To know Babe is to know our love of all things new mamas, so when we found out that our friends at Prose were expecting (quite literally!) we had to hear more. And since we couldn’t get access to their team Slack Parent group (which apparently is THE place to be if you’re working at Prose and pregnant), we decided to chat.
Meet the rockstar team at Prose: Alex (Senior Director of Product Innovation), Amanda (Editorial Director), and Diane (Director of Integrated Marketing) and read on as they discuss all things new parenthood.
First things first: Any pregnancy or postpartum beauty hacks?
“Take it easy! Your body goes through a lot during pregnancy and postpartum. Give yourself the time to recover. It is not a race. One thing I wish I had known – it is very common to lose hair after childbirth, but you can take supplements to prevent hair loss and accelerate hair growth, so that’s helpful. Other than that, exercising regularly and napping whenever the baby sleeps in the day, drinking plenty of herbal tea, and putting bright red lipstick on when getting out!”
“While pregnant, I made it a point to view anything beauty-related as self-care instead of just part of my daily routine. You read a lot of articles about what you’re ‘supposed to do’ in order to feel or look like yourself during and after pregnancy. That’s a lot of pressure during a time when you’re already so mentally taxed. I was stressed about slathering on a belly oil every day to avoid stretch marks and it started to feel like a chore. Once I started seeing it as a ritual and a nice self-care moment, I found myself looking forward to it. Now, as a mom, any chance I can get to take a few minutes for myself or to do my hair and makeup like I did pre-baby, I take it!”
On the idea of “balance” between work and baby.
Alex: In France, you get 16 weeks of maternity leave. Six before birth and 10 weeks after. So, when you get back to work, your baby usually does not sleep at night yet. It takes several cups of coffee to be productive in the daytime after a series of sleepless nights! For me, the most important thing to balance work and the baby is having a partner you can rely on. My husband has been fantastic, equally engaged, taking our daughter to doctor’s appointments when I had meetings I couldn’t miss, getting up at night when I was tired, cracking open a bottle of wine when I was feeling blue. Being supported is essential.
Amanda: If you weren’t already a planner, now’s probably the time to start. I always feel like there’s so much to tackle for work or for my daughter, but I try to incorporate consistent routines to make it easier on me, her, and my husband. Whenever I can, I try to plan out my day in advance (and every day looks different!) so that I feel a little bit relaxed mentally. It doesn’t always work out as expected but knowing there’s somewhat of a plan in place definitely helps!
On working with other new moms.
Alex: Working with new parents, in general, is wonderful because they understand exactly what you are going through. Hierarchy does not matter when it comes to parenting, we’re all on the same boat. In the French team, our CTO is also a young dad, our head of Data Science has 3 kids… so when we meet at the coffee machine at 9 am looking like we’ve been partying all night, we know we’re in for a few stories. Joking about our challenges and difficulties makes them seem lighter and less overwhelming.
Amanda: When I started at Prose four years ago, there weren’t any other moms in my office. I wasn’t even a mom yet! When I went out on maternity leave, it was a whole new experience, not just for me but for my coworkers as well. It also meant that when I transitioned back to work no one else could relate to the new working mom life I was thrown into. They were of course still so supportive but could not empathize with the challenges in the same way that the parents I work with now can. We even have a slack group dedicated to parents at Prose where we mostly just share cute photos but also chat about our experiences. It’s really helpful being around other people who are going through the same experiences as me and who can relate to everything from the exhaustion that comes with sleep training to understanding when I need to reschedule a meeting due to a last-minute early daycare pickup.
On advice for new moms in the workplace.
“It’s important to establish boundaries and ensure you carve out a little time for yourself. Being a mom really is another job, it takes all your focus and attention, and when you finish your 9-5 each day you’re still on the clock until the kids are in bed. That’s easily a 12-13 hour day! I found during more demanding periods at work, it was best to establish a ‘late night’ where my husband would do all the childcare responsibilities and I could focus on work. It at least guarantees some time where I can wind down and relax my mind at the end of the day.”
Alex: Find the operating rhythm that works for you, and don’t listen too much to what other people have to say about it. If you need to work late a couple of nights a week to have more focus and feel more productive, do it. If you want to leave every day at 5 pm to be there for bathtime and bedtime, do it too. What will work for you might not work for someone else, and vice versa. At the end of the day, if you’re happy with your organization, your baby will be too.
Tips & Tricks regarding maternity leave/coming back post-maternity leave?
Amanda: Going back to work after maternity leave is hard. Take it in stride and give yourself grace. Everyone’s parenting experience is different which means everyone’s working mom experience is going to be different. It’s okay if your work life isn’t exactly what it was before you had a baby. Just go into every day knowing that ‘you got this’ and knowing that it may not be perfect, but that’s okay. I remember waking up early to pump, feed the baby, get her ready, do daycare drop-off, and then start my hour-long commute into work. That’s a lot for someone to tackle before starting into a full day’s work. It’s important to remember that!
Diane: Definitely ease in if you can. I’ve had experience both ways; the first time I had nearly 6 months of leave and I came back on a Monday and worked a full 5 days. That was one of the hardest weeks of my life, so with my second I gradually came back a few days each week working up to 5 days. I was also remote but something I would negotiate as it was much easier transitioning and overall less stressful.
This article was written in partnership with Prose.