Parents understand how much work it takes to raise children, and this can be further complicated when it comes to balancing home life with work. According to Director of Communications at Noodles & Company, Danielle Moore, “who we are outside of work defines who we are at work.”

For those parents who have to, or choose to work, maintaining a healthy life balance can be daunting. Increasingly, companies are making it easier for moms and dads to have the flexibility they need to be extremely successful both at work and at home with the kids.

“I think companies are paying attention to the needs of parents in and out of the work place, and now compete with others to hire the most dedicated employees by implementing programs designed to meet their needs,” said Danielle. “Businesses such as Noodles & Company, that have programs to make work/life balance a priority, attract more dedicated and loyal employees.”

Busy Mom Takes Charge

As the person in charge of overseeing public relations, crisis communications, guest care, and the Noodles & Company gift card program, Danielle understands the importance of being engaged at work and at home. The company makes it easier for her to do this as it is committed to nourishing every team member, guest, and the community it serves through its family friendly culture and progressive benefits that enable employees to grow professionally while raising a happy family.

Danielle is mom to her daughter, Emery, who is a little bit over a year old. She and her husband work full-time, and together they are able to make the most of their time away from the office to play, laugh, read, cuddle and pursue adventures on the weekends. They make this work through their strong organizational skills.

“During the week, my husband and I get up at 4:45am,” said Danielle. “I do a quick 30-minute ride on the Peloton while my husband does the morning chores. He leaves for work at 6:15am, which is when I get Emery out of bed to eat breakfast and enjoy play time before I leave for the day. Right now, I’m fortunate to have either my mom or my aunt arrive before I leave, to take care of Emery until she begins daycare in January.”

Danielle’s husband gets home around 5pm and by the time Danielle arrives, Emery is happy and ready for dinner around 6:15pm. After that, they cherish fun time with each other before it’s time for bath and bed. And once she’s asleep, Danielle and her husband try to prioritize relaxing and spending time together.

Weekends are less structured and the priority is family time together. Everything else comes second. Often they are outdoors hiking or catching up with friends and family. They also like to create interesting traditions such as pizza night on Fridays and pancakes on Saturday mornings.

When asked if she gets any “me time”, Danielle said that she makes it a priority in her routine because she believes that by actively investing in herself, she is a better mom, wife, and colleague at work. She makes a point to cultivate new areas of self-growth, such as reinvigorating her interest in creative writing, and continuing regular exercise. Her husband enjoys working in the yard or going for long trail rides to get his “me time”.

The Challenges

Danielle’s parents instilled in her the ambition to be anything she wanted to be, and while she’d known she was meant to be a mom since she was a little girl, she also intended to turn the things she’s passionate about into a meaningful career that would give her purpose. And she did just that.

“To me, motherhood and a career never had to be one or the other, and while doing both is sometimes an imperfect balance, I’m thankful, especially with a daughter, that she sees me go to work and I hope that empowers her to chase her dreams, whatever they may be,” added Danielle. “I may get a little less time with my daughter than a stay-at-home parent, but I hope to create lasting memories and a meaningful relationship with her the way my mom did with me. I think this is important whether you stay home with your kids or go to work.”

It isn’t always easy, however. The biggest challenge for Danielle was figuring out how to manage situations that swing out of balance. With her job, she can count on a fair routine schedule 95 percent of the time, but whenever a crisis or issue comes up, she’s on call. Sometimes that’s in the middle of her work day; other times it is in the evening on a Friday when she’s putting her daughter to bed. She has learned to adjust quickly on the fly.

What makes a difference is that Noodles & Company offers a phase-out/phase-in program. Effective January, 2019, qualifying expecting and post-partum mothers will be able to phase-out and phase-in to their maternity leave, allowing them to work an 80 percent schedule the four weeks before and the four weeks after maternity leave, while receiving full pay. The company maintains a progressive attitude toward positivity and empowerment.

The reward for Danielle has been fulfillment. She’s never been happier. Her career not only excites and challenges her, but it affords her family the opportunity to have family time, enjoy vacations together, and be able to put family first without having to apologize for being a parent.

Advice to Other New Moms

Danielle said that it’s impossible to “have it all” but what really matters is the ability to prioritize your time.

“There is never going to be enough time for everything you want to do,” she said. “To me, ‘having it all’ is my daughter in one hand and my husband in the other, striving to be present and content in everything I do. That means being focused and engaged both at home and at work, rather than thinking about what needs to be done elsewhere. I think when we focus on the here and now and don’t compare ourselves to others, is the time when we really feel like we have it all.”

Many parents travel for work and Danielle is no exception. While she’s managed her business trips, there have been challenges. She said the biggest one was navigating how to travel for business as a nursing mom. Pumping-on-the-go can be a lot of work for any new mom with all the preparation it involves. Fortunately, Noodles & Company offers mothers free breast milk shipping, and then when she returns home, it’s all the more rewarding. 

Danielle also wants busy working moms to know that a support system is essential. She has a tribe of amazing women that empower, motivate, and support her through thick and thin. These women, along with her supportive spouse and colleagues help her manage everything while pushing her to be the best version of herself as possible.

“My family is my top priority and at the end of the day, I will do anything to put my daughter first. Two things make it easier: a supportive partner and a great workplace. My hands-on husband will drop whatever he’s doing to support his family and between the two of us, we make it work.”