Working Mom Interview: Melanie VocationElle - Lollipops & Laptops

When I decided to start this blog, it was because I found very few resources online for a working mom. It felt like there weren’t that many working moms out there sharing their experiences (most likely because no working mom has much time to build and maintain a blog). One of the greatest outcomes of putting myself out there has been finding other working women that really are sharing their experiences out there.

In comes Melanie. I “met” Melanie through Instagram, of all places. A fellow working mom, Melanie started a fantastic blog called VocationElle, which is specifically geared toward Millenial Working Moms (i.e. young moms relatively early in their careers with little ones at home). Read on for her experience from the trenches and check out her blog and Instagram feed for some high quality content to help you find that elusive work-life balance.

Give us the elevator speech on what you do.

I’m currently the Office Manager for a non-profit in the healthcare field, and work part-time. It’s a really small team (just the Executive Director and myself), so it’s much more of a partnership vs. a ‘manager-employee’ relationship. It’s a very new role but so far I’m really enjoying it!

How has your career changed since having your daughter?

So, prior to the birth of my daughter, I worked as a project management consultant in the IT field for the Federal Government. I really loved my position there, but perhaps more so for the rapport I had built with my colleagues than the work itself, haha! Once I left for maternity leave my position was dissolved as the contract was up, so I was sort of back to square one in terms of deciding what to do upon returning to work. When I came across the non-profit position I thought it would be a nice change and afford me schedule flexibility and some semblance of work-life balance. So far it’s been working out really well, but it’s definitely an adjustment working from home. I do miss the social aspect of working in an office, but can’t say I miss the commute! I’m not sure of where I’ll be professionally in the next few years, but I’m learning to try and live in the moment and cherish this time with my daughter.

Working Mom Interview: Melanie VocationElle - Lollipops & Laptops

Melanie has the best view when working from home.

What efficiencies and/or shortcuts have you implemented in your work and home life since becoming a working mother?

One efficiency I’ve implemented is meal planning; every week I take inventory of what I have in the fridge/freezer/pantry, and subsequently write out what meals we’re having each night. This not only saves me money by not impulse shopping at the grocery store, but also my sanity! I no longer come home and think, “OMG, I’m hangry, and what am I going to make?!” Seriously, it will change your life. My husband and I also do a takeout night one day a week (usually pizza Fridays) because one less night to cook is a win in my books!

How do you balance your day job, your family, and your blog?

I’m really fortunate that I am able to work 4 days a week, with one day home with my daughter.  My husband and I will try to have a weekly date night, and then on the weekends we each try to get a few hours to ourselves for some “me time.” This can be anything from going to the gym, getting my nails done, shopping, or sometimes being able to clean without a baby at my ankles! I usually work on my blog during my lunch hour and/or on weekends, but I really need to prioritize some more time in the evenings during the week. I feel like over the winter the blog has gotten a little away from me, but one of my goals for this year is to get into more of a structured scheduling routine. So, I suppose I’m still trying to find my balance amongst my different roles as mother, wife, and blogger.

Working Mom Interview: Melanie Vocationelle - Lollipops & Laptops

Meal planning is easier with a cute sous chef!

What has been the biggest challenge for you since becoming a mother?

Finding time for myself! After a day at work I try to soak up every minute with my daughter before she goes to sleep at 7pm. So, I really only have a few hours with her between prepping dinner, bathtime, and then bed. Once she’s in bed my husband and I will usually eat, followed by clean-up and lunch prep. When that’s all said and done, I am exhausted and usually opt for Netflix, with bed closely followed! Sigh, I’m really sounding like an 85 year-old woman, haha. But really, I need to better prioritize some of the evening hours during the week to focus on myself. For now, on the weekends is when my husband and I will trade-off looking after our daughter so we can each get some much-deserved “me time.”

What is the best book you’ve read lately?

The best book I’ve read lately is the The Fifth Trimester, by Lauren Smith Brody. It’s like the Holy Grail of how-to manuals for new moms re-entering the workforce after baby. The advice Brody dispenses is practical and real without being preachy, and she’s relatable; there is a whole section concerning pumping at work and how to deal with leaky breasts! The whole book is basically like chatting with your best girlfriend who’s been-there-done-that.

Working Mom Interview: Melanie VocationElle - Lollipops & Laptops

What’s the best piece of advice a working mother ever gave you?

The advice that always sticks with me is not to be so hard on myself. I think that as moms in general we are often the hardest on ourselves, and often for menial things that no one else notices or frankly, cares about. So, I guess, try to be kind to yourself. There are already so many other stressors in life to deal with that the last thing you need is constant self-criticism.

Any words of wisdom you can share with other working moms?

I feel like I’m still figuring out this whole work-life balance as a working mom, but I will say that I often repeat to myself the old adage, “the days are long, but the years are short.” You’re going to have bad days, maybe even bad weeks (hello, teething baby!), but remembering that it’s only just a phase helps when you’re pulling your hair out wondering how in the hell you’re going to get through the day. Someday, in a universe far, far away, we won’t even remember the bad days… or so I’m told, ha! Besides, on those especially bad days there’s always wine. 😉

Working Mom Interview: Melanie VocationElle - Lollipops & Laptops

Check out more great content at VocationElle!