Last week, I got together with my friend Annie to talk over a beer about life and other good things. She told me she was writing a letter to her boss about how good it felt to be supported as a working mom during her first year of motherhood. I asked if I could share it, she said, "Yes."
This is Annie's open thank you to her boss & HR department:
"Today I stopped pumping at work. My son is nine days shy of his first birthday. I want to thank you for supporting me on my breastfeeding journey as a full-time working mom. My son’s chubby thighs and many chins are also quite appreciative.
Thank you for letting me book the nursing room as an appointment location in Outlook. And for creating a dedicated nursing room in the first place that isn’t a closet or former bathroom. This space is really nice too, which you may not actually know because I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in it. It has soft lighting, an upright chair with a nice back pillow, a computer, magazines and a picture board of babies whose mamas are hard at work. I was even able to get a new-to-me breastpump from this magical room when mine lost it’s will to pump. A previous mama had left hers up for grabs on the bookshelf of donated items when she moved. Mamas supporting mamas, even if you don’t know who exactly they are or where they sit in the building to thank them.
To my boss specifically, thank you for your understanding. I know you were a working mom when your kids were little and your no-questions-asked, do-what-you-need-to support is treasured. I always felt comfortable leaving a meeting that was running long so that I could pump. I could give you a look and you would just nod your head. I once breastfed him in your office when he was barely one month old, if that’s not immense empathy I don’t know what is. You were willing to give up a consulting contract if they didn’t provide me with a nursing space per ACA requirements; that said so much more to me about my value and worth in this organization than you can know. You recently asked me to let you know when I am ready to start traveling for work again. I was never sure if my year-long break from work travel was intentional on your part. It was. And that has been a true gift.
The support of my boss, my HR department and my work culture in general cannot be underestimated. I believe there’s a reason why the average length of breastfeeding in the US is three months (the same length of time as FMLA) while worldwide it is four years. I feel very fortunate to have a community, both personally and professionally, that has encouraged me to breastfeed."
Now, not every mother chooses to breastfeed. That is ok, I support you. This story is important to share, because it's a great example of how good organizations and leadership work to empower their staff when becoming mothers.
That said, we want to hear from you in the comments. Were you supported by your boss during your first year of motherhood? What was your experience and how did it help you, or not? Let us know.
If you had a boss who supported your journey as a new, working mom make sure you thank him or her this week. These little thank you's mean the world to any leader, and telling them will only encourage them to do it again. #womensupportingwomen #wearebettertogether
Love you lots! Have a fantastic week as you slide right into summer! Annie, I'm so glad you had a great experience. Thank you for sharing with our community!