NEWBORNS AND THE ART OF MULTITASKING
Exactly 18 days ago I gave birth to Jimmy… a 4.11kg, 54cm baby bundle of chub! It was a looonngg labour. The little fella was posterior, so he took a while to turn himself in the right direction… In any case, without boring you with the gory details of his entry into the world (i am still traumatised), he eventually made an appearance at 11:25pm on Friday 15th August.
Since then, life has been a blur. There have been more tears and tantrums than I can count on two hands, and that’s just from me.
Breastfeeding is a tough gig. Its amazing that so many women persevere and stick to it for the long haul… I’m only 2 weeks in and already dreaming of the days when Jimmy is bottle fed and I can be free to pass him off to babysitters and go and do stuff without worrying when he will next wake and demand boob. Its painful, its boring and its relentless. A new mum really is just a slave to a tiny human… And most of all, it requires patience.. which I am finding extremely trying – but it is a great skill to master nonetheless.
I have always been a working girl. I’m one of those people that thrives on being busy. Not just a little busy, but on the cusp of being overwhelmingly busy. Then when I creep over that cusp, I become insane and the complaining and tantrums start… so I usually find myself toeing the line between super busy and insanity. Anything less than super busy and I find that I’m idle. Needless to say, the four weeks of maternity leave that I took prior to the birth I had listed a huge number of tasks to tick off – both practical tasks and some just for fun. I completed all of them, and then Jimmy arrived. But I also spent a lot of time thinking about life with a baby, and what it would mean for my earning capacity and work-life satisfaction in the months after his birth.
I work in an industry that is rarely nine-to-five. It is more often than not twice that, and you really do have to love it to be willing to work long hours and be available 24/7 for team members and clients. Fitting that around a baby that is also demanding of your time 24/7 can seem unfathomable.. particularly for your employer, not matter how supportive they want to be of your new role in life. So where does this leave a new mum that needs to return to work in order to support a new family member? How can they convince employers who are also business owners that they are worthy of a full time gig and that they will still contribute as much as they did pre-baby…
Multitasking. That is how. It has now become abundantly clear why women were built with much better multitasking capabilities than males…
I am only 2 weeks into this new role as mum… but I am starting to learn to function on 3hrs sleep a night. That has already started to feel normal – as good a night’s sleep as I can remember pre-birth anyway. I have just finished my first freelance copywriting brief – half of it was done with Jimmy attached to my boob. The other half done when he’d crashed out on my chest after his feed. Sure, it was only 500 words of copy, but still, I managed to craft it and revise it and restructure it as much as I would have without a baby attached to my boob. And I hit my deadline.w
I’m starting to see how this just might be possible. With a supportive partner (seriously, he is THE best!), an effective breast pump and a sense of humour… I might just be able to return to work… almost at full throttle. Just don’t expect me to look any good while I’m doing it!
I’ll park this post right here and revisit in a few more months.. and see if I still feel the same. I can already hear the other mum’s out there chuckling at my naivety and ignorance.. but lets just see hey… every mum’s experience is different… and I want to remain optimistic! You’ve gotta crawl before you can walk after all…