It's Working Project

Keep putting one foot in front of the other and know that the time will pass and that your baby will find its way to you.

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

It is okay to acknowledge that you do not know how to do this perfectly. This is particularly hard if you are used to being a successful and organized problem solver at work.

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

I ended up with 14 weeks of maternity leave, most due to the timing (it ended during winter break when we are usually off anyway).  During this time I responded to internal emails as needed, but not emails from congregants.  I also led a few services, went to a handful of meetings, and spoke at a conference that I had already been contracted to speak at.  Being back at work for four months now, I’ve come to understand that the reality of a back-to-work plan will probably be in flux for much of the first year.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

Toward the end of our paperwork, just before we “went live,” [my husband and I] each told our bosses and the senior staff at our jobs.  During the time that we were waiting (almost two years), we shared the information with people as it came up organically.  However, at the time of our son’s birth, there were still some staff members (and many congregants) who did not know this was something we were doing.

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

Other working parents, most definitely.  It’s good to hear, “yes, your child will still know who you are,” “yes, it will get easier,” “yes, you will be so very, very tired.”  I am also fortunate in that all of the other members of my senior staff team have children and understand what these first months and years are like.  They have been wonderfully supportive and given me the time and flexibility to get into a working parent groove (which I am hoping to get into one of these days!).

Fill in the blanks: As a working parent, I never expected ____ would be so hard and ____ would be so much easier!

I never expected that just leaving the house in the morning with the baby and all of our stuff for work and daycare would be so hard, and that cloth diapers would be so much easier!