Here’s the Plan: An Interview with weeSpring’s Allyson Downey
Here’s the Plan: An Interview with weeSpring’s Allyson Downey
Allyson Downey’s weeSpring is the online version of that proverbial village it takes to raise a child. Countless moms- and dads-to-be use the website to curate advice and reviews from parents who have been there before. Driven by the desire for no woman to go it alone, Allyson is launching a book to help new moms navigate the interwoven paths of career advancement and motherhood. Naturepedic is proud to sponsor the book tour for "Here's the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood."
We caught up with Allyson to ask her some questions about her upcoming book, and ten lucky readers will receive a free copy! Read the giveaway details after the Q&A.
1. What inspired you to write "Here's the Plan"?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I found myself completely sidelined at work--and I was the last person I would have ever expected to experience that. I was tough, I was ambitious--and I'd never before hit an obstacle that I couldn't overcome. I felt like I didn't have anyone to turn to, and for a long time, I believed what happened to me was an anomaly. As more of my friends started to have babies, though, I began to see that no one is prepared for the professional upheaval that can come your way when you have a baby. So I set out to write a guidebook, and I compiled the wisdom and insight from almost 75 incredible successful working mothers into a brasstacks Choose Your Own Adventure guide.
2. Who should read this book?
I see this as a book for women whose jobs are more than a paycheck: women who feel fulfilled by the work that they do, and don't want to be held back by the bias that so many people feel toward working mothers.
3. What do you hope people will take away after having read the book?
There are so many open-ended questions when you're pregnant (or a new mother) and have a career: how should I tell my colleagues I'm expecting? If I'm interviewing while pregnant, when do I disclose that? If I need to miss a meeting because of a sick kid, how forthright should I be? Now, none of those questions have any single right answer, but my hope is that the book will help women move from a blank space to multiple choice, because they're able to hear the stories of women who handled each of those challenges in different ways.
4. As a mother of two, what was your biggest challenge balancing a career and motherhood?
I don't really believe in balance, or at least balance in the way I think a lot of people intend it -- which is to say perfectly balanced, like on a tightrope. I think balance is something that comes over time, and isn't always even. When I was writing my book, I missed bedtime at least twice as often as I made it (because I was also running my startup, weeSpring). And while I did feel mountains of guilt about that, I was able to keep it in check because I knew that as soon as I finished, we'd be taking a 10 day vacation with the kids, and I'd be totally unplugged and focused on them. Just this past week, I had four late nights in the office in a row, but then played hooky on Friday and took them to the aquarium.
All of that is to say: don't worry too much about "balance." Look for ways you can make all the things you care about fit together, like a puzzle.
5. If you could say one thing to all the women out there who are struggling with having a career and being a parent, what would it be?
Two pieces of advice I heard from women I interviewed really stuck with me. One said that there may come a point where you start to question whether it's worth it--whether you should quit work because you can't be great at both your career and parenting. "That is a day," she said, "for a glass of wine, not rash decisions."
The other is that there's an "end date" on when your children need you as much as they do when they're babies. When they hit kindergarten, they'll have their own full time job. So as hard as it can be on some days, you're investing in yourself and your career so that when your kids are fulfilled and busy and excited by school, you have something fulfilling and exciting too.
I talk in my book about how so many women go down the rabbit hole of researching baby products because everything feels so high stakes. It winds up being a big distraction from their job, but choosing your baby's mattress is one of the few decisions that truly can have an impact on your baby's well-being. Your baby will be spending more than 12 hours a day with her face inches from her crib mattress, so you want to be sure you know exactly what's underneath that mattress cover. So I'm thrilled to have the support of Naturepedic for the Here's the Plan national book tour -- because of the company's commitment to transparency, safety, and health. (So parents: don't go down the rabbit hole of research! You can find out everything you need to know about choosing a crib mattress here.)
WIN a Copy
To enter to win, leave a comment below telling us why you want to read Allyson’s book or share your own experience balancing a career and parenthood.
Ten people will be selected to receive a free copy of Here’s the Plan.
You have until Friday, May 13 to enter. We will announce the 10 lucky winners on Monday, May 16, 2016.
For official rules, click here.
About Allyson Downey
Allyson Downey is a mother of two and is the entrepreneur behind weeSpring, a startup that allows parents to access a community of friends when they are shopping for their new baby. As a first-time parent, Downey was met with unexpected situations from the workplace to the baby store, and it has been her goal to let no woman go through it alone. Her startup weeSpring has been called “Yelp for baby products” by InStyle magazine and is a celebrated resource for new parents, receiving accolades from TechCrunch, Mashable, Daily Mail, and CNBC. She is the author of Here’s The Plan, a guide to navigating pregnancy and parenting while also maintaining your career path. Follow her on Twitter @allysondowney.
The weeSpring platform allows parents and parents-to-be to get feedback about any and all baby products. Whether you need to know if a wipe-warmer is a necessity or if you are picking the best organic cotton nursing pads, the parents of weeSpring provide their collective wisdom for you to make an informed decision.