MaryBeth1Most moms of two will tell you the hardships of being pregnant with #2 while tending to toddler #1. Put lightly, it can be immensely stressful and, frankly, exhausting.

But, MaryBeth Simon, Community Relations Manager for Bank of America, is showing us how it’s done—all while managing a successful career here in Charlotte.

Bank of America is on the forefront of offering family-forward employee benefits that are showing Corporate America that helping to create balance at home leads to success on the bottom line.

The company offers a generous 16 weeks of paid family leave (available to those going through adoption, as well). Employees also have the option to take an additional 12 weeks unpaid.

Here’s how MaryBeth does this whole working motherhood thing:

Q: How do you manage family life and a successful career?

A: My husband and I moved here from Milwaukee six and half years ago. We have zero family here.

Three years ago we moved into a neighborhood where—completely by luck—our neighbors are all our age. Some don’t have kids and some are starting to have kids. We’re all the best of friends.

Our neighbors, Katy and Andy, don’t have kids. But our daughter is basically their child, as well! If we ever get stuck, they know exactly what to do. If I have a work commitment after work, they gladly drop everything and watch her.

The “village within our village” has been invaluable. I could not do it without them.

Q: How does Bank of America support you as a mom?

A: Bank of America has a very flexible work-from-home policy on my team that we use when we need to.

For instance, yesterday, I didn’t have any in-person meetings, so I stayed home. I get laundry done, take conference calls and still get things at work done. I’m actually online longer because I turn on my computer at 8:30am. I can multi-task but still be as productive. It offers flexibility when needed, which is amazing.

Bank of America’s maternity policy was very attractive to me when I started. Twelve weeks of paid maternity leave was amazing.

When you’re pregnant, you have to think about how you are going to pay bills. Yes, you can take FMLA. But how are you going to survive without making any money? The fact that Bank of America offered paid maternity leave is huge.

Before I went into labor, starting at around week 36, I couldn’t walk because of sciatica. So, from weeks 36 to 39, I was able to work from home. And, on top of that, I was then about to have the full 12 weeks paid.

I thought coming back to work was going to be the worst day of my life. Three days in, I realized I could do this.

One reason is that we have a back-up care service that Bank of America offers. If your child is sick and they get sent home with a fever, most daycares won’t take them back in a 24-hour period.

So, I can call this company a company that Bank of America has contracted. I call in the morning and a nanny—completely background checked—comes to the house for eight hours. If I had to be at a meeting, I have the option of back-up care. Just knowing I have that option is amazing.

Then, for this pregnancy, I was sitting in a meeting about 12 weeks ago and one of the topics was a new parental leave policy. Everyone was talking about the expansion of paid maternity from 12 weeks to 16 weeks. I squealed with excitement and than had to tell everyone I was pregnant!

Q: Was there ever a time you thought, “Forget it. I can’t do this anymore!” Tell me about it.

MaryBeth2A: Honestly I haven’t. I have always had in my mind that I wanted to be a working mom. Why? I have no idea.

My mom stayed home with me until I was in third grade. Since I started my career, I knew I wanted to be a working mom. Yes, I have bad days. But, I also have good days.

My daughter loves daycare; she loves it there. We value our time together more because of it.

My daughter is so excited when I get home. I have no regrets. Plus, you want to be a good example for your children.

Q: How do you think being a busy, working mom benefits your children?

A: I’m in a fairly unique position because of the role I’m in. I’m a community relations manager, so I’m very integrated into the community. I manage all the arts & culture relationships Bank of America has. So, I make sure we’re very involved in the community.

That means we go to Discovery Place, we go the Children’s Theater. Because of my involvement, I make sure she’s involved in the community. That’s unique to my position.

I’m also aware of major topics in the community. Because I have that information and knowledge, I can mold her into an amazing citizen. I’m integrated into the community and make sure she has the community background.

Q: What advice would you give to other moms out there who are desperately trying to balance work and life?

A: Life is too short. Don’t stress out about things that you can’t control. Enjoy every day at time.

There are things that come up at work that I could totally stress out about and kill myself over. It’s not worth it. You just have to reflect on what’s going well in life. Be appreciative.