In today’s entry we touch base with someone I have so much respect for. She has been a Pilates client of mine for almost 3 years and I also had the honor of being her coach as she worked through one of the biggest transitions of her life: becoming a mom and then adjusting her career to fit into her new life. She’s been a consultant for many years and more recently transitioned into her role as accountant at a rapidly growing company. Another fun fact about her is that she also recently got certified as a life coach!
Everyone, meet Leanna Gonzalez!
If you’re an expecting Mama or a new mom, you’re going to absolutely love this interview with Leanna. She shares some extremely valuable tips with us and also tells us a little more about the results she’s experienced since signing up for coaching sessions with yours truly and the Ultimate Career Bootcamp.
Let’s dive right in!
Hanneke: What was your biggest challenge with your career after having a baby?
Leanna: The first year of work after maternity leave was full of personal ups and professional downs – I loved being a mom and having a family, but I felt like a bad employee for not working much more than 40 hours a week. I was watching the career I had worked so hard for slip away, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice any more time with my family, and I was too exhausted to do more than I was already doing.
Over time, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to succeed in my current role while being the kind of parent and spouse I wanted to be. So, I would say my biggest challenge was understanding and embracing how becoming a mother had changed me. Then figuring out what career role would be the best fit with my new priorities.
I remember so many nights crying over the sink while I was washing and preparing the bottles for daycare the next day, and thinking, “This is so hard! I haven’t seen my son all day; he is asleep as soon as I get him home. Everyone on my team hates me because I left the office at 5. I should do some more work when I finish the bottles … but I need to eat something first, and I’m so exhausted! How do people do this? Everyone else seems to have this all under control! I’m a mess. I’m too exhausted to think about this now.
H: What tools or resources was the greatest help to overcome your new challenges as a working mother?
L: I relied on a daily meditation practice and (somewhat) regular exercise to help maintain balance and perspective through the ups and downs. The real savior was Hanneke’s life coaching though. Working with Hanneke restored my confidence in myself and my abilities, and helped me to organize my goals and make strategic plans to achieve them. Every single aspect of my life improved because of the work I did with Hanneke. It truly brought happiness to a whole new level!
H: You did my Ultimate Career Bootcamp last year. How did it help you in your job search?
L: UCB brought structure to my career planning and job search. Before I started the program, I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but that was pretty much it. Through UCB I got crystal clear about what I wanted and why – and ‘the why’ made it real for me, it anchored me to my new goals. The program took me step by step through the process, from identifying what I wanted and why, to the detailed action plan and accountability to make it my reality. When I finished UCB there were no more excuses for not living the life of my dreams because I had the plan right in front of me.
H: What’s your best advice to new working Moms?
L: My advice for new working Moms is to be gentle on yourself. Try to keep in mind that this is probably the biggest transition of your life, and it is completely natural for it to change you in a number of ways. Your priorities, your relationship, your body, your friendships, and maybe even your career goals will change, and it can all be wonderful if you’re open to it.
Also, remember you’re not alone, and you’re not the only Mom to struggle with this. Talk to other Moms. You’ll likely pick up some new mama life hacks, and you’ll feel better knowing you’re in good company. And don’t worry if the Moms you know aren’t “new Moms,” we still remember pregnancy, labor, and those first years vividly, and we’re here to sympathize with, and support you!!
H: What could your company have done to support you more?
L: There are a number of things I would have liked for my company to offer to support me as a new parent: longer maternity leave, short-term and long-term part-time schedule options, life/career coaching services, or a more flexible work schedule. The biggest problem I faced in the workplace was basic respect for being a working parent, and that can’t be immediately rectified by any special schedule or benefit services. However, providing those accommodations and services sends a strong message that the company values the parents in their workforce, and that leads to more respect throughout the workforce. It sets the tone at the top.
Now we’d love to hear from you: What was your favorite tip from Leanna? What struggles have you experienced trying to find a job that better suits you? Tell us in the comments below!!
ALSO: if you’d like to get some of the HOT tips I gave Leanna to make her successful career transition, be sure to signup for my complimentary webinar on Monday Jun 27th at 6p ET ( if you can’t make it – still signup as I’ll be sending a replay link to all registrants only!) Sign up now!