It's Working Project

"A determined mom will get MUCH more done in the time allotted to ensure she can get home to her baby in time for as many cuddles as possible each night."

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

Thinking you will be able to do it all when you first get back to work. WRONG. It takes time. Day by day, it’ll get easier. But it takes time to adjust.

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?

Ahhhh….pumping. The love/hate relationship. Love = I get to provide breastmilk for my baby even though I’m working away from him all day M-F. Hate = who in the world likes to be hooked up to a loud machine multiple times a day that interrupts their normal daily work-flow and makes you feel like a dairy cow (mooo). Pumping was quite the journey for me, though I was ridiculous determined to make it work. Being blessed to work at our family company, I could easily adjust my schedule to pump when I needed to. Luckily, my career didn’t impede me from pumping as I know it does for so many others. My impetus was the amount of milk my son drank and the small amount of milk I was able to pump. He would take 3 bottles while I was at work…I would pump 4 times at work to just have enough…AND I would wake up in the middle of the night (when HE was still sleeping!) to get in an extra pumping session just so I’d have enough milk for the next day. I knew all about galactogogues…ate oatmeal every morning, made lactation cookies, took fenugreek…you name, it, I tried it. That lasted about 4 months and was pretty awful, considering I could have used the extra sleep! 😉 All in all…once I hit 1 year I was done but definitely felt a sense of accomplishment for making it. For Baby #2 (hopefully…at a later date!) pumping is probably what I’m dreading most.

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

I took 6 weeks fully off, then worked part-time from home and when I could for the next 6 weeks. I was back to work full-time after those 3 months. Working for our family company and essentially in charge of my own schedule, I did feel comfortable with taking my time off but only comfortable with a “full” 6 weeks as my involvement in the company required I work part time at that point. I absolutely would not have been ready to return full time after just 6 weeks, and my heart breaks for women who have no option but to return after 6 weeks or even earlier.

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

It was emotionally challenging initially interviewing for a nanny to watch our son, but we were very lucky to quickly find someone who seemed to be a good fit with our family. 19 months later, I couldn’t imagine my life without her as she’s an amazing nanny to our son and loves him dearly, and helps with other household tasks when she can to help me keep my life a little more organized 😉

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

Guilt…was I doing the right thing leaving my little one with his nanny? Was I not supposed to be the one guiding him through the beginning stages of his life? Will he view the world more like his nanny does than how myself or his father do? It was really hard to have these feelings and questions and leave him everyday, and then have to focus on work. The second part was for the first 3-4 months after returning to work (I took 6 weeks fully off, then worked part-time from home an additional 6 weeks) it felt as if everyday there was another issue with my son at home…fussy, wouldn’t eat, ate too much, wouldn’t nap, etc etc…it became incredibly difficult to stay focused and present at work when my mind and heart were constantly being pulled somewhere else. My priority was and ALWAYS will be my son over my job, and it was hard finding that balance when I first came back to work.

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

That it’ll never actually be balanced…and that’s ok. There’s really no such thing as balancing family and work. It’s more like you’re running back and forth along the top of a scale, trying to stop the scale from tipping one way or the other, but it’s never perfectly balanced. It’s a little chaotic, but you have to learn to find peace amidst the chaos.