Mom to Stella & Grace
Maternity Leave: 12 weeks (originally had 6 weeks; took 12 with FMLA and ended up leaving her job as she had no childcare options. She had 8 months home with her girls before going back to work).
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
My employer only provided 6 weeks of maternity leave. I ended up getting 12 weeks with FMLA but wasn't able to go back part-time once that was over. I wasn't able to find childcare for both girls in time so I ended up leaving my job to stay home with them. I stayed home for 8 months and towards the end of that realized I was missing something.
When I did return, I struggled the most with the thought of my girls not needing me. I struggled with them being “fine” without me. I struggled with someone else “raising” my children. Also, I struggled with them being upset with me when I leave and/or when I don’t make it home in time before bed.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
The most difficult part of being a working parent is trying to be a master of everything for my family and myself. From making sure I am doing and giving my girls and husband everything that they need, to always making sure the house is picked up and clean, dinner is made, and the girls food is prepped and ready. All of this while also making sure I'm performing my job tasks effectively and growing in my career.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
Adult interaction. Before I went back to work, I felt like I was letting myself go--almost losing my self-worth. It’s good for me to challenge myself every day...and actually shower and put on "real clothes" (anything other than leggings). Since going back, I also feel I enjoy my girls even more because I don’t take my time with them for granted. And I don’t resent my husband for getting out and eating lunch with adults either!
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
Yes and no. I made it very clear when I went back to work that my girls are my number one priority. I was blessed to work for an awesome company that respects that and understands when things come up. I will say I value my work more than I ever thought I would, but my girls always were and always will be first.
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 could go back in time and tell myself that my girls were not going to be mad at me for working and not being with them 24/7. I think it’s such a great thing that they have other adults in their life they trust and that help raise them. As we all know, it takes a village and I'm so grateful for mine!
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
Currently I have a babysitter that comes to the house and there are pros and cons to this.
Pros: Comfortable, girls have everything they need, I don’t have to make an additional drop off and pick up stop, the girls don’t get exposed to sick kids.
Cons: If my sitter gets sick last minute, I’m kind of stuck. When she has other commitments it’s hard to find replacements.