Category Archives: working mom

Guest Post: Dada’s Sentimentality

Sentimentality time… you’ve been warned…

Brittany visiting her dad at work, circa 2004.

You know, 12 years ago, we had our first child. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have many memories of that time, as, quite literally I was working around the clock to protect the world from the bad guys. I never gave her a bottle, never had much time holding her, never changed a diaper, or fed her food. It sucked.

You know, I don’t even know how SHE feels about being robbed of the experience. Never having a father for all of her “firsts”, or who was home on holidays, or was awake at 3 in the afternoon, or who regularly made an appearance at meals. And I have never wanted to ask her. I am not sure I want to know, because at THIS moment in our lives, she things I am pretty cool, and I’ll take that any day. I am sure this time next year, as a teenager I will be “past it” but right now, I like things the way they are.

Tonight, I watched my 1 year old, at her first big outing, at a rock concert. Watched her sing, and dance, and laugh and smile, and watch the concert with an awe that only a baby could have.

I made a promise when our 2nd child was born, that I would be there for her, for every minute of the important parts of her time of discovery.

Mr. Mom

I did everything I could, I changed diapers, I got up in the middle of the night to give her a bottle, or to rock her to sleep. Hell, when the wife went back to work *I* was the primary caregiver for about 4 or 5 months. To this day, I take on the chore of making sure everything is in order for her, for the next day. I’d like to think I did a pretty good job, but as a man, it’s hard to tell these things. She HAS acquired my tastes in food, music and TV, so that’s something, right? 😉

This is when it hit me… Getting her things ready for tomorrow, and… I no longer have to prepare baby bottles, because she has mastered the art of the sippy cup. Every night for the past year I have made up 8 baby bottles, by cleaning them inside out with a brush, cleaning the nipples out with a brush then steaming the whole batch in our steamer to sterilize it.

All of that.. gone now… she doesn’t need them anymore… then it sunk in.. she doesn’t need ME anymore.

Amelia and her dad in Star Wars mode.

She eats mainly regular food, and that organic junk (so no more mashing or grinding food). She can drink out of a cup (so no more preparing bottles), she can walk, and play, and sit, and stand… all on her own.  Suddenly I have gone from “caregiver” to being relegated to “spectator” in my child’s life.

Why am I saying all of this? All of those moments are special, if you are lucky enough to be part of them, treasure it…. if you are a husband, and the wife asks you to make up a bottle, or change a diaper, or hold the baby while she cries, do it, and be proud that you were part of it, because those moments come to an end all too soon.

After what I USED to do for a living, I quite enjoyed the Mr Mom duties, and I am quite sad because in a little over a year, it has practically all come to an end.

I guess, what I am saying is, I wish she would have stayed “helpless” just a little while longer. Part to make up for lost time with my first child, part because it’s been a long time since I felt “needed” it was nice to be the most important person in someone’s life again, and part because I just didn’t want to let go. I didn’t know what to expect coming into this, but she has evolved soooo quickly, I don’t know how to feel about it, and suddenly… here I am, the permanently disabled, ex-lawman, who 3 times this week had a migraine brought on by his bad neck that totally immobilizes him… and nobody needs me…

Don’t feel bad though, it’s all good, I am proud of my accomplishments, both out in the world, and here at home… it’s just an observation of how fast the world moves.

Quality time with the girls at Barnes & Noble

We have to start somewhere….

Earlier this year, I mentioned somewhere in some post that I’m not going to link to because it’s chock full of things I had planned to do this year that I haven’t found the time to do because…..well, because I like sleep…….um, I mentioned that I wanted to minimize a bit.

A lot actually.

So it’s somewhat slow going….for a few reasons. The main one being……I like sleep. Really, I can’t blame it on the fact that I have a 1 year old because lots of moms with 1 year olds do lots of things that I don’t do. But I work full time, every day and when my 1 year old goes to sleep, so do I. I regret it if I don’t. Last night for example….I decided to do something stupid on my computer after Amelia went to sleep and two hours later finally climbed in to bed. 20 minutes later, Amelia was awake. An hour later, she was awake again, An hour and a half after that, awake again…..for an hour.

So yeah, today I feel like a total moron.

Anyway…..it’s slow going. When I do wash, I put things that I really don’t love in a bag and this past weekend actually dropped two bags off at the Salvation Army. I have many more bags to fill. I also have a storage unit to empty but that’s a whooooooole other adventure.

The more pressing need right now is Brittany’s room.

