It’s starting to become really pronounced how far apart writing these blog posts is from real time. Obviously, the actual time difference hasn’t changed (as I write this I’m 31 weeks pregnant) but the difference is huge. At 27 weeks, I was showing with a proper bump but still in my second trimester — albeit at the end of it.
I’m trying to stay ‘in the moment’ and write snippets as they happen so I don’t have to go on a big trip down memory lane when I sit down to post. I’m also trying to write a stack ahead of schedule…..so expect to see posts written a little more coherently, as they’ll *hopefully* have been written in real time. Here’s hoping anyway.
And the reason why I’m trying to get ahead of schedule is because I’ve been ruminating a lot on maternity leave, and what that looks like for me — a freelancer. It’s a really scary and weird scenario, and I’m feeling my way through it but it’s definitely something I’m trying to take seriously — my blog is my livelihood and I can’t simply drop it for months on end. There isn’t going to be anyone keeping my seat warm, and in the fast paced world of digital media I don’t want to take a massive step back. And to be frank, I can’t afford to either.
I’ve made some serious changes in my work/life balance which have helped, but I’m still taking for granted the ability to write a post the day it needs to be published. Or pitching lazily, knowing my regulars will commission me for something. And in terms of my blog mentoring business – in that too, I’ve been a little lazy with marketing, and have kept my client base smaller than it realistically needs to be.
Funnily enough, as with every aspect of my work so far – I have constant questions from friends etc about it. Kindly, but misunderstanding and frankly irritating questions ranging from: “But how do you get maternity leave when you don’t have a job?!” to: “Well, you’ll easily be able to work with a baby anyway so it’s no big deal for you”
Actually, it was Oli who pointed out that it’s a little unfair for me to be expected to look after a baby and work at the same time. Oli’s mum also noted that if I do end up doing this, I might want to think about moving my office from the nursery (which is where it’s currently planned to be) to somewhere I won’t be tip-toeing about. In our little flat, that means our bedroom, or the living room. With all the above in mind, I can’t see how I’ll actually be able to work with a baby napping (they do that all the time right?!) next door. When I’m probably supposed to be sleeping…..
So do I pay £100 and put the baby in a nursery, leaving me -£100 before my day begins? Or do I pray Oli can take a day off work every week (unlikely, as for men there is a lot less precedence for this in his company) and try to cram everything into that day…..while my husband and baby are asp in the house and I have to try and ignore them? Or, do I go to a cafe and spend unnecessary money hanging out all day……or go to a co-working space, which are all costly investments.
So you see, maternity leave is fraught with compromise, sacrifice and ultimately having to pick the lesser of all the evils. At least, that’s how it seems to me. And we wonder why more women drop out of careers they once loved (around 77% face maternity discrimination). It’s why the top tiers of management are predominantly filled with men. All because women have a womb, and deign to use it. It baffles me that despite the fact our society has two distinct genders (regardless of how you were born, you tend to identify as one or t’other) one gender is woefully underrepresented in almost every walk of life.
I mean, I don’t wanna point out the obvious here but if we didn’t step up and push babies out the human race would be in trouble.
Nightmares and really strong kicks….
So what’s been going on with the bump this week then? Well, I’ve been sleeping weirdly….due to leg and hip cramps and horrendous nightmares. Like, seriously vivid. Cheese ‘mares on crack! It’s a wonderful symptom of pregnancy apparently, although the amount of cheese I’m also consuming could also be adding to the issue.
Yoga is helping with the cramps, as are pillows – which I’m reliably informed should be used with abandon throughout pregnancy. I bought the Dream Genii pregnancy pillow a while back, but honestly – I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s such a faff, and a total husband blocker too. I’ve just used a normal pillow popped between my knees and it’s all good.
I really wanna know your thoughts on maternity leave and flexible working for parents. Tell me your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
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