My brother-in-law is famous for putting things into perspective. If you’re having a Chicken Little ‘the sky is falling’ kind of moment he will snap you back to reality with “did you know that militants stormed the diplomatic compound in Libya and killed the ambassador, maybe your day is not so bad.”* Yeah, he goes there. But sometimes you need a different perspective to allow for reevaluation. And sometimes you’re just having a moment and want to vent damnit. It happens!
As I’ve written before, and will surely do again, the biggest shift in my point of view has come from the arrival of Dan V. But there is no shortage of ideas, articles, content, people, places and things that cause us to shift our thinking every day – some in small and some in not-so-small ways.
Enter Nora Purmort. Nora and I went to the same college in Cincinnati, she was a year behind me and we ran in the same circles. She’s also a fellow working mom. In 2011 she and her husband were married at the same time he began battling brain cancer. The video above is a teaser for a documentary that Anders Holine is making about their story – girl meets boy, boy gets brain cancer, the adventure continues.
She truly is a tremendous writer, check out her blog at My Husband’s Tumor. Worth a read for when you need perspective, or cannot find the strength, or just need to believe in existence. And if those reasons don’t do it for you, then just because she’s a phenomenal writer and you’d like to be in awe.
Sometimes all it takes is a second look from a different perspective. Sending good vibes out into the universe via the interwebs.
You can support Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research by purchasing a ‘Still Kickin‘ tee (or hoodie, or crew neck) thru Cotton Bureau that Aaron Purmort designed.
A colleague and I were lucky enough to travel to Las Vegas for work this week. We left early Saturday morning and headed back late last night. This is the first overnight work trip I’ve needed to take since Dan V was born. It came at a fantastic time. V is over one now, which is great because his routines are more predictable. This in turn makes leaving a bit easier knowing that he’s got a good rhythm going. Also, at this point, I don’t need to worry about the logistics of pumping – which is amazing and absolutely freeing. So check that off the list.
We were so fortunate to have the flexibility in our schedule to explore our surroundings leisurely and attend an amazing event to cap off our trip. The time change was a bit brutal, as expected. Pushing for a second and third wind to make it through the evenings and finding yourself waking up at 4AM Vegas time ready for the day takes a toll. Then again, I didn’t find myself having to wake in the middle of the night to attend to a baby so it was just a different kind of lack of sleep. (Unless you count waking up to the sound of someone throwing-up in the next room but luckily they weren’t my problem).
The one really surprising thing, outside of literally being able to smoke and drink anywhere anytime, was the number of tiny humans crawling all over the city. The amount of people with young children in tow was astonishing. I mean we’re in VEGAS! VEGAS! I didn’t know that it was considered a top family destination but the sheer volume of babies we saw in strollers, carriers and cradled in arms was crazy. If I’m traveling to Vegas for pleasure V is going to be last on my list of travel companions. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a riot, but he doesn’t exactly meet the minimum age requirement for boozing and gaming. Just sayin’.
Ultimately the worst part of the whole thing was missing the weekend with the little guy. Weekends are normally my time to hang with V so honestly the hardest part of the whole trip was that it happened to fall over a Saturday/Sunday. Though I must say it’s more me missing out than him since he got to hang with his Dad, Uncle, Grandparents and Great Grandparents over the weekend. Not too shabby. Hopefully I’ll be able to adjust my schedule slightly, maybe work from home a few half days to factor out the evening commute and gain an extra hour with him in the evening. We’ll see!
I have a lingering Netflix addiction from when Dan V was little-little. It all started when he was first born. I found, like probably any normal human staring down unpredictable sleepless nights, that getting up in the middle of the night to breastfeed nearly blind with exhaustion was something that I dreaded. Something I dreaded, that is, until I downloaded the Netflix app on my iPhone. It literally made a world of difference. It made getting up, and staying up, so much easier. As I fed him I was able to watch Orange is the New Black (OITNB), for instance, which not only kept me awake but entertained. I actually found myself looking forward to the next time I’d be able to watch and, trust me, there was always a next time.
Now that V’s over getting up during the night (most nights anyway) I find myself without that extra time to binge watch. Not that I’m complaining! I LOVE actually sleeping enough to be a productive member of the human race let alone wife, mother and worker-bee. I’ve also cruised through everything semi-meaningful to me and am now left with choices I’m less than enthusiastic about yet I hesitate to lose it.
Excuses include but are not limited to… My husband (Dan IV) and I still need to finish watching House of Cards (the only reason I’m not done with it yet is we watch it together and I’ve honored that… so far). Who really wants to cancel and then resubscribe? A new season of OITNB is coming out… eventually. I haven’t watched, like, EVERYTHING yet.
My commute home is a time of reflection – to recap the events of the workday and take stock of tomorrow. It can provide time to catch-up with friends or family and downtime to listen to music or a radio program.*
On bad days…
It’s a hellish and torturous activity adding even more time between me and little V.
* I realize that it may only be myself and octogenarians that refer to TV and radio shows as ‘programs.’
