Working Mom Series – Chandra from Italian Belly

Italian Belly

Today’s guest is Chandra from Italian Belly.  Chandra is a Canadian living in Italy.  Doesn’t that sound amazing?  I was so happy when she chimed in on my Maternity Leave post – I was dying to know what goes on in Italy for families.  She seems like a very busy lady.  But then again, what working mom isn’t?  Read on to hear about her working mom life!

Describe your home life – how old are your kids? Does your spouse work as well? Or are you a single parent?

I would say my home life is pretty easy-going even with a 10 month-old baby. Both my husband and I work and have several side projects that keep us really busy but we have a lot of help from his family when times get hectic. 

What do you do? Describe your working life. 

During the day, I work for a pastry and bakery machine manufacturer working in export sales and marketing. A few times a year, I attend trade shows which require some travel but I am never away from home too long.  

Twice a week in the evenings, I teach hip hop and Zumba back to back and also manage to squeeze in a few English lessons. 

And how many hours do you work in a week?

At the moment, I am working 28 hours a week NOT including the hours I put in to keep my blog running. 

How soon did you return to work after having a child?  And is your work life the same now (same job, or role at that job?)

In Italy, it is a requirement to stay at home at least five months on fully-paid maternity leave. I went on maternity leave one month before so I could have four months together with my baby boy. I took another five months of optional maternity leave and still have one more month left to use when I feel it necessary. 

Before, I worked closely with my clients, but now that I only work half a day, I’ve been assigned to a business development and marketing role. I’m absolutely loving it because it is less stressful. 

On the other hand, I was back teaching hip hop and zumba two weeks after I gave birth. I can honestly say that my body wasn’t completely ready to start teaching again. I realized this when I started jumping and pretty much peed myself. 

What do you do to treat yourself?  Do you have something in your routine that you do just for you?

Treat myself? Haha. I wish I had a routine for self-care and me-time. The mom guilt gets in the way, I guess. Honestly, motherhood can get so crazy that being able to work on my blog in silence is almost the equivalent of ‘treating myself.’ 

Touch on your most and least favourite things about being a working parent.

What I like about working: My husband is very appreciative of the things I do for the house and for our baby and he doesn’t put pressure on me to work more or bring in more money. Despite that, I feel better when I can contribute financially to the family and my jobs help me do that. 

What I don’t like about working: Asking for vacation time off. Even if I have a whole month of vacation time at my disposal, it is still up to my employer when and how long I can take it.

What are your goals going forward?

In terms of my blog, my goal is to grow it by getting more involved in the blogging community. As a personal goal, I am working on time management in order to juggle my work, projects and being a mom.

Any tips to share for balance in your life?

I’m not an expert in life-balance as I’m always packing my schedule tight and being over-ambitious with my to-do list. As working moms, we have our plates full and many times feel like we aren’t getting things done, not spending enough time with the kids, not feeling accomplished etc. So as a tip, I would say to remind yourself daily that you are enough; your best is enough.

Working parentsI’m Chandra, a Canadian Expat living in Italy since 2009. I’m a mother to a beautiful 10 month-old boy and a wife to a winemaker and consultant who has a winery five minutes from our home, Cantine Francesco Montagna. I work in business development and marketing for a pastry and bakery machine manufacturer. I also work as a dance and aerobics teacher and teach English on the side.

Since I have so much time on my hands (not!) I also decided to start a lifestyle blog on food, travel, motherhood, and life in Italy – Italian Belly. To make our lives less stressful (not!), my husband and I decided to plant barley and start making farm beer while we do a complete reconstruction and renovation of an old villa in the hills of Oltrepò Pavese. (deep breath)
If you enjoy this series, click here to read the other ladies who’ve volunteered their stories.  And then subscribe to my blog so you’ll get my posts delivered to your inbox. 


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