I had my baby 2 months earlier than my due date. I was trying to talk with my manager all day Friday about maternity leave, and then my water broke late that night. How ironic is that? So, I had an abrupt leave from my work and had a hard time with closure with my co-workers and my clients. My wonderful fellow designers continued projects with my clients, and I am so thankful for their help. As sad as I was to leave projects with clients unfinished, or without seeing their happy reactions at the installation, I was really sad to leave my work family.
I worked at Ethan Allen, Lake Oswego for a one and a half years. I guess that doesn't sound very long, but it was long enough to feel like they were my work family and not just my co-workers. Each person took on a different role in my mind. My assigned mentor was my work-mom, the two younger girls were like sisters, my manger was like my trusted aunt, and so on. You know what I mean, right? Especially since my family is all in California, they really were my second family here in Oregon.
I have visited my work 3 times since I became a mom. The first time I visited Baby S was 9 weeks. I was so proud to show him off and everyone shared in my joy. The last year was an emotional one, and I'm just so glad we were able to enjoy my baby altogether. It was strange, but when I walked in the front doors I felt so removed already. My job status was still in limbo, but I had a strong feeling I'd become a stay-at-home-mom.
The next time I returned was 2 months later. This time my husband came with me to help out with the baby because I was clearing out my desk. Everyone was so happy to see us, but it was a bittersweet visit. I sat at "my computer station" for the last time (My designers will know why I put that in quotes- Lol) Then I went through my client files and cleared out my desk. My manager was so sweet when she walked me out at closing. She said, "I'm not going to say goodbye because I know we're going to see you again, so we'll see you later!"
Today I went to visit for the third time, another 2 months or so later. I brought a little holiday treat, which was a great excuse to see them. Again, everyone was happy to see us and see how well Baby S is doing. And they didn't mind his baby flirting either! It was so great to catch up with them. I really do miss chatting with them about design projects and day to day stuff, too. I even got to see my boss which was really great. As I was leaving my co-workers said be sure to come back soon, which of course made me feel good. I did admit that I don't want to be that girl who always comes back to visit, but they said that was nonsense- as long as I come with the baby!
Even though I am there to social, I am definitely mindful that they were still working. I never overstep if their client walks in or have a phone call. I think this is very important if you visit your past job with your baby. You do not want to get in the way of anyone's work or make their client's feel secondary to your cute little baby.
What's been your experience going back to visit your old job with your baby? Were your co-workers accepting or did they keep busy? What are your feelings on what's acceptable?
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