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8 of the Biggest Worries Full Time Working Moms Can Let Go Of

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In the U.S, we are notoriously known for not having enough maternity leave once we have our baby, and the feelings that come along with that can be really rough. The days leading up to joining the work force again can be filled with anxiety. But a girl’s gotta do, what a girl’s gotta do! So time for you to get some encouragement! I interviewed some adults to help ease your worries, ranging from current full time moms, stay at home moms, and current adults who grew up with full time working moms. The verdict? It is going to be ok! Here are some of the main full time working mom worries you can throw out the door!

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1) I feel like if I go back to work, my babies and I won’t be as close!

That’s not necessarily true, according to the adults surveyed, who grew up with their own moms working full time. Joëlle Alice Sykes is now a stay at home mom, and grew up with her mom working full time, and what she says about her mom may surprise you! “She is my best friend; we have an amazing relationship and talk daily,” said Joëlle.

Jennifer Hershey, also a stay at home mom, chimes in in agreement about her own working mom. “We see each other a lot and talk on the phone every day. I wouldn’t be the mom I am if not for her. She’s an awesome grandma to my kids and passing on her good example of a hard working woman to my daughter.”

Catherine Liebrock, who currently works as a full-time third grade teacher hundreds of miles away from home, says the same about her mom. Catherine’s mom also worked full time when Catherine was growing up! “We text each other every day and talk on the phone 2-3 times a week. She is one of the first people I turn to when I have exciting news, need some help, or am really upset about something.”

2) I feel like if I work full time, I won’t be around to educate my kids as much.

I know – I know. You feel like if you could just be home with your kids full time, they would be reciting the Latin alphabet, and solving algorithms, and doing hourly art and crafts. I can tell you as a mom who has experienced working full time, working from home, and even had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, that you will always be super busy no matter what. You get busy with house work, social events, playdates, you name it. The interviewed adults who grew up with working moms actually said they felt they gained so much from watching their parents work.

Josie Angel, a Registered Nurse turned stay at home mom, said some pretty awesome stuff about growing up with a full time working mom! “You do what you have to do to get through it. I learned hard work pays off, that you work hard so you can play hard. You work first to have a comfortable home and then everything else is extra. We always had a nice warm home, food, and clothes. All the extra things were just that…extra.”

“My mom is passionate about her work and very good at what she does. I’ve always been so proud of her. I don’t remember feeling that she wasn’t there for me or involved in my life,” said Joëlle Alice Sykes. “My mom is a very strong woman, who never slacked off. I developed my work ethic from both she and my dad.”

Jennifer Hershey agrees. “I learned a true appreciation for what she did when I worked in a nursing home myself in college. Her job is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, but she’s always loved taking care of her residents.”

Catherine Liebrock experiences the same sentiments. “I view my mother as such a strong, independent, insanely smart, woman. I learned that girls can do anything boys can do – maybe even better! I also learned adaptability. Life is going to throw you curve balls, and you’re going to need to learn how to deal with them. I have seen my mother adapt to so many different circumstances and be so strong and resilient, I can only hope I have gained half of her adaptability, independence, and smarts!”

3) I feel like if I go back to work, my kids may resent me for working full time!
According to the people we interviewed, that wasn’t the case for them! “When I was younger, I never really seemed to grasp the concept that she was working. Looking back, I’m trying to remember a moment where it really impacted me that my mom was leaving the house and me with a sitter to go to work, and I just can’t seem to place one,” said Catherine Liebrock.
Lauri Niles Ohl Feels the same way! “I thought it was normal for her to work – had no idea otherwise,” she said.

Jennifer Hershey did notice her mom working, but also saw the benefits of it. “I had my moments where I wished she was home when I got home from school (I was a latch key kid), but I knew how hard she worked for us. I realized it more as I got older and after my parents divorced – she rocked the single working mom thing, and I was incredibly proud of her.”

Acclaimed author of three books, father of two kids and husband, Michel Sauret, (His latest release, Jump, is coming out in the spring), also grew up with both of his parents working full time. “I didn’t have any negative feelings at all over my mom or dad working. It felt normal.”

