Episode 1: Navigating the Corporate Mom Life

Do you love your career and love being a Mom? so do we! We knew we couldn’t be the only ones!

In this first episode, we’ll each share how we approach being a mom in the corporate world, while also finding space for our families – and ourselves. We’ll introduce you to our families, our corporate careers, and let you in on the story of how this podcast came to be and what exactly you can expect to hear from week to week.

Read below for the full transcript of our first episode!

Original drop date; February 17, 2020


Emily:    Welcome to the Corporate Mom Life Podcast. I’m your host, Emily. 

Maria:    And I’m your host, Maria. 

Emily:    And between the two of us, we have 5 kids.

Maria:    We’re also traditional nine-to-fivers, pursuing our career goals every Monday-Friday

Emily:    …and if we’re really being honest – occasional nights and weekends too. 

Maria: So true… Each week on this podcast, we will talk about chasing big career dreams while also showing up for our families in both big and small ways.

Emily:    We’ll talk all things working motherhood – the joys, the struggles, and of course, we’ll share practical advice for thriving both at work and at home. 

Maria: So whether you’re a busy mom looking for creative tips and tricks 

Emily: or are just looking for some plain ‘ol solidarity to know you’re not the only one out there juggling all.the.things. 

Maria: Then this is the place for you.

Episode 1:

Maria: Hello and welcome to the first episode of The Corporate Mom Life. I’m Maria

Emily: And I’m Emily. We’re so glad you’re here! We have both been dreaming up this space – separately actually – for quite some time and we’re so excited to officially get this party started – and really, to do it together!

Maria: In this first episode we want to spend some time telling you a bit about what to expect in this space – and give you some insight into who exactly each of us are and our backgrounds.

Our Careers

Emily: Yeah, and..you know since the name of this podcast is the Corporate Mom Life – we thought we’d start by telling you a bit about our careers. And really, I actually didn’t join the corporate world until after my first kiddo was born – I’d always worked on college campuses and fun fact for all of you out there that haven’t done that, higher ed is known for loving a good icebreaker or team builder. So, Maria was kind enough to humor me when I suggested that we sum up our corporate mom life experience in 5 words or less…and then obviously we will expand into more detail, so. Okay, Maria do you want to go first? And tell us about your experiences in five words or less.

Maria: Alright, I think in five words or less it would be – Fast Cars, Drugs, and Politics. 

Emily: Okay, yeah, there’s definitely a story there. And I feel way less creative about my five words now.

Maria: How about you?

Emily: Okay, so I would describe my corporate mom life experience as…Mila Kunis from Bad Moms.

Maria: Oh, nice! Okay, alright I’m following, I’m following.

Emily: Okay so let’s hear more about these fast cars, drugs, and politics? Was that right?

Maria: Yes! Well, I have spent almost 15 years in the corporate environment working for four Fortune 500 organizations across three different industries; so, pharmaceutical sales, construction rental equipment and then my current industry – captive auto finance  – with a brief stint as a finance director for a political candidate. So that’s really where the politics come in. Not necessarily corporate politics but for a political candidate. I’d been in a management role for the past 7 years until my husband relocated us recently. His opportunity was too good to pass up and while I had to take a step back – there was at least was a spot for me open within my company and that made it so much easier. Because making a transition like that – the last thing you want to do is move – buy and sell a home – transition 3 kids into 3 different schools – and look for a new job, haha. So, I was able to eliminate one of those from my list, and from my plate, which has really made things – this change I guess – so much easier to manage! Ironically – so I’ll add to the fast cars, drugs and politics…alcohol. Because that’s my husband’s industry.

Emily: Oh funny, Well you know…

Maria: So, we’re covered!

Emily: So, we are covered. And you know what my husband’s industry is taxes, so we’re really…we’re in in good company.

Maria: (laughs) We’re really covered. We have it all covered.

Emily: Yep.

Maria: So, and just to clarify as well I guess, you know – I didn’t have my sights set on the corporate environment, so I’m kind of like you – you found yours a little bit later, I didn’t really set my sights on the corporate environment when I was in college at all – it actually kind of found me…but then all these years later, here I am. And here WE are! 

