My great escape

I have long known that I enjoy my work.  I have wanted to be a writer since I first wrote a story about a cow getting loose in my suburban neighborhood back in third grade.  It’s in me.  It’s what I do.  But, in October of 2009 many things in my life changed with the birth of my daughter.

For a few years, I’d agreed with people who mentioned that my life as a freelancer would work well when we started a family.  I knew it would, too.  It gives me flexibility.  However, I wasn’t prepared for the complete upheaval that happens with parenthood.  I knew having a child would change me and my life.  I just don’t think that anyone can ever be fully prepared for the actual change that happens.

The first few months of my daughter’s life are a blur more than anything else, I suppose.  I remember exhaustion, I remember hours of pumping and I remember middle-of-the-night feedings.  I didn’t really think about work.  I was doing well most days to think about taking a shower.  I planned to go back to work eventually, but it wasn’t in the front of my mind.

Slowly I started working again.  I had a large project of editing a Christian fiction manuscript to deal with.  I put it off.  I had a patient client, thankfully.  But I had to buckle down and finish it for him.  That got the ball rolling for me again.

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Over these last 15 months, I’ve found my way back.  I’ve learned to wear multiple hats.  I’ve learned that I can be both a journalist and a mother.  It’s not always easy, but I love both jobs.  I realized this even more last week when my kiddo was sick.  I spent one day being unable to do work that I had planned to do during her nap time.  I was antsy and unhappy.  I was still stressed from a sick kid the next day, but she napped and I worked.  I felt 10 times better.  Work is my great escape.

I have also learned that I have to keep myself in check.  I don’t want to be a workaholic.  But, I like to think my daughter will one day read what I write and be proud.  Of course, she will also be embarrassed, I’m sure.  That’s just the nature of it.  Working reminds me that I am myself.  I don’t think that I could remove writing from my life and still be the same person.  I know that I couldn’t remove my daughter from my life and still be the same person.  I feel blessed that the two can co-exist peacefully.

I used to apologize and try not to tell people much about how much I love what I do.  I am learning to be honest about it.  I don’t like that people have to work in jobs they hate in order to make a living, yet I appreciate that they do.  I saw my father work a ridiculously stressful job to care for us growing up.  My husband has done the same thing.  In his former job, I felt all the worse because it was such a bad situation.  But, he told me he worked so that I could do something I love.  He has never resented me.  He understands me.

When I debated about whether I really wanted to return to work after having Lexiana, he is the one who encouraged me to get back into things.  He pointed out that he didn’t think I’d be happy otherwise.  I wasn’t so sure.  Here I am 15 months in, though, and he is correct.  I love my daughter.  I love being a mom.  I give her all of myself daily.  I’m glad to do that.  But, I’m also glad for my work. I’m blessed to have two jobs that I love and can be devoted to.

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