After coming back to work part time a month after I had the Copperpot, I was exhausted, shell shocked, and hyper aware of how tiny my baby still was. I couldn’t fathom leaving her in anyone’s arms but her grandmothers, and I was extremely lucky that those women took on that task so willingly in those early months to allow me to go back to work and try and figure things out.
When the maternity leave ran out and my baby was still tiny, despite the huge decision ahead of me, it wasn’t even a decision. I couldn’t send my newborn to a giant daycare. Or a babysitter. That’s not to say that I think women who do are less good mothers – in fact, I think they’re 100 times stronger and braver than I will ever be.
So I decided to quit my office job and pursue my side project of freelance writing as full time as time would allow while still being home with the critter. In just a few months, freelancing turned to part time editing, part time editing turned into full time editing, and full time editing turned into running a much bigger chunk of a company than was tenable for me.
Even when the Copperpot was old enough to go to a wonderful nearby daycare and I could work full time with less distractions, I still found myself working fifty hours or more a week, and this time, the decision about what to do was much more painful.
Ultimately, I left behind years of work at a company I loved to seek some internal balance. I now work part time at my alma mater again for wonderful people, and that’s a good fit for the moment.
What this foray into a full-time writing career afforded me was twofold: I was able to be home for two years with my daughter when she really truly needed me the most, and I was able to maintain an identity that was deeply important to me at a time when motherhood can feel all-consuming. I treasure those years and that experience, and that my company entrusted me with so much.
As for what’s next, I feel like I’m in a complicated rest stop. I’m letting myself sleep in for the first time in 2.5 years (and by that I mean waking up at 7.) I’ve let myself indulge in all sorts of hobbies that fell to the wayside while I was constantly writing, reviewing books, answering emails, covering events. I’m knitting, reading, biking, seeing movies, and enjoying cooking again. And look, writing for myself again!
I don’t know what the next stage looks like, but I’m actively contemplating it. I’m grateful for this safe rest point, and eager to see what identity awaits me next.
In the meantime, I hope to write here again about all the things I’ve fallen in love with in the past 18 months since I last wrote: The west side of Salt Lake, Mexico City, the books I’m reading, and the amazing food, shops, people, and organizations I’m encountering since we moved.
In the words of Lin Manuel Miranda, “Welcome to this life. It’s a Sizzler’s. It’s whatever you can fit on your tray. And there’s pudding the salad bar. Let’s go.”
Thanks for coming to Sizzler’s with me, y’all. I’ve missed this space.