Thursday, November 4, 2010

Settling into my mat leave.

Well, we`re almost at the 4 ½ month mark of my maternity leave and I can safely tell you that I am finally settling in. I have often said that motherhood is everything that I expected, and nothing that I expected all at the same wonderfully challenging time… :) But, what caught me a bit by surprise was how challenging I have found being at home every day.  
Given the sheer amount of time, blood, sweat and oh god the many tears, I have devoted to my career over the years, I thought I would LOVE a year off.  I had lots of plans, projects and upon completion of the renovation, a “to do” list for our home that was longer than Yonge Street.  I have no idea where that list is anymore, and for a girl who has survived this long in marketing & advertising only by the detail I have been able to manage, I can barely find a pen these days. 

We have come a long way. 

There have been moments over the last few months that I have enjoyed nothing more than curling up with Rory on the floor and watching him play, or laying across from his bassinet watching while he slept, or recently the amazing long autumn walks we have taken together. And then there have been harder and longer days where I will be honest, all I have wanted was some adult conversation and quite honestly, to use my brain a bit. Those are the days I have called Peter for whatever reason I could think of… to talk about the crazy man on the street, the deal I just got at the grocery store, the octave of the squeal that Rory had just made, or the “next step” for our lives that I had just concocted in my idle time. 

God bless that man. 

In the last week or two I have had some major decisions to make. Decisions I proactively brought on in those hard first few months by my uncertainty in being able to stay home for a full year. And in all honesty, probably my uncertainty in being a mom.   In short, I have been contemplating going back to work after Christmas. By being presented with an amazing offer, I have been tempted by the thought of reviving my career in a brand new way and by doing so, giving us a work/life balance that would be more suitable for a family. And thereby turning paternity leave over to Peter as of January 3rd, 2011. 

After a good hard think and a teeter totter of pros and cons discussed over many late nights and bottles of wine, I woke up Saturday morning of last weekend crystal clear about my decision. There is absolutely no way I want to give up a moment with my baby.  A year to spend with your child is a luxury. Not all moms are afforded the luxury or can afford to take advantage of the luxury to spend the first year of their child's life with them. I am one of the fortunate ones.

Recently I have read a book called Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood.  It’s a collection of essays by Canadian writers that explores the unspoken truths of being a mom. What is lost or cut off in conversation.  I have since lent my book to a friend, but there is a powerful quote that I took from one of the essays that is what helped me make my final decision.  Here is my bad paraphrase of it – “You get one shot to be a mom. Then your child is just out there in the world with everything you have given them.  With kids you don’t get second chances, this is it. With careers you do. You can reinvent your career many times in your life. “

So there it was, and there it is. I am embracing my mat leave like never before.  Today as Rory and I danced to Raffi in the mirror together, I felt a huge weight lifted off my chest. A weight quite frankly I put there myself, but in this day and age none of us ambitious young women will escape coming face to face with the great equilibrium search between family and career.  I just pre-maturely started stressing about mine. Not shocking.

When I think back to all things I put on hold, or canceled on all to be able to stay late at work, or to say yes to that last minute business trip, or to answer one more quick reply on my blackberry, I think I am crazy to have ever even contemplated going back early. `Now instead of meetings I go to moms groups. Instead of incessant blackberry typing, I do incessant diaper changes. Instead of drinks after work, I do Music for Munchkins before lunch.  And I love it all.

After years of making other things wait because of work. Now work can wait. 

I am spending time with my baby. 


 Photo Credit - Heather Lynch Photography

1 comment:

  1. Awww, tear.

    Staying home is the BEST and am sooo thankful I can do it as well. Enjoy, the time goes by sooo fast!