By Kathy Zucker • Saturday, January 18, 2014
Every time I have a baby, I destroy my career.
What does it mean to destroy a career? Simply, whatever job I was doing before I became pregnant is no longer there when I return. Prior to baby #1, I was a marketing director for a hospital that closed. For baby #2, I was the executive director of a healthcare advocacy group. And for #3, I was the marketing director for a beverage company.
Why does each career end? Because I hand off my clients. I have horrible pregnancies (and yet, I have three kids – all planned). Bed rest, medical complications, you name it. Mercifully, the recoveries keep getting easier. Even with my body bouncing back quickly, adding a new member causes a seismic shift in family dynamics. Sleep deprivation, mom disappearing after 8 pm to breastfeed all night, dad winding up with more and more kids on his hands for the overnight shift. It takes about a year after each birth for my family to adapt.
Meanwhile, work waits for no one. By the time I resurface, recharged and ready to take on the world, my clients have all moved on. It makes total sense – you can’t disappear for 18 months and expect to pick up where you left off.
So how do I resurrect my career each time? With cookies. My kids will tell you I bake AMAZING chocolate chip cookies. And before you ask, no, I don’t have extras lying around. Between my marketing clients, school lunches, and spousal raids, triple batches of cookies disappear in record time. I’ve taken to hiding them in a cooler on our balcony – thanks, polar vortex for freezing more than just traffic lights!
— Hudson County News (@HudsonCtyNews) January 7, 2014
Cookies are conversation starters. Nobody can ever stay stressed nibbling on the lacy browned edges of a homemade cookie (I put less flour and sugar in than the Tollhouse recipe calls for because we like the way it tastes). Time after time, I see a client’s eyes close in bliss and his troubles slip away for just a moment as the taste hits his tongue. And yes, it’s always a guy eating my cookies. The women are on diets.
And then, when the client is relaxed, we talk. And catch up. We talk about kids, money, real estate. Whatever is at the top of our minds that day. And people tell me what their plans are. So when I was thinking about getting pregnant with baby #3, my two biggest clients told me they were planning to start major new projects in two years. Given the inevitable delays and cost overruns that come along with being an entrepreneur, I figured I had closer to three years to deal with pregnancy and recovery. And I was right. Two of my former clients are majorly gearing up in recent months, and who is the first person they call on to advise on business plans and market demographics? Yours truly. And the timing could not be more perfect because mama’s got a 22 month old and child care bills to pay.
I am loving getting back to work. In between the occasional naked toddler streaking through my office, career number four is off to a rousing start.
Kathy Zucker, CEO of Metro Moms Network and Managing Editor of Metro Mom Magazine, mother of three young children and New York Life Keep Good Going Shorty Award winner and judge, writes about juggling career and family in an urban setting. She blogs at MomCondoLiving.com, tweets @KathyZucker, posts pics on Instagram, gets down to business at LinkedIn, cracks jokes on Facebook and gets outdoors on Youtube. Email is Kathy@MetroMoms.Net but the fastest way to get in touch is Twitter or Facebook.