Today’s Thursday so I’m Crafting my Life! I’m hard at work on the Crafting my Life e-course. While I work on that, I’m shaking things up over here. I’m continuing the “crafting your life” theme through January, in which I welcome guest contributors to share their journey with you. This week, it’s the awesome life-crafting Harriet.
Newsflash! Having a baby fundamentally and irrevocably changes your life. Suddenly, everything is subject to change.
In my pre-parenthood days, I had a stable 9 to 5 job as a communications manager for a small arts organization. In my spare time, I attended gallery openings and movies, hiked, met friends for brunch and sat in cafes lazily wondering what my future would look like. I was also stuck. I wasnâ€™t happy where I was, and I didnâ€™t have a plan. I needed something to shake me up.
The out-of-the blue arrival of my son Theo, now 18-months, did just that. A job that wasnâ€™t quite doing it for me wasnâ€™t a good enough reason to be away from my son. When my parental leave was up, I didnâ€™t go back to work.
Since becoming a parent, Iâ€™ve had this dizzying feeling of being in perpetual motion and constant transition. â€œHeâ€™s sleeping! Heâ€™s not sleeping! Heâ€™s climbing! Heâ€™s falling! Heâ€™s eating. Heâ€™s not eating! He doesnâ€™t need me! He needs me!â€ Despite this, Iâ€™m amazed at how many new things Iâ€™ve learned over the last year-and-a-half. I started an adoption blog, regularly comment on other blogs, and tweet with abandon (an embarrassing 18,700 and climbing). Iâ€™ve attended tweetups, mom events and sat on a panel at the Northern Voice social media conference. Iâ€™ve met some amazing women and their well-documented kids. I joined a business book club (this monthâ€™s book is Sociable by Steve Jagger), and try to attend momcafÃ© for inspiration and socialization.
All this momentum led me to a few writing and PR contracts. By the time my EI ran out at nine months, I had enough work to justify going it alone. Since September, Iâ€™ve been working steadily with a local PR company doing research, blogging, social media strategies, outreach, and media relations.
Still, the quirky people who inhabit the border world of the arts were no longer part of my daily life and I missed them. When a friend suggested we podcast chats with artists about social media, I leapt at the chance. Iâ€™ve long held a secret dream of working in public radio, and our weekly podcasts allow me to experiment. Iâ€™m also on the Roundhouse Community Centre program committee, which keeps my toe in the arts.
But what about Theo? If you think Iâ€™m doing all this while he naps, let me laugh for a few minutes (ha ha ha ha). Firstly, he barely naps, and secondly he doesnâ€™t watch Dora or The Wiggles (yet). If heâ€™s awake, heâ€™ll be on the counter pulling toxic chemicals or glasses out of the cupboards. We are lucky to have a nice setup where my neighbor, who lives below us and has a young daughter, takes him for one day a week, and Theoâ€™s grandfather takes him for two days. I use these days for work and look for additional help where needed.
When I look at all that, I think â€œWow, what a superstar I am!â€ On the surface, I seem to be on a roll. But I have challenges. Working alone with only my cyber-friends for company makes me feel disconnected and lonely sometimes. I get sucked into virtual black holes (Twitter, I want that hour back!) and I wonder about other dreams (radio and academics) and how to fit them in.
Iâ€™m also a sucker for stability. I feel better with a schedule and a regular paycheck. I like to know what the plan for dinner is and what weâ€™re doing this weekend. So I try to stay balanced, because as unfashionable as it is to be balanced these days, I need a good nightâ€™s sleep, I need time with my son, I need fresh air and exercise, and I need to feel good. I try to achieve balance through craft nights, working in cafes, and getting outside daily.
I donâ€™t know what the future holds but I do know that Iâ€™ve grown more in the last 18-months than I did in the previous ten years. I just need to stay calm, watch for the signs, and remember that everything is subject to change.
Harriet Fancott is a mom, web writer / PR associate, arts enthusiast, newbie podcaster and nature-lover. She blogs about open adoption at See Theo Run and about movies at www.karmavore.com. Her twitter handle is @harrietglynn. Sidenote: Glynn is her middle name, which came from her grandfather Gore Glynn St John (pronounced Sinjin) Ouseley.