Almost a year.

It’s almost been 365 days since I went to my last doctor’s appointment before I was put on bedrest. Which means it’s incredibly close to my daughter’s first birthday and I’m trying to wrap my brain around where the heck the last year went.

It’s been such a year. In so many ways. More than just with the addition of a child, there were so many changes, surprises, frustrations, victories and everything in between.

I remember the day my maternity leave started abruptly. It was a week before I planned for my leave to start and it threw me through a loop. What was supposed to be a routine visit ended with me heading to the hospital for monitoring and testing.

Monitoring and testing became my new normal until my daughter was born. Every Monday and Thursday I had to go to my doctor’s office for an NST scan. I sat on the monitors for 30 minutes or until the nurse was satisfied with her movements and my readings. The same comment was made every time one of the scans started, “If we don’t get enough movements, I’ll have to send you to the hospital.” Nothing like some nervous energy and a pep talk to your baby in utero before the machine started going.

Those twice a week appointments and days of staying home lasted for a little over 2 weeks. I was getting used to bedrest when my water broke that Wednesday night. 36 weeks 5 days, and my water is broken. My husband is at work for the night. Friend is out of town that lives nearby. I’m panicking. My brother saves the day!

Off to the hospital where the reality sinks in that I won’t be going home until I have a baby in my arms. I prep myself for what labor will be like and how I think it will be until I’m in labor for 33+ hours and we decide to have a c-section. Now I have to mentally prepare for surgery.

Everything goes perfectly! She’s here! Holy moly…I’m responsible for this little human. How do I do this?! Euphoria, joy, happiness, every emotion known to mankind, I’m feeling over the course of the next few days. We get the hang of it and it’s time to go home from the hospital. Wait…we’re going home ALONE to take care of a baby?!

There’s not much sleep for the first few days. Our little girl is nocturnal. Party all night and sleep all day. Only way to get her to sleep all night is to hold her. We take turns. We try to stay awake but we fall asleep while we hold her and jolt awake. It’s HARD. A few days in I remember looking at Anthony and saying, “What did we do?!” The sleep deprivation was getting to me. She started sleeping at night, so we did too. We fell into a groove.

Bliss! For several weeks everything was so simple and we had it down until cluster feeding began and the newborn sleepiness wore off. She wanted to eat All. The. Time. She was more aware and I felt like I had to entertain her more. Trying to figure out the right thing to do was a lot!

My maternity leave came to an end. I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact I was going to be leaving my baby behind. How could I? Am I a bad mom? Google, how to become a stay at home mom. I cried to work, once I got to work, and on my way to pick her up. It got easier to drop her off but I still wasn’t adjusting.

Work was hard to get back into. I felt like I missed a lot and I couldn’t get my feet under me. I felt defeated. I felt like I was only good at being a mom. What was I doing?! New organization, new team members, I was so lost. It took me months to find my way. In this time Anthony had new jobs too, it felt like we were never on solid ground. When will it all just stop.

April. It stopped in April. By now we had a babbling, rolling and crawling baby. Things were fun but oh were they tiring. Always on the move. Wanting to eat more real food. Growling at us while we ate. Separation anxiety starts and I can’t leave the room without tears if we’ve been apart all day. It’s draining. But I’ve found my groove. I learn how to work hard at work and when it’s time to go at the end of the day I put my mom/wife hat on and handle it all. I finally feel like I’ve got it all working together.

Until, something else changes. A work schedule. A late meeting. Daycare hours shifting. SOMETHING. There’s always something. What I’ve learned the last year is that especially with the addition of a child, things are always going to be ever changing. Having a plan is good, but it isn’t the FOR SURE thing. Being able to adapt to change has been my biggest friend in this journey. It will continue to be. I’ve come to terms that my type-A self can’t beat life as a parent. There’s always going to be a curve ball and I’m going to have to adjust to it.

