The Coffee Chat (#22)

My conversation with Amanda Natividad - Marketing Architect at SparkToro, Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and mom to a toddler

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Hi there 👋🏽

The other day baby T surprised me when I told her to get me her toy car and she went to her toy box and retrieved it for me. I was not sure if this was just a fluke so I asked her to get me the other car. And she did!!

My heart swelled with pride.

This one line beautifully captures what being a parent feels like …

“You climb mountains. I succeed”

 Now, on to today’s coffee chat…

Meet Amanda Natividad

She is currently a Marketing Architect for an audience research startup, SparkToro and in her previous roles she led marketing for Growth Machine and built Fitbit's B2B content program among other things.

She is also a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, a former journalist, and mom to a toddler!

Below is my conversation with Amanda …

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your family 

I'm Amanda Natividad, and I'm a marketer and writer. I live in Los Angeles, CA with my husband and our toddler. We moved down to LA from the Bay Area amid the pandemic, and it's a refreshing change to be in the suburbs.

For you what was the hardest part of becoming a new parent?   

The sheer intensity of it. Everyone tells you that being a parent is hard, but it's impossible to know in advance just how intense it actually is — especially during the first 6 weeks of your new baby's life. The lack of sleep, the crying (both yours and the baby's!), the feedings (both yours and the baby's!) are round-the-clock madness that is absolutely being thrown into the deep end.

After becoming a parent did you adopt any new beliefs, behaviors, or habits that have most improved your life?  

I took better control over my sleep! Prior to having a child, late nights just weren't a big deal. I could always sleep in the next day or the day after. But with a child, you need to be up and at 'em every morning by around 7 or 8am without fail. I also realized how poorly I function on fewer than 6 hours of sleep; I'm sluggish, cranky, and struggling to get through the day.

Did you take any maternity leave? If yes, how was the transition back to work? 

I did! I worked at a tech company and was fortunate to have about 4 months of maternity leave. My advice to people is, if you're in a position to spread out your leave, consider it! I used a chunk of my leave spread out across 1 month in order to allow myself to transition back to work by way of a 4-day workweek. It was a much less volatile transition.

You work with a growth stage company which probably demands a lot from you in terms of time and energy. The biggest challenge that working parents with young kids have is a lack of predictability in their schedule and limited time for themselves. How have you managed this? What are you doing to manage your energy?

Managing this is a challenge I have every day. My husband and I are still tag-teaming on childcare, and it helps to have blocked times. Mornings are always my time, and afternoons are always my husband's time. This allows us to have open time frames for work meetings, and giving ourselves some predictability. I tend to save my deep work for during our child's nap or in the evenings, when I do my best writing.

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investment you have made after becoming a parent? 

I really appreciate that my husband had us invest in our work stations. We have standing desks, high-quality webcams, comfortable chairs, and ergonomic setups. I love the work station my husband helped me create, and it helps me be more productive.

What advice would you give others who are on the cusp of becoming parents? What advice should they ignore? 

My advice is to allow yourself to become comfortable with the fact that your family and loved ones will love your child in their way. I believe it's healthy for a child to experience different kinds of caregiving — whether that means at grandma and grandpa's house they're allowed to watch TV (but they cannot at home), or maybe they don't nap as long at uncle or auntie's apartment. Of course, what matters is that the child is safe, secure and well-loved, but oftentimes, it's not worth fighting with your loved ones on the smaller details.

Advice to ignore? 99% of mom blog and Instagram content. These are pseudo-experts. And there's always fighting in the comments. Spare your mental health and avoid these. Lean on your pediatrician, your understanding of the world, and your trusted loved ones.

Quick-fire questions:

What’s the best thing you have watched recently?

My husband and I are on a Hot Ones kick right now! It's just a delight to watch. The host, Sean Evans, asks really thoughtful questions.

What’s the best thing you have read recently?

I thought this piece on women learning to embrace their gray hair was lovely and quietly empowering. 

What’s the best thing you have listened to recently?

My favorite song right now is Doja Cat's "Kiss Me More." It's fun, danceable, and an instant mood boost.

I would love to hear from you, feedback is always welcome!

And if you happen to know an inspiring working parent who should be featured in a future edition (or if you yourself are one) - please do get in touch

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