Four Working Mom Gripes (Part 1)

I went back to work to a dream job opportunity when E was 11 months old. I was blessed that I had 11 months with him at home and am grateful for the opportunity and the friendships I made during that time – friendships that I have today, even if they are tougher to maintain thanks to work and where we bought our house. But the transition from stay at home mom to working mom was…not an easy one. 

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As a working mom, there are a few things that bother me (I could say us, but I’m not speaking collectively for all working moms) – the lack of maternity leave in the US (DUH), employers who aren’t flexible with schedules and/or think that children are a huge burden, and summer vacations to name a few. I digress, I see things on facebook that just never cease to annoy the crap out of me and not gonna lie, make me feel a little less than as a working parent. Here are five things I see most frequently that take the cake in terms of anti-working mama. 

Workout classes after 8a or before 430p

This is not just true as a working mom – as any working adult with a commute of longer than 10 minutes who works between the hours of 8 am – 6 pm – workout classes at 830 am are not geared towards anyone with a job. It irks me that gyms cater to the “stay at home crowd” because,  well, I like workout classes too and the only one pre-8 am class is a spinning class at 6 am and even then, I have to hustle to make it to my office by 8a thanks to a crappy 40 minute (most days) commute. I know it’s demand based and varies gym by gym (some gyms are better about 530a classes, others not so much) but still, I’d love to see more 5:30a classes, or classes later in the evenings (I’ve recently found a 7:30 pm yoga class on Fridays that has become my new favorite thing.). No, i’m not saying my SAHM counter-parts don’t deserve to workout too – just more time variety is all I’m asking here. When there’s only 5 people in the 6a Monday spin class (more likely an indicator of the instructor…who was terrible) you’ve gotta wonder if the times you’re offering are really working for the pre-school drop off crowd. 

Workout classes for moms. But only stay at home moms.

Listen, I get it: Stay at home parents need to socialize and they need to workout. I loved Stroller Strides as a workout when I was home with E. Granted, I thought some of the moms were a little cliquey, but the mission of Stroller Strides is a fantastic one and it’s been fantastic to see the chapters near me take off since I stopped participating back in late 2013. However, unless you can pay an obscene amount for their “Body Back” program, don’t expect to reap any of those benefits of that specific to mom workout program. Classes are usually held during working hours and rarely can you find a class on the weekends (some chapters have Saturday am classes and bless those Saturday morning Body Boost classes….that I have yet to try out but keep meaning to). I’ve been interested in trying Stroller Barre since I was at home with little dude and fuck if it finally came to the Annapolis and Severn Stroller Strides groups, and of course the classes are on Tuesday and Thursday mornings respectively at like 9 am. Guess working moms are just not their target demographic.

Stroller strides isn’t the only one who is a little neglectful of the working mama crowd, the “Goddess Yoga” class at my local yoga studio – geared towards women, and pregnant women – is at 3:30pm…during the week. Who in the eff can hit up an hour long class during that time?! I mean if you don’t work, you probably have kiddos (this studio does not have child care) and if they’re school aged….you’re probably picking them up soooo…yeah. Who can actually hit up a yoga class at that time on a weekday – because I want to do whatever it is that allows you to have a schedule where you can fit in 3pm yoga classes. #justsaying

Child care at gyms or yoga studios only on weekday mornings…not on weekends

I want to start by noting that our gym has childcare on Saturday AM but not Sunday AM – on Sunday’s  it’s 1-430 on Sundays which…is naptime in our house. We don’t use the gym daycare often – usually only when Hubs is gone for drill, but the part that inspired this was an audacious post in a Facebook group. One mom was looking for a yoga studio with childcare because she had a demanding full-time job and wanted some de-stressing – duh.

Some of the comments made me wonder if they had read her full post and the third comment, well – if someone states “demanding job” in the original post, my guess is that their job is ALWAYS on M/W/Friday. #justsaying. Another yoga studio I frequented when we lived in Annapolis had childcare that was also only weekday mornings which really just bugged the shit out of me because well, working mamas want to yoga too.