Now…in a few weeks when my daughter turns 1, I will be a hot mess. My baby will no longer be a baby and we take the next step! Which…is she a toddler or not? This is the great debate but if she’s walking, I’ll go with Toddler. 🙂

 

Round of Applause for ALL The Moms

I’m in awe of moms and all the things that they do. My fellow mamas give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve one.

I had the nice change of pace to work from home the majority of this week, which is something I’ve strongly considered pursuing as a way to still be in the workforce and be at home with my little one more. Let me just share, IT’S FREAKING HARD.

I think there is a stigma that working from home isn’t the same as working in an office, which isn’t something I completely agree with. I think in past time, that could of been a valid argument but with the advances in technology, you can work from virtually anywhere. It’s nice for those of us that need a change of scenery than our cube walls or who work best at really weird times or the day or who may need flexibility one day to the next.

So back to my point, working from home, with a mobile 10 month hold is just in a league all it’s own. I bow down to the women that have figured out the mathematical equation it is to occupy your child, make sure they’re not going to blow the house up or hurt themselves, all while being able to focus on their work and make it through the day with happy kids and a checklist that is complete. You are the best multitasker of the century for being able to do ALL of that, daily.

I admit, on Monday, Kennedy took two glorious naps, first was a 2.5 hour long snooze, which she NEVER does, and her second was an 1.5 doze. I got SO MUCH DONE in those 4 hours.

Now…transition to Wednesday…we were on a nap strike and she just paraded around the living room saying “Mama, Mama, Mama” which is super adorable and I was totally okay with it until about 12 noon when I realized I’d gotten 1 task done out of my 4 I needed to complete. Panic ensued. I worked a lot later in the day that I normally would if I would of gone to the office, I was DRAINED.

Thursday…same story. I was lucky enough to get a really good 2.5 hour nap out of her in the afternoon and I knocked out all my projects but my brain was fried afterward.

This was the taste that I got of being a work from home mom. It was so super difficult. I had no time to clean my kitchen, I tossed 1 load of laundry in the wash and got it to the dryer but it’s still sitting in my house unfolded, that was on Monday that I washed those clothes by the way.

Being a work at home mom doesn’t mean it’s “easier”, truthfully those few days I had at home working and caring for Kennedy were some of the most tiring days I’ve had since I returned to work because I’ve only had to focus on one or the other and not both at the same time.

So, I’ve been able to experience, or course not for long periods of time but still, in general experienced, being: a stay at home mom, a work from home mom, and working mom. Let me tell you, there is none of these 3 lifestyles that is easier than the other. They all have their challenges. I’ve had a hard time accepting my current lifestyle as a working mom but after being a home and working, I can say that some of the things I enjoy are the routines we have (I LOVE routines!), structure to my day, being able to focus on Kennedy only when we’re at home and work only while I’m at work, and being able to do work I actually enjoy and I can feel stimulated by.

I enjoyed working from home because I got plenty of breaks with my little one throughout the day and knew she was close by, all while still doing state brain stimulation that my work provides me.

Staying at home and focusing on Kennedy and my family, I felt connected and very in-tune with all the needs of our home and my little girl. There are serious benefits to each one of these roles and I myself am guilty of thinking “one is better than the next” but after getting the chance this week, I can see how each of these different “types” of moms have their struggles.

I appreciate each and every learning opportunity I’ve had to see how other moms handle their business and all I have to say is, WE KNOW HOW TO GET IT DONE. One way or another, we take care of our families and ourselves. Yes, somedays we will fall short but as a whole, we are nothing short of incredible.

So thank you life for allowing to see things from all angles. I feel like God wanted this for me so I could understand the path I’m currently on. I appreciate more than I could of ever imagined. I also appreciate you ladies, it’s hard sometimes to describe the struggles you experience unless someone can experience them first hand and I bow down to all the moms. It isn’t easy but somehow we make it our own and I think you’re amazing.

Until next time. xoxo

 

My Mamas

I’m sure everyone’s heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” #true.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the chance to fully explain who my village is or, as I call them, My Mamas. Yes, I have people I can count on in real life, but I’ve had these ladies since the beginning.

