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BY Floren Robinson Pressman

How Moms Can Support Each Other At Work: A Story from the Trenches at Accenture

New moms at work

Photo credit: Creative Commons

TAGS: New moms, Working moms, Accenture, Work-life balance

When we had our first child, I was shocked by how hard it was to be a parent. Where are the public service announcements informing us of the trials and tribulations of being a new parent? In my new role, my daily goal was to brush my teeth each day and hope to even take a shower. This was a big change for me, as historically, my goal was transforming organizations to better meet their customers’ needs. My “client” was now a 9-pound dictator who didn’t know how to negotiate and wasn’t willing to follow my processes, although she was very cute!

Starting the parenting journey was hard enough…now I had to return to work, freshly showered and with clean teeth every day! At first (and still today), I was struggling to figure out how to make everything work without feeling totally overwhelmed and failing at everything. Did all new moms feel this way? Was it my level at work? Was it is my job? Was I losing my edge?

I started to ask other new moms how they were doing. It was the “worst” best-kept secret! Everyone was struggling, but no one was openly discussing it. I invited a few women at my workplace to a conference call to share some ideas for making it work, what they were struggling with, how we could help each other, etc. And, I said, “Feel free to forward this invitation to other moms.” This call became the start of the Mothers on the Move (MoMs) group, which currently has 200+ new moms and even a few dads.

We meet monthly and continue the vision of helping each other. Equally important, we have become the voice of the needs of parents at Accenture. We’ve asked for numerous things to help make easier choices between our families and our jobs. We asked for more maternity leave, and it was doubled. We asked for more backup care when we need coverage—it was doubled, and we got an extra week the year a baby was born. We asked for help for nursing moms on the road, and we got breastmilk shipping services. The list goes on and on…but, it was clear, when this group spoke, leadership listened. Our leadership team now actively seeks input from our MoMs group to generate new and fresh ideas.

This journey into being a working parent has taught me many things, but there are three important lessons that I would like to share:

1) Everyone finds being a new parent hard. Add a second child, and smoke will come out of the top of your head!

2) No one cares if you have baby vomit on your suit jacket or have your hair in a ponytail, as long as you show up and give it your all.

3) Most importantly, if you don’t tell people what you need and where you are struggling, you’ll never get the support you need to be successful. No one says no to a new mom trying to find her way in the working world.

A version of this article was originally published here.

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Related Community Discussions

  • My company recently put in a nursing room/mother's room but it was designed in a way that the majority of the room is fogged glass - except one strip that runs right at sitting level that was left as transparent glass. I don't think it was done intentionally (men designed the room) but I now have to put up sheets of paper to cover the transparent strip of glass. Any idea on how to address this with my (all male) management team?

  • I recently had a child and worked out an arrangement with my manager to work from home 1-2 days/week. I'm the only female on my team and none of the co-workers have a similar arrangement. There have been discreet comments made about my schedule (mostly in a joking way) but it still feels uncomfortable. Has anyone else ran into this?

  • I need some advice. I recently took maternity leave, which ended up turning in to Temporary Disability Leave because of some medical complications I had after the baby was delivered. I returned back to work after being off for 24 weeks. I have returned to the same job and have tried to get back into the swing of corporate life + new baby (first time mom here) and have the opportunity to take an additional 4 weeks off paid by the state, but it needs to be taken and completed before my child turns 12 months old and that's fast approaching.

    I submitted a request to HR to take temporary leave of absence and my HR department is denying me the ability to take this leave, stating that I exhausted the 13 weeks FMLA that the company offers (has to offer) to all employees. They are saying that I don't qualify for this leave until a full 12 months after my initial leave started. Everything I have read online and everyone I have talked to say that FMLA and TCI leave are completely different and separate. Technically, I think I am allowed to take this leave, the State says I qualify for it, but it's now in my employers hands and I am afraid if they deny me, and I choose to still take the leave, that I will not have job security. The brochure talking about TCI doesn't say anything about FMLA being the deciding factor "http://www.dlt.ri.gov/tdi/pdf/TCIBrochure.pdf."

