The Clumsy Art Of Balancing Baby With Business


My friend, fellow new mom and hilarious blogger April wrote a Facebook status recently that really stuck with me:

I don’t think I’ve stopped working since I stopped working.

Whew. YES.

Obviously – my primary gig these days is taking care of the Little one. However, mat leave has opened up a new window of opportunity to do things I wasn’t able to do while working full time. Look at it like this: when days flow in and out of themselves so seamlessly that you can’t really define where one ends and where the other begins, being up at 4:30am to write a blog post or two doesn’t really phase you.

Since being off work, I’ve been able to dive into my passions in a new way. Writing, planning events, doing fun social media projects – it’s been great having outlets that add to my many layers as a multifaceted woman. On one hand, my mind says “Go! Go! Go!” – pushing me to make the most of this time and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. On the other, I wonder if I’m doing too much, if I’m trying too hard, if I’m trying to unnecessarily prove something to somebody/myself…and sometimes I think I am.

Integrating the wee one with work has been interesting, and I can honestly say I’m making it all up as I go. I recently had a coffee meeting with an editor, and thought nothing of bringing LM with me. I really had no choice – I had a small window of time to fit this meeting into my day, and had no one to watch her during it. The best I could do was time it out: I fed her at the right time so that breastmilk + soothing car ride = a solid afternoon nap, leaving me to focus on the meeting while she slept. It wasn’t until my mom called to check on us and asked incredulously “You’re bringing the baby…to a meeting?” that I gave myself a side-eye. Luckily, my original plan succeeded and the meeting went really well – but I did wonder what the editor thought of me rolling up to Starbucks, stroller in tow. Was it seen as unprofessional, or as the marker of a forward-thinking multitasker? I got to be part of a really cool project, so either way, it worked out.

Other experiences haven’t been so great. People can be judgy: “You left your baby at home to host an event?!” or “You brought your baby WHERE?!” – making you feel damned if you do, damned if you don’t when it comes to balancing baby and business. The exhilaration of working on a project can shift in an instant – turning you into a sobbing, overwhelmed mess who wonders why you even bother to do anything other than change diapers and feed babies. Then, ever so faintly in the background, the constant ticking of the clock timing your return to the workforce (or whatever you plan to do once mat leave is over) is heard. Bills have to be paid. Babies have to be nurtured. Passions have to be chased. Life has to be lived. I’m determined to do it all, but I’m still figuring out what that looks like.

I have to acknowledge the presence of my HomieLuva – a partner who is fully supportive of my aspirations and amazingly hands-on with our daughter. The days where we’re able to expertly balance everything between the two of us are amazing, but that’s not every day. Since he’s at work, the majority of my time is spent navigating Skype calls and writing deadlines and emails and doing everything else that needs to be done to take care of LM and myself. This is the new normal.

Am I doing too much, going too fast? Should I take a break and ease into my passion work later, or is this just the pace that I’ll be rolling with from now on? I have no clear answer at this juncture. All I know is I’m getting a taste of the entrepreneurial mommy life that I used to eye from afar, and I’m still trying to perfect the recipe.

Wish me luck.

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Freelance writer. Media commentator. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen for life.

Baby Audition Antics (& My First Time As A Showbiz Mom)

She's serving face, and I'm proud.
She’s serving face, and I’m proud.

Things I learned over the past few weeks:

1. Little Magician has a face for the camera.

2. If babies can sit still for 3 minutes, they can get a nice start on that college fund.

3. I’m not sure if I’m ready to be a showbiz mom.

Sometime in July, a friend of mine sent me a link to a casting call looking for “Black and South Asian babies between 1-4 months” for an ad campaign. “Little Magician is a cutie,” she wrote. “You should submit her photos!”

The best Instagram-edited photos of LM were sent.

A call-back asking her to come for an audition was received.

An adventure ensued.

I was wondering what kind of audition process a 1-month-old could go through, but it wasn’t long before I felt like the one under scrutiny.

The babies were brought into the audition room in pairs, so LM and I were joined by another adorable little 4-month-old (who we’ll call Bobby) and his mother. (sidenote: shout out to the mom who was getting her newborn “Frederick” psyched up for the audition. “Get your game face on, Freddy! This is your time. YOUR TIME!” is all I remember hearing.) After cooing over the babies, the director gave us the lowdown on who their client was (a global charity) and what the babies would be doing (laying on a mat).

“One question,” the director said. “What are the babies’ sleep schedules?”

Bobby’s mom started rattling off his sleep patterns, complete with time of day and length of nap. As the director turned to ask me the same, I realized one important thing: I had no clue what LM’s sleep schedule was. Does a baby even have a schedule at 1 month? I barely knew what day it was, and now I had to come up with an answer about the most elusive thing to me at that time – sleep.

The most I could muster was a chuckle and my honest response:

“She sleeps when she wants. She’ll sleep after a feeding…but uh, she eats when she wants. So, um…it’s all up to her.”

I can’t remember what the director said in response, but I distinctly remember feeling like a dummy.  Of course they’d want a baby with a set sleep schedule, so that they can more easily build the filming schedule around them. Of course. I just looked at LM and silently apologized.

