Monday, April 10, 2017

WHY I'M A WORKING MOM


About four years ago, when I was pregnant with Elliot, another manager in my company approached me and asked me if I planned to stay home after giving birth. I said no, I needed to work for myself and because I actually had to as my husband and I needed the income.

After having Elliot, the same manager, came to my office and told me "why don't you quit and stay home with your baby? You should be home with him" Honestly, I really did want to. I was a new mom and I wanted to be home with my baby, but it wasn't something we could do. We struggled in the beginning of our marriage, we both had low paying jobs and could barely afford rent for a 500 sq ft apartment. Once we both found our careers, it's something we wanted and needed to keep going to be able to purchase a home and have a stable source of income from both sides.

Anyway, fast forward to my maternity leave with Oliver. I really, really prayed and wished I could stay home. This time it hit me really hard! Why couldn't I? We could make it work right? Four months at home with two kids taught me that in order for ME, (MYSELF, I am not speaking for anyone else here) to have a balanced life, a happy life, I need to work. I never thought these words would come out of my mouth! Of course there are days when I would LOVE to be home with them to make them breakfast, play with them, care for them and I'm sure I'm going to always have those days because I always miss them like crazy, but working makes me feel so good. It might sound selfish but think about it this way, working makes me happy, which in return, makes my kids happy because their mom is happy. Does that make sense? I'm not sure if I'm cut out to be a stay at home mom because that job is freaking hard. The HARDEST. My hat is off to you ladies who are stay at home moms.

Of course there's that other little thing about having to work called bills, mortgage, car payment that matters too. I'm not one of those moms who could make it work. My husband and I have talked about it, put numbers on paper, and right now is just not feasible for us and I'm okay with that. This probably plays a big part in why this is my mentality and the way I feel, but if and when finances allowed, I would still give this whole SAHM good and long thought.

The other day I read a post (from a working mom) (!!!) that she didn't want to pay daycare to raise her kids anymore. Say what?! I cannot believe that in this day and age, moms still think that, about themselves nonetheless! I certainly do not think that daycare is raising my kids at all. We teach them morals, values, and give them guidance and love at home.

As women, we are allowed to have careers and we are still fully capable of raising kids that are smart, strong and have good morals. It's a matter of balancing career and home life, and being able to spend quality time by making time for the things that matter. The dishes can wait till the end of the day so we can play with our kids. Laundry can take one more tumble in order for us to read our kids a book at bed time (let's be real it stays there overnight most of the time). Weekend chores can wait till next weekend to be able to catch a Sunday baseball game or a zoo trip. Elliot is more than happy when I sit down on the floor with him and play cars, "mens" as he calls playing with little superhero figures, his Peppa Pig house or help him make a Lego castle out of the tiniest Lego's in all of the land while Oliver plays on his play mat or he's on my lap while Elliot shows him his toys. I still completely suck at it sometimes and lose my shit, but my kids are happy and healthy (and alive!!). This mom and parent thing is hard no matter what you do and how you do it, but it is the best in the world! We do talk about me staying home with the kids one day, but we will see what the future has in place for us!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

C-SECTION RECOVERY & WHY I CHOSE IT AGAIN


I'm pretty sure that if you've had a c-section, you've read all these ridiculous articles about being less of a mom if you had one. I am also pretty sure that it's something we definitely didn't have in mind when having our first baby. It's not really something you choose the first time around. I think that in these articles, other judgmental moms think that we said "Yes! Please cut me open to get my baby out, no biggie" Right? I know I didn't.

I think that this is because we have instilled in our heads as a society that birth entails unmedicated, painful, pushing, sweating mother, husband by her side, legs up in the air birth.

I have written about my birth experience with my oldest son. I had an emergency c-section due to his heart rate dropping with every contraction. It's not something I chose, not what I had in mind, but something I immediately agreed to upon hearing that my baby was in distress. Recovery wasn't easy but I did it.

With my second pregnancy, I was so torn between a VBAC and a second c-section. I truly wanted to experience that other side of birth. The pushing, getting your baby right away for skin to skin, no doctor cutting you in half and being able to be released sooner.

