How has taking maternity affected your career?

Oct 23, 2019 380 Comments

I'm having a baby early next year and I'm worried about the impact on my career. My boss is young, doesn't have a family. I told him I'm planning to take maternity leave next year and now I'm worried that it will negatively impact my year end review/bonus/refreshers even for this year. I'm also not sure if I should take the full 24 weeks (!) that my company offers, and whether to break it up or take it all in one go.
I'd love to hear more from other new mom and dad's experiences.

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TOP 380 Comments
  • Microsoft $msft
    Dad here who manages large team - take it all. In one shot. You’ll only go through this experience once (first kid) so take every benefit and try your best to enjoy every second of it. It will be both the most challenging and rewarding time of your life. Bottom line is if your manager doesn’t respect that you’ll want to find a new team or company anyways. You’ll need flexibility over the first couple years for appointments, sick days, drop offs etc. if your manager can’t understand the benefit of maternity leave he won’t be accommodating of your new boundaries needed as a mom. My wife had similar concerns and her boss ultimately was supportive of not just taking her full leave but 50% ramp back time when we were struggling to adjust with the kid. Take it all.
    Oct 23, 2019 10
    • Google Dilge
      LC is leetcode.com it helps you practice interview problems so you can get a job at big tech.
      Oct 23, 2019
    • New usTX76
      take it all, you'll regret it otherwise. Unfortunately yes this might affect your current year, even if it should not. But sadly this is how (most) managers/employers works
      Oct 24, 2019
  • Apple Azrael3
    Break it up, for your own sanity. Thank me later.
    Oct 23, 2019 10
    • Oracle ODC123
      I’ve taken maternity leave three times. The first was when I was with a startup and I took 12 weeks of FMLA and I think maybe 8 weeks were paid. It didn’t affect my career at all. In fact I was promoted the following year to become the manager of a new team.

      The second time I was only given 7 weeks of paid leave, but I worked with my manager and took partial leave through the full 12 weeks so I’d continue to get my full pay. I’m salary so I was able to work from home most of the time and less hours overall during that extra 5 weeks. It helped that we have unlimited time off anyway and didn’t accrue any vacation hours.

      The third time our company had just announced a new family leave policy and we get 16 weeks for a “natural birth” (vs csect). We have to take at least 6 weeks up front and then the rest can be broken up in two week+ increments until baby’s first birthday. I chose to take 10 weeks when my third was born and then I schedule 3 additional 2-week breaks.

      Given the amount of paid leave you’ve said you are getting, I’d take 12 weeks up front and then I would take some of the weeks as the baby is older. Here’s why. When you go back to work, you miss the milestones. And that is totally okay. But when you have a generous leave policy, it allows you to be present when the baby is tiny (the fourth trimester) and you are recovering and adjusting to all of the changes in your household. And when you take the later breaks, you have the opportunity to help teach them to crawl, walk, speak, etc. I feel so grateful that with my third I was able to break the leave up. My middle and oldest kids appreciate the extra time with me too.

      And, as for your career...stand your ground. Work as hard as you can up to when you go out on leave to make the time you’re away as painless and seamless as possible for your manager and team. They will appreciate it and will respect you for trying to make that balance happen before your baby is even born. You will absolutely be missed while you are out, but try to take full advantage of the time you have been given. And also remember, your company clearly supports growing families with a leave policy such as you’ve described. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your HR rep to share your concerns to help put your mind at ease.
      Oct 27, 2019
    • Cisco JSqmuin2
      I am a new mom and a senior woman in my org. I took 6 weeks off when the baby was born and more time off through the course of my baby’s first year. Of course, it depends on how much help you have starting out. Most people didn’t notice when I was gone :). I managed to be around during crunch time at work.
      Nov 7, 2019
  • Intel adbC65
    Ask yourself why your career matters - I can understand the money, social aspect, and personal challenge, but a good chunk of people seeking “accomplishment” is ego. No one will care, including yourself, about what you did at work at the end of your career. You could disappear from work tomorrow and no one would care a week later.

    Also, it’s pretty savage that we as a society think it’s a good idea for kids under 1 to spend most of their time with someone other than their parents.
    Oct 23, 2019 17
    • Amazon AIV
      I don’t know what this bullshit is about men not wanting to be around newborns. There was a bit of a cultural movement in the 50-70s sure but other than that I don’t see evidence. And especially now, i see loads of guys heavily involved. Now there’s something to be said about the privilege of having a job that lets you be around for sure.
      Oct 24, 2019
    • Intel adbC65
      “Being around newborns” a few hours a day vs 24 hours/day is dramatically different. I know very few fathers that want to be around a newborn 24 hours/day. If this weren’t the case, you wouldn’t see 90% of stay at home parents being mothers.
      Oct 24, 2019
  • Intel
    GROV3R