Let me roll back a little bit. I was on a wedding website when Anthony and I were engaged because I had no clue what I was doing and I was the first one of my friends to get married. Flash forward to September 2015 when Anthony and I decided we wanted to have a baby. I logged back into this website because they had a section in their forum that was for TTC (Trying to Conceive), Babies, Parenting, etc. I figured, I can check this out since once again I’m doing something that I have no clue how to do or what to expect.

Well one of the boards was a due date month group. Once you tested positive, you’d join the month board that you were due and this was your group. I figured this would be really good for me since I didn’t have anybody in my life at the time I could talk to because 1. I hadn’t told a soul we were trying let alone pregnant 2. None of my closest girlfriends were pregnant or had a baby (there were a couple of girls I knew but I wasn’t ready to share with them at this time).

I joined the September 2016 mama group, I wasn’t sure how many of us there would end up being but our finally tally as of today was 37 women total. A Facebook group was created so we could all talk all lot more efficiently than on a website board back and forth.

I had NO idea how close I would get to these ladies! We’re literally, from all over the world. London, Sweden, Chile, Australia, Canada and the United States. We talk literally all day long. It was the most comforting thing as a first time mom and being pregnant that if I was panicking about something I could open my Facebook app and ask a question to my ladies and see what they recommended or thoughts on what was going on.

There were conversations on what car seats we were all buying, plans to breastfeed or not, thoughts on co-sleeping, suggestions for how to sleep better at night while pregnant, I could go on but we talked about everything, nothing has been off limits. Being pregnant was so exciting because I got to be pregnant with so many ladies at one time. We started weekly themed threads, which I will say postpartum have been amazing. Weekly bump pictures, ultrasound photos, etc.

Once our babies started to arrive it was even more amazing. We shared updates from the hospital rooms. #babywatch was like the best thing ever when you’d wake up to pee in the middle of the night and someone announced “MY WATER BROKE” and it followed with a bunch of responses that ranged from: WOOHOO, OMG, *eye emojis* SO MANY EYE EMOJIS. When Kennedy was born I was like, I need to post a picture to my mamas now! I don’t think anybody understood what I meant.

Flash to postpartum, when our babies were here. When we were up for hours upon hours at a time. Babies didn’t want to sleep at night time, babies feeding around the clock, not sleeping, not sure if you’re breastfeeding your baby properly, worried if you’re doing this right…they were right there. It didn’t matter what time it was, someone was more than likely awake, and they were your comfort when you needed it.

These ladies, my mamas, have filled a hole that I have had because I didn’t have any pregnant girlfriends in real life. I didn’t have any close friends that had just had babies or that I felt like I could pour my life story out to without them thinking I’m insane. They know EVERYTHING about me, and yet here we are…it’s May 2017, our oldest babies are going to be 10 months old this month, sweet Blake & Vanessa and our youngest baby just turned 7 months, Roscoe.

I’ve laughed so hard with these ladies when we shared funny photos and stories about things that happened in our lives. My heart has broken with these ladies and I’ve cried for them even though we’re thousands of miles away. I LOVE these ladies and these babies so much, but I love their friendship and what they’ve helped me become by just being there so much more.

I don’t know what I did, or how I got so lucky to fall into this group. They are the most loving, caring, hilarious, and beautiful ladies I’ve ever known.

I’m feeling far more emotional about this today and now because I got to meet one of them today in person and introduce our little ones to each other and it felt so normal. I wasn’t nervous to meet Stephanie because I knew she already knew who I was. Dylan and Kennedy are all set to go to prom in 17 years too.

I can’t explain how many times I thank God for these women. I don’t know where I would be without them. I feel like I’m better equipped to handle motherhood and on days where I feel like I’ve just sucked, they always build me back up.