4) I feel like I may just get completely overwhelmed when I go back to work!
A mom new to working full time after the birth of her baby said, It will feel like a lot at first, but you will indeed get the hang of it. It will eventually normalize itself. “It just becomes a new kind of normal. A friend of mine told me, ‘Remind yourself that this is just 9 hours of a 24 hour day.’ That really resonated with me and thinking about it that way helps me get through my days.”

But you do need to take care of yourself! Some moms advise to take your first day back to work and look at it as your very first full day mommy break. Take yourself out to your favorite lunch, and start your day off with your favorite coffee drink. Maybe even make lunch plans with a work friend or someone who works nearby. Also, set your expectations to a realistic level at first. You may not get any of your house chores done that week. But it will eventually get done, but if your house never goes back to perfect, just remember that your kids will indeed be grown one day, and you will have all of the time in the world to get it all done. For now, take your free time to just take a deep breath, and give your baby some snuggles. And ask for help! Others are more than very happy to help you in this experience. Do not feel like you are burdening them! They will feel honored that you confided in them to help you out, and will feel good about helping!

Kayleigh Fontana, a full time working mommy of a toddler, has a few tips in case you do get overwhelmed! “My best advice is to never take things too seriously. We’ve always been rather laid back people, so taking things a day at a time has really helped. My house is always a mess, there are always plates in the sink and clothing that needs folded, but what a blessing that is. I try and plan meals for the week on Sundays, so I can go shopping and plan ahead. That is a huge time saver. Also, we stick to a really tight schedule for our son, so bedtime is non-negotiable in our house. We’ve really put our personal life on hold for that, but it’s what is best for our family.”

5) When I go back to work, I’ll never get to see my baby.

Many parents who work full time don’t feel like that at all. “My husband and I both work full time and grew up with parents working full time,” Marie Nicolella said. “We both work all week – me as a teacher and he as a lawyer – but still feel like we get to see our boys a ton. The weekends are key times when we pack in tons of fun stuff like sled riding, water parks, monster truck rallys, pumpkin picking, you name it. And we have kind of balanced that with using week nights to get stuff done around the house. But then of course with big projects we enlist the help of our parents to help with the kids, which we are very lucky to have both sets close and happy to help.”

“I still miss her and think about her every minute of the day, but it does make me appreciate our evenings and weekends a little bit more,” another mom said about her new baby girl. “I make sure to give her extra snuggles at night and tell her repeatedly how much I love her and how her daddy and I are working very hard to provide a good life for her. She is 9-weeks old and maybe doesn’t even have the slightest clue what I am telling her, but some day she will understand. For now, saying those things out loud simply makes me feel better and less guilty about not being with her all day.”

6) I feel like I will just be depressed being away from my baby!
That is not necessarily true. Again, look at your days at work as a little mommy break (Even though you are hard at work), and focus in on the little wins of daily life, and you will come out on top! “Just do the very best you can, and that is all anyone can expect from you! Take one day at a time and be sure to celebrate the little victories: ‘The baby didn’t spit up on my work clothes today – Hoorayyy!’” Said one mom!

7) I feel like my kids may learn work ethic, but what about family values?

The people we interviewed who grew up with working parents had an awesome view of what being a successful adult really means to them. “I think success to me would mean being
about to provide myself and my family with a home, food, and clothing.” Josie Angel said. “Being a productive member of society, being able to contribute to the human nature in a productive manner.”

“I’m an Orthodox Christian, so success to me is raising my children in the Church and having a close relationship with my children and husband,” said Joëlle Alice Sykes.

For Jennifer Hershey, “Success to me is feeling happy with what you’re doing, feeling like you have a purpose in your life and taking pride in whatever you’re doing. If you feel proud of yourself, you’re doing good.”

Catherine Liebrock shares similar ideas, “Success is not measured by money but rather by happiness. If you enjoy what you are doing, know you’re making a difference, good at your job, and are overall happy in life, you are successful.”

All of the people interviewed said that they themselves feel successful.

