Moms Make it Work: Anne from New Jersey

Today for the Moms Make it Work guest blogging series, we have Anne from the NYC area. Anne emailed me as a reader of this blog and said 'if you ever need a mom who makes it work in the NYC area, as a full time working mom with a husband who is gone every day 7-7, I'm in!' And so I said, 'Yes, please!'. Anne does not have a blog but I love hearing from readers who still want in on this series, even without all of the links and social media connections. I feel like that makes the series even more authentic and 'real' as we hear from moms who aren't blogging all about their lives, but they still choose to share their take on this series. Loved this post, Anne, and I know you will, too! Enjoy. 


-What is your background story? What was your career/schooling before you became a mom? And where are you now? 

I grew up in a Northern New Jersey suburb of NYC, which is where we now live.  I attended college in Ohio and moved to Hoboken, NJ after graduation to be with my husband, who was living in the NYC area (we are from neighboring towns).  I had been a political science and history double major in college and was pretty sure I was going to go to law school after graduation, so I took some time to actually get to know the legal industry and my first job out of college was in NYC as a paralegal with a large, global law firm.  I quickly realized the law was not for me and transitioned to a role on the recruiting and professional development team at the same law firm.  After three years I decided to move on and joined the recruiting team of a large, global, management consulting firm in their NYC office. As a recruiter (I'm not a headhunter!), I'm responsible for hiring people into the firm, either as full-time consultants or summer interns, amongst other responsibilities.  This means I am always interacting with candidates, planning events and meeting people, which is a great fit for my personality.


Three months after I joined the firm I'm now with, my husband and I were lucky enough to find a house in my hometown.  Our town is a commuter town, so most people are traveling into NYC on a daily basis via the train, which is what both my husband and I did.  I had my son in September 2012 and was lucky enough to take a six month maternity leave.  After I returned from maternity leave, it became quickly apparent that both my husband and I were not going to be able to commute, so I transferred from my firm's NYC office to our NJ office, which is very close to home.  

family easter

 -What are the best parts of your situations? What are the challenges? 

The best part of my situation is the flexibility my job allows.  My office is now located very close to home, so I  am able to get to daycare when my son is sick and the morning is not nearly as crazy as it was when I was going into NYC.  I also work from home at least one day a week, which also really helps my morning rush as I don't need to get myself dressed, etc.  I work with an amazing team that understands the demands a full-time working mother faces and they are completely supportive of me in all situations.  My husband still commutes into NYC and has longer hours, so that is our biggest challenge.  I'm mostly on my own for pick up and drop off duties at daycare and when my son is sick, it's mostly on me.  I travel occasionally, which can be tough as we need to figure out a backup plan for pick up and drop off as my husband is not able to get in and out of work in the timeframe of daycare.


-Is this how you expected it to be pre-kids? 

When I was pregnant, I assumed I would go back to work in NYC.  I liked being there because, hello, it's NYC!  Most of my friends live in the city and there's something about the hustle and bustle that's really motivating. After a week of commuting as a mom I knew it was not for me.  I also always assumed that I would have a nanny, but when interviewing candidates I felt very nervous about trusting just one person and ended up choosing a highly regarded daycare, which I am very happy with.  So no, I'm definitely not living the working mom life I envisioned while pregnant!  

Both my mother and mother-in-law have/had long careers and my sister-in-law, who I am close to, also has a demanding job.  Having strong, career minded women around me has definitely helped.  I do live in a town where many of the moms stay home, so I have found it difficult to meet other women and make friends.

H christmas

-Is this your ideal situation? If not, what is? 

It is pretty darn close!  I am hoping that one day in the future I will be able to find a part-time role within my firm which will allow me to have an even better work/life balance and also ease the burden that I feel during the week.  I also wish my husband worked closer to home so he could be with us more during the week.

-Do you see yourself making a career change in the next 5-10 years? Or is this current set up staying put for the long haul? 

I see myself moving to a part-time role, but I do feel I will always have a job outside of the home.  My job gives me an immense sense of pride, productivity and self-esteem.  I worked really hard to get where I am and while it does sound nice to stay home full-time sometimes, I know if I take myself out of the career world, it will likely be a permanent move.  I don't see myself ever leaving my firm, they are an excellent employer and I feel so lucky to have a role with them.

-Tips on how you make your situation work for you: 

Organize, organize, organize!  I make my menu for the week and grocery shop on Sundays - it definitely makes the week much easier for me and prevents us from ordering unhealthy takeout.  I also have an old school, paper calendar which helps me keep my commitments straight.  In addition to working full-time, I'm also a member of my town's Junior League so that keeps me busy as well.

