As long as I’m at the company where I am currently employed, I will never have to go into an office and work a traditional 9-5 or 9-6. I will never have to deal with pumping breast milk in a mother’s room or bathroom between meetings at work. I will never have to post on a Slack channel that I’ll be out for a baby’s appointment for whatever hours of the day. Given the pandemic and the general nature of working from home during this period, this is quite a privilege I have. I remember my mom marveling at the idea of a mother’s room at my last workplace: “we never had that when I was working!” So she never had the option to pump milk for Ed or me; we just had to have formula after she went back to work after eight weeks of maternity leave.
I recognize how lucky I am to work from home and have the flexible schedule I have. My boss, who has a 6-year-old daughter, shuts down her computer to pick her daughter up from daycare at 4pm on the dot every single day, and she doesn’t check email again until about 9pm in the evenings, likely after her daughter is already in bed. We have other colleagues who shut down at 3pm each day, and no one ever blinks an eye at it. It feels good to know that parents are accommodated well at my organization, at least as far as I can see.
I’m having a chat with our benefits team about my leave next week and am curious to see what they will say is required from a paperwork standpoint. In the U.S., regardless of what company you are employed at, this process is rarely fun or enjoyable.