Mom to Aniston
Occupation: Director of Customer Success
Length of Mat Leave: 6 weeks followed by 4 weeks part time
Childcare: Daycare, Nanny & Family
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
I don’t think I could have returned to work any earlier than I did after having my daughter. Because she was breech, I had a c-section and a tough recovery. I had lovely images in my head of being able to ‘enjoy’ my maternity leave, but that was not my reality. I was struggling physically, but mentally, I was excited to return to work. I missed the challenge and excitement that my work brings me every day.
Leaving my child at daycare during the first month was incredibly difficult. I cried on the way to work many times and raced out the door at the end of the day, but it got better each week. The toughest thing for me was operating on such a sleep deficit (and hearing from people who told me their child slept through the night a week after they got home from the hospital - not helpful!). We struggled to juggle sleep schedules and all of the new chores that a new baby brings on top of 2 careers and full lives. On top of all that, we were going through a particularly rough season at work. I felt like my new motherhood was somewhat invisible, but I was absolutely in survival mode for at least 6 months, if not longer. It took me a full 9 months to crawl my way out of survival mode into enjoying motherhood and working again.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
I think one of the most challenging things about being a working parent is finding reliable childcare & juggling those times where you can’t use your normal childcare. My husband and I are very fortunate to have family in town and have found great caregivers, but that doesn’t mean we don’t find ourselves in a pinch occasionally. ‘Who stays home when your kid is sick?’ can escalate into a conversation of ‘Whose career is more important?’ and that’s never a fair conversation. For us, every day is different and we have varying amounts of flexibility depending on the day, so we just have to figure it out as we go.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
I love that I’m excited to go to work on Monday mornings after spending a full weekend with my daughter. I love that I’m excited to come home at the end of the day and spend quality time with my daughter. I feel energized when I get home in the evenings and I love every minute we get together. I love contributing to my family’s income and helping build my daughter’s future.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
My eyes have really been opened and I’m more aware of other moms who are returning to work after having a child. I try to have open and honest conversations and really encourage moms going through that season. It’s so hard to manage returning to work, and it’s easy to feel invisible when you’re going through it. I think every mom who makes it through their first week back at work after having a child deserves a trophy. I truly consider it one of my biggest accomplishments that I survived that transition.
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?
You hear this all the time, but I would tell myself, “don’t worry, it gets better, and you’ll survive this.” I would have also encouraged myself to seek out resources that could help me, including friends who could really encourage me in that season. I would have told myself to be vulnerable and share what I was going through with trusted friends. No one knows how to help if they don’t know what you’re going through.
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
Daycare, nanny, family
Our primary childcare right now is daycare + family. We love our daycare and my daughter has really flourished there. Of course, I don’t love the morning grind of packing bags, preparing lunch, and labeling everything, but that’s part of it!