Getting Back to Work Postpartum, Mid Pandemic

Mother working

This isn’t a tearful post about dropping your baby off on their first day of daycare. Nor is it an information-packed piece on what to do if you want to pump in the workplace. No, instead this is a brief insight on what it’s like for one mom trying her best to get back to work after having her first baby, after spending a year in quarantine, and, quite frankly, after losing her boss-babe mojo.

Like many of you reading this, I was furloughed due to COVID-19. For me, that happened in March of 2020, my son was born in May 2020, and in July 2020 I was notified that I would not have a position to return to after the company’s reopening. It was a lot for me to take in such a short period of time, especially with all the pregnancy and postpartum hormones floating around my body.

Thankfully, I still had my side job bookkeeping, which I thought would be easy, even with a newborn, because 1) I had been doing that job for the past six years, and 2) math is math. There wasn’t much to think about and I could still manage to add and subtract with a crying infant in the background. Well, I was right and I was wrong. Math is math, that part is true. But I couldn’t do it with a crying baby. In fact, I learned that I couldn’t do much of anything with a crying baby because my first instinct was to drop whatever I was doing to calm the baby and stop the crying. Otherwise, it would be me that was crying.

Fast forward one year and here we are in 2021. The pandemic had us happy in hiding for the first year of my child’s life and I’ve put all my boss-babe energy from my corporate marketing job into being a full-time mom. But now vaccines are available to all and COVID restrictions are being lifted. That means more people are getting back into the workforce and I am itching to be one of them. But how?

I’ve spent literally every day of my son’s life with him by side in our COVID quarantine bubble, social distancing from the world. As you can imagine, I’ve grown pretty attached. I knew going back to a corporate lifestyle was not going to work, so I began to think local instead. Our family recently moved and I couldn’t help but notice a charming little spa just down the street. Coming from the beauty and wellness industry, I thought I could give the perfect pitch. The owner was gracious enough to accept my meeting invitation and I was over the moon.

On the day of our meeting, my childcare fell through and I had to bring my 10-month-old with me. Needless to say, we talked about babies just as much as we talked about marketing. About halfway through our meeting, I heard a young boy’s voice coming from the back room of her spa. It was her son letting her know that he had a question about his school work. He also let us know that the baby was getting attention and he wanted some, too. I admired his honesty.

But what I admired more was seeing that this woman was a business owner, a full-time mother, a homeschool teacher, and, from the way that they joked around, a friend to her son. By the end of our meeting, I learned that her son also wore many hats, including that of interior design consultant for the spa and personal hypeman. He was her biggest supporter and as you’re glowing from your facial service he’ll be yours, too.

I left that meeting happy to have brought my babe with me and excited about the idea of him, years from now, being my personal hypeman and the world’s best mini-assistant. The thought of him being raised in a world where he regularly sees mothers as business owners, entrepreneurs, and in positions of power in the workplace elated me. On the drive home, my concerns about judgment and potentially losing out on work because of my motherhood went out the window. My work will speak for itself and if someone is too distracted to listen because I also have a responsibility to my family then that business partnership wasn’t meant to work out.

Realizing that I’m not the only one struggling to balance motherhood and a career took a lot of weight off of my shoulders. Although I’ve been “happy in hiding” and I’ve had my little one constantly close, there were times through this pandemic when I still felt very alone. I’m learning now that motherhood is a sort of sisterhood and it relates us all more than we know. It gives us an understanding of one another that you cannot communicate with words.

For example, I now understand that walking into a meeting late with an iced coffee in hand is a thousand times different than walking in holding the hand of a teary-eyed toddler. Yes, both people may be late, but the one with the toddler is most likely holding back tears of her own. The difference there may be glaring and obvious to some of you reading this, but until you know motherhood, you truly don’t know.

Well, now I can say I know and I’m trying my best to navigate it while also trying my best to get back into full boss-babe mode. I’m taking it one step at a time, but for now, I’ve got a Zoom meeting in ten. Wish me luck!

Chai, a Louisiana native, was born and raised in New Orleans. In the fall of 2010, she set off to attend Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge to study Organizational Development. Just a year later, she met her college sweetheart, Blake Domingues. After graduating, the two eloped in Jamaica with a beautiful garden ceremony and began their life together in the state's capital city. The couple recently decided to move to Blake's hometown of Lafayette, where he would join the Domingues family business, Ray Chevrolet. After nesting for about a year and making Lafayette feel like home, Chai was pleased to find out she was expecting! She delivered a healthy baby boy in May of 2020, in the middle of a global pandemic. Although her journey into motherhood was anything but ordinary, she is making the most of it and loving every moment!

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