It took me a while to figure out how a 12 year old could amass such a ridiculous amount of crap….because I don’t buy her all this stuff!! I had no idea where it all was coming from…..until I was actually home one day when my mom dropped her off….

See, Brittany goes to spend some time with my mom and dad usually on Tuesdays….that was her choir day during the school year so it just became their day. Brittany would spend Tuesday night there and they would take her to school the next day. Nice, right?

So, now it’s summer….no school the next day……so they’ve just been dropping her home on Wednesdays, usually after I’m home….usually after dinner. And almost every time, Brittany comes in with two or three bags of……CRAP!! From trips to the dollar store, craft fairs, A.C.Moore, the library, the movies…..and every single bag – because I know that she would just drop it all in the middle of the living room and leave it there if left to her own devices! – goes straight into her room…..apparently never to re-emerge.

But this room needs to get organized NOW because this school year is going to be waaaaaaay different for Brittany. No more getting up at the butt-crack of dawn (like her crazy mother) to go wait for the school bus on those lovely 2 degree February-in-Philly mornings.

Oh no!

This year, she’s registered with an online charter school 🙂

Yes, this is our first venture in to the world of homeschooling because I never thought it would be possible with me working full time. Brittany is very excited and now that we’re making some progress on her room I think it’s really settling in that her room is going to be her new classroom!

So we’re quickly minimizing in her room. I’m actually very proud of her because she’s really making a dent in there when I’m not around and I come home to find quite a few bags that she’s put together of things that we can donate and things that can just get trashed. We might just have this whole space under control before her first day of school!!

It really is looking good, but she doesn’t want me to post any more pics until it’s done so everyone can see the total transformation.

It won’t be long!!

So how did you and your child prepare to make the switch from traditional schools to homeschooling?

How Do I Stop?!?!?

I started back to work at the beginning of September last year, after 7.5 weeks of maternity leave – waaaaaay to short in the grand scheme of things but especially considering the fact that I had a c-section…..but the bills have to get paid, right?  So at this point…..I’ve been pumping at work (and a little at home) for almost 11 months.

I’m done.

To be honest, I was done 3 months ago when I decided that I officially hated pumping.

See, this is not me……

Never was.  I mean, yeah, at first I kind of welcomed the breaks………but now it’s more like this……

However……..I wanted to at least make sure that Amelia had breastmilk to drink at the daycare until she hit the one year mark….so I kept at it and we started introducing rice milk and coconut milk because I felt they were more acceptable snack-time drinks at this point than plain old whole milk.  And my grand plan was that once Amelia was officially one year old, I would hang up my horns – leave the pump at home and never ever look at it again……until next time.

But…..I don’t know how!

I intended to get up on Wednesday morning after my little vacation and just nurse Amelia and head off to work, kicking my pump bag as I walked past it and start sending my freezer stash with her for as long as that would last…..it wouldn’t be long.……maybe two weeks.

Amelia wasn’t really interested in nursing much Wednesday morning, though.  She’s pretty well reverse cycled so she had nursed a good bit during the night….but not enough……so I picked up my pump bag and walked out the door.  Yesterday morning, she was a little more interested…..but I brought the pump just in case and I didn’t use it.  By the time bed time rolled around, she had managed to nurse a good bit of the over-abundance but I was a little tempted to pump before I went to sleep……again she nursed well during the night, but I felt over-full on one side this morning and she only wanted the other side so I dragged the pump along with me and took a break again………

I just don’t know what to do here.

And honestly, at this point it’s not even a matter of me just not wanting to do it anymore…..my employer only provides for lactating mothers for 12 months after birth.  I’m officially past the 12 month mark.  If I hadn’t changed jobs back in February, I’m sure that I would not be having this dilemma, it would have been a non-issue…..not that they could tell me I can’t pump on my lunch or anything, but I would be doing so either in my car or in some remote public bathroom.  Thankfully, my new boss is much cooler, having breastfed all four of her own children for at least 2 years….two of whom are currently breastfeeding their own children!!  But…..should something unforeseen happen, policy could come and slap me in the face :-\

I only pump once during my 7.5 hour shift and then nurse on demand the other 16.5 hours…..but I have no idea how to cut out that pumping break and A) not be completely miserable and uncomfortable and B) not eff up my “weekend” nursing – lol :^)  I would really love to hear from any other working mama’s that have weaned from pumping but continued to nurse – any and all tips, tricks and whines (and wines!) welcome!!

Wittlebee!!!

Save time and money with Wittlebee - put your little ones clothes on auto-pilot!!

