Work/Baby/Life Balance Series

Last summer, I featured a series about work/baby/life balance, where seven amazing mothers talked about how they juggled everything. (I also told my own story.)

For the series last summer, I focused on mothers who were in similar situations to myself–most worked full-time from home, lived in big cities, and were married with young babies or children–because I wanted to show how these similar women all created different schedules that worked for them. Of course, there’s a huge variety of amazing mothers with different jobs, relationships, economic means and situations, but I hope the posts were helpful, relevant, and, at the very least, interesting to everyone.

Now I’d love to feature a second series focusing on mothers who work full-time in office jobs. They have bosses to answer to and need to be at work roughly between 9 and 6 (or longer) everyday. These women are all doing well in their fields–from Pilar Guzman, editor in chief of Martha Stewart Living magazine, to Emily Kalanithi, an attorney for the State of California, to Erica Rivinoja, a writer for the sitcom Up All Night. Again, for the purposes of this series, I wanted to choose women who were in similar situations. Some people might assume these women “have it all” (did you read this recent article, by the way?), and I thought it would be interesting to see what their days actually look like and talk about the ups and downs that everyone—everyone—experiences when it comes to babysitters, marriages, bosses and everyday life.

We’ll be talking about how they juggle it all. I thought the interviews were fascinating, and I hope you enjoy them. The first is coming right up!

P.S. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments this week. I would LOVE to hear what you think overall, how you feel about these mothers’ specific thoughts and philosophies, what ups and downs you’ve had, and how you manage (or hope to manage) your life as a mother. The conversation is open and welcoming. We’re all in this together!

  1. Rebeca says...

    I love all these interviews. Any chance you would do another more updated round or have I missed any more recent?

  2. I go back to my full time job on Friday. The timing for this series was absolutely perfect for me and my mental health. Many thanks, Joanna!

  3. Oh Ms. Jo.

    At first, I was totally not going to read this series. I am a working mom of two toddlers and thought, “I do not need to feel, yet again, how I’m doing it all wrong.” But something in me said to just give it a chance. And I’m so glad I did. After reading all of the profiles, I feel less alone and more affirmed.

    I realized last week that I am living my dream – I have two beautiful daughters, a supportive, funny spouse, a great dog, live in a wonderful town, have a job that doesn’t feel like work and fabulous friends. This is what I dreamed about and I’ve made it happen. And the dream is not a dream of perfection – it includes messiness – screaming, fighting fair, heartache. And I am living it everyday. How wonderful.

    So thank you, Ms. Jo. I love yor blog – keep up the great work.

  4. Anonymous says...

    Would love to have you do some profiles of working women who arent affluent, creative types.

  5. Anonymous says...

    This series is amazing and so so helpful.
    I am about to start back at work after having a baby and am feeling a little overwhelmed so am loving these very simple everyday stories. Great questions!

    Thank you.

  6. I am so sick of this phrase “having it all.” I don’t know why anyone thinks anyone, male or female, has it all or could have it all. And what does that even mean–to have it all? Why aren’t men ever asked if they have it all? I think we just need to get past this phrase.

  7. I love these interviews — they make me feel so much better about my struggle to balance it all (trying to finish a grad degree with a ten-month old). So reassuring, thank you so much for doing this, Jo!

  8. looking forward to this series. Hearing how other women do it can be motivating and not so lonely!

  9. Merci pour la rédaction du présent. J’ai vraiment l’impression que si je sais tellement plus sur ce que j’ai fait avant. Votre blog a vraiment apporté des choses à la lumière qui je n’aurais jamais pensé avant de le lire. Vous devez continuer ce, je suis sûr la plupart des gens seraient d’accord youve a obtenu un don.

  10. I’m loving this series, thanks Joanna. I did read the article on women having it all (or not), but I had to laugh – it took me all day to finish reading it – between work, nappy changes, grocery shopping and all the rest.

  11. yay!! i love this series Joanna…glad to see you throw some “office mamas” into the mix.

  12. Anonymous says...

    @Anonymous a few comments ago. Completely agree and also a blog written from a very rarified perspective for a very rarified reader. Always has been. It’s clearly the perspective of the writer and the audience. From the NYT this week (

    “Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.”