“Success is the hardest topic for me to talk about because I constantly have two ideas battling with each other: one in my mind and one on my heart,” Michael Sauret explained. “And even though I know the mind is right (The heart, contrary to popular desire, is almost always wrong), I keep going after my heart’s desire, which though passionate is ultimately selfish.  My mind has to constantly remind me that no matter what success I may achieve in my writing, photography or army career, if I neglect my wife and children, then I have failed, and none of my accomplishments will matter.

8) I feel like a bad mom going back to work!

Not true at all. You are a GOOD mom! Not every mom can stay home with her kids nowadays. “For our family, it was a necessity, so I made sure to look at it in that respect. I was very sad to let go of my one on one time with my baby and ‘miss out’ on a lot of his milestones, but I have also worked very hard for my career, love my job and want to set an example for my son. Having him with family 75% of the time also helped with my transition back. Working to provide our family with a comfortable life (just how I grew up) is very important to me,” Kayleigh Fontanta, who works full time in marketing and has a toddler, said.

Another mom said, “I would imagine most parents feel they don’t ever have enough time with their children. I would love it if I could be with her all day long, but I know that is not feasible. What I do know is that her teachers at daycare love and comfort her throughout the day and knowing she is in good hands makes this all just a little easier. She won’t really remember Mommy and Daddy dropping her off at daycare at 9 weeks old, but she will remember (And appreciate!) how hard we have worked to give her a good life, and how much we love her.”

Of course there is tons of super value being a mom whether you are stay at home or not, but it is awesome to see other moms and dads going through what you are, and telling you that it is going to be ok!

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“Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be Catholics.”


I can still hear that twangy country song in my head, which was part of a satirical show presented by college students at a Catholic College where my dad used to teach. I still remember them strumming their guitars, making jokes about all the babies we Catholics produce. We can say that, cuz, you know, we’re Catholic…Cut to 10 years later, and I’ve got a fourth one on the way! Yee-haw!

It’s funny telling people you’re pregnant when the babies are so close together. I actually opted to do an e-mail/Facebook release of a home video this time around. We were SUPER excited about it, and wanted it to be special – but the first question we’ll get from many is – “Congrats! So…was this a surprise?” Nope! We wanted this little baby, and every baby God has blessed us with. Or, when we’d tell people we were thinking about a fourth, some would smile and say: “Woah, reeeeeeeeeeally?” Yep, really! “There’s still some room in the minivan,” I’d joke.

You see, my mama let her baby grow up to be Catholic. To believe that as long as we can provide for our babies, as long as our heart and health and soul can handle it and wish for it, then we shall accept God’s blessings.

As a kid, my parents were told that I wouldn’t be able to conceive due to other complications. Whelp, turns out they were completely wrong! So why wouldn’t we take that as a blessing and take our love for our babies to grow our family?

Saint Alexis Church hit it home when they posted the following quote from Pope Francis: “Today, too, children are a sign. They are a sign of hope, a sign of life, but also a ‘diagnostic’ sign, a marker indicating the health of families, society and the entire world. Wherever children are accepted, loved, cared for and protected, the family is healthy, society is more healthy and the world is more human.”

As each one of our babies came into our lives, one by one they brought new blessings. Our first was the beginning of our family. On the week our second was born, we moved into our first home. With the birth of our third, we started our own business, which allows us to grow as a family even more. Who know what gifts baby number four will come bearing (Well, for starters a bigger home is in the works ; – ))?

But wait! What about the children! How did our kids feel about it? See for yourself! (Song Credit: “I get to be the One” by JJ Heller)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Twix ice cream bar to go eat – or two- or three…


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Twix ice cream bar to go eat – or two- or three…

Mommies Are Horrible Friends


That’s right. I said it. We’re freaking terrible. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s true. Mommies can be horrible friends. And I get to say this, because I myself am a mommy. I’ve actually been blessed with super duper and helpful non-mommy friends who stuck by my side through thick and thin and served as lovely “aunties” to my kiddos, but I have heard other fellow mommies with the issue of losing touch with friends because they just simply don’t get why mommies just don’t come around anymore.

