Today, more than 75% of expecting moms say they’re excited to return to work — yet 43% ultimately wind up leaving their jobs, according to 2018 research published by LeanIn.Org. A driving factor behind that gap? The lack of support new moms report feeling from their employer, which manifests as everything from a lack of flexibility to inadequate resources for pumping and breastfeeding women.
Thankfully, that isn’t the situation at every company. Some women — like Jess Austerlitz, a manager of Employee Experience at Squarespace and new mom to a 5-month-old daughter — have the good fortune of working for a company that truly values working moms, and believes in giving them tools and resources they need to succeed.
In Austerlitz’s case, the support she receives at Squarespace means she’s able to do her best work both as a manager and a new mom living in New York City. From breast pumping and budget reports to dancing robots (you read that right) and the “Great British Baking Show,” she’s able to fit quite a lot into her days. Recently, she gave Fairygodboss a look at what exactly that looks like.
Who: Jess Austerlitz
What: Manager of Employee Experience, Squarespace
Where: New York City
I hear my 5-month-old, Indiana (“Indy”), wake up, so I go and get her from her crib and bring her into bed with my husband and me for a few minutes. When there’s time, hanging out with her in bed in the morning is my favorite thing to do because she’s so smiley and makes the cutest noises.
My alarm goes off, so it’s time to “officially” start my day. First thing’s first: time to pump. I’ve been exclusively pumping for Indy since she was three weeks old. Luckily, I have enough in my freezer now I that only need to pump three times a day, which makes it manageable. I check emails on my phone while I pump, and my husband gets Indy dressed and gives her a bottle.
I’ve finished pumping, so I prepare all of Indy’s bottles for the day and wash the bottles and pump parts from the previous day.
I put Indy in her bouncer so I can brush my teeth, put on some makeup, and get dressed. I’ve recently joked with coworkers that I have a “uniform” (typically black jeans, boots, and a striped shirt or black sweater), as this makes getting dressed much easier! I did invest in some “fun” earrings so I can continue to wear my uniform while pretending I still have style.
Indy has a cold, so I now have the fun job of sucking snot out of her nose. I didn’t know this was a real thing until I had a baby. While kind of gross, I find it oddly satisfying — plus, she sounds so much better after I complete the task. Then we have some play time while her dad gets ready.
Our nanny arrives for the day. We share a nanny with another couple who have a 14-month-old son who gets dropped off and picked up at our house each day. I realize just how lucky I am not to have to drop off or pick up Indy anywhere each day because the morning is already so chaotic!
My husband, Ben, and I kiss Indy goodbye, and I catch a ride with him to the subway since he drives to work. It’s nice to have a quiet moment alone, which are few and far between. We talk in the car about how we’re extra tired today but realize we actually slept eight hours last night. That has only happened a handful of times in the past few months!
I squeeze onto the L train and run into a former coworker and her girlfriend. We spend the whole train ride catching up on work and life. For as big as NYC is, I love how small it can feel.
I arrive at the office and grab a coffee and my daily breakfast of cheerios with banana. Squarespace provides hot lunch and breakfast food as part of our benefits package, plus a lot of snacks. It’s super helpful for me as a new mom with limited time during the day.
I spend some focused time on 2019 planning and budgeting. I recently presented our Employee Experience Strategy for 2019 to our executive team, and now it’s time to put the plan into action. There are a lot of follow-up meetings over the next few weeks with different stakeholder teams like Learning & Development, Diversity & Inclusion, Recruiting Marketing, and Communications to align on all of our plans and create a thoughtful calendar for the year. We recently launched Employee Resource Groups, a major D&I initiative for the company, and our team is excited to work with those groups on programming events as well.
I sync with my team on our upcoming global events. We host an annual Customer Holiday Market in each of our offices (Portland, Dublin, and NYC) where we invite local Squarespace customers to come in and set up booths with the products for our employees. We’re also approaching our annual holiday parties, so there are a lot of details to sync on, including finding Squarespace customers to partner with to provide decor and entertainment (at all three events!). We talk about potential surprise-and-delight moments at each party, such as a dancing robot with CO2 tanks. Our jobs are weird (in the best way) sometimes.
I grab a sandwich and soup from our new grab-and-go cafe and eat at my desk while catching up on emails and continuing with 2019 planning. I also take a quick break to pet Magic, our resident People team Goldendoodle.
My team meets with our Marketing team about Giving Tuesday which is coming up soon. We learn about Marketing’s external plans and brainstorm how to engage our employees internally as well. Through Bright Funds, Squarespace matches up to $600 per year in donations per employee, so it’s a great opportunity to encourage folks to utilize this benefit.
I head to our mother’s room for my daily pumping session. We’re very lucky to have two mothers’ rooms onsite with hospital-grade pumps. I didn’t realize what a luxury this was until I had a baby and spoke to friends who don’t have the same amenities at their offices. While I’m pumping, our nanny sends me a few photos of Indy, which make my day. I really am happy to be back at work and re-establishing myself as an “individual” again, but I still miss her throughout the day.
I attend a training facilitated by a third-party called Awaken, titled: “Unlocking High Potential Teams Through Inclusion.” The training focuses on how to create psychological safety for your team in an inclusive way, which is the number one ingredient for creating high-performing teams. We explore how our various identities influence the way we show up at work while developing empathy and understanding for others' experiences. It’s a real eye-opening workshop because we all are asked to share and be vulnerable. I feel extremely grateful and emotional after the three-hour session ends.
I have a quick regroup with our Team Lead both on the Awaken workshop (she had already taken it), and status updates for priorities and projects for the rest of the week.
It’s time to begin my commute home. My husband owns a whole-animal butcher shop located right off of the train, so I stop by to pick up some ingredients for a simple dinner. On my 20-minute walk home, I call my best friend of 25 years (a mom of two and CEO of her own company) who just moved back to California. We catch up and I get some work, parenting, and life advice.
I’m back at home! I chat with our nanny about the day she and Indy had together: what they did, how she napped, did she poop — you know, life’s greatest questions. Ben has a work dinner tonight, so I get some solo time with Indy. I read her “Dragons Love Tacos,” her favorite book. She laughs the whole time I read it to her. We play some peek-a-boo, which is hit or miss depending on the day, but today she loves it. She’s in a very adorable, happy mood tonight! I also do a quick FaceTime with my in-laws so they can say hello to her, too.
I give Indy her daily bath, get her ready for bed, and give her a bottle. She goes right to sleep today.
I throw together a quick pasta dinner tonight with leftover sauce that I add to the spicy italian sausage I picked up on my way home. I pour that over some pasta and sit down on the couch.
I watch 30 minutes of “The Great British Baking Show” before getting sucked back into doing a little work. I try not to work in the evenings when Ben is home since that is important time for us as a couple, but since he’s out, it feels good to be productive and get ahead of a few things.
Last pump of the day! I finish my episode of “Great British Baking Show” while I pump to help my brain wind down for the evening. Plus, who doesn’t love watching people bake things I’ve never heard of while helping and supporting one another, while speaking in British accents!?
Wake Indy for a quick dream feed.
Finally time for me to go to bed. I set my alarm for 7:00 a.m., and hope Indy (or our cat) doesn’t wake us before then...wishful thinking.
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