Flying by the seat of my pants/ Channeling Elle

Hello again, dear friends.

Sorry for the two-day hiatus. We are sleep coaching B for the umpteenth time, and she developed a cold yesterday while I was away in the city. To say we’re tired is an understatement! More like we’re zombies who haven’t yet turned green and droopy. In any case, I thought I would tell you a little more about myself, since you all have the courtesy to read my many and myriad thoughts.

Hi, my name is Taylor, and I sign up for too much crap to do all at the same time with no second thoughts or planning. Basically, I fly by the seat of my pants all day, every day. (“What, like it’s hard?”)

So a few years ago (actually, more like 5 years ago now) I quit my dead-end desk job to chase a dream of opening a gluten free brewery. Two years after that, after much federal, state, and town rigamarole, I did indeed open! For three years I did my absolute best to break into the market (and at maximum saturation, my beer was in upwards of 100 restaurants and stores.) The month the beer went into full production, however, I found out I was pregnant with B, and so my initial excitement about the brewery was overshadowed by excitement about my pregnancy. Despite that, and with hefty help from my husband, we kept it going for 2.5 years before it became obvious we would either need a huge infusion of capital with more manpower (I was the only employee) to become actually profitable, or close with our dignity at the cessation of our lease. It was around the 2.5 year mark, too, that I was accepted at Columbia to begin my qualification studies for a PhD.

I took stock of my life and my priorities, and decided it would be best to close. As painful as it was to make that decision, I felt it was important for me to both recognize how far I’d come (I was the only single-female-owner brewery, and solely gluten free brewery owner on the East Coast) and that my priorities had changed. Owning a successful brewery was really fun, challenging, and rewarding, but it was ultimately not what I wanted to do. The only way to know that was to try it. I want moms to know everywhere that it’s okay to try something, to do something, and then to say, “You know, this isn’t as important to me as it used to be.” That’s alright. You don’t have to do everything to be successful.

So three weeks ago, I started an intensive Latin reading course at Columbia. Theoretically, we cover a year of material in a semester, and by the end of it we will be able to read and translate Vergil and other authors. It meets twice a week, and it’s a TON of work. I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful nanny to watch B twice a week in addition to an incredibly supportive husband and family that lives nearby, and though it’s a lot of train time studying, it has been rewarding in ways motherhood isn’t and can’t be. For one, I am using my whole brain (in overdrive, it often feels like.) It’s also an opportunity to talk to other adults, something I needed as much as oxygen after having B. I’m pursuing a second dream after having pursued the first, with the added bonus of mothering at the same time. I know how incredibly blessed I am to be able to say that.

But of course, there’s always an underbelly to this stuff: for example, I’m away from my daughter through dinner and bedtime twice a week. The mom in me yearns to be back at home, so while I could be pithy and say that it’s a nice break from the monotony, a lot of the time I wish I was home with B. It’s challenging most of all to balance my emotions, which is not what I expected when I signed up for my class. Two nights a week, I don’t see B from 3:25pm until the next day, and I’ve realized what a major sacrifice that is after spending almost a whole year and a half as her sole caretaker during the day. I have no idea how I’m going to combat these emotions, many and powerful as they are, but I keep trying to reassure myself that my daughter will hopefully look up to me one day and tell me that my resolve to do this gave her a positive example in her own life.

So here I am at a crossroads in my life. I have no idea how consistently I’ll be able to commit to PhD qualifications, but I am going to give it, as they say, the good old college try. Having a doctorate degree is a goal I’ve had for most of my adult life, so ready or not, here I go! If any of you have any thoughts as to how to be emotionally stable while leaving your little at home in the care of others, I’d love to hear them.

 

Yours always,

Taylor

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