Happy New Year! Wow, I realize it’s been a very long time since I’ve written a blog post. A lot has happened since my last post – most importantly, I had another baby! We kept the gender a surprise until the birth, and we were so happy to find out the baby was a beautiful and healthy girl. I am so overjoyed (and also a bit overwhelmed) to now be the mother of two beautiful children.

Life around here has been pretty hectic as I figure out how to manage a newborn and a toddler. Right now I have a rare hour of peace and quiet while they are BOTH napping at the same time, so I’m spending this time writing a blog post and catching up with the blog.

Believe it or not, I’m taking six months off work to enjoy time with my newborn daughter and toddler son. I am glad my employer has a policy that allows me to take six months leave to care for my newborn while still being able to return to my previous job. I think that is a generous leave policy, but unfortunately it isn’t all paid. I got paid for the first six weeks only, and now I am on leave without pay. My husband and I have saved money over the years, so we felt comfortable to allow me to take this time off to be with our young family. 

I was working for a different employer when I had my son. Under their leave policy I was able to take 12 weeks off, all paid, but I had to return to work by the end of the 12 weeks. I appreciated being paid the whole time I was on leave with the previous company, but I am looking forward to getting to spend the extra time at home with my daughter this time around.

Leading up to my daughter’s birth was an extremely busy time at work. I work as a reservoir engineer and we were working on the end of year reserves. This is probably the single most important aspect of my job, but also the most time-consuming. I was working long hours every day (including weekends) leading right up to my daughter’s birth. I started to get worried that all the long hours and stress we going to make me deliver my baby early, but she stayed in until five days past her due date. She was born early on a Tuesday morning, and I was working right up until the Friday before she was born, one day past her due date.

I don’t think my work pressures affected my pregnancy or baby in any way, and I am grateful for that. She is a healthy and happy baby. I never felt stressed beyond a level I could handle, but there were a few times when I had a (likely pregnancy hormone fueled) meltdown and cry session over my work load. Towards the very end of my pregnancy I just wanted to relax, start nesting and get the house ready for the new baby. But I had so much work to do that I couldn’t do that. I really like my job and wanted to do the best I knew I was capable of, so I worked right until the end.

I don’t think anyone would have faulted me if I put my foot down and said I need to stop sooner (which I seriously considered doing several times), but I knew the team really needed me and I didn’t want to let them down. I knew they’d be taking on extra work while covering for me in the next six months, so I wanted to help out by closing out my reserves the best I could before I had my baby.

My daughter is now two months old and I have not logged on to my computer or sent any work related emails in the whole two months! It is so liberating to be able to completely step away from work for a while and focus on being a mom. I don’t plan on doing any work while I am on my six month maternity leave (especially since I’m not being paid), but I may log in soon just to check emails and clear my inbox. I don’t want to be so out of the loop when I come back to work that it takes weeks or months to catch back up.

Dealing with a toddler and newborn at home has blown my mind. This is a whole new ballgame! In my next post I will talk about what life has been like at home with two kids. 🙂

Did you check work emails or do any work while you were on maternity leave?

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