership books or you talk to other leaders they talk about having that open time to really think. And I will say having my daughter and saying you know what? When I’m with my daughter I’m not going to be looking at my iWatch, I’m not going to be looking at my iPhone, I’m not going to have my laptop. How do you have your laptop in your lap with your daughter in your lap?

Audrea:
Or breastfeeding.

Kathryn:
Or breastfeeding. I will tell you carving out that time and I’ve shared with both of you that I have said recently I really just want to be a mom now on the weekends. I am trying, I’m getting my strategies down now where and I hired a full time team so I can now make sure that my weekends are for my daughter and my husband quite frankly too because I don’t want to…I want to make sure that my husband is also a priority because quite honestly I want to keep him happy so he’s around and you know, I don’t want to, my husband is also a priority because I want to keep our family unit together.  So weekends are very important.

Kathryn:
So the things that Zofie’s helped me do is one, finally come to the conclusion that I need full time staff. Zofie without knowing this, so Zofie when you’re listening to this in 10 years you’ve actually helped, she’s actually helped my company make more money. Because hiring a full time staff now has helped me bring in more clients and be able to handle more clients. So that’s huge. I knew that I needed to do it but I was afraid to do it before because of you know, oh gosh, now I have people that depend on me for an absolute weekly salary. But Zofie has created that desire in me to bring people on and expand still with my company but not me personally work seven days a week.

Audrea:
I love that you just said that Kathryn. It’s one of the issues I’ve actually seen in corporate life in general, right? Is that we, whether you’re a woman or whether you’re just working in an environment, we tend to take on a lot of work. And we try to own a lot of it. And sometimes it takes that external piece to allow you to see like you need more space. I have an attorney I work with who is also a mom and she said she was struggling in her business because she was trying to balance all of this work she had to do and then leaving at the end of the day and wanting to be participatory with her kids. She finally ended up just using an associate to help pass off some of the lower level work that she could do herself but didn’t have to. And what she said was originally she was nervous about that.

Audrea:
Because how was she going to keep someone busy? But what she found was, she passed on that stuff to them which was a great learning experience for them and she now had more room for the higher level, bigger picture stuff. She’s making more money because she’s bringing in more work and it’s high level, high rate work and she doesn’t have to work as much doing the things that aren’t the best use of her time so she has more time with her kids.

Audrea:
And I think whether you’re a working mom or just a professional in general, it’s important to look at what are the things I’m spending my time on that aren’t my highest and best use? Can I push that off to someone else? And it’s a big risk, right? It’s scary to think about someone depending on you. But I think it’s important to also think about what do you get if you’re not working on these things? So I love hearing that Zofie was that for you.

Julie:
And you’re balancing so many things and I hear you saying you know you’re balancing your relationship with your husband, you’re balancing being a new mom. You’re balancing work. Now running a full time team. And somewhere in there you also have to fit in keeping Kathryn Janicek happy. You know? Keeping your mental health a top priority. Taking time for you and I know women, as you talked about bringing in a nanny and was it too early too late and it sounds like it was the perfect time for you and I would encourage women to do the same or just to hire a babysitter or have a family member come over, so you can take a shower.So you can take an hour to go grocery shopping. Even if it seems like the most mundane or small thing, taking time for you is not only okay, it’s necessary.

Kathryn:
What that also allows me to do which I did not do before and this is a tip for like … if you want to be a good leader you need that time for that mental energy. You need to be creative. You need to not be sitting at your computer and your phone all the time because what happened was I wasn’t allowing myself to have thoughts come in and think about like high level how my business is going to look in 2020. How my business is going to look in 5 years, 10 years.

Kathryn:
And the top leaders talk about that taking that break, reading a book, taking a walk. I will tell you, walking with my daughter in the carriage or strapping her to me and just walking around the block and not being on the phone is the time I get the big ideas. And that’s so important. I get big ideas for my clients and so it’s better for everybody. So every leader, if you don’t have a child just make that time for yourself because I promise you when you go to yoga, et cetera, that’s when you’re going to have those big ideas. So that has been huge for me, creating that time for myself to think.

Audrea:
I want to talk about breastfeeding and travel. So, Kathryn you travel a lot for work and you’ve made the choice to breastfeed which is awesome. How does that work? How does it work when you’re away for days?

