It's Working Project

"I think there are a lot of moms like me who are self-employed because the traditional business world doesn't work for us; we're sort of forced to find creative ways to contribute financially to our families."

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

I wish I had known that our babies and children are really teaching us, not the other way around.

I know that sounds like a cat poster, but the greatest gift of working with brand new families has been seeing the pattern that if we just trust our little ones and our instincts, everything will be okay. Our speeded up culture, millions of think-pieces about parenting decisions and yes- being up against the clock of maternity leave are all extremely loud noise that make us unable to hear what our littlest ones are saying to us. And if we can really listen, our babies and kids are telling us just to slow down and trust that love will lead us.

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?

I breastfed my first for about 3 months because I wanted to give him the best health benefits I could. When breastfeeding remained difficult to the point where I was beating myself up and unhealthy, we switched to formula.

I made the decision to formula feed my twins because I wanted to be available to my 18-month old as much as I was to my 2 newborns, formula allowed other family members and friends to feed 1 or both of my twins during those difficult first months. For my family, formula allowed me to be a more present parent to everyone.

Milk production was an ongoing issue but no, I didn’t need to pump due to returning to work.

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

Not applicable for me. At my company though, my family leave policy is very simple. Family comes first and if caregivers need time to be with them, they may take as much time as they wish. If you’re taking maternity leave, your job will be waiting for as long as you wish.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

That I would be taking time away from the kids that I could never get back.

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

I did not have a back to work mentor but I must say that the local blogger community–also all moms–was a great source of support for me. Connecting with these other women who understood that cheering each other on meant success for all of us was inspiring personally and professionally.

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

That parenting is just one big fluid journey and very few issues are black and white. As a first-time parent I thought Everything Was So Important; you can’t have baby co-sleep or he’ll never stop, you can’t give a child non-organic food, you must be on a schedule and on and on. What a waste of time and energy all that was!