May Oh May. With everything in it. And then some more. And here we are Today, relieved to see how we made it, after all!
May was an Apocalypse for our Household. Maturing professional responsibilities for both over-achieving Parents, Family vaccination cycles (including handling everyone’s unique and 100% personalized post-vaccination side-effects ranging to anything from fatigue to excess fever), Jason’s first week at Day Care introducing us all to new types of germs (hello there coughing – meh!). Not a good era for random sneezing in Public!
Still, reflecting on what is, I also feel unmatched levels of overall bliss, and even I, myself, wonder sometimes how on earth I get to feel so good with all that going on:
- Our Family is high functioning making it all move forward amidst the hardships (and coughing). We love each other unconditionally. Our Parents actively support and love us. There is always on-demand chicken soup in the freezer. Jason doesn’t need diapers anymore and is politely asking his new teacher at Day Care to take him to pee. Talking goals here, babe!
- I am greatly challenged and feel deeply fulfilled by my work: my new Manager is seriously leaning in to help me up my professional game with his feedback and space, my new Colleagues grant me tons of support and positive vibes to keep things moving and deliverables submitted, and my newly-assigned Clients look happy.
- MA School’s out for Summer, granting me some much-needed Weekend time to catch up on my Singing, Guitar and Writing (while prepping for my pre-phD Master Thesis).
- Our Working Moms of Athens Lean In Community hit 40(!) active Members in only two months time, and is officially marked as a “Recommended Circle” by LeanIn.org! Far more importantly, amidst the public consultation process of Greece’s Labor Reform Bill, the Lean In Hellas Network was officially inquired, and I was able to enrich our official positioning with the viewpoint of the Working Parents Community. My position drew from my research on Parental Leaves and Remote Work, and is summarized in the following three points:
- Empowering the space allowed to Fathers to get to know the new members of their Families (allow extra Parenting days off while securing their job)
- Offering the option for both Parents to receive Parenting Leaves (dismissing the either/or proposition which discriminates towards a Parent1/Parent2 paradigm thus Mothers as the primary caregiver option, and allowing the both to take the Parental Leave simultaneously)
- Carefully crafting the terminology around Work Flexibility and Remote Work Setups to be more inclusive towards Workplaces who are not unionized (e.g. SMEs). Treating work flexibility as a “dispute to be resolved” will lead most Working Parents to abstain rather than take part and risk getting stigmatized for asking more flexible work conditions.
Reflecting on all of the above, May oh May, I would like to retract my opening statement. May was not an Apocalypse. May has been a Revelation. Positives and Negatives together, the sum is overall positive summarized by that unmatched feeling of lazy Sunday afternoons spent crafting memories with Grandparents, reading the newspaper, playing the guitar and singing altogether. We got this far together. We Got this.
And in response to (perhaps) the most frequent comment I received by my new Colleagues this Month (“I don’t know how you manage, how you do it all), I’m hereby quoting my dear friend and personal source of inspiration (also this Month’s featured Working Mom on “How She Does It”) Ntina Maltezou, uber Project Mamager herself and Secretary General of the Greece Chapter of the Project Management Institute, “Time is always enough to do what is important.”
Konstantina Maltezou, PMP®
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Konstantina. I grew up on a small beautiful island in the Saronic golf and then came to Athens when I was 18, to initially study and work as a personal assistant. Then 24 years ago I got a job in the banking sector where I stayed until March 2020. In those years, I had a chance to evolve as a project and program manager acquiring experience and expertise in large-scale programs and multi-stakeholder environments, focusing in organizational change, digital transformation, restructuring of cross-functional processes and post-merger integration programs. I also managed to acquired my Business Administration degree and some good certifications in Quality, Business Continuity and Project Management of course. Lately, I got elected as the General Secretary of Project Managements Institute Greece Chapter and I am happy to voluntarily serve the profession.
I left the Bank within the pandemic outburst and I am currently very excited to work as a Project Manager and EPMO in a big global energy trading firm.
I have done most of the things I am proud of, while having my Twins which are at the age of 9 now. Before them, I always thought that time was never enough. Then I managed to get my BA, changed working environment within the Bank and got promoted, at the same time that I had to take care of my very premature newborns. This gave me a hint that time is always enough to do what is important.
Stemming from your personal experience, what is the toughest part of being a Mom, and how do you manage it?
The toughest part of being a Mom is to constantly trying to keep Balance between two (or three or more if you like) things:
- Getting lost in the daily hazards of laundry, meal preps and all other works a Mom must do to keep the house going (which she must) as well as her Professional and Personal life with a new Human being completely dependable, and…
- To the most important role of being able to be present to the Children’s emotional and mental needs through their development
I believe you can manage to balance as far as you try to leverage your resources (physical and emotional) and redirect them to what is important, keep your eyes (and head and heart) open and think that this moment is unique and tomorrow will be another day and you will always have another chance to get better to what you do.
Now if you think what has being like for more than a year with homeschooling and working from home you have to scale up all the above efforts by a 100.
Who is (are) your go-to person(s) when you need support as a Mother? What type of support are you mostly in need of?
Grandparents (despite all the nagging) are always there to cover for a day that kids have to stay home and you have to go to work. I have a lot of friends that don’t have this luxury and a lot of friends that they don’t value enough this help.
But my most important support is a casual talk with my best friend with whom I get to share my most inner thoughts for all kind of issues ..from kids, family and work. And I get to hear her back on her issues as a person that is projecting on the same mental frequency as me without judging or having to get any feedback. I am a person who does not confide easily (but when I do… I do)so from time to time I value this opportunity a lot.
Also being part of a great Lean In Cycle of the Working Moms of Athens gives me a great pleasure because I think communities always provide great support especially with other like minded mothers and professionals share their stories and thoughts.
What’s the No1 Skill (or Ability, or Knowledge) you have found handy in your role as a Mom?
The ability of being super-optimistic has helped me focus on the important things. As being a mom to extremely premature kids and have to listen to doctors giving you statistics of non survival (and there is nothing you can do) the only thing I did is being a Believer that all the powers of god, energy, universal flow (call it what you like) will make it happen. Even a very cynical doctor told me once that after all the she has lived in the ICU she really believed that this optimism of mine made the miracle happen.
This doesn’t mean I leave all things to fate or chance or that I don’t have moments of feeling sad or beaten up but I constantly try to shift the balance to the happy side. Even when I deal with unhappy events I focus on the memories and the impact made on me. The process of pain and loss is there to make you stronger. All is part of the learning process to make me a better human being.
Being thankful for all I’ve got is also a very helpful mode to this direction. Focusing on the success stories I have lived in my environment (being an aunt to other premature twins and triplets!) also made me believe that all good can happen.
What advice do you have for a new Mom?
My advice to a new Mom is to keep in mind that the most important gift has being given to her and it is her opportunity to develop along with the most important human being in their life! Children can teach you again amazing things that you once knew very well! All things pass at a very fast pace and all things are as simple as you can make them.
Twins are another whole chapter on how “she does it” series…and a whole another practice on how lean you can get …to manage.
Keep it simple…it is our mantra…indeed.