As any new mother will confirm, maternity leave is not a vacation that you take and can return to work feeling refreshed and back on your A-game. It can be extremely tricky juggling the new mum life
According to Chloe O'Toole's heartfelt LinkedIn post, along with a photo of her holding her daughter, her first week back at work after maternity leave was anything but easy.
SOURCE: Chloe O'Toole on LinkedIn
"This photo was taken at Sydney Children's Hospital at 10pm on my first week back after parental leave," she began. "I'm still in my work clothes and my eyes are puffy from crying.”
"This was the first of seven separate illnesses we have dealt with in just 11 weeks. Yep, that's daycare for you.”
"Why am I sharing this? Because I can't imagine how much harder this would be if I wasn't in a supportive work environment.”
“I have a deeply understanding boss, a beautiful and caring team, and a hugely supportive leadership team."
O'Toole went on to say that "being a working parent is the most humbling experience of my life," and admitted she was not always understanding of working mothers.
"Before I had Poppy, I'm ashamed to say I wasn't particularly empathetic to the parents (let's be honest, mums) I worked with," she said.
"I had no clue that from the moment they left, they were simply starting their shift at another, more gruelling (unpaid) job.”
"I didn't think about the fact that when they went to bed that night, there was no guarantee of sleep. Or that they would have an entire day before they even arrived at the office.”
"Many companies talk about flexibility and have flashy parental leave policies, but what really matters is what happens when you get back," she said.
“The support and understanding I have been shown at work is something I will remember for a long time."
The post has so far received almost 6000 likes and hundreds of comments. It has also been shared hundreds of times, with the executive director of The Parenthood, Georgie Dent, being among her fans.
"I doubt there's a working parent out there who won't relate to Chloe's post about the reality of returning to work after having a baby," Dent wrote.
"At work, we're so used to being 'professional' (aka neat and organised and in charge of our diaries) and becoming a parent changes that instantly."
"Suddenly, nothing is neat and you're (rarely) truly 'in charge'. You're just holding on for dear life and doing your best," she continued.
"Having a supportive, truly flexible manager who you can trust is often the difference between being able to work after becoming a parent and not.”
Chloe's message is a fantastic reminder to always be kind, and understanding to the new mothers and fathers who are juggling their new busy lifestyles.