I pulled myself out of my shame and self-pity just in time to hear the director give us our next orders.

“So, what we’ll have you do now is just swaddle up the babies nice and tight, then lay them down.”

Let me tell y’all something. Two somethings, actually – LM absolutely detests being swaddled, and I CAN’T SWADDLE. At all.

Continue reading Baby Audition Antics (& My First Time As A Showbiz Mom)

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Freelance writer. Media commentator. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen for life.

BROWNSUGAMAMA: Getting Active With In The Dance Fitness & Yendi Phillipps! [video] (83TI Repost)

yendijuly2014 (4)

Originally published on August 27, 2014

It’s been 2 months, and #BROWNSUGAMAMAhood has been quite the journey! We’re getting to the point where Layla the Little Magician is starting to form some semblance of a sleep schedule – nowhere hear through the night, but at least she’s starting to understand the difference between sunrise and sunset.

As for me, I had a great 6 week check-up and have started to ease back into my workout regime. How did I kick off my return to the land of sweat, muscle soreness, and fighting the urge to skip workouts when my Nike Training Clubapp reminds me? By getting in the dancehall groove with Yendi Phillipps’ In The Dance Fitness class – the Tdot return!

yendijuly2014yendijuly2014 (2)If you recall, I wined and bubbled with a belly full of magic during the Toronto launch of the Jamaican goddess’ dance fitness DVD earlier this year. We talked then about natural hair, her life as a dancer/beauty queen/TV show host/model/media personality/mommy, and obviously chatted about her In The Dance Fitness project, merging her love of dance with a fun workout you can do in the comfort of your own home. Yendi returned to Toronto in July to give us more dancehall goodness, to tape In The Dance Fitness 2 (yes!), and to fill in as a guest host on Global News’  The Morning Show!

yendi global

 via Yendi’s Instagram

As busy as she was, I managed to have another fun interview convo caught on camera with the hilarious and beautiful chica after sweatin’ it out in dance class. Take a peek at Yendi and I, glistening and glowing straight out of the dance studio – talking about motherhood, tips for getting active post-baby, what’s next for In The Dance Fitness, and more!

Bonus: catch my dance moves and Little Magician joining in the fun too! 

So, get ready world! Yendi will be bringing In The Dance Fitness to a city/country near you! Keep up with her moves on TwitterInstagram, andFacebook!

Photos/video by iShotYa Media

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Freelance writer. Media commentator. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen for life.

BROWNSUGAMAMA: One Month Of Motherhood (83TI Repost)


Originally published on July 22, 2014

I find it really interesting that on the first day of summer, at the same moment the sun was making her ascent, my child decided to make her entrance into the world. I’m sure there will be something in her personality or some serendipitous situation that will bridge the link between that and the conditions of her birth, but for now I call her my summer baby; my sunshine dahlin’; and always, my Little Magician.

I’m someone who can be very wary about making close connections with people. In the past couple of years especially, I’ve been crushed by broken promises and shattered trust, and usually feel more comfortable keeping people at a bit of a distance. That is entirely NOT possible with my daughter, which is honestly kind of scary to me. I’ve never cared about anything the way I care about her. I can’t tell y’all how many times I’ve cried – either slow tears that are easily swept away, or hot streams that leave my whole face red –  because of my love for her. I adore her with my whole being, and often feel I don’t deserve her, or that I’m deathly afraid of ruining her, or that I need to apologize to her for being a shitty mom. I’ve done and said all of those things, and for me, the fear of letting her down in any way is simultaneously my greatest motivator and biggest source of anxiety.

If you’re someone who is already very critical, having a child can lead you down an even more self-deprecating rabbit hole. I felt like a failure because I diverted from my birth plan – I went natural for 90% of the way, then at the last moment quietly begged for the epidural. I had a vacuum-assisted birth, and felt like I could have and should have pushed harder on my own. In the first few weeks, she and I did a ‘getting to know you’ dance around breastfeeding – some days were good, others weren’t. When she wasn’t gaining weight as quickly as expected, I just knew I was doing something wrong and wasn’t providing for her sufficiently. Some days she cries and cries and looks at me desperately with her huge brown eyes as if to say, “Help, mom!” and when I don’t know what to do, I cry along with her and tell her I’m sorry.

The good days, though? Those are GREAT days. Those are the days when she lets me get in an extra half hour of sleep, when she’s not too fussy, when HomieLuva and I are able to just sit together and take in the magnificence of what we created. Everyday she uncovers a new gift about herself, or reveals a gift I possess but didn’t see, or teaches me about life, love, and existence in a way no one else can. Life is in high-definition now – when I think about how she’s seeing the world with fresh eyes, it makes me do the same. Colours are more vibrant, music is more melodic, I feel no ways about dancing like a fool in public to calm her cries, and I hope when she’s older we still dance like fools to make each other laugh.