    Does anyone know what my rights are? Can I legally take the 4 weeks off, and still have a job to return back to? Given that I had to take so much time off, do I still qualify for job protection and benefits?

    Thank you for any an all help.

  • I need some advice. I recently took maternity leave, which ended up turning in to Temporary Disability Leave because of some medical complications I had after the baby was delivered. I returned back to work after being off for 24 weeks. I have returned to the same job and have tried to get back into the swing of corporate life + new baby (first time mom here) and have the opportunity to take an additional 4 weeks off paid by the state, but it needs to be taken and completed before my child turns 12 months old and that's fast approaching.

    I submitted a request to HR to take temporary leave of absence and my HR department is denying me the ability to take this leave, stating that I exhausted the 13 weeks FMLA that the company offers (has to offer) to all employees. They are saying that I don't qualify for this leave until a full 12 months after my initial leave started. Everything I have read online and everyone I have talked to say that FMLA and TCI leave are completely different and separate. Technically, I think I am allowed to take this leave, the State says I qualify for it, but it's now in my employers hands and I am afraid if they deny me, and I choose to still take the leave, that I will not have job security. The brochure talking about TCI doesn't say anything about FMLA being the deciding factor "http://www.dlt.ri.gov/tdi/pdf/TCIBrochure.pdf."

    Does anyone know what my rights are? Can I legally take the 4 weeks off, and still have a job to return back to? Given that I had to take so much time off, do I still qualify for job protection and benefits?

    Thank you for any an all help.

  • I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and gearing up to go on maternity leave at the end of the month. I recently came across a new job oppurnity that would be better for my family. I'm at the finishing stages of interviewing with this new company and I am worried that I will find out I got the job while on maternity leave. My question is, what happens to my maternity benefits and how do I go about leaving my current job without issue?

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How Moms Can Support Each Other At Work: A Story from the Trenches at Accenture

How Moms Can Support Each Other At Work: A Story from the Trenches at Accenture

When we had our first child, I was shocked by how hard it was to be a parent. Where are the public service announcements informing us of the trials and tri...

When we had our first child, I was shocked by how hard it was to be a parent. Where are the public service announcements informing us of the trials and tribulations of being a new parent? In my new role, my daily goal was to brush my teeth each day and hope to even take a shower. This was a big change for me, as historically, my goal was transforming organizations to better meet their customers’ needs. My “client” was now a 9-pound dictator who didn’t know how to negotiate and wasn’t willing to follow my processes, although she was very cute!

Starting the parenting journey was hard enough…now I had to return to work, freshly showered and with clean teeth every day! At first (and still today), I was struggling to figure out how to make everything work without feeling totally overwhelmed and failing at everything. Did all new moms feel this way? Was it my level at work? Was it is my job? Was I losing my edge?

I started to ask other new moms how they were doing. It was the “worst” best-kept secret! Everyone was struggling, but no one was openly discussing it. I invited a few women at my workplace to a conference call to share some ideas for making it work, what they were struggling with, how we could help each other, etc. And, I said, “Feel free to forward this invitation to other moms.” This call became the start of the Mothers on the Move (MoMs) group, which currently has 200+ new moms and even a few dads.

We meet monthly and continue the vision of helping each other. Equally important, we have become the voice of the needs of parents at Accenture. We’ve asked for numerous things to help make easier choices between our families and our jobs. We asked for more maternity leave, and it was doubled. We asked for more backup care when we need coverage—it was doubled, and we got an extra week the year a baby was born. We asked for help for nursing moms on the road, and we got breastmilk shipping services. The list goes on and on…but, it was clear, when this group spoke, leadership listened. Our leadership team now actively seeks input from our MoMs group to generate new and fresh ideas.

This journey into being a working parent has taught me many things, but there are three important lessons that I would like to share:

1) Everyone finds being a new parent hard. Add a second child, and smoke will come out of the top of your head!

2) No one cares if you have baby vomit on your suit jacket or have your hair in a ponytail, as long as you show up and give it your all.

3) Most importantly, if you don’t tell people what you need and where you are struggling, you’ll never get the support you need to be successful. No one says no to a new mom trying to find her way in the working world.

A version of this article was originally published here.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.
Join us by reviewing your employer!
 

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