Mom to Henry
Length of maternity leave: 12 weeks
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
Maintaining our breastfeeding relationship and the first few months of dealing with sleep deprivation coupled with having to perform at home AND work.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
Being “on” 24/7 and being too tired to take time for me - going to the gym, taking time for hobbies, and other activities that I used to have time and energy for. I now fit exercise into my daily schedule, but it took a while to allow myself to take that time for me, and away from my baby!
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
The alone time - I said it. I can sit at my desk and answer email while drinking coffee and not have to interact with other people for a while! I also love feeling valued at work for reasons other than my status as a parent. I get to talk about things not related to poop and laundry.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
Parenting is the hardest, most exhausting, thing I’ve ever done and there are days when I think I’m not going to make it. But now that we have a routine going, I am realizing that it is possible to do it all - you just have to make concessions on low-value tasks. Is laundry piled up and it makes my former self crazy? Yes. But do I know that the weekend will come and I can tackle it - so right now I’m going to cuddle with my baby before bed? Also yes! I love working - and I also love my family - and it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. I just have to adjust priorities.
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 normal to feel overwhelmed, so take it slow”. I wish I would have spent the first week back talking on the phone to all of my internal stakeholders and coworkers to catch up on the past three months rather than make myself crazy trying to reply to the thousands of emails I had sitting in my inbox.
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
Freestanding Preschool (6 weeks to pre k)
Pros: We receive daily reports and pictures, staff is very accommodating to our parenting style (for example, they allow us to bring our cloth diapers), the school is close to my work, and his teachers really love him!