The Reality of Being a Working Mom

working mom

Editor’s note: I started to include this as part of another post, but realized that life as a working mom deserved it’s own post. So here goes!

I spent a good amount of time on the phone with my older sister yesterday. She has a six month old at home (I cannot believe Nat is 6 months!) and is a working mom, too. I find it hilarious how similar our problems are these days. Pumping all day. Washing bottles. Lack of sleep. The reality of being a working mom is hitting me – and although I may complain on the phone with my sister, it really isn’t all that bad. It’s simply just very different than it used to be.

I went to work when Finn was 9 weeks old. It wasn’t nearly enough time for either of us, and at the time I really didn’t want to go back to work. However, I can say that since Finn has had to wake up at the same time every day, eat at the same time every day, and spends time socializing with other people and babies at daycare, he has been so much more fun and much more content overall! Getting him into a routine was the best thing we’ve ever done for him, and we didn’t even mean to do it.

Getting me into a routine has been a little more challenging. I set my alarm for 6am every morning and end up snoozing until 6:15. I immediately have to pump so Finn has food for the day. That takes about 25 minutes. I then start to get ready for the day hoping Finn stays asleep. If he wakes up, I wake up David (he’s been working second shift so he gets home late, which adds a totally new element to all of this). Once I’m ready I start to pack¬†all the bags. Finn’s diaper bag, my work bag, my pump, extra bottles for the breast milk, my lunch. In the meantime, someone has to run Juneau out for his morning walk (which sometimes I happily do just to have a little moment to myself before the day begins!)

I typically run Finn to daycare since it’s on my way to work, but if I’m running late, David will take him. Sometimes I swear he makes me late on purpose so he can spend an extra hour or so with Finn ūüôā

During the workday, it’s tough to get into any kind of routine. Between meetings and filming (I’m a video producer), I try to pump every 2-3 hours, but it’s tough to nail down a normal schedule. Plus,¬†all the bags.

Pumping at work is an ordeal in itself. My office has designated a space for breastfeeding moms, and since I’m the only one of those at the moment, I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s schedule. The room itself is less than ideal – it’s off the bathroom, with a curtain – no door, and has one old sofa in it. I’m not one to make a huge fit about these types of things – it’s a room and it will do. I tend to pump 3-4 times at work, depending on my workload and schedule that day and each session lasts around 20 minutes.

My wardrobe has to be well thought out due to pumping. Easy access is always preferred, but I only have so many button up shirts or dresses (and this lingering baby weight limits my options even more).

After a full day at work, I pick my Finn man up (best part of the day!) and head home. He’s¬†usually super smiley to see me, so that helps. Juneau is super excited when we get home, so I throw Finn in the Baby Bjorn and walk Juneau around the neighborhood. (Side note: I really do feel for Juneau these last few months. I know he is jealous of all the attention Finn gets and any chance I have to spoil him, I take it!) Based on my energy level, I try to get in a short sweat-sesh. Abs, cardio, sometimes yoga. If I’m not feeling it, then I don’t stress myself out about it.

Finn eats, I eat, Juneau eats, bottles are¬†cleaned, Finn gets¬†a bath, a book, and a tuck-in, I blog, and watch countless episodes Real Housewives on repeat. I really don’t get to sit down until around 8pm. I pump agains once I’m home and once before I go to bed. David gets home around 10:30, the same time I dream feed Finn (best thing ever! He essentially just eats while sleeping and the big meal keeps him sleeping through the night). David and I catch up on our days, and I try to be in bed before 11pm.

Life is certainly chaotic and I realize that it’s only going to get more so once we have a mover and a shaker!

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What’s Inspiring Me

weekends inspired

To keep in theme with the true message of this blog, I have decided to write about what inspires me. Every now and then, I’ll check in and let you know what keeps me inspired every day. Sometimes, it will be big things and other times it will be small. It’s all about giving¬†the mundane things in life a little extra thought!

Since going back to work after maternity leave, my days have been jam packed. To top it off, David is currently working second shift, so he doesn’t come home until I’m about to get into bed for the evening. These schedules have made the weeks seem even longer. However, we have been taking full advantage of our weekends. I’ve been trying to slow down and really enjoy our Saturdays and Sundays.

Finn wakes us up earlier than we would like, but we take advantage of it. We have gone to the farmer’s market and gone for long walks with Juneau. We’ve spent time organizing a closet that has never been organized and made dinner together. David was able to go fishing for a few hours and I spend time working on my blog. I can’t really explain how rejuvenating our weekends have been recently, but every Monday morning I find myself texting David telling him I miss him and I can’t wait for the next weekend together ūüôā

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Finn at Three Months

Finn 3 Months

Can we just stop to think about the fact that Finn is three months old?! Sure, he’s still a little bitty baby, but I cannot even believe how much he has changed in the past 13 weeks! I am already finding it hard to think about him as a newborn.

