#188 – A New Return to Work Approach With Andrea Bombino

ATK - Podcast Branding V02-02

There still seems like there is so much work to do for mothers and their return to work after giving birth. My guest today deeply understands the challenges that still rise. Andrea Bombino is by anybody's definition and incredibly ambitious and successful woman. She set her sights on creating a career at a young age that would really change the trajectory of her life. And then, along came motherhood. She looked around at the industry that she was working in and saw no examples of women successfully working at that level and juggling motherhood. Dive headfirst into this remarkable conversation as Amy and Andrea discuss.

  • Conscious and unconscious bias affecting career progression. For example, women of a certain age, who have just got married, have had one baby and it’s about a year and a half later.
  • Responses from clients and colleagues when sharing the news of pregnancy; judgements, anxieties and disrespect.
  • The wobble of craving intellectual connections vs wanting to be with our babies.   
  • The juggle and logistics of working full time, running a household and raising a baby.

And much more.

This conversation is one that could have easily extended for hours, and it is crucial that this topic does not simply stop here. To find out more about Andrea you can visit her website https://madetomotherco.com/ and follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/madetomotherco/.

There needs to be a change in the way mothers are valued and seen in our society. We are here to spread the whispers of Matrescence together.

Find out more and receive your Matrescence map here https://www.amytaylorkabbaz.com/matrescence/

Transcript

Welcome to the happy mama movement podcast. I'm Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. I would like to start by acknowledging the Gadigal people of the aura nation on which this podcast is recorded as the traditional custodians of this land. And pay my respects to the elders past, present and emerging. And as this podcast is dedicated to the wisdom and knowledge of motherhood, I would like to acknowledge the mothers of this land, the elders, their wisdom.

Welcome back manners. I've seen it over and over again. A woman's experience of becoming a mother is so profoundly unsupported in the way that she most desired, that she then becomes an activist herself. This is pretty much the basis of my Mama Rising training. This program, this training is filled with women who have either experienced first hand what it's like to feel unsupported, to struggle with the transition in her identity to realise later that if only she had understood things differently, she may have experienced differently. And now she wants to make a change. And today's podcast interview is with another one of these amazing change-makers

Andrea Bombino is by anybody's definition and incredibly ambitious and successful woman. She set her sights on creating a career at a young age that would really change the trajectory of her life. And yet, there was motherhood. She looked around at the industry that she was working in and saw no examples of women successfully working at that level and juggling motherhood.

And so began her personal experience of being in a workplace where motherhood is not valued and not supported. And now going full circle through this herself is fully committed to changing. You're going to love her story. Enjoy.

Andrea, Thank you for being here on this podcast.

Thank you so much for having me, Amy, I am so honored to speak with you and your beautiful community.

One of my favorite things at the moment is getting to know really well, the different facilitators in the Mama Rising training and getting so excited about what each of you are taking and doing in the world around matresence and supporting mothers differently, especially you. I think what you're here to do is really big.

We've only just seen the beginning of it. So I can't wait for everyone to hear how this came about. So let's go back to the beginning before you became a Mum, what did you think motherhood would be like?

Before I became a Mum, I think the number one thing that comes to mind is the fact that I always assumed I would be a Mother. From a very young age, I loved playing with dolls. I think I got a lot of external reinforcement that I was really good with kids and I was very caring. And so I always had this assumption until I started my career and was working in New York city on wall street.

And the years kind of started to tack on one after another. And that desire to become a mother was still there, but it was very much in the background and it wasn't until I had been in my career for a few years that I realised, wait, if I want to be a mother, I don't know how to be a mother in today's world.

And also be the career woman that I want to be. And for me that made me really pause and put motherhood to the side because I just didn't see a way that they could go hand in hand that I could have the life that I wanted be able to jump on a flight whenever, wherever (pre COVID). And head off and do whatever I wanted to do without having a little person to rely on me. And not to mention, continue to achieve the career goals that I had achieved thus far, and that I saw for the future.

It's like you went to the most extreme masculine productivity focused environment and industry. You could find, I mean, Wall Street. wouldn't be many examples of women balancing, you know, on-hand motherhood and their career.