    Intel

    BIO
    💲💲💲VTSAX 💲💲💲
    GROV3Rmore
    Not a woman, so yes miss some of the contextual proof of being in your shoes. But let me ask you this: what's your alternative? You're pregnant. Cant change it. Enjoy it and make the most of it. You have legal safety protections esp in CA. Doesnt mean a boss can't be a dick, and agree having a young dude boss with no family is a negative. Even as a dude, I look for bosses that have families so they understand everything related. Makes it easier. That being said you do have to be smart about maternity. Work your ass off up till final day, have a handoff plan for your coverage, prove your value and why you're there and a top performer and that you can't wait to be back. But you deserve to enjoy having a child and the time off, it's literally a key function of life esp as a female. If anyone mistreats you then go to HR. No tech company in 2019 wants any perception issues with females or maternity or diversity etc. Wish you luck and congrats. Get sleep!
    Oct 23, 2019 1
    • Booz Allen Hamilton segasoup
      Really nice 👍. Agree!
      Oct 23, 2019
  • Flagged by the community.

    • Amazon dotard
      Peaches, you right. Sorry I called you an idiot 🙏

      Qanon... Just lmao. Idiocracy is happening in real time wake up.
      Oct 23, 2019
    • LinkedIn plat3d
      Wow I’m shocked that somebody would actually say this. you’ve obviously never had or watched a child come out of someone. #ignorant
      Oct 23, 2019
  • ServiceNow IKxL53
    When my wife and I had our first kid, she went back to work after a couple of months, but we didn't like the experience our little one was having at daycare, so she made the decision to be a full time mom. (She went through pretty bad post-partum depression the first year, too, so if you find yourself in that situation please talk to someone, get family help, do things for yourself, and know that it sometimes happens and it will pass.) Now, 4 years and another kid later, she's back at the same company, with the same boss, on the same trajectory as before. This won't be the case for everyone, but my advice is absolutely put family first, work will be there when you're ready, but your kids are only babies once.
    Oct 23, 2019 0
  • Men and women should be paid, treat fairly but not equally. Within Men there are differences in pay/promotion cycle because all men are not same. So, if a woman plans pregnancy then she should not ask for higher bonus/pay or promotion. It doesn’t makes sense. Woman will get paid better than her peers/men when she performs and for the things getting done. Playing woman card for gaining promotions/hike without delivering makes everyone upset
    Oct 28, 2019 8
    • Amazon 7953tthg
      Maybe make you upset. Dick head
      Nov 3, 2019
    • Amazon ccQS47
      It took my company over a year to hire for my position. When I left for maternity leave and came back, they still would not have hire anyone. I saved them money on recruiting costs and overhead by coming back. It's a FUCKING cost savings you ass.
      Nov 12, 2019
  • Microsoft / Eng
    tcforlife

    Microsoft Eng

    PRE
    SpaceX, Tesla Motors
    tcforlifemore
    Taking leave definitely affected me. My boss brought it up in my review. It was a clear indicator that I was no longer at the right place for me so I left and found much greener pastures.
    My advice would be to have the baby and then see how much time you want to take off. I would suggest telling your boss the maximum time so if you come back early, it's a nice to have. Vs being late.
    If your boss starts to treat you differently when you're back, like me, I would suggest to GTFO.
    Family is most important.
    Oct 23, 2019 4
    • Microsoft iamletired
      I left Microsoft entirely
      Oct 23, 2019
    • Microsoft / Eng
      meNalcohol

      Microsoft Eng

      PRE
      SpaceX, Tesla Motors
      meNalcoholmore
      Good for you. I left the company that did that to me too.
      Oct 24, 2019
  • After you have your child, your world view will change and career will no longer be the center of your identity. You will become more fierce, powerful, driven and mellow at the same time. Take the leave and come back to your work even stronger when time comes:) you will love motherhood but will also be very tired :)
    Oct 25, 2019 2
    • Amazon ccQS47
      So tired but also more protective of your time
      Nov 11, 2019
    • Apple Okidoki
      Not true actually. I love my kids, but I ran back to work as fast as I could.
      Nov 17, 2019
  • I didn’t get the raise and promo but I got to spend an amazing 7 months with my baby. What do you live for? I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My son and I are so close and those first few months, when all he needed was comfort and love went by so fast.

    After my son turned 3, I joined FAANG and doubled my salary. It’s ok to take some down time and enjoy it. When you grow old, you wouldn’t remember this promo or that raise but you will remember those sweet bonding moments and your kids will feel the same warm fuzzy feeling about you too.

    Don’t be miserable and think that you should do all like. Life is too short...enjoy the moments.
    Oct 25, 2019 0

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