It's Working Project

“In my four years of being a mom, I’ve realized that my husband does it differently than I do, and I do it differently than my mother did, and none of us is wrong.”

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

I’d love to say “don’t worry” — but the truth is, worrying is a rite of passage that comes when you care about someone more than yourself. So I’ll go with “relax” — there’s no one right way to deliver a baby, or feed a baby, or parent a baby, so let go of all of those expectations and indigestion-fueled, late-night study sessions with how-to guides. In my four years of being a mom, I’ve realized that my husband does it differently than I do, and I do it differently than my mother did, and none of us is wrong. We all love our kids. So instead of studying, enjoy the experience.

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

My second pregnancy was a result of in-vitro fertilization, so thanks to time-consuming weekly (and then daily) doctors’ appointments, I had the conversation with my boss even before I was pregnant. I understand that not every work environment is conducive to this kind of transparency, but for me, it was such a blessing to share the IVF journey (and all its inherent stress and anxiety) with a few select co-workers. When I finally got the phone call that the procedure was successful and I was pregnant, my boss gave me a huge hug and told me to rest whenever I needed to. His support and kindness was invaluable, and I’m still so grateful.

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

My specific job has a “season” — like teachers, for instance, there’s a built-in time where we are on hiatus every year. Out of pure luck, my deliveries overlapped with this break. I had almost six months off after my first son was born, and about six weeks off after my second son was born. And like most working parents I’ve spoken to, both times, I was simultaneously thrilled and devastated about returning to an office. I felt like I hadn’t had enough time with my babies; and I felt like I couldn’t wait to put on actual clothes and talk to adults during the day. Like I was told when I first started dreaming of a family: there is no “perfect” time to have a baby. You get pregnant and then life adjusts. For me, returning to work was the same: once the decision was made, life adjusted to the new world order fairly quickly.


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

My husband was an amazing logistical support, stepping up to help with meals and errands and all the stuff that needed to be done to keep our lives running. But emotionally, it was all about the working mothers who came before me. After Harry was born, I remember posting on Facebook how nervous and scared and excited I was about returning to an office. So many messages of support and wisdom came back. And most importantly, no one tried to “fix” those feelings — everyone simply told me that it was perfectly normal, and that I’d be just fine.

My indulgence was sleep. And doughnuts.

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 showering and getting dressed would be so hard, but multi-tasking preschool meetings, dentist appointments, and script deadlines would be so much easier!