Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas, Maternity Leave and Ellen DeGeneres

Have I told you how much I love maternity leave? If not... I do! I could definitely be a stay at home mom if I had the funds. First and foremost... I love my new baby! She is amazing and being her mom is super amazing! If I'd known how much fun this would be - how much it would expand my world - I would have become a parent much sooner than age 37. Forget that I didn't meet my husband until I was 34 and didn't get married till 36. Forget that I only dated crazy people before that and I probably would have had a crazy kid because of it...

On second thought - 37 was probably the perfect age to have a baby.

But back to maternity leave. It's definitely too short. I'm 9 weeks in and go back to work in 3 weeks. That's crazy talk! I just convinced baby Grey that sleep is her friend... this with the help of our good friend Bev and her suggestion to put whiskey on a pacifier. Nah... just kidding. But seriously - the baby is finally getting quality sleep and when she is awake she's really awake and so fun. So this starts and I have to go back to work? It makes my stomach hurt to think about it. I think I'm going to have to tell her caretakers to lie to me. Don't tell me if she says her first word. Don't tell me if she pushes herself all the way up. And please don't tell me if she crawls. Just let me think that all of those things will only happen for the first time between the hours of 6 and 8am and 5 and 8pm.

And! I've made such good friends during this time! Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and the Today Show gang and I have become good buddies. I always think Savannah Guthrie looks like somebody I'd want to be friends with. Anderson Cooper and I have learned a lot about one another during our occasional 3-4 o'clock afternoon get togethers. But let's be honest - none of them come close to touching the deep personal friendship Ellen DeGeneres and I have developed (it's one-sided of course - but that doesn't really matter does it). Contrary to what it might sound like - I don't watch much TV during the day while at home. Primarily because I read somewhere that it was bad for the baby's development but also because watching daytime tv seems so pathetic. I do set aside all baby development worries however to turn on the Ellen Show every afternoon at 4pm. I'll even make sure I'm home from running errands or meeting real friends to watch it. Why? Ellen is freakin' hilarious and so happy and just generally someone who exudes good vibes. And she dances! Which has reminded me how happy dancing makes you! I find myself laughing out loud ever afternoon and recounting the show to my husband when he gets home from work. While I'm sad to go back to work because leaving baby will be hard - second to that is foregoing my daily Ellen Show indulgence.

This aside... I have to be honest with myself and say that maternity leave might be so great because I know it is only three months. If I was not returning to work I may not appreciate this time as much as I do. And... I am looking forward to interacting with adults and working on projects (as frighteningly nerdy as that may sound). Having a baby does however make me reprioritize. Makes me challenge myself to do work that I'm proud of and that I love. If you are going to spend 8+ hours a day from the greatest thing you've ever done, you'd better be doing something else pretty worthy. So that's my personal charge... to keep a healthy balance of family and work. Keeping family priority number one - but finding work that is fulfilling, worthwhile and creatively and intellectually stimulating.

In the next three weeks however - I'm going to revel in every stay at home minute. Celebrating the holidays with my amazing family, friends and of course Ellen DeGeneres.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The world is not black and white... but shades of Grey

Wow! Life has changed. On October 19, 2011 Clara Grey Erstling was born.

The actual birth... after 10 long months of worrying about her health and my health... was the most amazing event of my life. I don't really know how to describe it. Being an active participant in the birth of a new person is such a profound experience. It is as close to god as I think we get in this world. I've said this to a few friends and a few family members, but birth and death, while so different, have for me - brought out the same emotions. Plain and simple awe and raw real all-consuming love.

Grey is perfect in every way. A beautiful, healthy and happy baby girl.

So what has becoming a mom done for me in the last three short weeks? It has made me refocus my priorities. It's made me take a hard look at the choices I have made and hopefully the choices that I will make related to how I spend my time going forward. It's made me fall in love with my husband even more every day as I watch just how much he loves Grey and how much he loves me.

It's humbled me and made me realize that I don't know quite as much as I thought.

It's made me so appreciative of my family... all of them... and so in love with having a new meaning to family.

I hope I can hold onto all this good stuff when life gets busy and the mundaneness of taking care of silly things sets back in. Here's to the adventures and beauty of being a parent. To a new chapter and to having a whole lot to learn.