Will the World Spin Off Its Axis If I Take Time Off?

babyclothesI don’t like taking time off.

When I honeymooned with my husband in Mexico in the summer of 2007, I chastised him for bringing his laptop, then used it to periodically check in at work.

When I went to Europe for two weeks this past summer, I was ready to come home after two days. There were contracts I had to sign. Edits that had to be done. And I couldn’t stop thinking of all the teaching opportunities I was missing out on.

Several weeks ago, as I chatted with my writing partner via Skype, she told me that — once I popped out my baby this coming July — I should expect to not work for two months.

My head just about exploded.

The photo above is of the first two pieces of baby apparel I’ve been gifted since announcing my pregnancy.

The one on the left: “born to read.”

The one on the right: “namaste,” accompanied by an image of Ganesh.

These represent, pretty perfectly, the two biggest pieces of my identity at this point in my life (barring “cat lady”). In fact, thanks to finally achieving a perfect balance between teaching yoga and taking on writing and editing work, I’m experiencing the most financially secure year of my freelance career. This fresh on the heels of my least lucrative year ever.

It took us three and a half years to get pregnant, and I’m so happy about the baby in my belly, my heart just about can’t take it. But the prospect of a two-month maternity leave makes me wonder: am I about to lose all the other ground I’ve gained?

What am I doing with myself these days, besides futzing about on Twitter and compulsively taking an infinite amount of BuzzFeed quizzes? I’ve become the senior writer/editor for a nonprofit professional organization, managing and producing online content (both newsletters and blog posts) aimed at sexual health professionals. I’ve just signed on to manage social media for another social services organization. I blog for Ploughshares. I take on additional, one-off writing and editing gigs as they come my way. I teach at least four yoga classes a week. And in the time I have left over, I write essays, which I then submit to literary magazines and anthologies.

Life feels balanced. Life feels pretty darn good.

I know my priorities will change once my baby arrives. Hell, I’ve wanted to be a mom for about as long as I’ve wanted to be a writer. But right now, I worry. And not just about letting down my clients. Not just about losing professional momentum. Not just about missing that intellectual stimulation.

I worry because I’m a control freak, and I don’t trust anyone else to do the job right in my absence.

It’s why I’m insufferable I like working alone.

So for all those work-at-home moms out there, this is my plea for help. How did you manage your maternity leave? How did you prepare? How was your professional life affected post-baby?

And did that shift in identity rock your world?


  1. Believe me, some people would love to have the problems you’ve described here. Congrats on the announcement.

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