Kathryn:
Breastfeeding and travel is so weird, okay? I have elected to try to breastfeed through til Zofie is 1 and I stuttered there for a second because I’m trying not to set huge lofty goals because in case I don’t, I don’t want to feel disappointed in myself. So right now I’m kind of saying, I’m saying after Christmas, after January, after … because I will tell you when the child is with you it’s so much easier to be breastfeeding. Because when you’re on a plane and you have to have bottles and mixing things, I heard other moms say you know oh, I just didn’t go to formula because I was lazy and I thought breastfeeding was easier and I thought wow, breast feeding’s really hard. You’re not lazy for not going to formula. Like breastfeeding is very difficult also.

Kathryn:
But now I realize what they mean, you know. It’s easier when because your boobs are always on you and the boobs are going to get full of milk every two hours and so it is easier especially when you’re traveling. So when you’re traveling for fun, like going away from Christmas or holidays or whenever I think it’s personally easier to just be able to be breastfeeding. But if you’re a working woman, this is something I never thought about.

Kathryn:
So if you’re out there and you haven’t had a child yet and you have a corporate job or own your own business, whatever it is, if you elect to breastfeed your child and you have to travel for work without your child, you have to leave her for two days, three days, whatever it is and that’s what I have to do it is a completely different world than I … I didn’t even think about this world.

Kathryn:
So one thing is we’re very lucky now in 2020, 2019 that there are services out there that actually ship a box to your hotel. I use Milk Stork and it’s amazing. They ship a box to my hotel, I pump while I’m away and I put the milk in the box and it Fed Exes overnight home so my child gets that milk, and then I bring another box home on the plane. And then there’s a whole discussion with TSA. Because TSA then has to go through it, they have to look at it, they have to make sure it’s not a bomb.

Kathryn:
I went through all kinds of quirky things in the last 8 months as far as knowing you can’t bring a freezer thing unfrozen, it has to be absolutely frozen or I had some guy was brought out, a bomb squad was brought out from the basement at one airport I was at.

Audrea:
Oh my goodness.

Kathryn:
Yeah, in Rhode Island because we traveled for family to see them in Cape Cod and they brought this guy from they said in the basement, the bomb squad dude to check the freezer component that I had for the breast milk. And they gave me a complete body search and they searched through all my bags all for breast milk. And it was kind of humiliating because I was also in that very hormonal period, it was really fresh. So there’s a lot of stuff you’re going to go through as a mom if you elect to breastfeed and also bring formula onto the plane because it’s a liquid.

Kathryn:
If you want details as far as you know TSA tips and other tips when it comes to pumping or breastfeeding while you’re working and traveling you can’t tweet me @kathrynjanicek or find me on Facebook or on my website or whatever. Because I can give you all the nitty gritty tips that other people might not need to hear.

Julie:
Okay, and this is where I can’t help but say if men were the ones who had babies, if men were the ones who were breastfeeding I think this would not be as big of an issue.

Audrea:
Preach.

Kathryn:
I know.   

Julie:
I’m sorry, I can’t help it.

Kathryn:
Think about how many women who stopped breastfeeding because they had to go back to work and they had to travel before there were these, and I will tell you, yes there are services out there that will do this, right? So ship the box to your hotel, you fill the box, you ship it back. But it’s very expensive. So when I’m gone for 3 days it costs me $400 in shipping and these boxes, et cetera to ship my breast milk home. So I will tell you another thing it’s a completely lie when people say well breastfeeding is free, it’s the cheapest thing ever. Do it because it’s free.

Kathryn:
There’s a cost of opportunity there. I can’t leave my house for more than a specific amount of hours because I’m going to start to leak. Like there’s, sorry to get personal here but why not, you know? You start to literally leak in a meeting so you have to carve that time in too so when I travel for clients can’t you know I might have a 12 hour day but every three hours or so I need a 30 minute period where I can pump, put it in the fridge and then it’s also awkward to ask the client say, I’m still breastfeeding, you know I need a fridge if that’s okay, please. If you don’t mind. I really would like a fridge or somewhere to put my cooler, I need a private place with a lock to breastfeed.

Audrea:
Private place with a lock is like insane. Like the fact that there aren’t places, when I worked at a previous company where they used the electrical closet for a mom. So here sit on this one chair, don’t touch anything or it’ll zap you, by the way you’re dealing with liquid.

Kathryn:
I know, I know. And I will say, airports are getting much better but if you’re a freaking traveler you’re going to have these great little places that are called mom rooms, et cetera but if you don’t have access to those clubs you’re probably pumping in the bathroom with everyone else flushing toilets and stuff. Which really grosses me out because fecal matter goes into the air, then it goes into the breast milk. Like I think about all that stuff.

