Momming is Hard: True Confessions of a Working Mama

Let me be real with you for a minute.

There are days when I feel like I am KILLING IT at this mom gig. 

I manage to get myself, Charlotte (plus various aspects of the Husband and the dog) together and ready in the morning and get to work on time. I work, pump, eat lunch, work, pump, coffee coffee coffee, work, and race home to get my girl. We spend time outside with Molly and then go for a good walk by the beach. Charlotte falls asleep on the walk, and because she's a perfectangelbaby, she usually stays sleeping during the transfer to her downstairs Pack n Play. This gives me a solid half hour to wash bottles/pump parts, prep bottles for the next day, and get everything prepped for dinner. Our nanny is great about straightening the house and folding laundry for us so that I have the evenings to relax (which is definitely a plus and hugely appreciated). After a nap ranging anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, my girl is up and we have snuggle time on the couch, read books, play, listen to music, etc. until we head to the kitchen to get dinner started. My little sous chef plays in her highchair while I cook dinner, and as soon as Brian is home, we eat and feed Charlotte her supper at the table as a family. Upstairs for tubby time, books, songs, prayers and girlfriend is down for the count. Brian and I have an hour or so to either watch a show on the DVR, read, etc. before we head to bed to start over again the next morning.

Those are the good days. Those are the days when I think "I am AMAZING! I am WONDER WOMAN! I am SUCH A GOOD ROLE MODEL for my daughter because I AM A WORKING MAMA - HEAR ME ROAR!"

And then there are the other days. 

Charlotte is teething and was up a few times during the night - she would only settle down if I was holding her, so we rocked and rocked and rocked. I'd wait for her to be in a good, deep sleep and try the transition into her Pack n Play - not having it. So I slept sitting up in her rocker while holding her until around 4 a.m. this morning. We went to the beach over the weekend and after grocery shopping and working on a little bit of laundry (as in enough to get us essentials for work today), plus all of the routine basics (showers, tubby time, dinner prep, cooking, cleaning up) I was too tired to wash and prep all of the bottles and pump parts last night, so I'm up and at the kitchen sink by 4:30 a.m. to get everything ready for the day. I realize that I never changed the laundry over before bed, so I do a pick-and-choose to dry only what's necessary for today so it'll be ready by the time I'm out of the shower. I straighten the living room, restock Charlotte's diapers and wipes on the downstairs Pack n Play, layout her clean blankets/bibs/burp cloths and head back upstairs to rest my eyes for just a few minutes - it's 5 a.m. I set my alarm (I think?) for 5:30 but when I sit straight up in bed at 6 a.m. it's obvious that I did not, in fact, set my alarm. 

Mad dash to the bathroom for a 5 minute shower - definitely no time for a shampoo this morning. Twist my hair into a bun and hear Charlotte crying from the bedroom. Brian meets me at the bathroom door with her and despite desperately needing a diaper change and apparently starving, she gives me the biggest smile through her sleepy eyes. She screams while he changes her and I rush to get dressed, meeting him in the nursery. 

I take my girl in my arms and she immediately settles down, snuggling into me to nurse. She's hungry and is being the sweetest cuddlebug, hooking her little leg over my arm while she eats. I keep checking the time on my phone (and hate myself for it) - I am so, so late but want to sit here cradling my baby for as long as I can because she's slowly starting to nurse for a little less time here and there and I'm not ready for it to end, not quite yet. I look down and she's giving me the biggest, brightest smile and patting my chest (pat pat pat is her new favorite thing). I snuggle her close and sing "I Love You In the Morning" and "You Are My Sunshine" and give her a million kisses as I bring her to her changing table to get dressed for the day. We say "Good morning, Charlotte! Good morning, Mama!" in her mirror, and head downstairs while Brian gets in the shower. 

