Maternity Leave

Hi Folks - The more I look at my life, the more I think I'm not doing things as well as I could be - too many balls in the air.  Many of the things I care about are paying a price.   The addition of the chronic sleep deprivation that goes with a new baby is pushing me to strip down my life to the bare minimum.

What's frustrating me most is that writing and online work are taking up time I should be spending on sustainability measures - while I'm writing about the joys of pickling, I'm not actually making pickles with the kids.   For a long time this was manageable, but right now, with a two week old, it just isn't.

There's also the fact that I wasn't a professional author when I had my first four boys - I was a farmer and a Mom who could pay attention to what was going on online or not, as needed.  I wrote because I needed an outlet, but I had the luxury of no one caring if I put anything up for weeks  or months.  Now I feel like the internet is always on, at least in the back of my head - and that this baby isn't getting the kind of attention that my others did.  I want the luxury of just sitting there with a baby in my arms and not feeling guilty about it.

So I'm going to take six months maternity leave - I've always made the statement that the "you can have it all" idea was garbage - so why would I try and live it?   I will be updating this blog and once per week, on Thursdays. My goal is longer and more thoughtful posts, a la John Michael Greer, but if the sleep deprivation continues until morale improves, who knows, it might be all gibberish.  Something will go up once a week, but the rest of the time is for home and family until the baby sleeps, the harvest is in, the publicity push for _Making Home_ over, the new book written, and the baby goats grown to sale size.

I'll still be around - I promised I'd run the food preservation class in August during the canning season, and so I will, and you can always email, but I'm going to slow the pace and concentrate on what's important. I'll be back to my more regular schedule Feb. 1 or sooner if the baby leaves ;-(.  Or if I go mad with stuff to write about.



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While I love reading your blog, I wholeheartedly agree you should be concentrating on other priorities. We're all going to have to start making these hard choices on what to give up, and you're setting an excellent example.

By John D. Wheeler (not verified) on 20 Jul 2012 #permalink

Well, I'm really lucky - I CAN take a six month maternity leave because well,...blogging isn't remunerative ;-). If I had a real job, odds are I couldn't. Hey, making no money is working for me again!

Excellent plan. I'm glad you're able to do that. In Canada we get 50 weeks paid leave for birth or 37 weeks for adoption (both at 55% of a base salary) It's wonderful to have the time to care for and bond to a new child. I'm always sorry that more people can't take that option.

You've got your heart in the right place, Sharon - our kids are our future and there are times that they deserve ALL of our attention. Take care - and I'll be looking forward to those new posts! Gene Logsdon on Wednesday, you on Thursday - 1 or 2 more and I'll call it good ;-)

By Eric Smith (not verified) on 20 Jul 2012 #permalink

A very sensible choice. I'll just have to reread all your old posts to keep me sane at lunch breaks until you're back. :-)

I just spent some time this morning trying to catch up on the blog posts I hadn't yet read before you posted this one.

My youngest is 1yo and I can't keep up just *reading* online, so I can't imagine trying to keep up with *writing* with a *newborn*!

Enjoy! You will be missed- but with full understanding. And maybe I'll be able to keep up on reading with just Thursdays :)

Oh- and your list of things you're continuing to do still sounds like an amazing accomplishment.

I love it. Totally awesome. I am debating about doing something similar but am in a pickle. We need my part-time income to make ends meet. But if you can go on hiatus, go for it!

By Former Foster Mama (not verified) on 20 Jul 2012 #permalink

Perhaps, just perhaps, you could have one or more of your kids guest -post short entries about what is going on at the homestead, home, family. Perhaps even about what it feels like to have a pregnant mother. Nothing too personal. They needn't be finely crafted and honed to literary perfection.


"I'm taking 6 months off. So I'll only post once a week."

ROFLMAO. really. You are a crazy person. For which we are all truly grateful, of course.

I don't see how you can be "off" and still working on one post a week; I suppose it might be possible for you. But I know for me, I would have the post simmering on the back brain the whole time; with just a leeettle more pressure to make it really good, since it's only once a week...

And; just remember, you DID ask for this! You got it!

: - )

I believe that a maternity leave of sorts ought to qualify as a sustainability measure - at least for your sanity. Cheers to you, my friend.

Incidnentally; here is Rob Hopkin's version of time off:

"Transition Culture will be going to sleep today until the middle of August as I turn off my computer and phone and spend some time with my family. "

He's done that every summer for a while... seems to work! An alternative to think about? If you find yourself still blogging in your sleep...

Good for you. :) If anyone deserves some time off, it's you.

We all can get along by ourselves for a while. And then, we all will have the pleasure of telling you what we did, while you were gone. :)

I'll be looking forward to Thursdays to read your post and that of John Michael Greer. And reading your new book will fill some of the gap. It's important to take the time to stay on top of your own very busy life.

Enjoy your time with your family. Looking forward to your weekly posts. Happy summer and happy baby time!

Excellent post.i like this one.i got relevant data. thank for sharing.

By Evergreen Hedging (not verified) on 24 Jul 2012 #permalink

Cheers to your materity leave!

By Lisa Coons (not verified) on 24 Jul 2012 #permalink

A wise woman told me, when I was a new mother, "You can have it all, just not all at the same time." Those words have kept me sane over the years and have given me permission to focus on what's most important when it's most important. Parenting is like gardening: timing is essential.

Good Gad, Art, I'm not pregnant! Gah!!!! Sorry if I gave that impression - we have a 2 1/2 week old foster son who may or may not stay long term but is probably here for at least a few months. He was quite a surprise (we had two hours notice before he arrived straight from the hospital), and we've been scrambling a bit to catch up. Baby Z. is a delight, though.

I actually think you CAN'T have it all - all of us make choices that preclude some other choices. The trick is being happy with your choices.


Frankly I am a little jealous of your surprise newborn. As a kid I use to wish a baby would be left on my doorstep :). Ok now not jealous enough to actually aquire an infant :).

Great plan Sharon. I've always wished I could go back to when my oldest was just a little guy and re-do. You won't have to wish this! <3