Hi, I’m Lara, and I used to be a writer. Three Novembers, I clocked countless hours at coffee shops and bakeries across New York City – writing as a part of NaNoWriMo. I’ve completed a memoir and a novel, and have another idea I’m noodling on.
I also used to be super active with some nontraditional exercise programs – back in 2008 it was ballet but for the last seven years, you could find me swinging once a week 25 feet in the air from the flying trapeze. Yes, in the class taught by a veteran of Ringling Brothers there was little me – along with a number of folks in their professional circus arts training program. I look at clips like this and go man, was I strong!
Once upon a time, I was a very passionate karaoke singer. My love of singing in front of an audience has led to my singing on stage at the Off Broadway show, The Awesome 80s Prom, in front of a band of strangers on stage at Fontana’s singing “You Give Love a Bad Name” and even in front of a large crowd of my coworkers at Webster Hall in cowboy boots, singing “Gunpowder & Lead” with my Southern partner in crime.
Around October 24th when things settled in – me at home on maternity leave with Q and T back at work full-time – something changed. It wasn’t an immediate thing. Definitely gradual, but noticeable nonetheless. Once I settled into my “new normal,” I found myself looking in the mirror one day and not seeing any of those things in those eyes looking back at me. If anyone would have asked me to describe who I was, what my passions were, the only thing I think I would have said is “I’m a mom.”
Truly no complaint there. To say I am thrilled would be the biggest of understatements. We thought it would take a long time for us to get pregnant. When you’re of “advanced maternal age” – or, for those who don’t phrase it so politically correctly, a potential “geriatric pregnancy” – you go into the process expecting it to take a long time to happen. I consider myself extremely blessed to be tackling this so soon, because it means we were blessed with this not being as big of a challenge as anticipated.
In those tiny windows of naps, I’d sit and think through all of those various things. How do these interests exist now? Clearly just because we had a child, there wasn’t a magical increase in the number of hours in the day. Only 24 little hours to allocate across so many tasks in a given day – hours which become even fewer once a suburban commute becomes a factor. But I was still the same person underneath all this … right?
Yes and no.
It’s funny but a number of those things which were part of my must-dos fell to the side. TV shows I loved abandoned. Social and networking calendar forgotten, save play dates and activities for Q. I used to pride myself on keeping up on all the restaurant openings in Manhattan, aiming to hit up a number of them over the course of the month. That no longer was important to me. And, as I’ve mentioned before, there were so many changes outside of my sense of self I worked on accepting and adapting to. I realized too that when he was older, I didn’t want to lose all these elements of me by the time he was old enough to see them. (More to come on that in some future posts.)
I started slow. When Q would nap, I’d do little things that felt like things I would have filled my days with before. There were two things I returned to first – this blog and podcasting.
I did my first post here when Q was a week old, but taking the time to do it felt weird and I found myself struggling to keep to my original blog content theme, food. Letting myself really embrace the broadened content themes I’d started using a bit more of on Grits in the City felt like a huge step forward in embracing the new me while incorporating in something that had always been a huge part of me.
Once I did that, the ideas started coming. I have a list of posts that I can’t wait to get up here. I found while the content I’m able to produce is less, I’m really proud of the content. More of my heart is going here so it feels like the time I’m spending writing is accomplishing so much more. Getting back to writing, even if it’s a baby step, makes me so happy.
Second, was the podcast (Will You Accept This Podcast). It may seem silly. Why, you ask, with so little spare time did I make time to do a podcast about The Bachelor? The aggressive release schedule forced me to commit to making time for something mindless on a regular basis. I didn’t realize how refreshing that would be. And while parenting did occasionally come up in our conversations, for most of the time, taping was all about something completely outside of my day-to-day. As an added bonus, it also meant spending time on a weekly basis with my sister — the outside world!
It took some time, but now I look in the mirror and I say why hello there mama, writer, podcaster – all rolled into one. You’re pretty awesome, you’re strong and you’ve got this.