The Return to Work Project
I have been corresponding with a woman in Frederick, Maryland, who started a non-profit bringing gift baskets to moms as they get back to work. Whether they return at 6 weeks or 2 years, she brings them their basket and talks to them at their workplace. She says that she started this because of how difficult she found it to get back to work. She wanted some recognition of the transition.
This is what she wrote to me:
My goal is to incorporate as a 501(c)3 to accept monetary contributions and expand the scope of the project. I also hope to work with a board of directors that can bring greater business perspective to the project. I see the Gift Packs as a perk that employers can offer to new or returning employees but have not yet figured out how to appeal to the Human Resources departments of local employers.
I have distributed just over 40 Gift Packs to women who have heard about the project through word of mouth. Gift Packs are always different and I make every effort to customize them to the needs to each recipient. I (provide) Medela information and samples if a mom is breastfeeding and pumping in the workplace and the menu from a local gourmet chef that delivers precooked family dinners. Other information in the Gift Packs has included information and coupons from a local personal trainer who specializes in helping women return to their pre-pregnancy weight and form, recipe cards from the cookbook, Glorious One-Pot Meals, sample lists from ListPlanIt.com aimed to help busy moms organize their day, and a resource guide printed locally that features daycares, camps, and activities for families.
One other goal I have for the project would be to develop some element of community for the moms who participate. Stay at home moms often have a strong network of support in each other. I have found that working moms go to work and are not able to talk about their families until 5:00; we have to choose if we are a mom or a career woman at the expense of our other identity. I would love to develop an online discussion forum or a calendar of “business lunches” and Mom’s Nights Out for women to get together and share in the issues and solutions to life’s difficulties as a working mom.
I think this is a terrific idea that would help moms adjust, and should appeal to employers who hope to ease the transition back to on-the-job productivity. For more on the Return to Work Project, check out this blog. You can email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marjorie Greenfield, M.D., is a practicing, board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and associate professor of reproductive biology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Dr. Greenfield has written hundreds of articles for the Web and currently blogs about pregnancy for Yahoo.com.