Playdates only during weekdays – no evenings or weekends because “family time”

I’m grateful that the mix of mama friends I have are open to weekend playdates. We’ve had family playdates with friends where the adults hang out with some adult beverages and good food, we’ve had playdates on drill weekends at parks, friends houses and weekend lunchtime dates. I don’t rely on playdates on every weekend because hubs likes – similar to my stay at home mama pals who don’t see their partners for 40+ hours per week – for them to be family time, but he’s never stopped me from planning or going to an occasional play date on a weekend for a couple hours so little dude and I can have some socializing time. Mostly though, I really take advantage of Drill weekends to get friend time in for Little Man and I.

Anytime anyone says they could “never leave their child to be raised by someone else” as a response to a post about whether someone should go back to work or not. 

This has been said to me on more than one occasion – and I get that. I do. But here are the two things that people who either stay at home with their kiddos currently or formerly stayed at home with their kiddos….it’s not financially feasible for many families to live on only one income, and two, not every mother WANTS to stay at home with their kids. I didn’t major in early childhood development – I struggled greatly with what I now think was undiagnosed PPD, staying at home for me left me feeling inadequate, isolated and unhappy with myself. It’s best for our family for me to work and I think I’m a better mother because of it – I want my child to see me work hard and have pride in what I do every day and what I bring to our family. It’s not for everyone and I get that – it’s the whole choice thing – you do you. I do me. Mutual respect, right?

I know some of these are…a little petty but let’s be equal opportunity here – working mamas like to hit up the gym too (though most of us struggle with it) and we like play dates and meeting other moms – working or not.

What parenting gripe do you have?

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Life as a Working Mama

So a month and a half ago or so I accepted a job as a marketing manager for a local firm and made my foray into the world of being a working mama. For as difficult as it was at first, I’m really enjoying life as a working mama

Of course starting back at work at the beginning of my job search when I was expecting it to take much longer, certainly presented its own challenges. Mainly, child care.

The search for child care was incredibly daunting and frustrating – which is probably mostly why I was so willing to stay home for so long even though I knew I never wanted to be a full time stay at home mother long term. Not that stay at home moms are bad – they’re amazing, truly. It just wasn’t the life I wanted for me or for my family. I worked hard for my career and I didn’t want to sacrifice that (color me selfish), also I wanted to contribute financially to make sure Ethan has the life and all of the opportunities I want to provide him so he can be successful and happy later in life. Going back to work just made sense for me. Also, I got the feeling that I bored him as much as I was bored by staying at home and singing hours of the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Not my jam y’all. Not. My. Jam.

That being said, having been on both sides of the stay at home versus working mother equation, this new lifestyle presents it’s own challenges.

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There is for one, never a boring moment. Always busy. It really just makes the sweet moments that much more worth it though.

Mornings are crazy with me making my lunch, my breakfast, Ethan’s breakfast, and Ethan’s lunch. Not necessarily in that order. Usually I forget something – the other day it was my lunch, or my mid day smoothie another day it was my work journal after an afternoon of working at home. I’ve lost Ethan’s formula dispenser more than once and just…gah. I’d lose my head if it wasn’t screwed on tight.

Thankfully, his lunch is usually the same (or similar to mine) and we usually have the same thing for breakfast as well. Meals need to be easy or else they just don’t work in this house. Anything that takes less than 3 ingredients and cooks in less than 5-25 minutes is a win in my book depending on the meal.

Evenings are just as hectic especially depending on if Adam has class or if I have a Junior League meeting/event. Also if Ethan is cranky then evenings can be hit or miss – his bedtime is usually between 630-730p.

Things I’ve been struggling most with?

Working out. It’s tough working out around 7-7:30pm each night. Or missing time with Adam to go to Pure Barre. You know, all of those things. Tough decisions. Thankfully, I’ve really started taking advantage of weekend workouts and the 30 minute workouts for the 21 day fix are amazing…even if they don’t count toward my Gym Pact (FML). I’ve been fitting workouts in at night after Ethan goes to bed. Good for me but not so good for my running/training. Something is better than nothing though.

Eating dinner at a decent time. Generally I get home sometime between 5-6pm depending on the night. Depending on his mood, we’ll get some play time in, then give Ethan his dinner, and then by 630pm-7pm it’s bath time followed by bedtime for baby. Which means, depending on what we’re having and what I made for Ethan, we may not eat until 7:30pm-8pm. Oy.

Keeping my house clean. Unpacking my house (oh yeah, we just moved. Hello craziness!) You know…minor details. Thankfully, getting ready for Ethan’s party last weekend resulted in a fast tracking of the unpacking and we’re about 75% done.

