It's Working Project

So with a flexible schedule and two young kids in tow, I managed to get promoted to vice president.

What is one piece of advice you wish you could offer your former expectant self?

​Don’t try to prove that you can still move mountains at work when you are nine months pregnant.  You may think you’re fine and can handle anything, but when you are in your third trimester, you need to take it easy on the work front or else go into early labor. During my ninth month, I went into labor three weeks early after juggling a major magazine photo shoot for the King of Queens, arranging for the cast of CSI to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and spearheading a season finale media event for “The Amazing Race.”   While I made it to that photo shoot, I went into labor three days later and watched the rest of the interviews I had arranged from my hospital bed!

What was your primary motivation for deciding to return (or not) to work? How early did you tell your employer?

I knew that after I had children I was going to return to work no matter what but it was going to be on my own terms.  I had already been working at CBS for several years before my daughter was born and when it came time to return to work after maternity leave, I asked my boss if he’d consider allowing me to work from home two days a week and he agreed to a seven week “test.”  Well seven weeks led to seven years and my actions paved the way for other parents in the department who got the ​chance to work from home.

FOR MOMS: If you breastfed, was there a place for you to pump that met your needs and was conducive to your success? If you breastfed, how did you decide to continue? FOR DADS: What, if any, adjustments did you (or your workplace) make to your schedule after having a baby? Was it specific to your manager or larger, whole work culture?

At the time, we did not have a private room or area to breastfeed but that was more than a decade ago.  I only breastfed each of my kids throughout my maternity leave. When it came time to return to work, they were already being bottle fed.

How much leave did you take, and how comfortable were you taking it?

For my first pregnancy, I took off 16 weeks for maternity leave and was very happy that I took all that time. The second time, I only took about 12 weeks and it was a much tougher adjustment.  I really wish I could have taken even more time but having the chance to work from home twice a week definitely ​helped.

How easy was it to put a childcare arrangement together and did it work for your family?

W​e found childcare through parent recommendations.  It was also easier for me since I was home a few days a week and I was able to bond with the sitter and make sure my children were comfortable with them when we were at work.

When did the “new normal” set in for you?

​I think the new normal set in for me when we had our son and sleep as I knew it went out the window.  I remember when he was an infant and my daughter was three years old that I hardly ever slept.  I think I was a zombie at that point and finally began sleeping again when my son turned three and my daughter was six. ​​

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

My biggest challenge was that my job was not a traditional 9 to 5 position.  As an entertainment publicist, I sometimes had to be on the set of a show at 7am and the days could be incredibly long.  I had to make sure that whoever I hired for child care could arrive super early and sometimes stay late too.  After a few years of trying to maintain this crazy schedule, I finally got the courage to ask my boss to consider a different type of position for me.  I actually pitched him on a plan where I would handle PR for several divisions of the company and he went for it.  So with a flexible schedule and two young kids in tow, I managed to get promoted to vice president.  I was determined to still achieve success on the job no matter how demanding motherhood was.

Who was your biggest source of support in returning to work? What was your biggest pregnancy indulgence?

My husband was incredibly supportive as were my parents.  I am very fortunate to have been raised by a mom and dad who believed I could accomplish anything in my life and with their support, I have achieved so much.  And thanks to my husband, I was encouraged to take a chance, leave that big job behind and start my own business.  Now, almost 10 years later, I’m still here, watching classic movies with my 13 year old son and touring colleges with my daughter.  Time sure flies, but I have enjoyed every moment of this adventure.

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 ​parenting​ would be so hard and ​work would be so much easier!