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‘Give yourself some grace’ — advice for balancing work and life from a mother and Program Manager

March 9 / Global

As a new mom, Elle Rodriguez has a lot to balance at home and work. In her professional life, she is the Senior Talent Acquisition Enablement Program Manager on our global Talent Acquisition team, her first job in the world of tech. In it, she helps our “recruiting team be the best versions of themselves every day by developing programs and learning experiences that upskill them and help them achieve their career goals,” explains Elle.

As for her personal life, Elle is a working parent whose day-to-day is also filled with caring for her one-year-old son. No matter what, her day always begins and ends with him, making sure her early mornings are free for cuddling with her son (which she notes is “often [the] best part of my day”) and nights for family time. “Dad does bath time and nighttime stories before I tuck him in every day –– our little tradition,” says Elle.

But how does she balance these elements of her life? Elle credits her wonderful partner and a truly “balanced parenting household,” organizational skills, and Uber’s inclusive culture and benefit programs that support her wellness and family life. 

In this blog, we spoke with Elle about her career, motherhood and how she grapples with the challenges she encounters.

What does “balance” mean to you, and in what ways do you feel like you’ve achieved it?

Balance to me is being able to work and achieve career goals while also prioritizing my family and personal time. Some days are harder than others, but I need to find at least a few minutes to myself to stay balanced. I also make sure to schedule “me time” right before bed, whether reading a book or binge-watching the latest Netflix series.

What’s one misconception you think exists around work-life balance today?

You have to choose one or the other (work vs. parenting). It’s not true. You just have to be flexible. For example, after our son goes to bed, there are many nights where we shift our schedules and put in a few hours on the laptop after taking the afternoon for family time. I get creative, and the quiet hours can be great focus time. You really can do it all, just not at one time.

What kinds of boundaries have you established to separate work and family time?

Truthfully, this is difficult. But I think it’s really important to dedicate time after work until my child’s bedtime to be offline. That family time is really important. I’d rather sign on and do more work when my son is sleeping than take away time with him.

How did you prepare for maternity leave, and what advice can you offer to other moms who are expecting their first child?

I made sure to document everything and put transition plans into place. I’m lucky that Uber has a gig marketplace where someone can try out a new role, and a colleague took over my position during that time. I told people in advance, too, so I could slowly roll off meetings. 

My advice is to start planning early because you never know when your baby will decide to arrive! My water broke at home right before a meeting, and I was able to sign off and start my leave right away.

How long were you on maternity leave, and what was it like to return to work?

I was out for 18 weeks. When I returned, everyone was excited to have me back, and it took a few weeks to ramp up on everything that had taken place. But my team was very supportive.

Why do you think Uber is a particularly great place to be a working mom?

All the benefits above have been a huge help! In addition to generous paid leave, Uber provides credits for rides and meals, access to Cleo’s benefits program, a daycare FSA, and an Uber Parents Employee Resource Group.

I personally used Cleo resourcing and coaching. Also, my manager is extremely understanding and flexible with my schedule as long as I’m getting the work done.

What’s your #1 tip for new moms who are navigating the balance of working and mothering?

Give yourself some grace as you navigate through it. Some weeks will feel like everything’s balanced, and then your child gets sick and everything goes out the window. Just be patient with the process. You’re doing your best.

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