Dealing With Working Mom Guilt ft. Nags!

About two weeks ago, we hosted our very first guest, Nags of Edible Garden on our instagram account. We would be lying if we didn’t mention that Nags is one of our favourite people on Instagram. Both Akshara and I have been following her incredible food blog for years now and we’re massive fans of how she juggles multiple balls in the practical, no-nonsense way that she does. Remember, Nags is not only a superstar food blogger, she’s a working mom who heads a team at one of the biggest tech companies in the world.

We spoke to her about what it means to be a working mother today, the pressures we face and the ways in which we can deal with all pervasive working-mom guilt. Here are excerpts from our conversation [excerpts because technical difficulties prevented us from saving the insta Live!]

Talk us through your experience of getting back to work post-baby. What was going through your mind then?

Although I had healed physically, I still had the blues and my own doubts about getting back to work. I had been a working woman and now I was a mom but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be a working mom. We’d planned for this child and she was a child we wanted, so I was like, what is the point if I go to work now? I was even contemplating a break. But my mother, who is very wise when she has to be, told me to give it a try. Just try it for two months, she said. So I tried it…and I knew I’d made the right decision by coming back to work and there has been no looking back since.

There are good days and there are bad days. The good days, we love but the bad days can impact our mood when we’re with our child. How do you deal with them?

I find it hard to compartmentalise or “switch off”, so if I had a bad day, rest assured everyone at home will know that I did! But the ways I cope are by venting to my husband, who works in the same line as I do. Venting to someone who gets it makes all the difference to make you feel better. I also take the support of my amazing work wives because they really understand me and where I’m coming from.

Me time is everything when you’re a mom. How do you find time for yourself and all that you enjoy doing?

I’m a planner. I plan for everything, days and weeks in advance. It’s who I am. One of the ways my husband and I make time for ourselves is to ensure our calendars are updated in advance. If I’m going for brunch with my friends, it’s in his calendar. If he’s going to work out, it’s in mine. So we are always kind of in the know of what the other has going on and we make sure that we are available to take care of the other things. And planning makes that possible.

If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way and the time to do it.

Nagalakshmi Viswanathan, @ediblegarden

One of the ways you can find out how to make time is to simply write down how much time you spend on an activity – any activity – in a day. That’s when you realize the amount of time you spend on silly things when you can, instead, spend that time on doing what you really love and what you really want to do. Just write it down!

What do you do when you and your partner have different parenting styles?

When it comes to parenting styles, my partner and I are very different. I like doing activities with my daughter, taking her to the bookstore etc whereas my husband likes to do more outdoorsy things with her. And differing styles are always a good thing because your child gets a really diverse set of experiences this way! So we really divide and conquer when it comes to our parenting styles and our daughter is better off for it.

How do you get over social media guilt as a working mom?

I spend a lot of time consuming content on social media, across instagram, twitter, pinterest and facebook, so I would be lying if I said that social media didn’t affect me. Especially when the discourse is so absolute and the information overload can cloud our judgements. But this is when I think about our parents’ generation. They weren’t perfect – I saw a ton of TV and ate a lot of sugar as a kid, but does my mom have guilt? No! In fact, she thinks she did a great job with me and she’s right! Why can’t we be like that?

What are some tips you’d have for moms who’ve taken a break but are looking to re-enter the job market?

Stay in touch or re-ignite old connections with your former colleagues and former managers. You can open doors to opportunities simply by staying in touch with and being visible to your network, especially on Linkedin.

And that brings us to the end of our chat with Nags! We are so grateful to her for taking the time out for our community to share her thoughts and for the real and refreshing conversation. Thanks again, Nags!

If you know someone who you think deserves a platform and we should speak to, please do take the time to let us know. We are constantly looking for ways to amplify the incredible women in our community and we’d love for you to show us the way.