  13. Anonymous says...

    Jo- can you please do an updated post of how you do the juggle even though you work from home?! Would love to know as Toby is now older and for me it’s harder as they know you are there at home!!!

  14. Going to read the article, but I just had to say that I was so inspired by your series last year. I work outside the home (and having it all has a whole new meaning for me with some of the careers changes I made when having my son. I work in a very demanding field). Looking forward to this series that maybe I will be able to relate to even more.

  15. It’s not easy to balance life with a kid. But it should be interesting how others cope. I am a mom too and working at home so how much more when moms have to go to office everyday.

  16. I have worked first, second and third shifts out of the home and now at home, since my son was born 3.5 years ago. I love reading about how different mommies negotiate the craziness!

  17. Anonymous says...

    I agree with some comments above regarding single parents. I read your blog every day and love the motherhood series. I’ve just become a single mother to a newborn baby girl, and would love to hear stories of anybody else doing through similar experiences. As everyone knows, being a new mother is hard enough emotionally and physically, so any kind of support out there would be so appreciated.

  18. Anonymous says...

    What about working mom with child with special needs .all the moms you did so far have normal children.
    Also single moms .what about them?
    Too me it is seems easy to have partner and normal children.
    It is a lot harder

  19. My hubby and I both work more than 45 hours a week and are about to start trying. I worry CONSTANTLY about how I will balance my work with my life and how I will afford it all. So this could not come at a better time and I am so looking forward to reading everyone’s stories. Thanks much!

  20. Anonymous says...

    Thank you for this series, Joanna! As someone hoping to be a mom someday, it’s very helpful to see “behind the curtain” and into the daily lives of real moms.

    Your blog is always a must-read! Thanks again!

  21. I am SO looking forward to this, I returned from maternity leave early and went back four days a week which I just could not maintain. I never saw my little one and the house was just chaos! I would love to hear about how others do it, since I do need to return to work!

  22. I’m not really into know children I am workaholic but I do take care of other family members who is excited about moving with me and she’s 10 so im considered a mom I find a balance in it all I can live my dreams and full time office job with just one more responsibility that breaths.I have kittens also they r a lot too. I’m in my own category

  23. Mrs Bodien says...

    I LOVE reading how other moms do the work/life juggle, and I’m SUPER excited to read about my fellow office mamas. Thank you!

  24. Anonymous says...

    dont take this wrong! i love you and your blog…and this is not salty! but were not all mommys out there! where are the funny sassy posts?

  25. I look forward to these- I used to work outside the home, and it became too much for me. I felt like I was putting my children second on some days, and decided that since it wasn’t a dream career, I would quit to be a sahm and start a business. I am curious as to how these ladies make it work however!

    Check out my blog for a chance to win a great ebook this week!

  26. I’m really looking forward to this series! As a mom that works full time out of the home, I can’t wait for the insight these working moms will share. The more examples we have of women “having it all” whatever that means to any of us, the better. I’ve read just about every post connected to the Anne Marie Slaughter article and think the best thing is the attention and conversation it is bringing to the subject. I hope your series does the same!

  27. Anonymous says...

    Great series. But people should keep in mind that you are writing about wealthy, highly compensated women with many resources. You also choose very attractive and glamorous women. I enjoy reading the articles but I think it is important to keep this filter on. This is not real life. Not everyone is this glamorous, successful and wealthy. However, I do think there are things that can be learned from your series as long as the above filter is applied.

  28. I can’t believe that was a whole year ago!
    I’m looking forward to this series. You’re the best Joanna.

  29. That article by Anne-Marie Slaughter is really interesting. One thing particularly stuck out to me–how she so offhandedly said that families (in her circle at least) simply can’t afford to live on a single income these days. I’m thinking if we are all going to try to change our society’s work/life balance, that’s one area we could really work on, right? Thanks for the link and the thoughtful posts!

  30. I am really looking forward to this series and can’t wait to dive into the first interview in a moment. (I also loved reading last year’s set of articles.) If you are interested in doing a third series, I would love to read about mothers/wives who do not work from home, but also don’t work a traditional 9-5, like an RN, park ranger, or someone who works in retail. They still work 40 hours and have to be away from home, but don’t have that normal 9-5. Selfishly, I learn so much from your posts and as I head into this next stage in my life, I’m getting married and (hopefully soon after) starting a family in the next year, I’d love to hear even more about women who are already out there doing it and making it work. Thank you for all that you write and inspire Joanna!

