Monthly Archives

June 2016

working mom

3 people you need to boost your friend count

June 30, 2016

When we were younger we were told to ‘use the buddy system!’ The same is true for when you become an adult and especially when you become a parent.

There are three distinct friends every working mom needs to cultivate…

  1. A friend at work
    1. Fact – you’re at work A LOT. So find someone who shares a kid around the same age or similar child rearing philosophies. Grab lunch and talk about struggles around work/life balance or preparing for/returning from maternity leave. Share great deals you’ve found, talk about your favorite products or how weird it is when co-workers ask you about your bottle sanitation bag in the microwave like it’s a cool new meal that they’ve not yet discovered. You will always have a willing listener for your stories and viewer of your pictures.
  2. A friend at daycare
    1. Your kid knows their kid, and more importantly LIKES their kid. Strike-up a conversation at drop-off or pick-up, or do what I did and leave a note for the teacher to pass along. You’ll be glad you hooked-up. Not only is it great for the kids to continue their relationship outside of daycare (they usually know how to play together which is an added bonus!). But you will also have someone else to talk about the happenings at daycare – why a director left, get the skinny on specific rooms and teachers, learn which kids are teaching yours potty humor, etc.
  3. A friend in your current circle
    1. One great thing about longtime friend who also has a kid is that you have a history that predates your offspring. You can talk kids, or talk work, or talk relationship, or talk about weird shit you wouldn’t dare mention to anyone else, or NOT TALK AT ALL because you just get each other. Your relationship endures even though you now sometimes have little people in tow.

I’m the first one to say ‘ugh I have enough friends’ but trust me, you’ll be glad you reached out.

motherhood, working mom

guilty as charged – no more milk here

June 23, 2016

It’s officially over.

I’m not breastfeeding. I’m not pumping. My boobs are mine again. I should be rejoicing but instead I’m mourning the last drops of breast milk that went into New Baby’s bottles just the other day. Thinking about it still makes me feel a twinge of sadness.

It’s a bittersweet feeling. I am one of the few and lucky ones that didn’t have problems breastfeeding. Meaning that I had supply, I didn’t get mastitis, my baby latched and all was good. (As an aside, for anyone who has issues I applaud your efforts I’m not quite sure if I could have shown the same dedication in the face of challenges on this front.)

My approach to breastfeeding was simple – if it works for us great but if it didn’t then no worries the kid will still eat. I was given formula and turned out to be a healthy happy human so will New Baby.

Before you think I’m effortlessly chill let me just tell you I HAD to take that stance for my own sanity. I’m actually a crazy perfectionist at heart and if I didn’t tell myself that it’s totally cool to do or not do this and deliberately NOT have plans about it I would have driven myself into depression.

And now that the well has literally dried up I feel… a little… well… guilty.

  • Guilty for not breastfeeding longer
    • And extra guilty because it was relatively easy for me, I didn’t even have to work that hard for it and I’m not doing it anymore
  • Guilty for not trying hard to keep up my supply
    • I could have tried ‘power hour’ pumping sessions or all of the lactation inducing food items on repeat, but I didn’t
  • Guilty for being excited to have my body back
    • No one is relying on my body for anything and it’s kinda great

This is where it’s awesome to have a cheerleader in your life. As I confessed these things in our kitchen to my husband who was busy washing New Baby’s bottles from daycare he said:

I’m not going to pretend to understand how you’re feeling but what I will tell you is this…

  • You made it longer with New Baby than you did with V

  • He’s got over 9 months of breast milk under his belt and soon he’ll be One and onto real human food so it’s about to end anyway

  • You did awesome, it’s over… and time for you to get over it

 

He’s right. All of that is true. Especially the last point – it’s over and time for me to get over it. Stop dwelling and MOVE ON!

There really are so many things to look forward to…

  • My pump doesn’t need to ride shotgun on the commute to work anymore
  • My schedule just opened up, no need to block chunks of time and lock my office door to pump over emails
  • No more thawing bags of milk and stressing about losing a drop of liquid gold to a leaky bag
  • I get my boobs back

Oh.. and above all my little dude will be totally and completely FINE without it.

Cheers to that!

-JLVR

working mom

5 simple ways to support your pumping partner

June 9, 2016

Recently in my facebook feed the article on Romper by Jamie Kenney “12 Things Grown-Ass Men Do For Their Partners Who Are Breastfeeding” popped up in my feed. Since I was, at the time, still breastfeeding (which can been an all-consuming activity) I was intrigued. I agree with some of her points wholeheartedly such as ‘don’t be weird about boobs’ and ‘don’t complain about having to “share the boobs”’ (and for the record they are MY BOOBS THANK YOU!). I have been thinking of my own journey with breastfeeding and more importantly as a full-time working mom PUMPING. Here are my ‘5 simple ways to support your pumping partner’.

5 simple ways to support your pumping partner

5 simple ways to support your pumping partner

Clean It Up

I can definitively say that my husband washed my pump parts far more times than I did. He’s most excited now that I’m done pumping that he doesn’t have to wash the parts ever again! Be a good partner – know what the parts are, how they come apart and how they’re cleaned.

Leak Guard

One of the most devastating things for a mother who’s pumping is to see any precious milk go to waste. One of the sneakiest culprits of this is a leaky milk storage bag. It can literally bring a mom to tears. Keep an eye on the bags while they’re thawing and when necessary save any of that ‘liquid gold’ from going literally down the drain.

Take the Wheel… or the Baby… or the Baby and the Toddler…    

For me there was a clear tipping point where breastfeeding was no longer an option but pumping was. Not only was pumping an option, it was a very necessary one. Drive the car so she can get a pump session in on a road trip. Take the baby, or in my case the baby and the toddler, so that she can get a quick session in.

Camaraderie

After our kids were put to bed for the night I’d pump one more time before I retired for the evening… (and by ‘retired for the evening’ I mean promptly passed out until a screaming infant woke me in the middle of the night). My husband would sit up with me and watch TV while I pumped. It was a small gesture but so appreciated. He made me feel like I wasn’t in this alone.

Celebrate

One day this breastfeeding ride will come to an end, for some that may be sooner than others. If you’re like me, and likely most women everywhere, you’ll feel a mixture of excitement (yay my body is MINE again!) and guilt (should I try to keep going?!). You reach a point where it’s like squeezing water from a stone – it just ain’t gonna happen. And that’s OK! You want your body to be your own again? That’s OK too! Support your partner, celebrate the triumph of a freezer full of milk. Assure her that everything will alright and  that she did a great job. More importantly pop some bottles because the days of abstaining from alcohol are over!

As an aside…

You know something funny? Inevitably as a working mom in an office setting your co-workers will get a glimpse of something related to pumping at some point. Most notably me sterilizing my parts in a Medela Steam Bag* in the kitchen microwave. More often than not the women in my office knew NOTHING about what I was doing but there were a handful of fathers around my age that did. They knew the terminology, the gear, the struggle, everything. They were a source of support that I didn’t expect to find at work.

Happy Pumping!

-JLVR

*By the way the ONLY brand to buy is Medela in regard to a steam bag, they’re super sturdy! Trust me do not waste your money on generic.