Mom to Thalia and Zay
Emergency Room Technician turned Physician Assistant student
Length of Maternity Leave: 12-weeks and 10-weeks
Childcare: Partner and Grandma
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
Working in the Emergency Department is very physically demanding. You are on your feet all day running around and sometimes physically helping to lift patients. Breaks in general are usually really short and on really busy days, you may not get one until hour 8. Finding time (and places) to pump in this busy environment was really difficult.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
Being in PA school is like having a 65+ hour per week job. The most difficult part for me by far has been coping with all the guilt. Mom guilt is so real and I sometimes feel it in full force. It's worst when I hear that they were crying for me during the day when I was at school or when one of my kids are sick but not sick enough for me to use my very limited number of sick days.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
I firmly believe that having a career makes me a better mother. When I have been home multiple days in a row I look forward to going to work and when I am working multiple days in a row I look forward to coming home and being in what I call "full on mom mode." I can truly say I am not fulfilled when I am doing one of these more than the other. Being a working mom makes me a more balanced and happier mommy to my precious babies.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
When I was pregnant with my first child I thought "I can go back to work full time as soon as they will let me." Once I held that little girl in my arms I thought "How can I leave her for a whole 12 hours!? It's not possible." Now that I have been doing this for 3 years I have learned that I need my job. It makes me happy. It gives me an opportunity to challenge myself and set an example for my children. I am teaching them to follow their dreams. I am showing them what it means to work hard and give each day your all.
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 have told myself that it's going to be okay. I would have told myself to relax and try to find rest because you cannot prepare for every possible scenario. I would have told myself "you are strong, you are smart, and you will find a way no matter what".
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
My husband and I have opposite schedules so that one of us is always with the kids. My mother watches my children during my time in school.
Pro: We do not pay any money for childcare. My children are always with family and have grown really attached to my parents. I rest knowing my children are in good hands and they are so happy to go to my parents house and play with all their toys they have there.
Cons: My husband and I rarely see each other. This last year of 65+ hours really took a toll on my marriage mainly because we never saw each other. I only have one more year of the extra long hours (thank God). My husband and I adjusted after the first year and try to talk on the phone more when our time together is extra limited.
Being a working mom is not easy. I would never pretend that it is. But being a mom is not easy no matter which way you do it. I think we could all benefit from giving ourselves a lot more grace.