  31. This is my life – full time office job. And a stay at home husband to our 8-month-old twins. I am SO eager to read these posts!

  32. Chanele says...

    I’m looking forward to this series, thank you! I also can’t help but hope that you’ll do a series with working mothers with jobs that are not as glamourous or as high paying. Such as secretaries, teachers, social workers, nurses, construction workers, servers, ect.

  33. BP says...

    I’m really thankful that you’ve chosen this topic because I’m starting law school in a month in hopes of becoming a full time lawyer, but that doesn’t mean I want to give up on being a wife and mother. So instead of being anxious and making uninformed, rash, life-changing decisions, I’m going to read through these interviews and hopefully come through knowing that I won’t be alone and there will be a way for me to be a great full-time mother and an awesome employee.

  34. Anonymous says...

    Thank you for the Link to the atrial. When I read the first page, I thought you should choose motherhood over a job.

    But here point makes since. I think our society should be based around our KIDS and how we as adults can work and be there for them! That IS THE ONLY WAY TO RAISE A HEALTHY GENERATION OF KIDS! We must make laws for MOMS AND DADS that support the family unit!

  35. Annie G says...

    Have it all. Who can? And why should you? But if you do decide to have a full time job and try to be a full time parent, expect to be under huge pressure. I think that is the problem: we expect to have everything we want and to feel happy. Happy is impossible to measure and to define.
    Just do your best. Only way to get through without losing heart.

  36. oops, sorry for the double post, and obviously I mean “maternity leave”, not “maternity”. Ha!

  37. I’m really looking forward to this, too! I’ll be working full time after my maternity ends in December, but currently I only know ONE woman who is a mother and working outside the home. Fortunately for me, that woman is my boss. Unfortunately for me, work-life balance for her means 50 hour workweeks and no sleep. So anyways, I’m really looking forward to reading some alternative stories.

  38. I’m really looking forward to this, too! I’ll be working full time after my maternity ends in December, but currently I only know ONE woman who is a mother and working outside the home. Fortunately for me, that woman is my boss. Unfortunately for me, work-life balance for her means 50 hour workweeks and no sleep. So anyways, I’m really looking forward to reading some alternative stories.

  39. I loved the last series! Even though I am not a mother or making as much moolah as the mothers you included I still liked it. It indulged my nosey side. Plus I love schedule/lists and seeing how others run their lives regardless is always fun.

  40. Anonymous says...

    I’m really looking forward to this series too, but I’d also love to hear from women (and even men!) in positions that are not “high-powered”-let’s face it, the majority of workers fall in the “average” category. Let’s hear from women who work at Target, or Home Depot, or in small business across America. :)

  41. Anonymous says...

    Looking forward to the series! However, I would love some advice from those of us in NYC that are debating having a child in the city given that we are not as well-off as these women are. How do you balance work/life when you have to work and the majority of your check will go to childcare? Just a thought!

  42. Looking forward to this series…what perfect timing. After 10 years working part time I am heading back to full time status as of Aug 23!! I’m excited and nervous for my kids who are 9 and 7. Still haven’t found after school tutor/sitter but I have family close by. I love my job as an elementary art teacher so this is a great opportunity for me to finish my career in 1 school! My biggest concern right now is when will I work out??? I will miss my gang of women I would see every monday and friday at the gym for spin class!!!

  43. Love these series…they are always so inspiring, especially as a new mom to-be (10 weeks pregnant)and with a full-time job.

  44. Hi Jo! thanks so much for doing this series. my “baby” is now 6, and Ive been juggling full-time work as a graphic designer since he was one, and was also a single mother until 6 months ago. its been super hard to do and i feel like ive missed out on so many things – i still do miss out on lots of school events which hurts my heart! im grateful knowing that there are so many others in this position though – and I am so looking forward to your series. well done, i think you’re an incredible mom – and i love your honesty in your blog.
    Love, Claire

  45. yeah! so excited about this series!

  46. I am very much looking forward to this second series of posts and mom interviews! I would also encourage you to talk to people who have limited financial resources. I have a 16 month old, a carpenter husband with an erratic work schedule and long periods of unemployment while I work in a field of science that is both low paying and has tons of field travel. It is hard!