When I asked my doctor if a natural delivery was possible he said I was a good candidate for it, the only downside was that it wouldn't be at my hospital of choice and not with my doctor. If I went into labor, I would have to go in and go with the doctor on call for that day. I was uncomfortable with that. Going to a brand new doctor, in a new hospital to deliver my baby just didn't feel right to me. Also, I could still end up having a c-section and to me, it just didn't make any sense to make that decision.

I ended up scheduling a second c-section. I wrote about that experience in this post. The funny thing is that I delivered two weeks early and I was so glad to have gone with the choice I made. I went to my hospital and was already registered. My doctor was called in right away and the process was pretty smooth.

I will say that recovery with a second c-section was a lot harder for me. I knew exactly what to expect but it was very painful and it took me a very long time to recover. Some key things I did were to not lift ANYTHING heavy, the only thing I was allowed to pick up was my baby. Jack, my mom and sister were so adamant about this and really helpful. I didn't carry the car seat anywhere, I didn't pick Elliot up at all (I felt awful about this) and took it really slow. I gave myself the time to recover though this statement is not entirely true as there's almost no way to do that with two kids, I'll say I did this as much as I could under the circumstances. It was much easier with Elliot since I was able to rest a ton. During this time with Oliver, I was so glad to have an extra four weeks off. My incision would not heal in the middle and it was driving me insane! Finally with the help of Neosporin and saline spray it closed after about 4.5 months. Take care of your incision, always keep it clean and dry! Say YES to help. It might make you feel like you should be doing everything, but you're recovering from surgery. Say yes!! Lie down with your baby and relax! I would throw a movie on or play with Elliot's toys on our bed while holding my baby. The most important, enjoy your tiny baby! Smell them, hold them, kiss them and stare at them all day. They grow out of that stage way too fast.

I am finally at the point where I can do mild workouts which are much needed in my case for energy and weight loss. This second pregnancy and recovery from delivery were the most difficult, but as any mama would say, it was all worth it and would do it all over again!

If anyone tells you that you're less of a mother because you had a c-section and you "didn't do it the natural and real way" do NOT listen to them! You were cut open! Things such as sneezing and coughing felt like lying on a bed of nails and recovering from this while caring for a baby is hard. Walking, lying down, sitting up seem impossible at first and taking a shower? PAINFUL. Your husband isn't able to be there with you when you go through the epidural or spinal tap process to hold you or tell you it's going to be okay through painful contractions. The way you birth your kids should not matter. What matters is how we raise them and how we love them and guide them through life!



If you're going to have a c-section, do not be scared. Yes it's painful and scary but you can do it!! :)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bath Time With Baby



Bath time is easily one of my favorite things to do with both of my kids. Elliot is four now and all about showers, so baths aren't as often as they used to be, or as he would like them to be otherwise he would be in there for hours. Now with Oliver, it takes me back to all the reasons I love giving my kids baths. Their little feet kicking in the water (and accidentally kicking the plug out getting water everywhere), the look of relaxation on their little faces and just the feeling of a clean baby. 

With both, using products on their skin that are safe and natural has always been a priority. Elliot had eczema as a baby and we always had to find gentle products for him. I just assumed the same would be the case for Oliver and we used the same with him. I don't think that his skin is as sensitive as Elliot's but using gentle products on their skin is a must.

When I found Grace Mabel's products, I was so excited to find a company that understands my needs! I received the Cuddle Collection Pack. It includes the Tender Tulip Shampoo & Baby Wash, Tender Tulip Baby Cream, Delicate Mint Cuddle Rub, so good! I also received the Lavender Lotion Bar. First, they're completely natural and plant based, this alone made me love them right away. They are so gentle on Oliver's skin.

I fell in love with the Lavender Lotion Bar, it smells amazing and it's so smooth on the skin, plus lavender oil is a favorite in our home I even add a drop of it in Oliver's bath. The bar is heart shaped and comes in a little tin container, perfect as a gift for a new mama!

The packaging is so pretty and that caught my eye. They are also made in the USA and they contain ZERO harsh chemicals. They're gluten, soy, dairy and nut free which makes them perfect for any skin type. Also checkout their Mini Cuddle Pack perfect for traveling or for nights when they stay with grandma, you don't have to worry about packing big bottles or pouring them into little containers. ;)

I was sent these products by Grace Mabel but all opinions expressed are always my own.