I think there are several “buckets” of development for a new baby.¬†The physical growth is the most obvious, but there is also the brain growth, sleeping, – oh, the sleep! – eating, and the interaction with the outside world. And while we focus a lot on the growth of the baby, there is also something to be said for growing as parents! Being a new parent¬†is hard.¬†Not only has Finn come a long way in three months, but so have David and I!

Physical Growth

Last week, we took him to the doctor after his fever spiked. Thankfully, it was no more than a little cold he picked up at daycare and his fever broke within 24 hours. However, while we were at the doctor, Finn weighed in at 13 lbs 8 0z. Last Monday, a growth spurt began, and Finn started eating like I’ve never seen him before. By the end of the week Finn unofficially weighs around 14 lbs 6oz. At birth, Finn weighed 8 lbs 6 oz, so he has already nearly doubled in size!

Brain Growth

There is nothing sweeter than the cooing of a little baby. Finn loves to chat with us! He has also started swatting at toys and can bring his toys to his mouth. He has found his hands and loves to chew on them. He is such a smiley guy too, and loves to watch us from across the room. I never thought I’d be so excited to see such small little victories in a human being, but it’s truly remarkable to watch him grow.

Sleeping

I’m going to be honest and say that I had second thoughts about having a baby about a month in. Don’t get me wrong, Finn is awesome, but waking up every three hours to feed him was not. In the first month, I was nursing exclusively so it wasn’t like David could wake up and feed him every now and then. It wasn’t until about six weeks old that Finn started sleeping for longer than three hours. When we went to Colorado, everything changed. Whether it was the traveling, the altitude, or just having a slightly bigger belly, something clicked in him. At that point he was waking up around once at 3:30am. At about nine weeks, he started sleeping through the night. We also started a sleep routine. We have bath time, then change into pajamas, read a book and, by then, Finn is ready to be put down. He is still sleeping in our room, but I think that’s more for me than for him. ūüôā

Eating

My man is a champ at eating! But it was quite the journey to get here. Finn never had issues with weight gain, but for the first month or so, he was quite lazy at eating. I was nursing exclusively through that time and it was wearing me out. He was not on a set schedule, and I was feeding on demand. It was fine for the first month of his life, but I knew eventually it would wear both of us out. I think I finally realized that Finn and I just aren’t good at nursing. I had two goals: to introduce a bottle effectively since I knew I was going back to work, and to get him on a schedule since I knew it would help with his sleep – but I wanted to continue feeding him breast milk.¬†As soon as we started bottle feeding, Finn was such a happier baby. He was never really a¬†bad baby, but he was never really content. We realized quickly that he wasn’t eating enough for his growing body. Once I started pumping and we could see how much he ate at each meal, our lives changed. He started sleeping better, he was happy, and so were we! Plus, David could help with feedings which took a load off of me. Now, at three months, Finn eats over 30 oz a day… which is roughly 5-6 oz per feeding. We’ve had to supplement my breast milk with formula, which I was hesitant to do at first, but in reality, I have to do it. Finn just eats way too much!

It’s been a huge learning curve being a new parent. Like I said, David and I went through a phase where we were worn down and exhausted. In the last month, our feelings have made a huge 180. Finn is so fun now! Every day it seems like he learns something new. Seeing him smile from his bassinet when he wakes up is the best part of my day. He’s my favorite!

Things I Don’t Want to Forget

  • Finn makes the cutest face when he is sleepy and getting picked up. He stretches his arms above his head, scrunches his legs like a little frog and raises his eyebrows up. He has been doing it since he was born and it’s¬†the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
  • When I walk Juneau and use the baby carrier, Finn is so content. He just looks up at the sky, squints a bit, and takes it all in.
  • Right now, Finn likes to fall asleep on his own. I’m hoping this doesn’t change, but I realize it may. Already missing the snuggles and rocking though!

A little advice for new moms: stop taking advice! There’s so much information out there, it can be overwhelming. Your baby is one of a kind, and so are you as parents. As soon as David and I stopped following “directions” from what we had learned or had been told, our relationship with our son changed dramatically. We kept trying to force certain things (mainly feeding) and¬†it wasn’t working. We couldn’t keep doing things the same way just because… we had to learn to bend and do what was best for all of us.