  47. I am so excited for this series! I, too, loved the honesty in the last one. I’m hoping that next you’ll do a series on women who left careers to be stay-home moms. One of the biggest issues that many moms seem to have about parenting these days is that feeling that “the grass is always greener” when they look at other women who made different choices. We really help each other out when we show how the grass is sometimes green and sometimes brown on our side of the hill!

  48. I am glad that you’re profiling women who work regular jobs. I was inspired by your last post to blog about my own work/life balance, just to give the perspective of a 9to 5-er. However, like Working women, I do think most press focus only on very successful women. Many of us cannot afford cleaning help or p/t nannies! Oftentimes money buys more options in terms of flexibility and balance.

  49. I died a little when you said Pilar Guzman. I LOVE Martha Stewart Living and it is seriously my favorite magazine and I buy the latest issue as soon as it comes out. I can’t wait to hear from her!


  50. Anonymous says...

    Really looking forward to postings that discuss the juggle of single parents, parents with truly limited means (not creative New York types, but non-professionals who are really in the paycheck-to-paycheck grind), and parents who are not straight.

  51. Coming from a completely different aspect- I’m a Nanny working for a Family where the Mother works in an office.
    I try extremely hard to make sure that when she comes home- the house is comfortable & fresh so she can enjoy time with her little guy for the rest of the evening.

    My advice: Find a great Nanny. :)

    Eat Cake

  52. L says...

    I’m a new mom and a lawyer, and heading back to work in 2 months. So excited to read this series!

  53. I am so happy to hear that you are doing this. Being a new mom, who works from an office, and is trying to ‘do it all’ I am constantly looking for tips, inspiration, and guidance. Thank you for creating a space, an outlet, for us. You are awesome. (And I adore you blog!)


  54. Anonymous says...

    I can’t wait to read these… I am having such a hard time figuring out how I’m going to fit babies into my 30s.

  55. This is me!! Can’t wait to hear from your guest bloggers. It’s a constant juggling act (with your head and heart!).

  56. I loved last summer’s series and am looking forward to this year’s Especially b/c I’ll fall into this category – hopefully! – in the next couple of years. I love my job and want to work when we have a baby but I’m nervous about the “balance”.

  57. I also read that piece in The Atlantic and it shook me up a bit. I’m a full-time working professional and expecting my first child in November. The piece was somehow motivating and defeating all at once. Since reading that, I’ve been so intrigued by the roles mothers play at home and professionally. I’m so looking forward to this series and can not wait to continue to be inspired as I work my way down this road of working-motherhood.

  58. Thanks for covering this topic – I’m so excited to hear these amazing women’s stories!

  59. I always worry/think about the whole balancing motherhood and work juggle that’s bound to happen in the near future!

  60. CT says...

    Perfect topic, one that is very close to my heart. The short version: First time mum & wife living in Australia aged 30. Worked crazy hours as a busy Interior Designer for years until I was 8 months pregnant & literally, unexpectedly gave birth on a Friday night after a particularly full on day. Work life halted immediately. I was left feeling identity-less to be honest.
    After 6 months at home with the baby, I decided to start thinking about work. Financial reasons but also wanting the professional environment. Wondering how to make it all work on a day to day basis. I didn’t have many role models my age, other than my super human mum.
    So I’m now working 4 days a week. Love my job. I Choose to Leave the office on time (what a rarity!). Watching my sweet little boy grow & learn every day.
    How do it? Other than try to be supremely organized at home & work, I am also blessed to have a husband who works opposite days to me 4 days a week, plus a healthy active grandma on both sides of the family who babysit one day a week each. It’s not easy but it’s working for us so far. Trial & error.
    Loved the article link. Very thought provoking. I can’t wait to read the upcoming series.

  61. I’m really looking forward to this series as well, but it would be nice to also hear from some women who don’t have “high powered” jobs. A lot of women don’t have the luxury of choosing their child instead of a work commitment, or hiring a nanny even. It would be great to hear how they cope as well.

