Navigating the ‘Ebb and Flow’ of Being a Working Parent: From Maternity Leave to ERGs

Sponsored by Dataminr

Allie Tucker and her son. Photo courtesy of Dataminr.

Allie Tucker and her son. Photo courtesy of Dataminr.

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Fairygodboss
June 21, 2024 at 2:3AM UTC

“Balance for me is the ability to ebb and flow,” says Allie Tucker, Director of Customer Success on the Dataminr Public Sector team. In her case, Tucker realized that balancing her career with her family and taking care of her young son meant that her priorities needed to be able to dynamically shift.

“Sometimes, I need to give more to my work and career, and other times I need to focus on my family and personal life,” Tucker tells us. “Things might not always feel balanced, but, over time, you find an equilibrium. I know I have achieved a decent balance when I get quality time with my family while making impactful contributions at work.”

Finding this equilibrium is not always straightforward. “There is no single tip that will help make it easier, and there’s no one right way to parent,” explains Tucker. However, “a few of my suggestions are: trust your gut, ask for and accept help, don’t try to be a martyr, outsource as much as possible, find other mom friends, and give yourself grace.”

And, joining a company that supports you will also help immensely. “When an organization makes its employees a top priority and supports their wellbeing, they are able to bring their best selves to work and excel at their job,” shares Tucker. At Dataminr, she’s found this culture of support, which has helped her excel as a mother and as a Director.

In this article, Tucker shares more about her parental journey with us, her life as a working parent, and how Dataminr supports her whole self.

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

I was on 12 weeks of maternity leave plus two weeks of paid time off. Returning to work after those 14 weeks was quite difficult in many ways, but I am grateful for every minute of my leave. Both my son and I recovered physically by week 14, but my husband and I were very much still coping with the emotional toll of preterm birth, plus three weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) — and all the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Right when I felt like I was getting my head on straight, it was time to go back to work and transition to another new normal. Every minute of those 14 weeks was needed for my physical and emotional recovery. I couldn’t have gone back to work a minute earlier because I would not have been in a mental state fit for work. Parenthood is not for everyone, but everyone who chooses to be a parent should have enough time to recover and bond with their child.

What type of programs does your company offer to new and expectant mothers?

Upon return from my parental leave, I connected with our Parents employee resource group (ERG), which is one of our nine ERGs that provide safe and inclusive environments for our diverse employee base. This wonderful community supported me at a time in my life when I needed them the most. I found people who were going through a similar journey: transitioning to parenthood under similar conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the shift to remote work, daycare shortages, and limited family support. I'm very grateful for this community. 

What are you especially good at as a mom? What about at work? 

I am really good at understanding my son and connecting with him. I make a point to listen to him and recognize what he’s trying to communicate. Though we struggled to bond in the beginning, now we are the best of friends. At work, I make extra effort to connect with my team members. I want to understand what drives and motivates them, what is important to them, and what I can do to help them be successful. 

Now, as a working parent, can you paint a picture of a typical day? What’s the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before you go to sleep? 

My daily schedule is driven heavily by my toddler, Freddie. My husband and I both work from home, which allows us to have an incredible amount of flexibility. We split our parenting work evenly where possible. I make breakfast and handle daycare dropoff in the morning. Before starting the workday, I try to squeeze in a workout on the treadmill or out on the trails near my house. 

Lately, my work schedule includes meetings to plan for 2023 and calls with my team and clients, just to name a few items. Then, in the afternoon, my husband cooks dinner and picks up Freddie from daycare.  We try to eat dinner together every day. My love language is spending quality time, so my current setup is about as perfect as it can be. The first and last thing I do every day is check the baby monitor.

Attaining work-life balance can’t be done solo. What people, resources, and tools do you rely on to get it all done?  

My job requires some overnight and sometimes overseas travel, so having support from my husband — a true partner both in life and career  — and our extended families has been crucial to my ability to achieve work-life balance. While my husband and I are at work, we can rest assured that my son is well taken care of at his daycare, which has proven to be a really safe and loving space for him. As for resources and tools, I’d like to give a shout-out to my therapist who has helped me grow as a parent, set boundaries, understand myself, advocate for my needs, develop strong familial relationships, and so much more. 

The last, but not least, piece of the puzzle is Dataminr. My team, manager, and coworkers are all part of my “village,” even if they don’t realize it. Their understanding enables me to effectively do my job. When I assumed my current role, I sat down with my team and manager to clearly define expectations, including my availability.

For example, they know that sometimes at the last minute, I might need to take a day off to care for Freddie, and they will help me cover any work that needs to be done while I’m out.

That’s amazing! How else does Dataminir support you? And why is it a particularly great place to be a working mom? 

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dataminr quickly pivoted to a remote work model, and I have been able to remain a remote worker ever since. This policy afforded me a shift in lifestyle I didn’t know I needed for my family and for my career. I’ve been able to have breakfast and dinner with my son almost every day — those moments mean the world to me. In addition, thanks to Dataminr’s comprehensive healthcare benefits, my delivery costs were almost entirely paid for by insurance.



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