Working mom profile: Melissa Rumbaugh

I'm so happy to finally kick off a series of "Mom Stories" in which real working moms share their experience transitioning back to work post maternity leave. To start things off, we have Melissa Rumbaugh, who was an Administrative Support Manager in Omaha, NE, during her first maternity leave and transition back to work. Here is her mom story:

Melissa and Jaxson

Melissa and Jaxson

Before Jaxson was born I was a strong, independent career woman who thought she could give birth on a Friday and be working from home by Monday. I thought 12 weeks of maternity leave would be too much time off and I would be itching to go back to work, but after having my sweet chunk I realized my world was forever changed. I decided to go back to work when Jax was eight weeks, not because I was eager to go back (I was actually dreading it); I went back part-time so I could stretch out the remaining four weeks of FMLA. This allowed me to ease back into work and slowly deal with all the emotions that came with being a new working mom. 

The morning I went back to work was rough, and not just the menial tasks of showering, hair and makeup and getting dressed (which was its own set of issues). I simply wanted to put my maternity pants back on and curl up on the couch with Jax. I was lucky that my mom agreed to watch my son while I was at work until he was six months old. That should have made it easier for me to leave, right? Absolutely not! I kept thinking, How horrible of a mom am I, leaving my eight week old baby? He just spent nine months inside of me, and boom, ‘See ya later kiddo mama has to pay the bills!’ I definitely had to reapply my mascara before I left that morning. As the day went on it didn't get any better. The Facetiming, text messages and videos just made it more real. My heart literally felt like it was breaking those first few days.  

In retrospect, I am happy I went back to work when I did. Because of four weeks of FMLA I had left, I had the flexibility to take off early and tend to him when needed. Sometimes, though, the mom-guilt was replaced by work-guilt. Even in a workplace that was supportive and offered flexibility over the first year, I felt the judgment of being “that mom” by my coworkers whether that was how they truly felt or something I was putting on myself. I quickly realized that everyone “knew” how I should raise my child, that even those who never had any children had opinions. “Baby isn’t sleeping? Give him some cow’s milk — your breast milk isn’t filling enough for him.” “You are STILL pumping for him? Isn’t he 7 months already?” “He is sick again? Just give him some Tylenol in the parking lot of daycare, he should be good for at least a couple hours.” When you have some coworkers that never had kids themselves or that are far removed from when they did, it can make things hard.  

My little guy turned one this month, I feel like I finally have a pretty good grasp on this whole working mom thing. I have been amazingly lucky with my childcare situation, and my boss has been flexible and as empathic as she can be, never having children herself. I have tried to give myself the advice I would have given to any of my girlfriends, which is: don't let guilt get the best of you and remember how amazing of a job you are doing.  I have an independent, loving, confident little boy despite the fact I have a career. Over this last year I realized I can be a successful business woman, wife, daughter, and friend as well as a mother. Honestly, I have found I am better in all aspects of my life because of him. For those mamas that are about to go back to work or who are doing it now, remember that it gets easier. The first few months I was trying to figure out how I could work from home to spend more time with him, but now I realize that I can have both and to cherish the time I have with him even more! 

If you are a working mom with a transition-back-to-work story you'd like us to share, please contact us today! We'd love to hear about your experience.

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