We let Molly outside and enjoy the cool weather for a few minutes but I'm frustrated at how long she's taking and yell at her (again, I hate myself for this - she's been so wonderful since Charlotte came into our home and I know that I've lost my patience with her so many times when she didn't deserve it, and it breaks my heart and makes me feel awful). I bribe Molly with cheese and she sprints inside - Brian's in the kitchen and we throw lunches together, running through schedules for the day and plans for dinner that night. Some mornings are okay saying goodbye to Charlotte and others are bad - this is a bad one, and I want to leave before the nanny gets there because it's easier to hand her over to Brian and say goodbye versus the person who's with my baby all day. After a million more kisses, "I love yous" and a kiss on her palm for later, I round up everything I need to get through my day - a massive tote with my snacks and lunch, a huge water bottle, Mother's Milk tea (because I realized over the weekend that my freezer stash is down to one bag - fantastic) and my pump bag with all of the pieces and bottles, plus my wallet, sunglasses, keys, and makeup from the diaper bag. Sprint to the car at the exact time that I should be logging into my computer - excellent. I swing through Dunkin Donuts for caffeine (and apply my 5 minute mom face while in the drive-thru line) and get to my desk a solid 40 minutes late. 

My day is spent... working. Lots of emails, lots of calls, coordinating projects, revising and writing (which takes way more brain power than I have after being up all night), feeling guilty about the time that I take to pump, cry when the nanny sends me pictures and updates of their activities, chug coffee and worry if I'm drinking too much coffee while breastfeeding, browse Pinterest for anything I can relate to Charlotte (recently it's anything related to fall/winter holidays and plans for her first birthday which, TEARS AGAIN), work work work until 3 p.m. I bolt out the door, try to tell myself that my coworkers aren't bitter and judging me with side-eye looks for leaving at 3 o'clock on the dot every day and race home to my girl. 

I walk in the door and the nanny tells me that she sat up for her for the first time and it's a dagger to my heart - why do I have to miss these things? Wasn't she just born yesterday? How is she already sitting up and what else is she doing that I can't see because I'm sitting at my desk staring at her picture while following along with a WebEx? Charlotte smiles and grins and laughs for the nanny, which I know that I should appreciate because she truly loves our baby (and I do appreciate that - she has her faults but we know that she loves and cares for our girl) but today just makes me feel resentful and pretty hateful. Charlotte occasionally will look anywhere but at my face when I come home from work, and it kills me - today she's practicing this game and it makes me tear up. I hurry the nanny out the door and want to sit down and nurse but she's too distracted and keeps popping off to look at anything and everything. I give up because Molly is sitting at my feet begging to go out and as I walk through the kitchen, I remember I never took anything out for dinner. Fill a bowl with water and cross my fingers that frozen turkey sausage links will defrost in time (update: they do not). Charlotte's struggling with her teeth and fusses and feels warm - not a good day for a walk, so we rock and snuggle and she finally gives in to a nap that lasts a solid 23 minutes (I timed it). I call Brian to check his status and immediately feel guilty for wanting him home more quickly - I miss my baby all day; shouldn't I take advantage of every second that I have with her? But she's so fussy today and wants to be held but is moving everywhere and nothing is making her happy. We try the Solly - she conks out and I sit on the couch with her still strapped to me, not moving, and soaking up her snuggles. Molly climbs up next to me and we watch an episode of Real Housewives until she sees one of Sonja's dogs and barks - Charlotte's awake.

Brian's home and we throw together dinner from my Trader Joe's freezer stockpile and have a glass of wine, mainly as a reward for getting through the day. Charlotte eats a little bit of puree but is OVER TODAY and we do an early tubby time which gets a smile and giggle out of her. I brought her home a pink rubber duck and she loves it - working mom guilt for the win! We have jammy time and I sing "Where You Lead," which is our song, and while I put on her lotion she grabs my hand and holds it on her chest - tears. I pull on her lemon pajamas and they're snug - when did my baby start to outgrow these? I know that I should FaceTime my parents but I'm so tired and feeling pretty grouchy myself, so we skip it and read books on our bed until she turns towards me and falls asleep. I put her in her sleep sack and into the Pack n Play, spending a few minutes browsing holiday outfits before I fall asleep with my phone in my hand.

