Mom to Jack
Length of maternity leave: 12-weeks
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
Returning to work was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I felt like I shouldn’t be leaving. That even though my dad was going to be watching Jack, that no one could take care of him like I could. At the time I was also really wading through the mud of PPD and anxiety, which didn’t help anything feel easier. I was in a different job than I am now and the return was rough. I’m in a new role where my boss is a mom too, which changed the whole experience for me.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
I think the hardest thing for me is that it’s not feeling like it’s getting easier. Some days are actually more difficult than they were at the beginning because Jack is developing so quickly and I feel like I’m missing out on those milestones.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
I like that we’re able to have experiences that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to expose Jack to if I didn’t work. I like that I am using my degrees which I worked so hard to get and I love my work family. They are what get me in the door everyday.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
I used to want to climb the ladder, that’s totally changed. I want to provide value at work, and be seen as an asset, but I’m no longer focused on the next level. I’m focused on being a great employee, who works hard for our clients, and provides value while I’m there. I used to check in on my email when I was off, I don’t really do that at all, anymore. I value my time with Jack and emails can wait until the next working day. I say no to work events outside of working hours that aren’t mandatory because my priority is being home for bedtime.
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?
Just take things one day or hour at a time and stop being focused on things so far in the future. When I went back I was worried about things that were going to happen years in advance. I couldn’t imagine working like this “forever.” Focus on today, not 6 months out or a year out. Just be in the moment and get through today.
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
-I trust my dad completely
-It’s super affordable
-Jack loves going to Grandpas house so the mornings are exciting for him
-I have to be really assertive if my dad and I disagree on how something should be handled with Jack
Anything else you'd like to share?
My husband travels a lot so it adds a layer of complexity to our lives. It’s important to accept help when it’s offered. My mom still works and she has offered to share some of the load while my husband is gone. Taking her up on that has been a life saver. Also, find a mama tribe. Find working moms in your area who you can link arms with and forge ahead together.