Kathryn:
So just, and then I’m glad that more companies are also letting moms not pump in the bathroom where everyone’s … you know I think men don’t understand, they go, well why can’t you just pump in the bathroom? I mean that’s gross. You have to sit down, you’re going to be pumping for half an hour, you have to switch out your bras, you have to do all kinds of stuff, you have to clean out the equipment. It’s a project.

Julie:
Well and I’m glad you’re having your best year ever because apparently all of that’s being funneled back into just being able to breastfeed and pay to have it shipped and …

Audrea:
Nannies.

Julie:
I mean, it’s just, this is just mind boggling to me. Okay, so I own my own company too and this week broke my finger so I can tell you that even the smallest things I’m like man, okay. So I don’t, like I don’t get time off for a broken finger, I don’t have sick leave. What the heck does maternity leave look like when you own your own business, Kathryn?

Kathryn:
I don’t know. I don’t know, it looks like whatever you created. I don’t know and I look back to, I have a girlfriend named Erin and she owns a national company too, like we talked about this last summer and she said okay so what are you going to do for maternity leave? Because I was about three months ahead of her with my pregnancy and I said I don’t know. And she was looking to me that I had planned it out already and I didn’t know. I did put an out of office on for the first time literally in my life.

Kathryn:
If you’re a frequent listener to this podcast you know Julie and I came from television and you just don’t put an out of office in, you know you’re on all the time. But I put an “out of office” message on my email which was a big thing for me. But I only left it on for two and a half weeks which was not smart. So another tip is that, well I got kind of like, oh I’m getting this down. I can do this. So I can take my “out of office” off. But what that means is you obviously get inundated with emails and people expect that you’re performing again at your you know, your top level.

Kathryn:
And I’m going to share this, the mistake that I made so other people just know that this is real, there were a couple of proposals I didn’t send. You know some people emailed me and they were looking for proposals for work. I’m a public speaking strategist and a media strategist, and there’s work that I lost out on because I wasn’t mentally ready to respond, okay?

Kathryn:
And I look back now and I’m like gosh, I wonder where those emails are. But there’s probably two big clients, two big jobs, I missed out on because it was in that first month after I had a baby I turned that out of office on. So somebody expected to hear back from me and I did not respond to them and now you know, it’s a broken bridge.

Kathryn:
Like will they ever reach out to me again? Probably not, why would they? My big thing is put that out of office on and keep it on until you really know you have the time to answer all of your emails or respond to your clients. I did prep all my clients before, like I made … they all knew I was pregnant because I showed up very pregnant. So I planned that, I planned ahead for that but I didn’t really think about keeping the out of office on long enough.

Audrea:
Well and you can use ‘out of office’, it doesn’t have to be the same message, right? You can use out of office to say hey, I’m working part time at this point. You can expect responses in the next 48 to 72 hours, right? You can be really creative with your out of offices even if you do have part time.

Kathryn:
No but you’re right and you should have been my strategist before I did mine and I would have had you write it. But yes, you should have come up with a strategy for me.

Audrea:
Because when you own your own business, you eat what you kill, right? You bring in work and that is what sustains you. You are also human and cannot be expected to work all of the time, especially as a new mom or with a broken finger. So maybe we could give ourselves a little grace and just be a little honest with the people who are relying on us and say I’m not at 100%, here are the reasonable expectations for me, this is in my “out of office” so that it’s clear. There’s nothing wrong with saying I’m not at 100%. In fact, it’s great to say that because then you set expectations clearly with other people.

Kathryn:
Yes, I definitely got more leniency from females. Like when women, heads of Communications departments reached out and said I need you to coach my exec, my VP, whatever it was I would say, you know,  I’m kind of on maternity leave and I would say it like in quotes when I really should have just owned it. I said you know I just had a baby and they’d be like oh, then you get back to me whenever you can. So that was great. I will also say one of the clients that I have right now that I’m traveling, the reason I have a private room with a fridge, with a door that has a lock and no windows is they have a lot of women in management there. When a woman heads up HR there, a woman does all the scheduling, a woman is in charge of … that company has so many female leaders that they got it. I only had to say it once.

