Mom to Madeleine and Claire
Occupation: Medical device consultant and Healthy living mentor
Length of Mat Leave: 18 weeks and 6 months
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
When I had to go back to work after my first daughter, I was completely devastated. My mom stayed home and I felt like I was being a bad mother for going back to work. I loved my job, excelled in it, and needed to contribute to my family financially if we wanted to continue living in San Diego. I cried many mornings at drop offs, but it did get easier. It actually felt pretty good to put on work clothes again, wash my hair, and have some adult conversations. I felt like "me" again.
With my second daughter, I had a 6 month maternity leave. It was fantastic and I understood to just enjoy every single moment. The second time around I wasn't as stressed, didn't worry about chores and just laid with my new baby and took everything about her in. It was glorious!
When I returned to work, I cried again. I was surprised it was still so hard, since it was my second time around. I think it was because I knew how much I would be missing--especially with two.
I was very overwhelmed the first 2 months. I was pumping, trying to build my territory back up, and be a mommy all at the same time. I had zero time for myself or getting back into shape. I got a hang of things eventually, but it took much longer to adjust.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
I felt like I couldn't give 100% of myself to anything. I felt I lacked as a mother, I lacked as an employee, and I lacked as a spouse. I'm a perfectionist deep down and not being able to be my best at anything, was hard.
I had a hard time figuring out when I would actually play with and enjoy my girls. When would I get shopping done? When would chores get completed? When would I sleep? Ha!
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
I like providing for my family and being an example to my daughters of what a professional woman is. The time away from them makes me a better parent.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
Yes, 4 months after I returned to work from my second maternity leave, my company had a major downsize and I was laid off. I ended going back to work part time in the same industry and found much better balance. I do feel like it has probably hurt my career a little to cut back, but it's been the best choice for my family and me. I'm able to still work and do something I love and I have more time for my kids- who I missed so much when I worked full time.
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 wish I could tell myself that everything will be ok. I'm not a bad mother for going back to work and I can give them just as much as a stay at home mother. I also would tell myself to take in every little moment--even the hard ones because some day I'll miss them.
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
My husband and I strongly believe in daycare/school. Both my girls thrived and blossomed in a school setting. They learned so much more than I could ever teach them and they loved socializing with other kids. My youngest did Montessori and it was the best gift we could have ever given her. Her confidence and independence are through the roof and she loved school. Both my girls loved going to daycare and would run in and hug their teachers. That always made me happy and helped me know I was making the right decision. We also loved that our girls had a curriculum- even as infants and had many eyes on them in a regulated school setting.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I'm only working part time now, but know that I need to work at least a little to stay happy and engaged. I love my professional life, but also adore being a mom. Cutting back has been exactly what I needed. I'll go back full time some day when my girls are older, but for now this works perfectly for my family and my career goals.