The evenings are starting to draw in, the weather is turning chilly and I find myself in a state of awakening despite the seasons transcending to slumber. Winter is fast approaching and for me, the idea of autumn and early twilight always sparks the idea of new beginnings. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that September was always the start of school: a new adventure just waiting to be had.
Or it could have something to do with the fact that I’m five months pregnant with my first child…
I couldn’t be more excited as I enter this new, wondrous stage of my life. I urn to hold my baby in my arms, smile like a fool for every tiny kick that makes my heart flutter and want to buy all the cute little outfits I can get my hands on. My evenings are spent making plans in my head, cleaning the house in readiness and scrolling through Amazon for anything I might have possibly forgotten to put on my baby list.
The fear of forgetting something or not being prepared in time is nothing new for me. I’ve always been like it. It’s what has fuelled my desire to be organized, to learn what I can of time management and productivity. It’s why I make endless; countless lists that, despite no lack of trying, will never be fully finished.
And yet I persevere. Ticking one item off only to replace it with two more, the cycle never-ending. But it doesn’t bother me.
All I see before me is a world of possibilities as I work to welcome my little one into my life.
I must be honest however…my pending motherhood has also made me question my abilities. Yes, I strive to be organized, productive and get everything done – but let’s face it – no one is perfect, and myself furthest from all. I know that there are still things I must learn. Things I can improve on. Lessons I have yet to encounter, that one day I might even be able to pass on to my little one.
As contented as I am to spend the darkening evenings curled up in what is now our nursery, folding the gifted baby grows and organizing drawers to my heart’s content, I also know that this isn’t the be-all and end-all of preparing for a child.
As a freelancer, working from home and trying to make my way in the world as a published writer, the clock is now ticking. And rather drastically. In just four short months I am going to have a new infant and will be learning how to not only care for a child but myself in the meantime. Something for which I admittedly have never been very good at. Looking after others I’m fine with, but being pregnant has, if nothing else, shown me the importance of self-care.
So what does this all mean? Well, for one, it means organizing for a baby isn’t just organizing for a baby. There is a lot to think about: finances, things, work, transport, hospital stays, paternity, preparedness…it goes on and on.
Some people might think me a bit OTT for having all the nursery furniture already purchased and assembled to the point where I am now able to wash baby clothes straight away and put them neatly into pre-ordained drawers, proudly identified by my label maker. They might think that making a list for your hospital bag four months in advance is a bit insane and that writing out your to-do lists for the rest of the year is cumbersome and unnecessary.
They might be right.
In my mind, however, these are things that need to be done and I for one cannot abide having too many thoughts swirling around in my head all the time. I need that space for creativity and writing, not constantly wondering if there is some urgent thing I’ve forgotten.
Not only does being prepared save me my sanity but it also reminds me that I am not just catering to the needs and wants of my future child. But also myself.
As much as it may sound selfish when I am about to be blessed with motherhood, I also need to look to my own goals and ambitions so that I don’t lose myself along the new road on which I travel. I have a business to run, dreams of my own to fulfill. After all, my book isn’t going to magically appear or write itself, and I want my child to be proud of me one day for showing them that dreams do come true – you just have to work for them.
So what am I getting at here? It’s simple really. Whilst I still have four months in order to prepare for the baby, I also have four months in which to get my arse into gear writing-wise.
Two months ago I sent away my debut novel to a publisher and am just waiting to hear back. But I am not one to sit still. As well as traditionally publishing novels, I would dearly love to produce some shorter works, novella’s, and have several ideas which I would like to see into fruition. As such I am willing to be daring for once.
Novellas are usually something I ghostwrite for clients and sell the rights too for a small fee. However, in recent months I have also fallen victim to a few clients (possibly the same one but who can tell) ordering work, accepting it then absconding rather than paying. Due to the fickle nature of content mills, these clients have never been seen nor heard from again and I have no way of tracing them for my money. I can only keep an eye out to see if the work gets published someday and take my chances in court.
It’s a very disheartening thing, to have one’s work stolen or go unpaid for. I will be honest, it caused me to lose faith in myself and my abilities as a writer. It’s why my blog has been silent when I had plans to contribute so much more. I felt rather lost. Hopeless. As if I’d reached the end of the line.
I even considered going back to work. After all, there is only so much expected income one can afford to lose before starting to sweat and I would have eagerly returned to the 9 to 5 if anyone would have been willing to hire a pregnant woman. Add to this the severe sickness and medical fears of my early pregnancy and you might as well have written me off as a failure.
I nearly did.
But that’s the funny thing about dreams. Even in the darkness, there is color, and mine came to me every time I thought of the babe growing within – of how I wanted to create magic in the world for the sake of my child so that they could always see the wonder in things.
How could I teach something so profound if I lost the drive myself?
Thankfully I have a sterling husband who has never doubted my talents. For the past year, he had been begging me to ditch the content mills and move onto self-publishing and at last, I have learned to listen.
You see, come January I will not just be learning to live with and care for a child, but I will also be trying to figure out how to manage my time around one; how to cook, clean and work with an infant. How to grow as a person, so that I might have more to give. And I plan on making sure my work continues to be my writing.
Emphasis on the ‘my’ part.
I know it’s going to be a juggling act. Especially in the beginning. But I’m looking forward to the challenge and the new, awesome changes that are coming to my life. Including self-publishing.
I am a firm believer in always trying to make things as simple as possible for one’s self, and whilst my long list of ambition is overwhelming I also know that if I don’t take the time to do it and do it now, these things might never happen.
In short, over the next few months, I hope to make great progress with my plans. And not just the baby ones but life plans too. I have a few tricks up my sleeve and the skills to pull it off, so watch this space, my friends. Exciting things are coming and I cannot wait to share them all with you.
They say you can’t have it all, and though I’m not one to boast and say “watch me!”, I will say this – we are not just anyone thing in life. We are not just housewives, entrepreneurs or students. We aren’t just mothers, brothers nor failures. No one label defines us. No single tag can cover all our traits. Whilst specifics might be good from an organizational perspective, when it comes to people, to individuals, the more colors the brighter they shine.
I’ve rambled and reflected for long enough now but I would leave you with a question. What have you been neglecting of yourself? What one thing, if the world ended tomorrow, would you regret not having achieved? And more importantly – why are you still waiting to start? Self-doubt can be turned around, funding found, excuses vanquished and time made. So stop putting it off and restricting your label to singular things. We are all worth so much more!