It's Working Project

“Come prepared with at least some preliminary thoughts on how you would like to approach your leave from a timing, transition, and delegation standpoint.”

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

You really WILL (mostly) lose the weight.

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

For both of my pregnancies, I told them right around 3 months (especially as I tended to show early … and I hated keeping it a secret)! I think it’s very important that you plan the conversation by considering your good news from the standpoint of your employer. Role-reverse for a moment–if you’ve ever had an employee tell YOU that they are pregnant, as a manager your immediate visceral reaction is a mix of joy for this person and concern for what it will mean to the work while they are out. So come prepared with at least some preliminary thoughts on how you would like to approach your leave from a timing, transition, and delegation standpoint. It should be a personal conversation celebrating beautiful news and a practical one that builds confidence and reinforces your professionalism.

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

I took exactly 11 weeks with my first daughter and 3 months with my second daughter. With my first daughter, I was then Vice President of Global Advertising for Unilever Cosmetics International, and serendipitously, there was a big industry meeting in Florida right at that 11 week mark … so my transition back to work involved a trip to Florida, for which I was able to take my husband and newborn with me–that worked out pretty nicely! It was a much more routine return to work 5 1/2 years later.

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

Certainly my husband, my mom, friends … and our nanny.

There were probably too many indulgences! I remember having a thing for old childhood treats like Marino’s Italian ices. And I craved watermelon. However, I would say the better indulgence was getting a pregnancy friendly massage.  I loved the magic of being pregnant, but everything ached!

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

I never expected doing the daily navigation of work responsibilities and home would be so hard. The hard part is the pressure you feel when one part tugs too hard … or just generally feeling like you are being masterful at all of it. The easier part is that sometimes it really is humming along pretty darn well … and the wonderful validation of that is looking at two terrific, well-adjusted kids and realizing they are the best testament to that success.