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Meet Monica

Mom to Julian

Occupation: Founder

Employer: Boose' (@boosebrand on Instagram)

Length of Mat Leave: 12 weeks

What was your experience like returning to work after having your children?

Returning to work was a major rollercoaster! I had a really hard time learning my new bandwidth and figuring out a productive routine. Pre-baby I was accustom to working 10-12 hour days and weekends, which was not going to be healthy for me personally postpartum. I was always the "hard worker" and the one willing to make personal sacrifices in order to propel my career and redefining that was a struggle. One year later, I'm still navigating it!

What do you find difficult about being a working parent?

When I was pregnant I would daydream about my son bragging to his friends about me. He would look up to me because of my job title and the industry I worked in.

Once Julian was in my arms, and my postpartum body recuperated enough to allow for coherent thoughts, I realized it would be a failure if the only reason my son looked up to me was because of the job I had. Redefining my identity is the biggest challenge.

One year later, I'm still trying to define it. The other major challenge was pumping 3x per day at work. In a corporate environment, being naked most of the time in the "Mothers Room" (quotes because the room was not worthy of that title) was not super conducive to feeling confident and hurt my milk supply. Still, managed to produce enough to keep my son on breastmilk for 13 months and counting!!!

What do you enjoy about being a working parent?

Two things: first, nothing beats walking in the door and seeing the progression of your child trying to GET TO YOU to welcome you home. It may start with smiles and pumping arms, soon worming his/her way across the floor and then one day walking and running over to greet you. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder.

The second thing is hearing my husband tell my one year old son how much he is going to admire me for the work I'm doing now to make his future amazing. He's the absolute best.

After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?

Someone I used to work with would say, "your career is a bouncy ball, you can drop it and it'll bounce back up. Your family is a glass ball and will get hurt if it slips to the ground." I now appreciate exactly what he meant more than ever before. My bouncy ball is dribbling right now as I navigate a major career change, leaving my executive level job in pro sports to chase a passion project, which happens to be a bi-product of my experience pumping three times a day at work!!

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?

Build a support system of women who have been there, done that! In a heavily male dominated industry, I didn't know all that many working moms. Most of my colleagues were single guys or had wives that didn't work. Going back, I would have broadened my search to find women who maintained full time careers and sought them out for advice and support!

What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?

Grandma & Nanny. All pros! I was lucky enough that my mom was was willing to work remotely for 6 months to watch my son when I returned to work. She moved from NY to FL to be with us and help with Julian, while juggling her role as a full time attorney. Talk about wonder woman!! In her last month here, we brought on a full time nanny and she's been incredible. Both my mom and the Nanny hold the phone while I FaceTime my son during pumping sessions, which helps me get through the day.

Anything else you'd like to share?

A final thought. It took me a year after returning from leave to realize that it's OK if the career you're in now doesn't support the life you want for yourself and your family. Failing is not leaving that job. Failing is forcing yourself to stay in your current role and growing resentful of it. There are incredible resources at our fingertips these days, @thereturnityproject being one of them! Take advantage.

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