|Baby #2 sleeping on my lap|
Two months postpartum and I finally feel as though I can slowly nudge my way back into the working world. In some ways, I never stopped working. In other ways, I still have a few months before I can progress back to the projects I want to do.
Colleagues and followers were surprised when I was tweeting industry news just hours after my baby was born in January. But honestly, I was a little bored laying in bed resting, not able to sleep, with a phone in my hand. It doesn't take much to scroll through social media and type up short commentary. Social media is by far the easiest way for me to stay involved in my business. But it's not a money-maker and it's not very productive.
I surprised myself by giving several interviews with reporters over the past couple of months. The industry doesn't stop just because I am on maternity leave, and I've done a decent job of marketing myself as a subject matter expert. Reporter interviews are usually short and don't require much preparation, so they were fairly easy to accomplish. I would hold my baby, usually nursing him, and inform the reporter ahead of time that I was on maternity leave. Not a single person complained about the occasional baby noise. In fact, some people loved talking about their kids upon hearing mine.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've slowly allowed myself to continue with individual clients, first existing clients, then responding to potential new ones. This usually requires at least half an hour of quiet and the ability to type on my laptop with at least one hand while on the phone. So far I've had good success nursing my baby to sleep during these calls and making use of the mute button on my phone.
These are more challenging conversations that require focus. I would like to get to the point where I can leave my baby alone for short periods of time while on a call, but I still have few months ahead of me before then. It doesn't help that my toddler has become more advanced in getting into things she shouldn't and making messes, and therefore leaving her alone during these calls is risky as well.
Several projects on my to-do list require me to be able to type with both hands on my laptop. I rarely have free time with both hands available, so I am still unable to accomplish these tasks. (Even this blog post is being written mostly by voice dictation on my phone.) If I can do something quickly in 5 or 10 minutes, I can take advantage of a baby nap or ask my husband to hold him. But most of my projects are extensive and require a longer focused time commitment. I still have some months to go before I can call myself completely back from maternity leave.