Kathryn:
I just had to say hey, you know what I’m still breastfeeding, is there a private room? And of course I danced around it a little bit. Boom. I never had to ask again. They had it for me when I’d show up every month to coach there. So we talk about that, the need for more female leaders, female managers. I am seeing a big difference with companies that have female mangers versus not have them, with women who do come back after having a baby too.

Kathryn:
You know this, you have friends who if there is a great maternity leave and there is more understanding of you know needing to breastfeed, et cetera you are going to have a woman who is able to come back at full force a lot faster and will stay at your company and I think it’s really important to just understand what the women go through in that first couple of months after they have a baby.

Audrea:
As we’re taking and I’m hearing you speak, I’m hearing sort of this undertone at times, it sounds a lot like mom guilt.

Kathryn:
Yes. Do you even hear me like I kind of danced around the maternity leave thing.

Audrea:
Right?

Kathryn:
Not like, I’m on maternity leave gosh darn it!

Audrea:
Right. There’s a lot of mom guilt. I think this affects a ton of women. I’ve heard it, I mean I hear it from women all the time who have kids where they’re struggling with that. How do I be good at work and supporting myself and be this individual person who has things to do and also be a good mom and it’s a struggle, and you are working through it. What are some of your tips for managing that mom guilt and how are you maybe reframing your thoughts to minimize that guilt or what are you doing so that you are finding that time to be there for Zofie without feeling bad when you can’t be?

Kathryn:
I have two big mom guilt things that are going on right now and first of all I didn’t know that it would happen so soon. It happens literally as soon as you have a baby because there’s the question of whether you’re going to breastfeed or not breastfeed so then there’s all this guilt out there that you see on social media that like breast is best, et cetera and then some people will say, well fed is best. So there’s the mom guilt that starts as soon as, I think the mom guilt actually starts when you’re pregnant because it’s what you feed yourself and you know do you gain too much weight, do you? So there’s the mom guilt that starts the second that you conceive, right?

Kathryn:
Then there’s the mom guilt when you have the baby and you’re breastfeeding or not breastfeeding. And then there’s the mom guilt once you start working, what happened recently is I would be lying to everybody out there if I didn’t say I really do enjoy working. I love traveling for my clients. Do I miss my child and do I miss my husband when I’m away? Absolutely. It’s not like I’m out partying when I’m out, when I’m working. I go and I work as many hours as I can possibly so I can get back a lot faster. You know I shove it all in there and then I’m back at the hotel by 9:00 PM. I eat, I pump and the I go to bed.

Kathryn:
I really enjoy my work, you know I didn’t have a baby until I was 42 so it’s really what identified me for a long time. So it would be very weird for me to just all of a sudden stop working okay? For me. But there’s this mom guilt, I sit there and I calculate okay, I’ve been away for this many hours. When I don’t fly away to work with a client, I’m working building my business from home. So I have the nanny at home, I’m able to if I want to breastfeed or if I want to quickly go and just hug my baby, you know she’s in my house. I’m not sending her away to take her, which is not, you know there’s nothing wrong with that.

Kathryn:
But I sit there as a mom and I calculate like how many hours I’m away from her when I travel and then I go okay well if I put her in daycare would she be in that same amount of hours? Like, you sit there and you sit and you bargain with yourself and you try to make yourself feel better the fact that you’re leaving her for three and a half days at a time. So that’s a huge mom guilt thing. And I’m sure anyone out there can relate if they’re dealing with that.

Kathryn:
The other thing that happens too is social media. I see women who take their kids to story time on Fridays and I’m working on Fridays. Or story time on the weekends and maybe I haven’t found a story time yet in my community or you know, I’m doing swim classes but I feel like I can still do more. So there’s that and then I also stay on social media. It’s right now, while we’re recording this podcast it’s about to Christmas time and all of these moms out there are posting their beautiful professional pictures with their family that they’re going to put out on their Christmas card. And I have not had a professional shot for my Christmas card yet and we’re just days away from Christmas.

Kathryn:
And so I started feeling really guilty about a week ago and really guilty, like going oh my god I’ve got to book this photographer, I’ve got to book this hair and makeup person, I’ve got to find out outfits and I’ve got to style our outfits together to be matchy and my husband was like, stop it. Zofie is going to be just as healthy and happy if she doesn’t have a professional photo shoot for her first darn Christmas. Like, you’re going to cause more stress for our family trying to put this together.

Kathryn:
And I thank god that I had a child with this guy because he is the one who sets me straight on a lot of this stuff when I get whackadoodle thinking that I’m not keeping up with all the other moms on social media because I really was upset. I was really, guys I was really upset about not having a professional Christmas photo shoot. How bad is that? It’s like, my child is fine.

