Real Work, Real Life

Startup Operations and Working Parent Life

October 11, 2023 Episode 33
Real Work, Real Life
Startup Operations and Working Parent Life
Show Notes Transcript

On this week's episode of Real Work, Real Life, I’m talking with Paige. All of my previous episodes have focused on the guest’s work, and we do talk quite a bit about Paige’s work as Head of Operations at an eCommerce Aggregator. So if you’re interested in learning more about what it’s like to work in start up leadership, there’s a lot of great information for you here.

But we also talk alot about another topic: the realities of life as a working parent. Paige’s popular social media account She is a Paige Turner covers so many topics that will be relatable to working parents, from the cost of childcare and the challenges of finding it, to the imbalance in who shoulders the mental load in a family, even when both parents work full time outside the home, to how challenging it can be to raise children without the village that we hear so much about. 

Something like 80% of people will have a child at some point in their lives, so chances are good that you will have to balance your work with parenthood of some kind. And if you don’t, it’s almost guaranteed that your coworkers, your leaders, or your employees will. 

You can find Paige on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook @sheisapaigeturner. 

Two other episodes to check out if you liked this one:

Nanny and Family Assistant: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nanny-family-assistant/id1673653251?i=1000629368573

Childcare Owner and Operator: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/early-childhood-educator-childcare-owner-and-operator/id1673653251?i=1000627718631

Tech Startup CEO and Cofounder: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/tech-start-up-ceo-and-cofounder/id1673653251?i=1000614287303

If you like the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify  (linked below) and please share with a friend! You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Tiktok. And if you’d like to be interviewed here, or there is a particular job you’d like to learn about, please reach out at realworkreallife@gmail.com.

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/real-work-real-life/id1673653251
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1Cp0w2BjOtS8NWfj0NhmIg?si=ece5b6ad45274b73

Transcripts are now available here: www.realworkreallife.com

Paige Working Parent

[00:00:00] Welcome to real work, real life, where I talk to real people about what they do for work and what that means for their lives. Today. I'm talking with Paige. All of my previous episodes have focused on the guest work and we do talk quite a bit about page's work as head of operations at an e-commerce aggregator. So, if you're interested in learning more about what it's like to work in startup leadership, there's a lot of great information for you here. But we also talk a lot about another topic, the realities of life as a working parent. Pages popular social media account. She is a page Turner. Cover so many topics that will be relatable to working parents from the cost of childcare and the challenges of finding it to the imbalance and who shoulders, the mental load in a family. Uh, even when both parents work, full-time outside the home. To how challenging it can be to raise children without the village that we hear so much about. Something like 80% of people will have a child at some point in their lives. So chances are good that you will [00:01:00] have to balance your work with parenthood of some kind. And if you don't, it's almost guaranteed that your coworkers, your leaders or your employees will. In case you missed it. I also spoke recently with two childcare providers, Sarah. Uh, nanny and family assistant, who you can hear more from at the modern nanny on Instagram and Tik TOK and Stacy and owner operator of a licensed accredited in home childcare. So once you're done with this episode, go back and listen to those two. You could find page on Instagram, Tik, TOK, and Facebook at she is a page Turner. I can't wait to share this conversation with you, so let's get into it. 

Emily: Thank you so much for being here, Paige.

Paige: Yes, thanks for having me.

Emily: So what do you do for work?

Paige: So I am the head of operations at an e commerce aggregator, which most people don't know what that means, but it's a company that acquires a bunch of companies. And I oversee the operations of all those individual brands that we operate.

Emily: Oh, wow. That's so interesting. So what sort of operations are you overseeing within those brands?

Paige: Sure. So we're a [00:02:00] startup, so it changes constantly kind of what falls under my umbrella, but the big buckets that I focus on are kind of supply chain and logistics. So shipping, fulfillment, returns, we're in typically like e commerce apparel businesses. And so, you know, think about the clothing you buy online.

That's what we're doing. And so I oversee that side of the business. I oversee our customer success team as well. So fielding inquiries across all of the brands. I oversee our site operations team as well. So making sure all of our sites are working as they should be migrating to new platforms, all of that.

And then. HR is kind of in my bucket. I oversee the HR agency, so thank goodness I don't do the HR, but I, it falls under my team to manage. And so it's a wide swath in the startup world. Sometimes you're managing multiple things and that is true of my role.

Emily: Yeah. Oh my gosh. That is such a broad purview. That's really interesting. Could you talk a little bit about how you got there? What's your [00:03:00] educational background is or kind of work experience that got you to that role? Oh,

Paige: sure. So I went to school for broadcast journalism, so nothing to do with what I do today. Um, I had dreams of being like Giuliana Rancic. I wanted to be on E! News and moved to Los Angeles, which I did. I, graduated college, moved to Los Angeles. I worked in entertainment. I worked on podcasts and TV shows and radio.