Emily: Yeah, and you know it’s so interesting…I don’t know that I set my sights on the corporate world, in fact, I actually think I was trying to avoid it.

Maria: Me too!

Emily: Yeah, so, we’ll have to dig into that now that we’re clearly both here by choice.

Maria: Right! Exactly. Alright, so I gotta here about Mila Kunis from Bad Moms.

Emily: Okay, so it really starts…I mentioned already I actually spent the first decade of my career working on college campuses in the admissions world and student advising. And I had actually landed my dream role about two years before we got pregnant with our first kiddo. And while I was pregnant, we made the decision to move from the city we were living in at the time which was Philadelphia, to Dallas. And we made that decision like midway through that pregnancy. We got pregnant not knowing we were going to move and then, kind of had this opportunity spring up and so when we made that decision – ‘okay, yeah, we’ll move’ – that was kind of the first time I thought, “okay, well should I try being a stay-at-home Mom?”. We’ve got this opportunity to essentially kind of reset where we buy a house at and financially, we could make this work. And so, that’s what we set out to do. We didn’t want to put any pressure on when I’d have to get a job or even if I’d have to get a job. So when we moved, I was just going to give it a try. And, what I found myself…I found myself getting a little restless, kind of around the time my first son was 9 months and you know…I know you haven’t had the opportunity necessarily to be a stay-at-home mom and maybe some of our listeners haven’t either…I do have to tell you…when I used to dream about being a stay-at-home mom, it ended up looking a lot different than it was. It ended up being actually pretty lonely. My husband traveled a lot for work. So it wasn’t just that I was home from 9-5 by myself. I was home for full weeks by myself.

Maria: That’s got to be tough.

Emily: Oh, it was so tough. And I had friends you know, with babies the same age, but honestly we were all so worried about our kids schedules that our nap times never synced up so ugh…it was just…I definitely started getting a little restless. But…I didn’t want to go back to this type of pay that I was getting in higher ed, honestly. It just, it didn’t feel worth it at the time to leave my baby for that long. And so, when I started looking for a job, I had what I would call pretty high standards of things that I needed in a job before I went back. Obviously one was decent pay but flexibility obviously is huge when you have a kid that enters the scene. Oh my gosh, I didn’t want a long commute and no travel. I was not willing to do any travel. So, I actually didn’t think an opportunity…that I would find one. But I did…in the corporate world and it was working for an ed tech company. So I found the job. I applied. Obviously, short story long, long story short – I got hired. I was a little worried about the commute but I thought I could make it work. And then I pretty much freaked out after saying yes and then reached out to every single mom friend I knew and was like – tell me how you’re making this work! What can our mornings look like? How should we do this?

So, back to Mila Kunis here. I stepped into my first corporate career truly after my kid was, he was 15 months at the time. Like I mentioned it was at a tech startup but I was the youngest at this company at the ripe old age of 33. Or maybe 31. I don’t know…early thirties.

Maria: Nice!

Emily: Which is obviously where Mila Kunis comes in because if you’ve seen Bad Moms you know she was the old one. I think she was maybe 30 in the movie and everyone around else around her was, I don’t know, in their early twenties. Picture, this was where I worked: red solo cups abounded, people went from cube to cube using hoverboards, there were dogs everywhere. Everybody brought their dog in because they didn’t want to leave them at home. And it was a dog friendly environment. We had a keg. So, I’ll have to say – it was a party that looked a lot like the set of Bad Moms.

Maria: Kind of sounds like some people’s dream environment, probably…honestly.

Emily: Right?? Yeah, okay I’m not going to lie. It was very appealing to see all this, especially having come from higher ed. But the party ultimately didn’t last long. Because we were a startup we actually did get sold within the first year I was there. We actually got absorbed into another company that was a lot more established. So that’s really where I would say, kind of more of my, more normal corporate world experience started taking off. But I was really lucky. I was quickly actually promoted to be the Director of Marketing even though I’d technically never been in marketing before. But..

