It's working for Anonymous
Los Angeles, California
"We stagger our schedules, as we can't afford daycare. I work days and he works evenings during the week and weekends. We manage but it's grueling."
Decide first on the things that matter most to you, and organize around that. I don’t want to sacrifice meaningful time with my kid, and I’m lucky to have the flexibility at work to arrange my schedule so that several days a week I go in to work at 7am, and leave at 2, so I can get home early enough to spend a few hours with him and my husband before one goes to bed and the other goes to work, and then I get some additional work in during the evening. It’s tough… but it’s my choice because it allows me to do what I care most about.
I had intended to exclusively breastfeed, but I had low supply and had to supplement with formula from fairly early on. I breastfed, then followed up with a formula or expressed breast milk chaser, and when I went back to work he was formula fed when I was away, along with the tiny bit of milk I was able to pump.
I was able to cobble together a 12 week leave period. I had one month of vacation accrued, the state provides 55% pay for six weeks and allows sick days to be used to provide the other 45% for those days, and I used some additional 100% sick days to come to a total of 3 months away. I was really sad to go back at the end of that time – if I’d had the option, I would have taken a longer leave, but my employer has no leave policy (so once my sick days and vacation were used up, they might not have allowed me to take even unpaid time away) and we could not afford any unpaid time in any case.
Putting in 50-60 hours per week for a decade before having my kid meant that neither I nor the organization I worked for realized what actual 40-hour full time work should look like, and now that I can’t go over anymore, it feels like I’m skimping a lot of the time. Should have kept to reasonable hours from the start.
Hmm. I work in a nonprofit and my supervisor had been on maternity leave the prior year, so I did look to her for support and advice, though not in any formal way. I was very grateful to have her there, as I have been able to adjust my work schedule to fit our family’s needs, as long as I get in all of my hours and am present for important meetings, etc.
That the idea that I could take the kid to work with me sometimes, since I work in an educational setting and have a nice little nursery space attached to my office, was completely ridiculous. I’m not sure why I didn’t know this, but I was pretty breezy about how it would all work out, and thought I’d have a baby who’d just coo happily on the play mat or something while I got work done for little stretches of time. Hah!