It's Working Project

“I would often post [on a moms’ Facebook group] about how sad it was to drop my baby girl off at daycare, and they would tell me the same thing: it will get better. Turns out, they were right!”

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

My expectant self was kind of a wreck. Three weeks before I found out I was pregnant, my mom had a recurrence of stage 4 breast cancer. I spent my entire pregnancy worried about my mom, worried about my baby, terrified that something awful would befall them both. I did end up losing my mom about three weeks after my daughter came into the world, but my daughter was thankfully born completely healthy. In light of all that, I think my piece of advice to my former pregnant self would be simple: Everything is going to be okay.

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

I told my manager when I was only five weeks! I had an ectopic scare and my doctor sent me to the ER, so I left my office around 10 a.m. one day and didn’t get back until about 4 p.m. I felt like I needed to offer my manager an explanation for the sudden, lengthy absence.

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

I took 12 weeks off, the maximum allowed by FMLA. That felt way too short to me!



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

I love my daughter’s preschool (and she loves it, too)–I think that’s key for a happy working mom situation.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

It was really hard for me to return to work. I cried every day for several weeks, and even seriously thought about quitting my job. In my early days back, a few other moms in the office made it a point to tell me that it will get better. I’m also really involved with a private Facebook moms’ group and they were a great source of support, too. I would often post on there about how sad it was to drop my baby girl off at daycare, and they would tell me the same thing: it will get better. Turns out, they were right! It did get better. I absolutely love being a working mom now. I get to spend my weekdays doing what I love most (writing), and my evenings and weekends spending quality time with the people I love best (my daughter and husband). For me, that’s just about perfect.

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

Eh, I don’t have an exciting answer for this one. Before I got pregnant, I imagined my pregnant self would be eating endless pastries and bowls of ice cream, but when it came time to actually do that I was hesitant for some reason. And then I “almost failed” my gestational diabetes test, which basically means that I passed, but just barely. My OB didn’t tell me to follow a special diet after that, but I was paranoid, so I cut out sugar pretty much. My main indulgence at that point was sugar-free water ice. Lame, right?!

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

I never expected returning to work would be so hard and ultimately finding a good work-life balance would be so much easier!