It's Working Project

"Balance is bulls***! Balance implies that you can keep 40 things going at the same time and you have equal happiness at work and home, etc."

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

Balance is bulls***! Balance implies that you can keep 40 things going at the same time and you have equal happiness at work and home, etc. Instead I believe a healthy acceptance that you CAN’T do everything is a better attitude. Don’t strive to do much more than feed/bond/love baby for the first year. More than that is stressful and might set unrealistic expectations. There is not enough time for a mom working 40 hours/week to feel in balance. Instead, using mindfulness to go fully in each moment allows you to enjoy the moments you have. So you won’t bring stress from work into home and guilt from home into work.

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

I was such a HOT MESS emotionally leading up to going back to work. My work was so accommodating and even allowed me to go back 4 days a week. I was able to take an additional month off unpaid as well. But my hormones, lack of sleep, and mom guilt were raging. I made all the classic mistakes moms make, like going cold turkey being away from baby because I wanted to maximize the time with her. I was crying in my cubicle day two.

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 mom was pro breastfeeding and my friend was a lactation consultant, so I felt like it was the right thing to do.

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

In California we get unpaid baby bonding, but I was educated enough to maximize that. I was paid 100% for 6 weeks, 50% for the next 6 weeks, and I took an additional month unpaid.

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

No and that was the problem. After the casseroles stopped arriving, I was left on my own. I didn’t know of any communities or resources to help me make that transition.

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

Birth is traumatic. Breastfeeding is not that graceful brochure photo (in the beginning). And that there is a phase when you redefine who you are as a woman, wife, mother and employee that takes a long-ass time!