Maternity Leave and Beyond
Both are completely legitimate and valid questions. I think it's good to have a conversation with other women and moms to see what they did, are doing, or are planning to do, to gauge what is expected, allowed, or even legal once you are in the same situation.
First, a little background on my post-college work life:
I double majored in Arts Administration and Music in college. I was dead set on being a high-powered production person for some big-time Broadway Musical in Manhattan. After college, I was hired as an assistant in Fundraising at the Metropolitan Opera and I thought I had made it. The day I was offered the job, I ran around my parent's house screaming with excitement - the dog barking behind me. Working at the Met was really cool. I attended tons of Met Opera Galas, opening nights, and various other events in which many celebrities were in attendance. I've checked in a frenzied Barbara Walters who was running late and showed her to our event. I chatted very briefly with Shawn Connery and stood just a few feet away from Joshua Jackson, to name a few. I attended tons of operas, made some very good friends, and every day this was my view as I walked into work:
Fast forward to now:
Now, I've been a Personal Assistant to a wealthy business-man in Manhattan for over 3 years and I am so unbelievably happy. It's much less drama, much less stress, and a much more nurturing, caring, accepting environment. Sometimes, I've gone through periods where I've asked myself "What exactly am I doing here?" I'm not really on any "career path" and there isn't really anywhere to move up to here. But, I believed that this job came to me for a reason.
|The view from my office|
Chris and I have long discussed and planned for the possibility of me not working, or only working part-time once we had kids. It was very important to me, and to us, that I be home as much as possible in the early years of our children's lives. I also knew that there was no way I could continue tolerating a 1 hour commute (on a good day) into Manhattan each way, every day - that adds up to a whole 10 additional hours each week that I'd be away from my baby! Some days, I don't get home until 7:00, and I see other friends with kids who have already put their children to bed!
|Waiting for trains = story of my life|
What's nice for me is that I'm the only person in my particular position at work, and the first one of his employees, ever, to have a child. So we're all just making it up as we go along, and no one else is in a position to argue for this, or argue for that.
I will be earning half my full-time salary, but can still stay on with my fully covered health benefits. Even better, my long-term goal has always been to open up a piano studio in my home. I have taught many piano students since I was 20 years old, and enjoy teaching piano immensely. This part-time position, should hopefully allow me the time to start, and gradually grow, a piano studio out of my home for extra income, which has long been a goal of mine.
These days, I could pinch myself. I'm not exactly running production for the next big Broadway Musical, but I realized long ago that that wasn't what was important to me anymore. It became more important to me to be happy at work and to like who I work for. It became more important to me to have a job that would not interfere with my personal life and offer me some flexibility when the time came to start a family. Somehow, that's exactly what I fell into. I still remember the day my friend called me about this job. I had no idea at the time just how pivotal that moment would be, but I cannot thank her, or my boss, enough for what they have given me and my family.