Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Priorities, They Are A-Changin'

Three weeks is the longest I've gone without blogging.

Didja miss me?

This new motherhood thing is work. Serious work. So serious, in fact, that I've decided not to return to my fulltime job. Instead, I'll continue to freelance for the magazines I've always freelanced for, but will focus on those instead of the full-time gig.

I still get general staff emails from my boss at the full-time gig, imploring the staff to meet their deadlines and updating people how the magazine hasn't shipped out the door on time.

I don't miss that one bit.

Because now when I'm working at midnight, it's at home feeding my son, instead of sitting at a desk, bleary-eyed, having sat there for the previous 15 hours reading or researching.

So I called and told both the HR department and the above boss that I'd be available to freelance from home, or somehow work part time, but I just could not return to the office in the full time, work-til-midnight-during-deadline-week capacity.

And because I am old (i.e., 37, not 27) and doing motherhood for the first time, I didn't feel bad at all about not returning to work in an office. As I've mentioned before, I spent my 20s and much of my 30s being Supercareer Gal, committed to inching my way up an editorial ladder.

Now that I've had the editorial jobs I've had, worked in the offices I've worked in, and had the names on my resume I have, I feel like I've done a lot of what I wanted to do in my career. Of course, I still love working as a journalist/reporter/researcher/writer/editor, which is why I'm continuing to freelance. But schlepping into an office for many hours each day, while I have my cute Baby L at home being his newborn baby self, just doesn't cut it anymore.

Ah, Baby L. So cute. So vexing. Such a baby.

He's nine weeks old this week and had his vaccinations last Friday at his two-month appointment. While not as harrowing as his Bris, I still cried when he got the three (!) shots. He screamed in bewilderment and pain and I felt bad. So bad. He was ok a few minutes later, looking at himself contentedly in the mirror in the examination room, while I was still drying my eyes. Later that night, after he slept the afternoon away, he was inconsolable again and needed his first dose of infant Tylenol.

But my time with him hasn't been all shots and tears. Far from it--I love singing to my son. "Where Is Thumbkin?" Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and when he cries while I change his diaper ("A-wah!" "A-wah!"), I tell him to hold on for me to fasten the fasteners, to hold on while I use a million wipes to clean him up, and to hold on when I segue into Richard Marx's "Hold On To The Nights."

I love cuddling with him, holding him over my shoulder to burp him and he throws his arms over one shoulder while resting his tiny face on its side. Watching him kick as he's lying in his bassinet (he's very kicky--swaddling blankets just don't work on him anymore). Watching him sleep with his arms thrown to the side or above his head. Watching him smile when I say his name, or kiss his face.

At this stage, I'm told, you don't get a lot back from infants--more personality traits, more laughter, more sleeping through the night--tends to happen around the three-four month mark.

But he's so great as a tiny infant.

We go to different Mommy and Me-type classes in my 'hood every week. With my researcher skills still sharp, I've found all sorts of these classes in different towns near me. I've found three different theaters that show movies for moms to bring their babies--the lights aren't so dim, and no one minds if your kid starts to cry during the show. I've gone for walks in my town with a group of stroller-pushing moms who are also trying to shed the baby weight (I've still got a lot to shed).

And I spend a lot of time pumping breast milk--up to six or seven times a day, twenty minutes at a time, trying to eke out whatever milk I can give my boy since breastfeeding wasn't in the cards. It's funny how my life has honed in on this activity. When I got a hands-free bra to pump, freeing my hands up to read or surf the Internet, it completely changed my life. Seriously. I got a car adapter soon after, and now I can leave the house for more than a short few hours at a time. I've pumped while parked in my car. While driving my car. I schlep a bulky black bag that isn't a snazzy sleek diaper bag because the bulky bag has a compartment to put ice packs for me to cool my expressed breast milk on the road.

