After joining Ancora in early 2018, I found out pretty early in my tenure that I was expecting baby No. 3. As a working professional, I have found there is nothing like the stress, anxiety and pressure that women so often feel prior to notifying an employer — especially a new one — of a pregnancy.
I am a mom to 4-year-old twin girls and now a 9-month-old baby boy. I am also in charge of operations for Ancora’s hedge funds, which I (half) jokingly refer to as my other children. With people relying on me in both my personal and professional lives, I was incredibly relieved that, when making my bosses aware of my pregnancy, they were nothing but congratulatory, and subsequent conversations made me feel like I had their full support.
Communication about what my leave time and return to work would look like was incredibly important and helped give me a little more peace of mind in what could be a pretty uncertain time. In addition to communication, flexibility in where, when and how I work was key. My managers have always made it clear to me that as long as my work is completed and meeting expectations, how many hours or days a week I’m actually in the office is not important.
This means that I often work and make myself available outside of business hours, but it also means I can choose when not to be available during business hours so that I can be at doctors’ appointments, chaperone field trips or just be home for breakfast with the kids. This flexibility made my transition back to work a much smoother one.
My return to work was also made less stressful by the designated Mother’s Room at Ancora, something that many other moms I know did not have at their workplace. It’s incredible the difference that this small, quiet room made. Of course, it served as a private place to pump, but I’ve also used it for a power nap after a sleepless night, to FaceTime while my son tries peas for the first time or to privately call the pediatrician. With the chaos of three young kids at home and a busy office, it’s rare that I have a quiet space to myself, so the fact that I can access this space at work means a lot.
Ancora’s support helped me make this exciting, yet stressful time that much easier to manage, which in turn made me feel better prepared to transition back to work. I know that a perfect work-life balance is just not something I can achieve. I rarely have a day where everything and everyone get the attention they deserve, and there are times when I have to make sacrifices. My more achievable goal for balance is not perfect equilibrium with no sacrifices, but the ability to take advantage of the times when we are less busy, and to make sure I am doing the things that are most important to me.
Lauren Turkisher is vice president, alternative investment operations, at Ancora.