FARGO — Reentering the working world fresh off maternity leave is something many new moms dread.
Some offices, however, are offering new moms an easier way to transition back into the workforce. The Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa made headlines with the launch of their "Infants-at-Work" program, giving new parents the option to work alongside their little ones until they are 6 months old or crawling, whichever comes first.
A Fargo office, too, is offering some postpartum flexibility — and the greater community might hear the results of this unique work arrangement.
Amanda Lea, a new mom and co-host of the "Jessie & Amanda With Pike in the Morning" show on pop station Big 98.7 FM, is now enjoying her time back at work with her little one in tow, and she isn't the first one to do this at the Fargo station.
Big 98.7 baby
Lea returned to the show Monday, May 13, meaning Fargo-Moorhead residents could hear a new, er, voice gracing the airwaves — if she can stay awake, that is.
She said she's lucky to be able to spend more time with her 6-week-old daughter, Sidney, and is adjusting to her new role as mamma very well.
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Almost 6 weeks old... Weighing in at 8.9lbs & 20.5 inches... She brings us so much joy... As you can tell I can't get enough of her & I'm not even sorry about blowing up your feed with this face, even when its full of dried up formula!!! #thissmile #6weeks #sidneylouann #proudparents
"It's been incredible, it's super fun," she says. "The six weeks (of maternity leave) flew by and I am so blessed I get to take her to work with me. Just the timing of getting to go back after Mother's Day and not having to bring her to day care right away, it's a blessing that I get to spend time with her. Six weeks is already short in general for maternity to be taking off, but I knew I could go back because she would be able to go with me."
While her day technically begins well before even newborns are awake, Lea says her husband has been a crucial part of their new schedule, bringing baby Sidney to the Big 98.7 station in south Fargo on his way to work each morning. That allows Lea to catch up on other things before the morning show begins.
Sidney even gets the chance to hang out with her new "uncles," Lea's co-hosts on the "Jesse & Amanda with Pike in the Morning" show.
"Today was definitely our first day back there so it was interesting to say the least," Lea said Monday. "Pike was trying to change her diaper. (Jesse and Pike) are trying to raise my child along with me, which is always entertaining to say the least."
Her co-workers love having Sidney around, too.
Jesse James, program director and co-host of the morning show, said it's great having the baby around.
"It's fun," he said. "We've done this with co-workers in the past. We just try to make it comfortable and easy for people to do the best at their job that they can do.
"And listen, we're not conducting brain surgery or sending people to space," James added. "We're doing a radio show. I can promise you, hearing a baby cry isn't even close to the weirdest thing you're going to hear on any given morning."
Lea said she's excited to share life with her baby with the community.
"I am so thankful to go out and do and be and have her with me," she said. "I was pregnant on the air and people got to see me go through all of that, so it's fun to now have people watch her grow up. I think that's a really cool part of keeping it real with our morning show. This is life as we know it."