With baby number four on the way, my family and I were ecstatic about the upcoming addition to our squad. But as the day appeared to be nearing, reality started to set in for my wife and me. Between busy schedules with school pickups and drop-offs for our three other kids, after-school activities, meals, and homework assistance … How would we manage this?

Wallid holding his new babyThat is when I found out about Cisco’s Child Bonding Leave, supported by Sedgwick. I was lucky enough that a coworker had gone through this process right before I did, so he caught me up on what was available and how to apply. There are different options for birthing parents, non-birthing parents, and even adoptive parents. It was amazing because all the setup was done prior to delivery, and then as soon as the baby was born, I just emailed Sedgwick, and they got everything rolling within Cisco and with my manager — the process was seamless.

For the next three months, we settled into our new family dynamic. I was able to fully take over the care of our three older kids and their busy schedules so that my wife could do her best to provide for the baby. Our two oldest were pretty self-sufficient, but this was a big transition for our four-year-old, so it was really critical for me to be there for her and have that connection.

Wallid and family dressed up sitting on stairs posing for photoSeeing it firsthand, I know new mothers are superheroes. They take on so much when they are beyond exhausted, physically and emotionally drained, getting sporadic sleep throughout the night, caring for the new baby, and recovering from giving birth, so being able to care for my spouse and building a bond with our newborn during this time was gratifying beyond belief. Building emotional connections with my other children was extremely meaningful, too. I can confidently say — as I didn’t have this same benefit when my other three children were born — I would have missed all of these blissful moments with a full work schedule. Having this time off, I was able to have a clear mind and be attentive emotionally to my family during a life-changing moment without the stress of work, deadlines, and meetings.

As my leave came to an end, we had set the foundation for me to return to work — a transition made easier with my always supportive leader and team and Cisco’s flexible hybrid work, which allowed me to work from home. After having ample time to focus on my family, it felt like the perfect time for me to return, and mentally, I was ready to take it on.

Work is important, no doubt, but where we work is even more important. The values shared at Cisco, plus the support and humanity that are present throughout our policies and benefits, and the people who rally around and care for us make this an outstanding place to work. I’m proud to show up for a company that shows up for me.

Explore the benefits and perks designed to support our people and their loved ones.

Subscribe to the WeAreCisco Blog.


Wallid Seraj

Program Manager

CX Partner OPEX