It's Working Project

"Now all three of my peeps are lovely grown-ups. I did not parent perfectly ... far from it ... but I was liberal with my delight in them."

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

Take it easy. Let go of perfection. Enjoy life. Enjoy those kids. Learn how your children are made personality-wise and stop fighting them about it and accept them unconditionally. It’s our job and it’s what every single little human needs from their caregivers. (It’s what we needed from our parents and most of us didn’t get.) Get support from a therapist or counselor sooner rather than later- for yourself or as things arise as kids grow. People think they have to be desperate or failing to ask for this kind of help and that’s BS. You just have to be human and have a question!

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

I wanted to be present for my children, to be their primary care-giver and influencer. I wanted to still have time with them. Finding that balance and finding meaningful work I could do while they were eventually otherwise occupied at school was central to my career choices. I was single for my third child. I opted to work at home and started a day care and did writing/editing from home. I was happy with the decision and it did make it harder emotionally to return to teaching since I felt “older” but still less experienced.

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?

My mother breastfed successfully. I thought it was the most natural thing on the planet and it not working was, literally, not even part of a whisper of a thought. Even when I had exceedingly painful mastitis with my first, it never occurred to me to quit. It occurred to me to fix the infection. I never did pump regularly. A few times I actually manually expressed.