WHO SHE IS: Sonali Perera, Co-founder, Slidelane, a website that helps parents find awesome stuff for their families in their neighborhoods
SUCCESS STORY: Turned my past work experience and challenges of being a new mom into co-founding our startup, Slidelane
WORK SCHEDULE: All day, every day with a lot of flexibility
KIDS: Alaya, 4, & Ryland, 20 months
SANITY VICE: Coffee in the morning and wine in the evening
BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP: Throw all the cutlery in the drawer with no organizer (it’s the part I hate most about emptying the dishwasher!)
GO-TO TECHNOLOGY: iPhone, calendar app, and www.slidelane.com (!)
WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: 5 – I tend to get too caught up with what I am doing at the time
5 Questions for Sonali…
In some ways it’s easier and in other ways it’s more challenging. I love the flexibility. I can take the kids to swim class or stay home with them if they are sick. However, it’s more difficult because Slidelane is my third baby and I obsess over it. I want this company to succeed and I enjoy working on it 24-7. I rarely give myself a day off.
2. How would you describe your personal juggle between work and family?
Mommy guilt gets the best of me. I struggled when I was working a full-time corporate job, I struggled when I stayed home with the kids for 3 months, and I now struggle with the guilt and stress of dividing my attention between my startup and family time. I continue to work towards finding the right balance between my professional life and parenthood. I try to focus on the moment and be efficient in both worlds. When I am with the kids I give them my full attention and when I am working I keep my head down and focus on work. Smartphones can be great and horrible at the same time.
We discuss this all the time! I have worked for companies with great cultures and companies with not so great cultures, and it all comes down from the leadership. Culture is one of the most important things to attract good talent, which become critical to a company’s success. As we grow, we are looking to hire motivated, rockstar moms. We want to offer a flexible work schedule and focus on results versus how many hours you’ve been in the office.
4. What’s the media missing about working moms, in your opinion?
I remember reading an interview a few years ago when I was a new mom and working at a startup. It was called, “A day in the life of a successful working mom.” I was on a business trip overseas, pumping in the bathroom, and I broke down crying. The mom in the article seemed perfect. She worked out every morning, was on the board of a handful of successful companies, had breakfast and dinner with the family, and looked great. Why couldn’t I be like her? But, after my mild breakdown, I came to my senses. The media can paint any picture they chose to. The woman I read about likely had her own struggles. I wish the media talked more about how tough it is to be a working mom, and reinforced the message that it’s OK if you can’t do it all.
5. What advice do you live by as a working mom?
Let go of some of the smaller things. If a dish is in the sink overnight, it’s OK. If the hamper is overflowing for one extra day, it’s OK. It is more important to spend that time with your family, or to get some down time for yourself to recharge. Also, it is okay to get help. We try to do way too much and are pretty hard on ourselves. There are amazing services out there to make a mom’s life easier and more manageable, and it’s our goal for Slidelane to help moms discover that!
Follow Sonali: @slidelane