In February 2016, I gave birth to my second daughter, a tiny, beautiful screaming gift from God and my uterus.
And this month I am giving birth to another wonderful new addition to the universe: my first book, “Modern Jewish Baker: Challah, Babka, Bagels and More.”
I have received amazing support and praise from my family and friends as this project comes to a head—and right now, everyone in my life is waiting in eager anticipation to celebrate the arrival of the newest Sarna.
But the past year has been anything but a party. I began working on the book just over a year ago, with only part-time babysitting help, a daily job to manage and two young kids, one of whom was very tiny!
Most days I would work till 3:00 p.m. while babysitters and daycare watched the girls. Then I’d spend a few hours with my girls, during which I would always feel torn as all working moms do, most minutes of the day: “I should be working! No, I should be enjoying time with my kids!”
What ended up happening was that after bedtime, I would go back to work most nights until 11:00 p.m.
I drove my husband nuts, and I piled on weight testing babka recipes and not sleeping enough. I barely saw friends and I ran myself pretty ragged.
Of course, when you pick up the book on September 5th, you wouldn’t know all this. What you see when you open it are glossy pictures of birthday cake babka, fluffy garlic pita and pull-apart challah.
What you don’t see are the times I schlepped my baby to publisher meetings and photo shoots, or the weekends I barely saw my kids because I was baking and shooting. And you don’t see my exhaustion, having barely slept more than three hours at a time in over a year.
That’s how it is for so many moms who create things, whether it’s a beautiful book or a photo album or a blog post for Kveller or just a happy, healthy kid. All the hard work and wear and tear tends to hide under the surface.
As it turns out, there’s one way that finishing a huge project like this book is a lot like having an actual baby: once the sleep deprivation is alleviated, and you can stand back in awe at your little, beautiful creation, it’s easy to forget all the work and sleepless nights. And then you just smile.
As publication date approaches, people have asked me: what do you hope people will take away from the book? Here’s my answer: My greatest hope is that people enjoy the recipes and feel inspired to get into their kitchen (with or without kids).
But with you, my fellow parents, I want to be real about the work that went into this. Because just like we do with parenting, I made a lot of sacrifices for this beautiful baby to succeed.