Good Bye "Maternity Leave"

Maternity leave is in quotations in the title of this post because that was sort of a foreign concept to me...

I've always been someone who has a hard time taking time off. I blame it on my parents :) All 4 are very active people and from a very young age my brother, step brother and I were always involved in lots of activities - sports, summer camp, clubs, etc. As a result, I don't really like sitting down. I don't like not having things to do. Then Chris and I found each other and our constant need/desire to check things off our lists sort of just eggs each other on and fuels the beast.

When we got pregnant I wondered how a baby would change that. And I wondered how I would acclimate to taking care of our little one while also working from home at the same time

Enter the day we went to the hospital. I was doing billable work only a couple hours before we left. We came home with our little lady the Saturday night following the Thursday she was born I was at the computer (granted for a very short time) on Monday doing billable work. A couple days after that I was helping Chris on the house. We were both getting lots of cuddles in and bonding with Zoe, but the desire to work never really ever leaves us. I don't really know what it is.

I had intended to take time off of work and off of the house, but I found that if I went the entire day and didn't work on either that I felt kind of weird. The feelings of being a new mom while also trying to maintain who I was before I was a mom were hard to get used to at first. I felt a lot of pressure from myself to still get a lot done, and I felt a lot of pressure from myself to be the best mom I could be. For me, being a mom meant also working pretty much from the start of Zoe being born. And part of me has felt guilty about that

Did having a desire to still work on our house and work at my paying jobs so soon after she was born make me a bad mom? Of course much of my days are spent feeding, bonding, playing and cuddling Zoe, but I still want to make sure I take time our to do the things that I identify with as being a part of me. I am a mom now and I love holding her, seeing her smile, bonding with her and getting so excited about the fact that I can see her learn and develop each and every day. But there is also a part of me that finds happiness in working on our house and doing day job work.

Of course I am incredibly lucky to be able to do so much of my work from home. I am able to be with her each day, be her primary caretaker and still get work on the house done and make money. Yesterday was the first day I went to work without her: I went back to work at the A's. It's been a challenge learning to pump (and I say learning because every day is a new challenge with that machine and trying to get the most out of your boob as possible, especially considering at some feedings she eats 6 ounces), and I was very sad to leave her. But I was also was excited to see my co-workers again, get paid to watch baseball and also have an identity outside of our house. I am so lucky that I don't have to be away from her 8am - 6pm Monday - Friday and that when I'm at work at the A's Chris is home to take care of her so she always has some good old fashioned parent loving

It's a constant balance - being a mom, working, renovating and doing all the other things I feel like define me. I was afraid how it was all going to shake out and every single day is a new learning experience. Soon I'll be driving down to San Jose once a week for meetings with my brother with Zoe in tow and I wonder how she'll do in the car for that long or if she'll fuss when my brother and I talk about bookkeeping, a property he owns or a project he needs me to tackle. Zoe will always keep me on my toes. But I like that. She's my little buddy. Every day I learn something new and getting to be a working mom while also getting to take care of her is something I know I'm very lucky to get to do. She's a good painter, a good bookkeeper, a good graphic designer, and definitely a good A's fan

They only allow you to dress them up with no objections for a very limited time, I need to take advantage of this obviously...


Bunny @ 86n It said...

Everything you wrote is so true for me. It's a hard balance and it is hard to sort out your feelings about it all.
I did side work during my official maternity leave with Franca and with Mina, I never stopped working. I'm like you, I can't NOT do something. I'm horrible at relaxing and sitting still.
I feel really lucky to be able to work from home. Sometimes I wonder if life would be easier if I had a "normal" job and "normal" childcare, but I've made this crazy schedule and it makes me and my family really happy. That's all that matters right?
Seems like you are working it out too and that makes me happy for you!
(sorry I'm a little rambly, I have a bottomless Franca covered with fingerpaints next to me!)

Emily said...

I go back to work Sunday! OMG breastpumps. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. But we do what we can! Have you been able to avoid childcare? I'm trying to minimize it to two afternoons a week.

meryl rose said...

Thanks Nikki :) It was really inspiring when we were out at your place during the renovation road trip and seeing how you make it all work so seamlessly. I was definitely taking notes :)

Good luck Emily! Yeah, my and the breastpump so far have a mostly hate relationship ;) I am super lucky that so far we have had no childcare to need to pay for. I take care of her during the day and taking time out here and there to do work, and when I have A's games away from the house Chris is the baby watcher :) When she gets older and more mobile I may have a parent watch her one day a week so I can have that be my primary work day. Fingers crossed it all works out!