The first six weeks of 2017 have been filled with exciting changes and progress for the Sullivan Family.
Perhaps most important, Miss Daisy has begun to army crawl. This involves pulling herself by her hands and arms from one location to another. She has not yet figured out the “legs portion” of crawling, but, she can get from point A to point B and that is enough to thoroughly impress her parents. We imagine real crawling can’t be far behind now…
On all other fronts, Daisy is amazing us. She is still feeding entirely by bottle and baby food – we’ve been tube-free for over a month now! Yahoo! There is still almost nothing she won’t eat. She loves sucking on mango slices (and trying to gnaw at their fibers with her tiny little nub of a tooth!) and being spoon-fed polenta (particularly if it has been prepared with truffle oil) and fearlessly maintains her composure while chewing on lemons. She is unafraid of new smells, flavors and textures which leads us to believe (or at least hope) that perhaps she is an adventurous eater at heart.
Daisy continues to show interest in reading and music – and a constant obsession with technology. We’re unsure if she is drawn to laptops and mobile devices because of the brightly colored screens or because she sees her parents glued to them but when she sees a piece of technology, there is no getting in her way. We are working hard to limit screen time and demonstrate a healthy relationship with technology but this has proved challenging for two parents working full-time!
In other news related to the two parents working full-time thing, the Sullivan Family has officially entered a new phase of life together: the phase in which we have a nanny. I left my job at the end of 2016 after three years managing proposal development for a corporate wellness SAAS (software as a service) company owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Companies. In early February, I joined a sales performance management software company, where I will be managing proposals development and a team of writers based in India. The plan is for me to eventually add oversight of sales enablement to my responsibilities – this includes things like training and development and customer relationship management. Fortunately for me, my new company is based right outside Philadelphia, so I am currently commuting into the office two days a week and working from home for the duration.
Up until now, I juggled caring for Daisy and working full-time (with a fair amount of success). When she first came home, I would lay her across my desk and type over her. Conference calls got trickier as Daisy gained her voice and grew big enough to wriggle out of her boppy lounger, but, we made it work. I just wasn’t ready, until now, to leave Daisy with someone else or to let go of our precious time together. I spent as much time playing and snuggling with her as I could during the day and got my work done at night when she was sleeping.
I no longer have the bandwidth to do two full-time jobs well and frankly, it isn’t fair to either charge. Daisy needs (and deserves) full-time, undivided attention and constant interaction to keep her learning, growing and developing. My work and my team need me to be fully present with my head in the game. So, we've hired a nanny.
I’m still struggling to get used to the arrangement, if I’m honest. Despite her stellar references (one mom cried talking about the relationship our nanny had with her child, who suffered from cystic fibrosis) and impressive pedigree (Family and Youth Studies BA from a prestigious university), I can’t help but feel I am paying someone to raise my child. Even if she is super, super qualified to do it (maybe more than me?), it still feels weird.
My heart stings when I kiss my daughter on the forehead in her bassinet as I tiptoe out of our bedroom at 6 AM to head to work or when I can hear her crying in her nursery mid-videoconference in my home office. Last week, I put together a list of fun classes for the nanny to take Daisy to – from “Philly Music Babies” and storytime at the neighborhood library to baby playgroups and a tumbling gym class for minis called “Kitten Cuties”. I slowly typed out each address and class schedule with a pit in my stomach, wishing so desperately that I could be the one to sit Indian-style beside Daisy as she bangs on her first drum.
Does she feel abandoned when I leave for work every day? Will she remember what that felt like and hold onto it for her whole life? Does she think I don't want to be with her? Will our bond lessen now that I am not by her side 24/7? Will she start to miss me less and less and grow more and more attached to the nanny? She has just started reaching for me when she is upset and I so treasure that feeling of being needed - will she not need me anymore?
While these perhaps silly questions dance around in my head, I force myself to recall the fact that I am a vital contributor to our household and that makes me proud. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of commuting into a skyscraper in the big city and carrying a briefcase like my Dad. I also dreamed of being a mother. I am achieving both of those dreams after a lot of hard work and careful planning. Being successful at both things doesn't have to be mutually exclusive.
I am eternally grateful for the ongoing dialog about balancing motherhood, sense of self and flourishing careers that is happening all around me. I am really lucky to know loads of amazing, really smart, talented, educated and successful mothers who are going in all directions. They are full-time physicians and part-time public defenders and weekend activists and nighttime dancers and twice-a-month-doulas and fully stay-at-home-moms with law degrees, MBA's and Masters in Education. I don’t feel judged by my fellow mother friends for the choices I am making and I respect and celebrate their decisions.
Perhaps some day in the future I will decide to take time away from my career to focus all of my energy on being a mom. Right now, that isn't the best fit for me or my family, but, I feel so fortunate to have the choice - and to feel that choice is respected by others. I am so blessed to live and work and raise my children in a time when "working full time” does not force me to be in an office five days a week. If Daisy is sick or falls and bumps her head, most of the time, I'll be just a floor away. And that is a gift I won’t ever take for granted ❤