Slowly but surely, I did find paid work. And it felt GREAT. It wasn't even about the money, really. It was about a sense of pride that I was forging my own path, and making things work for me. The fact is, working at a law firm does tend to make you feel powerless - powerless over your time, your priorities, and your career trajectory. This new sense of control over my life was refreshing and, for lack of a better word, empowering.
I stated off tutoring. Then I lucked into some fairly well paid freelance work for a law firm. Then I joined forces with Montage Legal Group and continued to freelance and head up the group's DC efforts. Then I started teaching an online legal course at a local university. At the same time, my blog was becoming somewhat successful. My readership was increasing, I was making a little (emphasize little) bit of money from it, and I was even getting media opportunities, like appearing on Huffington Post Live.
Things were happening. And I was feeling more confident than ever.
Then things got a bit derailed, most specifically, by this:
And then nine months later, by this:
I love this derailment of course. (I mean seriously, just look at those dimples). But it has forced me to take a sabbatical of sorts. To take a break from freelancing and teaching and blogging. And all of a sudden those accomplishments that had taken me two years to achieve all seem to be slipping away.
Unlike my previous maternity leaves with my other two children, this time around nothing is guaranteed. My freelance clients may move on to other attorneys, who are more available. I have taken a semester off of teaching, and who knows if the university will want me back. And who wants to follow a blog when I no longer post with any sense of regularity? (Peoples, I hope you'll bear with me).
There was a time when I thought I would just jump right back into everything about six weeks after Colin was born. I mean, I worked at home with two kids before, how much harder would one more be? God, was I clueless. I underestimated both the mental and physical toll that having a newborn takes. Taking a shower is an accomplishment, let alone having a half awake brain to write something coherent.
But now I don't have a newborn anymore. I guess he is technically just a baby. What do you call a four month old? In any event, he is sleeping through the night. Which means I am sleeping through the night. A daytime schedule is emerging, and the whole family has adjusted. Things are starting to feel normal.
So why can't I get my act together?
It seems like every time I take a gulp and a deep breath, and I'm ready to jump right back in, something happens. Like the stomach flu (times 2). Or a snow day (times 10). Or a trip to New York or family visitors or spring break. Or preschool conferences or kindergarten applications or summer camp research or karate belt tests or well check ups intermixed with sick visits or a peanut allergy trial. Or now, an upcoming surgery for my oldest child that is making me lose sleep at night and haul him across the city from appointment to appointment in preparation (with baby in tow).
I am realizing that all of this busyness isn't necessarily the result of having a newborn. Instead, it's simply the result of having three children.
Which means it's NEVER going to go away.
It's always going to be something. Someone will always be sick. Something will always be going on at someone's school. There will always be holidays and visitors and trips (and snow days). There will always be someone needing me for something. And how am I supposed to fit in anything else? So far, I just haven't been able to make it work.
I have definitely taken two steps back in my individual "career" trajectory. And such is the nature of having children. Lucky for me, it is all in my control. I, unlike so many other women, have not been forced to return to the workforce prematurely. And for that, I am so, so grateful. I have the choice to take these two steps back, and it's what I have opted to do. .
But that doesn't mean I can't take two steps forward again. And in fact, I will. It's not in my nature no to. It's just a matter of when.