Though I personally resisted purchasing maternity wear for awhile, mostly because I was totally freaked out by the fact that this was even happening – by this I mean having a baby. (And for the record, yes, I did get pregnant on purpose. I am weird about change, but more on that later).
I totally recommend purchasing a few staples pieces for work sooner rather than later. It’s much easier now to look stylish when pregnant than it was in our mother’s day and as proof we have a plethora of options at our disposal.
Fortunately, I work at an ad agency which means that my daily wear isn’t very strict. I was free to pair maternity items with non-maternity flowy tops or maxi dresses with cardigans. Whatever your workplace wardrobe specifications, here are a few must have items to add to your list…
Classic Black Pants – x2
Full Panel – x1
Demi Panel – x1
NOT SO SAME DIFFERENCE – COMPARISON – DEMI vs. FULL PANEL
Pants Extender Belly Band
If you’re early enough in your pregnancy you may get some additional wear out of your slacks if you pick-up a pants extender.
Pants Extender – The belly band gets an honorable mention as a commonly used extender for your pants, it’s a band of elastic fabric that spans 6-8″ which you place over your unbuttoned pants to hold them up
Allows you to continue to get wear out of your current wardrobe, even when you cannot fully button your pants
Can be used post-pregnancy when you start to get back into your pre-pregnancy pants
At some point you need to accept that this ‘just isn’t working’ and move onto the real thing
After awhile a pants extender, like a belly band, just isn’t going to cut it.You’ll want to invest in a few true maternity pant styles for work. Here’s a breakdown on your style options…
Demi Panel – Features a few inches of thick stretchy fabric at the waist band to allow for extra stretch
Great fit for a smaller bump
Perfect to wear in the transition post-baby before you dare trying on your pre-pregnancy wardrobe
More difficult to wear the larger your belly grows
Full Panel – Features a panel of stretch fabric that pulls over your belly (referred to by my husband, Dan IV, as my ‘Urkel’ pants)
Great fit for a larger belly
Fits through many stages of pregnancy
Many black pants feature a black panel which can be difficult to wear with light colored tops
Don’t hold up as well post-pregnancy
If you want to get more wear our of your current wardrobe and are early in your pregnancy, pick-up a belly band. You can find them at your local Target. However, as you start moving into your second and third trimester you’ll want to ante up for both a demi and full panel pair of work pants. They fit better which allows you to be more comfortable – as you grow you’ll appreciate any extra source of comfort!
DRESS IT UP… OR DOWN
Be on the lookout for a few versatile dresses that allow you some room to grow. Maternity dresses have the uncanny knack of fitting your your bump impeccably. Stick with a few basics for work, a black sleeveless for instance, that you can get a lot of mileage out of by switching up jewelry and cardigans for maximum wear-ability.
WHERE TO SHOP
Motherhood Maternity – Great pieces at a great prices, be sure to grab some pants and jeans.
Motherhood Maternity is different from Destination Maternity, which has pricier items.
Gap – Great pants for work, on point and in style.
Ann Taylor Loft – They offer both maternity and non-maternity options and tend to feature some non-maternity flowy tops that made up my go-to staples. Plus they’re always having a sale.
Sign-up for their email and never buy anything full price again! No really though, I honestly will not purchase anything there full price.
Target – Take advantage of their mobile coupons to get discounts on maternity items.
I was really scared about becoming a mom. Like real scared. I literally told my husband, IV, that he better be ready to take care of this baby on his own because I may check-out of the whole thing.
The truth is children terrified me. I was convinced that I’d be one of those people that did not love or bond with their child. I definitely wanted a family but was more of the mindset to skip infancy and adolescence and go straight to the well-adjusted adult child part.
This may explain why I really enjoyed this quick article by Jenny Mollen for Cosmopolitan“The Moment I Fell in Love With My Son”. (You may know her husband, Jason Biggs, of American Pie fame among other projects like Orange is the New Black/OITNB). She directly addressed my thoughts and fears. Babies? Yeah, not super into them. Second Thoughts? For sure! I’m almost to the ‘finish line’ but am I really ready for this? Um I’m thinking no.
With this line she says it all…
“I wasn’t ready for kids. I was just ready for him.”
Now that Dan V is in my life, I think back on how much energy I wasted being anxious and worried. I may not have been ready for kids, but I was definitely ready for him.
P.S. She’s also all about breastfeeding and one of her favorite selfie accessories is her pump, which is kind of awesome from a celeb. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.
Milk supply can be a huge source of stress for working moms who are breastfeeding. Never fear! There are things you can do to keep things flowin.
Here’s the rundown of a few recommendations that are super easy to incorporate into your daily work routine…
Mother’s Milk Tea
Stay hydrated – Keep a water bottle at your desk so that you always have it within reach, it will serve as a reminder to keep hydrated.
Oatmeal – Along with a healthy balanced diet, try incorporating oatmeal (old fashioned not instant) into your breakfast routine. It is a great source of iron and when made with milk can further increase calcium intake, additionally it contains properties to lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy blood pressure so it is a great way to start your day!