It is hard. It is so freaking hard. I wish that I could say being a working mom has gotten easier, but it hasn't. I wish every single day that I could be home with my baby, and I feel selfishly resentful towards people that can. Sure, it's a huge plus to have our combined incomes right now, but I'd give mine up in a second to have this time with Charlotte - every single day I think "This time is going by so, so fast, and she'll never be this small again." 

I think the most challenging part of being a mama and working full time is never feeling like I'm adequately giving enough to any part of my life. 

If the house is together and laundry is good, I feel guilty for not spending that time with Charlotte. 

If I spend big chunks of time with just Charlotte after work, I feel guilty for not spending that time with Brian. 

If I'm doing great at work, I feel guilty about not being home.

Then there are days where I feel like I fail across the board and cry my eyes out while I'm pumping and know that I just need a fresh start.

So I go home and hug my baby, play with my dog, love my husband, have a glass of wine, and wake up the next morning to do it all over again. And the next day could be awesome, could be awful, but I know that I'm doing the best that I can because good grief, I can only give so much. We all are - we're doing the best that we can

Five on Friday!

{one} slow down, susan
I swear, weekends are so bittersweet for me since having Charlotte - I can't wait for the work week to go by so we can all be home together on Saturday and Sunday, but then before I know it, Sunday night has arrived and I'm gearing up for the new week and already wishing for the next weekend. SO, I'm trying really hard to stop wishing the time away and soak it up because I'm already far too aware of the fact that time flies when you have a baby, and I don't want to look back and wish I'd slowed down to take it all in.

With this goal in mind, I have plans for family fun time this weekend - a stroller workout class and Target with Charlotte tomorrow morning, family bagels and coffee, lots of walks with Molly, doing a family BJs run (because what's more synonymous with family life in the suburbs than that?), cocktail hour + grilling on the deck, a trip to Lowe's for flowers and to research for a fun little project we're starting, and taking our girl to the beach. My new mantra? Soak it in, don't wish it away!


{two} subway tile 
Brian and I are gearing up for a little DIY project to add subway tile to our kitchen. In the past, DIY has either been a great experience, or nearly led to divorce. I think we're approaching this one as very "divide and conquer" - he handles anything number/measurement/math related, and I handle the design/pretty/fun stuff. We have black granite counters and light wooden cabinets (although I so wish they were white but we'll be hiring someone to do THAT job) so we think the subway tile will add that fun little something to the kitchen. We're heading to Lowe's tomorrow to price everything out and hopefully get started this week! I'm loving these looks: 

I'll take one of everything, please - the counters, the sink, the tile, the glass cabinets - come to mama!

Kind of liking the look of the darker grout - it looks less... fancy? than the white grout, and our kitchen is NOT fancy.


{three} baby dinners
A dear friend of mine just had a baby (hi sweet Rose!) and another friend and I are going to take her dinner next week plus a freezer meal. I've been debating what I should take but after seeing Tess' post this morning, I'm thinking enchiladas, a dessert and a bottle of wine - ole! What's your go-to for a new mama meal? 


{four} is it fall yet? 
On a brighter note, I'm over summer and ready for fall! The clothes, the food, the coziness - hate the heat, ready for the cooler temps! And I admittedly can't wait to see what kind of fun we have in store for us with our girl this year. Her first big holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and you KNOW that I've already started stocking up on outfits and browsing Halloween costumes. And I can't even go there with Christmas because that means I have to think about her first birthday and... all the feels on that one.

{five} Nordstrom sale insanity 
Okay, I have to go out with a bang - the Nordstrom sale. Is it just me, or is the pimping of the Nordstrom sale just... too much? This could totally rub you the wrong way and if it does, apologies, but the oversaturation on the blogs and Instagram this past week was just TOO much, and I know that I can't be the only person thinking that way. I was able to access the sale last week and made a few purchases but you know what I DIDN'T do? Need the coaching of bloggers to do so. I clicked through the tops and shoes and leggings as a grown person does, and found exactly what I needed. If someone said "OMG I LOVE the Zella Live In Leggings!!" and linked to them, I went to the website and searched for "zella live in leggings," mainly out of spite to NOT click the link. 

