We worked hard against the sad American status quo and the difficult financial realities of being a small business to come up with at least a reasonably acceptable parental leave policy at dojo4. I feel very lucky to have been afforded a parental leave, and now feel lucky to be able to come back to a workplace that is flexible enough to accommodate the ups and downs, constraints and requirements inherent to being a working parent. And now that I'm back in the office (at least partially) since my daughter, Florence, was born earlier this summer, these complexities of being a 'working mother' are becoming increasingly familiar if not less complex, to me: juggling constantly shifting work schedules with my husband, negotiating affordable and attentive childcare, figuring out how to breastfeed and still leave Florence for hours at a time, switching from 'work brain' to 'new parent brain' and back several times a day, and all the while on a less than optimal sleep ration.
I returned after 5 weeks, which is much sooner than what I believe should be policy and sooner what I would expect from an employee. But as a business owner, I was thinking about work enough anyway that it seemed more effective to actually do the work when I was thinking about it, so that I can dedidate myself undividedly to my daughter and husband the rest of the time. And although hectic as hell and heartbreaking to leave Florence most days, it also feels great to be back at work.
And, in fact, it turns out, according to the data that Pamela Brooke at Human Resources MBA sent after reading about our work at dojo4 to create a sustainable parental leave policy, that mothers who return to work are substantially happier and healthier (see infographic). In order to be happy to return to work after having babies, you have to be able to leave properly in the first place. But American society and policy has a lot of catching up to do to get us to that place, where we can adequately take care of our families and career paths, without one being at the expense of the other.
At dojo4, we design and build elegant, robust custom web sites and applications, and take pride in our work. But I think one of our most important contributions to the community is reflected in the culture we've worked together to create that supports job security for our team members to be able to spend crucial time with our families and return to work, happier and healthier.
Source: Work After Baby