DH Mom Blog
Associate Creative Director
Senior Account Director
SOME of the things we were most thankful for this year were the growing families of two DH team members. We asked new moms Alex, Senior Account Director, and Linda, Associate Creative Director, to chat with each other about what it was like preparing for maternity leave and transitioning back into work. Here’s their conversation:
What did maternity leave mean for you personally and your family?
Maternity leave gave me 12 weeks to be fully with my family and not feel like I had to be “on” at work and at home. I was able to be totally dedicated to my family and myself (as much as is possible having a newborn) as I recovered from childbirth.
I was able to bring my child into the world knowing that I am their person. We got to have family time, and I got to be that face that my baby saw all day every day. That time meant so much to me, especially when you get to the point where you send your child to daycare and you’re not that person they see all day, everyday anymore. I got 12 weeks to focus on establishing and nurturing that relationship.
For me, maternity leave provided an opportunity to spend some quality one-on-one time with my newborn daughter while her older sister was at school. Having that quality time with just her during the day was important to me, and it allowed us to bond more as a family in the evenings — I could be more present with our toddler.
In what ways did you feel supported by DH ahead of/during maternity leave?
DH started planning for our leave early, which helped make the transition so smooth. Halfway through my pregnancy we were talking about what options I had for time off and how to maximize our benefits. Danajo, our incredible director of finance, created a spreadsheet that was unique to Linda and me. We felt ahead of it. We went into it this with our eyes wide open and were welcomed to ask questions and ask for what we wanted.
I also think it’s great that all the partners here are parents and have taken time off for their own family leave. With their personal experience, I felt a level of mentorship of how to adjust my workload in the months leading up to my maternity leave and how to adjust when I returned. They were patient and thoughtful about the planning — even at the point when the baby could come at any time. They allowed it to be a time of joy and excitement, not stress.
Not only was DH proactive about planning early, but they were in a situation where two people were going to be gone at the exact same time. While we were fortunate to be in two different departments, it was still two full-time people with different back-to-work goals, different amounts of vacation and sick leave and overall, different amounts of time we could take off. This is something that’s not easy for a small business to do. Danajo really was there to help answer any questions we had every step of the way.
It was also great to know that we have a solid and capable team who stepped in to ensure all of our projects were covered while we were out. Everyone was caring while we were out, often checking in to see if we needed anything and inviting us in to the office for baby visits.
I also so appreciated the double baby shower that our co-workers threw for us. It was such a special day and was great to feel the excitement our team had for the arrival of two DH babies.
Yes! The baby shower! That was so thoughtful.
Where does DH’s company culture stem from?
Our partners. They have this lived experience, so they know what it’s like to be on family leave and have growing kids and also be fully engaged in their business. They have set the tone for our company that family and life come first — well sometimes work comes first, that is part of our industry. But balance matters. There’s also this element of knowing the whole person and our team’s relationships extending beyond work. It’s ingrained in our culture to really get to know each other — in and out of work. I love that my colleagues know my husband and kids, and I know their loved ones.
I agree. All four partners are active parents, and I think you just have a different lived experience as a parent that our leadership understands.
How has the transition been coming back to DH?
Coming back three days a week for the first couple months was a great arrangement for me. (I can’t believe it is over!) It gave me some ramp-up time to get me back to the workload that I was used to having. Being fully present at home and being fully present at work feels really good. I like getting to work and turning off my mom brain and turning on my work brain, and vice versa at the end of the day. I am dedicated and organized during the day so I can try to leave work on time and not bring work home with me.
I also came back three days a week (Mon-Wed) for my first five weeks which was a nice way to dip my toe back into work. I stepped into a leadership position when I came back from leave with additional responsibilities and have felt fully supported as I transitioned back and into a new role.
What do you want moms/readers to know?
I’m proud to work here and proud to be part of this team. And I’m so grateful that this is where I am at this time in life — in a place that recognizes the importance and value of family. We are allowed to be whole people, with lives inside and outside of work, and that whole person is truly celebrated. I believe this is how all working parents deserve to feel.
DH is a great example of small business that is making family leave work. I came back a happy and engaged employee, ready to work. They have someone who is returning appreciative, motivated and dedicated to the DH team. I hope that made the investment in my maternity leave worth it.
All people becoming parents, do what is right for you. Your journey is not going to be the same as somebody else’s. Find the support that you need. I feel really lucky that my workplace is a supportive place.
God bless the working moms and dads — we can do this!
Some women worry about the effect having kids will have on their career — deservedly so in some industries. I feel that with the right employer, you can be a mom and successful in your career. At DH we’re fortunate to have that opportunity to be both.