People First! with Lori Mihalich-Levin


By Morag Barrett

Lori Mihalich-Levin believes in empowering working parents. She is the founder and CEO of Mindful Return and author of Back to Work After Baby, a book I wish I would have had access to when I was returning from maternity leave! Lori also co-hosts the podcast “Parents at Work” with her husband and enjoys her healthcare lawyer private practice “side hustle.”

Where Are the Resources?
As a natural activator, Lori comes alive when she is actively solving problems. It’s no surprise then that her book is chock-full of practical advice for parents going back to work after having a baby. Inspired by her own experience, Lori noticed that when she transitioned back into work, the only available resources seemed to be baby-centered. But what about the working parents?

After years of doing this work, Lori says the common themes she sees from parents returning to work are conflicting emotions and a search for significance. Many parents fear in their absence that their teams may have discovered that they weren’t really needed or missed. Regardless of where you are, navigating change is complex and can impact your confidence when you return. 

Essential Relationships
The wonderful thing about Lori and her work is that she provides us with shortcuts that can, at the very least, help manage the practicalities of the transition. This includes having duplicate sets of equipment at home and at work (a pump for example), scheduling touchpoints with your partner, and putting pump times on the calendar for the whole year. Too often, the assumption is that one partner (typically the mother) will be in charge of the details, but Lori’s work emphasizes the importance of teamwork and utilizing your relationships. 

The relationships Lori has built up over the last several years both personally and professionally have equipped her to manage her own mindful return. After all, it was the village that supported her in her transition back to work and continues to offer mutual support. 

Staying Integrated
So how on earth does Lori remain present and (buzz word) integrated in all facets of her life? She has adopted daily practices that keep her centered and sane, like yoga, stillness, alone time, and white space, on the calendar. 

What I find incredibly intriguing about Lori’s work is how the skills needed for a mindful return are very applicable to our careers in general - from leadership to work-life enrichment. The truth is aspects of our home and work life actually complement each other. Motherhood shouldn’t mean an inherent slowdown in your career just as advancement in your career doesn’t have to equate to feelings of “mom guilt.” The two don’t need to remain so separate. 

The Impact of the Pandemic
The pandemic was an accelerator of the shifts needed in our places of work, especially for working parents. Research revealed the greater impact our current systems have had on women and caregivers in general. Crucial changes are happening, and Mindful Return is at the forefront, supporting parents around the world. 

Regardless of culture, this experience is a human experience and Lori wants you to know that no matter your circumstances, you’ve got this! 

Catch the rest of our chat by following the links below. 

Watch away: Here!
Treat your earbuds: Here!

Resources:
Lori Mihalich-Levin’s Website

Back to Work After Baby 

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Parents at Work Podcast

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