From Making Memories to Getting to Bring My Child to Work: How I Find Balance as a Director and Mom

Sponsored by KinderCare Learning Companies

Photo courtesy of KinderCare Learning Companies.

Photo courtesy of KinderCare Learning Companies.

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June 16, 2024 at 12:42AM UTC

From a young age, Nariah Umphrey, has always had a passion for teaching children. It’s no surprise then that she found herself at KinderCare Learning Companies — a company with a mission to support the hardworking American family and help parents and children feel confident for life.

During her nearly 10 years at KinderCare, Umphrey has held many different roles: from a school-age teacher, to a toddler teacher, to an assistant director. Then, in 2019, she became the Center Director. 

But Umphrey doesn’t only work with children at KinderCare; she also has children of her own. So, Umphrey knows first-hand what it takes to succeed as a working parent. It’s important to focus on “balance and not beating yourself up for needing to work to provide for your family,” she emphasizes. “Being a working mom is hard no matter what industry you work in.” So, it’s important to take the time to be kind to yourself as you navigate this journey. 

Being kind to yourself involves finding a company that will support you and your family. Luckily for Umphrey, she’s found this in spades at KinderCare. For example, KinderCare allows working parents to bring their children to work, where they receive “a great learning foundation for the future,” says Umphrey. KinderCare’s inclusive culture also means that parents like Umphrey are empowered to establish a healthy work-life balance, too. This is incredibly important after all, because being a working parent is no easy feat.

Here, we sat down with Umphrey to learn more about what being a working mom at KinderCare looks like for her, what her parental leave experience was like, her #1 tip for new moms, and more!

Drawing from your own parental experience, what advice can you offer to other moms who are expecting their first child?

Make sure you get lots of rest before your little one enters the world. And enjoy the pregnancy; I personally enjoyed being pregnant, and those nine months go by so fast. 

How did you prepare for your parental leave and what was it like to return to work at KinderCare?

It was so easy getting ready for maternity leave. All I had to do was get my doctor to fill out the FMLA paperwork and submit it to Benefits. When the time came to return to work, it was as simple as partnering with my supervisor and benefits department. The best part was that when I went back to work, my baby came with me. It made the transition so easy for both of us.

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

It is hard, but it is doable. Your children are little only for so long and balance is needed to make those memories with them. Take the day off to go on the field trip or see the play. Your children will remember that always and so will you. Work is always going to be there, but we do not get that time back with our babies. 

As a working mother, what strategies do you use to balance your home and work life? What does this balance look like to you?

This is a tough question. This looks different depending on the season, and some months are easier than others. Overall, I try to make time for my two young children while still ensuring that I am there for my team and the children. Some ways that I try to maintain this balance are: 

  • Alternating schedules with my assistant so that I can be home to do homework and dinner with my family, or if I need to leave for an event for my children.

  • Ensuring that once my ‘workday’ is over, I leave for the day.

KinderCare is a great company for supporting working parents — and offers many key benefits. Specifically, can you talk about how teachers receive discounted childcare at the company?

The childcare benefit that KinderCare provides for the staff is amazing. I know that without it, I wouldn’t be able to have my children here with me. I love that they updated the benefit a couple years ago so that more employees would be able to take advantage of it and have their children in our centers. I love that they even went one step further and allow for our employees who receive subsidy assistance to still use the discount. 

How has this benefit personally helped you as a professional and working mother?

Honestly, without it, I wouldn’t be able to have my children with me in our centers. I would have to find alternate care which could interfere with my work schedule and availability.

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