A Day in the Life of a Working Mom Sharing Her Workspace With Her Family: Meet Grace
Without the diverse, hardworking, intelligent, and kind people who make up our team, Shield wouldn’t be able to offer the level of service we do. At Shield, we love our team and know that our unique perspectives and backgrounds make us stronger, while our common values connect us. That’s why each month, we love sharing our team’s stories through our A Day in the Life series, where we hope you can get to know our team a little better.
This month, we’re profiling Helen Grace De Joya, one of our Accountants. Grace lives in Manilla, the Philippines, with her husband and two children.
Grace joined the Shield team, like many of us do, upon a recommendation of a friend.
“Eliz and I were classmates back in college. So we’ve known each other so long,” Grace says.
About six months after the birth of Grace’s son, Eliz reached out to her to suggest she apply for an open position in the Finance Team.
“I was really hesitant at first because I was thinking that my son is so young, maybe I can’t handle this. But when Shield contacted me a few months later, it was much more manageable timing,” Grace says.
“I’m happy that the timing was great to have a work from home job. And after a few months, the pandemic came, so it’s really been a blessing for me.”
Eliz isn’t her only college friend that works at Shield.
“Melody and Dei are also our classmates,” Grace says.
All four of them studied accounting together and are now all part of Shield’s Finance Team.
“I never imagined this would happen because we all had different career progressions at first,” Grace says.
But she’s so glad it worked out how it did.
“And we’re all mothers now too, which is fun. We have a group chat, we call it PLM Hot Mommas because PLM was our University.”
And while working so closely with friends is incredibly special for Grace, she’s just as excited by the chance to work with people across the globe.
“I love our weekly meetings and the diversity on our team,” she says. “It’s really interesting to know other cultures like those from India and those from Australia. It feels like I’m traveling. Especially right now when we are stuck at home for a long time, we miss traveling, and being exposed to different cultures is a really a nice thing.”
A Day in the Life of Grace
Wake up, feed the pets (Tootsie, hamsters, fish), prepare our breakfast, my daughter’s school stuff and ingredients for lunch.
Eat breakfast with family and do my morning skincare routine.
Start working. I usually create a to-do list before I start my day, to be reminded of my priorities. Go through my emails, check if there are cases assigned to me. If none, I would probably create payslips or invoices, it depends.
10:30 – 11:00 am
Usual waking time of my son. I’ll have a quick break to give him breakfast and join him in his play area.
Cook lunch and eat with family.
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Do usual work (payslips/invoices).
3:00 – 3:30 pm
Afternoon break which I spend having snacks with the kids.
3:30 – 6:30 pm
Do usual work (payslips/invoices).
Dinner with family.
7:00 – 9:00 pm
If the Finance team is in busy mode I am probably working during these hours, if not, we usually have family game night, running in the garage with kids or watch Netflix (currently we are watching Hell’s Kitchen Season 20). I’m planning to be more active this month and I want to insert at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise each day.
Take a bath.
Family prayer and sleeping time (my sleeping time depends upon the energy level of my kids. They usually sleep at 12 midnight).
Working from home
While Grace had some experience from her previous role running some tasks from home, Shield was her first full-time role away from the office.
“At first, I found the transition [a bit difficult],” Grace admits.
“I [work from] the living room, and my daughter and husband were used to chatting with me whenever they wanted. It was a transition for us to get used to me working full time and really needing to focus for those hours.”
This became even harder during the pandemic.
“Before the pandemic, I really had the privacy because it was mostly just me and the nanny and my son because my daughter was going to school for almost the whole day and my husband was also working,” she says. “But now I work beside my husband and my daughter, who is also studying online. So it is really difficult, but fun!”
In helping her daughter with assignments and presentations, Grace has learned basic video recording and editing.
“Before the pandemic, I really didn’t know how to do videos, but now, I can say that I can do it.”
This has helped in her monthly Sunday school teaching, which has had to turn virtual (like everything else).
“I have been a Sunday school teacher for more than ten years,” she says. “Now that we do it online, it’s harder because we need to have exciting videos regularly. We need to upgrade it and think of ways to be more interactive and interesting for the kids.”
But even with the added complexity of the pandemic, Grace says she much prefers working from home.
Before joining Shield, her positions required lengthy commutes, long hours, and even working overtime on weekends.
“When I got pregnant with my daughter, I felt like the job was really toxic for me. Because of the workload and overtime,” she says.
“That’s something I love about Shield — they really do not encourage us to work overtime.”
This realization led Grace to switch up her career trajectory. So, once her daughter was born, she took two years off before trying her hand at freelancing.
“I still do some of the work now. I have a side hustle as a financial advisor,” she says.
“It’s really rewarding. You are teaching other people to save for their future and be financially savvy.”
Like much of the Philippines, Grace’s family has been in various stages of lockdown since March 2020.
And while they’ve tried their best, entertaining children indoors for that long is extremely difficult.
“It’s easier for my daughter with school, but it’s really unfortunate for my son. We tried the online playgroup, but it’s really hard to attend an online school, especially for an active boy. So hopefully early next year, we can begin to have face-to-face classes again,” she says.
“Instead, we are trying our best on our weekends to provide them with an exciting time. So we always have games in the pool. We have family games every weekend just for them to have fun.”
They love playing video games and singing songs and, when they can, heading to the park.
As a big Disney fan, Grace has dreams of taking her kids to every Disneyland in the world.
“So when things are happening just per usual, we’ll go,” she says. “My goal is to do it all before my kids turn into teenagers.”
Until then, they’ll settle for Disney movies and family sing-alongs.
By nature, our world is incredibly diverse. Our communities are full of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, physical and mental abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, income levels, body shapes and