Mom Interviews

Andrea Serrette

Internal and Executive Communication Lead for the Printing Systems Division at IBM, Author of The Milk Memos

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Who has been most helpful to you as you’ve navigated through your career as a mom? Where do you go for support/advice to help you?

Other moms! In fact, the support of other moms is what prompted me (and my co-author, Cate Colburn-Smith), to write The Milk Memos. Cate began writing in a spiral notebook while she was pumping breast milk for her first daughter in IBM’s lactation room. On her first day back, she wrote, “I’m a new mom and today is my first day back to work. Is anyone else using this room?” Other women wrote back, and shared funny stories, tips, and advice in the notebooks. I wrote in the notebooks too, and found them to be an invaluable source of support as I was trudging through my first weeks and months back at work. Never underestimate the power of sisterhood!

Please share with us your strategies for successfully get through your days at work and at home:

- Taking one day (or one minute) at a time.

- Asking for help when I need it!

Can you talk about what that balance means for you and ways – however small or big – you’ve managed to find it?

I really think there is a personal formula that works for everybody. Some moms are more career focused, while others want to be home with their children more. For me, the perfect formula is part-time employment. That’s just who I am.

Professional moms know that the way to keep our sanity is by not being perfect at everything. What are some things you are not perfect about?

My house is not as clean as it once was; I’ve gotten used to living with dust bunnies! I’m also not a very good chef. We’ve had pancakes and eggs for dinner more than I care to admit. Oh – and did I mention that I’m still not an expert and juggling work, life, and family? I’m afraid that will always be a work in progress.

We’ve all had them – describe your most trying/embarrassing/don’t-want-to-remember-this moment as a professional mom so far:

My most embarrassing moments occurred during my pumping days. One time, I leaked during a meeting and my manager elbowed me and said, “You are leaking!” I didn’t stray far from my box of breast-pads after that incident!

How do you de-stress and relax?

Exercise! It’s hard to fit it into my busy schedule, but I always feel better emotionally and physically after I go for a run or get to the gym. I also get massages when I can. “Me” time is very important.

If you could afford to stay at home, would you still choose to work outside the home? Why?

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