Amazing super-momma of two just trying to balancing work, family, & life, meet Zarina Nunez

Name: Zarina Nunez

Kid(s): Avina – 5.5 and Rayna – 4

Official work title and company: Discover Financial Services; Strategic Partnerships Manager – Amazon 

Location: Mundelein, IL

What has been your biggest challenge as a working mom? Your biggest reward?  The greatest challenge as a working mom is making adequate time for it ‘all’ – balancing a career and family life.  There is something constantly getting the short end of the stick – like working out for my personal health or taking time to read with my kids on the regular or teaching how to ride a bike or learning how to swim – our list of unfinished business is always long and never ends – the reality of being a working mom/family. Never enough time for all of our priorities and goals.

Biggest reward – my family and our life.  The life I am able to provide for my girls; leading them by example and seeing little traits of mine shine through them!!!  The good ones that is; Showing them that if you work hard, you can essentially have it all.  You can have a career, personal growth, be a boss AND the same person can be a mom, strong and gentle, patient and loving.  Showing them that they can achieve anything.   Everything I do is for them, they are my ultimate reward. 

Where do you think working mom guilt comes from and how can women overcome it?  It comes from ourselves and societies expectations! We are expected to work like we don’t have kids but also raise kids like we don’t work! I feel guilty when I arrive at 9 and leave by 5 at work, but it’s not because I’m lazy – in fact my day starts at 6 and I have accomplished a million things before arriving at the office - but I have other responsibilities and those are my babies. But while at work I don’t step away from lunch, I work at night when needed, I’m available always, I work on the road (calls, presentations, etc) and then I work when I get home – but on mom duty!  

I also feel guilty at home – I don’t volunteer enough at school (I hear it from my daughter) I wish I was there more often for bus pick up and drop offs, and more calm in the mornings but the reality is I am juggling multiple responsibilities and it is impossible to be 100% in all the roles.  

I am excited to see more and more change happening in the workplace – flexible work options more commonly available and better maternity leave policies.  More equality amongst family responsibilities between men and women. All this will drive drastic change in time that will alter expectations - especially for the next generation – and I am grateful to be a part of the group that is driving that change, for our future.  For my girls.

What have you found to be the motivations and benefits for women that take on the extra stress and time crunch of combining work and family?  I can only speak for myself but first of all being a stay at home mom 100% is the hardest job, God bless those women!!!  I find myself to be a better mom because I work – I am fulfilled, challenged in different capacities, and I continue to develop and work on myself at work.  At home I am beyond grateful to be able to contribute to our family’s income and provide a good life for my girls.  Kids are hard and expensive and if you want it all you must work for it.

And I’ve already mentioned this but as a mom of girls it’s a huge deal for me – greatest benefit is them witnessing my motivation and ambition on the daily – I want them to grow up to be leaders, knowing that they can achieve anything they want and I am teaching that by example.

What would be your time-saving tip for your fellow working moms? Outsource as much as possible and leave things on your plate that are important to you.  I have a cleaning lady bc I have 2 days off with my kids and I don’t want to spend them cleaning.  But cooking for my family is my love language – even though it’s hard I choose this.

Also plan ahead – I plan things out when I’m in bed or in my commute, I make notes and make time for things that are important to us and that is how we are able to get them done!  Whether it’s a home project or a family activity if you don’t make time for it, it won’t happen on the fly - rarely.  When it’s on our books, we make it happen.  So little by little we are able to do, achieve, or accomplish every important thing on our list!

Who or what gives you your daily dose of inspiration?  My number one inspiration is my family.  But it does help to watch other moms that I admire on the daily – makes you feel like you’re not alone and bonus when you learn a tip or trick. There is always room for improvement and I am always trying learn how to be a better wife, mom and business professional.

What advice would you give to other working moms when it comes to balancing a career, family, and self-care? Don’t be so hard on yourself – you are doing the best that you can.  You will often times feel like you are not enough so you should prioritize the things you do by what’s in your heart and your family values.  If it aligns to your personal values and life goals then you are spending time on the right things, everything else just say no!  A lot of times we may feel like we are not enough – but at the end of the day I know that I am all they need and you are too!