I spent the last five weeks (with the exception of a few days in Seattle speaking at Amazon) on accidental pseudo-maternity leave, taking care of my newborn niece and her momma, my sweet sister (aunt-ernity leave?). My sister’s husband travels for work and I couldn’t in good conscience leave her alone with a two-week-old infant for days and nights on end when I had the flexibility to come help (I’m lucky that my investing work and podcasting can be done from anywhere, I don’t have kids, and my husband was supportive) — but it didn’t come naturally. I’ve certainly never been a “baby person”, so I expected to parachute in, do the cooking and housework, and leave the actual baby stuff to the parents.
Um, no. Instead, I’ve been up at 3 am when my sister hands the baby to me so she won’t fall asleep and drop her, so I physically walk my sister to bed, soothe the baby and sway her in my arms with white noise blasting from my phone trying to devotedly follow the 5 S’s from Dr. Karp that I spent the previous night staying up till 4 am reading over while searching online for additional reviews on baby chat boards. I’m now a f**cking awesome swaddler and have a black belt in baby jiujitsu.
Turns out, love is crazy stronger than all the exhaustion, bodily fluids, and not being a “baby person,” combined. Being part of the first postpartum weeks was an unexpectedly incredible experience that burst my usual bubble of life. Before, I didn’t GET the exhausting, exhilarating, heart-opening, roller-coastering of keeping a newborn alive and thriving — but now I get it, and can connect with people over an entire part of life that I had never even noticed before. That guy in the baby jiujitsu video is Rorion Gracie, who literally created the Ultimate Fighting Championship and is one of the toughest guys around — and he’s making a baby fart! Is there a better definition of love?
Living Life Makes Us Better Investors
Being constantly on baby-call took me away from my work and my investing, which I know I 100% chose to do, but I can have two emotions at the same time and the career part of me still felt yucky about it. My book, Invested, came out six months ago and my mind was telling me I “should” be creating content for my readers on their own Investing Practices. We all need help starting, and I should have been helping more. Shame around “should” is really hard for me to handle. I felt like I was always failing at something.
I couldn’t change anything while, of my two charges, at least one was half-naked and crying uncontrollably at any given time. In my mixed-up state of acceptance and vulnerability, I discovered two key insights that changed my Investing Practice:
- Life happens. Distractions come and interfere in my Investing Practice. We’ve got to build in an expectation that there will be fits and starts, that sometimes things like a new baby or a new job or major travel really do put Practice on hold. The beauty is that long-term value investing is uniquely positioned to be the kind of investing we can do and ignore for a month. That’s why it works for part-time investors like us. It’s going to be ok.
- My accidental aunt-ernity leave is actually making me an even better investor. LIVING LIFE makes us better investors. Hold the phone on the massive guilt, because I noticed that, without trying, I STILL read the business news on the daily and checked into companies that intrigued me.