It’s 2:37 in the morning and I’m sitting upright in bed watching what my husband and I refer to as “feeding shows.” They aren’t the ‘new shows’ that are on during dinner, i.e. Barry + Big Little Lies. They also aren’t the ‘ol’ faithful shows’ that are on when folding laundry, i.e. The Office + Veep. They are ‘feeding shows’, i.e. the Netflix/Hulu shows that look so good on the banner but quickly become the worst show you’ve ever seen, i.e. Awkward and Great News. Let it be known, I also have a knack for scrolling through Netflix for 30 minutes to then settle on the ONE show with Finlandian subtitles. THIS is why the ‘ol faithful shows’ exist. Sometimes you just need a safe place to call home when the Netflix quicksand pulls you in deep. But this blog isn’t about the sick amount of TV I’ve been watching as of late; it’s about what calls me to wake up at 2:37 AM and that is my 6 week old baby, i.e. Monty.
On August 24th, 2019, I gave birth to a 6 lb, 19 inch life-changer. I was to be induced and was lucky to have been 1 cm dilated when I went into the hospital. It’s important to note that my induction date was set for September 9th, but due to some wonky amniotic fluid curiosities, I was asked to deliver at 37 weeks so not to take any chances with an infection. So, on August 23rd, Micah and I checked ourselves into Cedars Sinai and had our final sleep as a family of 3 (looking at you, Monkey). I went to bed feeling calm and prepared/excited to take a step back from a business I have dedicated my life to over the last six years.. My team was armed and ready to take on the logistics of fulfilling wholesale orders and shipping to customers. Our stock was newly replenished. Plus, I had spent the last 3 months frontloading my podcast, Off The Record, interviewing 2-3 guests a week so that I could take a hiatus. I felt ready to welcome baby Monty into the world coupled with a sense of weightlessness about life post-delivery. For the first time in a very long time, life was going to be about something other than SkinOwl and I was ready for the pivot.
Sidebar: SkinOwl moved out of my actual home and into a new workspace the same week I was induced (again, I thought we had a couple more weeks until I was induced but alas, the universe had different plans), so this was the state of affairs; as one little man moved in, 4 adults who had become family, moved out and up. It was now time for Micah and I to build a home. Since moving into my home, it had been the backdrop for my divorce, a supportive friend moving in, followed by SkinOwl moving in while I financially picked up the pieces. This was the first time in my home-owning life that it would solely be a place for Micah and I to build a life to call our own.
Now, fast forward to present day. When Monty first came home, I found myself getting pulled back into SkinOwl. To be honest, I never really took a FULL BLOWN maternity leave. My business is not set up in a way that allows for that, unfortunately. Plus, with a baby that slept a lot the first five weeks, I did have time to check my email and respond to small and medium sized items. Additionally, with Micah on paternity leave, I was able to breastfeed, jump in the car, visit my team for an hour at our new office, before heading home to breastfeed again. But now, at six week postpartum, the challenges are a bit louder. Monty doesn’t want to sleep as much. And when he does sleep, he wants to be held. He is hip to the moment I attempt to transfer him to the Dock a Tot so that I can finalize an email I started an hour ago. Only problem? He won’t have it. And I, while desperately wanting to click SEND on said email, won’t ignore him in the process. And that’s really my one boundary and rule: ‘Don’t do anything that will start the train moving in the direction of ignoring your child.’ When Micah and I decided to have a baby, it was very important to be a hand’s on mom. While it’s in my DNA and nature to work until my eyes close, I knew that I would have to rewire that instinct when I had a baby to care for. And I guess that’s how I would define my maternity LEAVE. It’s not 100% out of touch. But it is 100% hands on. If my baby is crying and I am writing an email, I LEAVE my computer. If I am at the grocery store and all of a sudden my breasts feel full, thus cutting my errands short, I LEAVE and go home. I don’t fight with my baby’s needs. He comes first and while there is often time to do other things, when he calls, I am there to catch him, hold him, nurse him, or massage his belly until the poop comes out.
In the end, while I can say I’m going to work on social media posting in the morning, and thank you cards after Monty’s first feeding, and then confirm SkinOwl’s new packaging when Monty’s on his second nap, it just hasn’t gone that way. I’m doing what I can when I can, and whatever happens as a result, will happen. The important thing is that I don’t let this time go by without feeling the weight of its presence and a connection to my son. So to anyone going through this or hoping for a child at some point in the future, go easy on yourself. This time flies. And I mean FLIES. Time takes on a whole new speed when you’re watching new life grow. Just breathe. Look at your baby. Hold your baby. Sing to him even if you can’t hold a note. Let him see you without a computer. Take pictures of him with an old camera instead of your phone. Go back to basics and just appreciate the simplicity that is your baby’s life. Don’t overcomplicate this innocent time for you and him/her. This is, in fact, a once in a lifetime opportunity. One that will forever be reminisced upon. And for everything you’ve done to bring a baby into this world, you deserve to look back on it with grace and forgiveness. Just breathe. Look at your baby. Hold your baby. And know that everything that matters will be waiting for you on the other side.