Like everything I write, I want to start this post off by saying this is 100% my opinion and experience. I know everyone has their own way that they feel about childcare and who they want to watch your babies…and that’s okay! I know Moms who will ONLY leave their child with family members – and I know Moms who will leave their child with anyone who will take ’em. I can only speak to my experience with Calvin, but hope that this helps to ease at least one new working mama’s pain of returning to her job. For most Mom’s, the decision to return to work isn’t a choice, it’s necessary for her family. And even if it is a choice, it’s still not easy to spend so many hours away from your baby-ever.
A few weeks ago I was in Calvin’s school picking him up and I saw the tiniest new baby in his room. A few minutes later her mom came in to pick her up and we got to chatting. She proceeded to tell me that her daughter was a preemie of 4lbs when born and at 3 months she was just over 8lbs. It was her 2nd day back to work and she teared up telling me how hard it has been on her. Calvin weighed more than her baby of 3 months, WHEN HE WAS BORN. I cannot even fathom having to leave him at that size. My heart hurt for her and I wanted to hug her and tell her repeatedly it does get better – in time. Us Mom’s have to do what’s best for our family, even if it’s returning to work earlier than we want. It’s okay to be sad at the beginning.
Leaving your child for the first time in the hands of essentially, strangers, is a very strange concept and hard time for new moms. For being someone who is so focused on her career and motivated in the professional aspect of my life, I was absolutely shocked at how quickly my priorities changed. I became obsessed with maternity leave and can say that those 3 months were the some of the best times of my life with my new little guy. While I don’t necessarily wish I was a SAHM, I do wish I had just a bit longer before I had to leave him. Signing up for daycare, going back to work, and adjusting to life as a working mom, was and has been the most challenging time of my life.
For weeks I worried about the care of Calvin, how much attention he was getting, how he was developing, etc. The primary colors everywhere and the smell of the place made me nauseous. I would hardcore question the teachers, heavily scope out the landscape of the room, and avoided drop off duty 100% of the time.
I still worry about those things but 100% feel that the positives of taking your child to a care center outweigh the negatives. Calvin has grown to love his school, his teachers, and is developing right on target!
Here are my favorite benefits – I think the pictures will speak for themselves in these areas 🙂
^leading the team meeting
^rollin’ with my homies
^ my all time favorite – facepainting day!
^I’ve tried to get Calvin to color with me at home once and it was a disaster
^Calvin’s “art” that I will save forever
^food>sleep lol! ^dumping toys all over the place and making a mess somewhere that’s not my living room^playing while the other babies sleep
Some other positives I’ve noted of sending Calvin to daycare:
Adult interaction – He is able to get used to being with other adults outside of just Craig and I – he loves his teachers and more importantly, they love him!
Structure – I was horrible at structuring our days while at home with him and basically let him do whatever he wanted…they keep him on a set schedule for when he eats and he naps as needed throughout the day
Opportunities for us to connect with other parents – they host events such as “back to school night” and a Halloween parade for us to take part in with him and the other families. I discovered another Mom of a baby in Calvin’s class had the same midwife who delivered her daughter that delivered Calvin. Such a small world.
Trusted professionals – these caregivers are professionals at watching babies and it is their focus all day. If Calvin were at home with me, I know I would be trying to do a million things at once. They can recommend how much he should be eating, call out anything that seems abnormal, and give us advice on what to watch for. As a first time mom, I don’t have anything to compare to!
Daily updates – we get daily updates to our emails through a program called Life Cubby. At the end of each day we have a summary on when he ate, slept, and even how often they changed his diaper. The picture updates from Life Cubby are how we have been able to save all of these great photos of Cal.
So – yes daycare is seriously scary to a new mom. It’s scary when they get sick for the first time, or when they get hurt for the first time, but those things are going to happen either way. I’m here to tell you that it does get better and you will see your child learn to love it. Are there days when you just DON’T want to go to work – or when you DON’T want to take your baby to daycare? All. the. time. Pretty much every day. But because we have time apart during the week, our nights and weekends are treasured. They are special, and they are enjoyed to the fullest extent.
To the working mama, you are doing great. It’s going to be okay – you will spend your days kicking ass at your job and still come home each day to the biggest smiles you have ever seen. You CAN have both and you will learn to find the beauty in balancing it all 💙
^post daycare kisses
Leave me a comment below or send me a message if you want more info or to connect – I love hearing from all of you! 💕
Hello hello – the first day back from Labor Day weekend! It was a super fun 4 day weekend for me so today was a BIT of struggle city getting back into it!
I don’t think it’s a secret that the past 18 months of my life have been a bit crazy – relocating for the first time away from all friends & family, taking on a new leadership role with increased responsibilities, finding out we were pregnant, moving apartments 3 times, making all new friends, having Calvin, getting engaged, and the list goes on! Yada, yada, you guys have heard it all. That is so much to fit into 18 months and people have often looked at me like I’m crazy or asked me how this is possible. NOT that I think i’m the expert on any topic, as most of the time I’m writing about something when experiencing it for the first time. I also DON’T think others haven’t gone through crazier changes or experiences in even shorter time frames or that I’m special!
