It's Working Project

Finding other mothers and a community helped me find my new normal.

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

To keep my identity for myself and not lose who I am as a person. I devoted everything to my family, and I forgot that I need to keep myself healthy too for balance.

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

I decided to stay home because my husband and I both worked in television news — for the same company — which had long hours. Our son would  have been in daycare 12 hours a day. 16 years ago family-focused or flexible work situations did not exist in our industry. I just returned to work after 16 years of being a stay at home parent and I love it!

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?

If I had stayed on staff I would have been pumping in the stall in the bathroom, or I may have gone into an editing room and closed the door, but they didn’t lock. I tried with my first son and was not able to nurse. For our second son I nursed for a year.

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

Six weeks.

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

It was a stressful at first, because we needed my income but daycare was expensive. Then my husband got a new job that paid more that allowed me to stay home, and I liked staying home when they were babies and young children. It worked for us and I was so focused on being a mom.

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

When I got into a mom’s playgroup when my first son was 18 months. Finding other mothers and a community helped me find my new normal.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

Finding a new position after a hiatus.

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 thought getting back into the workforce would be so hard and my family adapting to it would be so much easier!