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Mom to Madison, Fielding, Ireland, Penn

Senior Office Manager

Length of maternity leave: 4-weeks

Childcare: Family

What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?

My job does offer a maternity leave but I had applied for and accepted my current job four weeks after my youngest son was born. This experience was tricky, I had a very hard time producing a steady supply pumping. Being new to my company at the time I was too nervous to ask for time to pump so I would pump in secret. This is to no fault of my employer, I simply didn’t ask.

For my prior baby I was working at a different company where I was given six unpaid weeks of maternity leave and I was required to pump in a bathroom on a folding chair.

What do you find difficult about being a working parent?

For me, as a full-time working mother, my biggest challenge is time. Making time for my children after a long day at work and truly being present in the moment is a daily struggle. My first instinct after a hard day of work is to put on my PJs and watch TV, but as a mother of four kids - I have to make the time to chat with them, play with them, and love on them. It’s a joy to come home to my children but I’m truly just so tired.

What do you enjoy about being a working parent?

I love my career, I love that I’m showing my children an image of a mother who is out there making her career dreams come true. I thrive at my job and it’s a big part of my identity. I also love that my kids get to see both of their parents pitching in to bring home money, keep the house clean, and do the cooking, and running around.

After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?

I’ve learned that I have to fill my cup. I’ve learned that as a mother it’s okay to be tired after work, to come home and want to go to Target before I see them. I’ve learned that nobody has this balance down perfectly and I have to learn to rejoice in this crazy day-to-day chaos. But in my most trying, tired, working mom moments, I’ve also had the constant joy in the back of my mind, of knowing that when I leave work for the day, I’m going home to four beautiful, funny children and a husband who love me for me. They know me, the real me, they see who I am and love me for that. At the end of a long work day, I’m just Haley, a 28 year old working-mom who likes home decorating, binge watching TV with her husband, and wear sweaters and pajama pants. The professional facade can be washed away and I can just be me with my family.

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?

It’s all going to be okay! Your baby will thrive even when you’re at work, he won’t love you any less or feel any less connected to his mommy.

What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?

My mother-in-law and sister babysit my children.

The pros are that my kids are with family that love them. I wouldn’t really say there are any cons to this.

Anything else to share?

I’d like to share that I’m happy and thriving in both of my roles - as mom and as Haley the professional. Even on my most stressed out days, I never regret choosing to have a career. I am proud to be a mom and I’m proud of my job. I am many things and they all make me the woman I am.

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