Another annoyance? Listing out 52 different things from the sale that you "just love" but none that you're actually buying, so everyone just clicks through the links on your blog. I get it - we all need a side hustle and every little bit helps when it comes to kickbacks from affiliate links and such - fine. But don't present it as though you purchased and are going to wear and love everything because FALSE. Ugh, I don't know. I would much rather see someone buy a handful of things, try them on, give honest reviews, and share what they're returning, rather than painting it like the sale is seen through rose-colored glasses. And not only was it "Look at what I love!" but then we had the friggin unboxing of everything. I just can't. It all just irked me to no end this week. END rant, y'all. 

And a gratuitous picture of my baby because why not? 

Happy Friday, y'all! Let's make it a good one!


Charlotte Frances {6 months}

Charlotte Frances, you are SIX MONTHS OLD!


Weight/Height: 14 lbs, 15 oz, and right at about 24 inches long as of your six month check-up on Friday, July 7. We're going to start tracking your height in the nursery to see how fast you're growing.

Nicknames: Lovey, Little Love, Bubs, Sug/Sugars, Tootie. I'm still pushing back hard when people try to shorten your name to Charlie, Char, etc. - you're my sweet Charlotte and if your name gets shortened and you prefer a nickname as you grow older, that is certainly fine by me (coming from a Katherine/Katie, Mama gets it!) but I'm holding firm to your full name for as long as I can!

Clothes: You're wearing all 3-6 month sizes from Baby Gap, Old Navy, Janie and Jack, Cat & Jack and Carters, and 6 month sizing in the majority of these as well. There are a couple of 6 month outfits that are still a little loose, but I'm not rushing it! All of the Halloween and Christmas preorders are starting and I have no clue how to estimate how big you'll be in 3-5 months.

Sleep: All the praise hands for you starting to sleep 95% through the night! You go down around 8:30pm, wake up once around 1am, and stay sleeping until 5:30am when I feed you before I leave for work. There have been a few times where you fuss a bit but your Daddy is making me wait it out to see if you can settle yourself back to sleep, and most of the time you can. If you get really worked up, I'll pick you up, give you your Wub while we rock/bounce for a few minutes to settle you back down, and you fall instantly back to sleep. 

You're still sleeping in the Pack n Play in our bedroom, but we're going to start working on the transition to your crib in the next week or so. It's been so, so humid and warm here the last few days but we're buying a window unit for your bedroom and can then make the move. My mama heart is truthfully a little sad, but I know you're getting big and that it's close to time. 

Schedule: You're on a pretty good schedule but I'm happy to say that you're also very go-with-the-flow, so if we're out running errands or we get thrown off our own schedule for whatever reason, you're happy to go along for the ride and nap wherever, whenever.

