While I was pregnant I told Jake that I’d be happy if I got two months “maternity leave” from our business to take care of Lisa and do some bonding. So Jake made sure he could handle the workload by taking on fewer photo shoots and sharpening his photoshop skills. I was never worried that he would pressure me into returning to work, but it turns out he wasn’t the one I should have been worried about. When you’re self-employed you are your own boss, and it turns out I’m a real slave driver. Even though my time with Lisa is precious I couldn’t help but worry about our business, our family income, and the huge gap between posts on the blog. It’s only been three weeks and I’ve already been sneaking to the computer to work when Jake isn’t looking
It may sound like there’s no problem. If I feel ready to work, why not work? Right? But taking care of a newborn isn’t just a full-time job - it’s a 24-hour job! Between the diapers, the feedings, the baths and the pediatrician I could easily devote one hundred percent of my time to her, if only my body would allow it. Jake has been helpful - he actually handles most of the diapers (thanks Jake) - but there are some jobs that require a mother’s touch. So while I should be spending my precious down time resting, I’m stressing my mind and body more than I need to by letting my job intrude on my time off.
Then while I was feeding Lisa in the middle of the night I started watching TED Talks to keep awake. I stumbled upon a video by Nigel Marsh about work life balance and I found myself easily relating to it. In the talk Nigel said he created a schedule for his ideal day, including every activity he wanted to engage in, took one look at the list and realized it was never, ever going to happen. I decided I needed to put myself through the same shock, so I created my own hour to hour list of how I thought an ideal day would go if I was taking care of Lisa and getting a little work done on the side (or vice versa). Here’s what I came up with.
- 6am feeding Lisa
- 7am my time — nap/pampering/yoga/reading
- 8am breakfast
- 9am feeding Lisa
- 10am studio work / blog
- 11am feeding Lisa
- 12 lunch
- 1pm relax with jake / nap
- 2pm feeding Lisa
- 3pm studio work / blog
- 4pm feeding Lisa
- 5pm my time — nap/pampering/yoga/reading
- 6pm dinner
- 7pm feeding Lisa
- 8 - 9pm tidy up house and unwind with jake
- 10pm feeding Lisa and going to bed
- 12/1am feeding Lisa
- 4am feeding Lisa
Of course it’s easy to poke holes in this list right off the bat since I don’t get to decide right now what time Lisa will feel like feeding. But even if I did, trying to stick to a schedule this packed would be no way to live. Of course the moral of the TED Talk wasn’t that balancing work and life was impossible, only that you have to be realistic and try to balance your life over a longer period of time. And the most important thing is to always find time and be there for your family.
I took a moment to reflect and felt very grateful to have supportive family around who can help me carry the load. When I need to spend time with Lisa, Jake can take care of the work. And when I absolutely need to do work, my mother is happy to watch her granddaughter for a few hours while I get caught up. I guess it really does take a village.
And for that I’m deeply grateful to have so many that loves and supports us personally or though business. ~ Thank you all!