By Laura Sgroi
I have always loved being around of people. I enjoy chosen solitude and the silence and focus resulting from isolation, but I thrive in company.
In my thirties, I have confirmed that once again. From the support received on this blog/book project since day one to my most recent endeavors, the people around me have been vital in each case.
One of the best examples is going back to work now that I am a mom.
Any mom will tell you that your career takes on all kinds of new challenges once you’re balancing it with raising a child.
After having my first baby, I gave myself an average time for maternity leave (USA, we need to work on that asap) and pursued the opportunity to get back to work. I started pushing 4-month old Luca in a stroller to meetings, group coaching and events locally and away from home, even abroad. My sister Amy has held him while I have gotten my hair and nails done by the Nica ladies at the Spa in Miami Shores for my first Vision Board Workshop as a coach.
While I am building my public speaking and coaching career, my days in entertainment aren’t completely over (when work calls, I answer)–but they are different. I have been self-employed working as a TV & Events production management freelancer for sixteen years.
The first production gig was an eye-opening experience. I chose an “easy” show. Pre-production from home, pushed the stroller to an information talk during a volunteer recruiting event at a college close to home and then prepared to leave my baby (3 days shy of turning 4 months) with my sister, whose wonderful boss gave her a day off so she could take care of him.
I left breast milk, three different brands of milk formulas, multiple bottles and nipples, clothes, diapers, wipes, toys, and instructions including local police contact info. As I drove to the venue, I was surprised to feel so at peace leaving my child for the first time. I knew he was in great hands.
I arrived a few minutes late (working on that, can’t even blame the child) and started rolling. Only a couple hours had passed when I got a text from my sister. She asked me to come back home and pick them up because my son didn’t want to take the bottle. I told the closest members of the team that I had to step out, took one hour to drive back home, fed him, and then drove them back with me for another hour (luckily Miami’s lovely traffic had not officially started at that time, but the event was on the opposite side of the city).
That was only the beginning of three long days of work with my child onsite. My sister stayed in a dressing room with no windows or electronics for two, 10+ hours days, babysitting her nephew so I could make some money. My husband came on the third day and did the same.
So many things are still going through my head about that experience: For brief moments, I felt like an actress with my family entourage on set, breastfeeding during taping breaks. I felt grateful to have the support and flexibility of my blood and work families to do that. I felt sad and frustrated for the millions of women who don’t have access to childcare (or elderly care), which takes away their financial freedom and keeps them out of the workforce and even society. We need to be intentional and active about this.
“It takes a village to raise a child”. Yes, it does. It takes a family, a community, and a village. And I am beyond blessed to have it all while I keep working to find and nurture you, my tribe.
Thank You All.
Note: This post is an adapted excerpt from our upcoming book, ‘In Our Thirties’. I would appreciate your constructive feedback. Stay tuned for the launch!
1st photo by: Isis Santana Photography
2nd photo by a dear production colleague