Eva Chen is known for her impressive career in the fashion industry. From starting her fashion career as an intern at Harper's Bazaar to expanding her scope of influence at Elle and Teen Vogue to serving as editor-in-chief of the former Conde Nast magazine Lucky, Eva has spent much of her career working closely with fashion designers, publications, stylists, and creators. This experience serves her well in her current role as Director of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, where she helps people in fashion make the most of Instagram and helps shape changes to the platform so it better serves them.
Recently, Eva also became a New York Times bestselling author, penning the children's books Juno Valentine and A is for Awesome. But ask her about the role she loves most, and she'll tell you: It's being a parent.
Through Instagram, she shares the realities of being a working mom with two young kids and inspires people around the world with her candid, humorous, and authentic approach. She has also inspired Facebook team members. Eva recently joined Lauren B., founder of the employee resource group Super Moms@ Facebook for a fireside chat to discuss her experiences with other parents at Facebook.
Following the chat, we asked Eva to share three of the biggest lessons she’s learned since becoming a mom and juggling a busy career with family.
1. Establish boundaries.
Becoming a parent has really helped me understand what’s important to me. My kids are my top priority, and I don’t feel guilty about turning down social invites that take me away from them after the work day. At the office, I talk about being a parent all the time. And because of that, I feel like I’m able to bring my authentic self to work every day. I’ve established boundaries that allow me to make space for time with my kids, and my team has been incredibly supportive. I value spending time with my team outside of work, too. But something I really appreciate is when an offsite is scheduled earlier in the day or in blocks. For example, when we have a happy hour followed by dinner, people have the opportunity to leave at different points as needed.
2. Embrace time for yourself.
Many moms who return to work are so hard on themselves. We often spend our whole day giving to others and then we go home and give more to our kids. It’s so important that you give to yourself. Carve out your own downtime, even if it’s just 30 minutes doing whatever it is you enjoy. For me, that’s taking a solitary moment to eat tacos or get an acupressure massage. And I set aside time after my kids go to bed to write. It’s also so important to be kind to yourself. When I returned to work after my second baby, it felt completely different even though nothing at work had changed. I was not prepared to go from one to two kids, and my second baby had colic. It was incredibly hard. But try and give yourself some grace. That first year back is hard for almost every parent, but it’s just a temporary phase.
3. Find your support system.
When people talk about ‘having it all’ it creates a lot of pressure for perfection. I think the most important thing is being able to talk honestly and openly about what you’re struggling with. That’s why it’s so important to have support, in whatever shape that looks like for you—a neighbor, friend, parent or a whole bench of babysitters and nannies. I really agree with Sheryl Sandberg when she talks about how finding your partner is the most important move in your career. I’m fortunate to have a great partner who is very involved in parenting, and the help of childcare. I also lean on the communities at Facebook for support. I love being part of SuperMoms@ Facebook and the external Facebook group I started @MomLife, where it’s all about real talk. It helps me stay calm and feel heard. It’s like having cheerleaders on a bad day! I encourage everyone to find their own community and support network.