A Team Player

Griffin will be 1 this week. He's already had an impromptu birthday party while we were in Michigan visiting family. He smothered his face in blue frosting and tried to feed his mom and dad with cake stuck to his little digits. I teared up a little, because it feels like yesterday that Mike and I were taking him home from the hospital.

 

On that hot, blistery day a year ago, I waited for Mike to return from loading the mini-van with all of the things new parents suddenly acquire in the hospital. I was sitting next to Griffin, who suctioned his tiny hand around my index finger. Griffin slept soundly while my heart fluttered; I felt anxious.

“Can I do this? I have to do this!” I thought.

I wasn't questioning my abilities as a mother. I knew I can be a mom.

I was worried about being a work-at-home mom. The last couple of months of my pregnancy, I tried to prepare myself for the juggling act that awaited, but it wasn't until I saw Griffin sucking on his giant green pacifier and secured in his car seat for the first time that I felt the jarring shift in priorities, that child comes before clients and family comes before career.

The last 12 months have been a thesaurus-full of adjectives, from amazing and inspiring to exhausting and crazy. Somehow, I have managed to raise a happy baby while building a home-based business. Maybe my pseudo-sense of organization and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants philosophy was key? Because in the WAHM world, schedules can be broken at the snap of a finger.

But the truth is: it wasn't me, alone. I'm blessed with an awesome support group of family and friends and, most of all, a husband who is right there with me in the trenches of dirty diapers, spit-up and toy clutter.

When Mike and I finally made the unforgettable drive home from the hospital, I kept looking back at Griffin snoozing away, unaware of the excitement and anxiety his parents were feeling. For the first time in my life, I suddenly realized that this is something I cannot do alone; I need help. For someone who is fiercely independent, this epiphany is character changing.

My mom said that even as a baby, I was independent. “You didn't like to be held. You wanted to be left alone to play,” mom always says.

This time, however, I knew, I felt, the certainty that I needed help, a partner. I looked over at Mike behind the steering wheel of the mini-van we bought shortly before our family expanded and started crying.

“I'm so glad you're here. I can't do this alone,” I said, adding, “How do single mothers do this?”

Mike was there the moment the pregnancy test said Griffin was on his way. Mike was there for nearly every doctor's visit. He held my hand through the contractions. He sat, helpless, while he watched OB nurses swarm the hospital bed when Griffin's heart rate plummeted. He held me when I pushed for an hour and a half to no avail. He calmed me when I was wheeled into the operating room to have a C-section. He held me up the next day when I showered for the first time.

The secret to working from home isn't about how organized or well-prepared you are. It's about what kind of support you have. I, for one, don't do it alone.