"As a working parent, I never expected that finding a routine would be so hard and getting family support would be so much easier."

Lauren Hartmann is a writer for Babble, Disney Baby, and Mom.me as well as a freelance wardrobe/prop stylist. Mom to three little ones; her newest addition, Alice, was born recently. Lauren balances her writing and styling while being a work-at-home parent. Find out more about Lauren on her blog, The Little Things We Do

Photo Credit: NakalanMcKay.com

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WISH YOU COULD OFFER YOUR FORMER EXPECTANT SELF?

I would tell myself to lighten up because I’m really not as busy as I think I am! Life is going to get a whole lot busier, so enjoy these relaxing moments.

WHAT WAS YOUR PRIMARY MOTIVATION FOR DECIDING TO RETURN (OR NOT) TO WORK?

I was freelancing as a writer and stylist while teaching preschool full­ time during my first pregnancy and I realized that I was making more from freelance work than I did as a preschool teacher. I figured I would try to make it work from home, so I could be with my with kids and not have to pay for childcare.

IF YOU BREASTFED, WAS THERE A PLACE FOR YOU TO PUMP THAT MET YOUR NEEDS AND WAS CONDUCTIVE TO YOUR SUCCESS?

Because I was home, I could breastfeed whenever and wherever I wanted to. But that also came with challenges, because I would end up nursing on demand and it took a lot of time away from work. It was hard to find a balance with finding time to nurse and getting work done.

HOW MUCH LEAVE DID YOU TAKE, AND HOW COMFORTABLE WERE YOU TAKING IT?

With my first pregnancy I didn’t have any kids around, so I was able to stockpile work and schedule posts – I took off a month. With the birth of my second and my third child, I took off only a week because life was too crazy to get ahead more than that.

HOW EASY WAS IT TO PUT A CHILDCARE ARRANGEMENT TOGETHER AND DID IT WORK FOR YOUR FAMILY?

I’ve had a lot of help from family. My mom retired when my daughter was one to help out with the kids and my mother-­in­-law watches my kids often too. It’s terrific to have another set of hands.

WHEN DID THE “NEW NORMAL” SET IN FOR YOU?

With my first, it took around 6 months to get back to myself. I had to figure out my new role. With the second and third kids, I didn’t really even miss a beat. I realized that life goes one and I just figured it out and made it work.

WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE GOING BACK TO WORK?

Shuffling priorities. When you are the kind of person who wants to get everything done, you have to realize that you just can’t do everything. You have to figure out what’s most important to you and get those things finished first.

WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST SOURCE OF SUPPORT IN RETURNING TO WORK?

My whole family was supportive and made things work so I could contribute financially. My husband, my parents and my in­-laws all support me. My biggest pregnancy indulgence was Amazon Prime.

FILL IN THE BLANKS: AS A WORKING PARENT, I NEVER EXPECTED ____ WOULD BE SO HARD AND ____ WOULD BE SO MUCH EASIER!

As a working parent, I never expected that finding a routine would be so hard and getting family support would be so much easier.

AS A WORKING PARENT, A BAD DAY IS WHEN _____ AND A GOOD DAY IS WHEN _______.

As a working parent, a bad day is when I feel like I haven’t been a good mom and also haven’t gotten all of my work done and I feel like I’m not doing either role justice…and a good day is when everybody naps at the same time and I’m able to get a solid chunk of time to work.

 

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