BUT the past 18 months are what have inspired me to write -the challenges and rewards are what inspired me to continue on this blogging journey and allowed me to discover something I love to do.
But why do I keep talking about this? Why do I say the back half of my twenties has been a ‘life changing’ time?
It has all been done completely out of my comfort zone.
None of it this has been comfortable – it has stretched me (both mentally and physically, ha) but all of it is preparing us for our growth, success and new opportunities in the future. I sound so responsible! But for real – Nothing rewarding I have ever accomplished has been done in comfort.
I didn’t WANT to relocate initially but I knew I needed a change and to challenge myself professionally.
I didn’t WANT to move apartments after only 6 months in the other one, but we needed more space.
I didn’t WANT to live away from family when we started our family, but we stuck to the decision we committed to, and have made it work very well for us.
Even going back to college, I didn’t WANT to practice with my dance team 16+ hours a week, but I wanted to be on a team where I could win a world championship more than anything else in my life. *humble brag moment*
Sometimes the right thing isn’t the most fun (initially.) If you want the outcome more than you don’t want to feel uncomfortable, it will be worth it.
I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone more recently than I even care to admit, but making the best of the situation, overcoming, and moving forward, I think, is where you start to see rewards and new opportunities. People may look at you like your crazy but if you have a feeling deep down that what you’re doing is right, you have to try.
I guess my question to you is, are you consistently finding ways to stretch yourself or do you stay with what is familiar? Are you unhappy in some aspect of your life but you keep doing the same thing every day? What have you been wanting to do but are too afraid of what others think?
Getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be moving across the country – it can be sending that email or setting up that meeting at work that you’ve been putting off. It could be finally introducing yourself to another Mom you’ve been wanting to connect with in your “circle” of acquaintances. It could be going to an event that takes a hell of a lot more effort to attend than to sit at home on your couch eating chipotle.
What can you do this week to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow a bit? Seriously, I want to hear the “scariest” thing you’ve done recently! Let me know below!
One thing that we’ve made sure to do is to keep living our lives and truly incorporate Calvin into the things we enjoy doing. I’ve learned that having a baby doesn’t mean you no longer have a life – yes things are more difficult, and there are certain things you can’t do, but remembering you CAN still do things is key.
Since he was born, we have never shied away from taking him places – to restaurants, parks, the beach, friends houses, the city.
Earlier this summer my sister and brother in law let us know that they’d be coming into NYC in August and asked if we would be able to meet them for the day. We live in NJ – about an hour outside of the city, a 75 min train ride on the NJ transit. For anyone who has been to NYC, you know it is a different world – overwhelming, mesmerizing, full of opportunity. Before we got pregnant we went into the city a few times, always leaving exhausted but feeling grateful that we live so close to such a buzzing atmosphere. The east coast is no joke – it is fast paced and you can get lost in the shuffle easily.
When given the opportunity to take our 6 month old baby into the city with us, we could have easily said no or come up with a million excuses to why it isn’t safe, he’s too young, or that it’ll be too hectic. We knew it all of these things could be true in some capacity, but we were excited for the challenge and adventure of the day trip with Calvin. Plus, if we can take the babe into NYC and explore, we may just be able to take him anywhere!
It turned out to be the best day – even with an unexpected torrential downpour and we can’t wait to take him again.
Here are some of our fam pics from the trip!
^Cal’s first train ride
^view from the Boathouse in Central Park^reppin’ the Bengals in NYC^central park
I hope you all have an amazing week and start to your September!!
I recently read an article on Women & Guilt, and I can’t stop thinking about it – so you know I had to talk about it here. This blog is suddenly a catch-all for my thoughts – thoughts I think all 20-somethings, new moms, or young women have probably felt at some point. I was actually going to wait until I had the *perfect* images to go along with this post, but wanted to get it published before the start of another week.
This particular article titled, “Why Women Need to Stop Feeling Guilty About Literally Everything” on Elite Daily, had a bit more substance than most of the articles I’ve read on the site. (Side note: I contribute for Elite Daily but usually have to simplify or make my posts more generic to get them picked up. They are sometimes a ‘dumbed down’ version of what I would post here and the titles are chosen by E.D.) This particular article begins to describe how most women feel guilt in their daily lives, whether you’ve had a child or not…but even more so after they’ve given birth as there is now another human in the picture.
The problem with the article is that it doesn’t actually talk about WHY we feel the guilt or HOW we can stop feeling this way. It just talks about the issue – yes awareness helps issues, but it doesn’t solve them.
I hadn’t labeled some of my newly found anxiety as “guilt” until I read this – I realized in the past 12 weeks I have felt guilt for some of, but not limited to, the following reasons:
Putting Calvin down for periods of time during the day (Should be holding him or interacting 24/7 instead of trying to get things done? I only have one maternity leave.)
Waking up Craig in the night to help with diapers or rocking back to sleep (I wouldn’t want both of us to feel tired tomorrow.)
