My second daughter was born in mid-May and by mid-June I was spending at least a couple of hours each day on my computer, checking in on my online business.
I’d managed to delegate nearly all of the essential work for the day-to-
day operations of running the business and defer activities that only I could do, like run online course sessions, while my passive income streams kept the business going.
I didn’t want to commit myself to work during this special, unpredictable time. But I also had the foresight to anticipate that my creative spirit would not want as long of a rest as my healing, post-partum body.
So before my daughter was born, I’d prepared to work on the second edition of a book I’d written 5 years back. The book desperately needed a major overhaul and it was the perfect project for the relative downtime. I had gone through the first edition, annotating it with updates and improvements to make, mostly while receiving stints at the chiropractor to loosen up the unstoppable tension in my hips.
So my work was already carved out and compartmentalized into small tasks – perfect for the stolen moments I’d have as the mom of a newborn.
But here’s the thing. My daughter refused to sleep in her bassinet. My first daughter was “easy”, falling quickly into a regular nap and nursing schedule, sleeping 4 hours at night, you know, that kind of “easy”.
I wasn’t prepared for truly hard.
I wasn’t prepared to hold my daughter 16 hours a day while my husband picked up the other 8, just so she wouldn’t cry.
I wasn’t prepared to shut my brain off. I was prepared to write my book in short windows of time between nursing sessions.
So I did. I would nestle my daughter into the Ergo or Moby, do a few laps around the house, and then gently ease myself into my desk chair. Perhaps she found the clicking of the keyboard a familiar, soothing sound, as she had definitely experienced a lot of it in the womb.
No matter, she would sleep, sometimes for very long stretches. I would sit, baby strapped on, and write. Blissfully write.
But it wasn’t always this peaceful. Towards the middle of the summer, it was clear my project was going to be ready for an editor soon. But I had to find one! I remember a call to talk to an editor that happened on one of those tougher days we all experience as moms of newborns. I made circle after circle around our large kitchen island, wiggling and juggling her into short spurts of comfort.
One thing I learned is that people care less about these distractions than you’d expect them to. I’ve talked to my coach, various consultants, my virtual assistant, and even participated in a live course Q&A while baby-holding, nursing, and soothing.
After a few months of working like this, my back decided it was not a good idea. I literally could not put my daughter in a carrier for two days straight without my shoulders seizing up on me. During certain moments, I couldn’t even reach down to pick up her 10 pound little body. This happened two days before we were flying to see family out of state, when I would need to carry my daughter around the airport while my husband carried out then 2 ½ year old.
I went back to my trusted chiropractor and, you know what, my back got better. What’s more, as soon as we got to family, where we’d have a ton of help with holding our daughter decided she could sleep on her own, just about wherever. I’m talking on blankets at the beach, in patio chairs, and even in her portable crib.
We got through that hurdle, only to face another. I honestly don’t even remember what the next one was. I simply know that life with children has been one adjustment after another, as I figure out how to balance what I want for me with what they need from me. As my daughters grow and evolve and become more of themselves, I’m doing the same.
We’re on this creative journey together, my daughters and I, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When the guilt pops up about my work, I gently remind myself that by seeing me honor my creative spirit, they will learn to honor theirs.
As a new mom, I wish you the insight to find the adjustments that work best for you and your children, the peace to honor your creative spirit in your own unique way, and good wine for the times when you just aren’t sure what to do yet.
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