Why She Leaves
It is 4 AM, you are woken up by your crying baby. She is due for her feeding. So, you put your slippers on and walk down the hall to her room. You have recently begun putting her to bed in her own room and crib because in a week, you are going back to work. As you are rocking her, you begin to think about how you have found your groove with her, you are finally feeling like a mom, and you are finally bonding with her. Her eating and sleeping schedule seem to be right where it should be, and you feel proud of yourself because THIS WAS ALL YOU, MAMA, and your work was starting to pay off. And, what is that? Her first smile, and it is completely for you. And just like that, your heart officially knows what it feels like to love another human more than life itself.
Fast forward to D-Day, the day you’ve been anticipating, maybe even dreading: the night before you are supposed to go back to work for the first time in months. You are expected to resume back to normal; your schedule will be Monday through Friday from 8 AM – 5 PM. You have gotten your daughter into a great, reputable school, and your husband will take her there in the morning and you will pick her up. This is it, it’s what you’re supposed to do, right? You’re supposed to walk into your office bright eyed, full of energy and wonderful ideas. Except that night, your daughter is up on and every two hours, she is not feeding well, and will not let anyone hold her, but you. This is where everything begins to take a serious turn, in an extremely hard and isolating direction...
The first goodbye was torturous. You truly in your heart of all hearts feel like you’ve just thrown the most precious thing in your life to the wolves. You are convinced of it, and EVERY FIBER in your body is telling you to turn that car around and drive back to her daycare and save her. BUT you cannot do this because work is expecting you. You’re late because, on top of the goodbye, you leaked breast milk on your blouse, and you had to turn around and change at the last minute. The first day is a blunder. You can’t focus, all you can think about is how your daughter must feel abandoned and because you’re a first-time mom, your guilt is crippling.
You get through the first week at work. It was rough. No one checked in with you and asked how you were doing. Your lunch break consisted of pumping, shoveling a sandwich in your mouth and checking your phone, making sure you didn’t miss a call from your daughters’ school. You are alone in this, you are isolated, and you have not a soul to talk to about this. You begin crunching numbers, trying to figure out if you could stay home. You love your career, but this just feels… too hard. Maybe if someone cared, it would be easier? Why don’t they care? You don’t feel supported by your employer, and you begin to resent them because they have no idea the inner turmoil that you are experiencing.
You pick your daughter up from school, and she already looks older. You were told what she did during the day, and you realize this is the first day you weren’t there to possibly witness her “firsts”. That night after her bath, you begin researching companies that are highly rated workplaces for moms in the workforce. You begin exploring companies that will allow you to work from home half of the time. You fire off your resume that night, and you know that if you are presented with a better, more flexible and supportive offer, you will take it. You will take it in a heartbeat. Why? Because it’s not worth it. You are smart, you are capable, and you know that if given the chance, you will undoubtedly go after everything that you want, everything that you desperately need in order to feel happy. You receive a request for an interview from a company that you’ve been pursuing. Not only do they offer you the job, they ask you what you need in order to thrive, in order to not only be productive, but HAPPY. They also tell you that you can work from home part-time. You will take a pay cut, but you and your husband have decided it is worth it. It is worth it because your well-being is on the line, and not only do you need support from your employer, you deserve it.
The following Monday, you walk into HR and put in your two weeks’ notice. When asked why you are leaving, the only words that seem to come out of your mouth are: “YOU DIDN’T SHOW ME THAT I MATTERED” … Mic drop…
But here’s the kicker: your employer is not only losing you, a valuable employee, but they are losing everything they’ve invested in you, too. The relationships, contacts, training, intellectual property (should we go on??) that you have gained since working for them. All out the door; with you, and your white cardboard box. They will now need to start from scratch to find your replacement. They have bled out at least 1.5x times your salary in losing you, and now have to boot up at least that much or more to replace you.
What do you think, is it worth it? If they would’ve shown that you mattered, that they cared about your work-life-blend, would you have stayed?