I became a mother almost four years ago in the second half of my 30s. This was long after I had crafted an identity for myself as a newspaperwoman devoted to her career. I wasn’t prepared for how profoundly it would change how I feel about myself and how much I would love it.
Like most working moms, when I was pregnant I anticipated putting my baby into day care after she was born. When the Pumpkin arrived three months early, day care wasn’t an option. I wasn’t allowed to expose her to the potential germs of other children until she reached 15 pounds — a milestone that didn’t come until her first birthday.
I was profoundly blessed to have a wonderful editor, Frank Brill, who knew my diligence and gave me permission to work from home. My most recent editor, Mike Bieger, has also been a supportive and a wonderful mentor. For four years, I’ve worked from home most of the time, covering my beats in business and technology and writing this blog.
While a terrific solution for me, working from home hasn’t been easy. The first year, when I was pumping every two hours, was a blur. Since then, I’ve gotten into a pattern, often getting up at 6 a.m. to write my feature stories while the house is quiet and taking calls well into the evening. I’ve had to say no to my daughter’s pleading for me to play with her more times than I’m happy to remember. But the best part was being around to share her days, to hear the laughter as she played with her grandmother in the other rooms of the house. Crawling, toddling and then running into my home office for hugs, cuddles and to give me “presents” of toys, Cheerios and crayon drawings, she has brightened my life more than any office gossip ever could.
Starting tomorrow, she and I will have a lot more time together. I am one of the 50 employees in the newsroom who has been laid off as our parent company, Gannett, trims expenses to refit the newsroom for the future.
I want to offer my gratitude to my co-workers who have made me feel as connected as I ever did in the office. I want to thank my editors who made my work-life balance a reality. Most of all, I want to thank the readers who have offered me such encouragement over the years. And to the amazing, talented and inspirational parents I’ve met and written about because of this blog, I wish I could give you a big hug. You will not be forgotten by me! If anyone wants to keep in touch, I’m on Twitter (twitter.com/everythingjulie) or you can e-mail me at juliealterio at gmail dot com.
“At work, you think of the children you’ve left at home. At home, you think of the work you’ve left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself, your heart is rent.” — Golda Meir
“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” — Zora Neale Hurston
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