 

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Nederland, Colorado

Flyingfinn

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sistersandbabies

momandbabies

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Family

A few years ago, my older sister, Emily and her husband, Shane, moved out to Boulder, Colorado to pursue their PhDs at University of Colorado, Boulder. Last year, my younger sister -Sarah-‘s boyfriend, Ryan, transferred out there for his job, and Sarah followed a few months later. I had always planned on visiting, and when Emily got pregnant with Natalie, we had even more motivation to go.¬†Then we found out we were expecting and I was so upset I wouldn’t be able to meet my niece for a while.

However, the more we thought about it, the more we realized that¬†there wasn’t anything holding us back from traveling. Yes, we’d have an infant with us this time, but it was totally worth it. Plus, since I’d already be on maternity leave, I didn’t have to worry about taking time off work!

I tend to be a go-with-the-flow type, but something about traveling with a six week old put my stress levels on overdrive. I didn’t know how I was going to handle the flight out there, so my mom graciously drove down from Rochester to Charlottesville to fly with all of us. Just having her there put my mind at ease. If Finn decided to have a fit mid-flight, I would have David and Mom to help me. Plus, the extra hands helped a bunch. We had diaper bags, my breast pump, a carseat and stroller, plus all of our stuff to worry about. Mom was a life saver!

Of course, Finn made me feel foolish for ever worrying because he slept the ENTIRE flight! He didn’t even wake up to eat – and I wasn’t going to wake the beast.

When we arrived in Denver, we took a short drive through Boulder and into a tiny old mining town called Nederland where we AirBnB-ed a house. David was in heaven. He immediately assembled his fly rod and headed to the stream nearby to catch some fish. Throughout the week we did several hikes, and Finn did amazing in his Baby Bjorn. David was also able to set up a guided fishing trip and spent two mornings fly fishing in the Rocky Mountains.

It was also July 4th weekend so we enjoyed fireworks and the cutest parade I’ve ever seen. We played countless games of euchre, drank way too much craft beer, and enjoyed each other’s company. On the last day, David, Finn, Mom and I went to Estes Park to shop a bit and enjoy the views.

I can’t wait to take Finn on more family vacations in the future. He and Natalie will grow up together, and the thought of that melts my heart. Now it’s time for Emily and Sarah to come visit Charlottesville, right guys?!

FinnNatalie

 

 

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6 ways to get inspired to work out

work out inspiration

Since having Finn, it’s been quite difficult to get back into a workout routine. First of all, I’m exhausted. Finn still wakes up once a night for a feeding, and while I realize it could be much worse, that interrupted sleep really takes it out of me. It’s also quite difficult to find the time to exercise. Between pumping and feeding and working and cooking and everything else, getting in a work out is tough. On top of all of that, my body changed a bit with pregnancy, and although that should motivate me, it actually frustrates me that I have to work so hard to get back to my pre-pregnancy body.

So in an effort to inspire myself to get my butt in gear, I’ve put together a list of ways to actually¬†get my butt in gear!

  1. Set a goal.¬†I’ve been toying with the idea of signing up with a 10K race in October. Why haven’t I done it yet? I have no idea! I know that as soon as I pay the registration fee I will feel obligated to start running. I know I can do it, and using the race as a motivator is the perfect way to start a routine.
  2. Make a great playlist.¬†Nothing can change a workout like the music you listen to. I enjoy a mix of inspirational music and something with a beat. The different music can keep you pumped up and can keep you going while working out. Plus, when I run, I like to challenge myself by saying to myself “okay, you can’t stop until the end of this song.” Usually I can go a lot longer!
  3. Keep a schedule.¬†Last summer while I was getting in shape for our wedding, I would come home from work, change into workout clothes, leash up Juneau, and go for a run. Every. Single. Day. I wouldn’t even give myself a chance to change my mind. It was just expected that I would go running after work. By keeping a structured schedule, I rarely skipped out on a run.
  4. Give yourself a break.¬†But of course there are the days when you just don’t want to get changed and sweaty and you just want to relax. So do it! By giving yourself a day off, you also can rejuvenate yourself for a fresh workout the next day.
  5. Take a class.¬†My go-to workout is a nice long run followed by either arms or legs, and always abs. However, that routine can get kinda old and burn me out. Every now and then I like to sign up for a walk-in yoga class. I’ve also wanted to try spinning (a new gym just opened in town!) and pure barre. I find that mixing up my workouts keep me fresh and also work different muscles than I usually would.
  6. Learn a new exercise.¬†As a soccer player, cardio was always so important to me. It wasn’t until I went to college did I start lifting weights. It changed my life. I started seeing muscle tone that I never thought existed. When I started doing yoga, I found that my core strength increased dramatically. Adding in different exercises truly changes your body and keeps you from burning out.

What do you do to stay motivated?

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