It’s hard leaving your kids to re-enter the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom. My husband encouraged me to study and get certified and I was able to land my first IT job. Although this was a very exciting time, I also dreaded the thought of leaving my children in daycare. But with my first day of work approaching fast, I enrolled my kids at a daycare center.
My commute to work was about 85 miles one way at the time. Before I even had the opportunity to get comfortable with the job, my youngest daughter became very ill while at the daycare center. I got the call while at work and I was in a complete panic. I had only been on the job about a week and so many thoughts went through my mind. My first thoughts were of my baby. She was only 3 months old and had a high fever. I wanted to get to her as fast as I could.
My next thought was about the job. I had only been there a few days and already I needed to take time off to care for a sick baby. Would they hold that against me? I was very worried. I also felt like the worst mother ever for my baby to be sick and I wasn’t there. That was one of the worst moments for me. A new baby, new career, and an almost immediate conflict between the two — only days after starting the job. This was especially concerning for me because I was working a temp job several years earlier while I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. I was seen by everyone on my team as a top performer, but I wasn’t hired on as a permanent employee because I was pregnant. The FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) was established in the early 1990s, but taking time off to care for your children still felt like it was heavily frowned upon.
Fortunately for me, I had a very understanding supervisor. He actually told me to take the time off and take care of my baby. He said not to worry about work. I think I broke the sound barrier trying to get home that day. She was only 3 months old and to see her so lethargic and feverish was heartbreaking. I stayed home with her for a day but felt extremely guilty. Although my new boss said it was okay, I still felt terrible about not being there. At the time, I was the only woman on my team, and I didn’t want them to think I didn’t put any priority on work. I felt trapped by my conflicted feelings. Luckily, my husband was able to take off and stay with her for several days until she got better.
Later I found out that the company genuinely had a family-first mentality and they were very supportive and understanding about taking time to be with your family. Of course, I was new, so I had no idea what to expect from them. I worked for the company for several years until the contract I was on was transitioned to another company. But I will always remember what they did for me and my family and how they made my transition into IT easier. I felt welcomed and cared for from day one.