Four lessons learned as first time mom going back to work

And here we are. My last week at my job as a Consulting Director. After 6 months of (unpaid) maternity leave, I went back to work. Didn’t last long… After 4 months, I’m quitting my job. Having it all didn’t work for me. Traveling four days a week, didn’t work for me. Being away from my baby while still breastfeeding, didn’t work for me. I tried! But the anxiety, fights with my husband and most importantly, not seeing, feeding, holding my son for four days a week got me.

I loved my job. I love advising clients going through change, whether it’s a new business model, new processes or new ways of working. It’s challenging, people usually don’t like to change, they are comfortable with what they know. Plus, it might sounds terrible, but while I was traveling, it was my only chance to sleep seven hours straight without being woken up by a crying baby.

But, as crazy as it sounds, I’d rather be sleep deprived and not miss a night with my son rather than the opposite.

My decision to quit was not easy. I was recognized in my team, by my peers and my clients. Now, you wonder if I quit without a job?… Luckily, I landed a similar job with way less travel if not at all. I was ready to take a cut in my salary, thinking, as long as I don’t travel, it’s ok. But you know what? It’s not ok. I didn’t want to be another statistic. I get it, being off market for fifteen, ten or even five years is one thing. You can’t expect the same or higher position and/or salary. But in my case, and for many moms out there, being gone for less than a year, we should not expect less than what we already had. That was something that I was clear about with prospective employers. I was plenty qualified for positions, but shut down by recruiters, even before talking to hiring managers because of my salary expectations, so I did lose a lot of opportunities. But in the end, it paid off; I landed a great job with no drop in salary and I’m very happy about it.

Lessons learned:

1- Do not under sell yourself while looking for your next gig

2- Look for a job before heading to maternity leave (if you know that your current job won’t give you flexibility with a baby at home)

3- Be positive

4- Be patient

So, thank you to my son:

# for pushing me to get another job so that I can be present everyday

# for making me realize that you can still have a career and be a mom

# for making me a better person