Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Back at it

There's so much I want to say here about my maternity leave.  I've only been back to work for a day and a half and my leave is already feeling like a distant memory.   I'm promising myself to make a post reflecting on the time I got to spend home with Baby J before my recollection of it fades too much.

In the meantime, there's also so many little tidbits that I've been meaning to post here.  As I say all the time, I do this site for me.  It's a great way to keep track of my life, favorite articles, nice quotes, inspiring photos etc.   So here's something that seemed especially relevent yesterday, my first day back (quoted and paraphrased from this article via Cup of Jo)

---- It should go without saying, but somehow it doesn’t in our media culture: Raising children is highly personal. It’s the nexus of everything unique about your life: Your goals, your relationship with your spouse, your child’s needs, and even your religious beliefs.

….Some women have very engaged husbands, some have husbands who are never alone with their kids. Some women’s careers — even if demanding — can be location-flexible; others cannot. Some require travel, and some women can travel well pregnant, and others have harder pregnancies. Some women are lucky enough to have easy children, some have children who don’t sleep and scream all night. If you don’t think these little realities of life are very real factors in achieving work-life balance, what is?
Beyond that, everyone’s definition of “having it all” varies. For me, it’s building a company, being there for my employees, having a healthy relationship with my husband, and raising my kids. That’s pretty much it. It’ll take me a long time to lose baby weight, because my schedule doesn’t give me much time to work out. I don’t take vacations. I don’t have a group of tight girlfriends, or really many friends that I see regularly at all. My kids will not go to the most exclusive private school, because we can’t afford it.
Quitting my job to work at a startup meant almost no disposable income and even less time.  Those are all trade-offs I gladly and willingly made before starting my company. But to another woman “having it all” might include a 9,000 square foot house and a designer closet. To another woman, “having it all” might include never missing a child’s haircut. To me, it does not.
Are we all supposed to be the same person just because we are the same gender?
When people have asked how I’ve balanced starting a company with being pregnant and having a one-year-old, I’m happy to share my experience. But I always couch that the reasons it works for me are highly specific to who I am, who my husband is, and what we both do for a living. To a large degree, we’ve shaped the world around the lives we want to have. We weren’t able to do that because we’re rich (as a writer and a photographer, we’re as solidly California middle-class as you can get). We did it because we prioritized what really mattered to us and didn’t accept people like Slaughter telling us what we couldn’t do.
making that work in practice is a crazy quilt of a million little learned tricks and uniquenesses to my particular situation, my personality, my job, and my marriage. It’s not meant as a blueprint for anyone but me.