Audrea:
So celebrity women are asked all the time, right? How do you do it all? How do you have this career and have kids too? No one asks men that. This idea the women have to do it all is some societal expectation that is bonkers. You don’t have to keep up with other moms, you just have to be a mom to Zofie and you are. There’s an article I read, I’m going to try to find it for this podcast and put it in the transcription but it talked about how working moms who are home and present when they are home, even if they are home for a couple of hours with their kids during the week still have really healthy, well balanced kids because what is important is that you are engaged when you are with your kid, not that you are with your kid every moment of every day.

Audrea:
You have stay at home moms who are there all the time who aren’t great moms. Or aren’t engaged, right? You have working moms who when they’re home are engaged and they’re great moms. Like if the gamut, the defining piece for kids is not having parents there 100% of the time, it’s having parents 100% engaged when they’re there. And I think this idea that you’re like I want to be mom on the weekend I want to save this time is an indication that you’re engaged.

Julie:
Can I add to that too? No one ever asks a male CEO who has children how he manages to do it all. That question never gets asked of men. It only gets asked of women and so I think part of the problem here is that you know for you Kathryn, if you never make itto a story time, if Zofie never hits up that weekly story time at the library, she’s going to be just fine. She will still learn to read, reading will still be a priority in your house, I have no doubt of those things.

Julie:
There’s something about, especially with social media and as our social media grew I know because I see this all the time, I just did a presentation for teenagers but this happens to adults too, especially adult women. There’s something that makes us feel like we should be doing what every other mom is doing. But the reality is our lives are all different, our choices are going to be different, no one does it all. That’s just not possible. All we can do is pick and choose the things that are right for our families. And again if Zofie never has a story time at the library, if she never has a professional photo in her entire life which I guarantee is not going to happen in your world.

Julie:
But if that were the reality, she’s going to be just fine. You’re going to be just fine. So as women, we need to do a better job, all of us of supporting each other and the decisions we’re making and not passing on judgment.

Audrea:
One other thing I read was this article, and I do have this so I will for sure link it in the transcript, is that girls with working moms get better jobs and higher pay down the line. So I had a working mom and I definitely identified with her. She got up, she went to work, she was this big important director and it spurred in me that I want to be that person. I now have a great job, with great pay and I have a professional life that I am very proud of. And I will continue to move up the ladder so to speak in the corporate world because that is my priority, right?

Audrea:
Zofie will get a mother who is engaged and loves her and also will see a badass woman who built her own company and will be able to say if I want that, I know that’s possible because I’ve seen it happen already.

Kathryn:
Yes.

Julie:
Amen, amen.

Kathryn:
By the way we do read to her every day we just haven’t gone to a real story time.

Audrea:
There’s that mom guilt again, like none of us are judging you.

Kathryn:
I don’t anyone out there to think that I don’t read to my child, it’s really an important thing. Okay sorry.

Julie:
Oh we know you read. I’m guessing you’re probably reading leadership books to Zofie.

Kathryn:
Sometimes.

Audrea:
“How to be the world’s best boss at age 9 months.”

Kathryn:
She gets some pretty kick ass books from her aunts so she’s got some strong women around her for sure.

Julie:
Shout out to all the aunts out there.

Kathryn:
Totally.

Julie:
They’re the awesomest.

Kathryn:
Oh we would not be able to do this. Zofie has a great wardrobe because of her aunts so there’s a lot to say about the aunts in your tribe.

Julie:
So Kathryn has decided as you’ve been hearing with all of this going on to step back from the Think Tank of Three podcast and blog and Kathryn it’s so bittersweet for us because we are going to miss you like crazy on this podcast but we’re also so excited because you have so many amazing things happening in your life and we completely understand the shift in priority. And we’re definitely, whether you want to or not, we’re having you back as a guest to check in. We want to hear whether you and Zofie make it to story time or not and if not that’s cool, we want to hear about it.

Kathryn:
Sounds good.

Audrea:
All right. So every episode we collect advice from successful women in our communities and we share it out with our Think Tank of Three. You are the epitome of a successful woman making decisions that are right for you and for your family so I cannot wait to get your advice on our rapid fire questions. Thank you so much for being here for this.

Julie:
We get to turn the tables on your Kathryn. You don’t get to ask these, we do.