Definitely not. I was working for an IT recruitment agency that was, at the time, like the second or third largest in the US. And they hired everybody straight out of uni and we were trained to really, um, how do I put this to do whatever it took to be successful? And we were told that if you follow the process and if you don't question authority, and if you embrace everything that we stand for, you will be successful.

And the person that hired me, I, I respected him a tonne. And so when he told me this in the interview process, I was sold because I thought, oh, I'm great at following processes. I I'm so like stereotypical type A it's not even funny. So I thought I can follow this and I will get promoted and I will be successful.

And in my head, success meant a title. It meant money and financial flexibility, and it meant the ability to do things that I hadn't necessarily seen other people in my family or in my, group, uh, of the area that I grew up in do. And I think that it was so important to me because I'm a first-generation American.

My mother immigrated from Columbia. My father came from Cuba and I was raised to be very, very diligent as a student. And it was this whole, uh, focus on, work your butt off and you will be successful. And so I thought I'll do that in my career. And I didn't realise that I would be selling recruitment to banks on wall street and that my clients and technology were all for the most part middle-aged men.

And even the way that they spoke about their wives, who were the mother of their children. It, wasn't always a very rosy picture. And so for me at that point in my life, in my mid to late twenties, I just, I really didn't align with, what I thought motherhood had to offer. I felt that it was this, um, very stereotypical portrayal of you become a mother and then you die because you have to be a martyr.

Everybody else's needs have to come before your own. And I wasn't ready for that at all. I just didn't see how that could be fulfilling. And so it was really worried.

It's such an important point because when we, when the only examples we have growing up on motherhood is self-sacrifice is a struggle or a juggle. Then we are the generation that get to opt out if we want to. And it can be almost an unconscious decision because there is no other examples. So when did that change for you?

I left that business. I left that business after seven years and I loved the company and I really learned a lot and I made some beautiful relationships. But when I sat with, um, our regional manager at the time to say, I just don't see a future for myself here, longterm, because by then I had started to think, I would like to find somebody to be with long-term.

I would like to have a family. And I remember saying this to him and he said, uh, Dre, what are you talking about? We've got plenty of people in the business that are married and have kids. And I said, they're all men and their wives are all stay at home Mums. And the men travel all through the country and don't have to, it seems like they don't have, to worry about anything because everything is taken care of at home.

And I don't have a wife at home. And that was the point for me, where I left that business. And then, um, or just as I left that business, I met my now husband who is Australian. And so I was living in Manhattan. He was on holiday and he just seemed to have a bit of a different expectation of life and parenting and, um, relationships in general than I had been previously exposed to.

And so as I ended up moving to Australia and was working for an American tech company, and we started thinking about having a family, I realised how I could do it differently. How we could do it differently. And I think that the big thing that stuck out for me at the time was that Matthew, my husband, is so much of a, he is a true ally.

He sees me for all that I am, but also my potential. And so his belief is that. If I want to pursue career as a central part of my life, that he will do everything he needs to do to support that. And so in the decision to start a family, it became very clear that he would actually be my partner in that my equal, my greatest supporter.

And without that, there's no way that I would have agreed to enter this realm of parenthood because it's, it's hard enough when you actually get along. And when you do align with the same or similar values and vision for your family life, that's hard enough as it is. I couldn't even imagine doing it and having to do it mostly on my own, even though I had a partner and I, and I've seen that quite a lot.

And that for me, it was just not an option. I didn't want that.

Wow. Yes. I'm glad you've said that. Uh, having an ally in your partner and someone who really values your independence, your work, your career, your vision, um, you know, even with that, it's hard. So imagine all of the women, and there are so many now communities in the ones that we speak to on a daily basis who are not in a place where they have that ally, that support person with them.

And so then along came, so in a way, the girl who follows the formula, who follows the rules. Says, right if I do this and I do that, then everything will be okay. I'll be a success. Has now gotten her mind the plan for how to do motherhood.

Yeah.

And this is what I love about motherhood and matresence. How did that work?

How did we go with that? What was the reality?

Well, I thought that I could, um, educate myself into motherhood, into my entrance to motherhood. So I thought I will read the books. I will listen to the podcasts. I will ask the questions of people around me, and we made a very concerted effort to, to plan for as much as you could plan, um, to conceive.