My mamas, I love you all SO much, I can’t even explain it. You have made me a better woman and helped prepare me and continue to teach me how to be a better mom. I hope you know how much you are appreciated by me! It only seems right with Mother’s Day coming up that I express my gratitude to you all for being my rock and safe place to vent. Thank you for being the greatest ladies I could of ever imagined to do this mom life with. ❤

“The Working Mom”

I always thought I’d be, “The Working Mom” and I had people ask me ALL the time, “Are you sure?” “You really think you’ll be able to do it?” I always looked at them like they were nuts and thought, duh, that’s what people have to do.

Did I ever think to myself, gosh, staying home would be amazing? Of course I did, but it was merely a thought. My entire pregnancy I figured I would enjoy maternity leave and the one on one time I had with my baby but at its end, I’d be ready to return to the workforce.

Um…I was so incredibly wrong.

As I’ve mentioned Kennedy was 3 weeks early and I was placed on bedrest 2.5 weeks prior to her arrival. I started my actual maternity leave a lot sooner than I anticipated. I remember the second or third night Anthony and I were home with Kennedy and I turned at looked at him and said, “I have absolutely no idea how I’m supposed to go back to work, I have an aching and longing need to be around her 24/7.” I cried immediately because I just wanted to be around her and only her and my little family unit that had gone from 2 to 3 just days earlier. The next morning we both figured I was hormonal and I was just feeling all the emotions that come with being a new mom, which is pretty standard for all.

I got 10.5 weeks of time with my little girl before it was time for me to return to work. I was a mess. I cried the two weeks leading up to my first day of work and was doing everything imaginable to try and slow time down. I woke up at 2:30 AM that Monday and started crying. Anthony took off for work and I was alone waiting for the princess to wake up. I remember sitting in her room drinking my coffee and watching her sleep in her crib and I sobbed and sobbed. She woke up and in typical Kennedy fashion batted her perfectly curled eyelashes at me and smiled her big gummy smile. I stopped crying at that moment because nothing is cuter than that little face.

I dropped her off at daycare (which by the way, Jen, you’re the best and we are so happy you are the one taking care of our little girl) and I held it together until I started driving down the road. I called Anthony and burst into tears and cried the entire way to my office. My co-workers were kind enough to get me a welcome back gift and it was super sweet and appreciated by getting through the day was SO. HARD. The stroke of 3:30 I was out of there and off to pick up my girl.

It’s been exactly 4 months since I’ve returned back to work and it’s the hardest thing I have to do every weekday morning. As someone that’s always been very focused on my education and having a career, I have multiple times been ready to throw it all away to just focus and be with my child. I am longing for the ability to be with her as much as possible but as much as I want that, I have to keep reminding myself that right now in this season, that isn’t in the cards.

So what do you do in this situation? I spend as much quality time with Kennedy as I can. I get up early and get myself fully ready and leave 45 minutes to get her up and ready for the day and spend time with her before we walk out the door. When I get to work, I work and I get all of it done in the office so when the day is over, I walk out the door and go back to mommy mode. I pick Kennedy up and I get 2-2.5 hours of her being awake before it’s bedtime and I make the most of out if as I possibly can. No phone, playtime in her room, reading, bath time, all of that, I literally treasure every possible second. The weekends, oh they are my absolute favorite, more so than ever before. I take that little girl with me EVERYWHERE. I never knew that becoming a mother would change me as much as it has especially with my focus on work and what my heart’s desire is.

I totally understand now how women are torn and have to make decisions like staying home with babies or go back to work. It’s the hardest choice to make and right now in this season my husband (you rock!) and I are trying to figure out what exactly will it take for us to ensure one of us is home more with our daughter. 2017 is going to be an interesting year for us as we work toward a goal of making that a reality. For now I’m just trying to keep it together although some days I have no clue how the heck I’m going to get through! I do actually know though, it’s that cute little one that I pick up each day around 4:00 PM that keeps me going!

I want to say to all moms, working or stay at home, all moms have struggles they have to face in both of these paths and you’re doing an amazing job no matter what struggles you’re facing. We will all get through these things and it’ll be easier if we can lean on each other! Major kudos to my September Mamas, I’m pretty sure I would of fallen off the deep end multiple times without your kind words and support, you guys are EVERYTHING in this motherhood journey!