Best of Both Worlds podcast: Leaning in with infant twins

Best of Both World podcast with Laura Vanderkam

I’m a bit delayed with this post (I had very limited internet access this week — more on that in a few days!) but I wanted to maintain the complete archives of Best of Both Worlds episode write-ups.

This week, Sarah and I welcomed Helen Dayen to the show. Dayen is a New York City based executive coach, often working with people transitioning into bigger roles. Before this, she worked on Wall Street for over a decade.

When Dayen became pregnant with twins a few years ago, she felt a lot of trepidation as a business owner. How would she continue to run her business? Could she take much “leave”? Would clients abandon her if she did?

But far from failing, Dayen had her best year ever the year she had her twins. In this episode she explains how that happened, from embracing virtual tools, to planning ahead, to saying “yes” to things even when she wasn’t 100% ready, knowing that the pipeline for approval in the corporate world is often lengthy.

She talks about her schedule and shares a wonderful benefit of having extended family in the picture — her kids spend two weeks with each set of grandparents in the summer. She goes up for weekends, meaning that for a few weeks each year she can focus completely on work during the week. For many parents, having a few weeks to catch up and get ahead can make the rest of the year feel completely different!

In the opener we discuss Sarah’s recent experience of making do with substitute childcare. Consider this the annual (or more frequent!) reminder to think through back-up plans….

8 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Leaning in with infant twins

  1. Yeah… backup plans. Our nanny announced her leave with 2 weeks notice (aykm) last friday (today is monday). So…. I called grandparents (always eager, but with a filled agenda with all kinds of social activities), our daycare center (for even more availability, we just worked with a nanny to be able to keep the little ones home for two days per week), and nanny and au pair agencies for a long term new nanny or au pair. So, we have 60% of the rest of the year kind of covered, but my parents are only able to be there till three in the afternoon, which means a shorter workday for me (thankfully that is possible) and our kids will visit daycare three days in a row, which is very very tiresome for the youngest (two yr old). I hate this kind of acute planning stress.

    1. @Marthe – I am so sorry you are experiencing this. Figuring out childcare is always challenging, and can be a huge source of stress. I hope you find a wonderful new situation soon!

      1. Thanks Laura! The stress subsides 🙂 It’s still a lot of extra work, made me think of the women with the broken water-system in… 168 hours or one of you other books!

  2. Childcare has been our biggest headache! We are sort of rural with not a lot of options. We had a family member doing it but she often needed off, which caused a lot of headaches. When my younger son was 4 months old, she quit a week before Christmas. We hired a nanny thru a service and then she had a family emergency and then we had to find another one. We use a sitter now which has been very reliable and working out great, but childcare is still something that we stress about for sickness or the rare occasion the sitter isn’t available. I don’t know if we were naive or what, but this is definitely an area we never thought much about prior to baby being born! It was never on those lists of baby products or click bait articles. This is always my tip for parents-to-be…think of every possible childcare fail and how you will handle it, because it WILL happen and it will be even worse than you anticipated!

    1. @Kristin – I agree that this is something a lot of new parents don’t think about. I also think it’s something they should think about! It winds up being a much bigger component of life happiness than, say, the decor colors of your nursery.

      1. Yes! Who cares about the color of the sheets when there’s no one to put them in their bed when you have a work event (or, heaven forbid, date night with your partner….)

  3. I’m a bit late to the conversation and I haven’t listened to this episode yet, but I’ve heard you mention backup plans before. I think it’s a great idea in theory, but would like more details–my infant daughter goes to daycare. I have quite a bit of sick time banked and some flexibility and we’ve been lucky with illness, so it’s not a huge issue, but I’m trying to figure it out (especially as snow days loom in the future a few years).

    Maybe it is mentioned in this episode, but the only solutions I think I’ve heard you and Sarah mentioned are some sort of back up nanny service–I doubt that is available in my area. Do you ask specific people to keep their schedules clear on the off chance that you need them? I don’t quite understand how this would work. It seems like you would have to keep checking in with them every single week, and most likely pay them them keep their schedule clear, which doesn’t really seem feasible from my standpoint.

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