How can you keep your current job even after childbirth? The story of Eva Nykodymová, a safety manager for Skanska buildings, can offer inspiration here. And meanwhile she had a harder starting line than most mothers: she gave birth to twins. Yet despite this, she managed to return to work quite quickly.
Five years ago, when Eva Nykodymová gave birth to her twins Lucinka and Terezka, she knew right away that she definitely didn’t want to quit her job. And she was just as decided that she didn’t want a nanny. She wanted to be a mother who manages to both attend fully to her children and family, and get back into her job as well. “It was a little demanding, but I’d do the same today,” says this congenial blue-eyed blond, who oversees safety at the projects of the Skanska construction company.
Her elan and energy are infectious. The moment she steps into the room, you know that an interview with this woman won’t be boring. She takes a wide smile with her everywhere. “But at first, when I was at home with the babies, I was sometimes far from laughter,” says Nykodymová.
Even though family comes first for her, she could never imagine leaving work for two or three years after childbirth. Just four months after her daughters were born, she decided to return to work at least part-time and to team up with her husband for all the care needed by the twins.
Company, Plan, Family
“I won’t say it was simple. It wasn’t. But when you really want to manage it, you can. It’s all mainly about three fundamental things. A good employer who’s willing to meet you halfway, good time planning down to the minute, and support from your family. Without all that, it won’t work,” says Nykodymová. “A satisfied mother means a satisfied child, and I’m confident that applies here,” she says of her guiding motto.
Five months after the birth, the pharmaceutical company where she was then employed enabled her to partially work from home. Her later employer Skanska likewise took a similar stance towards her having to care for children. So the first prerequisite was met.
The second, meanwhile, was fully up to her and her husband. “I told myself that I didn’t want a nanny, and that we’d manage it somehow. How I worked was that I got up at 5 in the morning, turned on my computer, and sent off emails with questions and tasks to everyone needed. Then I turned my computer off again. In the meantime the children woke up, so I took care of them, played with them, and managed to go shopping and make lunch and those typical household things. And when they fell asleep after lunch, I started my computer up again and started to work. Usually a mountain of emails poured out at me, but the girls were absolutely golden and slept for two hours straight, so I had quite a bit of time,” says Nykodymová of her typical day.
“Later, after they’d grown up a bit, I started heading off to work for three hours a day, one day a week. My husband or one of the grandmas needed to be at home with the children at that moment, so everything needed to run precisely.
And then when they were two years old, they started going to nursery school for an hour or two in the morning, and I started working more. In the end I negotiated three working days a week, but I ended up spending much longer than that at work anyway. You know, those three-day weeks where you know you’ll need more days,” she laughs.
Today she and her husband fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Both daughters go to nursery school now, but they still require some care. In the mornings and afternoons. “My husband and I have found a shared rhythm. I head to work early three days a week, he takes the kids to school, and I pick them up in the afternoon. Meanwhile, he heads to work early twice a week, I take the kids to school, and he picks them up,” she says of their daily rituals.
One more thing goes along with all this. The moment the two of them return from work, they set their phones aside. “We want to enjoy evenings together. First with the children, and then just us. There’s no other way. And actually, it helps our relationship too,” she clarifies. She finds that separating work from family is the most important thing of all. “Without that, it’s unmanageable. You have to be able to ‘switch stations’ between safety manager, mother of two, and wife. But naturally it doesn’t work out nonstop. I’m not a superhero,” she adds.