And I, what I realised along that journey as it was, was also like, there's never a right time because I kept putting it off being like, oh, but so-and-so's got a wedding coming up and I want to be able to have a few drinks and, or we're going on this trip. Or if I come in first place as the top sales person in APAC, we get to go to Vietnam, like maybe next year.

Right. And so I found out really quickly that already you have to surrender some of that control. And, um, I found out that I was pregnant. Uh, the day after I got a promotion I had been working towards for months. And I remember this day, like it was yesterday because I was sitting in the conference room and my boss was in Sydney and I was in Melbourne and we were on zoom and he told me that I got promoted and he opened up a bottle of champagne on his end in Sydney.

And he was congratulating me and I was so excited and I went home and I told my husband, I got that promotion. I'm so excited. I'm going to be so great at this. Um, if I'm not pregnant this month, we're just going to pause here. We're going to put a pin in it for the next six months. And we will reassess in six months because I have got a new role to smash.

And he said, okay, if that's what you want to do. And the next morning, or the next day I was due to fly out for a girls trip, that was basically based on beaches and margaritas. And my husband said to me before leaving for the airport, Hey, do you maybe want to just take a pregnancy test just in case? Um, because that might impact your, um, you know, your decision to have those margaritas.

And I thought, yeah, that's reasonable. And I took that test and it was positive and I took a second and it was still positive. And so was the third and the fourth and the fifth and yes, yes, yes, really. And he, he was sitting there like laughing, laughing at me, thinking like, what do you think is going to happen?

And I was like, but you know, This isn't in the plan and he's like, well, what do you mean? Like, we, we intended to have a child. He's like, you do know how this works. And I'm like, yes, but I didn't intend to get a promotion the day before. Like, what am I going to do now? They're not going to take me seriously.

That's exactly where my mind went was my manager's not going to take me seriously, his boss, isn't going to take me seriously. Um, the, my clients wouldn't take me seriously. My colleagues wouldn't take me seriously. And I recognize now after, you know, two and a half to three years, um, that was my own bias.

And it was my own experience of what I had seen other women in our business go through. And other women that I had worked with over the years be treated. And that was what I was so worried about was how will they look at me? They're going to think that I'm not gonna pull my weight. They're going to think that I'm going to be leaving early and showing up late and having to go pick up the child from daycare. Like I was literally pregnant for 10 minutes and all of these things had already run through my mind.

It's so important we acknowledged that. You know, as you and I have spoken about, and we talk a lot about the maternal wall, this wall that women run into with their careers and opportunities in promotions, because the juggle between motherhood and their work is just not possible. And so, you know, as we say, more women will run into the maternal wall before they hit the glass ceiling.

But what is also important to point out around this is that there's also that conscious and unconscious bias in the workplace around women of a certain age, women who've just got married, women have had one baby and it's been about a year and a half. And so the bosses things, the back of their heads, she's probably going to have another baby.

So we'll give that other role to someone else. This is a very true reality. And I love that, you said, it was your bias too. Like you felt and knew this because you, don't not only seen it, but experienced it around you.

A hundred percent. My, my time working in recruitment, the amount of times that somebodies resume came through for a role, and I would have a client, I'd show it to the client that the candidate was a perfect fit and the client would say, well, what's this three month gap. I'd say, well, this is when they went on maternity leave and they'd say, oh, well this is technology things move at a really quick pace.

Can't hire her. She's not qualified. And, and I'm ashamed to say that when I was 22, 23, 24 years old, I just took that feedback. And I said, okay. I like, I knew that it was wrong. But I didn't know how to address it. And it became normal to me. And that was the worst part. And so that is absolutely why all those years later, when I was on the other end, I'm thinking, holy cow, like, what am I going to do about maternity leave?

The company I was working for has an amazing policy. And I had my manager who is the Dad of three children say to me, well, you should really take advantage of the full option, the full term. It's a year. You know, it's a year that you can take to be with your family. It's a year that you can take to learn this new role.

It's a year that you can take to figure things out. And I remember saying to him, nah nah nah, I don't need that year. I'll have it figured out really quickly. I'm a fast learner. How hard can it be? I grew up with a massive family and little cousins around all the time and nanny and roles and babysitting.