5:30-6a - Wake up/nurse 
6-6:20a - Daddy gets ready and we have our few minutes together. I change your diaper and get your dressed for the day while we wave to the baby in the mirror (surprise! it's you.) and sing songs (current favorites include I Love You in the Morning, This Little Light of Mine and You Are My Sunshine) 
6:20a - Mama leaves for work and Daddy does the hand-off with Ms. Lorraine 
7:30-10a - You typically are ready for a nap between 7/7:30, and sleep for a good hour and a half to two hours in the mornings.
10-10:30a - 4 oz bottle 
10:30a-11:30a - Play time with Ms. Lorraine. She tells me that you read books, listen to music, play with your activity mat, etc. I miss this time so so much but know you're in good hands.
11:30a/12p - You tend to doze off for a quick cat nap after playing for a bit. 
12-12:30p - 4oz bottle 
12:30-1:30p - You typically nap for an hour or so around this time. If you wake up early, you
1:30-3:30p - Depending on the day, you're either awake and playing or napping when I get home for the day around 3:30pm. 
3:30-4pm - Nurse (depending on when you last had your bottle, this can range anywhere from a snack-y nursing session to a solid 20-30 minutes) 
4-5pm - Mama Time! We snuggle, go on walks, sit in the shade outside with Molly if it's cool enough, read books, practice sitting with your Boppy while we play with toys, listen to music, hang in your highchair in the kitchen while I prep our dinner - I basically try to fit in as much as I can because you're in great spirits at this time.
5-5:30/6ish - You still take a little nap here, and I love the extra snuggle time with you because I can promise you that I hold you for this entire rest time.
6p - Daddy's home! You have time with Daddy while I finish up dinner, wash bottles from that day and prep your bottles for the following day.
6:30-7:30p - Dinner time. Since we've started BLW and purees, we've been eating dinner at the kitchen table with you in your highchair, so we can all eat together. It's silly but I've looked forward to this since before you were here, and it makes my heart so full and happy to have our little family at the kitchen table.
7:30p - Tubby Time for you! You LOVE your baths and have started splashing and kicking water all over the place with the biggest giggles and grins while you do it. So sweet.
8p - Our bedtime routine - your nighttime nursing session, along with books, songs and prayers before you fall asleep. 

Health: You're in perfect health and we couldn't be more thankful! You get a bit of heat rash every now and then but this month we've been in the clear otherwise.
Crying: You only cry when you're overtired or frustrated, like if we aren't feeding you fast enough or roll over and get stuck. You've also had a few episodes of what I'm chalking up to teething crying which breaks my heart.

Feeding: Still nursing like a champ. I nurse you before I leave for work in the morning, you have two 4oz bottles during the day, I nurse you when I get home around 3:30pm, and typically nurse on demand through the evening (which is really only once or twice, max). We've started stretching more time between feedings in the evenings, so if I feed you around 4 or 5pm, we try to keep you entertained and happy until 8pm, so you'll eat a bigger meal before going to bed. You're loving oatmeal, which we aim to do with dinner time 3-4 nights per week, and on Wednesday, June 28, we started Baby-Led Weaning! It was a few days before you officially reached 6 months, but all signs pointed to it being OK for us to give it a shot, so Mama prepped cucumber sticks and avocado chunks and placed them on your highchair try. After lots of hype and excitement... you couldn't have cared less. You gummed the cucumber once, gagged yourself, dropped it, and banged your hands on the tray. You mushed the avocado around a bit, then pretty quickly made it clear that you were DONE with the highchair. 

We've since decided to incorporate both BLW practice along with purees, which makes me happy. You've tried peanut butter on wheat toast; roasted sweet potato and carrot pureed with breastmilk; mashed avocado and banana; and scrambled egg yolk. The pediatrician gave us the OK to try anything but honey, so we're going for it and so far (thank goodness) we've had no reactions. This next month I'm taking the leap into making your purees, which I'm probably way too excited about.

Likes: Your Wubby (still rotating between the Fox and the Lamb), snuggling with your Lovey, walks in your stroller, Molly, listening to Adele, your Baby Einstein turtle, holding your Bun-Bun (little Jellycat bunny), your Daddy's made-up songs (they're usually to the tune of "Oh Canada" or Christmas songs), Facetiming with Gigi and Papa, Tubby Time, and your Mama!
Dislikes: Being cold, overtired and/or hungry. 
Milestones: You've started blowing raspberries, which is the cutest thing on earth. You also snuggle with me, which is my favorite thing in the world - when I hold you near my shoulder, you lay your head down and hug your arm around my neck. You're rolling over like crazy and will sit up if you're supported against us. You've also started doing this crazy walk up the front of us when we're holding you, and you're getting up on your knees and doing downward dog when you're in your pack n play or on the floor - I feel like you're getting ready to go places, my girl!
Faces and Places: We had kind of a big month for both good and bad reasons. Your great-grandpa (my Grandpa Fox) passed away, so you and I spent a lot of time in Connecticut with family. You met lots of my cousins, whom we'll call your aunts and uncles, and your second cousins! Your Gigi and Papa then came to stay with us for a week to celebrate your baptism on Sunday, June 25. It was the best day and you had so many family members there to celebrate you. You went to the beach for the first time on Monday, June 26, to your first farmers market in Hingham on Saturday, July 1, and took your first dip in the swimming pool on Tuesday, July 4 (you didn't love it, but it was overcast that day and I think a little cool for you). 

