I have the worry that all new Moms and Moms-to-be have. How am I going to balance a career and a baby?
There are no pictures today*. Just my words – my inner, personal thoughts, so if you’re here for the pics, please do come back tomorrow 😉
Since this is going to be a personal, vulnerable post, I’d also appreciate that if you do continue reading this, that you do it with kindness and no judgement. It’s tough enough being this open and honest.
Since the age of 18, I’ve had a career in broadcasting. I haven’t missed a single year of radio presenting and you could say that my career has been my baby. I am the type of person who is all or nothing. I don’t know how to do half measures. I have worked my butt off and I love it.
As a little girl, when I thought about future Bailey, I was a successful business woman and a wife and Mom. I also thought I’d be married and have 2 kids (twins) by 30, because 30 was “so old!”
It was never a case of one or the other, but my focus was always on my career, (something I could do something about) and the wife and mother part was always just a “given” – something that I wasn’t focused on (even though I wanted it), because I knew it would happen naturally and in the right time (even if there were times when I felt impatient or wondered if I’d ever find my person.)
At 34 years old, wiser than my 12 year old self (thank goodness) and very sure of what I want, I’m now expecting my first baby. In fact, I’m only 2 months away! Pinch me.
I now face something, that every Mom with a career faces. The Mom Guilt. I’m not even technically a Mom yet and I’m feeling it. Oh boy!
I had a good sob the other day with Sox – it was cathartic, because I’d been bottling my fears and feelings in. It all came tumbling out of me in panicked sobs:
I want to be the best Mom, who is there for my little boy all the time and I don’t want to miss all the special moments, but at the same time, I still want my career that I love so much. I then feel guilty for wanting my career, when I should now want to be focused solely on being a Mom. Then I feel panicked about: what if I don’t want my career anymore, the minute he comes along? I panic that I’ll be “throwing away” my 16 year career.
Sox was pretty amazing and supportive in calming me down and telling me to take some deep breaths first and foremost. Then he said: “You won’t know any of this until he comes along and there is no point in working yourself up over something you can’t know right now or even control.” He also said that it wouldn’t be throwing my career away, if that’s how I felt – and perhaps just putting it on hold. He also reminded me that so many women are amazing Moms and successful career women. This I know, but sometimes when these thoughts become all consuming, you forget about the rationality.
Yes Sox, enjoy that being in black and white on this blog! Ha!
I won’t know until Baby is here and I can’t control it either. I’m having to surrender my control. I didn’t realize I was such a control freak, haha… perhaps – this is part of the journey and lesson.
I still feel stressed about trying to balance everything though. I also realize that I am not the first or last Mom to experience this, but right now, it’s brand new to me and it’s overwhelming.
Not for one second do I want to be insensitive to anyones work or career, but I can only speak for myself.
I think, by law, Maternity leave is 4 months. Some companies pay, some don’t. I had a meeting with our finance lady and our company doesn’t have a Maternity package and since I’m an independent contractor, I wouldn’t qualify anyway. I also apparently don’t qualify for UIF. So, while I am allowed the 4 months off, the time I take will all be unpaid.
Here’s the other problem. My industry is an incredibly tough one and taking 4 months maternity leave actually isn’t possible.
It’s not like I can hand over my role and responsibilities to someone else. I can’t hand over “files” or “clients” to be looked after by someone else, until I come back. I am my company/brand.
My Afternoon Drive Radio show is a 2 person show. Maurice and I co-host the show. We share the show prep, which can take a few hours alone, and the show itself is a high energy, fun show that requires full focus and energy for 3 hours. We literally take pee breaks based on how long a song is (most songs are 3 minutes 42 seconds! Yup, my pees are timed. Try tell Baby G that, who seems to like using my bladder as his personal trampoline.)
I’ve elected to take 8 weeks of Maternity Leave instead of the 4 months. Maurice can handle the show for 8 weeks, but asking him to handle a 2 man show by himself for 4 months is tough. My concern is that I would then be replaced by someone filling in for me.
Audiences can be fickle (don’t kill me) and 4 months or even 2 months is a long time to be off air. People can either forget about you, or they can start to enjoy the new duo. I don’t want to sound insecure about my career or my talent/reputation…I’m confident in that, but I’ve been in this industry long enough to know how it really works – the nitty gritty and all.
I feel guilty for still wanting a career and not being there whole heartedly for my little boy. I feel guilty for not wanting a career and wanting to be a full time Mom.
BUT, if I don’t try I won’t know, especially since I still absolutely love my career. I also look at the many Mom’s in my industry who seem to have balanced it really well. I’m so impressed. They inspire me.
I’m also very lucky that it’s not 9-5pm and it’s just the afternoon that I’ll be gone. Although when I add up prep and time away, it pretty much works out to be a 9-5, but you know what I mean.
When I’ve told other Mom’s my short maternity plans, some have laughed at me like I’m completely crazy with a knowing-grin of: “Yeah right! Good luck with that!” and others have smiled gently and said: “You can only try!”
This is how I see it working… our plan, if you will (I hope God isn’t laughing):
8-10 weeks maternity leave from my radio show after baby is born. I’ve said 10 weeks just to be safe, but perhaps I’ll be able to go back sooner?
After 8-10 weeks, I’ll return to my radio show, which is 3-6pm. I need to be in studio an hour before, so that’s 2-6pm. I always do my show prep in the mornings. I live 15 mins from work, which means I’ll be home for bath time. I’m super lucky that Sox is flexible, so he will most likely look after him in the afternoon. When he can’t, we will need to get help OR I’ll have to bring him into work with me (if it’s allowed.)
I do plan to breastfeed, so I’ll express milk for the afternoons.
That’s the idea – how plausible it is, time will tell.
I started off by saying: I am the type of person who doesn’t know how to do half measures…. Well, I think I’m going to need to learn how to be all in my career and all in motherhood and find a way to balance.
Even as I type that, I think about how I’m all-in to my marriage, my friendships, my family and so on. I’ve managed to balance all of those, so it’s going to take some adjustments, but adding Motherood to the mix should be doable too, right?
I’d really love to know how you’ve made your career and having a new born work. How much maternity leave did you take and if it was shorter than 4 months, how did you find it/manage? If you’re in my industry, your advice would be golden too.
*Ok, I couldn’t resist a picture!