When I was pregnant, I told myself, and others, this dangerous phrase countless times: “I’ll work while my baby sleeps.”
There is a probably a super-mom out there that does make it happen (and simultaneously looks amazing on Instagram), but personally I have discovered that the phrase “I’ll work while my baby sleeps” is evil and just does not work for me, for the following reasons:
1. Babies don’t sleep.
JUST KIDDING! That isn’t true, but for the first six months, my child’s sleep was anything but reliable. And when she DID sleep, it was always in my arms, or otherwise in the stroller. Yes I could “shoot some emails” with one hand while my baby slept in my arms, but I’m talking about the kind of work where I have TWO HANDS on a computer and I m sitting down – that just didn’t happen.
2. You need a break.
If I did get a precious 30 minutes of time to myself while my angel (aka TINY DICTATOR) slept, I really needed a few moments to myself. It’s hard to adequately articulate, but this kind of work is just different than hard work from my life before becoming a mom. Don’t get me wrong, I know what hard work is, and I thought motherhood would be like hard work I’d done in the past. I’ve pulled outrageously long days on film shoots, had to stay up all night to meet deadlines, etc, but this is like nothing else. You don’t get to take a day off (especially when you are sick, because it probably means your little babe is too!). You don’t get to choose when you put in overtime and when you don’t. You don’t get a vacation when the long push is over. It’s not terrible like I may be making it seem, it is simply that you are not in control, the world’s tiniest boss is. So to maintain the ability to keep up with (and enjoy!) my tiny dictator, I needed to pace myself, and that meant taking a break. I had to remember it’s the LIFE-LONG marathon, not a sprint!
But the thing I learned is, it’s okay if “working while your baby sleeps” doesn’t exist! It’s ok to take time off from work, even if you love it like I do! It’s just all about managing the expectations within yourself (because feeling like you are failing at something is not fun nor fair to yourself), and managing any expectations to people you work with/for/around. Which is why I have made it my mission to warn any mom-to-be or new mom against that phrase.
Motherhood is an emotional trip as it is, don’t set yourself up for feeling any form of guilt or failure that is unnecessary!
3. Child care.
Last but not least, abolishing this phrase for good does NOT mean I can’t have a baby and work. It is completely possible, it just requires some form of child care. Whether that child care is for a few hours a week or full time, a nanny share or grandparent, having clearly defined uninterrupted hours to dedicate to work has been the fair thing, for both my career and my child.
So universe be warned! I am now outlawing that phrase for the good of myself, fellow parents and parents-to-be everywhere!
Lauren is a producer of film, television, magazines, blogs and one tiny human. She was born in Canada and bred in California. She officially became a woman at age 24 when she had an adult bat mitzvah, and officially became a mother 6 months ago when she gave birth to her baby girl. You can find more of her writing and videos at grownupparty.com. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.
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