A Working Parent Tip

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These days, we’re REALLY trying to save money due to the abysmal selling-our-house situation. So I try to take my lunch to work most every day.

In the mornings, however, I’m not only trying to get myself ready for work, but also getting my baby girl up, changed, dressed, fed, and packing her diaper bag for the day. She eats a LOT of little things so it takes me time to prepare all of those each day. In addition, she wears cloth diapers so if they aren’t already folded and stuffed, it’s another task I add to the morning routine.

(This single parenting during the week stinks! Not only do I have to get all our stuff ready, I have to make sure she’s not trying to swim in the toilet or falling down the stairs.)

If there is not something I can easily grab for breakfast or lunch, I often give up and end up eating out for lunch at work.

So my number one solution to this has been to divide up leftovers in individual portions right after dinner. That way, I can easily grab a tupperware container on my way out the door in the morning and have a delicious lunch.

I keep them stacked at eye level in the refrigerator so I can see my selections and make a quick choice.

This tip helps me save money, eat healthier, and it works for me!
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If you’re visiting from Works for Me Wednesday, I have a fun little carnival going on called The 12 Days of Libbie. I’d love it if you’d link up a post you’ve written that loves on your kid(s)!

The 12 Days of Libbie: Day 3

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I took this picture the night before I went back to work. Honestly, it’s just about the only picture I have that I like from her third month. How sad is that?

Going back to work was an adventure. I’ve written a little bit about it on Divine Caroline and November’s issue of ParentLife magazine. Here’s an excerpt about my first week back from the Divine Caroline article:

Friday: The week has begun to wear on me. I am so glad it’s Friday and I get to spend the weekend with my little family! When I went to feed Libbie at lunch, most all of the other babies were screaming. It ate me up thinking about her laying there crying and not having anyone paying attention to her. It’s all I could imagine all afternoon. By 3, I was practically in tears. One of my coworkers encouraged me to go get her and bring her back to work. He didn’t have to ask twice! I went and grabbed her and brought her back for oohing and ahhing by my coworkers (again). When I picked her up, she had dried spit-up on her neck and that made me upset and sad. Hope she doesn’t develop a rash.

The perils of the work-outside-the-home mom are many. (I try to always put it that way, because I know stay-at-home moms work, too!) I try not to regret the fact that I’ve let others see my baby more than I have for the last 9 months. It breaks my heart to think about it, because I’ve always wanted to stay at home with my baby.

But then I think about Libbie and her little daycare friend Reagan, holding hands and laughing together (seriously! at like 5 and 6 months!). How my current sitter, Amber, told me that her daughter was in Target this weekend and picked up a whole armful of clothes for “Baby Libbie.” I’m glad that Libbie loves other kids, is extremely laid-back, and is comfortable around other adults, too. While maybe it wasn’t the ideal situation for me, I’m grateful that those caring for my daughter have done so lovingly and she has truly benefited from their love.

your life your blog

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If you’d like to help celebrate Libbie’s birthday, please write a post loving on your kid(s) and link to it here. You’re welcome to use something you’ve already written, I just ask that you link back to my site. We all get so wrapped up in the everyday of parenting that I think it’s important to remember the special moments. I’m excited to share these moments with you and to read yours! Code for the button is in the sidebar.

Daycare Dilemma

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Have I mentioned that Friday was Libbie’s last day at day care?

A few weeks ago, they told me they wouldn’t use my cloth diapers anymore. Which kinda ticked me off, considering they were the ones that really encouraged me to use them and have always gone on and on about how much they like them. They told me the reason was because they have sick care at their facility. Who knows?

So, anyway, that was kind of the “last straw” as far as daycare goes. It was very expensive, and I just did not want to be buying diapers on top of that. Plus she is the oldest kid in the class now, and I felt like there weren’t many kids for her to play with. So I sought out a friend to keep her. Although it will be a longer drive for me, it will be less expensive and she has two girls–just 1 and almost 3.

So Thursday night, stuck here at home as Libbie slept, I made picture frames from cereal boxes, scapbook paper, and pictures I printed out that I’d taken of her and her teachers. On Friday, I went into her classroom and picked up all her pieces of the last 7 months.

It dawned on me that for those 7 months, she’s spent more time with her daycare teachers than with me. And I was tearing her away from them. The guilt started piling on. Was it the right thing to do to totally change her schedule and throw her in with new people for my sake? For finances?

I don’t know. I do think she’ll be very happy with my friend and her girls. She’ll be able to go outside, have friends, and have a quieter place to nap (so maybe she actually will).

But I sobbed as I drove away from daycare.

your life your blog

Guest Posting at OhAmanda

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I failed to mention that Friday I guest posted for my VERY FAVORITE blogger, Miss OhAmanda herself. (I’m sure you had no idea how much I love her by now!!)

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The post it about working motherhood and has gotten some great conversation going on in the comments. Check it out!

