Finding Time (for ANYTHING) as a Parent

72989018_10218783217626498_4969613487476047872_nBeing a parent is HARD. You know this, I know this, everyone knows this. We’ve all heard about the sleepless nights for parents of newborns, the difficulties of finding one’s parenting style (trying to protect your child without becoming a helicopter-parent), the tantrums, the sick days, the anxiety of raising an entire person.

But one thing that isn’t spoken about enough, in my opinion, is the loss of time. When you become a parent, you change the entire content of your household, your life.

When we get married, or even move in with someone, we enter into a contract with that person. An agreement to make adjustments to our own way of living in order to accommodate the other. This could be as simple as changing how we load the dishwasher, or as complicated as changing our style of communication. We make certain sacrifices to shift our way of living to make room for the new partner and their way of living, and they do the same. In a good relationship, those sacrifices are balanced and fair, and both partners are glad to do it in order to reap the joys of the new relationship.

The same goes for parenting. Except you multiply everything by about a thousand. Or million. Or billion.

For me, at least, my entire center of gravity shifted. My main purpose in life was now to be a mother. A GOOD mother.

I didn’t necessarily lose who I was, but who I was shifted. Dramatically. I was a mom first, and everything else second.

This, obviously, put a strain on my marriage. I was a wife, yes, but a mom first. Both my husband and I had to chart new territories. And even though we had been partners for about 15 years before becoming parents, it felt like we were starting from scratch in a lot of ways.

Five years into parenthood and I think we’ve found a better balance, but it was something that we had to learn to do. Something we had to prioritize, otherwise it never would have happened.

But that (my marriage) was just one aspect of myself that I needed to re-discover. I’m still working on the rest.

Pre-mommyhood, I was a writer, a dancer/performer, a softball player, etc. Post-mommyhood, I barely have time to make it to a single softball game during the week, and when I do, it feels like I’m risking all the hard work I’ve put into my relationship and into being a good mother. Dancing and performing? I have tried to do one performance a year, a single-night show with as few rehearsals as possible. I love it, and although I long to perform in an actual show (which usually has a 6-week rehearsal period followed by a 6-week run), I know that is still very far off.

Writing? Well, I’m happy to report that this year I’ve finally managed to squeeze it back in. I picked up a novel that I had started writing before getting pregnant, trying to ignore the last “date modified” entry, which was more than 5 years prior. The first several attempts at “writing” were spent re-reading what I had already created (what felt like) a lifetime ago. Then, I took a deep breath, and started typing.

The wheels that I had feared were rusted from years of disuse slowly but steadily started to turn, and the more I wrote, the faster they spun. I hadn’t lost my ability to tell a story. I hadn’t lost this part of myself. I had just put it in a box for a while, and when I dusted it off and re-opened it, it was still there. I usually only manage to write a few hours a month. But… I’m writing again.

I tell myself that when my daughter is old enough to have her own hobbies, I will have more time for my own again. But in the meantime, I’m going to steal whatever few moments I can. I’ll squeeze in a date three times a month with my husband. I’ll go to weekly softball games in Spring and Summer. I’ll do that one dance show in winter. And I’ll take that 20 minutes at lunch, that 40 minutes on the weekend, that 30 mins after my daughter falls asleep to sit at my computer and write.

Because part of being a good parent is being true to yourself. And this is part of who I am.

Where have I been?

Sorry for the long hiatus, everyone!  My life has been a bit chaotic lately.  Where have I been and what have I been up to, you ask?

In a nutshell, I’ve been busy brewing a small human being for the last nine months, and in a few weeks (plus or minus), Baby Girl should finally be gracing us with her presence!  That’s right, ladies and gents: I’m pregnant!  Very, very, very pregnant.

We went from THIS:

January 2014, our first ultrasound. Baby Girl had been brewing for about 6 weeks here!

January 2014, our first ultrasound. Baby Girl had been brewing for about 6 weeks here!


Look at the size of that belly!  And this photo is from 3 weeks ago!

Early July 2014. Look at the size of that belly! And this photo is from 3 weeks ago!

I’ve been very lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband who has been waiting on me hand and foot since we got the news back in early December.  It’s a good thing, too, because the first five months of pregnancy were pretty hard for me.  I had morning sickness well into my 2nd trimester, and it was the all-day kind.  The kind that eventually landed me in the E.R. and required medication to keep in check.

Luckily that stage of the pregnancy is long gone, and now all I have to deal with is the sore muscles, ache-y back, swollen ankles, fatigue, and the occasional kick to the cervix/ribs/bladder when I’m trying to give a presentation at work.

All kidding aside, though, it’s actually been quite wonderful overall (and I’ll take the occasional kick to the bladder over nausea any day!).

jamba baby

Jamba Juice Mama.

Our friends and family have all been wonderfully supportive as well, and we’ve been lucky to receive a lot of hand-me-downs and baby shower gifts to help prepare our home for the new member of the family.

June 28 baby Shower

We’ve got the crib set up, the stroller and car seat assembled and ready to go, a stash of diapers (both reusable and disposable), and enough baby clothes that Baby Girl probably won’t have to wear anything more than once for the first 6 months of her life!

Now it’s just a matter of waiting until she arrives. As nice as it will be to finally be able to sleep on my belly or back, and to walk across the house without getting out of breath, and see my toes again, I’m not in a huge rush yet.  There is still plenty to do to be better prepared before she arrives. My husband is almost finished installing new hardwood (laminate) flooring in our condo, the kitchen could use a good scrubbing, and I could use all the time I can get to prepare my day-job colleagues for my maternity leave.  But I suppose that will always be the case; one can never actually be 100% prepared for a baby.  That’s half the fun: expecting the unexpected!

Ready or not, baby, here you come!

Ready or not, baby, here you come!

So, thank you for your patience while we finish creating this new life and bringing her into this wonderful world of ours.

And stay tuned for some exciting writing-related news!  Believe it or not, I managed to write a steamy, contemporary romance novella during all of this pregnancy chaos, and it will be hitting e-shelves this autumn as part of the SEDUCTION anthology.  Check back soon for a sneak peek of the cover art and release date!