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What It’s Like Working Remotely As a First-Time Parent

Lauren Hintz
July 7, 2021
5 min

I lead cross-functional strategic projects at Notarize and help roll out new initiatives across the company. I’m also a wife and a new, first-time mom.

In the months leading up to the birth of our kiddo, I was having the most fun I’ve ever had at work. Notarize was growing like crazy and our technology truly helped make people’s lives easier in the middle of the global pandemic. Honestly, I had a bit of FOMO to take three months off work at such a pivotal time at our company. I feel so much gratitude to have felt that way. 

Pregnancy in the pandemic was challenging in so many unexpected ways. My husband and I self-isolated for much of my pregnancy to keep me and our growing baby healthy. I attended the first appointment to confirm the pregnancy alone. He was only allowed to attend two prenatal appointments. We canceled my baby shower three days beforehand because COVID cases were rising in our city. I labored in a mask. No visitors were allowed at the hospital after our baby was born. Even with all that chaos, I’d go through it all again to meet our little one.

Our baby arrived safely and now, I’ve been back at work for a couple months. I’ve reflected on what went well and what was challenging about adjusting to life as a working mom.

Parental Leave Photo

Easing Out of Work

With our open vacation policy, I was able to take one week off work before my maternity leave started. This was such a gift to have time to physically and emotionally rest. It gave me a chance to deep clean the house, organize baby stuff, take long morning walks with my dog, prepare freezer meals, and spend quality time with my husband in the final days of “just the two of us.”

I worked with my manager to hand-off my projects a couple weeks before my due date. That eliminated the potential for any work-related stress if the baby came early. (That’s ironic to look back on, because my kid ended up being ‘evicted’ with a scheduled induction. He was eight days late!) 

Notarize sent me flowers, cupcakes, and a baby retailer gift card on my last day of work. My parents came over for dinner that night and were so impressed with how thoughtful my company was. It meant so much to me that Notarize was celebrating along with us, because the pandemic forced us to spend most of my pregnancy alone at home.

Returning to Work

After Baby Hintz arrived, I had three months to focus on our new little family and learn how to keep a tiny human alive. About a month before I returned, I had a call with my boss to touch base. That gave my manager time to start thinking about the projects I’d begin when I returned.

Notarize raised our Series D round of venture capital funding when I was on leave. It’s been both exciting and challenging to come back to so much growth that happened when I was out. We’ve passed milestones that I couldn't have imagined we’d achieve in that short of time. We also hired many people and occasionally I do feel ‘behind’ without knowing all of the colleagues who should be involved in projects I manage. 

While I was on maternity leave, many of the teams I worked closest with reorganized due to our massive growth, and I returned to a new direct manager. It has been an adjustment learning a new boss’s managerial style, but overall, it’s gone pretty smoothly. She’s a mom of two boys, and she recently suggested that when I feel tired after a night of rough infant sleep, I should feel free to log offline and take a nap midday, if needed.

Working fully remote also gives me the flexibility to work odd hours when I need to. In the first month back at work, I had six doctor appointments between myself and my baby. From my first 1:1 with my manager, I was transparent that I had an atypical birth recovery that required many doctor visits. With her support, I’m able to flex hours on the days I have these appointments and work earlier and later as needed.

What It’s Really Like Working from Home with a Baby

I work remotely full-time from my home office. Those first few days after returning to work, it was tough to hear my kid cry downstairs with our nanny. I’d force myself to ignore it and continue working. I’d wear noise cancelling headphones to try to concentrate. Over time, it’s gotten so much easier.  Being home full-time gives me peace of mind, knowing I have the flexibility to take an urgent break if needed.

I’m breastfeeding so I get to nurse him during the work day since we’re both home. In an office setting, I’d take a break from screens to pump, get coffee with colleagues or go for a run at lunch. I’ve traded in those brief breaks for nursing. And, sometimes I'll even listen to a conference call while nursing and be on mute!

Overall, Notarize is such a pro-family place to work. It’s not taboo to talk about our kids while at work. We have a #parent-chat Slack channel where people share photos, ask for parenting advice and celebrate kid’s milestones like new babies and graduations with silly emojis. I’m super thankful to work remotely and for the flexibility it provides my family. 

We are hiring in every department. If you're a parent looking for a supportive workplace, I’d urge you to check out our open roles.

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Lauren Hintz

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