What is this book writing process like as a working mama?
More than learning about others, this process of working on this HBC book has been a journey in learning more about myself and how I work. It’s funny, when people ask me what I do for a living, I steadfastly maintain that I am a stay at home mom. My real job is mothering my 9 year old Sam, my 5 year old Sage, and my 18 month old Kestrel. And then, depending on my mood, I might add that I am a midwife who does homebirths in Portland, Oregon, and yes, that entails being a small business owner with my partner in crime, Kim. So I guess that means I work. Well, if you count the long days on Wednesdays, and the Saturday appointments, and the random prenatal visits scattered throughout the week. Oh, and the going to births…right. But those don’t count since they usually happen under the cover of darkness. I might mention that I teach childbirth classes at Legacy, a large hospital system in Portland. In my other spare time, I volunteer with the Oregon Midwifery Council, coordinating the yearly conference.
So when, exactly do I work on this book? Good question! Mostly, I work when my boys are sleeping, in the few hours before bed when I am tired and already looking ahead to tomorrow’s schedule, and wondering if I was supposed to bake the treats for the staff meeting at school. I admire Courtney’s early morning sprightliness, when she is firing off emails to me at 6am, presumably with a toddler running around smearing yogurt on her dogs. Nope, not me though. At 6 in the morning, I am grasping the last minutes of a restless sleep, where my toddler is nursing hourly and my dog is fighting for turf in my bed, and I am lying in bed wondering if today I am signed up for park walk at school, and if my overdue client is still having contractions
Sometimes on Sundays I escape home to the coffee shop down the block, so I can work with only the vaguely noisy but ignorable coffee-shop sounds. It works well when I keep my head down so I don’t chat with my neighbors, but that’s no fun!
This continuous struggle to carve out work time is not new to you if you are a parent. Being a stay at home mom who works several part-time jobs means never feeling great about doing what you are doing in the moment, trying to get stuff done quickly and efficiently, while letting go of another task that just ain’t gonna happen today, friend. I hate the guilty feeling of answering an email on my phone while at the park with my kids, or the guilt of forgetting to get the things done that I promised I would so for this book. In my best moments, I can be kind to me, and realize that I am doing my best. In my worst moments, I allow guilt and frustration to take hold of me. I like to think, though, that self-regulation of my feelings about my work mirrors the range of emotions of many HBC mamas. Some days are great, some days are bad, and some are even worse. When I am refreshed, I can look at the big picture, and see that it looks pretty great. For the moment, though, I think I might just grab some more coffee and keep plugging away…after I change another diaper.