Friday, April 21, 2017

Musing: Work, Leave, Planning, Writing, Scheduling

One of the hard parts about nonprofit life and being pregnant is knowing that all your leave will be unpaid. One of the great part about nonprofit life and being pregnant is knowing that since your leave is unpaid, you can take whatever you want.*

*Disclaimer: Obviously true for me. I can’t speak for everyone.

The first time, I took 12-ish weeks (okay, last minute daycare panic resulted in more like 13 weeks) off, then returned to work full time. I was a full-time litigator then, so I had to have a defined leave time so that we could hire a short term person to cover hearings, etc. This time? Imagine a gif right here of the Elmo Muppet shrug.

Here’s the thing: Baby 2.0 will be born in late July/early August. The book I am writing has a deadline of the beginning of December. So….leave will be hugely interfere with the completion of this book. There is no one we can hire to fix this. It has to be me and the co-author. She cannot do it alone. We have to do it together. There is no work around.

Which sucks, objectively. I definitely have to return to work much earlier than last time. Pretty much when I am healed and rested enough to focus for a few hours at a time, my ass will be in the office. First time mom Grace would have freaked out over this. Second time at this rodeo Grace is more like…Meh?

I suppose this is in part to not having any illusions about maternity leave. It will almost certainly be different this time—last time, it was January, and it snowed constantly until March, and we were trapped in the house, and I’ve never been so lonely, isolated, and miserable. I didn’t want to leave Lis but I hated maternity leave. I felt desperate in a way I haven’t felt since. No thank you. This time, it will be summer! Yay! Sunshine! I’ve also shed myself of any illusions of glorious maternity leave, and know it for what it is—a time to try to heal, get to know the kiddo, keep him alive, survive myself, and say to hell with it with cooking and cleaning.

I’m also kind of “meh” over the suckage because I am using this as a chance to work part time for a bit. I will go back at an unspecified earlier time, but only part time, and—I am bringing the baby. There is no daycare available to me before he turns 12 weeks; therefore, if I am needed in the office, he’s coming with me. Everyone has cleared it and is cool with it—another benefit of nonprofit life.

Since I will start working part time earlier than I should, I am going to continue working part time a bit longer. I think—baby personality willing—I am going to keep him with me and working part time until he’s four months old. That would mean a return to full time and a daycare start date of December. I like that idea. I like the idea of putting it off until January even more, so I am toying with that as well. If I do that, he would still start daycare in December, but I would increase my part time hours while he’s in daycare. So it would be a gradual daycare start for him and me, and a long gradual ease into work for me. Since I plan on having the book written by the time I have the baby, it would all be editing work, which I think (I *think*) is reasonable to get done, working several months on part time (I’m thinking October to December, working on nothing other than this book).

I also plan on bringing in some kind of portable bassinet, a blanket, a noise machine, toys as desired as he gets a bit older. I have multiple baby wearing options that I’ve acquired, and I think the best option for a chair will be my regular chair plus a large exercise ball. I’m trying to be realistic about the hours I can put in—a few in the office, maybe a few more at home. I do very much remember what it’s like with a tiny baby, but I also remember being trapped under a sleeping baby a lot, so if I can just wear him, I don’t see why I can’t read and edit…?

So, group input time!
1.     Is this insane?
2.     Okay, fine, it’s insane, but I am doing it anyway, so given that, is this insane?
3.     Does that sound like a reasonable plan to get work done? Part time over two months, instead of full time one month?
4.     Is there any reason for/against the idea of working part time until January and easing him into daycare?
5.     What supplies/specific products would be best to do this thing?


Sarah said...

Lurker here. I'm a part-time pediatrician and mom. Sounds like a great plan to me. The best of all worlds, really, and I definitely think you can make it work. Risks would be if baby gets sick you may have to miss more work than anticipated, but that would be the case if he were going to be in daycare, too. Other risk, if you're planning to breastfeed. Be sure to expose baby to pumped milk in bottles given by people other than you at least a couple of times a week from 4-5 weeks on. If he is exclusively breastfed until 3-4 months, he is likely to refuse a bottle when you are ready to start him in daycare. Good luck!

thedrolllane said...

I've never commented, but its totally doable. I started a small law firm before my first was born. I've had four kids, four different maternity leaves. While I have never had the pure break (6 or 8 or 12 weeks entirely off), I rather enjoy the part time back transition. Our first came to the office with me for the first six months. With our second I was back at the office within a couple of weeks (baby at home with a nanny), but only 3 or 4 days a week. With our third, I worked from home, then worked part time at the office. Our fourth is seven months old this week. I have worked predominately from home since he was born. I am at the office maybe two days a week, working three or four days (depending on the clients needs). I would say that nursing was easier when I worked from home, versus the office, but I know that sometimes that just isn't an option.