Working Parents at Lawline
In today's fast-paced and competitive world, it's becoming increasingly common for families to have at least one working parent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 78% of children live in households where both parents are employed and this number is only expected to grow. Working parents face unique challenges as they strive to balance their careers and their families but with the right support and resources, they can thrive in both areas. At Lawline, we recognize the importance of fostering a supportive and inclusive culture that empowers all of our employees, including working parents. Keep reading to learn more about Angelica and Meredith’s parental leave and return to work experiences.
Meredith Cohen-Pilat - Director of Customer Experience
- What was your biggest challenge during your time away from work? For me, one of the biggest challenges was having to grind everything to a halt in the initial newborn days. I'm a very active person, and am used to doing a lot both at work and in my spare time. I previously was running marathons and doing volunteer work with a local dog rescue organization, but when I was recovering from childbirth I couldn't even go up the stairs in my house. Having the time to rest and recover is definitely a blessing but it was hard for me to actively slow down and not do anything "productive".
- How did you stay connected to your team while on leave? We use Slack at Lawline to connect both for work-related conversations and for more fun, personal discussions. I used Slack to send updates to my team about how my baby and I were doing, and to follow along with what everyone was talking about in our "watercooler" channel, where each morning there's a fun prompt for everyone to consider. I tried to avoid getting enticed into the real work conversations, but I was at least able to feel partially connected to my team from afar and let them know I was still thinking of them.
- How did your co-workers and leaders support you during your time away and once returned? Everyone has been extremely supportive this entire time. While I was away my team did a fantastic job of fully handling everything so that I wouldn't have to worry, and I was able to do a gradual return so that I wouldn't have to suddenly go from 0 to 100 all at once. Plus, everyone has been very understanding about nursing and needing to be off-camera during some meetings, even though I'm still present and participating. I also appreciated that when I came back, I was given a little mini-orientation to catch me up on the highlights of what I missed in my time away, and I was given ample time to read through the various presentations and documents from the past few months. In other words, I haven't had to pretend that I don't have a baby, or that I've been fully working like normal since September. I can be authentic about my experience as a new mom with everyone at the company.
- What advice would you give to new parents returning to work? Treat yourself with the grace and kindness you'd treat a friend going through the same thing. Even with all the support in the world, becoming a parent is hard, and returning to work adds another layer of difficulty, so there's no reason to beat yourself up for not doing "enough" or not bouncing back to your previous normal right away. For those who, like me, are working from home while the baby is also home with them, I'd say to give yourself some type of structured schedule to your day, but be flexible about it. Having an outline to your day can help you mentally, but don't expect the baby to fully adhere to whatever you planned so be ready for some leeway here and there.
Angelica Cesario - Director of Attorney Education
- What was your biggest challenge during your time away from work? My biggest challenges were recovering physically from childbirth, and caring for a newborn in addition to my 6-year-old! Neither are work-related, thanks to the great coverage plan we had in place for my time on parental leave!
- How did you stay connected to your team while on leave? First, I want to be clear that there was no need for me to stay connected with work because everything was covered by my very capable teammates. There was no obligation or expectation that I would stay connected to work. That said, I did ask to be kept in the loop when major company or personnel updates occurred so that I could stay connected and not be so out of the loop when I came back. Chief People Officer Michele Richman honored my request and would text me whenever something came up that she knew I would want to know. And I'm so thankful that she did! I also took initiative to reach out to folks occasionally to say hi either via slack or text. And I even had an employee who left during my time on leave reach out to me personally to let me know of their departure and to this day, we are still in touch via text.
- How did your co-workers and leaders support you during your time away and once returned? My co-workers and leaders supported me by adhering to the coverage plan we came up with together and, honestly, just by being themselves. I knew everything was in very capable hands during my time on leave and I did not worry about a thing. That was probably the best form of support I could ask for. During my leave, Miylie Roan (HR Specialist) connected with me to keep me up-to-date on any necessary benefit updates, and also checked in to ask how the company could best support me upon my return. She took my suggestion of implementing a mini re-onboarding session for employees returning from leave. The company also offered me the option of working part-time at full salary for the first four weeks of my return. This has made my transition to work so much easier and has been a huge relief for me and my family. Everyone has been extremely supportive during my transition back.
- What advice would you give to new parents returning to work? Be honest about your needs. Otherwise, you won't get the necessary support to be the best employee you can be.