Project "After Parental Leave"

Gisa on her return to subshell.

Child of the author in Hamburg's Planten und Blomen
Child of the author in Hamburg's Planten und Blomen (Image: subshell / GS/CC BY)

When my little daughter was born, I never thought I would spend two whole years with her at home before going back to work. But the time with baby flew by and suddenly, I have a daycare child and am on my way back to the office.

It's a strange feeling to see all those familiar faces again, to sit in the same office again and hear about projects that accompanied me two years ago. It feels a bit like a journey through time, but somehow everything is different; there are not only familiar faces, but also some new ones.

Many projects seem too familiar to me, but they are no longer exactly what I remember them to be. They have changed, become bigger or smaller, have been completed or expanded.

I feel like one of these projects. I am still the same as two years ago, but somehow, I have changed. Through my daughter my life has expanded, got bigger, different, better!

It's nice to be here again. The reception is warm, with flowers, streamers and chocolate. Many greet me with a smile and say that they are happy that I am here again. And even if it is not easy for me to say goodbye to my daughter in the morning, it feels surprisingly good to be back in the office.

The First Few Days and Weeks

The first few days go by very quickly and surprisingly, I rarely think of my daughter, who hopefully is happily running around the daycare center. I am distracted by the many new topics I have to familiarize myself with and am busy memorizing the new faces and names.

But already in the first two weeks, exactly what was predicted to me by other parents with children in child-care occurs. My child gets sick. My daily work routine was complete chaos and I strained the patience of my teammates and my boss.

However, I quickly realized that the topic of a family friendly work environment is not just a catchword here at subshell but is actually practiced. I was able to easily reschedule my hours according to my needs and garnered from many a knowing nod and a compassionate look.

In my absence of two years not only was my daughter born, but also surprisingly many other colleagues had children of their own. I was therefore met with a lot of understanding for my situation - even the boss can sing a song about it.

I am very grateful for this work environment, because it gives me the feeling of being in the right place at this company. It is a place where work and family can really be combined and where I am not alone with my worries and fears - no matter what the project is called!

Gisa Stubenrauch
Gisa Stubenrauch