It's Working Project

"I wish I had known how good it feels to be financially independent as a woman."

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

Don’t get it set in your head that any one way to live your life or run your family is the only way or the right way to do it. Just do your best, and love your kids and set a good example for what hard work and meaningful relationships within a family look like. Everything will work out just fine.

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 could have pumped, and it would have been better if I had -but I never got the bottle feeding thing down very well with my first. My second did pretty well and the third had it down – so I pumped more with those two.

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

I was on the computer in the hospital just a few hours after childbirth. I didn’t realize there would be so much sitting around when the baby is first born. I remember those first few weeks I did a lot of work from home. I never really took time off, I just reduced my hours and didn’t go into the office much at all. I honestly never looked into what kind of maternity leave I had or even FMLA – in hindsight I wish I had at least looked into my options. Ultimately though, I did have to get back into the office for a handful of days each weekend, and my daughter (who was breastfed) wouldn’t take a bottle so it was really stressful for me to leave her.

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

I didn’t have a back to work mentor, but I did have many full time working women around me that I watched closely. One of my best friends, Vanessa, was probably my biggest “role model’ in this area, though I’m sure she didn’t see herself that way. I found it so reassuring watching her navigate working full time (both her and her husband actually) and to see as they grew how consistently happy, healthy and loved her children were.