I am a woman, a wife, a mother, and a successful professional among many things and I have a story to tell about my journey to motherhood during a global pandemic. My first daughter came just before the pandemic rolled out across the world which brought every expected challenge, including how to navigate this journey with balancing work and life. Shortly before my first child celebrated her second birthday, my second daughter was born when the pandemic limitations were still quite strict which was undoubtedly a difficult time for everyone. My story focuses on how I traversed every aspect of claiming my position as a mother, wife and a professional. In this blog post you will find out how the engagement of the management at work helped me to find a solution for work-life balance whilst keeping me relevant in my industry.
I joined Kubermatic in early 2019 and back then it was a small start-up with 25 employees. Kubermatic is like a club for true board game fans – people not only share their interests but also support each other and put a lot of effort into their hobby. The supportive nature of the company ethos, towards both the users of the platform and the staff who run it was evident to me. I happily worked there so when one of the most defining moments of my life happened and I saw two positive lines on a pregnancy test. Instinctively I knew I could trust that the right thing would be done by me all the way through to my due date.
And All of the Sudden Everything Changes
On a profound personal level the focus immediately was about the factors around my pregnancy and planning for the future. This was aligned with delivering the requirements that work required until the time would come for me to depart. My husband and myself knew that these stages would be physically and mentally hard, with the absolute recognition of how painful childbirth could be for me. It was heavily on my mind as to how to approach this conversation with my managers and colleagues; ultimately I would be leaving for a while. Especially as I, similarly to many other women, was worried about the possible reaction upon sharing my announcement and how I would be perceived by the colleagues whilst being pregnant and taking full maternity leave.
When I did approach the management team I was met with an entirely positive and respectful approach, which allayed my fears instantly. I was allowed to be my own person with my own set of circumstances along with a deep understanding towards my family needs. Bear in mind that my first born was the first Kubermatic baby meaning no other employee before me was on maternity leave during their tenure in the company. I began to understand that I was not the exception to the rule in how the company supported people with their professional and personal choices. From conversations I gathered that I was not unique in how Kubermatic accommodated for an individual to have a leave of absence from work. This pleased me greatly.
Combining the Two Worlds
A number of examples still resound with me as to the difference between a flexible employer as opposed to one who is not. As a new parent you always struggle, irrespective of the flexibility shown to you. To me, it was quite significant to ‘indulge’ in swimming classes for my baby, which is a brilliant way to bond with a new child. I felt that working around my pre planned schedule to allow these things to happen was absolutely the symbiotic nature I agreed to with work and my home life. Moreover I had a meeting with my manager and colleagues to discuss my meaningful return to work, which strongly emphasised that my happiness was a key focus of both our priorities. I tried out working part time for the first week being back and when I gathered that my child accepts the care well, I initiated a smooth switch to working full time. I felt very respected in the whole transition process.
Becoming a mother is a transition in life. It can also be an awful prospect when approaching a boss, the management or the company to discuss this new development. It is genuinely scary. I have always commanded respect, professionalism and creativity wherever I have been, so the second I changed that by becoming a mother seems to compromise all of these tenants. I disagree. It can be everything I want it to be. I am so glad through communication and grace I confirmed my standing with my company so I implore you to do the same. We all have multiple facets to our lives, be proud of all of them.