A fun fact is I interned for Lance Bass and worked for him for about a year. Yeah. And so I actually got my first real job working with Lance. Lance had partnered with this woman to form a startup, essentially. And the idea was it was almost like an online auction house for celebrities to host quote unquote yard sales at the time.

So they have all this merch, but they can't have you to their house for security reasons. 

But this was a way for them to do that and make money for charity. And. I was the only employee and got a taste of startup life doing everything. [00:04:00] And I was living in Los Angeles for about two years. And I was with my now husband doing long distance from Boston to Los Angeles.

And at the time he was making, I think like five X what I was making. And he kept trying to move to LA and nothing was coming to fruition. And so a point in time came that I said, I'm moving home, I guess. And I took a job at a startup and I very much thought about it as like, this is just my opportunity to get back to Boston.

It's not a job that I care about. It's not a job. I'm probably going to keep for very long, but I'm going to take it. And I was working in custom men's clothing as a sales rep, essentially working with customers, measuring them, designing their suits. But it gave me a taste of it. True sales, sales lead generation and eventually operation.

So I started to kind of move through that business. It was very small at the time. There was one store, but we grew to six in the first three or four years that I was there. And so I was there for a while. I was there for [00:05:00] almost seven years and was in a new role title. nine months to a year through that experience and remained there through the pandemic when our founder spun off and launched a brand new company.

So he started a new company and I was lucky enough to be asked if I wanted to come along and It was really exciting to me. It was an opportunity that I had no understanding of. I had no idea what I was getting into. Neither did he. Luckily, none of us did at the time. And I have now been there for 3 years.

So I started off as again, the 1st employee 1st and only. And now I think we're like 30 or. Or so employees. We've been around for almost three years. And yeah, I've been lucky that I have a CEO and boss who has helped cultivate what my career looks like and given me a ton of opportunities throughout that time.

And opportunities, which I'm sure we'll talk about, but to become a mother during that time, too, [00:06:00] because I've had 4 kids since starting to work for him.

Emily: my gosh. So, okay. I want to get much more into working parenthood, but before we do, I've talked to a few different people in startups, but I'm so curious, what do you view as kind of the great things and the tough things about working in?

Paige: I mean, the tough things are easier to identify because it's, you know, it's rocky. Financing is hard to find stability is hard to find, hiring, firing you know, it is, it ebbs and flows as you're getting going, right? It's not usually a smooth path to success. It's not the growth trajectory that everybody thinks it is for most startups, right?

They're not all just on this kind of rocket ship. And so there's a lot of. Tough times, and you have to be willing, I think, to bend and evolve and expand your skill set. Right? Like, I came into this business having no understanding of traditional logistics, and now it's a huge part of my job. And That's a pro, right?

Like you, you get this ability to learn and absorb [00:07:00] and tackle new things that you never had an opportunity to do with the con that it's not the most stable of jobs. It's not always super stable for you or your team. And you really never know what's next because it's all new. You can't, there's no corporate ladder you're climbing.

You know, when I talked VP status next, that doesn't exist at our company. We don't have that. 

And so, you know, that's the difficult thing to navigate.

Emily: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. I hadn't really thought about that part that there isn't this super crystal clear path, but it does certainly does seem to exist in really large companies, that there's a clear ladder that you just work up toward partner or executive level or whatever.

So that's interesting.

Paige: Yeah. That's what I found, at least from people in my family and, and network that if you're in a larger company, there's a very clear path. And when you're at a smaller company, not so much. I

Emily: So let's get into the working parent aspect. You mentioned that you had four kids since you've started working for this one employer. And I think this would be a good time to share [00:08:00] how I got to know more about you, which is through your super popular social media account talking about many things, but among them the challenges I think of working parents and so many things surrounding that.

So can you talk a little bit about that account and the kind of things you cover?

Paige: Sure. Yeah. And the funny thing is I started this because of work, not for work, but we were testing Tik TOK for marketing and we were all like, what's Tik TOK and me and another coworker both kind of just like started our own Tik TOKs to see what it was about to know more. And this is the cool thing about startups is like, okay, we're 

trying to figure it out and. I started posting and I mostly posted early on about my journey as a mother, the difficulties of raising children in this economic climate in this child care climate, essentially, or child care crisis as it, in my opinion, is today and how difficult that can be for people to navigate.

And then. it's definitely evolved since then. I talk a ton about the [00:09:00] mental load of motherhood specifically, and the load that mothers take on, especially when they're also a working parent and what that might look like. And so, yeah, I cover a full range of things, but I think the reason most people have followed me is because of the conversations around being a working mother and being The transparency that I try to provide around the financial aspect of that, what that truly means and the, home aspect of that, like, what does that look like in my home with my partner?

