My Thoughts on VIP Crowd's Maternity Leave Policy After Returning Full Time
A while back, our CEO wrote a blog post about our maternity leave policy. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, make sure you check it out: My Attempt (as a Single Male With No Kids) to Create a Better Maternity Leave Policy
To refresh you briefly, I was able to choose between a traditional maternity leave and a graduated leave.
The traditional maternity leave is one most people are familiar with. I would’ve had 12 full weeks off, three of those paid, with the rest being covered partially by short-term disability. The graduated maternity leave allowed me to slowly work back up to full time over six months and was 100% paid throughout the entire six months.
A Little About Me
Now, to give you a little background on myself. There was a time in my life where I didn’t think I would ever even want kids. I was never particularly great with them and was never the type of person that gravitated toward new babies like many others do. Even if I did have kids, I certainly never thought I’d have a hard time returning to work afterwards.
Being a first-time mom, everyone told me I would experience a whole new kind of love after having a child. But, even after being told that countless times, I really had no idea how I would feel after I gave birth and in the months that followed.
Once I had my son, Liam, I instantly knew what everyone was talking about. My heart was so instantly full upon meeting him and has been overflowing ever since.
Liam is now six months old, and my leave has officially come to an end. As I reflect back on my maternity leave now, I don’t know how women go back to work full time after 8-12 weeks off.
I imagine it being like quitting any kind of addiction cold turkey. You’ve spent every waking moment with this perfect little human. Then, the dreaded day comes where you’re expected to drop them off at daycare and be away from them for eight hours a day, five days a week.
Before having a baby, I had never really questioned it. Now, it almost seems inhumane! Okay, I’m probably being a little dramatic, but that would be unbelievably difficult.
Benefits of a Graduated Maternity Leave
The graduated leave allowed me to keep Liam home longer and slowly introduce him to daycare (and slowly ween myself off uninterrupted baby snuggles) by going one or two days a week.
It also made the transition back to work easier for me. Going back to work and leaving your baby for the first time is hard enough. Then, you have to add on the stress of returning to 2-3 months’ worth of emails and projects. I started with just a few easy tasks per week, then a few hours per week, until ultimately being back full time after six months. I was still part of the team, but could work at my own pace. This series of small steps was much less intimidating than the huge leap that happens with a traditional maternity leave.
Since I was still being paid my regular salary, the graduated option also greatly minimized the financial burden that having a baby can have on a family. We tried to prepare as much as we could before Liam arrived by stocking up on the essentials, but you can never truly prepare for a life change of that magnitude. We had Amazon boxes showing up to our house daily for the first month, and after six months they are still pretty regular!
Ultimately, I was very happy with this graduated maternity leave policy and grateful to have the option to choose because I know most working mothers do not. I hope other companies start taking a hard look at their maternity leave policy and their flexibility in general. Benefits like this can be what sets your company apart from the rest.