Mom to Stella
Length of maternity leave: 7.5 months
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
It was rough!! I left a week before I gave birth and returned right when she turned about two months old. (I didn't end up staying) I went back and ended up having to leave my position. It was EXTREMELY hard going back; between having a 10 hour work day, being away from my new baby, having to pump in the bathroom (YUCK!) every two hours, and still breastfeeding my newborn who was not yet on a schedule. I finally just returned back when Stella turned about 7 months. I still find it a struggle figuring out childcare, completing household chores, taking care of myself & my family.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
Completing household chores, breastfeeding and pumping, taking time for myself, my child, my significant other, childcare, balancing home life & work life.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
My career (in general) not necessarily where I am/my current job, being a role model, contributing to the household.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
YES! Oh my God, YES! Before I had my daughter, I didn't think it was going to be so hard to leave her. I thought it was going to be a lot simpler going back to work. I also thought that I'd be able to rely on others to help me, but I realized that I was wrong. Another thing that I didn't realize was how much I'd be concerned about everything going on in my daughter's life.... I'm not too sure how to word this, but what I'm trying to say is that when people watch her, I'm concerned about the day to day activities, making sure that they are playing with her, keeping her schedule, and just basic things.
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?
To pump and store way beforehand & that 10-weeks is not enough with your baby. Maternity leave needs to be longer than 12-weeks and it should start AFTER the baby is born, not before if you have to due to medical reasons. I feel that you should take the time you need to bond, create a schedule, have a relationship, and enjoy that time with your child. You will never be able to get that time back!!
What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?
Pros: You know them well, they are family, they love her
Cons: Unreliable, too comfortable/no boundaries, not following schedule, does things their way
Anything else you'd like to share?
The main reason I shared my story was because I still struggle on a day to day basis about returning back to work... I love being home with my daughter. I didn't have to go back to work, but I felt obligated to be a role model, contribute to the household, & because there are other women out there doing it. Why can't I? I feel like sometimes being a SAHM in today's day is almost frowned upon, but I feel like it's a positive and amazing thing. It is the best and most rewarding job, but it is hard as heck!