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Life Lesson: Crap. I’m Officially A Mom First.

I adore Nora Ephron. I mean, who doesn’t really? But the older I get, the more I find my thoughts drifting to various things she wrote over the years and peeling back the layers of understanding. I think the late scribe might be my spiritual guide. (I only wish I’d known it on the day I met her, I would have asked her a few more questions.) Ephron’s directorial debut This is Your Life, isn’t even my favorite work of hers but it’s the one I ruminate on the most often. As it’s heroine Dottie struggles bitterly with work-life balance, she frames everything from triumphs to pitfalls as “Life Lessons” and I find more and more, as my messy story unfolds, I do the same.

This has been one of those months. A month of life lessons. Kicking off with a hurricane that stranded me 3,000 miles from home while my husband navigated alone through a pretty fierce on-the-job injury, returning to an outbreak of the stomach flu so widespread the health department got involved, wrapping up with a couple of random headhunting inquiries that sent me in to a mind-spiral of self discovery, and book-ending the whole shebang were two of my best friends weddings, each of which I attended solo thanks to the aforementioned hurricane/injury and stomach flu. I’d say when it rains it pours, but that feels a little punny given the circumstances.

Generally speaking, I’m not a person who does *simple*. If there’s a “keep it simple” path and a “drive yourself and everyone around you nuts” path, I’m inevitably trailblazing the latter. Back in good ‘ol 2009, mere weeks before I discovered I was pregnant with Delilah, I had made the decision to freelance rather than day-job in order to support my screenwriting habit, and despite a lot of tears and stress and transfers from savings I haven’t really looked back. But after the hailstorm of excrement hitting fans this month, and one very. timely. job opportunity, I found myself contemplating a different life path. Would it be so bad to have a job with benefits and a boss where there were tasks and a quitting time? Sure … the last time I worked in an office I used to spend my morning commute daydreaming about how bad of a car accident I’d have to get in to in order to get that much-needed time off but not be permanently injured. But that was before I had shouldered the burden of self-employment. Working from home is hard. Owning a business is expensive. The novelty of answering emails in your bra wears off. The warm womb of big business was opening it’s lady flower to me and I wanted to climb back in. Bad. (Oh my god, was that the grossest metaphor EVER?)

Except that while my analytical mind was nodding an emphatic YES, every fiber of my soul and guts and stuff was screaming DON’T YOU DARE DO THIS TO ME. My analytical mind pressed on. It was more security for my family. It didn’t have to be forever. Time was on my side. I could glean knowledge from the simple path and then bring it back to my thorny twisty path later once life had let up a bit. My soul screamed but my mind wasn’t listening. That childish soul of mine has gotten my adult mind in to enough trouble as it is.

Salary talks began. I muzzled the terrified screams of my inner voice. Shut up soul. What good is being a starving artist if you’re not even skinny?

And then I took Delilah to her first ballet class. I mean, she didn’t dance or even go in. But she put on ballet shoes, and even switched to tap shoes when the rest of the class did … and instead of crying, because she’s a mature woman of three now; she wrung her hands and cocked her head and told me she didn’t want to go home, but she was “just a little nervous to do ballet.” So the thought of not being the one to bring her back and wave through the two-way mirror when she finally did go in was…well…just not an option.

It’s not prudent. It’s not the secure choice. It’s not the one my overly ambitious early-20s self would have liked to see me make. It just is. No matter how much I might have thought it wouldn’t happen to me, it has. I’m a mom first now. I’ll keep paying my own health insurance and foregoing paid vacation time and the beaches of Tahiti {oh…Tahiti…we would have been great} if it means I can unplug for an hour and watch Delilah not participate in ballet. If it means I can sign up to help with the Thanksgiving party at school only to show up and find that they’re over-staffed with attentive moms and even a few nannies and I end up killing time doing work in my car for an hour until it’s party time — which lasts approximately ten minutes before Delilah decides she’d rather play on the big kid playground than sit with her friends at the beautiful feast I skipped out on setting up and throwing a fit that causes us to leave early? That’s the thorny path I want to travel. As much as it pains my younger self who insisted on going back to pitching two weeks after giving birth, it’s happened: I started working from home to make way for my dreams, but I’m continuing to do it because of my daughter.

And this week when we went back to ballet class? My girl DANCED.

{she also chose the black ballet dress herself.}

I do for work what most folks do to waste time. (I don’t know how that happened either.) Follow my productivity on The818.com, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

More from Morgan:
My Mom Had A Wardrobe Malfunction At My Bat Mitzvah
“Doc, Are You Telling Me This Sucker’s Nuclear?”
Social Media is a Warm Gun

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