Monday, April 14, 2014

The Vicious Cycle of the Mommy Track

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A parking lot. A beautiful bridge. Put the two together, and you have my 5 pm commute.

Lean in. Lean out. Lean on. Lean back. With so much directional leaning, I feel myself swaying out of control on my own axis. Working moms weeble and they wobble but they don't fall down.

Recently, I walked away from the opportunity to apply for a promotion. Never have I been one to pause at the middle of the ladder I am climbing. I pull my way enthusiastically up each rung. This time, this specific time in my life, things are different. I suddenly find myself on the dreaded Mommy Track and I'm not sure if I should blame society or blame myself.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Purple Khakis and a Smile

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This outfit of the day photo was taken by my three-year-old son. Apparently, the only way I'm going to get outfit photos lately is by happy accident.

Sweater: Ambience San Francisco
Tank: Target
Khakis: Gap
Flats: Steve Madden

I get dressed every morning with full intentions of taking outfit photos and it simply does not happen. I'm in a rush, I'm feeding a baby, it is dark outside and my tripod is broken. Excuses upon excuses. Fortunately, my aunt showed Keagan how to use a camera during our visit last weekend and I just happened to be wearing my current favorite pants when he clicked the button. My husband bought these vibrant purple Gap khakis for me on clearance for $3. He wins for finding the best deal ever and my son wins for saving my blog from its lack of style pics. I'm a bit disheveled in this photo but I'm wearing the brightest smile to match my radiant pants. Joyous weekend wear works for me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Shopping Warby Parker Spring 2014

Did you know your eyesight can change after a pregnancy? I found that out during a recent eye exam. My vision has gotten worse. Ugh. I'm telling you - the wheels seem to be falling off of this train.

What better excuse do I need to go shopping for some sweet new frames? I've talked in the past about how I love Warby Parker's home try-on process so I thought I might give it another go. Their Spring 2014 line just came out and I'm digging the bright colors and modern shapes. Here are three frames that I'm considering:


Finch in Grenadine- I've been wanting a pair of red frames for a while. Think modern day Sally Jesse-Raphael. Oh man, did I just date myself with that reference?



Seymour in Whiskey Tortoise - I love a classic square shape and the tortoise color goes with everything.
 


Walker in Canton Blue - These are look-at-me glasses and I feel that they need to be on my face.

What frames are you loving from Warby Parker right now? They also have a new collection called Palm Canyon that brings a woodwork finish to some of their classic frames. I'm going to have to check that out next.

Disclosure: I was not compensated by Warby Parker for this post - I'm just a fan of the company.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Doing What Is Best For You and Your Family

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I've talked about how needy my little girl is in comparison to the independent, maintenance free experience I had with my son in his infant months. Despite the lack of sleep, she is beautiful. She is happy. She is healthy. But me? I was hitting a breaking point.

For eight weeks - two whole months - I was averaging 4 1/2 hours of sleep per night. I did the math and it made me dizzy. She would wake up every 1 or 2 hours, desperate to nurse and I would quickly accommodate for two reasons: to get her back to bed so I could sleep and so she wouldn't cry and wake my son, leading to no one sleeping. Since she wasn't taking a bottle well, it would take me almost an hour to put her back down, only to have me shoot awake to her cries again an hour later.

Combine this with my return to work and I can honestly say I was feeling like I might be losing my mind. I would stare at coworkers I know very well and question whether I knew their names. That is the level of tired I was at. Mind-erasing exhaustion.

I threw out a couple of cries for help on Facebook and of course, my wonderful friends came forward with all kinds of suggestions. Books I should read. Methods I should try. Sympathy and empathy for our plight. None of it really lined up with one consistent method so I was left to pick and choose what the right course of action might be for us.

And that is the key point - what is right for US. We are over inundated with conflicting how-to advice and as moms, we are constantly pressured to do the right and perfect thing for our babies (i.e. breastfeeding, don't let them cry it out, attachment parenting, etc.). I'm the first person to drop everything for my kids, but how can you do that when your own health and sanity is compromised?

My husband and I came up with a plan.
  • Step one: I'm done breastfeeding. Now that I'm back to work, I simply can't keep up with her appetite, even with pumping. Plus, she is showing some signs of allergies and if I'm being realistic, I don't have the time or energy to truly commit to an elimination diet. We had one last goodbye nursing session this last weekend where I stroked her hair and cuddled her body curved against mine. I shed a small tear but I also patted myself on the back for trying my best.
  • Step two: She is sleeping in our bedroom, which is more removed from our son's room, and we are sleeping in the living room on air mattresses and the sofa. We are testing if she is crying for food or crying out of habit. Being out of the room allows us to sleep through initial cries to see if she will go back to sleep. If she cries while waiting for a bottle or if she cries when taking the bottle, our toddler won't spring awake at 3 a.m. We will deal with our own creaky backs and tossing and turning if it means we can get on a good schedule.
  • Step three: Now that the bottle is in play, I'm able to tag my husband into the ring each night to go head to head with our little sleepy girl. That buys me a couple extra hours of sleep.
We are on day four of this routine and it is working. We have leaped from four hours of sleep per night to almost ten hours - five hours, then three hours, then one and a half. I credit the switch to formula in helping this change. Turns out, my girl is HUNGRY. She takes down six ounces twice a night and there is no way that I was providing that much for her out of my own supply. For the first time in over two months, I woke up without that deep, bone-crushing ache that comes with exhaustion. I actually sang along with the radio during my commute today instead of blinking and turning on the A/C to stay awake.

