I'm Leah, and in a lucky twist of fate, I've landed my three dream jobs:
book editor, writer, and mother. Since having my son in December 2008, my
work-life has been in constant flux - full-time? part-time? freelance?
working at home or in the office? It depends on the day and which way the
wind is blowing - and figuring out how to keep it all going is a constant
challenge. Heck, I'm still getting used to the idea of being someone's
Check out my profile on Work It, Mom! and my personal blog, A Girl and a Boy.
One good thing (the only good thing?) about having a Dreaded December Baby is that while everyone else is taking year-end stock of the previous twelve months, I also get to take stock of my latest year as mother to a kid born on December 14. Here are the top five parenting lessons I learned in 2010:
1. Daycare works for us. Aside from the completely selfish perk that it allows me to continue doing a job I love, sending my son to daycare has taught him social skills, group structure, art and cooking and music and games I would never have thought up, and of course the language skills and cultural knowledge he could never have been exposed to had he stayed home with me.
2. Friends who are also babysitters are worth their weight in gold. In two years, we’ve only hired a sitter once, and even that was too easy, since we basically just left our son with our friends’ regular babysitter and her kids while we all went out together. Friends who will babysit, and sometimes on a moment’s notice, are True Friends, and I’ve never once worried about my son’s safety or well-being or jolly good mood knowing he’s with people who love him as much as any non-blood relative could.
3. Maintaining hobbies that have nothing to do with (a) work or (b) parenting is (a) hard but (b) worth it. What you do with your spare time doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive or even noble–maybe it’s just a quiet half hour with a book every night; maybe it’s playing video games after the kids are in bed–but if it’s something that you enjoy for its own sake, it will probably help keep you centered and focused and remind you who you are when you’re not answering to a boss or a client or a tiny dictator in the form of your toddler.
4. Cumulatively, finding even a little more patience for your child can mean having much less patience for other things, including (in no particular order) your spouse, your pets, your job, traffic, local crime, national politics, global disasters, movies, t.v. commercials, and the price of absolutely everything. Loosening the mental grip on all of your potential gripes is sometimes a lot to ask, but it usually makes for a happier you (and a happier kid).
5. A year with a kid goes so, so FAST. And there’s nothing you can do to change that, so just enjoy all you can.
What were your biggest parenting lessons of 2010?
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