Like, it'll be fine. And what I didn't appreciate was that even though I had been exposed to children and to mothers and to pregnant women. I had never been in that space before. I had never been in that situation before. And so I didn't appreciate the fact that like, from the moment I found out I was pregnant, that identity shift started those little pinpricks, those little cracks to who I thought I was, who I thought I wanted to be really, really started to rock my world and my degrees in sociology.

So I knew, and I had an understanding of the concept of, of identity and how we see ourselves in the world and how it's reflected to us in society and how society also determines a large part of how we act and how we feel about ourselves. And so for me, I, even though I felt from a career perspective, all of these little, like, oh my God, what am I going to do moments. I didn't know what to call it. I didn't know how to respond to it. I didn't know how to address it. And that was really scary because there I was at that point 10 plus years into my professional career, having moved across the world for a boy, like, you know, like, yes, yes. You know, strong, independent women don't do that.

He still regrets to this day that I was the one that moved and not, not him at the time. Um, but I just, I didn't, I didn't know how I was going to do it because I hadn't seen very many examples of women in the workplace that in my head, were very open about the struggles of motherhood and, and, of having a career.

I absolutely had seen most women work like they weren't mothers and you know, or mother, like they didn't have careers and almost like an on-off switch.

Yes.

And I think that the, one of the things that has stuck with me the most, and you mentioned it earlier, like the juggle or the balance, we constantly hear about finding balance in, in our work, in life or in our work and motherhood.

And I, and I've shared this with you before, but like when I was in high school, I played softball and our coach in order to improve our hand-eye coordination, taught us to juggle. And we had to learn how to juggle balls of various sizes and shapes. And the number one thing he said to us is that when you first start to learn how to juggle everything must be of the same size and shape.

And that is not the fact of the matter when it comes to motherhood and our careers all the time, they are not of equal weight. They are not of equal value usually. And I didn't know how to deal with that. And I, and I was so. Worried that my identity would change into a martyr or someone who didn't shower because that, those were the images that I saw.

It was like, if you want to do motherhood, right, you've got to give it all. You can't look put together. So it was really, really worried.

And also deeply worried about what would happen if you took that one year off. Cause this is also what I hear so much is that women go back to work, not necessarily because they want to. Many do. But a lot also don't go back because they're afraid if they don't, what will happen in their absence, will they lose their role where they lose their respect.

They will know that there was a big project coming along. Their future thinking and trying to protect the career, they worked so hard for and sacrificing where they might want to be just because they know this is going to affect them long-term in their career.

Those are all things that I thought about. Yeah. All the things that I, that I really worried about, things that I had, that my colleagues had shared with me when they would come back from maternity leave is they would say, wow, things changed really fast. Wow. I didn't expect this to be so different. Wow. I thought I would hit the ground running.

And so I had all of those things playing in the back of my head and I was lucky enough that, that we have an employee resource group called, Families. And, I had other women in the business that did kind of wrap their arms around and that I could have conversations with about their own experiences that were very candid conversations.

They had never shared them, um, broadly. But at the end of the day, I, I ended up telling my boss I was pregnant and I cried. I cried on the phone and telling him that he's and he's so happy for me. And he was congratulating me and he was thrilled and he was saying all of the right things. And I was the one who was so upset.

And he said to me, why so upset? And I said, well, I don't want to be like so and so. And he was like, why not? And it was somebody that had previously gone on maternity leave. I said, well, nobody took her seriously when she came back because she was off every other day because her child was sick from daycare.

And I said, instead, I want to be like this other woman. She is super Mum. And I regret that now. I regret wholeheartedly the judgment that I passed on both women. And I also recognise that by setting the standard of like this superhuman superhero type image of motherhood, that I was setting myself up for failure, I was setting myself up for a, status or a level that could not be reached.

And then to this day, I think when somebody says to me, oh, Andrea you're such a Supermum. You're super woman. You do it all. I don't like that. And I, and I've started to say to people, thank you. I know, I know you mean that as a compliment, but I don't want to be super woman because that's not sustainable.