Kathryn:
And these are hard questions. Just so you know. I didn’t look ahead.

Julie:
She is currently squinting at the screen.

Kathryn:
I didn’t look ahead.

Audrea:
Literally. 

Kathryn:
I forgot about the first 2 questions and they are hard questions, people.

Audrea:
All right so number 1, is there a lesson that you’ve recently learned that you wish you would have learned earlier in your career?

Kathryn:
Take time for yourself to have that moment that you can allow ideas to come in and out and think about the big picture, think about what you want your life to look like instead of just what your boss needs your day to look like.

Julie:
What advice would you offer to your younger self about 10 years ago.

Kathryn:
Love yourself, physically. Like love the way you look. And I know we’ve talked about this in podcasts before and I hate to be boring and saying the same thing over and over again but I was just talking to some clients of mine who are females in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and we all feel this way that we just wish we would have, you know you’re never going to be younger than you are today so look back and if you look back now and say gosh I was so cute 10 years ago why didn’t I just feel better about myself. Well then start today. Start today and go you know what? I am gorgeous, I am beautiful, I recently looked at a picture of myself that I took this weekend and I said I love my new crow’s feet. I’m just going to, that’s what I’m starting to say now instead of god I’ve got to get some work done.

Kathryn:
I love my new crow’s feet. I love them. Okay? So I love that my boobs are bigger because they’re full of milk. Right now, this is just how I am, this is how I look and I’m going to love myself, love those things instead of us ripping on ourselves.

Julie:
I love it. I also just, shout out? I love my gray hair. I want more of it.

Kathryn:
I love my gray hair.

Julie:
Bring it on, bring it. I do, I really do love it. I’m not kidding.

Kathryn:
But I do color it.

Julie:
Oh I am obsessed with my gray hair. I actually looked into dying it grayer but anyway that’s not the point.

Kathryn:
It’s really cool now, it’s absolutely, I’m glad that we’re in a point where we, that women can do that because I think it’s really cool when you see a woman who’s got like straight gray hair and it’s really sharp or curly gray hair? It’s hot and I’m glad that that’s in.

Audrea:
What do you think the most important skill to hone in a professional setting is for women?

Kathryn:
I’m obviously pretty biased here but it’s what my clients tell me, public speaking. How to carry yourself in a job interview, in a meeting, presenting to your boss, asking for a raise or on stage. Some of the most intelligent people don’t excel in their industries just because they lack the ability to present themselves in a way that tells other that they are in fact the expert, right? And that they can be trusted as the expert. So I think no matter, we can read all kinds of books and we can become more intelligent in our industry but if you can’t present your way at a higher level, I just think that’s got to hurt us. So absolutely public speaking and it’s something you practice at home.

Julie:
And the good thing is, if you need help with that, we know someone. You can find her at kathrynjanicek.com. And like us if you adore Kathryn and can’t stand the thought of not hearing from her regularly, worry not you can still sign up for her podcast. It’s called Parents after 40. It’s an amazing podcast, she and her husband had detailed their journey to the birth of Zofie and after, so follow them at parentsafter40.com

Kathryn:
And Julie, I have to say, Julie created our website parentsafter40.com. So you can find us there.

Audrea:
Awesome. So Kathryn, please let all of our listeners know the best way to get a hold of you moving forward so that they do not miss any Kathryn Janicek in their life.

Kathryn:
Well as I said you can come to parentsafter40.com, the website that Julie’s company created and kathrynjanicek.com, that’s where you can find me for media coaching, public speaking coaching. And then just on social media. Like I said if you have any questions that are specific, like really like hey I’m traveling for the first time and I’m breastfeeding or I’m thinking about having a baby and I’m going through IVF.

Kathryn:
Whatever it is, if you’ve got really, questions that are a little more personal that you just want to DM me you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook at just ‘kathrynjanicek’.

Julie:
And listeners we know you have experience to share. Tell us, what can other women learn from you to help their journey? You can share your thoughts on today’s podcast in our private community on Facebook. We invite everyone to join the conversation there.

Audrea:
You can also find us on Instagram and Twitter and connect with us each directly via LinkedIn. I highly recommend connecting to Kathryn and keeping up on all of her content.

Julie:
And make sure to show us some love. Subscribe to Think Tank of Three on your favorite podcasting platform. We know a lot of people listen right from our website, thinktankofthree.com, that’s awesome. But please make sure to also subscribe online and join us back here for our next podcast.

[Outro]