For a working woman, one of the hardest parts about having a baby is the inevitable day when she must leave her little boy or girl at home and return to her job. Luckily, a great company—and even greater coworkers—can make the transition a bit easier.
Take it from Emma Corless, an Australia-based mom of three who recently returned to the office after the birth of her daughter. In a post on LinkedIn, Emma wrote, “My first week back at work after maternity leave and my 10-month-old’s first week at daycare. It’s been emotionally tough, though it’s been enjoyable and nice to finish a hot coffee!”
Emma is clearly dealing with it like a champ. And we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed. On her desk was a letter from her two managers, Kate Dunton and James Rosenwax. This letter, however, wasn’t addressed to Emma, but to her three children.
“Dear Finn and Leo (and Celeste!),” the managers wrote. “We just wanted to say thank you for letting your mummy come back to work again. What an amazing not-so-little family you are now.”
This show of gratitude, not only to the mom but to her kiddos, is absolutely precious. Too often, managers don’t respect the immense sacrifice that mothers are making when they go back to their jobs, and how difficult it can be. The gesture is a perfect example of what it looks like when leadership is truly invested in the happiness and wellness of their employees.
“Finn,” the managers continued, addressing the sons individually, “You’re an old-hand at having both mummies working, but Leo, now you’re going to see how incredible they are too. We know it’s a big deal going back to work after the last months of being home together—it’s a crazy ride.”
These managers clearly have a lot of respect for Emma’s family, as they should! They also don’t minimize the significance of returning from maternity leave, and the impact it can have on youngsters.
“We are so lucky to have your mummy returning to work,” the letter goes on. “We’ve missed her and her brains. She’s an amazing mother, but she’s also amazing to us! She’s a key mentor of our team.”
Ending the message, the colleagues wrote, “We promise to look after her. We’ll fill her full of tea and chat and big ideas.”
Emma herself was clearly touched by her managers’ show of gratitude and support. Her kids will no doubt feel a lot better about their mom returning to work after she reads them the thoughtful letter.
“It’s little things like this, which reflect a supportive, encouraging and understanding team culture, [that] make the return to work so much easier,” she wrote. We wholeheartedly agree.
Others on LinkedIn were equally impressed.
“Congrats, Emma, for the baby,” wrote Sam Hosseini. “Yes, great coworkers/managers who have a heart and care add a lot to our lives! Tell them ‘thank you’ for me too!”
“How thoughtful,” added Sarah Stone. “That’s worth its weight in gold in helping you navigate the emotional rollercoaster of work and little ones! Hope all’s well and congrats on the growing family!”
“This is so lovely!” wrote Emma Elder. “What a lovely gesture to not only make a person feel welcomed back to the workplace but also to acknowledge their important roles as parent and employee. Sadly, not all employees are welcomed back so warmly. I’m glad to see this level of appreciation not only happening, but being shown to the (LinkedIn) world that it doesn’t take much to make someone feel great.”
The little things really do make a huge difference. Thanks, Kate and James, for being an amazing example of how companies should treat and value their working mothers. Let’s hope others follow your lead.