Thank you all for reading!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Diaper Rash Nightmare

To say that we have had our fair share of hectic days would be an understatement. From me going back to work a couple of months ago, lots of changes, and Oliver and Elliot getting sick it has been insanity. Add our water heater breaking down and being without hot water to the list and you get Jack and I running like chickens with our heads cut off. Maybe a little dramatic but in addition to everything going on, it just seemed like we had a black cloud hanging over our heads that was overstaying its welcome.

I believed we were getting past that and getting back into the swing of things. Then last Friday, Oliver came home with the worst diaper rash I've seen. Raw skin, really red and he would scream after every diaper change. Poor baby I felt so bad for him!

The good thing is that I know I am using the best products out there for him. Elliot had really sensitive skin as a baby, he had eczema and everything gave him rashes. I didn't want to take any chances with Oliver, and I used the same products with him since he was born, thank goodness I haven't had any problems with his skin. One of the products I have been using with Oliver are the Bloom Baby Wipes. You can also find them at Target and Amazon. They are 98% natural ingredients, for sensitive skin and safe for rash and eczema prone skin. Basically the perfect wipes for babies. I have no worries about any chemicals in them and I feel at peace knowing that my baby's skin is safe. They are thick and the packaging is perfect for on the go. They're also so big and you only need a few even after the worse messes and we all know that dirty baby diapers are no joke! I'm also one of those moms who changes their kids on the bed. #sorrynotsorry

The diaper rash is gone and my baby is back to his normal self. Now if we could say the same for these hectic days, that would be great right? ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Back to Work Reality

I think that for me, the hardest part of being a mom is having to leave my kids at daycare everyday. I keep saying this, I know, but it's true. Even on the day that I was at the hospital ready to have Oliver, the thing that came to mind was, I have four months off then I have to go back to work. It's not enough time.

I actually knew I would feel this way, and the feeling kind of went away as I spent time with my kids. Some days though, it was overwhelming and I found myself in tears while nursing Oliver, or watching my kids sleep, getting up in the morning to make breakfast for Elliot. I felt this way because I knew that once back at work, these things would be harder to do, but then I knew I would be okay because I would learn to cherish those moments even more.

While I was out on FMLA, I wanted to make sure that I stayed in touch with people at work, I felt that this would make for an easier transition as this happened before with Elliot. I didn't stay in contact with anyone and when I was abruptly sent back into the working world, I came crashing down. This time I would prepare myself and visited work two or three times and called frequently just to make sure that everything was okay while I was out. I know I didn't have to really do this, it was unnecessary (work wise) but very necessary for me.

As the weeks went by, and you know how fast that goes, I kept feeling more and more overwhelmed and up to the two weeks before my FMLA ended, I cried everyday. I cried the two weeks after returning to work. It has been a really hard transition and you would think that this being my second time going through this would make things easier but it was almost worse. All those feelings of guilt that I fought so hard not to feel with Elliot came rushing back as if they were inside of me just waiting for the perfect moment, as I knew exactly what they were.

I'm three weeks in and that although I feel better, I'm still so overwhelmed. I came back to so many changes at work, other family matters, the dynamic at home has drastically changed (of course) and I knew it would, but I feel that I'm always trying to catch up and I can't. It's always like a scene from Home Alone, you know, when they sleep in and have to get ready before the plane leaves. Shower, get ready, make breakfast for Jack and I, get diaper bag, pump, coffees, bottles, wake kids up, get Oliver ready, get Elliot ready, Elliot is hungry, make pancakes, do Elliot's hair, he doesn't want his hair done, run after him to run wet hands over hair so that he doesn't leave looking like Beetlejuice, get out the door later than you should have, practically drive by daycare and drop them off while your foot is on the gas pedal, you get the drill. Rinse, repeat the next day. And the next. And the next. The weekend comes and it's all about trying to catch up on house work, laundry, errands, all while trying to get quality time in with our kids. Whew, it's exhausting, and so overwhelming. Anxiety kicks in. I'm sure a routine will kick in, and Jack and I do get a good laugh out of it sometimes when we are carpooling to work.