And I don't want other women in the business to look to me as an example of somebody who can do it all and then think they have to do it that way too. When in the background, I'm making huge sacrifices, personal sacrifices, family sacrifices and things. To constantly be reevaluating and juggling those competing priorities, those competing devotions.

Exactly. So what happened when you returned to work? How long did you end up taking off? And what was that experience like?

So I went on leave at the height of the pandemic. I actually started working from home when I was about 22 weeks pregnant. So no one really knew that I was pregnant because they hadn't seen me. And that was a whole weird experience. And I say that because a few weeks before I was due to go on leave, I called up my clients around Australia, New Zealand, and I said, Hey, I'm going on leave.

s was after this was in June,:

And so when I, when I started telling clients that I was pregnant, I got responses that blew me away and not in a good way. I got things like, wow, you're pregnant. I wouldn't have treated you like that, if I knew you were pregnant. Or, why didn't you tell me that you were pregnant and leaving and why did I bother to give you all this information about our business when you're just going to pass me off to another rep?

And after having spent from week 22 straight through to week 40, so emotionally invested in these accounts. So emotionally invested in this promotion that I had worked so hard to get to be told that was heart wrenching. And the worst part for me, Amy, was that most of those comments came from women.

Yeah.

And I don't ever want to be one of those women. And I don't want other women to experience that because it's not right. And it's not fair. If you are a human being, you deserve to be treated with dignity, whether you are pregnant or not, whether you are a mother or not. And so for me, going on leave, I ended up taking a year.

I put in the paperwork for a year at my manager's, suggestion. Because he also assured me that it would be a lot easier to come back sooner than it would be to push it out. And so I, I took the year and when I was about nine months postpartum, I came across your matresence map, your ebook. And that was when I first heard of matresence. And it was the most, most perfect time to understand and start learning about the concept because I was due back at the corporate workplace in two months.

And it was at that time that I enrolled in your redefine program. And we started talking about the maternal mandate and the maternal wall and the multifactors in matresence and how it isn't just emotional and physical changes, but how there are economic changes and sociological or society and cultural changes and changes to our relationships that really put things into perspective for me.

And it created this world for me to understand this push and pull that I was feeling I wanted to go back to the workplace because I was so excited to engage in that intellectual level that I was used to. I had started a business while I was on maternity leave when I was about six months postpartum, because I loved that connection that I got with other women, because I loved doing something outside of my mothering duties. But I also didn't want to return to the workplace because I couldn't imagine leaving my daughter.

Because all of a sudden, this, this little person who was just developing more and more of a personality every single day, I just couldn't bear the thought of dropping her off at daycare and saying goodbye. And then heading to the office. It was unfathomable to me how people had been doing this for years.

How people have been doing this for, you know, a few generations. And my husband is career-driven as well. So I'm like, what are we going to do? We're going to drop her off at, you know, seven o'clock in the morning, 7:30. So we could both be at the office by eight so that we, one of us runs home to pick her up.

By what time? And then when is she going to bed? I just couldn't understand how I was going to make that work from a logistics perspective, especially while the emotional side was raging inside of me saying, Andrea, you've worked so hard to get to this point in your career. You can't possibly change directions now.

And then I have the mother side of me saying, yeah, but you wanted this. You wanted to be a Mum, this is what it means to be a mother. And so understanding and finding matresence at that point was exactly what I needed to recognise that A I was not alone B I was not crazy and C that I could do a differently, that I could choose to do it differently. But I didn't know that those were the options that I needed or that I even had for another few months when I actually returned to work.

And my manager said to me, take your time. Don't push yourself. You'll figure it out. And he's trying to be really understanding. But at the same time, he said things like you're a mother now. We don't expect you to work at this level. And it was this culmination, this full circle moment of, I knew they would see me differently.

I knew they would treat me differently. And there I was, he had all the best intentions in the world, but I was there busting my butt, trying to prove to everyone that I hadn't changed. When in reality, I had. Everything about me had changed. Like it, the way I saw business changed. The way that I saw my clients and their challenges changed. The way that I saw, how I wanted to engage in those partnerships, changed. The relationships I have with my colleagues, all of a sudden, like, especially the women that I work with.

I wanted to hold them that much closer to say, I'm here for you, whether you want to be a mother or not.

