Being able to take 26 weeks of leave made me excited to return to work, and I looked forward to it, instead of feeling anxious

Nestlé’s Parent Support Policy has only been in place a year, but it’s already making a difference in the lives of employees like Allison

My family and I live in Cleveland — my son Grant is now six months old. When I was first considering Nestlé, I knew that the company was family-friendly and that was top-of-mind for me. It was a priority for me to find a place that valued families and valued their employees. When I learned that the parental support policy offered up to six months of leave, I thought ‘I can’t take off that much time!’ But as I was in the thick of it, I was extremely grateful for the extra time. When Grant was 12 weeks old, I was still figuring out so much about parenthood — if I had returned to work at that time, the extra stress (and lack of sleep!) would have made it a challenge. After taking the full six months of leave, I don’t regret anything or ‘wish I had more time’ — I’m at peace with the incredible time we spent together. That time helped set up Grant for an easy transition to child care, and it set me up to do everything I could to help him grow and thrive.

I appreciated every day of the leave. The first couple months were survival mode. The days and weeks after becoming a new parent can be such a blur. The early days were rough. I wasn’t sleeping much. Feeding can be difficult. I had a C-section, so I was also recovering physically. In addition to acclimating this little human to his new world, I was also trying to heal myself. It was essential for me to take some time for sheer recovery and survival early on.

As time passed, I was grateful to be present for so many amazing milestones: when Grant rolled over, when he sat up the first time, when he started scooting on his belly. As time went on, he progressed so much. I went from just caretaking to helping him learn, play, and do more on his own. I was there to experience it when he discovered new toys and skills. Every day, I was thankful to Nestlé for the time I was able to spend with Grant. (I probably told my husband 100 times how grateful I was that I could take an extended leave.) Friends and family were shocked at the amount of time we were able to take.

Although I was initially concerned about taking so much time off work, I couldn’t be happier that I decided to take the full six months of leave. The first few weeks truly are a blur. Then things develop into more of a routine. I tried to enjoy each moment and think about the next exciting moment, too. Grant would do something amazing one day and I’d think ‘what is it going to be next week? I want to be here for that!’

After a few months, we had developed a good routine. Grant was healthy and happy. I was getting more sleep and wrapping my head around motherhood. I became gradually more eager to return to work. When I came back, I had several conversations with my team, and I got into the swing of things very quickly. Having six months with Grant allowed me to adapt to our new life, and made me excited to return to work, instead of feeling anxious about coming back too soon.

This leave made me appreciate Nestlé even more. I love my job, my team, and working here, and I felt that way before I went on leave. But I appreciate our company culture even more now- I’m not only grateful for the extra time, but for my team members who picked up extra work while I was gone. During my transition back, everyone has been more than happy to help me get back up to speed. I really want to thank everybody who developed this policy and everyone who supported me taking advantage of it. It made such a difference in my life, and I want our leadership to know what a game-changer it is for new families.

Learn more about Nestlé’s first year of the Parent Support Policy.