Missing my mama pals. I really miss my mom friends. I miss our play group. I miss play dates. I need to schedule more weekend play dates and more moms nights out – the moms I met over the past year are amazing, hilarious, and your first mama pals, sometimes they just…get you. They understand you. So I want to make sure I’m doing what I can to maintain friendships. (MORE Moms Night In…and out!)

Being present and in the moment. I’ve made it a point to not be on my phone constantly or on my laptop during Ethan’s waking hours because that whole me not around and him usually in bed by 730pm means that we have not a lot of time together during the week – so I want to be present. I don’t check email before 8am (that was my Lenten sacrifice by the way. It’s working pretty well so far.) and I usually only fiddle around for an hour or so depending on if Adam is around after dinner/workout/any clean up that needs to be done.

These struggles are probably the same as most working mamas. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit more frantic just based on the fact that we’re not 200% moved in. And we just finished hosting family and friends for Ethan’s birthday (more on that tomorrow!) and Ethan had 2 weeks where he had been sick and now he’s battling the yeastiest of all yeasty diaper rashes. It’s been rough friends. Rough. The thought of unpacking boxes after 8 hours of work was just…mind numbing the past few weeks.

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Day in the Life of a Stay At Home Mom

Life as a stay at home mama is tough.

I’m slightly exaggerating here, but not really. I’m certainly not cut out for it but this is probably also the reason I’m not a Kindergarten teacher. I’m not really good at entertaining children let alone children who don’t talk back and can’t tell you what’s up when the cranky pants are on.

For my friends who wonder what the eff I do all day, well here it is. A while ago, I shared Adam’s day with baby so today, I’m sharing our typical day. (note: Some pictures may have been taken on separate days as seen by the different outfits ;))

6-7am – Wake up Mommy!

Ethan comes into bed and we cuddle while he has his morning bottle. After the bottle, it’s a diaper change and breakfast.

7:30a – breakfast!!! He usually gets an egg or waffle and some cheerios or fruit to add a bit umph. Sometimes we get dressed before breakfast, other times we eat in our jammies. This day, we happened to be dressed at breakfast. That’s consider a win in our book.

8:30a – Play time! We’ll crawl around and see what kind of shenanigans we can get into. This day Ethan was working on pulling himself up on the entertainment center.

 

9:30a – Gym time! I usually workout in the mornings if I go to the gym or the afternoons/earlier mornings if I run. 9:30am spinning is one of my favorite classes at my gym, Ethan goes to play in the day care while i work out.

10-11a (ish) – ends up being Ethan’s nap time. If I go to the gym, we try to get home by 10:30 so we can still hit the nap window. It’s a short window.

Late morning through lunch time…

If we don’t have a play date scheduled, we’ll go run errands and tool around town and sometimes meet Adam for lunch near his work.

But if we do have play group…we play usually play until close to afternoon nap (anytime between 2-3p)

Our favorite playgroups are the Plum Moms Group (earlier this week we tested out My Gym with them!) and our Wednesday coffee group at the mall where Ethan acts like a vacuum cleaner and eats all the puffs and cheerios off the floor. Gross, I know but even if I move him away, he crawls back to them until they’re either cleaned up or some other poor child gets to them.

Mid-Late afternoon…

Also known as post afternoon nap time. We have story time, and we play at home waiting for Adam to get home from work. We crawl around getting into mischief. This is my witching hour so some days I tend to be a bit more hands off and let him explore and have more independent play versus the mornings where I’m super interactive. I try not to, but sometimes…I get tired.

5p-7pm 

Dinner! Bathtime! Daddy gets home (or two days per week goes to class in which case we have all of the sads)! Bedtime!

Some nights dinner is a big hit!

Other nights…not so much.

After dinner comes bath time. If daddy is home, he’ll get in the tub with him in swim trunks and we do bathtime together. Some nights if one of us is out, we go back to the whale tub. Anndd this is what’s been happening lately because homeboy is so squirmy.

After bath time it’s a bottle and story and bed. Then mama gets to enjoy relaxing. I’m in bed by 1030p-11pish after catching up on TV and reading, then it’s lather, rinse, repeat. *sigh*

What do your days look like as a stay at home parent? 

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Recipe: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you’re a nursing mama, you know that there are number of foods that can assist with any sort of supply issues that may arise. When I saw lactation cookies come up in conversation on my mama group’s facebook page, I knew I had to try them.

