The Nest: Run, Baby, Run
I know you’ve heard these sayings a million times over: “Time flies,” “Cherish these moments,” or (my favorite), “You’ll never get this time back.”
They taunt my anxiety, dance along well with my mom-guilt, and play an occasion chess match with my professional career-driven complex. I am exhausted from the onslaught of overwhelming advice that I need to drop everything that personally serves me in order to be a good mother. I decline social events, I politely refuse invitations, and I also miss professional opportunities because I have chosen, and will continue to choose, my child over everything else. I’ve found that fighting what is natural is uncomfortable, so I choose comfort.
Nonetheless, I had this late night meeting - Mandatory. Important and crucial. The “if you miss this, then the world would end” kind of meeting. I had no child care and daycare charges you your soul and a few extra hundred dollars if you need assistance past 6 p.m., so I opted to ask my boss if I could bring my baby to the meeting. Yes, I lost my ever-loving mind and asked to bring my 10-month-old baby to a professional, executive-level meeting.
I laugh now at the absurdity of my request. Only a mom-brain could decide this was a good idea, but it’s 2019 and I asked, so the story follows. My boss is kind and realistic, and knows that if I can handle my hectic, chaotic, wonderful day-to-day stress as a manager then bringing my baby to a meeting is a piece of cake. She has a lot of faith in me.
Cue 7 p.m. mid-meeting and welcome to my brain:
“My baby is screaming, thrashing. Why, oh, why is my baby clawing at my face? How will I come back from this? These people are probably thinking I have zero handle on my home life. None. Zilch. They must think my house is a zoo, literally kangaroos and lions walking around my living room, and then thankfully Cinderella shows up and asks me to get in her pumpkin carriage, and right now I would! I would leave now humiliated in Cinderella’s pumpkin.”
So I stood up in the middle of the meeting, stopped fighting what was natural and excused myself to feed my baby for 10 minutes. I returned and he slept for an hour and half on my chest as I participated in and became an integral part of the meeting and its conclusion.
If you let go of the fear of losing the time already lost, wouldn’t you enjoy the present more? I could enjoy what today gives me and encourage the intensity that is my child’s fast growth, development, and also my personal and professional growth. I accept it, I give in to it, and most importantly, I enjoy it. I can’t excuse myself from every meeting, nor do I want to, but I do want to ensure I am taking measures to feel comfortable in what is naturally my life now.
Getting Back on the Trail
Getting back in shape has been a similar journey for me.
My body is forever changed by the baby I grew and delivered and I am proud of that. It is a lifetime accomplishment and blessing for me.
However, one night, as I was wallowing in self-pity, my husband turned to me and said, “Run, baby.”
And, so I did. I ran one night that week, and ran two the next, and more the weeks following.
Running feels like freedom to me and I’d waste a lot of time on that feeling. I know that moments with my baby are fleeting and that I will never get them back, but I encourage that kind of race. Instead of looking at my time in a dim light and foreboding manner, I want to embrace the challenge that I only have so long to enjoy my family, career, my baby, and my husband as a young father.
You can’t slow down time, but you can recognize the need to run with it. So run, baby.