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PSA (Public Self-Admonishment)
I’m writing this post to say, before my readers and the world, that I will not be creating any new content for at least the next 3 weeks, because I will be fully, properly, and guiltlessly focused on enjoying what’s left of the time I’ve officially reserved for bonding with my infant son.
You may wonder why I’m only announcing this now, more than 2 months into the 3-month window I’ve allotted for said time; or why I feel the need to announce it at all, since it’s not like I’ve been churning out a steady stream of content up to now.
I’m announcing it because I need to make things right: with Adam, with myself, and by extension, with you all.
Up until today I’ve spent every available minute of my self-proclaimed “partial maternity leave” (amounting to the 3 days a week during which I’m responsible for baby Adam, the other 2 days being crammed with work meetings and client calls) splintering my attention and my loyalty in that classic way I would’ve promptly coached myself out of doing if I were my own client: that way where I’m either half-attending to my son and feeling guilty for not “using this time to write,” or halfheartedly picking at one of my several drafts-in-progress and feeling guilty for not attending more fully to my son.
Mark my words, readers: this is not the builder’s way. It’s not the approach I want to be taking either in my work or in my parenting.
It’s not, for all my desperate attempts to replicate it, the builder’s renaissance that was my first maternity leave. It’s not like that bizarre synergy of falling in love with my newborn daughter and watching the world collapse around me (this was Spring of 2020 in NYC) that inspired a torrent of insights and connections I felt freshly motivated to share in writing. It’s not me channeling the fierce joy and optimism of new motherhood to rise to an urgent occasion for growth and impact in the face of calamity.
Rather it’s my anxiously attached former self tugging me back into its inertial orbit, robbing me of the needed self-trust to commit myself to any one project wholeheartedly. It’s me cowering before the inner drill sergeant who nags me to hurry up and insert my 2 cents about this or that hot-button issue currently stressing out startup founders, as if any of the fundamental psychological factors at play are actually going anywhere.
More later on the interesting nuances of this difference, and on how we can all get better at noticing and overcoming it within ourselves. But not today. Today is the day I confess that it’s taken me most of these 3 months of what could have been the undiluted relishing of every irreplaceable moment with my wiggly, wide-eyed, rapidly growing boy to notice (and admit) the difference to myself.
Thank god we still have 3 weeks!