Ok, I’m sorry about the title. I couldn’t resist. It just felt too perfect. Moving on…
It seems that I only blog once every two years. I was shocked to see that some people were still reading my old posts. So I’ve decided to revive my blog, this time with two kids and a full time career. I’m in my mid-thirties;the digital revolution is sprinting past and I refuse to be left behind. The goal is to write, promote and maybe even podcast. These are grand dreams for someone who barely has time to go to the bathroom in peace. Time will tell how far I get.
The focus of my blog will continue to be motherhood and career. It’s something that’s become a major focus over the last few years thanks to the likes of Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter. Can I have it all? Should I lean in? What does having it all even mean? And how far should one lean in before falling over and crashing? These are grand discussions. What I really want to know is how parents manage going work after months of sleepless nights with a new baby? I’d also like to figure out how to motivate myself to become fit again. I’m always healthiest when I’m pregnant because I have gestational diabetes. But as soon as those babies are out, the slide backwards begins. These topics and many more still to come.
I hope you’ll keep reading and tell me what you think.
For weeks I’ve avoided blogging because I didn’t want to admit defeat. I didn’t want to face the world of super parents who have sleep trained their children while mine still slept next to me and my husband. I’m no super mom and I don’t really want to be one but for two nights my baby has spent half the night in his crib. Now for all the Cry It Out parents, that may seem like a minuscule accomplishment, but for me it’s nothing short of amazing.
There’s no particular method, just a slow process of getting him used to sleeping on his own. And I won’t leave him to cry, not even for one minute. I can’t say I have any evidence that letting a baby cry isn’t good for them because I don’t really know if it is or not. But what I do know is leaving my baby to cry for any period of time feels completely unnatural to me. I respect other moms who can do it. But I also understand why many moms don’t.
I’m going to wrap up this post before I make any enemies. If there’s one thing I learned since becoming a mom, it’s never insult a mother’s way of sleep training her little one. And so I will end with this thought: I’m going to enjoy this transition period because it means we both get to have everything we want and everything we need. We both get to sleep in our respective beds for a few hours, uninterrupted by the other’s movements. But we also get to enjoy the bonding time that comes with sleeping next to each other the second half of the night. In a few weeks (or months) he will be sleeping in his crib the entire night and he’ll probably be fine, but I will miss him terribly. As a working mom who only get’s to see my little one a few hours a day, there is no sweeter feeling than falling asleep while holding my baby’s hand.
My skin is breaking out, my stomach is in knots. Next week I go back to work. Yesterday I spent the morning in tears. It’s a flood of emotions I haven’t felt since the birth of my beautiful boy. I’m going to miss him. I haven’t been without him for more than just a few hours. Now I will be gone for 11 hours a day. Leaving him in the very capable hands of his nanny makes me feel better than if I had to leave him in a daycare at such a young age. But I’m still going to feel pangs of guilt for not being there for him all the time.
My tears are also tears of stress. For weeks, my world has revolved around my baby, as it should. But that also meant that I didn’t have any time to focus on what’s happening around the world, and I’m worried that I am going to return to work and fail at my job. Someone once told me that once I had a baby, my priorities would change, that I may no longer want to advance in my career. I disagreed with that person then, and I disagree with that person now more than ever. Having a baby has made me want to be even more successful in my career. The stakes are much higher now. My son’s future depends greatly on what opportunities my husband and I can offer him. Before, failure or even stagantion in my career was only a disappointment to myself. Not any more. I want him to be proud of me as I was proud of my mother and father, who worked tirelessly to make sure we had all that we needed and more. The challenge now is how do I work to excel while not compromising my precious time with my boy. I know it’s a balancing act that millions of women struggle with every day.
Fellow career moms, how do you do it? How do you find the time to focus on work while also thinking about finding the time and place to pump while away from your babies? How do you push for a promotion when that promotion may also mean less time with your little ones? How do we find success as mothers and career women? I still have a long road ahead of me before I can answer any of these questions. But perhaps you already have some tips?
I finally did it. This week I finally opened up my work email. I had about 30 messages with the subject “your mailbox is full.” And more than 2500 other unread emails. I was perfectly happy letting it stay full. But I’m now just a few weeks away from returning to work and it is time for me to send the email I had been dreading since the day my baby was born. It’s time to find out when my official start date will be.
I won’t lie. A part of me is really looking forward to going back to work. I love what I do and I’m excited to jump back into the world of international news. But another part of me is having a major panic attack. How am I going to leave my three and a half month old for 10 hours a day? I tend to get anxious when I’m having dinner with friends and I’m a way from him for only two hours. I’m really lucky because I will be leaving him with an amazing nanny who he already loves. . But I will have to let go and get myself used to the fact that my son will not be spending the day the way I want him to spend it. I will be sharing his most precious moments and milestones with someone else. I will cry my eyes out every morning when I leave him.
It just feels too soon to go. Why is it that the great United States has the worst maternity leave policies of the developed world. In Canada, moms get 52 weeks off work during this life changing experience. The same is true for the U.K and other parts of Europe. In France, both moms and dads get to take a combined 104 weeks off work. Even Afghanistan has better laws concerning maternity leave. The law there requires women to take 12 weeks off work with 100% of their pay. In fact, the law in the U.S. does not require a company to pay moms anything, though most get some of their salary through short-term disability. We are forced to choose between having the opportunity to be good moms or to be successful career women. And most of us don’t even really have that choice. We have to work in order to help provide for our families.
I think it’s time for another wave of feminism in the U.S., one that celebrates the idea of being both a mother and a career women. We can do it all, if our country will give us the chance. It’s too late for me. Come mid-January, I’ll have to leave my baby for work before he even recognizes that I am his mom.
Moms, what are your experiences with going back to work?