I met Brianna when we were matched as roommates our freshman year of college. I won’t say it was love at first sight, but a 3-hour chat at a 50’s-style diner when we first met speaks for itself.
I asked Brie to guest write about being a working mom because she is a joy to watch in her own life. She exudes love, she is ever-engaged with her 2 daughters, and she has valuable experience in the world of working moms. Please read this amazing piece. She won’t disappoint you, even if you’re not a working mother.
Twenty-three months ago, I walked into Step by Step Montessori with my 12-week-old daughter and walked out 25 minutes later without her.
Twenty-three months ago, I placed heaving sobs into the shoulder of my new friend Miss Michelle in the doorway of the Infant Room. (I have since done this a second time, as well, when my Baby Number Two started there.)
Twenty-three months ago, I started pump breaks in an office at work with a window that I’d tape blinds onto, with a door I wasn’t truly convinced actually locked but which no one ever tested while I was in there.
Twenty-three months ago, I re-entered the workforce as a newly-promoted Working Mom.
Now having done this job for almost two years, here is what I would like to share about it:
1. You’re going to be looking at your phone a lot. You know those videos your husband’s coworker told him were a waste to take because they are messing up your storage and you will never, ever watch them? Yeah. You’re going to watch them. At work. Especially if you’re pumping.
2. If you’re pumping…Don’t worry if you don’t get a chance to pump a ton before you return to work. I had such high hopes of building this crazy stash before I got started at work, but I was so hands-on with my baby both times (required by both babies) that it never really worked out. If you can build up, that’s great! If not, you will still be fine. The pressure we put on ourselves is insane. Also, I started back at work both times with a great supply, which was so cool! But then it dropped. Sometimes my pump breaks were welcome distractions from my work and sometimes they are nuisances in my day, and that is just the honest truth. Here are some tips for Pumping at Work:
- Bring extra parts! I have forgotten bottles or bags or a lunch bag in which to hide my full bottles from uncomfortable coworkers before, and some of these missing tools are easier to make do without than others. I now keep a Medela manual pump and its bottles at work at all times.
- Invest in a pump bag if you can. I have Sarah Wells “Claire” now (see here), but I didn’t have it for my first – I highly recommend it, or something similar, for ease of travel and use. I am no longer an overwhelmed Bag Lady when I need to bring my pump anywhere with me.
- Have entertainment. I read somewhere that you definitely are not supposed to be working when you pump, so I do not. I download movies or television shows on my phone so that I can have something to look forward to while I’m in my pump room. I have read books, as well. I used to look at pictures of the girls, but I pump anywhere from 15 minutes to 40 minutes at a go, and I either get bored or my heart aches.
- Give yourself grace. I have had my heart hurt by a bad day, where the ounces fall so far short of where my baby’s appetite is. You are doing your very best, Mama.
3. Getting a kid ready for daycare sucks. There are spare outfits to keep for blowouts, severe spitting up, etc. There are wipes to keep stocked, and diapers, and butt cream, and mittens, and boots, and jackets, and…the food. If you are providing breastmilk, it is kind of a nightmare. I cannot be the only one who thinks this. The amount of breastmilk that gets wasted due to the rules or laws or whathaveyou…it has made me cry before. I know it’s not daycare’s fault, but it hurt when my first daughter would drink 1.5oz out of a 4oz bottle while I was making barely enough to keep her fed without supplementing (yes, I did eventually supplement and my stress levels dropped significantly). My word of advice? Once you find bottles that work for your kid, STOCK UP. My dishwasher gets run every night, at least, but I haven’t had to hand wash a bottle with my second daughter and it is such a timesaver. She drinks 3-4 6oz bottles at daycare per day.
4. If your kid goes to daycare, there will be sickness. It’s just the truth. My daughters both had a cold for about a month as soon as they started. When my toddler started in the Toddler Room at our same center, there was a Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease outbreak and we ended up keeping her home for a week. It is unavoidable. A great immune system is on its way!
5. Make sure you trust your caregiver. Before we started at the daycare center we have been at for nearly two years, we were signed up with an alternate caregiver. For various reasons, we did not end up going with that daycare, and I am endlessly grateful for that. Had we not trusted our instincts, we never would have looked around again and found our current daycare, with its long-tenured teachers and aides, who love and are loved by my girls (and me!). If I did not trust these amazing women to care for my girls, my already-long work days would be truly unbearable.
6. Be realistic. You are a badass. You are a full-time parent and a full-time employee. You know what your Number One is, though. Don’t expect to be at full throttle all the time, and expect that sometimes you will get phone calls from that number you have memorized: Daycare. There will be dumb rules to adhere to (in your opinion) regarding sickness, etc., and you will be called out of work at sometimes very inopportune times. Guess what? People get it. Your coworkers get it, your clients get it. Also! You will get sick, too. Sorry.
7. No matter what, your child will never forget who you are, or that you love him/her/them. I cannot stress this enough. My daughters are both overjoyed when I come to pick them up in the evening. My toddler races to me from across the room/playground/her friend’s embrace (d’awww). My infant giggles and stares, then squeezes me tightly to her tiny body. Never, not ever, has this been a problem for us. Honestly, right now, I don’t have a problem with dropping off either child, though sometimes my toddler wants to stay after I get there to pick her up, to help her friends clean, or splash her hand in the water fountain. I think it’s pretty cool that they love it so much.
8. You are awesome. You and your family have decided that this is the best decision for you. Whatever reasons you have for making this decision are your business and yours alone. Just know that you are equally as awesome as Stay At Home Parents, and you will be just as connected to your child/ren. Coming from a much-loved, grown-up Daycare Child, know that your child will never feel deprived because of this decision you have made.
How does Marabou support women?
We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.
Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest.
Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.
With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.
Postpartum doulas for a first time mom
House cleanings for moms of multiples
Childcare for moms with older children!
Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.