Dear parents to-be,
When the time comes, you’ll be on the cusp of an incredible, and most certainly life changing time. Maybe not this year, maybe not next. Soon enough. Maybe not by birth. Maybe by adoption. Whenever you’re ready, parenthood will come, however it does. And it will change you, forever. I know it did me. You’ll have to decide what to do in the weeks immediately following: how long to take off, how to share responsibilities in your home and who can care for your child when you return. As important as your time is at treetree, your time during these weeks will become even more critical.
Parental leave will be one of the most critical times of your life
You’ll do a lot of new things or do some old things differently, no matter if this is your first or fourth child.
You’ll spend time realizing the full size of your heart when you become a parent.
You’ll start, add to or complete your family.
You’ll understand why we need the Pump Room at the treehouse.
You’ll love your own parents even more. Understand them better.
Appreciate them more.
You’ll spend time agonizing over every item in the baby aisle. (First-timers, you’ll quickly learn that you don’t need most of that crap).
You’ll take the time to fall in love with your child, with your baby’s bonding with siblings, and at the new fullness in your heart and home while you are there those first few weeks.
You’ll spend time reading books aloud that the baby doesn’t understand but will love because it will be your voice.
You’ll find times where you’re covered in bodily fluids (probably more than once) and oddly enough, it won’t be that gross.
You’ll make time for sleep and self-care, but your baby will have other plans.
You’ll make time to figure out how to get everything you always did at work—done—just as well. Twice as fast. And, with a focus that could rival an Olympian.
Being a working parent in America isn’t always easy.
I’ve learned that many companies will hold your position, but some will not pay you for that crucial time with your new child. If you are lucky enough to get maternity pay, it is often only 50% (or less) of your normal salary, and only for a short time period. Many new fathers get zero PTO. Those that do, often have to turn over all their vacation time. We had a policy that did some combination of those things until recently.
treetree is often talked about like a family. Sometimes when we are making decisions that impact the benefits for our team or the service for our clients, I run the decision through that filter: how would this be different or the same if I were making a decision for my family?
I did just that regarding our parental leave policy and the answer was simple: if I were making this decision for my family, I would want 12 weeks leave with 100% pay. I would want it for both moms and dads. I would give it for birth or adoption. Because that’s the right thing to do for our business.
I personally experienced our former policy on two maternity leaves. It was comparable to other businesses. Generous, even. But it did not feel as generous as it could be. As generous as it should be for our treetree family. So, effective immediately, we’ll be instituting this new parental leave policy. Just because we’re a small business doesn’t mean our benefits should be small; let’s stretch wherever we can with the resources we have, for as long as we are able.
Growing your family and career
When the time is right and you grow your family, I hope you feel the love and support of the trees.
I hope you dive in head first to the madness, the sleeplessness and the charm that is the first few weeks with a little one. Moms, I hope you take the time to recover. Really, truly give your body the rest it needs. Dads, I hope you’re there to aid in that recovery. To help and be there, whether it’s your first or second or third. Every addition changes the dynamic. And even if you already know how to change a diaper, you need to discover how your family is changing. You need the opportunity to be there to see it first-hand. And if you become parents by adoption, I hope you feel the strength of the treehouse behind you. Your work responsibilities will be taken care of so you are able to focus your attention and heart on getting to know the new most important person in your life.
If you want to be a parent, you should do what’s right for your family and have the opportunity to feel supported by your workplace in that process. I am glad we can offer this benefit to ease the financial and emotional burden of blending a family with a full career. Advertising is hard enough. Being in advertising as a working parent can be pure chaos. I want you to come back—and come back even better.
If you have grown children or having a family isn’t in your plans for the future, I hope you’ll continue to be proud of our offering in this area. I hope it makes you glad to know your teammates will be taken care of during this important life change. I know you’ll help pick up the work. I know you’ll say “welcome, babies!” And, whenever and however your team can help you during time you need to be away for other situations that arise, I know you’ll be surrounded by support from the forest.
trees, we each have an important job. May this time with your future families bring to the surface and set a wonderful foundation that being a parent is your most important job. Ever.
Becca Apfelstadt, Co-Founder and CEO of treetree, is on a mission to make sure her agency is the favorite place employees have ever worked and clients have ever hired. treetree is The Agency of Special Projects, located in Columbus, Ohio.