Mom Interviews

Andrea Serrette

Internal and Executive Communication Lead for the Printing Systems Division at IBM, Author of The Milk Memos

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Best thing about your job: Flexibility. If I need to come into work a little later, take someone to an orthodontist appointment, work from home on a particular day, or work later in the evening, my manager is fine with that. If I need to make up a few extra hours during the week, I can do that while our youngest son is in school Thursday and Friday mornings.

Most challenging thing about your job: Setting limits and sticking to a part-time schedule. I really try my best to keep Thursdays and Fridays completely free of IBM work.

What is your childcare arrangement and how happy are you with it?

We are very fortunate because my family lives here. My youngest son spends mornings (8:30am – noon) at the local Montessori school. During the afternoons, everyone pitches in. As I mentioned, my husband stays with him on Mondays, his aunt takes him on Tuesdays, and my mom watches him on Wednesdays. My son loves his school and is in love with everyone who watches him – its’ a great arrangement.

What does your husband do? How do you split up your responsibilities at home?

My husband is an engineer. He’s very helpful around the house; he’s very handy with the vacuum cleaner and pitches in on everything from getting the kids breakfast in the morning to folding laundry, dusting, cooking, and helping with carpooling. What would I do without him?

What is, for you, the most challenging aspect of being a professional mom? What is your favorite part about it?

The most challenging aspect is the “pull” I feel between working and spending time with my son. I sometimes wonder if I’m doing the right thing and feel that I would like to have more time to spend with him while he is young. I know I’ll never get these days back.

The best aspect is the balance I’m able to achieve by working part time. When I worked full time, I always felt overwhelmed. By Fridays, I was a puddle of tears. Now, I feel more in balance.

What compromises have you had to make personally and professionally since becoming a mom?

I have gotten promotions and awards, but I’m sure my career has not advanced in the timeframe that it would have if I didn’t have kids. I’m OK with that. I don’t really want to become the next vice president or CEO of my division. Family comes first.

I don’t’ think I’ve sacrificed anything on the personal side. I have a great relationship with my husband and kids. It’s not apple pie and picket fences ALL the time, but I truly feel blessed to have such a wonderful family.

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