I mean, really--my life and priorities have changed a thousandfold since giving birth. Which is why my full-time gig and blogging haven't been at the forefront of my mind. But I'm still around, reading a lot of your blogs and posting when I can. And I'm committed to maintaining my blog. It's just hard to know when I'll have pockets of time in between the kissing and the pumping and the doctor's visits and the smiling for my boy. My sweet Baby L.


Laurie said...


I have definitely missed you (and appreciate you checking in on me!) but am so happy your absence is due to such happy stuff and time well spent with Baby L!!

Congrats on the career move--seems like the right thing to do at the right time.

Keep posting when you can!

Major Bedhead said...

Awww. I love those tiny baby moments. Every moment is great (well, except the screaming her head off in Target moments - those suck with a capital Suh) and I'm happy you've found a good medium for you and Baby L.

serenity said...

Excellent. You sound so happy, and so... well... fulfilled. Good call on the career thing.

I am so happy to hear that all is well in the L house. :)

Anonymous said...

I faced a very similar situation to yours with my kids--late motherhood and a decision to write from home instead of an office. I was lucky enough to be very successful with some books and be able to do this for a long time, but I would like to warn you of one BIG issue I've run into.


Most people are at work at jobs, and you may find that over years of working out of your home, no matter how successful you are, you stop having much contact with other people. Friends are too busy with day jobs to meet for lunch. So you hang out with other moms, but after your kids are out of elementary school, that fades out and you won't interact with other moms much either. And if you are successful with your writing, you may find that your success puts a barrier between you and most of the moms who are home without any jobs who may have complex issues about working that your success triggers.

Meanwhile after a few years of working from the home, you are going to be ruined for corporate life! You've gotten used to making your own schedule, and having freedom, and if you are financially successful, you may find it impossible to go back. This makes the isolation worse.

My "babies" are grown up now and on their own, and I'm almost 60, and I really wish I had a better network of real-live friends. My spouse also works for himself from home, and we have more money than we ever dreamed of, but very little social network, because everyone else is always at their salaried jobs, and then they come home and collapse.

So be sure that you put some effort into doing things OFF LINE that keep you in contact with other human beings. If you do that, working as a freelance from home can make childraising wonderful.

I will never regret that I was home with my kids through all the wonderful years and hope you can do that too.

Michko said...

I was starting to wonder about you. Glad to hear life with Baby L is so wonderful. And, how my priorities have changed...I envy you for being able to stay home.

Nicole P said...

So good to see you again. So neat to see you consumed by baby love. :)

Minnesota Nice said... it should be. Give that boy a big slurpy kiss for me.

Bernard said...

Thanks for the update. It sounds like things are going just wonderfully normal. What a blessing.

Enjoy the little guy as much as you can, those moments are just precious.

SaraS-P said...

That sounds like a great life to me. Good for you for saying so long to the stressful full time job.

Kevin said...

Glad to hear you and baby L. are doing well.

I can't even begin to imagine how much my world will change when our babies come. I'm sure you're already doing a better job of maintaining this blog than I'll be able to pull off!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Of course we miss you!

But - completely understand. Your priorities are right where they should be right now.

Don't worry about blogging.

Yehudit said...

Thanks for the update. I didn't know your baby had a bris. Mazal tov! I'm with you on your career choice - later in life, your boy will appreciate having you greet him from school with cookies and milk so much more. And I second anonmous' suggestion to keep involved and active with an outside social network. I'm sure you'll do fine with it. In the meantime, enjoy your little one.

Carlynn said...

Your post left a huge soppy smile on my face, I'm so happy for you and baby L.

Congrats on the career move, it sounds like a very good decision. And I spent my 20's partying and travelling but I would still cut hugely back on work if I had a baby. After all this effort, it would be a pity not to (if you have the choice of course).

Watson said...

Happy for the update, and glad you're doing well.

Life sounds SWEET!

Flmgodog said...

I know you wrote this post over three weeks ago but I am glad you are still keeping up. I completely understand how you feel about trying to keep up the blog. I intend to keep mine up if I can.

Still trying to figure out when to go back to the family business.

Hope all is well.
Lots of kisses to Baby L!!!!


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