Maria: Thats awesome though!

Emily: It was awesome, yeah. And it was going to start requiring some travel but by that point I was more open to it. And then, actually about a year ago I took on a new role at this company that works more closely in supporting college campuses. So it’s fun, right now I’m kind of back a little bit more closer to my roots in higher ed. It actually now is requiring more travel across the country. So, It’s definitely been a progression from where I started. So I’m now – essentially three new roles into this corporate career in the last four years but with the same company and that kind of brings me up to date as to my corporate career so far.

Maria: Yeah, and I think that is something that is interesting – to go back to the travel but it is interesting because you said that at first you didn’t want to travel but that over time you became more open to it and more willing and I think that is interesting because that’s definitely the same situation with me. At first I never did what my kids term “overnights” and travel for work. But the more I traveled for my career and the more that it progressed it became a necessity unfortunately. So, however, having been in those roles for a while, you do, you do start to open up to the idea of traveling and it becomes more okay with you. You start to realize, okay in order to expand and in order to grow I’m going to unfortunately have to travel. It just becomes a part of it.

Emily: Yeah and I think once you have your first kid it’s just – everything is just hard to figure out how to navigate. Any additional layer just feels too hard to figure out. I’m just trying to keep this human alive and work at the same time. That in itself is very hard. You start to get your sea legs a bit and start to realize, okay, we can add some more layers of complexity here and put some things into place to really make this manageable. But yes, it’s definitely hard to fathom for any new mom, all the layers that can come with the workplace.

Maria: Absolutely

Our Families

Maria: So that’s a bit about our careers – should we try and describe our families in the same way?

Emily: I can actually do this one in three words! Wife and Boymom. Pretty simple Nothing too adventurous. How about you?

Maria: Hmmm, well – maybe 4. I know you said not too adventurous – I’m really not either. I just have the addition of…so, Wife, Boymom and Girl Mom  – so, for everyone that’s listening and for us to get to know you better – who are you a wife and boymom to?

Emily: Yeah, so I met my husband Mike in high school – funny though we actually didn’t know each other from high school. We ended up meeting at our work at JCPenneys – I was working the men’s department. He a 44 – I don’t know if they still call them that but it’s basically a fancy janitor who came around and collected the hangers when the bin got too full. So I’d always be like, I’ve gotta call a 44 – oh, I hope Mike’s on. But he was also…he was a year behind me in school – we’re only two months apart but he always jokes that he struggled a little bit with shapes. And so, he was always trying to hangout with my group of girlfriends and I don’t know, for whatever reason in high school I was like – you hang out with your class. I don’t know – I was not the ideal friend in high school. But he definitely eventually grew on me but more so as a friend – but a really good friend – and we kept in touch when I went to college. I actually went to college in California and he stayed close to our home to go to college where we lived in Minnesota. I ended up moving back home after college and pretty quickly after that we were dating, and then we were engaged, and then we were married.

When we made the decision to get married I honestly never thought that we would leave Minnesota, that he’d been born and raised there, but he definitely surprised me right after we got married. He’s like what would you think if we would move to Philadelphia for my job? So, that’s what we did. Like I mentioned earlier we were there for about 5 years and that’s when we got pregnant and when this opportunity to move again came up. We ended up having our first kiddo, Robbie, and he is now almost six. We had him in January and that was basically when my husband started this new job in Texas. So, Robbie was born early January and 10 days later, Mike was in Texas working for the week. So it was pretty crazy and which is a whole story in itself. But – finally in April, when he was a four month old we were all in Texas together and….fast forward 3.5 years later, our second son, Sam came along. And, really that was the time when I could not imagine doing daycare drop offs and pickups all by myself – especially with pumping and bottles and all of that. And even now this occasional work travel so that’s when we made the decision to hire an au pair for our childcare. We’ve been doing that program for over two years and now have on our second au pair living with us!

Maria: I’m so fascinated by this!

