Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Haley Tardy, Content Marketing Manager at Expectful

Haley Tardy is the Content Marketing Manager at Expectful, a haven of holistic care for moms: hopeful, expecting, and new.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’ve been in the health and wellness industry for a little over five years, primarily working in social media and content management roles. Most of the companies I have supported are in the start-up stage, so there’s a lot of need for adaptability.

That said, I try to be flexible and help out where I can, which means I’ve taken on tasks ranging from customer service to email marketing, affiliate marketing to PR pitches. Currently, I’m working as the Content Marketing Manager at Expectful — an app focused on mental health and wellness for mothers: hopeful, soon-to-be, and new.  

My path to Expectful was a little unique though. I always knew I wanted to work in the area of mental health and wellness, having my own struggles with OCD and Trichotillomania since I was a child, but I actually came to find Expectful when I was pregnant with my first son in 2020.

I was dealing with perinatal anxiety that hit me like a ton of bricks and adjusting to life during the pandemic. Prior to this, I was working as Senior Social Media & Content Manager at Motherly, but sadly after just four months I was part of a major layoff.

It was a difficult time, to say the least. In between Motherly and Expectful I was mostly freelancing or doing consulting projects. So, Expectful came to me at a great time, both as a user and as a place of work.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

The gist of my job description is to bring our product to life via storytelling, experiences, and other brand campaigns. I do this by designing, curating, editing, publishing and regularly sharing content across channels — all with the goal of building meaningful connection and encouraging community members to engage with our brand.

However, I also help with design and copywriting for emails, paid marketing, our blog, and anywhere else it’s needed. It’s not fully fleshed out yet, but I’m also in the process of building an influencer partnership pipeline to help us with growth and brand awareness on Instagram and TikTok.

My days are pretty much the same though, unless we have anything new that has come up and isn’t on our content calendar. I try to schedule myself in blocks, with each chunk dedicated to something specific. In the morning I spend some time responding to comments, DMs, and emails.

Then, I’ll work on any design or copy projects that are due soon. I typically try to complete whatever is due urgently and then move on to anything that I have more time to complete — priorities. Meetings are normally in the morning or mid-afternoon so I can have lunch once I’m done with the first part of my day.

This happens to line up with my son’s nap schedule, which is great for me to get uninterrupted focus time. So after lunch, I’ll come back to start anything new or that is on-going (like social designs that are due each month). 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Expectful is fantastic! I can’t say enough good things about our flexibility and schedule — it is truly the ideal workplace for parents. To expand on that, we are a fully remote company and generally online around the same times.

Core hours of 9 to 5 are what most of us use, in our respective time zones. So, even though we have team members in New York, California, and Texas, we have no trouble getting in touch. 

We also have a generous time-off policy (unlimited PTO), try to limit our meetings, and have an open communication system. If I need to step away, for any reason, all I have to do is send a slack and the team always asks if I need anything (not, when are you coming back). I feel supported in all the best ways! Which is really great since I have my son at home with me most days.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance means being able to step away from work when I’m “not on the clock.” Obviously there might be an emergency here and there when you need to check-in after work, there’s no escaping that.

However, this shouldn’t be the norm. It shouldn’t be work from the second you wake up to the minute you close your eyes at night. Sadly though, I think that can be hard for remote workers and maybe even doubly so when you work in social media. You’re online literally 24/7 — so you really have to practice some discipline when it comes to disconnecting. 

My family, my husband, my son, deserve time with me that is dedicated to them. I also deserve rest and time away (we all do). My mind feels so much clearer when I slow down. I can sleep better when I don’t scroll before bed. So, I think, in the simplest terms, I achieve this by just turning off. Though it took some time to be able to get here.

When I am done for the day, or the weekend, or going on PTO, etc. I force quit any work-related apps. I put work out of my mind, and I try to accept that anything that wasn’t done can be done when I return, or if there is a legit emergency then my team knows how to reach my cell phone. Thankfully, though, my team hasn’t had an emergency that couldn’t wait until Monday since I started, haha. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

The last two years have been a really transformative time for me. 

I have tried to cut down on how much fast food I eat, I homemade all of my son’s baby food, I try to spend time outside everyday, I stretch daily, I make time for meditation and mindfulness, I journal, and I make time for uninterrupted self-care.  

But if there was one truly key part of my transformation in the last two years, it was therapy! Even if you don’t think you need therapy, chances are that you can benefit from it in some way. Whether it’s to help process a difficult situation that’s happening in your life, overcome anxiety, help improve your self image — there are really a million reasons I could list here. 

While I have gone to therapy in my childhood and as a teen, I started going to therapy as an adult (once or twice a month) in 2019, but at the end of 2021 I decided to bump my sessions up (to about once a week).

The decision came both from my perinatal anxiety experience, trying to process health struggles I was having, overcoming fear of my not being able to find work, and juggling my new identity as a mother. I also finally got a diagnosis of OCD, and was able to find real ways to manage that. After almost 18 years of anxiety, compulsive behaviour, and confusion. It has truly been one of the biggest moments of my life. 

Prioritising my mental health might be a more all-encompassing response here. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

As it pertains to work, I love everything that CMX creates. I have attended their conferences, been a member of their online community, subscribed to their newsletter, and recently read The Business of Belonging by CMX founder David Spinks.

In addition to this, I am a huge fan of Create & Cultivate and Girlboss (for their blogs and podcasts). If you’re looking for funny but insightful design tips, check out ilovecreatives by Puno Dostres. Lastly, PHLEARN was a huge help when I was trying to learn the Adobe products in my first job. 

Personally, though, I have been listening to a podcast called The OCD Stories. I mentioned this earlier, but part of my decision to increase my work with my therapist was because I experienced a relapse in my OCD and was having a hard time understanding why it was happening or how I could move forward in my life. If you want to better understand or suffer from OCD yourself, it’s a great resource. Though nothing can replace therapy!

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

The Expectful app! Other meditation apps exist, but none are quite like Expectful (which is why I am so invested in the work that we do).

With over 500 meditations specifically for mothers, those trying to conceive, or people preparing for labour, we are bringing mental health resources to families in an affordable and easily-accessible way. 

Also: my diffuser, HATCH light, fuzzy blankets, water bottle, and chapstick. If I can, I also love to have fresh flowers in the house. None of these are technically for fidgeting or gadgets, but they make my days easier. 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

I’ve been seeing so many great things about Bobbie (the new organic baby formula). I’d love to hear more from the founders! Not only were they mothers when they started Bobbie, but they are very vocal about their pro-parent culture. Something I think every company can improve on. 

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

 If you’re anything like me, then you may have found that grind culture is very difficult to step away from. Much the same way that prioritising your mental health can be hard to do.

We’re constantly being told that we need to do more, create more, be at work longer, get to the office earlier, don’t take days off, etc. And in some ways we often feel guilty about wanting a break. Or we go on vacation and we’re pulling up slack to see what’s happening at work. At least, I used to — and it’s a cycle that goes on and on. 

My hope is that working people around the world will learn to make themselves a priority and realise that it is okay to step away. It’s okay to log off. It’s okay to not check your email when you wake up. It shouldn’t take burnout for us to implement healthier choices in our lives. We should choose these things purely for our own pleasure and because it makes life more enjoyable. 

Society seems to be in agreement with this and more and more workplaces and mindsets are shifting. I hope the next generation of working people will be able to achieve a balance that they are happy with (and don’t feel guilty about). 

I know it doesn’t happen overnight though. In fact it’s taken me several years to really get to the point I am at. So if you are trying to find your balance, don’t give up!

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.