Mom to Sophie and Mack
Length of Maternity Leave: 13-weeks and 10-weeks
Childcare: Grandparents and Daycare
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
After having Sophie, I actually accepted a new job and started immediately following my maternity leave. Leaving my baby for the first time with unfamiliar caregivers plus a longer commute to a new job was a bad combination (understatement)! I cried daily for a few months. I learned the hard way that too much change at once is overwhelming for me. The second time around, I knew that I needed more of a transition back to work, rather than abruptly leaving this precious baby I had nurtured for so many months. I approached my boss with a plan to return at 10 weeks postpartum but asked if I could work from home two days per week for two more months. This way I would ease into full time work at the office. He graciously agreed and my return to work was tremendously less stressful!
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
I always feel like I’m dropping the ball in some aspect of my life. Missing out on moments with my children while I’m at work, leaving someone at daycare with a runny nose, running out of work early for a pediatrician appointment, too few date nights with my husband. But I’m learning and trying to accept imperfection and give myself more grace.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
Working does give me a sense of balance. I have several hours of adult conversation, mentally challenging projects, the chance to eat lunch with two hands! It feels good to dress professionally, even when it’s tough to get out of the house without wearing spit up. Being away at work makes me really value the time I do have with my children and I strive to be very present at home.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
Being back at work for almost three years has made my marriage stronger! My husband and I have really strengthened our teamwork, and I hope our children grow to appreciate this. Ryan and I both work outside the home, cook, clean, play, handle bath time and bedtime - we really share all responsibilities. I cover a few mornings solo so he can hit the gym before work and he handles the bedtime routine on Monday evenings so I can attend bible study. He is a fantastic partner and father and I’m glad we can model this teamwork in marriage for our children.
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?
Don’t take on too much at once. Get acclimated to the new juggle of being a working mom before making any big changes at work. Even if that means turning something down at the moment - opportunities will come when the time is right!
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
Grandma and Daycare
I feel like we have the best of both worlds when it comes to childcare: grandma two days and daycare two days (I only work four days).
Pros: very strong bond with grandma, lots of loving attention, time with sibling as well as time apart, socialization at daycare, our daycare is faith-based so it reinforces our religious beliefs
Cons: daycare expense
I’m so grateful to have a boss who allowed me the opportunity to transition back from maternity leave when I asked for that option. He made me feel valued as both an employee and as a mother. I was nervous to ask for this accommodation, but I learned that it doesn’t hurt to ask your employer for what you need to be healthy and productive. They might say no, but they might be open-minded and you could help set a precedent for other working mothers!