And how do we divide domestic labor knowing we both have full time jobs and four kids to care for?

Emily: Oh my gosh. So can we talk a little bit more in detail about it? I mean, a big piece of this podcast for me was to help people really experience what their life might be like working in different jobs. And it's such a common thing to have children at some point in your career journey. So are both you and your partner working full time and how are you managing childcare for your kids?

Paige: Yes, we both work full time. I am at this startup and I have a little bit more flexibility. I work [00:10:00] from home, which is nice, but do travel on occasion and we have team members across pretty much every time zone. And so, you know, we need some flexibility there or we try to be flexible there when it comes to all the millions of calls every day.

But I work from home full time Monday through Friday. Typical like 9 to 5. If if we can make it work that way. My husband is a blue collar worker. So he is a line worker, which people don't know what that means typically, but it means he fixes the electricity on the top of telephone poles or sorry, utility poles.

He would tell me they're called 

Emily: If you don't know what it is, you should because

Paige: It's 

how you get power. It's how you get power. And so the hard thing about his job is they're essentially a first responder. And so he works a ton of overtime, a ton of mandatory overtime. Overtime he does not get to opt out of. Storm duties, you know, the last week we had a massive storm.

He worked, I think, 60 overtime hours in one week. So that wasn't regular hours. That [00:11:00] was just overtime hours. So, yeah, means that I pick up a lot of the slack at home, not slack, but you know, I pick up a lot at home because he's not physically here because he can't be due to his job when he's not doing overtime, though he works a typical seven to three.

So we're able to kind of align 

schedules 

Emily: that's nice. Yeah. That one's a little earlier and one's a little later. 

So what do you do for childcare for your kids? 

Paige: Our child care is messy. We have four kids. And so anybody who knows anything about child care right now knows it's very difficult to find. And so we have never been able to successfully find daycare for all of our kids at one time.

Emily: I feel like people don't really.

I understand that. And it's such a specific time period in people's lives that if they don't have daycare aged kids right now, you don't understand that it's like, it's not just hard. It's not possible in some cases. 

Paige: No, it's not possible. I mean, I, still have my youngest at home because we cannot [00:12:00] get her into daycare until 2024, April of 2024.

 So the way we've done it is we've always patched it together. Our older two are very close in age.

They're a year apart. And so Okay. We've always been able to find them slots. Typically my older two are also adopted. So through foster care. And so when they joined our family they were able to get access to daycare through foster care,

which actually, yeah, it secured their spots. And so they were always able to find a daycare spot.

It wasn't always easy, but we, were able to find it for our younger two. We did not find a slot for our third child until she was two, and then our now fourth child won't be able to get it until she's two, and what we've done in the meantime for her or for each of them is we've either had like a part time nanny who will come for like four hours for the big chunk of the day when the baby's awake, 

and then when the baby's napping, I'm on duty, but I'm still working, so I just, fingers crossed, hope that she doesn't wake up you know, 

and We [00:13:00] actually ended up with an au pair in 2022 because we could not find child care. And our kids were getting quarantined so often during the pandemic that they were home for like two months on end. And I was working full time with them at home with me, and it was obviously nearly impossible. so yeah, so we have an au pair now, who helps care for the baby, and does after school care for us.

And then we have a preschooler who goes to preschool, and. Yeah,

so we're kind of patching it together right now and no idea what next year will look like. 

 We'll, find out when we, get there.

Emily: You have really covered just every experience you could have, pretty much. I think one of the things I was most surprised about, about. being a working parent was that you kind of think in your mind, like, Oh, we'll just get through daycare years and then there'll be in school. But once they're in school, it's like, does your school have onsite before and aftercare?

[00:14:00] Some do, but that's not necessarily something that people think about when they move to a place. And does your school have busing to and from your houses? Some places don't then you think about the actual school year. They're closed a lot, plus all of summer and a lot of summer camps, at least in our area, don't cover about three weeks of the summer.

it's like, you need some vacation time, you need some flexibility, or you need to live near supportive and flexible and open family or friends. And so it really is the patching it together goes on for a long time.

Paige: It does. And it's all about access too, right? Our town just approved free full time kindergarten. Previously, you paid for

Emily: Whoa, kindergarten.

Paige: kindergarten. 

Correct. Yes. And so, And my sister lives in a neighboring town, right over the border from my town, and they still pay for kindergarten. She does not get free kindergarten.

Emily: I didn't 

Paige: town, 

Emily: was a 

Paige: Yeah, 

Emily: fascinating.

