It's Working Project

"After I found out that there were more teachers pumping behind desks or other odd places in the school, I approached the principal about a set place for us to use."

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

Be patient with yourself and don’t compare your situation to anyone else’s. And jogging strollers will save your life. Take that baby for a run and look at nature!

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 just felt like it was the right thing to do and it was incredibly cost efficient! Since he had to attend a daycare the immunity from nursing/pumping really helped him stay strong and healthy.

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

I was granted my FMLA leave of 6 weeks but only had saved up 5 weeks of paid sick days. At that point I returned to school. When I returned to work I honestly was a little grateful to get out of the house. My husband was staying home with our son so there weren’t any trust issues or worry issues like there was when he first attended the daycare in the Fall. When school started in August that was a different story because at that point we had all been home together for 3 months. Plus I was leaving him at the daycare and he was just so little. I was worried that he was going to just lay in the crib all day and not get any attention. Which was silly because as time went on I realized how much they held the babies and fawned over them all day.

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

When I had our first child the daycare was an easy decision because all of the teachers I worked with used the same daycare and it was a great place. It was a pretty terrible transition – leaving him everyday and pumping under my classroom desk – but we got through it. The school did eventually offer an office but it was on the other side of the building and not convenient so I just sat on the rug by my desk and pumped behind it so that even if someone did open the door they wouldn’t see anything. Which did happen – at least twice. Thank goodness for the desk and the fact that my department was all female.

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

I did not have a designated back to work mentor but there was a mom/teacher who had just returned to work post-baby the year before so we would talk often. She would recognize the teary eyed mornings and console or just offer a listening ear. She also just led by example because her and her children were doing great despite having to return to work.

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

That teachers don’t get paid maternity leave and to save my sick days!