Emily: I know, yeah – we’ll have to dig into it. But we’ve got our second au pair living with us and so that is our family in a nutshell! Mike’s my husband and Robbie and Sam are 5 and 2 – almost 6 and 3. So yeah, that’s my family. How about you? Let’s hear about this husband, boymom and girl mom.

Maria: I met my husband when I was 17 – at Toys R Us. No, we weren’t shopping for toys – we were both working there. And there was just something about that royal blue vest with Geoffrey the Giraffe on it that caught my eye and it was love at first sight. We got engaged in college and got married in 2005. As soon as we got married we both began our careers; we bought our first home together and then started having babies in 2007 when our oldest, a girl, came along. In 2009 our first son joined the family. At that time I wanted to keep going – building our family from 2 kids to 4  – but I took a voluntary severance package from the pharma company I was at and started to redirect my own future. That’s when a volunteer position for a former teacher’s political campaign turned into a job – albeit a short term job – but that then turned into a recommendation and referral of a friend to this captive finance company…and after a phone interview and an in-person conversation, I accepted the position offered…which also meant that my husband and I needed to reevaluate where we were in our lives at that point. Meaning – having another child while starting in a new industry with a new company – would be too tough for us (well -let’s be real – for me) to manage. At that time. With two children under 3.  We took an almost 7 year break and in the early Fall of 2016 our baby, another boy, was born. We’ve been married almost 15 years; we’ve relocated for work related promotions and opportunities 3 times and are currently living in very sunny South Florida. 

How We Met

Emily: People may also be wondering how we know each other!

Maria: We can answer that in one word – Instagram.

Emily: I think I found you first? I was basically doing a desperate search for other corporate moms. 

Maria: We started following each other’s stuff and commenting…

Emily: It was clear we had similar thoughts about the corporate mom life…and that we both wanted to share our experiences…

The Topics To Expect

Maria: So we began dreaming up this podcast and community. And as we dreamed, there were so many topics we wanted to cover. 

Emily: Everything Family – Managing home life, sanity-saving routines, Keeping it all straight, Maintaining strong relationships with spouses/partners/kids

Maria: Everything Career – Transitions, negotiating flexibility, managing people, fighting for equal pay, the never achievable work-life balance

Emily: And everything in Between – Mom guilt, Self-care, the importance of creating a village

Maria: So these topics and many more are what you can expect…

What We Want This Place To Be

Emily: Ultimately, we wanted to create a space to bring moms together who unapologetically love their careers, but could use a little encouragement to know they’re not the only one out there juggling all the things.

Maria: We wanted to create a place where we can be reminded that while we might feel like a crazy person, some days, we’re aren’t crazy at all (71% of us moms work outside-the-home after all!). 

Emily: A place that gives us the confidence to shrug off the disapproving looks from a stranger when they hear we work outside the home each day – or even days at a time when traveling – because we know we have a community who gets us and knows we’re a rock star mom who loves and cares for her kids fiercely.

Maria: We want this to be a place where we can truly celebrate (and commiserate!) all things working motherhood.

Emily: Because we’re not alone. And now, we can actually find each other!

Maria: So, we’re so glad you’re here and we hope you’ll join us week after week as we celebrate and commiserate about all things career and motherhood.

Emily: We hope you find that support you’re looking for – or that maybe – you didn’t even know you were looking for! 🙂

Emily: So that wraps up our first official episode! If you enjoyed today’s episode, would you share it with a friend or with all of your friends on your favorite social hangout space? 

Maria: And be sure to tag @thecorporatemomlife so we can send you a note and thank you personally for listening.

Emily: Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the show so you never miss an episode. 

Maria: And, of course, we’d love if you’d leave a 5-star review. Reviews help spread the word about the podcast so more moms can find it and know that they’re not alone out there navigating this corporate mom life. 

Emily: Thanks again for listening and we’ll see you next week. 

Where to Find Us!

Hang out with us in between episodes on instagram @thecorporatemomlife

And, we’ve saved you a seat in our Facebook Community where we take celebrating (and commiserating) all things working motherhood to the next level! https://www.facebook.com/groups/thecorporatemomlife/

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