Paige: yeah, and we pay for the bus [00:15:00] to our town doesn't do free bus for us because we live, quote, unquote, too close to the school, but there's no sidewalk. So, 

Mike, you got my 5 months to walk to school. Like, I don't understand.

So that's the thing it's, not only is it costly, but to your point, it's very difficult to navigate because like, before school programs, not the same program as the after school program, and you have to register for them differently.

And so it's just a lot to coordinate. And especially if you have multiple kids.

Emily: Wow. That's interesting. More and more towns in our area have introduced universal pre K that is You know, taxpayer funded it's half days, and if you have a daycare in the town where you live, you can bust to and from.

Paige: Oh, that's great.

Emily: So it's great and it is solving a problem, but the issue is that it's not really that hard to find childcare for a four year old.

It's hard to find childcare for an infant. one year old. And so it's creating this thing where all of a sudden there's all these four year old spots and still no infant spots because it's still really hard to do that. And the people that teach four year olds don't necessarily want to care for infants.

And [00:16:00] it's still, cost prohibitive to care for infants. And a lot of those places were sort of relying on. The loss leader years of infants to make it through the next several years of them being in through kindergarten. So it's just one of those interesting, like, ah, yeah, universal pre K is great.

It sounds so nice. And also. It's not actually really solving this one huge looming issue that is going to get much, much worse in like four days when the 

Paige: You know, 

Emily: relief funds expire. 

Paige: yeah. And it's hard, you know, even with a half day, say daycare slot, right? Typically, they will still charge you full day,

right? And so they're not going, you're not going to get a cost break either. So like, yes, there's universal pre k, but you're still paying almost the full price for childcare because you still need it.

Yeah. Yeah. to supplement it. And so, at least you still need that if you have a full time job, and your partner also does have a full time job, right, where you can't. Align the schedules accordingly, which most people I [00:17:00] know can't it just doesn't work with a typical 9 to 5 schedule.

Emily: Yeah. You know, one thing I was thinking about too, is can you talk a little bit about what it's like having an au pair, how much it costs, the pluses and minuses about having one

Paige: So I will say this about the au pair program. We love it, but I also think it can be taken advantage of depending on where you live and be a bit exploitative to the au pairs, right? So It's hard because I, I know where we are good host parents for our au pairs, but I know there's parents who are not and it's difficult in most states.

This is going to sound crazy. In most states, they only get paid like 200 a week 

Emily: how many hours Whoa. 

Paige: It's terrible.

Emily: providing room and board. Is that

Paige: room and board and. Depends on your family, but like we provide a car and a phone and car insurance and 

and things like that. 

Um, because 

Emily: living expenses, but still,

Paige: yes, [00:18:00] in Massachusetts, which is where I live, there's a domestic workers rights act.

And that also includes pairs. So pairs get paid minimum wage here. So at least 15 dollars an hour, you can choose to pay them more if you want to. And they do make overtime. So if they're working the full 45 hours that they're allowed to legally work, then they will get overtime as well. And so. You know, that's the case for us and our family.

Our repair doesn't typically work that many hours. It's usually like 25 to 30 hours a week, give or take more when my husband's working a lot of overtime, she'll help me out in the evenings, but I tackle a lot of the childcare still like mornings are me. Like, I'm with the kids from 6 to 9 a. m.

And then I start work. And that's when she kind of comes in to help is when I start work. So Yeah. it's a tricky thing because I know it works really well for our family and has allowed us the flexibility when it comes to child care that we desperately needed. But at the same time, I do want to acknowledge that it's a very tricky industry.

It's also there is a [00:19:00] large agency fee. So most people don't realize you pay about 10, 000 annually, even just to have an au pair. 

Emily: That doesn't go to the au pair.

Paige: It does not. And that's the other thing. It does not go to the au pair. It goes to the agency. So, you know, it's all a little bit tricky. But I grew up with au pairs, which is why I was familiar with the program and we've really enjoyed it.

I hope our parents would say the same thing. We've only had to, but we've had really great experiences. Our kids love it. But just something to consider depending on where you live.

Emily: Yeah. No, thank you for sharing that. I think, especially when I think of families where both parents are working full time or close to full time, and especially if you don't live. close to family. knowing those options that are available to you for different forms of help depending on your family situation I think is so valuable and that isn't one I knew a ton about beforehand and I now know a few people that au pairs have worked so great for their family and they've kept them even when everyone is in school and 

Paige: [00:20:00] Yeah. 

Emily: it's good to know those options are out there.

Paige: Yeah, it's a great option. If it works for you and your family we've really enjoyed it. 

Emily: So you know, you talked a lot about the choices you made around childcare that were out of your control, right? Like not being able to get into daycare, but what led you both to decide to stay working before your children were school age, let's say.