Yeah,

Whether you're married or not. Like whatever choice you make, you have a place here and I'm not going to judge it and I'm not going to make expectations or set expectations for how you will behave in the business or how you will be perceived.

I will leave that to you. And that became much more important to me than anything else.

I want to ask what you are now doing in this space that had, was birthed through this experience. But can we just take just a few minutes to reflect on how different and experiences would be if you had only been allowed to have four or six weeks of maternity leave as is the case in parts of the world?

Mm. I know wholeheartedly that I would not be the person I am today and that I wouldn't have the self-confidence and that I wouldn't have the relationships that I have today and the mental health that I have today, if I had only been given a few weeks to spend with my daughter. I personally think it is criminal to not provide women and parents the opportunity to spend time with their new children and to allow women to heal.

And I think it's easy to focus on the physical aspects of that healing, but there is so much of an emotional and spiritual healing or opening up and surrender that that goes with that entry. And when you're forced right back into the workplace, you don't have time to truly comprehend those changes. So for me, being able to have a year to move slowly through that, to examine the changes to my identity. To examine, the changes to my economic situation. Like realising that even though the business I was working for paid for, I think it was 20 weeks of maternity leave. They don't pay your super after that. So even though I had all this other time out of the workforce, I wasn't getting paid for my retirement. And that puts me at a great disadvantage in the longterm.

And it's also been something that I consider in terms of, do we even have another child? Is this going to make a greater economic impact? Not to mention the money that I didn't make for the rest of the, you know, the rest of that calendar year or of that 12 month period. And so when I think of the women that don't get those opportunities, it's no surprise to me that they're the ones that end up feeling depleted that they're the ones that end up feeling like they have no support around them that they have to do it themselves, that they are the only option that everything relies on them. Because if they have a partner, a lot of the times their partner, if they're in a heterosexual relationship, don't get leave either. And so when I think of that, I just think of the disservice that we are doing to women and to families around the world.

When we do not give them access to paid leave.

Uh, I'm quite emotional. I love the way you speak about this. I, 100% of course agree. But what I think is so powerful about your experience is because you have come from the United States where the maternity leave policy is so different and you've now also had the experience of an option of a 12 month break, or 12 months maternity leave.

You can see the contrast, so starkly. And you're about to return to the States. You are building a business with big dreams to not only support women one-on-one in this transition in their career and in motherhood, but also eventually to make sure that companies, corporations, and eventually government knows that we can't do this to families anymore, only giving them a few weeks.

That's exactly my goal. You put it beautifully. I, I think of a good friend of mine who had her daughter a few months before I had mine. And how she went back to the workplace three months after having her daughter and she would drive to the office with a breast pump on while she was on a work conference call after having dropped her daughter off at daycare with bottles full of breast milk. To then pump in between meetings to then bring that milk back home, to refrigerate it, to then stay up with her through the night, because she's got a three month old to then get up the next morning and do it all over again.

And she would cry every single day, Amy, on her way to work. As she walked out the door that daycare dropping off her young daughter saying, why do we do this? Why do we do this to women? And for her who she is an extremely career-driven woman to examine for herself, why am I choosing my career over my daughter?

Yes.

That's how it felt to her.

And that is an awful feeling. That is an awful feeling for a new Mum to feel like she's doing the thing.

Terrible. And, and this is something that I've seen. So many of my friends go through and I feel so lucky, so privileged and, and I, and I'm so full of gratitude to Australia for having these policies and to work for a company that, that offers it. And for them to hold my job, because most women in the U S and I can only speak for the U S and Australia in particular, but most women in the US wouldn't dare try to take a year of maternity leave, because there is zero guarantee your job will be there.

Wow.

And I've spoken to people that own businesses in the U S and they may have said to me, it's just too expensive to employ women and to offer them paid leave, and they leave men out of the conversation altogether. When in reality, I think one of the biggest benefits of the pandemic in our family has been that we had my daughter on the 1st of July and Melbourne went into lockdown less than 10 days later into a four-month lockdown where we could have zero external help. Zero.

And my husband was working from home because he had two weeks of paid parental leave. He was working for an American tech company here in Australia. Two weeks of paid leave, but then he was home, he was stuck at home with us. And so I never changed a diaper and I never missed a meal because he made sure that I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner and snacks.

