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motherhood

motherhood

I am who I am, because you are who you are

May 15, 2017

Because motherhood is the most maddeningly fantastic love affair that I never knew I wanted.

And because sometimes you need a good cry.

Thank you Apple for another great ad. Happy belated Mother’s Day in true working mom fashion.

 

If you’re like me and think this song is everything. Link to a full version and lyrics are below.


 

Because You Are Who You Are | K.S. Rhoads

Whenever I’m around you.

I go home a little bit.

There’s just something about you.

Where the pieces all fit.

There’s a lightness that surrounds you.

And it guides me like a star.

Oh I am, who I am.

Because you are who you are.

Put your hand in my hand.

And I am made brand new.

Somehow you just understand.

You always know just what to do.

And even when you are away.

You’re never all that far.

Oh I am, who I am.

Because you are who you are.

The truth is this.

And don’t forget.

That my world’s better cause you’re in it.

There’s a lightness that surrounds you.

And it guides me like a star.

Oh I am, who I am.

Because you are who you are.

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

motherhood, working mom

New Mom? Quit Social Media.

November 18, 2015

My advice for a new mom going back to work? Quit social media.

Why? The recent bombardment of articles around infant death. Seriously.

Going back to work is difficult enough without reading about tragic stories involving infant deaths – which are rare. Even though these incidents are in the vast minority, infant death doesn’t feel rare when you see multiple articles pop up in your feed as you’re checking your social media between meetings. The worst thing? You can’t not read them – you’re compelled by some inner anxiety and fear that ensures you click thru. Why torture yourself?

Many of the articles I’ve read mention having to leave your infant with strangers. To that I ask, why are you leaving your infant with strangers? The people that take care of your child while you’re working should not be strangers. Get to know them for fuck sake you’re leaving your precious tiny human with them!

Many also mention a group care setting. Not comfortable with a group care/daycare setting? Don’t send your kid there. Find another option – a nanny, an au pair, relatives or determine which partner will stay home. You have options – exercise them.

I will tell you from experience, however, leaving your kid to go back to work with ANYONE other than YOU is f-ing HARD. Even if it’s your own relatives – the fact remains it’s not YOU. And that SUCKS.

What can you do to ease your mind? Get to know your care providers in any setting you choose. Ensure that appropriate certifications are in place, like CPR for instance, and that your child will only be allowed to sleep in a crib devoid of loose material on their back (not in any type of seat or carrier). Oh… and quit social media for awhile.

I just recently began back at work full-time after having baby #2 – ‘new baby’ according to our toddler – and all these articles are making me beyond anxious. Even though this is not my first rodeo, I furiously texted my husband in a panic just yesterday morning after reading yet another story.

Are you a new mom preparing to go back to work? Do yourself a favor and quit social media for awhile.

 

 

motherhood

mother’s day reflection

May 13, 2015

This, my second official Mother’s Day, I found myself reflecting on my journey to become someone’s ‘Mama.’

Mentally, leading up to having V, I had a tough time with things. I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time with change and was worried about about the whole ‘becoming a mom’ thing and my lack of maternal instinct. In short, I was just plain scared about this journey I had chosen to embark on.

Having V with us for going on two years now I think every day how much time I wasted being worried and scared for something that turned out to be the most amazing thing that has ever happened in my life.

This tiny human is, most of the time, pretty awesome. Seeing him learn about himself and the world around him is crazy cool. Getting a hug and kiss from him and hearing his voice say ‘Mama’ is beyond… literally BEYOND.

Yes motherhood has been all of those things they say: exhausting, amazing, rewarding, etc. But most of all it’s exceeded my limited expectations of what my life with a child would be like. Thankfully my husband knew better than me, because this whole parenting thing is pretty f-ing awesome. I’m so glad I listened to him. (Yes… you read that right.)

motherhood

my heart will never be the same

December 16, 2014

Though we planned to have Baby V, I didn’t know if I was truly ready. That said, I think I’m missing that switch. The “really truly ready for motherhood” switch. The longing and desire to be a mom just never kicked in. I used to worry that there was something wrong with me. I used to worry that I wouldn’t love this tiny human when he/she arrived. I used to worry that I wouldn’t be a good mom. I used to worry, worry, worry… about me. Now I worry for him, in all the good ways that I get to worry because I get to be his mom. My heart will never be the same in the best kind of way that I never could have imagined.

motherhood

the biggest surprise

November 12, 2014

When I was at the Urgent Care up the street from our house for a drop-in Strep test (in case you were curious this was Round 3 for Strep with a 4 day reprieve from antibiotic regimens between 2 and 3), I had a little time to peruse some back issues of WebMD magazine. I already had Strep, why not peruse some germ-infested hard copy magazines while I was waiting?! (Plus my iPhone battery died – I was desperate to pass the time).

