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Getting back into the swing

Categories: freelance, maternity leave, pregnancy, time management, working from home

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It’s back-to-school time for the kiddies and back-to-work time for me. Remember how I thought I’d take two weeks off work after having my baby and then just jump right back in? Well, here I am with a seven-week-old and I’m still chugga-chugga-ing at the station and only just now starting to move (slowly, slowly) down the track.

New babies consume a lot of headspace–I remembered this from before–but I kind of forgot how much actual physical time they consume, what with the feeding and diapering and rocking and heart-shaped-pupil-gazing into their new eyes. As I’d high-hoped, I <em>did</em> adjust intellectually and emotionally to the new member of the family quickly enough that by two weeks out I was ready and raring to dive back into a light work load. What I didn’t factor in, though, was the frequency with which I’d not be able to check my email before 4 p.m., or not be able to block out a long chunk of hours to complete a project, or not be able to even tell you what day of the week it was. Deadlines were elusive, schedules felt liquid, jobs loomed larger and larger, and yes, as much as I tried to deny it (and still try), my brain was tangled from lack of sleep.

Can I do the work I’ve always been able to do? Yes, most days I totally can. But can I do it in a timely and efficient manner? That’s…a little harder. Luckily, that’s where my generous employers have been giving me slack, telling me it’s no problem, letting me off the hook, patting my back and suggesting I relax, for goodness sake, since I JUST HAD A BABY. Everyone has allowed me to play my New Mom Card for a little extra leeway. Everyone but me.

Why do I feel such a strong pull to get working again when no outside force says I have to? I don’t know if it’s my long-absent high-achiever genes kicking back in or if I feel like I have something to prove (to my employers? to other new moms? to myself?), but it’s downright bizarre is what it is. My son is still so new it’s not like I’m not looking for some way to escape the monotony that can become caring for a child day in and day out after a while. I love spending the day with him. I love staying in my p.j.s until I get around to showering (sometimes). I love being able to go out and run errands rather than sit stuck behind a computer for eight hours in a row. But boy if I don’t miss all that uninterrupted computer time too. I guess I’m just one of those weirdos who loves working for work’s sake. I love what I do–as both a mother and a career woman. Lucky, lucky me.

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