{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Small rant with a small foreword that I’m so thankful that men get paternity leave. I really am. It’s just really frustrating to see the 6th person in the last 3 months come back from their leave with new certifications. It makes me feel like while I’m out on maternity leave and simply healing and feeding my baby, I’m going to be behind and asked why I didn’t gain new skills while out. I guess life isn’t fair and hope people know not to expect that from me. 😒", "post_id": "61ddb8b22424580030ff20f9", "reply_count": 30, "vote_count": 27, "bowl_id": "58f81646ae9f610010f869be", "bowl_name": "Consulting Moms", "feed_type": "bowl" }

Small rant with a small foreword that I’m so thankful that men get paternity leave. I really am. It’s just really frustrating to see the 6th person in the last 3 months come back from their leave with new certifications. It makes me feel like while I’m out on maternity leave and simply healing and feeding my baby, I’m going to be behind and asked why I didn’t gain new skills while out. I guess life isn’t fair and hope people know not to expect that from me. 😒

likehelpful
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As someone who earned my MBA while my first was in the NICU and my PMP with my second I will say this: it's completely your choice. I chose that path because I am well aware that my colleagues feel like maternity leave is some sort of vacation and my own overwhelming feeling that when I return to work that I've somehow fallen behind in knowledge and skill and have been set back on my career journey. But in reality no one asked or required that I gain and new skill/cert. I know many people that don't. I'd be willing to assert that it has more to do with my own insecurities than an actual need to do so. Do what makes you happy, and if people judge you, find new people.

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Obviously my intent wasn't to offend but rather offer that no one expects someone returning from maternity leave to have earned new certification. Not sure how me sharing my own traumatic experience and choices turned into a "slap in the face" but sorry if it came across that way. I'm not at all offended by the assumption that I chose to study rather than care for myself and NICU baby. I'll just keep to myself. Be well.

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May I just say that your feeding the baby and healing really gives you more skills than any certifications in the world? I literally learnt how much I can multitask and how efficient I can be during my maternity leave and oh! How I can still operate with little to no sleep. On a serious note, it is frustrating that some just manage to do more professionally while on leave while others like me just like to either survive (maternity leave is survival leave) or relax (which also doesn’t happen in covid world). Either is okay and no, no one cares or expects anyone to get any professional development or skill improvement done expect get the personal life on track during leaves. I manage a team and I grant professional development leaves for any certification or other requirement! We don’t want our people to “develop” while burning out…

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I took leave (without birthing a baby!) and did not get any new certifications or upskilling in any way. No one said boo to me about it. I had a great, relaxing time off.

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What I’ve learned over my years is that these certs etc often don’t matter. It’s all about reputation so focus on that!

likesmart

I second this. The relationships you build are more important, especially the silent, influential relationships with the right senior people. People want someone they can trust in their team.

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No one will ask you that. 3 kids and no one had ever asked me what additional certifications I got while on leave.

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Same. Had three kids. Took 6 months for each and never did a certification!

I feel this. My male colleague was on a call today and I was shocked. His wife had a baby on December 23rd. I don’t understand why men can’t take full paternity leave and stop leaving everything on their wives (noting many places don’t even have paternity benefits, ugh). I forced my husband to take his full 3 months of paternity leave and he was so glad he did and actually knows how to take care of our baby bc of it! Anyway- I KNOW no one thinks moms should be doing any certs on leave. It’s not a vacation! Do your best to shed the feeling of guilt.

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Ah 11 kids, makes sense. After the 5th or 6th you now have older kids that can help so makes things easier

Coming from someone who just returned from MAT, with no new “work stuff” under my belt. Enjoy every minute of chilling with your baby, feeding them and doing exactly what you want to do on leave. I personally enjoyed not doing anything work related for 6 months and didn’t give a darn how it “looked”… you’ll never get that time back!

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I think the frustrating part is that some men go on paternity leave and don’t do what they should be doing (helping ease the burden on mom and bonding with baby), instead they are getting certs or like my friends husband went golfing daily. As women are begging for more time, men (who unfortunately are making a lot of the decisions related to leave policies) are over there doing nothing and acting all “like what, it’s hard?”

likehelpful

Two kids never thought for a split second about getting certs or anything else work related. Don’t do it to yourself. If you miss out on time with your baby you’ll more likely regret that than if we don’t get something extra. Plus doing so sets an awful precedent for the rest of the women out there!

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No one is going to ask you why you didn’t “gain new skills” while you were out on maternity leave. Similarly, no one actually cares about certifications - 99% of them are a terrible waste of money and time. Also, no one will take notice if you take only 3 months for mat leave, or if you take 7…if you were to ask your business practice a year post-mat leave how much time you took off, they wouldn’t know. Your view of this likely has everything to do with how you feel and nothing to do with how other people feel. I am saying this as someone who felt like they needed to get their real estate license while on mat leave…and didn’t…because I was keeping my baby alive and that took everything I had at that moment in time. I think oftentimes as women, our perfectionism gets projected out onto others. There is a feeling or perception that there are expectations that aren’t really there. Another truth - people don’t think about you as much as you think they do, and in fact, they probably think about you much less. Sure, they do sometimes, but you are likely not a main character in anyone in your business practice’s life. They think about themselves, their families (maybe), but mostly themselves. Once you internalize this, you will realize that you are welcome to enjoy your mat leave how you want for as long as you want with literally no bearing on anything. I was promoted during my pregnancy and took mat leave plus an additional 3 weeks. For that performance cycle, I was also rated above my peers and given the commensurate increase and bonus, which was fairly high. No one remembers, and the only thing I got asked coming back was “how is being a mom?!” which is what people HAVE to ask…then we went back to work and things were exactly the same as they were before mat leave.

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So so so well put!

I agree with you OP. With consulting being a rat race and sometimes you aren’t compared on when or how you took the certification but more about hey person X has these things but person Y doesn’t and being a woman puts us at disadvantage. When men take those certifications I just think they are abusing the parental leave by not bonding with the child. They could take a break for few months and do that certification but not by taking parental leave. But the matured abs rationale me after 2 kids will say you this - in a 30 year career being slow for 2 to 3 years doesn’t hold you down. Also you have your own path.

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Having a baby during covid is HARD. I took my maternity leave and was just happy I survived! Learning a new routine with you + baby is hard. And no matter what decision you make others will judge you—you have to do whatever is best for you & your family.

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I don’t think anyone is paying that much attention

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If you have a supportive team and company, it wouldn’t matter. You should feel proud for being able to heal and keep yourself sane while taking care of a new human being. Getting a certification is way easier than that.

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Also wanted to add that two people I know went on maternity and paternity leave around the same time and both got similar bonus and raise.

Hmmm, sounds like men have too much free time while on leave. Mommas, we're slacking. We have our work cut out for us in keeping our partners busy(er)! This was intended as a joke. No offense to anyone

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Noone will ever expect that. I did it, but just because it was a very expensive certification (in the thousands) paid by the company ad-hoc. So, I talk to my family and they supported me during those days. BTW, noone cares that I have it in my recent projects, noone. I didn't do anything else.

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I did not do jack shit on my mat leave. I took like, 2 courtesy work calls with my main PMD and one with my coach to accept a large retention bonus. No one is gonna judge you. For me, keeping my baby and myself alive was more than enough challenge.

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