Just a heads up to say I am officially on maternity leave. That means I will be slow to respond to anything or anyone, here and in my email and probably even on social media.
Today is my last day not being somebody’s mom, as my labor and delivery are scheduled for tomorrow evening (because apparently we can and do plan babies now). I’m both excited for it and not at all—labor is, by its very definition, hard work, but on the other hand, I can’t wait to meet the tiny person who frequently sticks her hand or foot out of me like a bizarre tumor.
Maternity leave in America is, as I’ve stated many times, a joke. But I’m lucky to have somehow gotten just about all my work finished in advance. I’ve notified all my employers, and if you try to email me you, too, will get my auto-responder. Even though I technically could be working today, I’m mostly going to spend it cleaning my house because as the old saying about newborn care goes: “Eat when the baby eats, sleep when the baby sleeps, and clean when the baby cleans.” It’s been a long, strange nine months and I’m glad to have had the time and space in my life to slow down and prepare for this enormous change, from stocking a nursery with the help of my family and friends to getting to attend my sister’s wedding last week without interrupting it in the most dramatic way possible!
Now, as I wrote in How I’m preparing to take maternity leave as a freelancer, all that’s left is to keep my expectations very low. I have no idea what my life will be like after tomorrow or what I’ll be capable of, so I’m setting a baseline of zero. I’ll let my new baby set the pace for what comes next, which is a very scary thing to say for this freelancer who only recently began taking weekends off. Even just a few years ago, I could never have imagined wanting to have a kid of my own—I was very work-focused and wouldn’t that just cut into my productivity? (The many reasons I changed my mind are a blog post for another time.) Now I’m starting a new role and accepting from the start that I’ll be out of my depth. But I’m more excited to rise to this challenge than perhaps for any job I’ve had before. Thank you for your patience while I figure it out.
Photo by Jessica Smith Photography.