December 2018 | Working Mom of Milwaukee Spotlight | Allie Kilmer
Each month we celebrate an amazing working mom in our community. Check out this month’s WMM Spotlight!
What is your name, employer and profession?
Allie Kilmer / UW-Milwaukee / Graphic Designer
Children and ages?
One daughter. She will be two months old in December!
Explain/describe one of your proudest mom moments recently.
There have been a lot of things that I’ve been anxious about doing with my newborn daughter; from going on outings with just the two of us to clipping her tiny fingernails. Every time it takes a little bravery to face the experience head-on despite my nerves. Once I’ve faced each challenge once, I feel empowered to do it again. It encourages me to continue taking these baby steps in parenthood.
What do you like best about your job?
It’s tough to pick one thing! I love collaborating with my talented coworkers. Everyone is so good at what they do that working with them on creative projects is exciting and fun! I love being confident in my professional abilities. It’s so good to sit at my desk and feel natural and at home with my work (especially when I’m unsure with so many aspects of being new parent). I also love how much I’m able to pursue my professional interests and build skills in my current position.
What’s the hardest part of being a working mom?
Maternity leave has been, for me, a two-sided coin. I’m glad that I’ve been able to take this time to get to know my daughter and to gain confidence as her mom. I love that I get to observe her growth, little by little every day. It’s been amazing seeing her start to come into herself. At the same time, I miss my job. I miss the people, and the work, and the feeling that I have control or predictability in my day. Again, I’m still so new at this mom thing. At work I know how to do what I do well. As a mom, I’m just trying my best day-to-day.
How long have you been a working mom?
She’s seven weeks old this week.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you so far in motherhood?
There’s so much to research and so many sources with conflicting information. I’ve been doing my best to learn on the fly and make decisions that are right for us. It’s a challenge to try to find reliable information and also to decide where to draw lines and follow my gut.
I want to cherish these days of my maternity leave. I won’t have this kind of sustained one-on-one time with her again. It’s getting easier now that I’m more confident and she’s a bit more interactive, but in those earliest days I was so stressed and tired… and she was too young to really connect with me at all. I felt guilty about how difficult it was to enjoy our time together. It’s getting better now, but my leave is half over.
I applied to a position while on leave. NEVER AGAIN. I literally sent in my application the morning that I went into labor, and had to do subsequent interviews (at two weeks, and seven weeks postpartum), a written portion and create a presentation of my work. I had to scrap together hours here and there to be able to put my materials together and practice my presentation. Thank goodness for the support of my husband, and for my daughter’s increasingly long and predictable naps. I’m finally through the process and am waiting for the result. I don’t know if the hiring committee got to see my best work, but they did get my best effort. I’m proud of myself, and I tell myself that I’m modeling a superb work ethic for my baby daughter (though of course, she has no idea).
Any words of advice for other working moms, especially those that are newer working moms?
Reach out. Find other moms who you can relate to and form a circle of support. I didn’t really know other new moms, but I find them through social media, Facebook groups and a local new parent meetup at a hospital. Being able to text someone who is going (or had gone) through the same thing is so good for my soul. Having someone check in on me can really turn my day around, and returning the favor feels just as good. I’m a new mom, and I’m blown away by the strong bond that I now have instantly with so many other moms out there. People are so generous with their support.
Favorite MKE restaurant/store/hangout?
The Beerline Cafe is my go-to restaurant for brunch or dinner! It’s all vegetarian/vegan, but the meat-eaters that I’ve taken there have also been impressed by their food. Beerline serves awesome sweet or savory crepes, as well as “cromlets” which are omlets where the eggs are cooked thin like a crepe. Their mushroom walnut burger is my fave. I have a lovely memory of my husband and I stopping here after one of our ultrasound appointments and pouring over the images of our little babe in utero (while I stuffed my face with a savory crepe). So much love.
What makes your family unique?
My husband has a doctorate in biology and is now a web developer. I’m a graphic designer with a strength in conceptual and well-researched visual communication. We are both trained to be critical thinkers, and we’re looking forward to raising our daughter to be curious and creative. When she’s older, we want to teach her to look at multiple sides of an issue, and to build her worldview based on credible, evidence-based sources. At the same time, it’s important to us to encourage her imagination — for her to be creative and silly. I think we can balance both!
What is Milwaukee’s biggest opportunity to improve the lives of working moms and better support them?
More affordable daycare options. Hands down. I started looking for daycares in March for my daughter to attend in January. I’m still not sure who will take her. I’ve applied one place and I’m on the wait list for another. A few that I contacted told me then and there that there were no spaces available. It’s mind-blowing how hard it’s been to find care in Milwaukee, and even if/when we land a spot the cost is going to be difficult to meet. Want to support working families? Make child care available and affordable.
Are you celebrating any holidays this month? If so, how do you and your family like to celebrate?
YES! We celebrate Jewish holidays in our household and this will be my daughter’s first Hanukkah! We light candles, eat latkes and indulge in treats and fun activities during the eight days of the holiday. My husband’s family celebrates Christmas, so we will also be spending x-mas with family. Christmas trees have already proven a big hit with the babe, and I’m looking forward to watching her enjoy her great aunt’s gorgeous holiday decorations. My daughter is the first of her generation on either side of the family, so everyone is looking forward to sharing the holiday season with a baby!