At this point, you're probably thinking that I'm whining, bitching, whatever you want to call it. I assure you I am not. It's my life now. I know that you're going to say, you CHOSE this. Yes, I did. I can promise you I wouldn't change it for the world, I'm just being real and giving you a glimpse of that reality. Also, because I won't lie, it feels so good to leave these words right here. Where one day I'll come back and read and think what the hell was I thinking? Things weren't as bad as I thought they were! Maybe even laugh. Trust me I get it, my kids are healthy and happy and I'm so lucky to be their mama, I have an amazing husband, a wonderful and supportive family (I really have no clue what I would do without them) why am I writing this then? I know I'm not the only one feeling this way. It feels good to know that, but then it doesn't. I hate that fact that there are other moms feeling this way, but I know that reading other's stories helps. I know it helps me. This is my struggle as a working mom being away from my kids eight or nine hours a day, but a struggle that I wouldn't change. I am providing for my family the best I can, I am teaching my kids that independence is so important, and I have a job that allows me to do all of that, that also makes me make the hours at work count.

My coping mechanisms are to think about those things and also to talk about my feelings. If I'm overwhelmed I don't hide it, one because I can't (every emotion shows on my face), and two because I know it's not healthy. I know these feelings will probably never go away but learning to deal with them is important. I didn't write this to make you feel sorry for me, to pity me. It's my struggle and I want to share my story. Not nearly as bad as what others go through but to me, it's still valid. We go through different things at different levels, and no matter what, they're all valid. Life is so good and beautiful and we can do this mamas!

How do you deal?



Monday, February 13, 2017

Shop Love

I love following shops on Instagram because they offer really great quality products made from good materials. Plus they are unique and so cute! I am talking about three shops today that I love and have loved for a while. I hope you love their products as much as I do.

Little Adi + Co.- Offers the cutest clothes for your littles at really good quality. I got this baby gown and hat for Oliver before he was born that I actually won on Instagram and I fell in love! The materials are so soft and this saying is so true. :)

Fact + Fiction Toys makes the sweetest little wooden toys and teethers. The colors are beautiful and all the toys are organic which is awesome because I don't worry about any chemicals going in Oliver's mouth. These would be such cool gifts for a new mama!

Ulubulu I have been using this brand since Elliot was baby. He had a pacifier clip that I recently found in his old diaper bag and it's such a cute memory to keep. Oliver received products from this shop and we love them so much! The teethers are so cute and I love the bibs as they can be cleaned easily and are super convenient.




Also, can Mondays feel like Fridays please? Thanks. ;)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Elliot's 4th Birthday

We celebrated Elliot's birthday last month and it was so much fun! I had asked him what kind of party he wanted and he didn't hesitate to say Ninja Turtles. I was out on maternity leave, and that gave me a bit more time to order what I needed and to scour the stores for Ninja Turtles stuff.

We got him a cake and balloons the night before and he loved waking up to that! I can't believe my boy is getting so big.



I ordered a jumping balloon because I knew that would give the kids entertainment and also because I know Elliot loves them. Getting the kids tired was just a plus for the kids' mamas. :)

We had pizza and I made two kinds of salads and had juices for the kids, water, sodas and beer for the adults. I know, it's a kids party, but it's never too early or too inappropriate for an adult beverage right? We had a full house of family and friends and Elliot was so happy. That's really all that mattered! Oliver spent the day sleeping and woke up by the end of the party, and I don't have any pictures of him! 

I bought the banner, favor tags and invitations from Haley Madison Design Studio on Etsy. It's so much easier to get everything this way and not have to worry about everything coming from different places.

I think my favorite thing about his party was the cake! It was so delicious and exactly what I wanted, when I showed Elliot a picture I found on Pinterest of this cake he was so excited. One of my sweet friends pretty much took care of the ordering and making sure it was what I wanted for this party. I also opted for candy bags instead of favors. So much easier and it's a tradition for us since I was a kid, I remember looking forward to those. I filled them with Mexican candy (my favorite) from a local candy store. Super inexpensive and so good! I did include some TMNT tattoos. I purchased the bags from Amazon at a great price.

The kids played pin the pizza slice on Mikey and it was hilarious. The birthday boy ended up winning a dollar and has been saving it ever since, it's the cutest thing.

For more entertainment, I bought foam swords, nun chucks and TMNT masks and put them in a basket outside by the jumping balloon. They were a hit! Literally. :)








 When I ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he says a zombie, or a doctor. Both great careers. ;) 
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