So what’s your plan? If you answer stops at “have a baby” then you’ve got a little bit of thinkin’ to do! As mind-consuming and stressful as it is for parents-to-be to consider how in the heck they’re going to care for this precious little one, considerations about work can fall to the wayside. If you’re currently employed and soon to be taking maternity leave, you should know that as happy as your boss and co-workers may be for you, they’re also concerned about how all the work is going to get done.
I just read a great post on NYTimes.com about how one mom achieves more balance (and efficiency) by starting work later and leaving for home earlier. You may say, “Wow, where do I find that fantasy job?” or “Does she also commute to work on a unicorn?” As unrealistic as it may seem, there are moms (and dads) out there who actually work a reduced work schedule. It doesn’t happen for everyone but I do have to say that it will never happen for you if you don’t ask.
My son was four when I finally worked up the courage to let someone know that I’d like to reduce my hours to spend more time at home. The proposition of him starting kindergarten and not being to pick him up from school and help with homework was really getting me down. Luckily for me, on my new manager’s first day she asked about my career goals. I figured it was now or never so I blurted out, “I’d like to reduce my hours.” It seemed so bold and gutsy and it played in slow motion over and over in my head after I walked out of her office. Had I just committed career suicide?