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Discussion on: Women in tech: Being a developer and a mom 🤪

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Nina Hartmann

Just wanted to say ‘Hi!’ and: I feel you!

Being a mom is really tough. They won’t leave you alone. Me-time is the most valuable time I have these days. When the kids are sleeping, I just want to sit there, think, read and maybe code (if I’m really lucky). This are 2 hours each day. And these 2 hours are the only time I have with my partner as well. And as you said in one of the comments below: As much as you love your kids you need a break. My kids are 3y/o and 1.5y/o and they are hitting each other the whole day randomly during their play and one of them is almost always crying or needs attention. At the moment I think “Just shoot me!” several times a day.

When my older son was 20 months old (so just wasn't a baby anymore) my younger son was born. So I had to swing a baby to sleep for 2.5 years and in the end I really, really hated it. When I stopped breast-feeding when he was ~1 y/o my husband started to bring him to bed. I take care of the 3y/o who don’t need to be swing to sleep anymore. This was a huge relief! Sleep is still an issue. Before being a mother I always assumed kids will sleep through when they are around 6 months old. My kids just started with 1.5 year. And the nights were both of them sleep through are really rare. And we still have nights when I need to sit 1 hour besides the bed with the little one in my arms and he will only sleep as long as he is in my arms (and no, he won’t even sleep in my bed). Or mornings when he decides to get up at 5:15.

But the really good news is: Coming back to work was a non-event. I was off for 3 entire years and when I came back it felt like coming back from a 3-weeks vacation. Part-time was no problem. Leaving on time (because I have to pick up the kids) is no problem too. And although I used to be a traveling consultant, my employer staffs me locally or remote. And I really enjoy the time at work. I missed coding so much! (In the 3 years I did almost no coding because I didn’t found time to do so.) Even being tired is not a big deal (on a business perspective), because this hits me in the afternoon or evening when I’m already home.

I was really worried that working would be yet another thing to do (as none of the things I did on parental leave will disappear) and I’m still responsible for most of the kids-related issues, because I’m the one working ‘just’ 6 hours a day instead of 8. But I really enjoy working and I really am more happy in general.

Luckily, I have a partner who can pick up the kids, in the rare cases I have a meeting in the afternoon (to be honest these are most of the time voluntary or private meetings) or a doctors appointment. I can also visit meet-ups in the evening and he’ll take care of the kids during this time. We decide who stays at home with a sick kid depending on who has the more important meetings on this day (by now this should be an almost exact 50/50 split). Even when I still breast-feed my youngest son, I spend a weekend with my sisters and my mother at a wellness-hotel and my husband took care of the kids (I left enough milk at home and by this time he already started eating). Also the household feels to be split evenly (I don’t know if it’s true but my gut feeling says yes).

So for me being a professional developer and being a mom works great. There is no time for extra hours and really, really rare time for pet projects but that’s ok for now. And now I enjoy the time with my kids even more.