It's Working Project

"Be flexible. Because so much is beyond our control, and you can’t begin to fully comprehend what it’s like to be a parent until you are one."

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

Be flexible. Because so much is beyond our control, and you can’t begin to fully comprehend what it’s like to be a parent until you are one. It started for me from the get-go, when my water broke three and a half weeks before my due date, and all of my best-laid plans for an easy (ha!) natural childbirth went out the window when I didn’t go into labor on my own, had to be induced, and opted for an epidural.  When it came down to it, I just wanted my baby to be born healthy and without complications.

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

I returned to work but quickly knew I wasn’t ready to go back full time. I had a difficult post-partum recovery – a severely herniated disk and a lot of time spent in physical therapy to heal it – and by the time I was better and starting to wrap my head around new motherhood, maternity leave was ending.  So, when I was back at my job, I felt like I hadn’t had sufficient time at home with my son and ended up leaving.  Looking back, though, I probably would have felt like that no matter what; I really just wanted to be with my new baby.  After about a year, I started freelancing as a writer and photo editor (which is what I had done previously), then eventually launched KidFriendly DC.


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?

There were lactation rooms at my company, which I greatly appreciated during the time I was there. After I left my job, I continued to breastfeed at home.

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

I was able to take 12 weeks and felt comfortable doing so.  Before my maternity leave, we made a plan in my department for how my responsibilities would be allocated while I was out.

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

During the short time I went back to work, my husband was working from home, and we had a sitter help out, so we thought that we had the baby care easily covered – but quickly realized we actually didn’t.  Caring for a newborn was much harder and more unpredictable than we anticipated.  We needed either a full-time childcare provider or one of us to be with the baby full-time.

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

Still waiting for it!  Really, the new normal is constantly changing as the kids grow, and we all move into different phases of our lives, both individually and together as a family.  I guess that in itself is the new normal.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

The first time, leaving my newborn when I wasn’t ready to was, the most challenging. With KidFriendly DC, taking an unconventional career path and building something completely on my own have been the greatest, but ultimately most rewarding, challenges.


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

My husband, hands down. He was happy for me when I returned to work after having our son, then on board when I chose to leave.  And he’s been nothing short of encouraging since I started KFDC.  We’ve made decisions together based on what works for our family in many ways.  Publishing my blog lets me pursue a fulfilling professional path while having the flexibility to be available for our children and handle family needs easily.

My biggest pregnancy indulgence was Ben and Jerry’s (whole pints in a sitting!) and Crunchwrap Supremes from Taco Bell.

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 managing my time would be so hard and prioritizing would be so much easier.  Even with flexibility, there never seems to be enough time to cross everything off my To Do lists.  But deciding what needs to be done first – what is most important – is simple.

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

A bad day is when something truly bad happens, someone is sick or hurt or there is tragic news.  I really try to keep it all in perspective, not sweat the small stuff.  So, most days as a working parent are good simply because I get to do something I love that inspires (and, essentially, requires) quality time with my favorite people.