Paige: Personally, enjoy working. And so the funny thing is, I don't think there was ever a question from anyone if my husband was going to continue working, right? The

Emily: I don't think men very often get that question. And I know a lot of stay at home dads, but I don't think they're, I think it's always like, Oh, wow. How interesting. Still today.

Paige: when we had kids initially, he was far out earning me. And now we earn exactly the same amount of money, but that just happened in like the last two years that we basically earned the same amount. Prior to that, he was out earning me by far. And so when it came to having kids, the question was, You know, yeah, what do we want this to look like?

And I knew I wanted to work. I knew I did not want to be a stay at home mother.[00:21:00] And I like having a job and think of it as space for myself, right? To like stimulate my brain, interact with other human beings, just have this thing for myself, even though sometimes you don't want to wake up and go to work.

It is still nice to have 

this other place to go. But that was our intention, right? It was always both. Yeah. Of us working, I think the longer that we've done it and the more expensive that child care has become, the more I've considered if it's still the right thing. 

And I always joke. I have 2 budgets, right?

Like, the budget that exists today and the budget that if I lost my job or left my job and what that would look like and. That would be a tough one to navigate. The one if I didn't have a job because the cost of living is still very high. We have four kids. Kindergarten wasn't always free. The bus isn't free, right?

All these things cost money. Extracurriculars cost money. And I want my kids to have those things. So there's. that reason for me. I want my kids to have a certain life and it's not an extravagant life. We don't travel far and wide. We're [00:22:00] not taking airplane rides to Disney. Like, I just want them to be able to do soccer if they want to do soccer.

And I want to be able to afford that. not only that, I think it's really important. To see the earning potential and career potential that goes past these 5 to 10 years. This is not just 5 years. Everybody's like, it's 5 years. It's 5 years. If you have 1 kid, 

it's 10, 15 years. If you have multiple kids.

So I see. What that can look like for us in my youngest is now almost one and a half in five years when she's in kindergarten. I can see what that's going to look like for us, what kind of life that can afford for us, what that means for me personally with my career with my retirement, my savings, all those things.

That's really, 

Emily: every zero year in that calculation brings that average down. I mean, you don't have to be a math major to figure that out. It's real.

Paige: Yeah, you know, it's not just my earning potential or any of those things. I also came [00:23:00] from a family with divorced parents. And my mom always worked full time, and I remember when she got divorced that it was something she talked a lot about, which is how important it was that she was able to support herself and support us.

And not that I'm hoping to get divorced, but my husband also works a very dangerous job. There are things that happen that are outside of our control, and I never want to be in a position where I'm not able to provide for my kids. On my own should I have to because if you take 510 years out of the workforce, you're not coming in at the same level you once were and it's going to take that much longer to get back there and I, just personally not willing to take that risk.

But I understand why so many people have had to, 

because they can't afford the cost of trial carry. It's a, it's a double edged sword. We can't really win here, but for me, I earn enough. To make it make sense for us. If I didn't, then I don't know what this would look like. But I don't think I'd be happy about it.

Emily: Yeah. So how much do you pay for [00:24:00] childcare a year?

Paige: Yeah, last year we paid about 60, 000 dollars in child care alone. 

Emily: For four 

Paige: let's see. Yeah, this year is not going to be much cheaper. Because we, even though one of our kids left pre K and she's now in kindergarten, we still need her to have care in the afternoons from the au pair.

And there's more days that she's home and summer vacations and all the things. And so it's essentially the same cost. And after school care is the same. It's like 900 in our town for after school care per kid and pre K was like 1300 A month. So, 

Emily: Whoa.

Paige: Yeah, it's a lot. And there's like multiples, but 

that's the core 1.

And 

so, yeah, 

we'll probably be paying about 5000 a month for child care for the next 2 to 3 years. 

Emily: I will say that number doesn't surprise me for what it's worth. I mean that, tracks with everything I've seen. And one thing I just want to point out that you said is like. you mentioned how at first your husband was out earning you and now four kids in you're earning the same. That is exactly illustrating the point of like, [00:25:00] if it works for your family and this meets the vision that everyone has for their family.

 You can't make those years up that early in your career where your earning potential went up and up and up.

If you took five, 10 years out of the workforce, it would be really hard to ever get close to where you will be, you know, five or 10 years from now.

Paige: Yeah. And technology is changing so quickly. And I think that's half of the reason, right? Like, my mother in law was able to work very part time when she had kids, 

and then just go into a full time role and keep her career going. And that doesn't really exist in the same way. I've mentioned in a few of my videos, the idea of people always used to talk about mother's hours, like that there was companies that had mother's

hours. And 

yeah, I'm like, I don't think that's real. 

I don't think they have that. That'd be nice. 

