Working at APCM, the thought “will I still have my job, if we decide to have another baby?” never crossed my mind. The US falls significantly behind other developed nations in maternity/paternity leave policies.i However, there has been gaining momentum within the private sector to not only increase the allowable amount of time off, but also offer paid maternity leave. Excluding what organizations are required by law to provide, an expecting mother must factor in many other aspects of her work-life balance when determining what’s right for her and her family.
My summer plans are straying a bit from everyone else’s great Alaska adventures of traveling, camping, hiking, rowing, fishing, etc. This July, my husband and I are expecting our second daughter! I will be very content with our daily family walks, time with baby outside, and watching big sister play soccer. In addition to the fun family plans, navigating how I was going to change my work life to accommodate our new family member did take a great deal of consideration and planning. Becoming a mother can have a range of work life consequences for women – from being passed up for a promotion to leaving the workforce altogether. While data has shown it’s better for the economy if they do stay engaged in the workforce, not all women feel they have this option. “To sustain the historic rate of GDP growth of approximately 3% …the nation will need a combination of some workforce expansion and a burst of productivity – driven by innovation and operational improvements. Women are critical to both forms of growth”.ii Thankfully, senior management and the culture of APCM views women having children as a fact of life – that’s not just necessary for us all to be here – but also something that should be respected and celebrated.
Having a supportive work environment gave me peace of mind when determining how much time I’m going to take off. I could base my decisions primarily on family and personal needs versus any work pressures. Currently, I’m working from home on Friday’s and plan to take six weeks off after the baby is born and another six weeks working part-time from home. The team here worked on a plan to distribute my work load efficiently, without any adverse effects on productivity or client service. Throughout my pregnancy, it has been so nice to experience my coworkers celebrating “baby girl’s” impending arrival with me. I am even planning to attend some of our internal team meetings during maternity leave, with baby in tow! The ability to work from home will help me feel connected to the team, which will ease the transition back to working full time.
I cannot express how thankful I am for this great company that gives me the flexibility I need to pursue my career goals while also allowing me to be a good mom to my kids. As we enter the time of the sunshine and outside activities, I wish you all a wonderful summer and will hopefully see you in the fall. I should have plenty of pictures to share by then!
Kim Butler, CFP®
Associate Financial Planner