Since we live in my hometown, which is next to my husband's hometown, we have a lot of family help.  My mother-in-law watches my son on Fridays which is fantastic and we are able to go on a lot of date nights, etc. because we have trustworthy (and free!) babysitters.  We are extremely close to our families and it's wonderful to have them so involved with our son.

Since my husband is gone for 12 hours a day, we make it a point to sit and eat dinner together in the dining room every night after we put our son to sleep.  It really helps us connect after a long day.

maine family pic

-How do you handle mommy guilt? 

Ah, mommy guilt.  Some days are definitely worse than others.  Recently my son was going through separation anxiety and literally clung to me when I dropped him off at daycare - talk about heart-wrenching.  I don't have great advice on this one - I try and remind myself of how lucky my son is.  He's growing up in a fantastic town with great opportunities and plenty of people that love him.  I also tell myself how beneficial it is for him to be at daycare, learning social skills, interacting with other kids, etc.  

I try and always remember how fortunate I am as well.  I work close to home, can be home if he's sick, etc. and was able to stay home for 6 months - I think I have an ideal situation for a working mother.

That all being said, there have been days when I've cried after dropping my son off and days when I feel like I am going to quit working.  I try to take it day to day and most days are good days.


-Advice for new moms struggling with returning to work outside of the home? Or struggling to decide if staying at home is the right choice? 

My manager in NYC gave me fantastic advice which was to give it 2 months after going back to work before you make any decisions.  I am really glad I took that to heart because I was ready to quit my job while I was on maternity leave, I just could not imagine going back.  The first few weeks were HARD, I cried whenever someone asked me about my son and seriously thought I was going to quit.  Everyday things got a little bit better and I obviously decided to stay.  I also spent some time before returning to work connecting with coworkers who are also moms.  It was really great to hear about how they handled things and made me feel like I could make it work.

Having a strong network is also key.  As I mentioned, I have a great friend in my sister-in-law who understands the struggles I face and a few really close girlfriends who are full time, working moms.  Connecting with them about what I am going through has truly been the key to making it through some of those super tough days.

I also breastfed exclusively for 13 months so I would tell all the moms who are struggling with it when they return to work to keep it up!  I was lucky to stay home for 6 months after my son was born, which helped us establish our nursing relationship and once I got back to work my pumping time was non-negotiable.  I blocked off the times on my calendar so no one could schedule a meeting and would get up and walk out of meetings, etc. if it was my time to pump.  I also traveled a few times during the times I was pumping and was able to pump and bring my milk home with me.  My son never had formula and I am really proud of making it 13 months while working!

A, mom and sister

-How do meals work in your family? Meal planning? How often do you grocery shop? Who is in charge of this task in your family?? 

I do all the meal planning and cooking.  I plan out our meals for the week on Sundays, then grocery shop.  I only cook Sunday - Thursday, we order out or go out to dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.  I typically will eat leftovers or something easy, like soup, for lunch during the week.

-How do you keep your house clean? Power cleaning after bedtime? Staying out of the house as much as possible? Cleaning while kids are awake? Purging often? Cleaning schedule?

We have a cleaning lady who comes twice a month to do the big things, like clean the bathrooms, change the sheets and heavy duty clean the kitchen.  I fill in in between cleaning lady sessions with light vacuuming, etc.  Before I had my son, I cleaned the house, but it got to be too much once he was born.  I consider myself very blessed to have her around!

(thank you for posting, Anne! Find the rest of the MMIW series here)


  1. I loved this post! It sounds like you have a very good set-up, despite your husband's long hours. SO important to connect with other moms at your work too - I loved that piece of advice. When it seems so overwhelming, I found especially that moms with slightly older kids helped me to see that it DOES all work out ok.

    My favorite part (as a college career counselor who works with students intending to go to law school) was that you thought you wanted to go to to law school, tried it out, and then DIDN'T GO!! :) I always seriously feel the biggest sense of relief when people tell me that they did what I told them to do and explored law and then realized it wasn't for them - dodged a bullet there! :) Glad you found a job that's a great fit for you!

  2. I love this post so much. I love that she made changes that work for her family but that she also loves the satisfaction that her career gives her. I also have to give Anne mad props because I think being in charge of drop off and pick up duty would be a challenge. But I love that she makes sure to eat dinner with her husband. That's an awesome thing to make happen every day. She sounds like a really awesome mom and woman all together. Totally inspired.


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