  62. Love the insights and stories – can’t wait for this series: Thanks Joanna!

  63. Anonymous says...

    Would you please also do a series on divorced people. I am one of those people who had a, what’s-it-called, trial marriage(?) Short marriage no kids… would be interesting to hear a male and a female perspective…

  64. I’m really looking forward to this as I’m expecting my first baby any day now and planning to go back to full time office job after 9 months. any advise will be very useful! thank you!

  65. Anonymous says...

    Hi Joanna, Love your blog and this series. I was wondering if you would ever consider doing a series on mothers who were not in heterosexual relationships, either those in partnerships with other women or even single women. I would love to hear a more diverse take on being a mom and juggling work. Thanks!

  66. This is more how I work and it is a juggle, but amazing. Two babies, married and a marketing supervisor, plus freelance photography/design and an adjunct communiations professor at a regional college. All worth it!

  67. Anonymous says...

    As an architect with a 2-year old (and a husband who works long inflexible hours)I can’t wait for this series! Thanks.

  68. I appreciate this series as someone who is not (yet) a mother, and is still in grad school. I am married, SO looking forward to having a family together, and SO excited to get started in a professional field that I love. I often feel as if there is an expectation from others to choose family OR work. My husband is incredibly supportive and knows how important BOTH are to me…to both of us! I look forward to hearing more about how others do both. I know that there will be ups and downs, easier days and really tough days and I look forward to hearing about all of it. Thanks for a great series!

  69. I just read this article: “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” and was totally surprised by her honesty. I’m glad there are high ranking women willing to make a commitment to their family. I always think about how I’d feel when my kids were older and I realized I was never there…as the Nora Ephron quote that you posted says: “I have a theory that children remember two things—when you weren’t there and when they threw up.” Each woman has to make their own decision on what’s important and for each woman it’s different. Hopefully we, as a gender, can learn to respect each other.

  70. I am looking forward to this, being a 9-5 mom of two girls… one is an eight year old, and the other is 6 months! I think us moms do need to support each other, because there is not one right way, and we can learn a thing or two from our fellow hardworking moms.

  71. THANK YOU for this – I loved the series last year when I was newly pregnant, and now I’m back at work (3x / week, in an office), which of course feels like a job and a half with an almost 6 month old at home (who unfortunately JUST went from sleeping throught the night to… not. and she hates naps). I love hearing how other women work it!

  72. THANK YOU for this – I loved the series last year when I was newly pregnant, and now I’m back at work (3x / week, in an office), which of course feels like a job and a half with an almost 6 month old at home (who unfortunately JUST went from sleeping throught the night to… not. and she hates naps). I love hearing how other women work it!

  73. I really loved last summer’s series and I am excited to get the flip-side! I’m sure it will be wonderful!

  74. Really looking forward to this. I struggle with the balance daily while working full-time with a 22 month old son. The other day I “landed” a meeting with a potential $1M donor but the only day he could meet was on a day when my son had a long-awaited allergist appointment that could not be rescheduled. I chose my son’s appointment and lost the meeting to another (older, without a child) co-worker. I left work feeling so angry that I had to choose. But knowing in my heart which I cared about more in the long run.

  75. I’m really looking forward to this series — i loved last year’s series and i’m intrigued to see how they cope… i struggle to fit in work, gym, blog, friends, family and i don’t have a baby!! :) xx

  76. oh i’m so excited about this! i’m not a mom, but i always interested how other people do things. so inspiring.

  77. I’m looking foward to this series ! I’m a mother of two and work full time as a lawyer, balancing and juggling should be my middle name.

    My Blog – A Pretty Nest

  78. Thanks for covering other flavors of career– I’m studying to become an engineer, a job which I wouldn’t give up for anything in the world, but at the same time I’d like to have a family. This kind of series gives me a perspective I can’t get from my own (amazing!) mother, who decided to give up her career. I’ll be looking forward to these, especially the DA’s.

  79. Thanks for covering topics like this. It’s always interesting to read about how others mums are dealing with the juggle.

  80. i’m SO looking forward to this series!!! though i’m not a mother (yet), i’m anxious to hear from those that juggle what i foresee as the life i will have within the next 5-10 years. i am an engineer near NYC with a (hopefully!) future hubs who works in manhattan. it’s not practical to give up 1 job for the sake of the child, and i know it’s going to be tough to balance!! any advice is good advice in my opinion!!