What strikes me out of this is that regardless of the fact that we are working quickly towards a sleep solution, I still get judgmental comments from those I've talked to about our new method, particularly when it comes to breastfeeding. The furrowed brows that appear when I say that I'm weaning are obvious and they are annoying. I'd nurse more if I could, but now that I'm not, my girl is thriving! And just as importantly, so am I.  For each person that gives me a look of pity when saying, "Oh. I nursed my kids until they were at least one year old," I wish I had medals in my pocket that I could whip out and pin on them with a flourish. Apparently, they think they win the mommy race.

The point is that you won't find our crazy couch-sleeping method in a book. However, it is working for us and we will modify as we go to get us back into our rooms and our girl back into her crib. Nothing is static or rigid in parenting an infant. Everyone needs to be healthy and well. Do what works best for you and your family.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Exhaustion Is Not Productive

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Here is what I've learned about having two kids under 3 year old. It is exhausting.

Now that I've returned to work, I have been putting a lot of effort into getting dressed in the morning. I've been cultivating a work chic look that I'm feeling good about. I dyed my hair a few shades darker just to mix it up in the winter months. I'm currently scouting new glasses. And I would love to share all of this with you but I simply cannot get it together to take a picture. Why?

Because I feel just like Turbo looks. I'm wiped out to the point where I want to lay on my paws and snore all day.

But I'm working on it. I'm going to snap some photos this weekend of my new favorite Gap khakis and I'm going to write a couple things on the transition from maternity leave to hiring a nanny. Life has been a sleepless blur; bear with me.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Simple Formula



Cardigans. Button ups. Get used to seeing a lot of these.

Cardigan: LOFT
Button up: Old Navy
Jeans: UO
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Diaper Bag: Timi and Leslie
Boots: Frye

This has been my mom uniform for weeks - for all the days that I haven't been blogging because truly this is not an exciting concoction. It is just a simple formula that works for me when deciding what to wear each day. The outfit is all about easy access to the feeding center while still trying to look somewhat put together. That is, if you call no makeup and hair that hasn't seen a salon in over four months "put together". A question: if I let my roots grow out for another two months, would that officially be considered ombre?

Anyway, I'm going to have to find a way to transition my mom uniform back into work clothes. I'm back to work this week, though thankfully I am working from home for the majority of the month. Yesterday was my first day away from my little girl, as I had to go into the office for meetings. As I carried my breast pump into the office and lamented the fact that my work pants are way too tight in the waistline, I thought about how I wished I could be home cuddling with my little cuddle monkey. Then, I started having conversations that didn't center around diapers and feeding and the day quickly and pleasantly sped by. It is never fun to go back to work, but it makes the coming home to little, smiling faces all the more special.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Blessings and The Curse of a Clingy Baby

I'll admit it. I can be a bit judge-y of other parents at times. I will observe behaviors of babies and kids and scoff, immediately finding a reason within a parenting style to which I can attribute the behavior. For example, there is the baby that always needs to be held. In the past, I would think, "Well, it is probably because they never put her down! Of course she wants to be held! That's all she knows!" And I would sit smugly in my own parenting superiority.

You know that saying when you point a finger at someone else, there are four fingers pointing right back at you? Ah yes. I'm learning this whole parenting thing as I go. Rule #1: don't judge. Maybe the parents aren't holding the baby too much because they are doing things wrong. Maybe they are in survival mode to get their baby to calm down so they, too, can get some rest. Maybe some babies are just clingy. Maybe, just maybe, you just have to do what you have to do in this whole parenting thing to get by.

That's right. My baby is a stage-five clinger.

It all started out so nice and innocent. Since this will be my last baby (don't even think about dropping by again, Mr. Stork), I have been enamored with the feeling of my little girl lying on my chest. The smell of her hair is intoxicating; the warmth of her body is enveloping. She falls asleep peacefully in my arms and I am in bliss.

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Then, time becomes tighter. My need and desire to get up and play with my son as he chants, "Play with me, Mommy! Play with me!" pulls me into motion but my little girl protests. Her eyes pop open the minute she leaves my arms. She struggles and grunts to break out of her swaddle and back into my embrace, where she immediately falls back asleep. I indulge, only because she hasn't slept in about eight hours, a lifetime in baby minutes and we all need a little rest.

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Days pass. I suddenly realize that I have slept a total of 8 hours over the past 72 hours. I'm cranky and snapping at everyone who crosses my path. My little girl cat naps for thirty minutes at a clip. I try to nap with her, like everyone advises me to, but the second I'm hitting that sweet REM sleep, she is awake and crying for my return. I try the swing (she is not pleased), the bouncer (a solid 15 minute tolerance threshold), the Ergo (knocks her right out, but I have to stay in perpetual motion to make it work, which is not the point here) and laying on a simple blanket (she is not having it). The only place she passes out completely and chirps happily is in my arms. And so we cuddle and I manage to catch an hour of much needed sleep with her, my eyes just as heavy as hers.

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Just when I think I have it down and we are on a great routine of sleeping in her crib - I got 7 hours in a row one night! - she gets a cold and snuggling becomes mandatory. Showers don't exist in my world outside of saline baths for her to clear her nose. Brushing my teeth becomes an after thought when I have a wheezing baby crying out for me. I hit a delirium point after three days of no sleep for anyone involved and I realize I'm fighting a battle I don't have the energy to fight.

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So, I pull her into my arms, we settle onto the couch and I promise both of us that I will fight the battle for independence another day. Until then, I will breathe in her sweet scent, sigh contently along with her and serve as her pillow. I know there will come a day when I am begging for her hugs so I might as well cash in on all I can get now. Please don't judge me.