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Some personal musings of family and career

July 21, 2011

I will be having a newborn baby within the next 18 days. I should be concentrating on this miraculous event.

Instead I’m thinking about my career and the things that I have to not do right now  and for 12 weeks after the birth to prepare for this other wonderful event in my life. Thinking that I’ll be missing some critical time and critical discussions while I take time off.

I am devoted to what I do. Weaving the social into traditional marketing, crafting campaigns and strategies that make my employer and clients successful, training those who need to know more. Watching these successes unfold are my triumphs.

It is more than just what I do.. it is a passion.

So I’ll watch while my Klout score will plummet like a rock and conversations with thought leaders will grow quiet. I’ll observe and congratulate others as they climb and achieve and the work I love will be put on hold, my thoughts will be on sleepless nights and a brand new life in my arms, heart and in my home, I do KNOW which is more important.

But

I can’t help but think about what a slacker I’m going to be for not keeping up and what it might do to my future.

When we achieve in our careers are we obliged to put our families off to the side? When we focus on our families does our business influence wane and our reputations falter?

and why do we have to choose? Can’t I be a great mother and an asset to my employer and clients at the same time?

Am I just too pregnant in 100 degree heat to even think clearly about this stuff right now and I’m out of my mind?

Someone pass me the ice cream.

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4 comments

  1. Liz – You will figure it out. As cliche as that sounds, you will.

    I work in healthcare software consulting and do feel like I make a difference in improving physician/nursing workflow, and ultimately patient care. I took a 12- week maternity leave with both of my kids and with both there was MAJOR anxiety prior to my leaves, worrying that folks wouldn’t be able to cover for me, and at the same time wondering if my colleagues would view me as someone who’d left the ‘career-track’ for the ‘mommy-track.’ I also worried that pivotal changes/advancements would be made at work while I was left behind.

    Admittedly the first ~year+ with a newborn was extremely challenging on my work life. Returning to work when you are sleep-deprived and exhausted and then just remaining conscious for the day is an accomplishment in itself! I felt like a zombie in those first few months, particularly. I’m not sure there’s any way around this. (Being able to work from home is a huge advantage I do have.) But you still have a LONG career ahead of you (20-ish years?!?)–and that’s what I kept telling myself, too. A few months or even a year in a bit of a ‘survival’ mode is likely not going to matter in the grand scheme.

    You will get into a rhythm over time and your baby will start sleeping through the night and you’ll eventually start to feel like yourself again. My youngest turns 3 (three!) next month. Over the last year I’ve definitely jumped back into my career with both feet and I’d say while the ‘delay’ of maternity leaves and caring for infants definitely set me back a couple of years career-wise, it’s all been worth it for the family I now have. When you’re not pregnant and not sleep deprived and your baby gets older, you can begin to see that this ‘balance’ thing is really not that hard. You triage & delegate–both at home & work! You prioritize and admit you can’t do all that you used to. But you do all the important, integral things at work and home. I wouldn’t change a thing. (OK, maybe I should have had kids younger when I had more energy, but that is a different topic!!!)

    Expect it to be hard, and take the temporary-career-stall-time to ENJOY your time with Baby and your family. It already makes me sad that I don’t have infants anymore so I am actually very jealous of your situation right now! 🙂 Good luck to you, Liz! You will do great – I know it!


  2. Nice post. In a world where it’s trendy to blog about how you are guilty of leaving your kids to work and need to put down your Blackberry, I can certainly identify with feeling like I do a lot for my family (I leave work early to deal with the kids *way* more than I miss stuff for the kids to work, thankfully my job is flexible enough!) and maybe am guilty of not living up to my potential at work – where “work” is not just the daily grind but one’s ability to contribute something to society. On the other hand, every time my 7 year old *doesn’t* want to get picked up early from after-care, I realize that this age of kids hanging on my all the time is just a phase…but but the time the second kids reaches that point it will have been a LONG phase. Good luck with everything!


  3. If it’s any consolation, I found that I was actually able to be online more immediately after the baby was born, since the baby did sleep a lot. It’s a few months into it that things get tricky, but there’s always naptime (of course, you should definitely nap, too, just like me…cough cough), and after the baby is put down for the night (and by night, I mean three to four hours), and these things.

    Even though I have two active boys, I’m still able to have a somewhat healthy SM life, which, in my opinion, is crucial for me staying a happy mommy. 🙂

    Also, guest posts. Those are life-savers.


  4. Thanks for this post. You captured what vexes every working mom. There’s no perfect answer, but a dialogue always helps. Hope you and your newborn are doing well.



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