Around 4 AM, I was woken up by the baby the first time this has happened! And then she/he proceeded to thump me 12 times in a row, even kicking back when I poked the foot with my finger. We went from a maximum of 4 thumps in a row to 12, right in time for Week 19. Hooray!
Here’s what the baby is up to this week, “He or she now weighs about 8½ ounces and measures 6 inches… Your baby’s sensory development is exploding! The brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now… The arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of her body now.” (Source, source)
I can’t believe the baby is as long as a hoagie sandwich from crown to rump. What about the leggies?! Crazy. I’m feeling pretty good this week, save for a few days that my lungs felt squashed. Thursday is our anatomy ultrasound, which I am SO, SO nervous for but SO, SO excited for. Fingers crossed we don’t accidentally find out the gender!
Here’s Week 18, neatly summarized:
Total Weight Gain: Officially up 10 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight. Only 10 pounds to go before I lap the Husband.
Workouts: Four workouts! 1000 yard swim, 3 mile walk, 1000 meter swim + 1 mile walk, 2 mile run/walk
Baby Items Purchased: I went to Nordstrom’s and got properly fitted for new bras. The boobs, they are agrowin’. I highly suggest that other pregnant ladies actually go get fitted I was wayyyy off in my sizing.
Gender Suspicions: Currently leaning towards a girl.
Cravings: MEXICAN FOOD! Ice cream. Salads. Nice balance there.
Names: Although we are decided on a girl’s name and aren’t switching, I keep thinking of other nice girl names. This week, I really like Allison. Still can’t come to a conclusion on the boy’s option, though.
This week’s post topic is… Our plans for post-birth employment. A scary and somewhat loaded topic, for sure.
Unlike traditional’ dual-income marriages, the Husband and I are in unique positions when it comes to our employment because we are both self-employed. He is a full-time acupuncturist and herbalist, and he also runs his own clinic (which means he does all the advertising, office management, and book keeping).
I run two blogs and do lots of social media work and freelance writing. I also travel across the country for approximately 15 20 Operation Beautiful speaking events per school year. At some point in the past two years, I wrote three books (only one is published; the other two come out this summer). Oh, and in addition, I moonlight as the Husband’s secretary (about 20 hours a week), and together with our friend Isaac, the Husband and I are launching a small web-based business that should be up and running in a few months. Whew.
It sounds like a lot, but more often that not, it’s a lot of small things, and I feel way less overloaded than I did a year or so ago. I look back on old posts, and it was so obvious that I was completely drained (book writing is really, really stressful). Both the Husband and I have really gotten into our rhythm and found a nice balance between home life and work life.
And now… comes the baby.
The best part of being self-employed is that we have a great deal of flexibility and can do whatever we want with our schedules… within reason. The trouble with being self-employed is that neither the Husband or I can take a long maternity or paternity leave and expect to return to even mildly thriving businesses. We also can’t survive on one income or afford childcare. So we had to think of a way to juggle working nearly as much as we do now and being our child’s primary caregivers. Quite a conundrum, you see! But after thinking long and hard about our options and speaking to other self-employed parents, I think we have a manageable game plan.
I’ll be a SAHM, the Husband will be a SAHD, and we’ll both be three-quarter employees.
What the hell does that mean? We’re going to swap being the SAHM/SAHD (stay at home mum/stay at home dad) and working. Our game plan is to schedule patients at the clinic three days a week. On those days, the Husband will work outside of the home, and I will be a full-time SAHM (juggling work responsibilities while the baby is napping… I think this is slightly delusional, though). Two days a week, the Husband will be a SAHD, and I will get two full week days to focus on the work things that I need to get done. I’ll be working from home so I’ll be available for feedings/pumping. Evenings will be for work catch-up, as they are now, and hopefully, we will both find a way to make weekends truly weekends. We like this plan because 1) it lets us continue both of our careers, and 2) it lets the Husband have lots of regular’ time with his child.
(Side note: Right after the baby is born, our plan is that the Husband will take a week off from the clinic to stay at home with us, and then we will institute the above schedule. At week four, he will take another week off to stay at home with us again. We liked the idea of breaking up paternity leave instead of doing it in one chunk.)
There are three troublesome spots with our grand plan. First, I can’t be the clinic’s secretary once the baby is born. This is unfortunate for us because… well, I work for free! Not many strangers would be willing to do that. Hah. My mother-in-law, who also works at the clinic part-time, has offered to cover for me immediately after the baby is born, but this is a short-term fix. We’ll need to hire someone, which is extremely daunting financially as well as personally (we are completely family owned and operated). The second problem comes when I need to travel for Operation Beautiful events. I’m not booking any travel until late October, when the baby will be four months old, and the Husband says he wouldn’t mind it if I left for 24 hours or so he can hold down the fort (it’s very nice he’s so willing to step up and be involved with baby care I didn’t expect anything less, though). The idea of leaving the baby for events is painful, but I don’t think it’s realistic to take the entire family with me.
This SAHM/SAHD/three-quarters employee thing sounds great, but it will put the skids on business growth, especially for the clinic. I attended a presentation on being a working mom a few months ago, and one of the things that was discussed was to think of your child’s early years as beingmaintenance mode’ for your career. Sure, you aren’t getting promoted every two years or turning out epic profits, but you’re keeping your professional head above water, supporting your family financially, and generally doing the best you can with your choices. It has been really helpful for the Husband and me to both step back and reframe the way we think about working during these early years (we plan on more kids). Honestly, it takes a lot of the pressure off and helps us feel more secure in our choice to collectively pull back a bit so neither one is totally sacrificing their professional goals… which, truthfully, is not desirable or realistic for our family.
And last, but certainly not least, volunteering is very important to both the Husband and me, but we will not be able to be Girls on the Run coaches once the baby comes, as coaching is a 5 7 hour per week commitment.
So we’re planning to join one of the council’s planning committees, which meet once a month, and help out behind-the-scenes more. We both want to stay involved in some small way, and hopefully, I’ll be able to coach again one day!
Whew. Did I already say whew? It’s a lot to think about and digest! Lots of big life changes. I’ve been reading lots of SAHM and working mommy blogs to get some perspective and ideas. The one thing I’ve taken away is that no mother, father, child, or career is exactly the same, so there is definitely no one size fits all’ solution to this issue. That’s one of the reasons I find The Mommy Wars (the argument over which is better working moms or SAHMs) so needlessly negative. We’re all different! And different things truly work best for different families.
Here’s to hoping our approach works for us. It hasn’t been tested in front of a cryin’ newborn yet, but at the very least, I feel like we have a decent game plan. And that’s half the battle, right?
How do you or plan to juggle work and children? Any other completely self-employed families in a similar boat?