My Most Important Job: Being Their Mommy
Last week, I ended my contract with my first and biggest client. I considered taking a “maternity leave,” but in the end, I realized that I had built what I had set out to build and I had learned what I needed to learn. It was time to build something new, and I was already building a baby.
Just like with any transition, it feels a bit strange, like there are so many other things I should be doing with my time, posts I’m forgetting to post, emails I’m unintentionally ignoring. But easing out of the old and into the new is the gift I chose to give myself when I sat down and got really real with how I wanted to manage the next step in our family, and in my career. I had felt for a while that I was slowly drowning in the heavy load of my work coupled with the mental and emotional heft of my managing our growing family. Because I had also decided long ago that I wanted to in-source most of our parenting, it was time to consider creating a new balance.
I would classify myself as overly accountable. I check my email too often. I can have a gross sense of urgency, especially given the nature of much of my client work. As the sole proprietor of my business, I don’t have a team doing all my busy work and I don’t have much of a village raising my toddler. Instead of splitting my time between the two, I felt myself always doubling up—refreshing my email when I was with the dude and wanting to do “bubbles” (bath time) with our little man instead of posting my scheduled Instagram posts. I didn’t want to keep acting like I didn’t have a big client load when I was with the kid and that I didn’t have a kid when I was working with my clients. Instead of continuing to feel bogged down by this combo, I decided to change it.
I usually have to force myself to slow down and give myself permission to take it a little easier. With ODP, I worked until the day I went into labor, became a statistic by not returning to a commute six weeks after he was born (I didn’t qualify for FMLA and the state policy at the time was 6 weeks unpaid leave for a vaginal birth, 8 for C-section. My demoralizing meeting with HR prior to giving birth really drove those timeframes into my skull). So, by eliminating the bulk of my busy, I have freed up a whole new normal to focus on new clients with more flexible timeframes AND have a little time to put my feet up.
I don’t think balance is something we’re ever able to really master, but I have found freedom in taking back control of my time. I started my business to create that flexibility for myself, and I’m looking forward to enjoying a little bit of calm before the storm of a new little one in just a few short weeks.