This week I’m trying to Practice Gratitude. Gratitude strengthens our relationships with others, boosts health, reduces stress, all of which can benefit our overall happiness.
I went back to work last week after 12 weeks off for maternity leave with my second baby. It was bittersweet. I was both excited to return to work and get to see my awesome coworkers and use my brain in ways I haven’t used it on leave.
I was also nervous about leaving my tiny little baby, and as a nursing mom, the added pressure of pumping. Not to mention, while baby is starting to sleep longer stretches at night right now, the four month sleep regression is looming in the not-so-distant future, making me picture zombie filled days due to the lack of sleep.
It’s incredibly hard to be a working mom with a young baby and the United States does not necessarily support us as best as other countries do. However, my work steps in to fill some of that gap by offering an amazing program called [email protected], which allows me to bring my baby to work with me. Let me repeat that: I can bring my baby to work with me.
The program at my work allows me to bring him up until he’s six months old or crawling, whichever comes first. We have guidelines and parameters that protect mom, baby, and the well-being of coworkers around us. The goal of the program is to continue to support mom (dad can participate too) and baby. When Moms are happier, they are better employees.
I started back to work on a Tuesday and planned to work for three days my first week back. Here’s how it went:
Day 1 – Tuesday
Baby slept in the Ergo baby for much of the day, nice and close to Mama. During one (internal) meeting he got a bit fussy and I left the room for a few minutes, but other than that he was content and happy, smiling at everyone. We took nursing breaks in the Mother’s Room, except for one meeting with all women who graciously said, “go ahead and nurse.”
Day 2 – Wednesday
I brought the bouncy chair for baby to sit in at the advice of our COO who participated in the program when her son was a baby. I set it up on our communal kitchen table where many of my coworkers choose to work from during the day. Baby enjoyed all the passerby’s coming to peek and smile at him, and looking at the lights and fans. He slept in the Ergo baby for a couple of hours.
Day 3 – Thursday
Baby was content in the bouncy chair in the morning. In the afternoon my coworker offered to wear him in the Ergo baby so I could get some work done without having to stop and check on baby. He fell asleep and she kept him for 3 hours, checking in with me periodically. It was so great to see my coworkers support us throughout the work day. I think they benefited too by getting to smile and talk to a cute baby. Such a morale booster for all.
While I could continue to bring baby to work with me, my mother-in-law will now be coming to watch Baby #2 for the next three weeks before he starts daycare. I may bring baby to work with me from time to time in the future.
I’m so grateful that I have this program at my disposal. It makes going back to work so much easier knowing that I can take care of my family and those needs too.
So today and this week, think about what you are grateful for and focus on that in order to practice gratitude. I hope that it will bring you some positivity.