Mom to Emerson and Rocco
Senior Category Manager
Length of Maternity Leave: 12-weeks and 16-weeks
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
I think, like most moms, I struggled a lot with leaving my kids and the mom guilt associated with that. I felt guilty that I was leaving them for so many hours in the day and that they might cry and I wouldn't be there to comfort them. I also struggled with the lack of sleep and having to function every day. I did not want to rely on caffeine especially because I was breastfeeding, which now reminds me that pumping at work was a real struggle (and still is). I want my kids to be exclusively fed breast milk until they were 1 which means I need to pump a lot! I struggled with fitting that into my work schedule and was nervous about my co-workers perception of me since I'd have to step away 2 -3 times a day for 25 minutes. Ultimately it is what I have to do in order to care for my kids and that was my number one priority and I just have to continuously remind myself of that. (I was able to exclusively give my daughter breast milk until she was one and my son is 8 months now and we are looking like we will make it to one year as well.)
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
Finding balance is incredibly difficult for me. I want to be able to sleep, workout, pack lunches, cook healthy dinners, play with my kids and spend time with my husband... oh yeah, and work a full-time job. I want to do it all and I have had to learn to prioritize and let things go. I have taken steps to streamline some of those things which allows me to fit more in, but some weeks, I don't get to work out and other weeks we eat very basic dinners. Learning to prioritize what is important to me, asking for help and letting go of not doing everything has made being a working parent a little less difficult.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
I enjoy showing my kids the importance of working hard. I enjoy sitting in a conference room, running meetings, delegating tasks and feeling accomplished; then going home and playing with my kids at the end of the day. I enjoy the socialization and human interaction. I enjoy the routine and schedule which ultimately benefits my entire family.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
Yes! I used to want to be a CEO as quickly as I could. I still have those goals, but I am much more willing to slow down, enjoy my family and take my time in reaching those career goals. I used to work 10 hour days and "judged" people who left at 5pm. Now, I 100% understand and I am one of them. My quality of work has not changed but the quantity of hours I dedicate to work has.
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 will be different. Someone else has been doing your job for a while and a lot can change at a company in 12 weeks. Do not assume you will jump right back in before you left on maternity and that is OK! Take the time it needs to readjust. Take advantage of potentially having a little more freedom and time so you can spend it with your family. Don't let it ruin your day that you may not feel as important or needed as you once were. You will get back that, it may just take longer than you expected.
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
I am a huge advocate of daycare. I think the socialization and curriculum is so good for my kids. They do way more than I would be able to give them if I was home. They play with other kids all day, they paint, do crafts, take yoga, participate in music class, and so much more. I don't love that they are away from us for over 8-9 hours a day. If you do the math they spend more time with their daycare teachers than me and my husband. But, they are happy and playing all day long and that is all I could ever ask for.
It is not easy being a working mom but I think getting out of the house, working hard and interacting with other adults makes me a better mom. I am always looking for a way to be more part-time or flexible with my schedule but I know working makes me a happier person. The first week I returned to work, my husband said, "you are like a different person!" I was talkative, more energized and happier. Yes, it is so hard to leave your kids but it is also important to know what will make you and your family the healthiest and happiest.