It's Working Project

"I work as a nurse, second shift, two days a week and every other weekend during the day. Our first son has autism so dealing with just him is a challenge."

Did you always know you would go back to work after starting a family? Why or why not?

 I knew I would have to work some since my husband is a teacher and we need both of our incomes.

Tell us about your planning for your new child – timed around your career? Not at all? Share the skinny!

This is my third, so the planning has already been in place for my previous two.  I work as a nurse, second shift, two days a week and every other weekend during the day.  Our first son has autism so dealing with just him is a challenge. 

What was your biggest initial concern and/or obstacle to going back to work after starting a family?

Finding sitters that could be at our house to assist my husband when I work the evening shift during the week.  It takes one person who needs to be one-on-one with my son and another to be with my middle son and baby.  One person cannot do it all.  So finding good help was very stressful for me.

What factors contributed to your chosen feeding method?

I decided that we have enough stress with our son and life that I wanted to make things easier.  My husband is a big help and formula feeding meant we could both get some sleep and take shifts with the baby. 

If you are in a relationship, how did you decide which partner would go back to work? What issues factored into that decision?

I’ve been married for 10 years.  My husband didn’t take off work, he was a teacher and now a professor for just the last few months now.  This summer when we had our baby he was off so that was a big help.  I work part time but my income is needed.

If you needed to return to work, did you have a back-to-work mentor? How did they help?

 I did not have a back to work mentor.

How long was your family leave? If you needed to return to work, how did you feel about it?

 My leave paid up to 6 weeks off but I asked for 12 weeks (which I had for my previous job)  this job allowed it but I did not get paid for the last 6 weeks so we had to make cuts.  I wanted to stay on leave as much as possible.

How did you work with your doctor, adoption agency, or Human Resources department to plan for your family leave and return?

 I worked with the human resources department at the hospital I work at to plan out my leave. 

If you returned to work, when did your confidence around work kick in? How long did the adjustment take (or are you still adjusting?)

I have been back about a month and a half.  It took a good couple of weeks to get back in the swing of things however in a way I am still adjusting to life with 3 kids, being up at night, less sleep, more activities with my older kids…really just trying to juggle it all.  It is hard to do.  I’m a little exhausted.

What, if any, advice would you give to employers to ease strain around family leave and returning to the workplace?

I would let employees have longer leaves.  Or at least let them come back half time for the first few months to adjust.  Most babies don’t start really, fully start sleeping through the night til about 6 months old.  I would be a much more functional human being if I was getting more sleep.  People think you have a baby and things are normal again.  Not the case.  It takes a while for the baby to get into a routine and you to get back to normal/regular sleep. 

A good day is when:

I get a good night sleep and have a little time for myself…this makes me a better mom.

What I wish I had known:

Well I can’t really think of anything other than the importance of sleeping when the baby sleeps…sleep deprivation is a real thing…much better this time around since I did not kill myself trying to breastfeed. 

One mistake I learned the hard way:

Exclusively pumping…by the time you pump, feed, and clean bottles, it’s time to feed again…vicious cycle.