After returning from maternity leave in early November, I didn’t have much time to develop a working routine before busy season began. Parenthood is a work in progress, so my definition of a good work-life balance is constantly changing. One day, my son was content with just sitting, and before I knew it, he was crawling across an entire room! Fortunately, I’ve been able to use an alternative work arrangement in which I work three days a week and spend the other two days with my son.
Flexibility via the use of technology has always been one of my favorite things about public accounting, and this is especially true with being a working mom. Even during busy season, I was able to leave to pick up my son from childcare and be part of his dinner and bedtime routine before virtually returning to work. This allowed me to feel like I wasn’t missing too much of his daily life and, at the same time, I was able to meet my client and firm commitments.
While my alternative work arrangement was a more formal form of flexibility, I also had the informal flexibility to work from home or work later in the evening when emergencies occurred, such as the times I received calls from daycare that my son was sick. Being able to use our firm’s technology to work remotely without missing a beat was key to not dropping the ball on any of my obligations.
My parents always believed in the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. I agree; having a support system is critical to make the working mom lifestyle succeed. Without this system, I personally would not be able to have a successful career in public accounting. My husband and I split certain duties – such as picking up and dropping off at daycare – which allows me to arrive at the office early or stay late depending on the day. He also often takes the first shift of the night to keep an eye/ear on the monitor so I can focus when I’m back online. Both sets of grandparents and siblings are heavily involved in the care of our son, with the local set watching him one day a week and the out-of-town set watching him on other occasions such as weekends before major deadlines. This not only benefits me by giving me the peace of mind that he’s being well cared for, but it also benefits my son because he loves his time being spoiled by family!
One piece of advice that I’ve given and try to remember is that while you can do it all, you can’t do it all every minute of every day. While finding a balance between your personal and professional goals is critical in order to be happy, I’ve realized that this balance is constantly changing and needs to be fine-tuned based on the current environment both at home and at work. Fortunately, my home team and my work team are willing to adjust to continue to find the sweet spot when it comes to being a working mom.
Katie Galaska is a director in Kreischer Miller’s Audit & Accounting group and a member of the firm's Not-for-Profit and Manufacturing Industry Groups. Katie joined Kreischer Miller as an audit staff in 2012, after beginning her career with a local accounting firm in Tennessee upon graduating from Messiah College. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing and watching almost all sports, and baking.
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