I am officially done with the ‘fourth trimester’ of pregnancy. The little baby boy has turned 3 months. I have recovered to the point where 30 min gym session and a short run feels great again. Moreover few notes on coming back to work and exploring horizons with ground-breaking work by Anne-Marie Slaughter.
Self – awareness
It it no secret that I am over 30 years old and getting closer to 35 every single year. Our baby boy was born in December 2016. From biological perspective one could consider child bearing after 30 – considerably late pregnancy. However when we look at statistics, it turns out that just “in 2015, over half (53%) of all live births in England and Wales were to mothers aged 30 and over and two-thirds (68%) of fathers were aged 30 and over”¹ . So, are we within an existing norm? Yes we are. It is no secret, though, that to our parents and grandparents, having children after 30 is something a bit off. To tell you the truth, if I had to make a decision once again, it would be the exact same: I would wait until I am more or less ready. It is said that there is no perfect time to have a baby. I disagree. As ‘perfect’ exist only in theory, I rather use term ‘optimal’ better known as a concept in decision theory meaning: the best or of the greatest value under certain parameters or restrictions. So does optimal time to have a baby exists? It does. It is whenever YOU (both of you!) are ready. There are no uncles, aunties, grandnuns, friends, even your own parents who should tell you when to have children. Yet, again it happens every time you sat down at the Xmas dinner table. Surely, there are pron and cons for both: early and late pregnancy. I have chosen the latter one and it indeed feels good.
“You have to understand your own DNA” – Gary Vaynerchuk
For me personally, having a child after 30 allowed me to have: enough time to figure out who am I, enough courage to become financially sufficient, enough stamina to go for a managerial position which allowed me to be in charge of my own schedule, enough wisdom to understand that children are in our lifes only for some time and that no problem can be solved by having children. And as far as relationship are concerned, I know that love is not quantitative and there is enough for both: your spouse and your child. I have not forgotten I am a woman overall and not only a mother. Nor did I change after the little one was born. I have the same exact interest as I had before child was born. I have the same temperament although I saw an increase in emotional sensitivity and emotional decoding. The latter one is especially useful at work when trying to decoding your subordinates non-verbal communication. This is my story and I am sure yours will be different but the overall narrative is the same: stay true to yourself. Something which is not easy in a constant noisy world around us.
Known as ‘Keep in Touch’ Days designed to give a woman a right to work 10 working days during her maternity leave. It also applies to Shared Paternity Leave although the pool of days increases to 20 working days. In case you are wondering I am still on maternity leave but I took advantage that my mum came to visit us for a week so I could go to work and check in with the team.
First of all, having spend some down time with the baby, I wanted to check how it feels to be back to work. Amazing! I also wanted to check how the little one will react when I am not at home. He was just fine! Finally, there is a financial benefit as KIT days are paid but I really doubt anyone would utilize them if they loathe what they do.
Having spend 3 months away from work and having worked 5 days gave me an interesting insight into the next career steps I would like to pursue, things I love and those I no longer have patience doing. I so agree with Mary-Anne Slaughter, a former Director of Policy Planning at U.S. State Department:
“If family comes first, work does not come second. Life comes together”
Thanks to my cousin who bought “Unfinished Business” while in London, I had a chance to go through the first few pages only to realise that it is only 1 chapter to finish the entire book. This listed for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year2015, came as a groundbreaking, eye-opening and important work. Anne-Marie besides having career in foreign affairs, is also a former Princeton prof therefore it comes as no surprise to me that her work is full of rigorous references mixed with examples from daily life of any parent who combines childcare with employment. She challenges the status quo comparing competitive nature of work with the work of caring for someone, not only children but also ageing parents. Extremely well-written, meaningful and necessary voice.
Since we are on subject of reading I must admit I absolutely love all the time I have during maternity leave which I can spend on reading, exploring and studying. Being able to do all of this and not having to go to work is luxury. I also recommend Audible for those of you who still struggle to find some down time to read. Whenever, I am taking a stroll or doing bit of house duties I listen. This way I actually believe I can hit 52 books I wanted to read this year.
¹ OFFICE FOR NATIONAL STATISTICS, Births by parents’ characteristics in England and Wales: 2015. Release date: 29 November 2016
² SLAUGHTER, A., Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family. London: Oneworld, 2015