Mom to Conley & Cavanaugh
Occupation: Childplace, Director of Residential & Clinical Services
Length of Mat Leave: 9 weeks and then 5 weeks part time
Childcare: Family & Daycare
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
I remember my last night at home before going back to work. I rocked my sweet boy and cried thinking about how much I was going to miss him. When my first day back came though it was so busy that I only had a few moments to miss him, but I was so excited to see him! It was helpful to do part time for so long. I think it really eased the transition.
It was harder returning after my second baby. I think part of it was after work time seemed so busy because I had two littles to divide my time. I also think part of it was postpartum depression that I wasn’t giving my time and attention to, which I know is ironic since I work in the mental health field. After about five months and still struggling, I started only being in the office only four days a week and it greatly helped.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
The most challenging thing right now is currently I just don’t feel like I have enough time. My work is flexible so one day a week I don’t work, but I have to make up those hours throughout the week.
By the time I get home, hang out with the boys, eat dinner, do bedtime and then do a few things for work, it’s time for bed. I really want to wake up earlier but that’s so hard to do when your 1 year old isn’t sleeping through the night!
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
I love being able to use my degree and license that I worked so hard to obtain, but then come home to my boys. I love being able to do what I am passionate about, working with children and their mental health, and know I have people at home cheering me on and people at home to come to after a hard day.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
I once heard somewhere that having work/life satisfaction is more realistic than work/life balance. I thought it would be easier to manage the two, but keeping in mind to strive for satisfaction helps do both well.
I enjoy my job and I love my boys. There are some weeks my job is going to be more intense and need more of my time and energy. There are also some weeks I know that my boys (sickness, routine appointments, etc.) will take more of my time and energy. That helps me be less stressed overall because I know they will equal out and so far, I’ve been satisfied in how both things are working out.
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 would tell myself to be more confident in my role! I was so worried that while I was on leave (both times I thought this) that they would see that I didn’t do my work well or that I wasn’t the right person for the role I had. I was worried when I came back if they would see my differently because I was, and still am, one of the few with small children. I realize now I was valued before I left and I was valued when I returned. They put me in that role and believe in me. I think if I believed that, I would have been less worried while on leave about work things.
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
Family & Daycare
I love that my mom is able to watch our boys two days a week. She is so committed to them and her love for them is so deep. She is fun, does crafts, and helps pick up around our house. Our life would be more chaotic without her! The cons are when she has to last minute cancel on watching them. It makes her sad and the boys sad. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but it can be tough figuring out what to do for those days. We also love their daycare. We love that they get to be around other children their age and our oldest reports he has so much fun! The cons are the cost and it’s a little out of the way, so we spend some extra time in the car, but worth the drive for how much they love it!