I always knew I wanted kids. I have always been obsessed with babies and couldn’t wait to be a Mom one day. One of the reasons I knew Brian was the one was because I knew he would be a great Dad.
I was at the same company when I got married that I would soon have my baby at. I started to look over their Maternity leave once I was married and couldn’t really find anything. (Word of advice, if you ever plan on having kids – please look at your future company’s Maternity leave policy. Or if you’re comparing offers at companies, definitely take their leave policy into consideration when deciding. They should be sharing their benefits with you before you decide to work for them anyway, but you should know what you’re signing up for in advance). I couldn’t find anything in their handbook about maternity leave. All I found was “One week paid Paternity leave”. What the heck? One week? My company didn’t have a policy. You had to file for short term disability which is 6 weeks paid, but up to a certain amount of your pay. Then I could take my “One week Paid leave”, cool. Then I had 5 weeks remaining that fell under FMLA. I took 3 weeks paid vacation and then had to take the rest unpaid. WTF America. 3 months sounds like a long time, but it’s not. It’s no time at all actually.
I think I was able to walk around the block comfortably 4 weeks after having McKenzie. But they make you go back to work after 6 if you can’t afford to stay home. I was so excited for my Maternity leave, but it flies by so quick. I was finally in a groove with McKenzie and then all of a sudden you have one week left. I did really enjoy my time with her. It’s wild because you don’t sleep much at all in the beginning, she would nap on my chest alot which was literally the best thing ever. There’s that saying “sleep when they sleep”, but that’s pretty hard to do. Ever see a sleeping baby? It’s the cutest thing ever. I would literally just stare at her. Brian would yell at me to go shower or something while she slept, but it was so hard and still is hard for me to miss any moment. The whole time I was enjoying my time off I knew in the back of my head I’d have to go back to work soon.
I cried every day when it was over, but I even cried a lot when I was still home even thinking about leaving my baby. I was super hormonal from nursing, but it’s just the worst going back after 3 months. I will say that everyone has it different. Some Mom’s can’t wait to get back to work to interact with humans again. It is kind of crazy being home with an infant and having very limited interaction with the outside world. I can see how that can get to a person. I had McKenzie in the summer so maybe I just didn’t experience this, but I was in no way shape or form looking forward to interacting with anyone. I just wanted to be home.
6-8 months was probably my favorite time of her infancy. She was sitting up, we could go shopping, she knew who I was and you could feel the love back. I found out from a friend that there was a new law in New York that was rolling out in 2017 called Paid Family Leave and it applied to parents up until your child was 1. This made me so happy. I was going to be able to take more time off with my girl. I was so nervous to talk to my boss about this. Some people made me feel like I was going to get fired if I took extra time off. Fired? For wanting to take more time with my baby that the state is allowing me to take? There’s no way they would do that. I think what made it easier was my boss at the time was also a Mom. I knew she would understand. I even prepped her with an email before I spoke with her and gave her much advanced notice. She had no problem with this. She said I should take whatever time I need and that we would figure it out. I think I cried when I left her office. I was so happy that she was supportive. I ended up taking a week off on April when McKenzie was 9 months and then 3 weeks in May and then 1 more week in June. Even though my boss gave me permission to take time, I still felt guilty because I knew my co-workers would have cover for me. Those weeks off were the absolute best. McKenzie was crawling, hugging, eating, growing and just such a fun loving happy girl. I would recommend to anyone that has the opportunity to take those extra weeks off to take them separate from your FMLA or your Maternity leave(if you can). That was the best age to be home with her and really bond. I can’t even remember when she was 2-3 months, I was just trying to keep her alive and figure out how to be a Mom.
My recent company actually has a really great policy. They offer 5 months paid leave followed by a transition period. This was actually a huge part of the reason I went to work for this company, I thought for sure I would have my 2nd kid there. Their maternity leave was even holding me back to not leave, but I ultimately decided I didn’t want my unhappiness to outweigh sticking out a year or so at a company for their maternity leave. If I was going to continue to work full time in the city, then sure maybe I would have. I have decided to eventually find something part time closer to my home so I finally decided to just move on.
There were many factors that contributed to me leaving my job, but in the end I decided I want to take time and do something for myself that makes me happy. Something that fulfills me more. I have recently posted about Mom guilt and that really had me thinking about ways I could prevent those feelings from happening all the time. If I’m going to be working, I would rather it be for something that makes me happy and not just for the money. I think maybe that was part of my problem throughout my 20s is I was always chasing a bigger pay day but not looking at the bigger picture.
We will see where my next journey takes me, for now I’m focused on myself and my family. What type of maternity leave does your company offer? Do you work full time or part time? Leave a comment on my instagram or feel free to comment here!