As a parent ready to embark on leave in the all too near future, I’m attracted like a moth to a flame to Netflix’s announcement on their parental leave policy. If you’ve not heard about this yet, it’s worth a quick read. Not only are they offering full salaries and benefits but allowing flexibility for parents to return part time or come back full time for a few months and leave again. If that was not enough, and this is practically unheard of these days, they’re offering this to both men and women! I’m dying.
While I’m grateful for FMLA which ensures me a position and also that at my company offers short-term disability coverage which ensures some financial assistance, I long for more. In honesty we lose out on a nice chunk of income even at the standard 6 or 8 week leave period not to mention extending to a full 12 weeks. Keep in mind I’m speaking for myself, a woman in the workplace that is offered leave, my husband doesn’t even have the luxury of parental leave.
One of the biggest considerations when becoming a new parent is weighing the time you would like to/need to take off, prior to knowing what your needs will really be, with the financial implications. It is almost always a bummer of a conversation.
What Netflix is offering is beyond amazing, something that is likely not to be rivaled let alone matched by many others. Like I needed another reason to keep my Netflix subscription!
P.S. If you’re a new parent and handling middle of the night feedings, I highly recommend investing in a Netflix subscription. I’ve written about my Netflix addiction before – it’s the real deal, I’m hooked. My iPhone equipped with the Netflix app saved me – it kept me awake, engaged and made it easier to get up… AGAIN… in the middle of the night with my newborn. In fact, this go ‘round I’ve saved Orange is the New Black and Wet Hot American Summer – First Day of Camp specifically for this reason!
I was surfing my favorite news sites quickly yesterday afternoon during my 4:15PM lunch break at work (yes lunch) and stumbled upon a a quick read on USA Today Life which talks about designer and business owner Rachel Zoe and her claim that creating an office nursery was her best business decision yet. As a fellow working mom who was motivated and committed to returning to my career after maternity leave I just loved the approach she took. I was compelled to read her essay in its entirety.
The icing for me was this quote:
“My advice to you: Never apologize for being dedicated to your kids and challenge those around you to not only acknowledge, but celebrate your ability to be a mother and an asset in the workplace.”
Work/Life balance is always a struggle, one that parenthood adds an additional layer onto for both mom and dad. Though it’s one, I would argue, that has also made me a better employee.
Just loved this take from her, so refreshing.
It may only be one small step, but it was taken like a boss.
As it turns out, I was utterly and completely naive and perhaps a bit in denial about what it would be like to leave little Dan V and go back work.
So first, let me state the obvious… leaving your baby SUCKS. I was shocked by how down I felt. I truly thought I’d be ready to jump right back to work after 7 weeks – surprise! I wasn’t. I literally cried every day the week before I went back to work. In uncharted territory and completely overwhelmed I finally reached out to a friend and fellow working mom for moral support. Her advice was to take as much pressure off morning prep as possible, especially while trying to figure out the new routine. Here are a few pieces of her wisdom…
Tag someone else in…
If you can, have someone else drop the little one off at daycare for two reasons:
- It will allow you to avoid an extra step on your morning commute so that you don’t feel like you’re rushing out the door
- You can avoid the inevitable emotional breakdown that will take place when you hand over your little one officially for the first time
Dress for success…
You’ll be heading back into a professional environment with adult humans; you’ll want to look the part. Start with maternity gear and work your way back – especially pants! Trust me, for your own sanity, start with the demi-panel maternity pants you purchased while you were pregnant. The last thing you need is to lose it over not fitting in your pre-pregnancy work outfits as you’re preparing to leave your newborn to go back to work for the first time. Not awesome.
Take the guess work out of “what to wear” in the morning by trying on and prepping your outfits for the week. This way you can get into the groove of a new routine without stressing about what you’re going to put on much less fit into. Remember, if you’re pumping you’ll need easy access so pants or skirts and tops are your best bet.
Get ahead by any means necessary…
Anything you can get ahead in the morning is a positive exercise. Try things like…
- Shower the night before and dry your hair
- Grab a shower cap if you still like to jump in the shower to perk yourself up in the morning
- Prep baby’s bag and food for daycare the night before
- Buy yourself a great robe so you can get dressed last thing before you walk out the door
- You will be covered in some type of bodily fluid that is not your own (usually not your own anyway), it’s inescapable so plan for it
For your first week back be sure to schedule some lunch dates with co-workers to reconnect. You’ll be able to catch-up on what you’ve missed and actually eat a full meal in peace. Plus you’ll have an excuse to share the hundreds of photos you’ve taken of your little one.
I can’t promise that it will be easy but I can promise that you will get through it. You’re stronger than you think!