It's working for Rachel Sokol Slavin, Freelance Writer
New York, NY
"Being on bed rest was also positive in a way, because I used that time to write pregnancy health articles; something I knew a thing or two about. It opened my eyes to the world of mommy/parenting writing; I genre I never really wrote about prior to being pregnant myself."
It’s OK to be a late bloomer, both personally and professionally! You WILL catch up.
I was working full-time as an education writer for 8 years in Manhattan (before that I worked in magazines and newspapers) when I was learned I was pregnant in 2013 at age 34. I actually had a very hi-risk pregnancy and my OBGYN took me off my feet at 21 weeks. It was extremely scary. I was at my desk working on an article, feeling semi-OK that morning for a pregnant woman, when my MD called me at 9:01 am (Funny how you remember these little details) and told me to get to NYU Langone immediately to see her partner; her partner wanted to discuss some lab results with me. The MD actually said to me, “I don’t like what I see in your chart.” My heart was caught in my throat; my boss was at a meeting so I sent him a quick email saying I was going to the hospital. In a daze, I grabbed my purse, hailed a cab on Chambers St. and called my husband, who worked in Times Square at the time. Basically; my daughter was trying to come at 1lb and they needed me off my feet immediately and to give me some steroid shots and “down there” inserts (sorry. if that’s TMI but we’re all adults here) to prevent my daughter from coming WAY too early. I took an immediate, emergency medical leave from work. I had no idea I’d be put on bed rest, so I spent a good portion of my pregnancy running around Manhattan with heels on, never thinking I should be off my feet and not pushing myself so hard. I think I wanted to be a super mom or something. My daughter was born a borderline preemie, but a healthy preemie—5 weeks early, weighing 5 lbs—but we knew quite early on she would need Early Intervention to strengthen her core muscles. I liked my old job as an education writer, but my husband I ultimately decided that I would resign and freelance—I was also freelancing on the side for small magazines and Websites—to be there for Sabrina, especially as she went through pediatric physical and speech therapy through Early Intervention. To be honest, my entire salary would have gone to a nanny. Now I freelance from home and Sabrina, at age 2.5, currently has 4 hours of pediatric physical therapy and speech per week, which I oversee with her Early Intervention case manager and her amazing therapists. It’s not easy, and there are many nights I’m up quite late writing and editing, but my sister, mom, and cousins help babysit sometimes, which makes my freelance life (sort of) manageable…wait, who am I kidding?! Being on bed rest was also positive in a way, because I used that time to write pregnancy health articles; something I knew a thing or two about. It opened my eyes to the world of mommy/parenting writing; I genre I never really wrote about prior to being pregnant myself. Today, I also write many special needs articles because I’ve learned so much from Sabrina’s pediatric physical and speech therapists, who are amazing and so patient.
I wanted to, and tried everything, but she would NOT latch!!
As mentioned earlier, I was on bed rest at 21 weeks, so I had to take it all!
It still hasn’t! I will be completely honest and admit it still feels so weird to me that I have a child. I’m still a big kid myself—at least, a kid at heart. Even when Sabrina calls me mom, I hesitate for a second and think…wait…is she talking about me? Oh! Yes! I’m her mom! I’m still figuring it all out and just hoping she doesn’t hate me when she’s a teenager, ha ha!
Balancing my freelance writing and editing around Sabrina’s therapists. I am so grateful for their assistance but with 4 who all come at different times; on different days sometimes, my whole day revolves around being present—literally and figuratively—for her sessions. But don’t get me wrong; they are blessings. Also, it’s hard to make business calls from home when your toddler is throwing a tantrum in the background or singing along at the top of her lungs to “”Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” but what can I do? I just tell people I’m a work-from-home mom and hope they understand—and appreciate a toddler in the background!
My husband; my family. My parents are more than an hour away and travel often to Miami, so they help when they can; and same with my in-laws.
As a working parent, I never expected working from home would be so hard and very little would be so much easier!
As a working parent, a bad day is when the mom guilt reaches a point where it overwhelms and consumes, mentally and emotionally. It’s never, ever easy to juggle career with family life and a good day is when is when someone can help me with childcare and I can run errands or write with no distractions.
I do not have a steady nanny or babysitter—because my schedule changes so often because of Sabrina’s therapy—but I would honestly love an affordable one! It’s also hard because I just need a sitter for a few hours a week and most sitters want a full-time nanny gig which I can’t offer to them.