Everything has happened so fast. The best way to prepare is to admit to yourself that you can’t ever be 100% prepared, and just resolve to do your best. Each day when I wake up, I take a breath, look at myself in the bathroom mirror, and say “She needs you. She loves you. You’ve got this. Just do your best.” The fears and anxieties never fully dissipate, but as corny as it sounds, once she looks at me or squeezes my finger or calms at my touch…I know I’ve got this.

I debated creating a brand new blog to document my motherhood journey, but thought I’d start off by sharing some of those thoughts here on ’83 To Infinity. I’m thinking that I’ll house those posts under the BROWNSUGAMAMA category, so hopefully you’ll check them out of if you’re so inclined!  I’m just a month in and I’ve got a lot to share about my pregnancy, my labour & delivery, balancing motherhood and work, getting in shape post-baby, and so much more. Also, in the vein of creating the things I’m always looking for, I’ll use this space to write from the perspective of a Black Canadian mother unapologetically raising a little Black girl in this world. We’ll see where it goes, but I hope y’all enjoy the new dimensions this topic will bring!

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Freelance writer. Media commentator. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen for life.

TO YOU: A Letter To My Child, The Littlest Magician (83TI Repost)


Bee’s Note: This post was written when I was a few months pregnant with my daughter, and originally published on January 2, 2014 on ’83 To Infinity. Read on to see how she got her nickname, and what thoughts were running through my mind prior to her arrival.

January 2, 2014

Dear ___________,

Properly addressing this letter is a bit difficult, because I still haven’t met you.

You’ve definitely made your presence known – but until I see your face, feel you take your first breath, and hear you release your first cry, I’ll have no idea what to call you. I’m sure you’ll understand. I imagine that our first meeting will be overwhelming and filled with emotions that I have yet to experience and attempt to define, so while I’m clear of mind, let me just say thank you.

Thank you for choosing me. I’ve always pictured you as a little spirit already in existence on another plane, floating through time and space looking for the perfect home to call your own. For the longest time, I felt like others of your kind wandered down and peered through nooks and crannies, assessing me before deciding that I wasn’t right. I started to wonder: what was I lacking? Finally, you chose me. You chose us. We’re so quick to discredit and criticize ourselves here – I see now that I wasn’t lacking, but that no other little spirits were right for me until you, at this time and in this form. Once I accepted that your kind comes to my kind in a multitude of ways, you showed up.  I’m honoured and blessed and I thank you.

Thank you for protecting me. In efforts to protect you, I’ve actually been able to create a forcefield around my entire self like never before. You were the catalyst that told me I had to change. I can’t stress the way I used to. I can’t fly off the handle the way I used to. I can’t worry the way I used to (still working on this one – you’ve given me new neuroses I never expected to have). Does this mean that the last few months have been nothing but smiles and sunshine? Not at all. However, your presence has forced me to add a layer of self-assessment when I’m about to fall into one of my old patterns. Because of you, I check myself before I wreck myself. I’m not perfect, but you’ve started a process of change within me that I wasn’t able to do on my own. Thank you.

Thank you for being my reason why. I’m sure you’ll learn as you grow, but people can be fickle. Friends come and go. They betray you. They hurt you the most when they’re hurting themselves. When these things happen to me, I’ll admit – I spend a lot of time (maybe too much) wondering why. Especially when there is no closure, it’s hard to decipher and even harder to move on. Before I found out about you, I was stuck in a tough place, asking myself those questions. Why did people leave my life the way they did? Why did some fade away like smoke in the wind? Why did others exit in an explosion of fury? I couldn’t figure it out – until you. The answer that gives me solace is that I needed to remove those who don’t mean well for me or my family; those who wouldn’t be a source of love and light; those who don’t have the energy or capacity to reciprocate true friendship; those who frankly don’t deserve to be in your presence. Before you’ve even looked me in the eye, you’ve answered questions and given me comfort that seemed eternally elusive. Thank you.

Thank you for the challenges you’ve given, and the challenges to come. So far, you’ve shown me that I possess a level of strength and tenacity that I didn’t realize I had. You’ve made me truly able to take things day-by-day, and I have new discussions with God each night. I feel a different kind of fear these days, but also a new kind of fearlessness. I wonder how my body will change, how my mind will react, how your pebble will ripple the waves of connection between your daddy and I. After being sick, having surgery, undergoing treatment, then getting sick again, I didn’t know if I could fight my way through to get to you – but here we are. Nothing has made me want to get my shit act (I’m working on cutting down my cussin’. Sorry!) together more than you, and I thank you for pushing me.

Now, I hope you don’t feel any sort of pressure when you read this. My gratitude to you doesn’t come with an extended list of expectations. You owe me nothing more in this life than to live it to the limit and love it a lot (I’ll be teaching you about Jay Z – don’t worry). You have done so much for me already, and I can’t wait to see what lessons you impart in the months and years to come. I hope you’ll love me as much as I love you; I hope you look back on memories of me with warmth; I hope you feel as blessed to have us as we do you. You remind me that I’m magic. I can’t wait to teach you to recognize the same in yourself.

I can’t wait to meet you – that’s when this insane amount love I have inside will start to make sense.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Freelance writer. Media commentator. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen for life.

Motherhood in colour. Motherhood with flavour.