Oatmeal doesn’t have to be boring – checkout Mason Jar Breakfast for a ton of easy to make breakfast recipes!
Fenugreek – This herb is known as a ‘galactagogue’ (a substance that increases milk supply) you can find capsules in the vitamin/supplement aisle of most stores. Take 2 capsules two to three times daily.
You may recognize the smell – it’s used as an artificial flavor in maple syrup.
Mother’s Milk Tea – It is packed with different herbs that are recommended to increase supply. Tastes a bit like black licorice, but if you’re into that or can power through it’s worth a try!
Brewer’s Yeast – Use it to make oatmeal lactation cookies, they make a delicious treat! Pair them with some Mother’s Milk Tea for a mid-afternoon snack.
Here’s a great video on how to make lactation cookies.
Incorporating some or all of the items listed above into your daily routine at work along with scheduled pumping sessions should help keep things flowin. Remember – stress will only hurt your production so make sure to make stress relief a priority. Hopefully incorporating these tips will help you worry less about your supply!
P.S. The lactation cookie video is from What’s Up Mom’s, an awesome YouTube channel. They have a little bit of everything – do yourself a favor and check it out!
A big stressor of returning to work can be the pumping situation. Here’s the skinny on pumping logistics and the gear to get you ready to tackle your new routine.
Scope the situation
If you’re planning to give breastfeeding a go, ask your HR representative where you can pump before you go on maternity leave so you can get the lay of the land. Knowing what to expect will make returning less anxiety inducing. Does it feel awkward? Sure! But you’re going to have to email this person and tell them whether you had a vaginal birth or C-section so you might as well rip the Band-Aid off on this one. Things get weird when you have a baby – all kinds of weird – this is nothing.
Put time on your calendar
At least tentatively block off some time on your calendar periodically each day to pump. Setting appointments ensures that you won’t be scheduled for a meeting unless someone checks with you and that will help you plan your sessions accordingly.
Wear easy access clothing
You’ll be exposed enough – the last thing you want to have to do is have to pull your dress over your head or unzip it to the waist to gain access. Trust me, plan accordingly!
Invest in a double electric pump
A double electric pump is the fastest way to get the job done. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act you are entitled to a breastpump free of charge. Guidelines vary so be sure to call you insurance company to learn how if you’re thinking about breastfeeding – do it while you’re pregnant so that you have your pump on hand when your little one arrives.
Also, some pumps come with a cooler bag some will not. You’ll want to ensure you have one on hand when you go back to work. You don’t want to look like you’re transporting organs or a 6-pack for a cook-out but you do want an easy place to stash your supply.
These are a quick and easy way to sanitize your pump parts, when you’re pumping multiple times a day you want the cleaning process to be as quick and painless as possible.
Go for whatever is most economical, I usually ping-ponged between Target’s Up & Up or Lansinoh. I tried the Medela Pump & Save bags but really disliked them, they were stiff, difficult to close and more expensive.
Double Electric Pump
There are a lot of options out there and it can feel pretty overwhelming when you begin weighing them. Ask around for recommendations. I personally love my Medela Pump in Style it’s quick and easy. It even comes in a stylish tote! I kid, the tote is not at all stylish, but it is functional and at least it’s discretely black and not screaming “I’M A BREAST PUMP!”
Added benefit to the Medela Pump in Style is that you can get pump parts in a hurry if you’re in a pinch and forgot yours – usually in stock at Target.
Pro tip – throw in a pack or two of AA batteries just in case you need to pump somewhere without an outlet (like the back of your car in a Metropark parking lot on the way to a client meeting or at a winery – yes both have happened)
Who doesn’t love being hands free? It allows you time to multitask by answering emails, prioritizing your to-do list, doing your make-up in the morning, Pinterest… the possibilities are endless!
You will definitely need these at first. I really liked using the disposable ones in the beginning, they even have tape on them so that you can attach them to your bra – so convenient! I then moved on to reusable washable ones. I personally loved Bamboobies – they’re soft, comfortable and discrete.
This stuff is amazing, it’s soft and easy to spread. You’ll want to have some on hand since your nips take a beating being shoved in a baby’s mouth or pump on the reg. You won’t be disappointed with Bamboobies Nipple Balm.
iPhone (or other Smart Phone)
Start your pumping session by looking at the latest pictures and videos of your sweet little babe. It will help get the milk flowin! (Plus with the hands-free bra you’ll want something to multitask on).
Though Dan V would likely be considered ‘from the wrong side of the tracks’ because we are not even close to the Kardashian-West’s tax bracket, are only peripherally related to a few reality TV stars, V wears labels such as Baby Gap and hand-me-downs from non-famous relatives and he’s neither had a Vogue photo shoot nor traveled internationally – you can’t beat a great gift from Damhorst!
You may not be able to afford North West’s other pricey designer baby gifts – like Hermes booties and matching checkered blanket – but these are a few that won’t break the bank! Kim and Kanye approved.