It's Working Project

"As a working parent, a bad day is when I have to go and miss out on something special because of work that should be done as a family."

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

I would have tried to switch to a non travel position sooner so that I could have been home more with my daughter. I am home every day with my son and while that can be exhausting it has been worth it to sacrifice sleep each weekend to be able to be with him.

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

I never stopped working. We wanted my daughter to have my wife home full time for the first year of her life so my wife did not return to work. We were able to make that work financially so she stayed out of work for the next several years until it became a financial burden for her not to work.

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 company was pretty decent. I was able to have a week off for paternity. I was also able to make an adjustment from a travel position to a non-travel position. I however hated that position so I tried another position and then another and now I am working weekend overnights to not only take in more money (15% shift differential), but also to have more time home with my son.

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

I took the one week of leave for my daughter’s birth and one weekend for my son’s birth. I felt comfortable taking it. There was no problem for me to do so.

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

It was very easy in the beginning because we made the choice to have my wife stay home with the children. When she went back to work two years ago we first made arrangements for childcare on Mondays with a friend so that I could sleep after the weekend of work. This past year my son was in Day Care on Mondays and I had him the rest of the week.

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

Pretty quickly. Our daughter was such an easy child. She slept all night within the first two weeks and took naps and was very easy. We were living above my parents at that time and we had their help from time to time as well.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

I had no challenges other than feeling like I was missing out on moments with my daughter. It was easier with my son as I was home all week long. That was hard, too because I started the new job, bought a house and my son was born all within the a couple of month’s time.

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

My wife was a big support. She took care of the home and I took care of financing everything.

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 choosing when to take time off would be so hard and being able to raise my kids without a lot of day care would be so much easier!

As a working parent, a bad day is when _____ and a good day is when _______.

As a working parent, a bad day is when I have to go and miss out on something special because of work that should be done as a family and a good day is when I leave the house and there is no crying and fighting among the kids.