by Jenna Lee
I grew up watching television shows in which girl meets boy followed by the age-old pattern of dating, getting married, beginning your career, and ultimately buying a house and starting a family. Even my family followed this same pattern—my parents met in college and my brother and sister-in-law were the classic high school sweethearts. They all dated, got married, started their careers, bought the house, and had the babies. I have known I wanted to be a mother since I was a young girl, and I hoped I would follow the same motions as my family. Spoiler alert: I met my husband, Youngjun, in undergrad and we did just that. When we found out I was pregnant, we began house-hunting and found one (I was experiencing all this while six months pregnant—fun times!). To cross the “pattern’s” finish line as others before me—of buying a house and then starting a family—we welcomed our son Soohyun (“Soo,” for short, or “Baby Soo” as he is called by his little cousins) in October 2022. Soohyun has completely moved our world with his chubby cheeks and headful of hair—check out his cuteness in the pictures attached!
Becoming a mother is already scary enough. But having a career in addition to your new duties, you need ample time to become adjusted. When Chris Schembri (CEO of Aletheia) first announced the new maternity leave, I was thrilled because the idea of being a mom was both exciting and worrisome due to the idea of how life would now look with a child. Being provided six months of maternity leave allowed me to adjust to my new role as a mother without worrying about my career and the work I had put into building it. The time allowed me to adjust to the new sleepless nights, ever-changing emotional states and leaky diapers—we all know what I am talking about. I was able to take the desired time to bond with my baby, savoring all the feeds, little coos, contact naps and little smiles (just look at those cheeks!).
It allowed my body to heal from both childbirth and an unforeseen health scare that occurred during my pregnancy. For me, it took more than six weeks before I even felt somewhat normal. I know if I had been on a traditional six- or eight-week leave like most companies in America offer, I would not have recovered before returning. Additionally, as an auditor, my husband had to work nonstop during this recovery time, too. Being on leave allowed me to fully devote my time to being a mother and a temporary single parent. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the errands Soohyun and I would run together, or play around the house together, even with our little guest in cat form, Momo. Aside from my mother duties, I was also able to return to taekwondo, training one step closer to my first black belt and focusing on my health.
I believe that in today’s work culture, the work-life balance line can become very blurred. With more companies embracing work from home, it is becoming harder to turn off the laptop. At Aletheia, they respect that line. They understand each employee is unique and if they take the time to care for their employees, the employees will care for the company. They will work hard to help the company succeed and thrive. I am proud to work for a company that values family in its practice and not just in theory.