Homemade Mat Leave, or On Choosing to be Unproductive

Well, I’m days(ish) away from welcoming our new baby. With each of my babies, I’ve enjoyed and deeply appreciated a year of maternity leave from my places of employment. Of course now that I’m a self-employed writer/blogger/whatever this is, no one is giving me 50 weeks of mat leave at the moment. Womp womp.

But after talking it over as a family, we still deeply value the idea of creating a bit of space to welcome our new baby, establish nursing, and lean into our new normal as a family of six. The importance of maternity leave doesn’t change simply because I’m not working full-time in a more traditional job anymore.

In fact, sometimes being a writer/minister/self-employed in any capacity simply means you feel like you should always be working, always be productive, because there is so little separation between your “professional” life and personal life at times. So much – too much – of our identity is tied up in our vocation.

And so this is my little act of resistance for the next while: I’m taking my own little homemade mat leave from being productive and relevant and useful to anyone in the world outside of this little clan for a while. 

I have slowly cleared my writing and speaking commitments for the next couple of months without an eye on any deadlines for returning just yet. (People think you’re nuts for this kind of thing, just FYI.)

(Sidenote: I have a lot of thoughts swirling in that area now. I’m purposefully returning to a smaller and less obviously-influential life which comes with its own weird scarcity baggage but I’m letting those navel-gazing thoughts simmer for now. Being productive, to make one’s voice “heard” in the milieu, to work-work-work for your value, to pursue influence over a quiet life, to see your writing/ministry space as “yours” to defend or maintain, let alone the pull to see the Crowd as more important than the ones in our own homes is so tempting and so weird.  This is a real-life time for me to practice what I preach so often: we serve a God of abundance, not scarcity.) 

Anyway, I just wanted to post something here so that you knew not to worry if I’m rather slow to respond to email in particular, and if my blog goes radio silent for a few weeks. I imagine I’ll continue the tradition of sharing the news of our baby’s arrival with a completely TMI-type of birth story post – hopefully SOON!

Book edits will continue, of course – Out of Sorts is still coming out on August 11 – but I imagine that will take most of my “free” time this summer, leaving precious little for the rest.

As far as speaking engagements go, I’m tentatively committed to only one event post-baby at the moment: Praxis Conference in Houston on May 15-16. I loved this gathering last year – these are my people from way back – and so we’ve pencilled it in again this year with intentions to bring the baby along with me. In fact, Chris Seay has promised me that I can nurse and preach at the same time if needed! I am holding this event a bit loosely though, just in case, so don’t be surprised if I drop out at the last minute. Right now, Brian is planning on joining me on this trip to try and make it work.

I use Instagram to document a bit more of my “daily life” so you can always keep up with me there as well as my Facebook page and Twitter feed for little snippet updates but, like I said, I am slower and more absent there, too.

Thanks for your prayers and messages of encouragement, my friends. It means so much to us to know that so many are praying for us as we figure out the new season of my life  in almost every area right now – woman, wife, mother, writer, minister, whatever and all of it.

Love S.


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A call to pray for the persecuted church

Today ISIS released a video depicting the horrific murders of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya. Our brothers were beheaded, murdered for their faith.  This is happening. Right now, all around the world, God forgive us for becoming numb. The men were accused of being “People of the Cross” in the film: their indictment and their […]

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This is my metaphor

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Introducing my new book, Out of Sorts

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Damaged Goods

I was nineteen years old and crazy in love with Jesus when that preacher told an auditorium I was “damaged goods” because of my sexual past. He was making every effort to encourage this crowd of young adults to “stay pure for marriage.” He was passionate, yes, well-intentioned, and he was a good speaker, very […]

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What I’m Into :: January 2015 edition

books worth reading Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg. Oh, man, I needed this book. I laughed until I whooped over the text convo between Heathcliff and Cathy from Wuthering Heights in particular. Mallory Ortberg is not only brilliant, she’s wickedly funny. For the book lover/English […]

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