Live update: Assignment day

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Lately, I’ve started accepting freelance work as part and parcel of kickstarting my new WAHM (Work At Home Mum) career status.

What this means is that Jamie would need to be babysat by my Mum should I need to go out for assignments, which would likely be the case for journalism related work.

Unfortunately, Jamie is still adapting to bottle feeding and hence, my husband, Deric and I have been delaying my acceptance of any such assignments that involve going out.

However, it would not be possible to let this continue to go on and the day has come that I accepted a feature story writing gig which requires me to conduct a (media) interview. That day was yesterday.

It’s the day of the interview today, and it’ll be the first time that Jamie will be away from me for a good hour or so. This has not happened before as he has always been around me since his birth. (With the exception of my disappearances of a few minutes here and there, that is).

So, as a form of compromise, my mother has agreed to come along with me for the assignment and care for Jamie while I take care of my interview.

I thought it might be interesting to give you, our readers, an insight into how the day unfolds so I’m going to put up live updates to this blog post from now till we get home from my assignment.

I’ll do my best to post as often as I can. Do follow along and I hope you’ll have as much fun and excitement as I will have 😉

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10:27: Jamie is asleep. I’m finishing up the remains of my breakfast which is in a plastic bag because he fussed halfway during breakfast and I had to carry him (the plastic bag makes it possible to eat with one hand). Deric has gone off to work.

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10:32: Oh no! He got up!

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10:40: Tried reading to Jamie to keep him occupied. It worked for awhile, but now he’s starting to fuss 😦

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10:51: Nursing time.

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11:00: Interrupted by poo poo time… How to find time to prepare for assignment?

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11:35: That’s us zooming around in a ring sling. Why won’t he sleep?

12:01: Yay. He’s asleep. Now to get ready to go out…

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12:43: Mum is here. Quick lunch, then we’re outta here.

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13:15: And we’re off!

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14:08: Some kind girls named Boo (left) and Chloe (not in pic) help us to carry Jamie’s stroller up the stairs. There is no lift from car park. But that is to be expected since this is a campus where you wouldn’t expect to find kids. We arrived so much later than expected due to me having trouble getting the stroller to fit into the car boot. Sigh. If we ever buy a new stroller, I will consider paying extra just so I can have something that’s lighter and easier to fold up and carry around.

14:20: We arrive at the interview room early. Mum decides to stick close by my interview room with Jamie. It’s not very conducive. We manage to befriend some people they who let us sit at a spot inside their office space where there’s air conditioning. Manage to nurse Jamie a little before anything starts. Brought the wrong nursing cover which doesn’t work well for my outfit as it’s the apron type which doesn’t cover my back and I have to lift my shirt to nurse. I make do by covering the exposed part of my back with a scarf.

14:30: Interview delayed due to one of the interviewees arriving late.

14:40: Photographer arrives and we do the photo shoot first as she’s in a hurry to cover another assignment. Meanwhile, the missing interviewee arrives.

Approx. 15:24: Jamie is wailing outside with my Mum carrying him while I’m still doing the interview. I can hear him and it’s hard to concentrate. I figure I should let my Mum handle it and decide not to intervene. Some minutes pass and he’s still crying. I excuse myself from the interview to go and see if i can comfort Jamie. Notice that my Mum is trying to bottle feed him but everything’s a mess and it’s not going well. Jamie’s head is wet with sweat and I feel sorry for him. I carry him for a bit and try to help with the warming of the expressed breast milk. I decide to insist on my Mum and Jamie coming into the interview room which is cooler in temperature for Jamie. Some kind staff voluntarily carry him and help my Mum with managing him. I resume my interview.

15:38: Interview ends, but there’s still some other stuff to take care off before I leave. I’ve got my fingers crossed that my Mum will be able to keep Jamie happy meantime.

Approx 16:20: We are DONE! I find out that Jamie didn’t finish his bottle feed. Decide to nurse him a little before we leave. He is very anxious to nurse. Thankfully he is calm once I put him back into my baby carrier and we head off back to the car park.

17:00 We leave the interview venue after having located a lift (so there is one after all!) where we can go straight down to the car park so I wouldn’t have to singlehandedly carry the stroller down the stairs. I can’t believe how LONG we’ve spent here. Had hoped we could have been done earlier. I’m feeling terribly dehydrated as I had not taken my bottle of water with me to the interview.

18:48: About an hour after arriving home, Jamie finally falls asleep, having nursed and had his diaper changed.

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*     *    *

Observations and lesssons learned

It is very hard to blend your professional life and your domestic life all into one neat little package. I did not really enjoy the interview today, although I’m proud to say we got there on time and things had been off to a good start initially.

However, the nature of journalism requires you to take as long as you need to get the information required during an interview so that you can write a good story. That means that at times an interview may stretch longer than you expect. And that is not a good secnario to be facing with a baby in tow.

It is also extremely hard to concentrate on conducting an interview when you hear your baby crying in the background. I managed it today, but don’t think I conducted my best interview in the process.

To be honest, I’m not sure that I can do this again in the near future. Perhaps I should consider other types of writing gigs.

My mother, despite all her earnest efforts, had difficulty coping with Jamie. It’s a wrong assumption that we tend to make that our parents will automatically know how to handle babysitting their grandchildren just because they had raised use in years long past.

Personally, I also was not happy that the people I met for work today were aware of the presence of my child and mother nearby. It is comforting for me that this is so, but others might think of it as being unprofessional.

All in all though, I’m glad that Jamie was not as badly behaved as expected. He was also really friendly with whomever he met today and smiled warmly at them. He even made friends with some university students on the campus who kept trying to interact with him while we were waiting for the same lift.

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