He checked in, in between every single meeting. He walked past the nursery to see how we were doing and having that support made a huge difference in how I saw myself and how I was able to care for myself because at the end of the day, when I was exhausted, but all he saw was a sleeping baby. He had been there through the whole day.

So he knew that he didn't just come home to this calm and serene situation with dinner on the table. He saw all of the like blood and tears and literally literal bod fluids that went into that. And he would turn to me and he'd say, Hey, Andrea, you told me before the baby arrived, that one of the things you really wanted to make sure you always got was a bath or a shower.

It's 9:00 PM. I know you're going to bed soon. I know you're exhausted. You need to go and take that shower. And on the days when I was exhausted and I was like, I'll just do it tomorrow. He would literally say. I'm running the bath, I'm lighting some candles. I, you know, I've, I've teed up your phone with the podcast that you love, or some music just go in there, even if it's just for five minutes so that you have time to yourself.

And so even though it was just us, and even though we weren't allowed to have anybody else. He helped me make sure that I carved out, even if it was five minutes of time to myself, for myself to reflect on the day that was, or to just close my eyes and breathe by myself for a few minutes.

But if Fathers don't have access to leave, how do we break this cycle? And how do we show them that mothering is so much more than laundry or cooking or cleaning. Those are chores that those are not mothering activities. Those are chores. But what we see in the media. And then social media in particular people making fun of, oh, my job is, you know, laundry and, um, picking up after the kids and trying not to step on toys and organizing the house and, and all of these things that are they're chores.

And what I want to highlight is like, when you have the ability to take time to pause on an actual paid leave, you don't have to worry constantly about all of the other things, because you can just be. Yes, of course, having a nice clean home is lovely, but at the end of the day, you get time together. You get time to figure it out as a mother and and as, as a support person that you know, is there with you.

If you do have somebody else, they get to experience it firsthand so that the woman doesn't end up following super intensive mothering ideologies. We don't end up thinking we have to do it all because we're the only one that knows how. Or it's my way or the highway. And that is what I see from a majority of the women that I've worked with in the U S who go back to work after three months and still think they have to do a hundred percent of the child related childcare related activities and all the home related activities and also work because they want to have an economic impact for their family.

Imagine out of COVID, we can redefine this system that perhaps the partner may not take leave, but could work from home for three months. You know, even something like that, the profound change we could bring in here I could speak to you for hours. I think, uh, you are such a wonderful advocate for women, for women returning to work.

I am so incredibly excited to witness what you're going to do in the world around this, both here in Australia and back home. Cause we're losing you in a short days. But thank you for, really shining a light on what you've been through and being so honest about the biases you had. The things that you wish you now had done differently.

That was so powerful to hear. Cause I think we all need to have a look at how, where a part of the system too. And to just show what is possible when you decide to redefine it yourself. Thank you so much

Thank you so much for having me, Amy.

I love how, when a woman experiences something and she can see that it could be done better, she then becomes activated. She wants to be a part of the change. It's one of the beautiful transformations that motherhood can bring. We look around, we see it should be different and we want to be a part of that.

We want it for our kids. We want it for each other. We want it for the world. Andrea is such a divine example of what that looks like by using Mama Rising and going back into the corporate environment and changing the way we support women returning to work and making it more possible to balance the two.

If that's what she wants, you can follow all of Andrea's beautiful work at made to mother co all the details are in the show notes. And please send this interview to your working Mama friends. To the ones who are struggling with not being seen and supported in their workplace and let them know change is coming.

Thank you for being a part of this conversation, Mama. We change the way mothers are valued and seen in our society and our world by bringing these conversations to light and spreading the whispers of matresence. And so I ask you to be a part of this movement now. Speak to others around you about matresence. About your experience of motherhood.

Let's bring it to light together. To find out more about my matresence.

Go to amytaylorkabbaz.com forward slashmatresence. And receive your free ebook the matresence map. So you can understand it even deeper. Thank you for being a part of this. Until next week. Satnam.

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Hello!

I'm Amy.

I'm a matrescence activist - here to revolutionise the way you feel about yourself as a mama, and transform the way the world values and supports all mothers, everywhere.

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