Eating a piece of cheesecake at 10pm on a weekday (I’m supposed to be watching what I eat.)
Signing Calvin up for daycare (Will he forget me? Will he have a worse childhood for me not staying home? Which isn’t an option BTW.)
Taking 14.5 weeks of maternity leave instead of the 12 my company expects (Even though most Moms can, and do, take 18 full weeks in my state.)
Missing a company leadership retreat during this time (It was a 3-4 day trip to New Orleans.)
Not living near family (They can only see Calvin during designated and planned times this first year.)
Meeting friends in NYC for several hours on a Sat (Should I never do anything fun independently again?)
Writing this blog post while Calvin watches in his swing (Literally, feeling guilty while I’m writing a post about feeling guilty.)
Leaving a mess everywhere (Dishes in the sink, clothes covering the whole floor, stuff all over the bathroom sink, breast pump parts all over the kitchen counter.)
Being a jerk and making Craig get us coffee one Sunday (His spilled on the way home and he didn’t even get to have any.)
Only 12 weeks into motherhood and I literally feel bad about everything or am constantly apologizing – in other words, HELLO GUILT.
I think talking about this issue of guilt – how, why, and what we can do, can help some of us to find peace in everything we are trying to accomplish. Your priorities are different than mine and mine are different than yours, yet we still compare and feel a sense of failure when we can’t accomplish the same thing that Suzy Home-Maker, Business Betty, or Workout Barbie accomplished yesterday.
WHY do we feel guilt?
There’s this image that is portrayed in which women/mothers are supposed to have and do it all: contribute financially for the family, take care of both the children and husband, spend quality time with family and friends, cook healthy and well balanced meals daily, remember everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, & special events, exercise and maintain a healthy body image, etc etc etc. The list seriously goes on and if we can’t give 100% in all of those areas (which we, as humans, physically cannot) a sense of failure or guilt beings to creep in. These are the biggest areas I can think of, but then we are hit daily with the small things that cause us to feel bad as well. We take on too much. So basically we are always feeling bad about something.
I believe this sense of guilt is heightened by the rise of social media – a topic I’ve discussed before but is becoming an increasing issue. Even the most popular social media ‘stars’ will tell you that it is not reality. Fitness guru and big name brand with 5 million followers, Kayla Itsines, recently posted on Instagram stating, “On my account, I’ll tell you now, you don’t see a lot of things. Not because I don’t want to show you, but because I cannot physically take a photo of them…the 5am wakeups, the late nights, the constant bullying, the lack of support from friends.” Basically, you can’t always show the tough moments in photos.
I post a ton of smiling, happy, feel good pictures with my family because these are the good moments, right? You don’t see the 4am feedings where I’m so tired I want to gouge my eyes out, the screaming fits he throws when he won’t nap, the afternoons when I pace around the apartment for up to an hour before going to the gym because I’m exhausted and procrastinating from making myself go, the weekend I had mastitis with a fever of 102 and was so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed, when I had such a bad cold on Mother’s Day, I could barely taste my lunch. The list goes on. So never look at social media and think that someone has it all – because they are just doing the best they can like the rest of us. I promise everyone has their own struggles/complicated story.
HOW can we eliminate some guilt?
I don’t have the magic answer for this but I am going to share with you all an idea on how we can begin to stop the comparison and feel great about what we have accomplished, opposed to feeling bad about what we didn’t.
Set nothing in stone. Our priorities will change daily, weekly, monthly, forever. But for the purpose of this, let’s talk weekly priorities. I’m also not going to say, “write this shit down” because then it’s just adding to the list of things you have to do. You’re a woman, you can likely keep 5 billion thoughts in your brain, effortlessly.
Each week, say Sundays, just think about what is most important to YOU for that week (outside of the given ‘go to work’ or ‘take care of children.’) IF you feel so inclined, or already write in a journal, or already make lists – feel free to jot them down. Maybe they are (1) cook a healthy family dinner 3 nights, (2) get to the gym twice, and (3) spend 30 minutes of quality time talking with my husband each night before bed. You’re going to do a million other things in this week as well, but these 3 are the most important to your well-being, this week. By mentally separating these things, or writing them down, you’ve now organized your priorities. Think about them often, or keep the list in front of you. Feel great when you accomplish these 3 things that you’ve deemed as most important, instead of feeling guilty about the 10 other somethings you may not have gotten to. You’re now focusing your mind on what’s important to you & what you accomplished. Life is a big mind game, anyways – the body will often follow what you focus on and think about consistently.
My 3 for this week, would probably be (1) Pick-up & clean the apartment in its entirety – it’s getting bad, (2) Make a dinner at home with the groceries I just bought, as opposed to going out and (3) tackle the tasks I already have planned relating to this blog. If I can do those 3 things I will feel accomplished.
You guys, this is not tried and true, it’s just an idea I have. Who wants to try this with me and feel badass about what we can accomplish this week?
Let us remember how awesome we are as individuals, give ourselves credit for just being us, and know how lucky we are to be surrounded by the loved ones in our lives.
Original referenced article here.