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A First Mother’s Day: Stephanie Rodriguez on New Parenthood & Expedia Group’s Support

Stephanie Rodriguez is a Senior PR Manager based in Florida driving impactful communications for Expedia Group for the past 3 years. As part of the B2B Corporate Communications team, she orchestrates strategic initiatives that champion Expedia Group’s innovative, traveler-centric approach for various audiences, including travelers, partners, and the tech industry.

When Stephanie isn’t crafting strategic communications, she’s enjoying her role as a new mom. Stephanie and her husband welcomed their son, Elias, on November 13, 2023. In celebration of Mother’s day, let’s explore Stephanie’s journey as a first-time mom utilizing our New Parent Benefit program and transitioning back into work.

From the very beginning, I could see how much of a role Expedia Group would play in our journey to parenthood. As an Expedian in the US, we get access to amazing fertility benefits through Progyny, which allowed us to conceive fairly quickly and at hardly any cost to us. Following that, I received 12 weeks of paid parental leave along with additional weeks of paid short-term disability leave.

The parental leave process was fairly seamless, but the most valuable part of it all was that the team respected this time away. No emails, no texts, and no phone calls about work-related activities. The only time I heard from my team was because they were checking in on how we were doing as a new family of three. I am so grateful that my team fully respected my time away, and I was genuinely was able to focus on my baby, Elias, and my health without worrying about work.

Here is where I can quickly get teary-eyed. I was so grateful for the opportunity to transition back into work for the first 30 days on a part-time schedule with full-time pay. A lot of change happens in 5 months, both at work and in your personal life, so gently getting back into the swing of things is crucial.  Also, my team has been the best. They’ve taken back seats as coworkers and front seats as friends (and fellow parents). The team cares greatly about easing back into things and putting your family first. I have really appreciated starting off with a few light projects and picking up gradually. It’s very easy to get excited about coming back and thinking you can juggle things as quickly as you did before becoming a parent. But sometimes, it takes some adjusting to get back to that pace and having a team to support you through that time is priceless. 

Lean on your fellow coworkers who are also parents. They understand EXACTLY what you are going through. Here at EG, I am lucky to have friends across the company who reached out and shared advice on how to find that balance. And if you don’t have those friends yet, you can quickly make them on one of our various parent related slack channels, which has an amazing support system. There’s even a new buddy program you can join as a parent returning from leave. 

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