Mom to Twins Grace & Evelyn
Director of Strategy & Insights, HelloWorld
Maternity Leave: 16 weeks
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your twins? I struggled with a lot of guilt in actually wanting to go back to work. I had four months of maternity leave, which I am so grateful for, but I was starting to feel like I needed to get out of the house and feel like myself again. I know now that there's nothing wrong with that feeling, but at the time I doubted myself a lot. I would think, what kind of mother am I to actually WANT to leave their kids? But it was really more to have that routine back in my life again, to go back to my friends and a job I love, and to complete more of the puzzle of who I am as a person - with this new amazing piece of being a mother too.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent? So many logistics! Between finding child care, losing child care and finding it again, all of the appointments, and then balancing my own and my husband's schedules as well. I also travel for work, which is really difficult when I'm not home to put the girls to bed. Once I was back at work, I also struggled with shutting work off and had to train myself to focus on the right priorities at the right times. That means I am extremely focused on work when I'm actually at work so that I can get home at a decent time. Then when I'm home, I don't touch email or any work stuff until they're in bed.
Having kids has really helped me prioritize and see what is the most important at any given time.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent? I think that I am a much better and more patient parent when I am not with them all day every day. I love and respect my friends who stay home SO MUCH because it really is the hardest job in the world. But when I am away from them, I miss them, and it makes me look forward to the time that we have together to truly make it memorable for us as a family. I also love my job and the career that I've built, and I take a lot of pride in showing my girls what it's like to do something you love every day. I hope that they'll feel the same way when they're older that they can truly do whatever they want, enjoy it, and also get the benefit of love and a family too.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed? Absolutely. I feel so much more responsibility to my family now to do well to help provide for all of the things we want to do with the girls. I also appreciate the coworkers that are in the trenches with me so much more - we're all going through the same joys and challenges of being working parents, and there is such a strong support system built in with my peers at work. I honestly don't think I could be a parent and work at a company that didn't offer the amount of flexibility that mine does, and it makes me so much more appreciative of what I have - both at work and at home.
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? I wish I would have enjoyed my time at home more. Maternity leave is such a blessing, and I was really caught up in getting my girls to the next milestone, sleeping through the night, or worrying about who would watch them that I didn't really stop to enjoy that time when they were all mine. I think I would have enjoyed every snuggle, every rock to sleep, and every milestone more knowing that the time was so fleeting.
I also wish I would have understood then how much better it was going to get, because I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.