Someone Like Me: Cami Lewis on being a “work at home mom”
You can’t be a distributed company like us and not believe inherently in flexibility. We’ve worked flexibility into our Source Code—as part of our Home, Dinner tenet, we empower Elasticians to find balance through innovation and efficiency (and yes, be home for dinner).
Cami Lewis, Global Security Lead - Community at Elastic, knows a thing or two about having to be flexible and innovative about how you work. She describes herself as a WAHM (Work at Home Mom) and has two boys—8 and 2 years old.
“I’m a working (at home) mom balancing work and kids and doing all of the things,” she says.
But the flexibility and leave options that Elastic offers has allowed her to easily balance career and family.
“It is Elastic’s culture that makes it possible,” Lewis says. “The working from home aspect makes it possible for me to be a career person and a mom at the same time. If it wasn’t for that flexibility I would have to choose.”
Her older son is in school full-time and her younger son is in preschool part time, so between her and her husband, they tag team.
‘“As long as I get my work done, I have a lot of control over my schedule, that’s huge for me,” Lewis says. She also has a global role and works with colleagues in the EMEA and APJ regions. Everyone keeps their calendars up to date with their working hours and availability and people respect that, she adds.
Lewis’s road to motherhood and being a work at home mom wasn’t easy. She struggled with recurrent pregnancy loss, and then her and her husband decided to start the adoption process. They met all of the qualifications to adopt from Ethiopia, plus they wanted to adopt where there was the highest need.
Lewis and her husband went to Ethiopia for a month to pick up their son and spend time in the country to get him comfortable with them before bringing him to the United States. Then, they came home and needed to acclimate to his new permanent home.
Lewis wasn’t working at Elastic at the time, and her then-company didn’t recognize adoption as a parental leave scenario. So, she had to take paid time off and then use FMLA leave, which is a U.S labor law that provides job-protected, unpaid leave.
She knew then that she needed to find a company that recognized adoptive parents as real parents. “I needed to find a company that recognized adoption as a way to build a family,” she says. “ Without parental leave, there’s no way that we could do it again.”
At Elastic, we consider adoption as a way of building your family, so offer parental leave to Elasticians who are adopting.
Even with parental leave and increased flexibility, Lewis and her husband are constantly juggling. “It feels like a circus act,” she says.
Here is her advice to other working parents:
Have a consistent morning routine—if the day doesn’t start off right then it spirals from there.
- Embrace your inner early bird or night owl. Sleeping kids are, by far, the least disruptive kids.
- Prioritize your own mental health. “Mom life” can be all-consuming and moms rarely take time for themselves.
- Learn to embrace change. If you have kids, then you know that change is the only constant. Know that your routines, time-management, and multitasking strategies will need constant tweaking.
But probably the most important of all? Kids don’t want a perfect mom, they want a happy one, she says.
“I find a way to prioritize one thing that is just for me. I take advantage of Elastic's Shut it Down Days and PTO to go drag racing which is my favorite thing to do. And it's something my boys have grown to love too. Win win.”
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