Have I told you about the awesomeness that is Wittlebee??? Well, it is way too much fun and I am anxiously awaiting my second box – go check them out!! (Yes, I am using this as a test post – much like the coconut water post – but I figured I’d post something useful in the meantime ;^)

Closure

Well, blogging the Flats and Handwashing Challenge kind of got away from me so I figured I should write something up so there was a little bit of closure to the whole thing………

First of all, I did actually finish the challenge and it was rough sometimes…..not the whole fact of folding and handwashing so much as just the diapering. Amelia has been battling some weird respiratory thing for way longer than I would like and at the beginning of the challenge – ya know, like Day One – she started taking an antibiotic. You know how antibiotics can be so I really expected a lot of tummy trouble and a lot of muddy diapers but that actually turned out to not be the case…..but because she wasn’t really interested in eating much, there were a ton of wet diapers all through the day and night…..on more than one occasion, at 2:30 in the morning I wanted to just throw in the towel (or flat!) and put a disposable on Amelia just so I could be done with it and go back to sleep.

I knew that feeling would pop up, though….I usually keep a short stack of disposables under my night table and for the challenge I deliberately made sure all the disposable diapers were out in the den, on the changing table…..so in the middle of the night, if I wanted to use a disposable diaper I would have had to walk aaaaalllllllll the way to the other end of our apartment to get it. I sure would have been wide awake by the time I got back.

So instead of the disposables under my night table, I kept a stack of the receiving blankets I was using as flats for nighttime already folded and ready to just pop into the cover.

If you’ve read my first entry about the challenge, you may remember that I was concerned – and even started the challenge a day early – because Amelia was getting baptized on the last day of the challenge. Again, something I needn’t have worried about…..I used the white Thirsties cover that I actually bought for the express purpose of using on Amelia’s Christening day because no one makes plain white disposable diapers anymore…..I figured if she wound up with a dress that didn’t have a pair of bloomers, I could just use the white Thirsties cover over a disposable. But I didn’t even bother. We’d had such a good week using the flats and I came to understand the awesome power of the birdseye weave when it came to containment that I didn’t even bat an eye when we put on her beautiful dress :^)

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On the Veranda…..

Curse you, Starbucks Veranda Blend!!!  (P.S. – are you available in a k-cup? 😉

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Sooooo…..

So….for the past month or so, I’ve been dealing with this love/hate relationship I have with my pump…..I love that it allows me to provide breastmilk for Amelia while she’s at the daycare, but I hate having to lug it around…..I’m not ready to give up nursing, just tired of the fact of the pump.

As if I needed further proof that the time for me to hang up the horns is drawing near……today I was apparently so anti-pump minded…..that I didn’t pack my bottles. Or any other receptacle in which to collect milk.

:sigh:

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Adventures in Pumping

Okay…..so apparently I have a plugged duct. Yeah, it sucks as much as everyone says 😛

It doesn’t really surprise me….I started back to work last Thursday and have been pumping every day, twice a day….even been bringing home a little more every day but with not being able to just nurse on demand…..

After my first pumping break on Thursday, I noticed that even though I was able to get a good bit of milk from my right breast, it still felt a little tender when I was done….it didn’t get any better and when I woke up on Friday morning it was pretty painful. I fed BabyFrog, put her back to bed and pumped off the rest as I had been doing all week….but there was still a nice wedge that wouldn’t budge :-

So, when I got to work……I improvised.
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Wordless Wednesday – Irony

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My pumping station at work....yeah, I carry the pump in a Gerber sling bag and keep the milk in a Similac cooler....and I think that's pretty damn funny right there ;^)

BabyWearing

Okay, so I was reading this post over at Hobo Mama’s and I started writing a comment….on my phone…….and it was too long to post there…..so rather than scrap the whole story, I figured I’d elaborate on it a bit over here and give you a rough idea of where I fit in – or don’t – when it comes to babywearing.

With my first-born, I decided that I absolutely loathed the infant car seat carrier for getting her from place to place….it was beyond awkward to carry, awful on my back and just felt…….kind of weird, like I was keeping her at a distance.  So, a well meaning family member bought us a Fisher Price harness type carrier…..yeah, that was even *worse* on my back and there was no kind of support for Monkey.

Monkey is starting 6th grade tomorrow and this past weekend, DH discovered that carrier in the basement of our mountain house…..we brought it home, thinking he could give it a shot eventually – I have lower back problems, but he has upper back and neck issues so he might be okay with it….either way, BabyFrog is still too small for it, I think…..again, no support.