Postpartum: I'm feeling great and finally feel like I'm looking more like myself. I'm close to my pre-pregnancy weight and am full steam ahead to continue losing. I charged my Fitbit for the first time in months and am excited to get back into the practice of step step stepping my days away.

Molly: You are LOVING your fur-sister. If she's in the room, you're constantly following her with your eyes, and when she gets close to us, you want to touch her fur. She's so gentle with you and doesn't mind the occasional kick or swat from your little hands and feet - she's just happy to be back in the snuggle club.

Things I Want to Remember: When it's time to eat, you do this adorable little pant, like you're so excited... you just can't hide it (sorry sister - Mama's lame humor is something you'll have to deal with for all of forever)! I don't ever want to forget it. You light up when you see me in the morning. We've started reading "Wherever You Go, My Love Will Find You" before I leave for work each morning, which basically means I cry on my drive to the office, but I like the thought of sending you off to start your day with that sweet Mama/Charlotte time. You take a few minutes to wake up and I love that snuggle time with you - you like to sit on my lap with your Wubby and a blanket and I soak up those moments. 

Charlotte King, you are the light of our lives and we feel SO blessed to be your parents. Your little personality is starting to emerge and we can't wait to watch as you grow and continue to learn. It's the best feeling to see your little face focus and concentrate as you try to figure out how things work - you can practically see the wheels turning! You're constantly moving and watching and following everything going on around you, and we're so excited to watch as you take on this big world.

To the moon and back, sweet baby girl.
Love, Mama

(now prepare for a deluge of photos)



Meeting your Aunt Shan, Aunt Erica and cousins Carter and Charlie in Connecticut 

Uncle Nick in Greenwich


You are the apple of your Papa's eye!




I love love love how you hold your hands when you sleep.



Mama Multitasking at its finest! I had to finish up a bit of work before we left town for the weekend, so I stopped in with you to get things done!

You love your Bun-Bun (and your Daddy).

Maybe 3 minutes after meeting Gigi and Papa at the hotel in Greenwich - you didn't leave their sight for the next 3 days!

Charlotte and Gigi - down for the count on the drive home from CT.

   
Your baptism day!



Your godparents, Aunt Meg and Uncle Ryan.

All of the grandparents! Your Gigi and Papa, Poppy and Katka.

Had to have the cross cake!


Mama and her best girl.

Walking Powder Point Bridge in Duxbury with Gigi and Papa.

Your first trip to the ocean!



Dipping your toes for the first time!




Trying a bit of avocado and cucumber.

Breakfast at Stars in Hingham after the farmers market on 4th of July weekend 


Our little firecracker on your first Fourth of July!


First time going for a walk in the stroller without your carseat!

Peanut butter toast - you loved it!

Sunday morning snuggles with Bun-Bun, Mama and The Great British Baking Show 



Baby and Boogie

Playing while Mama cooks



After walking at Humarock, we peeked in to see this - all smiles!

Your monthly photo shoots are becoming more interesting...

You'll let Mama arrange you, your pillow and Lamby...

... but you're constantly moving and kicking your little legs...

... and when did those little legs get so long?

 
Lots of high kicks - your right leg is always going and extended out (Aunt Amanda thinks you're destined to be a dancer; Auntie Mal thinks you're heading for the Rockettes!)

 
But you always give Mama lots of smiles and coos. 

 
 Now that we're rolling, the floor portion of our shoot gave Mama a bit of a workout...

 
After a couple of good pictures and a bit of wrangling...

 
... you decided you were very busy...

 
 and were all done with that portion of the day.

We love you so much, sweet girl!