Jack-Jack, my "Easy Baby" is now 8 weeks old. He basically only cries when he is hungry or he is in the process of pooping (Yes, this is what the current focus of my world is. As my 4 year old so eloquently observed - Mom, food goes in here, goes down, and comes out poop!) I rarely have to deal with a crying baby for any longer than it takes to stick a bottle in his mouth. Yet there are still days where I am so tired I feel like it is an effort to walk a straight line. For me I feel like I get "intoxicated" by sleep deprivation. My ability to think clearly is impaired. Even with my husband at home, it still falls upon me, the Mom, to initially do most of the caring for our newborn.
Fortunately I have the benefit of being able to take 4 months of leave to care for Jack-Jack. This is the right amount of time for me. Hopefully, by then Jack-Jack will be sleeping through the night and we will have figured out a routine that works for us as a family.
Time off to care for a newborn is allowed for me by company policy as it is for many people. Taking this time off however is sometimes easier said than done. It is one thing to have a policy that says you can take time off. It is another thing to feel comfortable that you can leave your job for months at a time.
Fortunately I have many factors working in my favor;
1. Boss Support - I can't say enough about this. My boss is unwaivering in her support of me taking time off. It helps that she has demonstrated her commitment to this by taking leave when she had her children. It's one thing to have a company policy, but it means nothing if leadership doesn't demonstrate their support of it. It also helps immensly to see women continue to be successful when they have taken time off.
2. Peer Support - My peers can't step in and do my job since they are plenty busy doing their own jobs, but I know that they are reaching out and providing support when needed.
3. A Great Team - My staff that works for me is really picking up the bulk of my responsibilities while I am gone. Having the right people that you can count on makes all the difference in the world.
Even with all these factors I still second guess myself about going back to work earlier, but I am committed to taking my leave. I owe this to my baby and to myself. I also owe this to other Mom's at work. We all need to know it is okay to take time off, especially for something as important as the birth of a child. My work will be there when I return. My career will continue to move on. And hopefully, more Mom's will find a work place that is friendlier to them finding a way to balance their work and family needs.