I stumbled upon a great Q&A with Lisa Ling. My favorite was this:

What has surprised you most about motherhood? “That I would enjoy it so much, frankly. I never had a desire to be a mother. It just wasn’t something important to me. I’ve always been career-driven; I felt like [my work] was my purpose. But having a child has changed my life. It’s brought me incredible fulfillment, a new perspective and purpose. I love it.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this response from her, even more so because she didn’t just stumble upon motherhood – she tried for it. In that one response, I connected.

Lisa Ling articulated something I have personally experienced, the biggest surprise about motherhood is that I love being a mom – being V’s mom. To give you some context, when revealing to a senior associate at my agency that I was pregnant he literally asked, based on how I was sharing the news with him, “Oh, I’m sorry, was this not planned?!” I quickly exclaimed “I’m crazy planner, of course this was planned! I just don’t know how I feel about the whole thing yet.” True story. Because although I’m insane with planning, researching and organizing I’m not awesome with change and this was a BIG ONE!

If there’s one thing I can say it’s that some changes are amazing, and motherhood – for me – was one of them.

LV ♥

– JLVR

motherhood

I was just ready for him

October 15, 2014
Baby Dan V in Navy Hoodie

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.

LV ♥

-JLVR

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.

motherhood

not so great expectations

October 6, 2014

While listening to Wake-Up with Taylor this morning on my commute to work this quote form Christine Hassler author of Expectation Hangover, caught in my mind.

Pregnancy, birth and parenthood are all overwhelming in themselves without the added pressure of expectations – be they your own or someone else’s. I am a planner by nature and therefore by default always have expectations for everything. In the not so distant past I was constantly dealing with disappointment and the worst part was it was my own doing. Over the years I’ve been able to recover a bit from my ‘expectation’ habit and I am determined not to be plagued by unnecessary disappointment especially in regards to motherhood.

As I listened to Christine talk about the importance of setting goals, not expectations, I realized I luckily had accidentally done that for myself with my baby Dan V. Just because I had goals, doesn’t mean that expectations didn’t sneak their way in.

My goals were simple…

  • Birth Plan = Come through on the other side healthy with a healthy baby
  • To breastfeed (BF) if possible and hopefully make it to 6 months
  • Find childcare that suits our family and our newest addition

When you’re pregnant it seems like one of the biggest topics of conversation as well as a subject area ripe for opinions – do you have a birth plan? are you going natural? For my own sanity I determined no plan was better than a plan for me. Will I prefer to have my water break naturally? I dunno. Will I have an epidural? Maybe. The only thing I knew for sure was I wasn’t going to get in a bathtub – I can barely even comprehend sitting in one in my own home which I know is scrubbed and scoured there was no way that it would be relaxing for me to use one at the hospital! Going into birth without a plan was the best plan for me. I was terrified that if I had a plan I would be devastated when things did not go accordingly. For me, no plan was the right way to go. I was prepared to go with the flow and do whatever I felt was necessary in the moment. (We’ll pretend that I didn’t breakdown about not having Dan V in August… more on that in another post).

Another huge topic of discussion revolves around breastfeeding (BF) – whether or not to BF, how long to BF, the list goes on. Fortunately with V we skipped all of the horror stories surrounding BF – no or poor latch, low or no milk supply, etc. I really had no excuse not to. Would I have stuck with it if it had been more difficult? I’m not sure. I remember speaking to other new moms or moms-to-be that had goals loftier than my own and feeling anxiety over my choices – had I made the right decision? When things were winding down, I started to feel guilt creeping in. Should I try to pump more to keep my supply up? It would be awesome to have my body back to myself, is that selfish? I had made it to 6 months (and V’s 8 teeth) with a stockpile that lasted another 2 – what was there to feel bad about?

For us, and so many other working parents, the childcare conversation was incredibly challenging to navigate. Since  my husband, Dan IV, and I decided we would both continue working full-time, we needed to determine the best situation for our family. Daycare seemed to be the solution that was right for us, though not easily arrived at. The childcare/child-rearing issue is always one that gets a lot of attention and opinions. Personally, I felt like there was no solution that fit perfectly – including me becoming a stay-at-home-mom. At first I would get really down about putting my tiny little V in daycare. I wasn’t prepared for how I felt about going back to work and leaving V with anyone other than myself. I certainly wasn’t prepared to discuss the merits of every childcare situation and what that means for our family. It was distracting and, at times, consuming. Over time I realized that others were not putting expectations on me, I was doing it to myself. People were just asking questions about our daycare because they were genuinely interested in our life not because they were passing judgment.

Guilt and disappointment are both so counterproductive – why waste our precious time with it?

A work in progress…

LV ♥

JLVR