Crib Notes: New Year, New Start!

Abigail GreenBy Abigail Green

Ah, January. The time of year when magazine headlines scream “New Year, New You!,” “Live Great in 2008,” and “Secrets to Making Your Resolutions Stick.” For me, though, my new life started not on New Year’s, but when my first child, Miles, was born last June. All of a sudden, I had to figure out how to fit two very important and very time-consuming pursuits-motherhood and my writing career-into one very busy life.

When Miles was about three months old, I decided I was ready to start working again. I found a babysitter to come over a couple afternoons a week, and I accepted a short writing assignment. One day, I had a meeting, so I asked the sitter to come a little early, ironed some non-drawstring pants, and blow-dried my hair for the first time since the baby was born. I waited until the last possible minute to put on my white shirt. (By that time I had learned a thing or two about the digestive habits of babies.)

Wouldn’t you know, that was the day the babysitter’s bus was running behind schedule. When she finally arrived, I tossed the baby into her arms and dashed out the door. Once I was in the car, I immediately noticed a foul smell. Was that – ? Could it be – ? Noooo!!! Had I accidentally dropped a dirty diaper into my purse?!

At a stoplight, I looked down and saw that I had stepped in a disgusting deposit left in our yard by the neighbor’s dog. Not just a little bit, either. A huge, gooey gob was stuck to my shoe and, by now, ground into the floor mat. I pulled over and, while cursing like a sailor, attempted to scrape off my shoe with an old napkin I found in the glove compartment. All those baby wipes and bottles of hand sanitizer I’d been carting around for months were conveniently packed in my diaper bag-at home. The more I tried to clean up the mess, the worse it got, and the worse it smelled. I cried. I cursed some more.

And then-what else could I do?-I called and cancelled my meeting. Something I’d never done in my pre-baby life. Then I cried some more and felt very sorry for myself. How had I ever thought I could do this working mom thing? Who was I kidding? After that I drove to the mall and bought myself a new pair of shoes. I figured I deserved them.

In spite of it all, I rescheduled my meeting and completed my article on time. It wasn’t graceful, but it got done. There’s a lesson in there, I think. This New Year’s, let’s not pressure ourselves to lose weight, write a bestseller, raise perfect children, and generally have our “Best Year Ever!” Sometimes-for writers and for mothers but especially for those of us who are both-good enough is good enough.
Abigail Green is a freelance writer in Baltimore. Over the past 10 years, she has written for national, regional and online publications including AOL, AAA World, Bride’s, Baltimore Magazine, Cooking Light and Health. Her latest project is raising her first child, which she chronicles in her blog Diary of a New Mom


2 Responses to “Crib Notes: New Year, New Start!”

  1. 1 Stephanie January 6, 2008 at 8:30 am

    It’s not easy to combine work/writing and motherhood, but it helps to have a support system of other moms. That’s why I appreciated Katz’ “Writer Mama” – we might as well learn from each other and share our “best practices.” 🙂

  2. 2 Jan January 6, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I feel very intimidated to leave a comment on a writer’s page, but I just wanted to give a word of support to your right to a new pair of shoes after the dog poo debacle. In fact, I think you were entitled to an entire outfit!

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