(Here I am waiting for the subway in NYC with my 2 week old baby)
How do you balance your work and mom life?
As a mom and entrepreneur in the pandemic, it's incredibly hard to balance. I've learned to accept that I can't put in as much time into my work. My freshly-minted two-year-old is my priority. By setting this boundary with work and affording myself a modicum of self-compassion, I found a lot of relief, flexibility, and freedom. In other words, when I’m taking care of my son, I do my best to stay focused on him and enjoy our time together without thinking about work. And when I’m in my office, I flick the switch and focus on putting in some solid work. To ensure the business runs smoothly, I also hire contractors to help with parts of the business that require support.
(On vacation in New Hampshire. Alden was 3 months old here.)
How do you guys manage to move so many times with a baby? Are you guys settled in Texas now?
It's crazy to think back on all the moves we did! Although Alden was born in Manhattan, we moved to Boston when he was two months old so that my husband could attend grad school. I remember packing up Alden's pacifiers, bottles, diapers, my breast pump for the road.
Our plan was to move back to New York City after Boston, but the pandemic's vice grip on the city made us reevaluate, so we moved to Austin instead. (The drive from Boston to Austin with Alden - at the time a new one-year-old - and our German Shepherd deserves its own blog post). Thanks to our cozy shoebox apartments, we luckily didn't have too much stuff to move.
My husband and I both have a high tolerance for risk-taking, and we don’t overthink it when it comes to following our dreams. The way we see it is that if we're wrong, we learn, and if we're right, we thrive. We're currently happy in Austin, but we are open to opportunities and experiences that may lead us to another city.
(Visiting Dad on campus at the Smith Center - Boston, MA)
What are some things you did/are doing to survive COVID with your kid?
We learned to prioritize by focusing on one task a day. Each morning we ask ourselves: “what is one thing we want to accomplish today?” For example, at first, it was to wake up before my son to get some exercise in. Later, other habits began to accrue. For example, my husband and I began to do nightly debriefs to review and consider how we can improve our following days/weeks/months.
After more than two years of being at home with our son, we just brought on an amazing nanny who comes to help us part-time. Absolute game-changer.
I've also been doing my best to take care of myself mentally. My close girlfriends and I set up monthly Zoom calls. I FaceTime with my sister, who’s also a new mother. I also have counseling sessions occasionally. This past year, my support groups and friendships mean everything to me. We also hit the jackpot moving to a neighborhood with a great community of parents with kids Alden's age. They quickly became our pandemic pod––we still meet regularly to have our kids play at the park and we even endured the unseasonably freezing snowstorm together.
(December 2020 at Wildflower Center, Austin, TX)
What has surprised you the most about motherhood?
Everyone talks about the work of motherhood, but not the feelings. I wasn't prepared for all the emotions I feel all the time. Each day, as I watch my son literally grow up before my eyes, I feel immense pride in his growth, the anxiety of doing something wrong, the concern about his future, the joy reflected in his smile. At the same time, a part of me also grieves as he grows. In part, I say goodbye to parts of him that he grows out of. All in all, I am most surprised at the height and length of joy I feel for him just for being him.
For more reading, Kaibo Audio was so kind to feature me on their Instagram in celebration of Mother's Day. Check it out here.
Happy Mother's Day!