Connecting with the Working Moms of North Highland: Q+A with Vanessa Tolbert

In part three of our working moms Q+A series in celebration of National Women’s Equality Day, we connected with Vanessa Tolbert, Senior Business Analyst. Vanessa discussed how she finds balance, shared tips on how to help working moms and more! 

As we continue to work remotely and remain socially distant, how do you balance work and home demands? 

I maintain structure in my daughter’s daily routine by waking up earlier than my day requires – I'm usually up by 7:30 am. If your child is an early riser, you can set an hour for them to work on literacy for 20 minutes and math for 20 minutes before the day begins. At night, the children have to be asleep no later than 9:00 pm (and Melatonin is my best friend). 

I also encourage reading books and having children ages six and up read to their younger siblings. Also, playing with dolls, Legos or toy soldiers will let the children imagine they are teachers and help inspire learning.   

What is your best piece of advice for working moms?  

If you have to be heads down with work or attend a meeting, find ways to allow children to feed themselves. Empower older children to cook light meals, like scrambled eggs, hot dogs or grilled cheese, using a step stool if needed to reach the counter. At night, organize snacks for the following day such as little sandwich bags of fruit, dry cereal, carrots, apples with peanut butter, etc. that kids can easily grab when they’re hungry. 

What do you find to be the most rewarding part about your job? 

The most rewarding part of my job is learning tools of process management and gaining influence that I can use in my personal life. The most challenging part is when client meetings may go a little later than planned and balancing how that affects my schedule. I try to work around this by managing my time with cooking and doing a homework review with my daughter to make sure she understands the concepts of her schoolwork.   

What has been the biggest factor in your success?  

My support tribe which includes my mom, my daycare provider and a few other moms who exchange free babysitting from time to time. The free babysitting is similar to a pod of students to encourage social interaction. Also, grandparents are the best virtual tutors! 

What do you wish others knew about being a working mom?  

There are no excuses with serving our children. We are the most creative, well planned and project-oriented people. Also, offer to give us a break by holding virtual reading sessions or lessons with our children. 

Interested in learning more? Check out Part One and Part Two of the series.