Having a child & a career too? It’s possible, says our colleague Mareile.
Mareile Eckart took a job at mm1 in Zurich, Switzerland in 2016. In the interview, she gives us insight into how life as a mom can be combined with a career. She reports on the challenges and also provides some valuable tips for other parents.
Hello Mareile, please introduce yourself briefly.
My name is Mareile, I live in Zurich with my husband and daughter. I am a partner at the mm1 Group, and at the same time, my husband and I are co-Managing Directors of mm1 Schweiz AG. I am mainly involved in complex innovation and digital transformation projects in the financial services sector. When I’m not focusing on work, I’m passionate about sports, especially running and yoga.
You came to us today to tell us something about the balancing act between having a career and having a child. How do you manage to balance these two big parts of your life?
After the statutory maternity leave of 14 weeks in Switzerland, I returned to work full-time. Even while I was on maternity leave, I always remained informed about what was happening at the company. The Corona era and the ability to work full-time from home helped me during this time. I understand that not everyone can or wants to return to work quickly, because this requires a lot of planning and discipline. It was always clear to me that I did not want to leave my job for very long. Since we don’t have any grandparents nearby, my partner and I work with a combination of nanny & day care. Since we still work mostly from home today, my job at mm1 makes it easier to balance work and our 2-year-old daughter. Of course, this system also requires a great deal of understanding from my partner, who must support it. It also requires understanding from my employer. I have to say that I feel that people trust me here at mm1; they trust that I can balance having a child with my demanding job, and that gives me strength.
Wow, thank you for this exciting insight! What are some obstacles that you have encountered?
My husband also works full-time, and sometimes it’s difficult if we have appointments at the same time during off-hours or we have to travel at the same time, e.g. to sales-/ customer appointments. Here, good planning is required, and it is also necessary to be able to accept help; for example, to take my daughter and her grandma as her companion along on the trip. Colleagues also have to be considerate, for example if I leave the office at 4:30 PM to pick up my daughter. If my partner, my daughter or I get sick, of course chaos can ensue; then the focus is on just pulling through. In such cases, however, you must sometimes be able to cancel/postpone appointments and prioritize things.
What tips do you have for others who want to balance career and family?
Basically: Don’t be afraid to do it, and let it happen. The motto “you rise to the occasion” definitely applies to working moms. In addition, I have the feeling that as a mother you use your time more efficiently and become more courageous, and you do not allow certain stressful situations on the job to bother you as much anymore. Be sure to talk to other women and men who are in the same situation. If the system cannot be implemented this way, you can always adjust the model, e.g. reduce how many hours you work, find a different child care situation, or in the worst-case scenario, you’re your job completely. Another tip would be to consistently try to reserve the morning (6:30-8:30 AM) and pick-up/bedtime (5:00-7:00 PM) for your child and family and to work when your child is in bed. You should consciously reserve time on the weekend and during extended holidays (“after-the-fact parental leave”) for your family.
Thank you Mareile, for this great insight into your personal take on how to balance parenting and career, and of course for the valuable tips!