When people ask me how much time I took off after Leo’s birth, I always give the caveat that I came back in very different circumstances than most women. I was working from home, part time, with full time childcare. I was able to see the little guy throughout the day – and most days still do – and even bring him to some meetings with me.
- May (2-6 weeks old). Yes, I was working, but I was pretty delirious. I was sleep deprived, emotional and starving (since Leo’s digestive issues sent me on a total elimination diet). I was able to get back to the basics of back office management and respond to my colleagues’ requests, but my strategic thinking was… lacking. And of course, I was beating myself up over that constantly until my very wise executive coach told me to lay off myself and just ask others how I could help them.
- June (6-10 weeks old, when many women in America have to return to work). Compared to May, I was a new woman, but probably only 50% of myself. My productivity wasn’t my usual and I still didn’t have the stamina. I could think coherently, but my time doing that was limited. That said, we were so busy that I was working full time and really contributing again.
- July (10-13 weeks old, when most women I know return to work). I feel back to myself from a productivity and stamina perspective, but now I feel totally time constrained. Maybe that is never going to change until my kids go to college, but I feel like I have so much less time and so much more to pack into it. Nursing is a huge time commitment and with two kids, my evenings and weekends are completely consumed with childcare. That said, I’ve learned to work at a new level of efficiency during the workday. I’m probably getting as much done as I used to, but I’m still wishing for more work hours every week.
Coming back soon after a pregnancy can work with a lot of flexibility and support.