A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I don't know how pregnant women can work full time. Michael teased me about this a bit, since I work more than full time--I guess I should have qualified that I meant working full time outside the home. It's hard to gage how many hours I actually do work per day, since it all kind of flows together--right now, I'm teaching at two universities (most of the work is online for Antioch, other than the residencies in June and December), writing for CODEPINK every week, copyediting one novel (my copy edits arrived from my publisher one day after I turned in revisions for another novel to another publisher), trying to get some fresh writing done, plus trying to have a life outside of work (which right now includes planning a wedding.) I often begin working as soon as I get up, and am up working until 1am--of course I'm not working every hour in between, but my day always features a constant weaving in and out of work. It is all stuff that I love and I'm grateful to have every opportunity that's been presented to me, but I don't always do a good job of juggling everything, or keeping clear boundaries between work and life. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before, so forgive me if this is repetitive, but it's something I return to again and again; I often have spans of time (such as right now) where I feel like I'm not doing enough in any sphere--I'm not doing enough as a mother, as a partner, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend, as a writer, as a teacher, as an activist, as a human being, even as a blogger--I feel so stretched thin, as if there's not enough of myself to give to all the people and things I love. But of course even as I'm feeling pulled like taffy, I am growing fuller and rounder every day; I well with joy when I think about meeting this baby, but I worry that if I'm overwhelmed now, what will happen when a newborn is added to the mix?
My plate will be a bit less full when the baby is born--UCR can't bring me back next year because of the budget crisis, and I'm going to take a term off from Antioch after the birth--but money is an issue, so I'll be teaching online for UCLA, promoting new books, etc. The calm pool at the center of me trusts that it will all work out, that my life will expand to hold everything that needs to be taken care of, that support will be available when I need it, but the whirling part around that still center can't help but worry. I worry that I won't be able to give myself over to this baby as fully as I did when my older kids were born. I hear a lot of moms who had kids many years after their firsts say that they were much more patient with the babies they had later in life, but I worry that I'll be the opposite. When Arin and Hannah were little, I completely surrendered to motherhood (to a fault--letting them pull my hair because I figured it must feel really satisfying to them, that it was something they needed to express and experience, and I held back expressing my own discomfort in the process); I wrote, but there wasn't an urgency to it--I mostly just wanted to be available to my kids and was happy to write whenever I found a spare moment or two. I want to be available to this baby, too, of course, but I've grown more protective of my time, and know that I'll have to find ways to carve some for myself and my work (and say no to the hair pulling!) I've never been good at creating boundaries--I have a feeling that it's something I'm really going to have to learn to do this time around. That in itself may become a full time job!