Yesterday, I worked an eight-hour day, complete with a video shoot. I picked up the baby from daycare, took her to Target, came home, warmed up dinner, fed us all, played with her on the floor, made banana bread while holding the baby, nursed twice, put her to bed, washed, dried, stuffed, and folded 17 cloth diapers, picked up the kitchen, washed dishes, paid bills, and spent a little quality time with my husband. [For the rest of the post, go here.]

The Guilt, It Endures

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Can you see why I can’t bear to leave this cuteness for an hour??

I’ve been playing around with the idea of starting a Web site.

No, I don’t really know how to do that. You know Blogger does all my work for me here. (I DID go in and change the colors on my little word cloud there to your left. Now you know that takes skillz.) But I’m stuck in a no-one-else-understands kind of rut and I’ve been feeling the need for community.

The site would be called something like “Working Mommy Mommy Guilt.” It would likely be magazine-style, with confessionals from moms, helpful articles for managing the working mom life, and encouragement to let go of the guilt and move on.

I KNOW every mother deals with this, and yet I feel so alone in my insanity! I feel like I should not leave the baby’s side during the weekend because I ONLY HAVE THIS MANY PRECIOUS HOURS WITH HER AND WHAT IF SHE DECIDES TO SAY “MAMA” WHILE I AM AT THE GROCERY STORE? The last several times I’ve done my grocery shopping on Sunday I’ve cried on the way home because I feel bad about leaving her for an hour.

What do you think? What would make a site like this helpful? And–most of all–do you follow any blogs of working moms I could check out? I feel like nearly all the blogs I read are of SAHMs who homeschool, keep their house beautifully decorated on a dime, and generally I am just very jealous of!

Anyway, thanks for dealing with me lately. I’d love your advice and recommendations on other blogs, books, places to have someone hit me over the head and knock some sense into me.

I Think This Officially Makes Me a Mommy Blogger

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This post is going to be mind-numbingly honest, so I hope you’re OK with that.

I’d always hoped to breastfeed. Before I got pregnant, though, my standard thought was that if it didn’t work for me, I would be OK with it. But after Libbie was conceived and as her due date grew closer, I became more and more apprehensive about it. I wanted so badly for her to get that nutrition, to have the closeness of nursing, to not have to PAY for formula. I told many people it would just HAVE to work, because we could afford either diapers or formula.

And I was so blessed to never have any problems with it. After a midnight session with two nurses helping me, I was able to get her to latch on properly. She didn’t have any formula in the hospital. She hasn’t had one drop of formula yet. I’ve just not had any supply issues. When I came back to work I was pumping twice as much as she was eating.

And then, last week happened. I was sick and took two decongestants without thinking about it. Libbie was three months old and that is the time of a major growth spurt. I had started taking birth control pills two weeks earlier. And all of a sudden, I wasn’t pumping as much as she was eating.

I spent most of last week and the beginning of this week at work crying in my office, trying to get out more–using an electric pump, a hand pump, hand expressing, pumping every half an hour. I’ve wasted so much time I needed to be working and frustrated myself beyond belief. I quit the Pill. I ate oatmeal. But mostly, I felt deeply depressed and angry with myself.

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of talking this through with a good friend and with my husband. I was absolutely torn up at the idea of giving Libbie any formula at all. And I had to ask myself, WHY?

The resounding answer in my heart was pride.

I wanted to be able to tell people that I breastfed exclusively for six months. That she’d never had a drop of formula because that is the way God intended it to be. That I was the Queen of Crunchy, an exclusively breastfeeding, cloth-diapering mama.

And that is not a good reason at all.

Pride has no place in the life of a King’s daughter. Which is why I’m mellowing out. Accepted that I might have to supplement a little bit. No one ever tells you how difficult pumping is; that you don’t get as much as the baby get out by herself; that it takes up so much time you’re consumed by guilt; that you will feel very much like a farm animal locked away in your office.

I feel like a giant weight has been lifted from me. No longer crushed by pride, I can just be me. A mama, doing the best I can do, loving my little girl insanely.

Postscript: Thankfully, I was able to go back to pumping what she needed after a month of supplementing and maintained that for another four months. So grateful to be able to provide her with God’s perfect food–mother’s milk!

Carnival of Breastfeeding Posts [Topic: Working and Breastfeeding]:
Breastfeeding at My Family Daycare
A Job Where Everyone Breastfeeds
Sorry, Facilities Guy
Taking Your Working Boobs to Work
Working and Breastfeeding a Toddler
Working and Pumping
Breastfeeding and Working Is Possible, and You Can Make It Work
Do You Really Need a Pump?
What about Breastfeeding When I Go Back to Work?
Breastfeeding and Working in the UK
Tips for Breastfeeding and Working
My Breast Pump and I Didn’t Get Along
Ask an LC: What About Pumping?
The 5 Biggest Mistakes a Working and Pumping Mom Makes
Beating the Employment Booby Trap
This is a Breastfeeding Office
Nursing Mothers Need Workplace Support