The MPW Insiders Network is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for, “How do you deal with the pressures of work and being a new parent?” is written by Heather Zynczak, chief marketing officer at Pluralsight.
After having three kids in less than four years, I completely understand the excitement and worry that comes with juggling your career and family life. I’m the definition of a working mom, serving as a C-level executive at a tech startup while simultaneously raising my three rambunctious sons: ages six, seven, and nine.
During my early motherhood years, I never let up on my career’s gas pedal. I managed a large global team, was accountable for marketing over $3 billion in revenue, launched both the brand and product at a rising tech startup, and played a critical role in helping raise hundreds of millions of dollars in venture funding. To say I was busy was an understatement.
Here are some of the more surprising, unexpected insights I learned along the way:
It’s okay to change your mind
After becoming a parent, you can’t predict how you’ll feel until you’re in the moment. For me, this was a shocking revelation, because I am a planner by nature.
I approached becoming a working mom the same way. I planned every little detail about going back to work, only to find several aspects of my plan did not realistically work for me once I was confronted with the timeline. As an example, I initially scheduled my first day back to work, only to end up prolonging it by a month with my first son. On the flip side, after my third son’s arrival, I shortened my time off by four weeks. Along the way, I spent an absurd amount of time researching the perfect day care center, only to discover that day care did not work for us. Instead, we hired a nanny.
Drop the guilt
Becoming a mother will force you to reprioritize many things in your life. There will be times when you make decisions that feel like you are short-changing one aspect of your life. As long as you eventually strike a balance, don’t feel guilty about those decisions. Sheryl Sandberg wrote in Lean In that when she is not traveling for work, she leaves the office at 5 p.m. to be home for dinner. As a rule, when I am in town, I do not schedule meetings before 9 a.m. so I can spend time getting my three sons off to school with a big nutritious breakfast, a final check of their homework folder, and a healthy packed lunch.
So when you decline a 6 p.m. meeting invite from a colleague because you have decided to be home for family dinner, don’t feel guilty about it. And when you miss a school recital because you decided to attend a board meeting, don’t feel guilty about it either. Trade-offs are okay.
Continue onto Fortune to read more advice!