What makes them so lactation friendly? This post does a good job explaining the key ingredients and how they help, but it’s all about the oatmeal, brewers yeast and flax seed. I accidentally forgot the brewers yeast but I did have the oatmeal and flax seed. I did still see a slight uptick in my supply (and I mean very slight). Lately I’ve been mildly concerned about whether Ethan is getting enough to eat – he seems to be eating for shorter periods of time, and more frequently. Whether this is a concern or not, I don’t know, since he still seems to be gaining weight. I’m going to make another batch in the next few days after I pick up some brewers yeast. In addition, I’ll start eating more, not that I’m dieting (I don’t believe in diets. I believe in eating healthy and balanced) but I think I often don’t eat enough calories. Because I’ve been working out, I need to make sure that I’m eating enough to compensate for the fact that I’m nursing AND working out. Do I need to worry about my supply? Ehh, probably not according to KellyMom but can you ever be too cautious?

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation cookies
{via my mama’s group/an LC at AAMC}

Ingredients

1 c. butter/margarine
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
4 T water
2 T flaxseed meal
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
3 c. oats (thick cut if you have them)
1 c. (or more) chocolate chips
2 T. brewers yeast (be generous)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix together flaxseed meal and water and set aside for 3-5 minutes.

Cream butter (or margarine) and sugars. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Stir flaxseed mixture and add with vanilla to the butter mixture. Beat until blended.

 

Stir together dry ingredients except oats and chips. Add to butter mixture. Stir in oats and chips.

Scoop or drop onto baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment.

The dough is a little crumbly, so it may help to use a scoop.

Bake for 8-12 minutes. Makes about 6 dozen (depending on size of cookie). May be frozen for future use.

All in all, regardless of whether they really help with milk supply, it’s still a delightful cookie recipe. Next time? I might add peanut butter chips.

Don’t want to make your own cookies? Check out the MilkMakers website to order a pre-made mix subscribe to mail order cookies.

Hey mamas: did you have any supply issues? Any miracle cures that worked to boost your supply? 

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Baby Gift Ideas

We’ve gotten some outstanding baby gifts since finding out about Baby Schmidt – seriously, people are so super generous when it comes to welcoming new life into the world.

But as I’ve read, some items make better gifts than others. I mean, you’re bound to receive dozens of onesies, which doesn’t mean they’re any less awesome as a gift because there are some genuinely cute onesies out there. Here are 8 great (original gift ideas for welcoming a new baby into the world (especially if you’re anti-registry like I know some people are). Of course there are more practical items – but check those out on my registry must have’s list.

 

Baby Gift Ideas

 

-Blankets – More specifically, these Aden + Anais swaddle blankets – these are super cute, super soft and a great overall, versatile gift for babies.

-Books –  It’s never too early to start baby’s library and classics are a great way to start – our favorites include Good Night Moon, Babar, Curious George, anything Doctor Seuss and this amazing Good Night series (which we have for Vermont, LA, DC and NYC)

Baby Onesie cardigan – seriously super cute, and if you’re going to buy an outfit, get baby a cute outfit that I guarantee no mum or dad is going to want to spend $20 for themselves.

-Toys – there are some great toys out there for babies – Skip Hop, Baby Einstein, Melissa and Doug are great brands among many, many others.

-Artwork – if you know the mom and dad’s taste then this is a great go to – there are some super cute nursery artwork pieces on Etsy, some of my favorites include: this set, this one, and this – but really, there’s something for everyone over there.

Gift sets – there are gift sets for EVERYTHING baby: lotions, baby supplies, bottles, everything. And I guarantee you, mom and dad will probably use it and appreciate it!

Boppy – a boppy has so many purposes – not just for feeding but they’re also great to rest baby on and use for tummy time for baby. Pick one up with a cute cover and that makes an amazing gift.

-Sophie – Every baby should have a Sophie the Giraffe toy! Hubs sent me a great Wall Street Journal article on it a couple years ago and why it was so popular, so right after we found out we were expecting, the first thing he did was go out and buy baby Schmidt a Sophie toy and wrap it up to give to me.

What was a great, original gift that you received?? Anything I missed off this list? 

Others in the series…
12 items on our to do list
11 items going into my hospital bag
10 items for your registry
9 ways to treat yourself before baby

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