Like I'd maybe look into that option, 

but, that doesn't exist because working from home exists and 

remote work has [00:26:00] changed the game. And so I just think it's very difficult. To navigate and decide what's right for you.

And I, similar to you, I support whatever anyone personally wants to do and what works for them and their family. This is what works for us. And I, at the end of the day, my husband and I both know that I have earning potential that probably exceeds his at a certain point. And we want to figure out what that looks like too.

And he's supportive of that. And he did jokingly at one point say, he's like, I'd love to be a stay at home dad. And now that we have four kids, he's like, no, 

no, thank you. 

No, I do not want to do that because it's hard. It's really 

Emily: Yeah. It's such hard work. 

Paige: it's a lot.

Emily: Yeah, I would love to see more formal part time options and some of the more office jobs because they don't really exist. And yeah, if you are someone out there who's thinking, the vision that you have for your family when you have kids is that you'd love to work.

part time or take time off and get back into it. There are some paths, I think of some of the paths that are more like clearly licensed [00:27:00] or some, I think, healthcare fields, some sort of counseling fields, and I'm sure there's many more. Those are just the things that come to my mind where you have a license that you can maintain.

And it has some clear credentialing with it that, yeah, you can if what works best for your family is to work a day or two days a week or to take a year off or, or what have you, it's not a huge loss to your kind of upward career trajectory to take that time away. But there are a lot of fields where it's just the reality that it is.

Paige: It is. I have a lot of friends who are nurses. I think nursing is a big one that allows you to, yeah, you can take a per diem job, right? You can do that, maintain your status, and then come back, which is amazing. Unfortunately, more corporate jobs, startup jobs, that doesn't exist. And I will say I've had a few people in my company advocate for part time roles.

So they've gone from full time to part time and it's honestly been great. It's been great to [00:28:00] watch. 

I've enjoyed having that as part of our company dynamic. But I did ask one of them, I saw her the other day in person and I was like, how is it? She's like, it's hard because everything else is still happening, right?

The slacks are still happening. The emails are still happening, but I'm turning off, 

which can make it you have to really be good at setting that hard boundary for yourself in this remote world where you could very easily just keep working.

Emily: Yeah. I know definitely some people that have gone part time from full time jobs, and they say they kind of like, I end up doing a full time person's job and getting paid part time. And I think that would really. and be tough sometimes. So it's all a trade. And that's one thing that brought to my mind about working full time remote, I think, especially as people are now, you know, back into offices to some degree, I think it would be really tough to be the one remote person or a handful of remote people in a mostly in person office.

So. I just mentioned that as a consideration [00:29:00] for people that are like, Oh, I'd love to work remote. I would think carefully about the culture of the company that you're working for. If you're going to be the only, or one of the few super remote people.

Paige: Totally. Yeah, we have a ton of people in office in New York, but that just happened in the last year. I'd say it's an even split between in office and remote. We were previously 100 percent remote and the dynamic has shifted because there's, there's something that you miss out on right from an office environment.

But there's also just perks of it work from home, right? But the 

expectations can be a little different as well. So it is tricky to navigate depending on the company dynamics. So I think it's important to have those conversations before you take a job or before you go part time, whatever that might be.

Emily: Yeah. Yeah. So you've mentioned a lot of things that have been great about the arrangement that you and your husband have made around working and your kids. Is there anything you would want to add that has just been great for your family about what you've [00:30:00] arranged that you haven't already added or maybe something you wouldn't have expected that you've really liked about the arrangement you have?

Paige: Yeah, I mean, I never would have had this time with my kids. If the pandemic had not happened, which um, I, I, yeah, I fully acknowledge it was a terrible time for me and so many people. But at the same time, I. got time with them I never would have had in another world or another lifetime. I'm able to work from home, which did not exist for me before.

I'm able to see them when they come home from school. I'm able to get them on the bus in the morning. I'm just with them for better or for worse, right? I'm with them so much more than I would have ever been able to be. So I feel like I just got this opportunity to know my kids really well. And so so many people.

In my comment sections on social media are like you are a terrible mother. You have chosen work and money over your kids. You never see them. Other people are raising them. And the reality is I see them a lot. I'm here. I'm [00:31:00] physically here in this house with them. And Yes, I'm working, but if God forbid, you know, somebody got hurt or somebody sick, I'm physically here and I can comfort them and I can participate in those moments with them and they always know that I'm here.

And so I think that's been a really great privilege. It's difficult, but it's also something that I, I don't take for granted either.

Emily: The, like, mommy culture wars, I just don't understand. Can't we just support one another? Isn't this hard enough?

Paige: yeah. My comment sections send my brain spinning because I think I'm in a very specific community of similar people, right? I live in Massachusetts. Most of the people I know are working parents. And that's partially my community as well. I'm a working parent, so I'm. 

