HOMETOWN Huntington, NY
ON THE WEB BiculturalMama.com
NUMBER OF CHILDREN One
DAY JOB Freelance Writer
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
After my daughter was born, I took a new marketing job nearby to be closer to home. I took a pay cut and title cut in hopes of having a job that would provide more work/life balance.
I hated that job – management used threats and yelling to deal with employees, and the job required late nights and weekends. This was on top of having a young child at home (i.e. lack of sleep). I was miserable, and my husband and I decided it wasn’t worth the stress – on myself, and on my family because an unhappy mom makes for an unhappy family.
I decided to pursue a long-time goal to write, and freelance writing allows me the flexibility to stay home with my daughter while working part-time. I write when my daughter naps and at night after she’s in bed. My husband works full time and has a long commute so he usually cannot see her much during the week. On the weekends he’s able to spend more time with her.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
My priorities have shifted. While work is important, let’s put it into perspective. One day when you’re on your deathbed, it’s going to be your family, not your office, standing by your side.
Seems like a no brainer what the priority should be. I also take less risk – in my single days, I was adventurous, traveling around the world and doing crazy things like skydiving and bungee jumping in New Zealand. While I still love to travel, I no longer feel the need to take chances with my life for a thrill.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
People say having a child changes everything, and it’s true. I wouldn’t change a thing as I love my husband and daughter so very much. But it’s been hard in terms of the lack of time to get things done for the house and family – and for ourselves. The feeling of going on autopilot and feeling overwhelmed can cloud communication between spouses.
It’s something we’re aware of and continuously work on. Before we had our daughter, I read a book called, “Babyproofing Your Marriage.” It’s written by three moms and offers great tips on how to retain you and your spouse as a couple. I pull it out once in a while to remind myself how to keep us on track as a couple.
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
My sister-in-law and I will watch each other’s kids for free if we’re able to (she works, but sometimes has days off). If she can’t watch my daughter, I will pay for a babysitter. My mother-in-law can watch my daughter on the weekends, but not during the weekday as she works full time and has a long commute.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
The sleep deprivation during the first few months of the baby’s life were the hardest.
After continuous nights of only getting no more than two hours of sleep at a time, I was at my wit’s end. After one particularly hard night, I was quietly sitting on the rocker holding my crying baby with tears streaming down my eyes at 5:30am because I was just so exhausted and didn’t see an end to the pattern. I didn’t know how I could go on another night feeling so bad.
My husband woke up for work and saw me in my tattered state. He asked what was wrong, and I blurted out with a sob, “I’m just SO TIRED.” He then offered to stay up later that evening to take care of the baby so I could sleep more. Eventually we figured out “shifts” which would allow both of us to have periods of uninterrupted sleep.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
Amid all the craziness of taking care of a baby, there was a moment of calm when my husband and I were watching my daughter play. He looked at me with awe and said with a smile, “Can you believe we made her? She came from us?”
It was a feeling of bliss, just pausing to appreciate the family we had created.