Motherhood

Is being scared of going on maternity leave warranted?

Disclaimer: SO I know that this is not applicable for everyone and that I am super lucky to be able to go on PAID maternity leave for one full year but alas I am still worried about it. (#lucky)

You hear horror stories about women getting laid off/fired upon their return to work and how everything changes. Several friends and even a family member or two lost their jobs after returning to work. Is this legal? – Of course not – but taking legal action towards an employer is risky and daunting and I don’t think many women decide to do that. On a personal note: I was on sick leave before I went on maternity leave (for about seven months) due to having a high-risk pregnancy.

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 6.10.05 AM

But going back to maternity leave… this is what I’m worried about:

  1. The person who takes over my job will do a better job than me. Being replaced with a cooler/younger/hipper/more knowledgeable person than me.

I believe that theres quite a big learning curve to my job but who knows. Maybe this new person will fit right in and be an all star. Which I actually half heartily wish for as I know it would help my coworkers out.

  1. What if my job gets eliminated all together? SO not having a job to return to.

I believe the law states that they have to take me back to work but not necessarily for the same position. I couldn’t imagine changing jobs to something more mundane. On a positive note: It could be a more exciting and fruitful position.

  1. How do you negotiate a raise after coming back to work?

The job marketing is changing and fluctuating, how long do you wait to ask for a raise at work? Especially if you work in an environment that raises are structured? And if you don’t negotiate then …

  1. Will I feel guilty when I get back?

Will I feel guilty on leaving my “little” at home/day care (probably)? How will I cope with that. But also will I feel guilty that I took a ‘year long’ break from work and now I have to “catch up”.

  1. Will I forget everything? Or will everything change so much it’ll be hard to come back?

I work in a field that is dynamically changing almost day to day. There are new social media sites popping up all the time. Platforms are changing. Digital marketing is adapting to that change very quickly. How will I keep up? I’m assuming once the little is born I won’t have time for my daily dose of “what’s new on social media today”. Will I forget the reports I had to write? How long will the learning curve take to get back into it?

  1. How will I get that all elusive work life balance?

This sortof coincides with the feeling of guilt that I am sure to have. I know #momguilt is a thing as even talking to my mom now I can see the flashes of guilt she gets when talking about working during my childhood (unwarranted but there).

  1. The unknown

SO much can change in one year. I look at my workplace a year ago and what it is today and it has changed drastically. How will it change in the following year?

Then there’s the aspect of your world perspective changes. I mean you have this little human to take care of. The big question that outshines the others is: Will I want to go back to work full time and leave my human? Now, chances are that I will have to go back and do some kind of work as I don’t see myself winning the lottery. I have always been maybe not career minded but passion minded and I’ve been lucky enough to find work that I am passionate about… but what if my passion changes and I won’t want to come back?

NOTE: Something that has always surprised me is that most of the moms I know take time off work when their little is sick. The break down of men staying at home is minimal. NOW is this because men tend to earn more money than women (#equalpayforequalwork)? Or is this a societal thing? Or is it just because I’ve been lucky enough to work in environments that have allowed their employees to do this while other employers do not? I’m not sure the answer to that…

ON a more positive note! Through all the maternity leave worries I still am able to think positively. Sometimes forced change is a good thing. If the job doesn’t suit me when I come back then I will find a job that does.

PLUS because I’m just starting out my mat leave… I’m also to excited about my little coming and experiencing this new adventure that work seems arbitrary and less important somehow.

Fun fact: Maternity leave a map!

CP_midyear_report
Source: https://thinkprogress.org/u-s-paid-family-leave-versus-the-rest-of-the-world-in-2-disturbing-charts-365324eeba45

 

I’m interested in hearing your stories about maternity leave? Are you nervous about going on maternity leave? How did you cope with coming back to work? Did you go back full time?

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