Mostly friends with working parents, 

because I meet people at daycare and, you know, all these things.

And so I don't hear this commentary in my day to day life, right? 

And then you get online and you hear every version of it, which can be truly interesting and eye [00:32:00] opening also feel like we're living in another universe from some of the comments.

Emily: Yeah, I think there's still a lot of regional and even just hyper local expectations there I mean. I don't think anyone asked me if I was going to stay home after I had kids. I don't think there wouldn't have been any judgment if I had said yes, but it wasn't, certainly was not an expectation.

And of course, of course, zero people asked my husband, but it certainly was not an expectation that I felt like people were judging me for continuing working and I feel really grateful for that because it gives you the freedom to make the decision that's best for your family.

Paige: Totally. Yeah. It's important about what community you're in. I think that colors a lot of the decisions. It also depends on your family, right? Like my mom worked. So I always assumed I would also work, right? 

Cause that's what was modeled for me. So I think it really just depends on your comfort level, your community, your economic situation, all the, all the little things add up to determine what, what you can [00:33:00] do feasibly for your family.

Emily: Another thing I would add for people sort of envisioning their working life as parents is that can be hard to be the outlier in your immediate community or your family or your workplace, whatever it is.

And so kind of preparing for that and. Maybe picking sort of your community somewhat based on that so that you aren't the one because it's tough to be the one, whichever one that is to be the one who stays home or to be the one who both parents are working, whatever that looks like, it can be hard to be the outlier,

Paige: Yeah, it's nice to find people to commiserate with to right 

to be able to say like, oh, my gosh, I'm so stressed out. They have pink guy and I have to take the day off work. Right? I mean, those conversations are things I'm having in my friend group chat, right? Like, I can see my pings going off right now about a car seat and work and like.

It never stops. The like girlfriend group chat about our kids and our [00:34:00] lives and our work is just constant. And it's nice to have that outlet. I could imagine it would be very isolating if I didn't feel like I had people to go to who were maybe not in the exact same situation, but at least in a similar situation where I could say like, Hey, how did you navigate this?

What are you doing? What should I be doing? Having that resource is really important.

Emily: Yeah, absolutely. So I think we've already covered a lot of this, but is there anything you would add that has been unexpectedly really hard about being, you know, a two working parent household and managing all the daycare?

Paige: Oh, there's so many things, but I think the number one that thing that sticks out to me and I talk about a ton if you follow me is the mental load of being a mother and the amount of work and domestic labor that women typically take on in a heteronormative relationship, because. I wasn't prepared. I wasn't prepared for how much was going to be my responsibility and or not even my [00:35:00] responsibility, but what I just took on what I took on and saw and absorbed and owned for our family, whether it be doctor's appointments, laundry kids, medication, refills, right?

School forms, camp signups, all the things that compound, especially when you have Children coordinating child care, touring daycares, paying daycares, all of the things I was not prepared for it. I was not prepared for how unbalanced my relationship was going to feel after having children and We have worked really hard over the last year and a half, two years to fix that and course correct and partially I think the pandemic made it worse because I was physically home 

and he was the first responder.

So he was still gone the whole time. And so I just took on a lot. And then you come out of this fog and you're like, how did I, how did I get here? Why am I working a full time job and doing everything? for the kids in the home. That was difficult to navigate and we're coming out of that, which is fantastic.

And I [00:36:00] just wish I'd known it before. I wish I knew what to look for before so that it never got to the point where I felt like I was breaking down essentially.

Emily: Yeah. Oh my gosh. And there's so much socialization too still that leads us to believe that women are better at that and men are worse. And it's like, it's not true. They're just as capable as we are of remembering. I mean, it's things like at Christmas time when you have kids in every daycare on planet earth.

You probably 

want to get all those people a Christmas gift and what about, you know, the PTA and when it's teacher appreciation week and when it's, you know, scheduling any kind of domestic support you need because you're both working full time and you really do need domestic support.

And so I think setting the scene in your relationship as soon as you can, because it's also not fair to resent. People, when they're not really even seeing what's happening, you have to really say and [00:37:00] make it clear and, hand over the reins of certain responsibility. And you know, if you picked the right partner, which it sounds like you did, and I know I did they'll pick it up and they'll do great.

Paige: Yes. Yes. If you have a willing and able partner, you will figure it out. I think it's very important to establish it before you have kids if you can or early on in the journey because yeah, we're socialized to take it all on as mothers and also because you're physically carrying this baby and maybe you're breastfeeding or you're pumping and you just end up taking it on and not realizing it.

And. Then one day you open your eyes and you're like, what happened to me and how did we get here? And so I, I think it's absolutely 100 percent possible for people to go into it and really find some balance early on if they just know to, to work towards that 

Emily: Yeah. did you like read any particular books or use any particular tools or methods that really worked well for you?

