I realized in 2006 that I did not want a job that would require me to be away from my family. I am not just referring to traveling out of town for extensive periods of time, but also, being confined to an office longer than I wanted to be, much to the neglect of my family duties. Granted, at the time of this realization, I had no husband and no children. I don’t even think I had a boyfriend or a cuddle buddy when I figured this out. I was merely planning and bringing forth the work/life balance that I desired to have in the future. Law of attraction!
Fast forward many years, I went through several job changes, several boyfriend changes, several location changes and ultimately ended up marrying my husband in 2013, and welcoming our daughter, Norah, in 2014.
At the time of my wedding, I was already working from home and we conceived not too late after that, so I pretty much settled into working from home until after the baby was born. When I was pregnant, my doctor asked how I was going to work from home when the baby came. I gave some naive answer and she chuckled.
She stated, emphatically, “Rashida, you are going to have to leave your house, if only for a few hours, to get anything done with that baby and that husband there.” She was right. (As I type this article from the Sushi spot up the street after bolting out of the door when my brother and sister-in-law came to visit).
Luckily as an entrepreneur, I am able to continue to contribute to the household equally in terms of rent, insurance, food, savings and other expenses. This keeps my husband off my back for the most part because, to be honest, he was never really with this whole working from home thing. I think he had concocted some expectation of me, as an attorney, that I would delightfully be working in Big Law, but that was not the case. That never was my goal.
So here we are. Married, expecting a baby after being married for four months and my work starting to pick up. I am not the typical attorney who meets with her clients in those big boardrooms that you see on television. As a matter of fact, I never meet with my clients in person. All of our business and issues are handled via email, text and phone. Many of them did not know I was even pregnant until I delivered. I chose not to disclose this information because I did not want the work to slow down. Not even five hours after giving birth, I was responding to work emails just to prove to myself that I could handle it all. Boy, was I mistaken!
My dear daughter, Norah entered this world four weeks early on August 17, 2014, so we weren’t as prepared as I would have liked to have been. My husband had just started a new job, my mother came to help the first two weeks after I gave birth, my sister came from D.C. to help on the weekends and my cluster of good girlfriends would come to watch her so I could rest and do anything that I needed to do.
Week by week, I was growing confident in my ability to stay at home with my infant daughter and still keep up with my workload. As she was a new baby, she slept most of the time, so I was able to send emails and have conference calls while she slept. I still also had a good handle on household duties as well. I was still feeling confident in myself and keeping up with these new and old demands, until…
I don’t know when it happened. I think maybe around five or six months of age, my dear, sweet daughter started to exude personality traits that were gasp similar to mine and my husband’s. She was demanding, yet snuggly. She was also nonchalant, yet turnt when she needed to be. She immediately went from not requiring too much attention, to needing all of my time, energy, effort and whatever else I had to give. My once manageable day has turned to crap. How so? Well, let me tell you!
Working From Home With A Baby Is a Joke:
1) Baby’s schedules change
Where she once gave me 15 to 20 minutes to return emails while she basked in the itis of a breakfast milk, that stopped when she started to lift herself out the Mamaroo swing I would place her in. You don’t know panic until you see your child, for the first time, about to roll head first on to your hardwood floor. Ok Gabby Douglas, when did you start doing this ?!
2) You and your baby have to eat….three times a day, including snacks
The days of putting ramen noodles in the microwave, or warming over last night’s left over $100 meal for a quick bite are over! Why? Because you can’t feed your baby ramen noodles or your folks will come take her away from you for malnourishment and you ain’t got no time or disposable income to be going to eat $100 meals anymore anyway!
So this means heating up your food, heating up their food, feeding you and them at the same damn time, wiping messes, keeping them from buck jumping out of the high chair, dodging spit bubbles with food in them and negotiating with a mini terrorist who decides, for some strange reason, after all of this work, they don’t even want to eat.
3) Nap time is your time, but sometimes they don’t nap
Those consistent two-hour naps she once gave me went up in flames as she could immediately sense when I was placing her in her crib, or rolling up from under her Kung Fu death grip while she slept close to me. Any slight movement and/or sound wakes her up, and I am still racking my brain with figuring out the exact times I will get my work done.
4) You have to engage these little people.
This means reading to them, playing peek-a-boo, giving kisses, hugs and snuggles, going for walks or just getting out of the house so both of you won’t lose your minds. Though they are babies, they are smart and want you to entertain them. I constantly feel like Norah’s looking at my like, “DANCE PUPPET!”
Thank God people like babies. My clients know about Norah now and yell, “Heeeeyyyy Norah” through the phone because they know she is always close by. I am equally as grateful that the clerks at the courts think she’s cute, because they make baby noises with her and assist me in ways that make me want to write a favorable Yelp review on officers of the court. I would if I could!
Would I change these past 10 months of being home with my daughter to love on her at all times, breastfeed on demand, tend to her when she is not feeling well, nap with her when I have the time to? Absolutely not. But I would be lying to you if I did not tell you we’re looking into day care, effective September 1.
She gotta go ! I have work to do.