Like any job, there are positives and negatives to being self-employed. Maternity leave is both. The positive is that I can choose to take as long a leave as I’d like. The negative is that we’re a one-income household for however long that is. I decided while I was pregnant that I would give myself a three-month leave, which is a pittance compared to other parts of the world, but pretty comparable to the leave friends of mine in the corporate world received and so seemed like a good compromise.
The Little Fella is 10 weeks old today, which means that I only have two weeks left of my self-imposed leave, and I have mixed feelings. I really miss working; I miss using my brain for things other than momming. But I’m having a hard time with the idea of letting someone else take care of my baby. Now, I’m lucky in that I don’t have to work a consecutive 40-60 hour workweek like the rest of the planet. We’ve hired a part-time nanny, who is truly lovely, for 20 hours a week so that I can work uninterrupted, and the rest of the week I will try to work in dribs and drabs during nap times. We’ll start with that schedule and see how it goes.
I am actually really excited to go back to writing, and I realized I was ready to go back to work earlier this week when my editor sent me the fact-checked copy of my manuscript to review and I couldn’t wait to dive in. She gave me a week to send it back to her, I sent it back the same night, forsaking my usual “sleep when the baby sleeps” pm nap to stare at my keyboard for a few hours. I’m lucky, I know that I get to do this whole working and momming thing on my own schedule, at least for now, but the idea of it all still seems overwhelming.
I’m futzing around with two different book ideas to start working on this fall, one of them requires significantly more research than the other and I’m not sure I have the mental bandwidth to absorb all the information that would be needed to make it work. That’s sad. Right? I’m too tired to take the intellectual high road. I probably shouldn’t admit that on the Internet, but I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
Moms, how long did it take post-baby to feel like your brain was running on all cylinders?
My plan is to take a little time before getting serious to try out both ideas, see what feels more fun to write and in the meantime pick up some freelance articles to pay for the nanny. I also have a few speaking engagements lined up, that will have me out of town and away from my baby, which is scary…but oh my goodness I’m going to sleep alone and it’s going to be so amazing!
Piece by piece, I’m starting to feel like a multifaceted human again. Reading books, eating out, I’ve even started exercising. Gently. I’m sticking with cardio right now because I’m dealing with some ligament issues in my hands (pretty common in new moms, apparently) and don’t want to irritate the injury with weights. I’m doing a dance workout series, 30-minute a pop, 6-days a week. I don’t get all the days, but I do the best I can if Ethan decides to sleep for more than 10-minutes at a clip. And we’re taking a Mommy & Me yoga class twice a week (which is basically about an hour of me trying to stretch but breastfeeding a crying infant instead).
Life is different. But good. And while I’m nervous about loosening up the reins of Ethan’s care a bit, I think it’s good to invest in having time for myself. It takes a village…even if you have to pay them.