I really didn’t think I’d ever have another baby. I was a single mom for the better part of a decade and I struggled, s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e-d. Financially, emotionally, romantically. I had an overly litigious exhusband that dragged me into court every 2-3 years. At one point, I was working three jobs to make my ends meet. So, when I met Colin, I was almost positive that we wouldn’t have a baby — honestly, it never hit my radar at all.
But then, as our years together transpired and I got to see him learn how to be a dad with my son, I started to hear a yearning in my heart… He’s an amazing man and an even more amazing father. And in the summer of 2014, we decided to get pregnant. If you’ve been following along, you know that 2012 was wrought with stress from Colin’s cancer journey and 2013 ended with me almost dying with pancreatitis. To say we were ready for something positive is an understatement.
Once we decided to get pregnant, it happened quickly. I fully expected that we’d make a decision to get pregnant and then, like, a year later I’d pee on a stick and we’d post some hilarious video about it on Facebook. Getting pregnant on my first ovulation was a little bit of a shock, but we were ready. Our little family was going to be a little bit bigger and we were ready.
The hardest part for me, as a freelancer, was anticipating how much time I would be taking off of work after Charlie was born. With my oldest, I was fortunate enough to stay home for the first year of his life and, the only reason I went back to work was because my exhusband and I split up and it was necessary. I really had no idea how long I would need, but settled on eight weeks.
Over the course of my pregnancy, I was stockpiling money away for my maternity leave. As my belly grew, I developed some anxiety because my savings account wasn’t growing quite as much as I had hoped. In my third trimester, I pushed myself hard with work and was able to squeeze out about 8 weeks of maternity coverage for myself… Eight weeks of not having to work, being able to focus on my baby and connecting with him.
Well, if you know Charlie at all now, you know he’s a god damn pistol. He came into this world with some punctuation. After about six weeks, I started to try to dip my toes back into my work but was wracked with “mom brain,” living on too little sleep and feeling like every time I nursed him, my brain was literally being drained of processing power.
I started back sputtering with Imaj Works full time around 9 weeks postpartum. By 11 weeks old, I was shopping around for a nanny to come to the house and care for him so that I could get 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time to focus. It became an impossible task — a combination of my biological need to be near to my baby and Charlie’s screeching desire to be on the boob all-day-long. I’d hole myself up in my office with earbuds in, leave Rachel with Charlie in the living room and desperately try to ignore his wails. He was happy, mind you, he was just loud as hell!
So I’m sitting at my desk, trying to sort through line after line of code when I can hear my baby on the other side of the wall, sometimes crying, sometimes cooing. And I’m thinking to myself, “This is so stupid. My baby is more important than some CSS error.”
Then later, I’m sitting at my desk, the nanny has gone home and I’ve got a conference call in a half an hour and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to be present and attentive when my baby isn’t asleep. Or, he’s asleep, but he’s in a sling, and my clients are even distracted by him during video chats. And I’m just like, “Dammit, baby. I just need to focus on this.”
If I wasn’t resenting my clients because Charlie needed me, I was resenting Charlie for needing me while my clients also needed me.
This was a recipe for disaster. I felt the inching creep of postpartum depression and I knew something had to give. So, in January, when Charlie was just six months old, I inquired with a local Montessori school for a job. It turned out, they were looking for someone just like me and could I start immediately. Hashtag bug-eyes.
It’s been a little over a year at the school and, while I LOVE the work that I’m doing, the politics outside the walls of our classroom leave little to be desired. We had a sweeping change in leadership over the summer last year and I’m not on the same page as the administration when it comes to Montessori integrity. I’m not yet sure what that means, but I’m leaning back into the work I did as a freelancer and waiting to see what transpires.
What I do know is that the only part of the work that I disliked when I was running Imaj Works was the turnover and the hustle. Over the years, I was able to build some long lasting relationships with clients on retainer and those were the jobs I loved the most. While I was consistently attracted to that “new client smell” it isn’t a sustainable model for me to do business.
So, stepping back… Reworking my business model, rethinking what I offer clients and what kind of clients I want to work with, this new business model appeals to me. Time will tell if it’s a good fit. Ultimately, I think I’d like to cultivate more of these one on one retainer relationships and develop it into a full time position with one company or person — that’s where I think I’ll really shine — being able to fully immerse myself into someone’s business and tap into all of my talents to support them.
Anyway… I’m glad you’re here. I’m grateful you’re here, really. And if you’ve got a hankering to rekindle some work with me, I’d love to connect.