Paige: Yes, so I read the Fair Play Method by Eve Rodsky, which I [00:38:00] loved and I read it because I heard her on a podcast. And so I heard her on a podcast, I read her book, and then we did end up doing, like, a version of her card game. We didn't do the cards, but I'm more of an Excel person, so I, like, did it in Excel.

Emily: Yes.

Paige: On my own. And so we did it in Excel and we just outlined like the core responsibilities of our home. And it's something we still continue to reassess and navigate because once you're out of the baby phase, schedules change, activities change, friends change, birthday parties start happening. It just starts to get really wild, really fast.

And we're constantly assessing like, okay, this is mine. This is yours. This is mine. This is yours. And that way. Nobody's feeling overly burdened by the many, many things. And I think you just saw my puppy walk by like, we got a dog, like, why did we do that? Why do we have a puppy with four kids? This was a bad idea, but. What does that look like? Right? How do we split that up? I work from home. So he became my [00:39:00] responsibility very fast. And I had to say like a month or two in like, no, no, I need help. 

He can't just be my job because I'm physically here. I need the support. And so it's those things you're constantly navigating it together.

but if you're both willing and able to put in the work, then you get there.

Emily: Oh, absolutely. That's a great tip. And it's all those things. It's not just doing the thing, you know, it's not just summer camp. It's researching all the summer camps, figuring out what works with your schedule. I don't know what it's like in your area, but it's waking up at 6am to sign up so that you get a spot

and filling out the doctor's forms and making sure they have the doctor's visits so they can go and filling out all the emergency contact.

It's like there's all these little. pieces, and it really does make sense for one person to manage that whole bucket. And it just, of course, you want it to not always be the same one person.

Paige: Yeah. And can't they just make it easier for us? Like, can't you just like, this information from last year. Like

Emily: I know. I'm so, 

I'm trying to find a way, I have found that I can kind of get [00:40:00] everything onto my computer so at least I can type it in and I'm not doing so much handwriting of the forms, but oh man, the forms, , it's just it's never ending.

Paige: Yeah. It's really dated that experience, which was shocking to me, but 

Emily: Oh, well. So this is the last question I have for you. What is one thing, you know, you wish you had known when you were younger?

Paige: Yeah. I think I wish I had known that there's. Not one clear path because I got very discouraged early on in my career that I was not on that same corporate ladder that other friends might have been on and I wasn't in law school with a very specific goal of corporate law after right I was kind of floating around taking jobs.

That were fun and exciting and that I liked doing and I definitely at certain points beat myself up about it and questioned myself. And I wish I hadn't done that [00:41:00] because I'm very happy with where I am and I'm glad I stuck to it. No matter how much I internally kind of talked down to myself about it, I never really let it stop me, which I'm glad, right?

Like I 

kept going. 

But I wish I just hadn't talked to myself like that. I wonder what it would look like today if I had as much confidence as I could have had in my decision making. Would I have done things differently? Would I have done more? Would I be somewhere different? I don't know. But, yeah, I think just acknowledging that if you're early in your career, there is no, like, one path.

There doesn't have to be. I started out. Working for Lance Bass and now I like ship products, right? So I talk on TikTok for a living. So I think, you know, you just don't know where you're going to end up.

Emily: And often the people who seem like they have it all figured out don't either, 

Paige: Yeah. I'd say one last tidbit is I cannot Say enough how important I think work life balances. That's the other thing. You know, I used to care so much about work. [00:42:00] And now that I'm a mother, I can't I can't care that that much about work. I have 4 little people to care for. And so I wish I'd had that when it was just me, right?

Remembering that 

I was just as it. As my kids are like, I deserved that time. I deserve that balance and opportunity to spend time on myself. And so I hope, and I think Gen Z is doing a really great job of this just from working

with 

them. 

Emily: of hope for Gen Z. Feeling great about them.

Paige: Yeah, I think they have this, but if you don't happen to have this, I you know, get that work life balance for yourself, not just for your kids.

Emily: A hundred percent. That is great advice. So where can people find you on social media?

Paige: Yes, I am on TikTok and Instagram mostly at she is a page Turner. So you can find me there typically daily talking about all of this.

Emily: Awesome. Well, I highly recommend people follow you. you post some great, very thought provoking videos and I will link those in the show notes too so people can find them.

Paige: Great. Thank you.

Emily: Thank you so much for your time, Paige. It was great talking to you.

Paige: You too. Thanks so much.

 [00:43:00] Thanks for joining me. If you liked the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify. And please share with a friend. You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or ticktock. And if you'd like to be interviewed here or there's a particular job you'd like to learn about, please reach out@realworkreallifeatgmail.com.