Mom to Bianca and Margot
Maternity Leave: 6 months
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
I had an easy first pregnancy & physically bounced back relatively quickly. I think that gave me a false sense of feeling ready to go back to work as soon I did. I rushed back hoping that no one would think my “time off” meant that I wasn’t serious about my job or career. Looking back, I rushed through everything. I was so eager for every milestone (crawling, eating solids, walking, sleeping through the night…) that I didn’t really take the time to enjoy the sleepless beauty of that first year with my first born. I regret that very much now.
With my second, I was very lucky to have a significant amount of time off work. That helped me slow down a lot. Knowing that I wouldn’t be going back to work right away (and most importantly, that no one was expecting me to) was a huge weight off my shoulders. My time off this time around did what I think it was meant to do – it gave my body enough time to heal, and my mind enough time to miss work.
However, my biggest struggle (both times) was that my heart never had enough time with either. I love what I do, but for some reason that was always in conflict with loving the little people I made with the man I love. If I loved them so much, how could I love leaving them every day? I still struggle with that – having my own identity outside of “mommy/mama.” I struggle with how fair it is to them (and to me) to have strangers tell me about the hilarious things they said that day. Or how a stranger will most likely get to see my baby crawl for the first time. I don’t know that the struggle for balance will ever go away… but I keep trying.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
Time. Time is so fleeting. I want more of it. I want more time to spend with my family. I want more time to be truly present at work. I want more time to go above and beyond in all aspects of life. And all that I get is the feeling of constantly falling short.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
My biggest hope is that my daughters will see me as a smart, hardworking, kind, & successful person. That they’ll know they were given every opportunity to do what they want in life because I worked hard to give them that.
My favorite thing about being a working parent is that it gives me the opportunity and clarity to learn, grow and expand. Its helped me realize that there is no such thing as perfection, because life is not linear. We are constantly changing and evolving into (hopefully) better human beings, and being a working parent helps me to understand and embody that concept.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
Very much so, but only after my second child. Work will always be there. What won’t are these few years with my baby & toddler. I’m going to savor every moment, both good and bad, because of their fleeting nature.
Knowing what you know now, what’s one thing you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself as you were preparing to return to work or getting ramped up in your role?
That its ok not to be able to do the things you were able to do before. To find a new normal, one that helps balance work and home. Take the time to enjoy the smart, kind little girls you’re raising. You don't love your career any less if you love your children more.
Also, try to really be present in the moments with your family so you feel less guilty about leaving each day. Turn off the radio in the car and just listen to the toddler rambling, and baby coos. Not everything needs to be, or should be a rush. Cherish each moment and don’t feel bad about documenting every second. It’s those photos and videos that help keep these amazing memories so bright. And most importantly, don’t feel bad about taking some time for you – Not "work you" or "mom you." Just You. Read that book, take the time to prepare that new recipe, pick up your camera instead of your phone, and buy those shoes. Buy all the shoes.