So, I’m new to this whole babywearing thing….like I said, didn’t really happen with my oldest.  But again, I hate that damn car seat carrier!  I didn’t even want to buy one this time so we got this car seat instead. We do have one with a carrier, but that’s the back-up cat seat in DH’s car…..the seat in my car stays put.

Now, we live in an apartment and it’s a pretty good walk and an elevator ride from my car to our front door. So I wanted an easy way to get BabyFrog from the car to our apartment without having to break out the coach or something…..so when I was pregnant, I started looking at carriers again and loooooved how much they’ve evolved in 11 years.  But I was still not sure it’d be right for me so I went with something……uhhh….inexpensive to test it out.  I’m still not sure on the terminology, but it’s maybe a pouch-sling?  peanut shell?  I dunno……this one:

Me wearing BabyFrog and still trying to keep my hair out of my face - quite possibly my most favorite pic of me in a long time :^)

I adore this sling, it’s just perfect, sits just right on me and BabyFrog seems to find it comfy.  But now I’m dying to try other types – like this one or this one…..the Moby and other carriers like it make me a little nervous (because I can’t tie my shoes so they stay tied) so I might go for the mei tai first.

Now, this sling is just awesome for both of us. It keeps my BabyFrog exactly where I want her to be – and where she wants to be! – and to be perfectly honest, I think I may be developing an addiction. But knowing that I’d be heading back to work, I couldn’t keep her in it with me all the time.  Fortunately, my husband is a WAHD so it wasn’t going to be a total upheaval for her when I started back last week but we spent a good bit of time during my maternity leave getting her used to being in the sling with my husband, as well as in the swing and bouncy seats we have for her.

I’m always wary of these devices because you always see so many people that just plop their kids in them and abandon them for hours on end but around here they are a necessary evil.  I started out easy with both of them and would have them right next to me while I wrote out thank you cards and birth announcements or would have her in the doorway of the kitchen while I was getting dinner ready, talking to her as I went along…..someone – either DH, monkey or myself –  was always with her.

So far, so good and now that she’s getting settled into a routine during the day, I *can* wear her all night if I want to – and after a day at my job, that’s pretty much all I want to do when I get home!

So Lauren’s post mentioned some attempts to drag babywearing into the mainstream by including it in certain advertising campaigns.  I’m not really able to comment on this because…..well, I don’t see much in the way of print advertising – DH is the coupon guru around here…..and we don’t have a conventional TV set up.  We don’t have cable because I won’t support the monopoly that is Comcast anymore and we can’t have a dish – apartment rules.  Most of our TV is internet based and pretty much only shows ads for GoDaddy, eHarmony and Orbitz……we do have an antenna for local TV but if any city were decidedly NOT into natural parenting, it’s Philly….at least in the Northeast, where I live….maybe in Center City there are some granola eaters somewhere.

I would, however, like to mention something incredible that I’ve witnessed. Now, I know that BabyFrog is the cutest baby in the entire world, as was her big sister. And I’ve been with other people walking around with their babies all the time. But whenever we’re out with BabyFrog in the sling, people are fascinated!  Complete strangers come over to us to make a big fuss over the beautiful baby in the sling. Young and old, both men and women, people have actually gone out of their way to come see the baby and not once has anyone had a disparaging remark about the sling – most of the older people remark that they wish they’d had something like that when they had young children.  How content she seems, how easy it must make things for me and how wonderful for the baby to be able to be close to me like that without having to be juggled around. How right they are!

Now and then, behind the “Oh, what a gorgeous baby and what a clever way for you to carry her around!” I get the feeling that there’s a “I’d never use anything like that, but, hey – more power to ya!” that doesn’t get verbalized. But ya know what….that’s okay because I know those people are going to go home and say to a family member or friend “Today I saw a chick in a Queen t-shirt and she had the sweetest baby in the world today and – get this – she was carrying that baby around right next to her heart in a sling that criss-crossed that clever lady’s back…..don’t that just beat all?!?” and that friend or family member will think “Hmmm….a sling…..what a great idea!” and then that person will go buy one and have strangers walking up to them to talk about their baby in the sling and the message will spread.

After all, it’s not really like it’s something new….wearing your baby is just the way its done in a lot of places and has been for centuries…….maybe as our world gets smaller, it will catch on and just be the way it is – sure, it wouldn’t be such an awesomely exclusive group of people wearing their babies, but there’d be generations of happy well adjusted babies out there 😉

……or maybe babywearing doll accessories will cause a big stir, too – lol!!