TODAY   |  September 27, 2013

New TODAY parents share perks, stories from parental leave

TODAY’s Peter Alexander, Jenna Wolfe, Stephanie Gosk, Mara Schiavocampo and Jenna Bush Hager talk about their experience with parental leave from work and the ups and downs of the first few months of parenthood.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> jenna, we have a great panel here. not just you. we have jenna wolf and stephanie gosk here with five week old harper . good morning, harper , you're on tv. mara is here with nina who is 21 months old and peter alexander is here as a proud dad and a voir dava is here in spirit. jenna , i see you two days in a row now.

>> two-day maximum and then i'm going back into the hibernation of maternity leave .

>> stephanie, what's it like to come back to work?

>> it's tricky because you feel a little guilty for the person that you leave back at home. we were together and managing a lot of work and then when you leave you worry that the person you've left has to deal with all of that --

>> mara , did you have any regrets about coming back when you did. actually and i don't mean to sound ungrateful. i was very glad to have that time off and work for a company that gives you maternity leave but i found very hard. if i could take time off now and be at home i would be in heaven. but it was really isolating and breast feeding was hard so i ran back to work and i was happy to see my coworkers and to change out of pajamas and to just be back into my life.

>> peter, our dad here, you got two weeks off and right back to the grind.

>> i was blessed with the inability to nurse which makes that easier. so i took the first week off to be with the baby and then let the family be there for an extended period of time and as soon as the family was out i did the other week where i could help my wife in some way but i got hazed pretty quickly. there was a little poop on the shirt pretty fast into the whole process.

>> welcome home dad, right?

>> jenna you have been back for about a week or so. have you been thinking about mila while you have been at work. sometimes you're here physically but not mentally.

>> definitely. the hard thing about our job and this stage in our life is that we travel all the time. henry and i have had to look at our calendars and figure out logistics so that somebody is always home with her.

>> good parenting tip.

>> is that weird?

>> we never left her. get that out there. but also, the other thing is we're learning how to be parents and my mom told me, you know, being a mom or a dad, the most important job you'll ever have is learning to be a parent.

>> so mainly a mom.

>> but being a parent is the most important job you'll ever have and we're learning this new job.

>> i think mara you talked about this, you worry about what's going on at work, are you missing something. jenna do you feel like that at all or are you totally con sumd.

>> no, i need a gsp just to get here. i brought my i.d. just in case. there's always a sense that you're missing out on something. will work be there for you when you get back. i'm going through a little bit of that but i spoke to everyone else who says enjoy the time off. enjoy spending time with her and bonding with her. work will be there when you get back. do you hear that? work will be there when i get back.

>> the dad, though, the same way some fear they maybe missing what's going on at work, i fear i'm missing what's going on at home and for the first time in my life i am racing to get home. i'm like let's see if we can finesse this. so home time is the best.

>> great to see you guys. harper wake up.

>> let her sleep.