So, I decided to write a book. Yes, a real, live, 203 page paperback. Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave comes out this Tuesday, April 11, 2017. And yes, it’s a bit like birthing another baby (with an admittedly longer gestation period).
I couldn’t be more excited to bring this resource to the working mama world. When people find out about it, they all seem to ask me similar questions. Why a book? How long did it take to write? How on earth did you find the time? And how are you feeling about the launch? Today, I’m sharing my answers to these questions, as I prepare for launch day.
Why a book?
Helping new moms address the challenges of returning to work after maternity leave has been a passion of mine since I had my second son over four years ago. As many of you know, for me, 1 child + 1 child felt like 85 children. And for the first year with two kids, I was drowning in overwhelm.
Since 2014, I’ve been blogging and teaching the Mindful Return e-course to hundreds of amazing mamas, to help them reframe their transition back to work and feel empowered about this new phase of life. But I wanted the message of Mindful Return – the one that says YES, you ARE enough, mama, both at work AND at home, and YES, your maternity leave and motherhood can actually be an asset to your career and leadership skills – to have a broader reach than it could through the blog or the course.
I wrote the book I wish had been out there for me when I was heading back to work after leave.
How long did it take to write?
This is a tough question, because it doesn’t have a straight answer. I started writing the e-course, blogging, and hosting guest bloggers on my website about three years ago, in 2014. But it wasn’t until last summer that I had an “aha” moment – that I had, essentially, already written a book!
Once I realized I “simply” needed to weave together the work I had already done over the prior years into a book, the plan came together quickly. By the last quarter of 2016, the manuscript was done, and we were off to the races with cover design, interior layout, etc.
How on earth did you find the time?
Writing a book had been one of those things on my “bucket list.” But I’ll be honest. I really hadn’t planned to do it while holding down a legal job, running my own business, and parenting two little boys.
This book is really one of those examples of a “journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” And then about two million more baby steps after that.
I “find” the time in bits and pieces. My time confetti, as Brigid Schulte calls it, is full of tiny pieces of my book efforts. And most things related to Mindful Return – from coaching new mamas, to moderating the course, to speaking to moms groups – don’t feel like work. It is passion for this subject that drives me forward.
How are you feeling about the launch?
Giddy! A bit of the terror that comes with the vulnerability of exposing your own writing and life to the world. And hopeful, that my book will contribute in some small way to changing the conversation around working motherhood.
To all the contributors to the book that make it such an amazing resource. Shawn Fink, Coleen Kivlahan, Tracy Fink, Alexandra Hughes, Megan Hughes-Feltenberger, Valerie Young, Arielle Mir, Nikki Wray, Lani Inlander, Jewelyn Cosgrove, Liz Lapetina, Kerry O’Brien, Arianna Taboada, Stephanie Weeks, and Pleasance Silicki. All of their thoughtful wisdom is packed into the book’s pages.
To my brilliant cover designer, Melissa Tenpas. And my dedicated and passionate publicists, Crystal Patriarche and Korina Garcia at Sparkpoint Studio.
To my reviewers, who read it early and provided enthusiastic comments for me to include on the cover and in the book’s interior. Dana Bash, Brigid Schulte, and Valerie Young – you are the BEST.
To my friends, who endured countless conversations about which baby and mom to use on the cover. And who coached me on everything from logistics, to pricing, to editing.
Most of all, to my husband, who has supported this passion project with unwavering enthusiasm. And to my little redheads, who inspired me, first to lose my mind, and then to write this book.
Thanks so much, Wendy!