Before getting married and having kids, I was the best friend one could have. I’d help you move, paint your new apartment, tag along to an awkward dinner party, keep you company while you returned random items at the mall, homemake the most thoughtful presents for your birthday (Which, looking back, were kinda crap – I wasn’t the craftiest person), not to mention actually remembered your birthday, housesat, dog-sat, slept over, drove over an hour just to see a friend, you name it! I was there.

But those days are gone! Why? Because we’ve got our kiddos and houses and husbands that require all of that same stuff, and our cope container is full. And if we don’t put our kids, home and husband first, then who will? And I know that sucks, but now is the time when we absolutely must put the health and happiness, and financial well-being towards our families in order for it to thrive. Our responsibilities to be a good friend have a had to shift to raise a good family, with children who are raised to be kind-hearted, productive members of society.

Do we feel guilty? YES! Do we feel bad? YES! Do we feel left out every time we see Facebook pictures of you drinking margaritas with your other non-kiddoed-up gal pals? Absolutely. But not any guiltier than we’d feel to give up a Saturday afternoon to help you pick out a new pillow sham rather than spending it canoodling with the kiddos and hubby or driving someone to soccer practice, karate, art lessons, doctor’s appointments…and the sickest part is, we LOVE it!

And one day, don’t worry. You’ll have us back. And as luck would have it, as soon as all our kiddos turn old enough to suck their own snot out of their noses, you may have just jumped on the baby wagon, and we’ll be SOL ourselves for a partner in crime! But you know what YOU WILL INDEED
have? Someone who’s been there and done that and happy to bring you over a meatloaf with tons of gravy to help you through it. Until then, friends, please know that our undying love for you will never go away, and that our experiences with being your confidant, your assistant, your shopping buddy, is what helped us build the patience we much needed when we started our family. And also – just know – that we are totally jealous of the act that you can literally take a nap whenever the heck you want! Enjoy it while it lasts!


Choosing between a certified nurse midwife and an OB Gyno doctor’s office for the birth of your baby



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For many women, the choice might be a no-brainer. They either definitely want a natural birth with a midwife, or they definitely want to give birth with the assistance of pain medicine at a hospital. But being the indecisive person that I am, when it came to the birthing process of my third child, I teetered between the two until almost literally the last minute.

For baby number one, I was determined to do it all-natural, but having to be induced with a Foley Bulb and Pitocin, I couldn’t bear it without the epidural. For baby number two, I almost didn’t think about it at all and just went in and got the epidural right away. But for whatever reason, for baby number three, it became an internal dilemma – a constant back and forth about the pros and cons of a natural birth, and a pain-free birth.

That is what brought me to visiting the local midwife center. A midwife center is a center staffed with Certified Nurse Midwife. The local midwife center where I live takes on low-risk pregnancy patients. They also serve as a women’s health and wellness center. This midwife center near me specializes in natural births, and is determined for their patients to feel like unique individuals with customized treatments, rather than a number in a filing cabinet. Like any other midwife center, they are overseen by a local Obstetrician. They also have various rooms where women can deliver their babies without the discomfort of baby monitors, hospital beds, IV’s, contraction monitors, heart-rate monitors, blood pressure monitors, etc. They are also equipped with numerous different natural ways to manage pain and induce labor, and are not equipped with means to administer Pitocin or Epidurals, which are often the most popular means to speed up labor and manage labor pains in a hospital. For example, a midwife may have your use a breast pump to bring on stronger contractions, and put you in a warm jacuzzi to manage the pain.

Although I loved the soothing vibe and warmth of the midwife center and the midwives that I met, my husband and I weren’t comfortable with the fact that the midwife center is not equipped to handle emergencies. In the case of an emergency during the labor or delivery at a midwife center, you are required to pack up, and hoof it to the nearest sister hospital. But, I also wasn’t comfortable with the treatment I was receiving at my OB Gyno by certain caretakers, which was definitely the treatment of just another patient, in a 15-minute slot. Nevertheless, we decided to stick with the OB Gyno (Also because I did like the majority of the doctors and nurses there after all), and in terms of a plan for pain-medicine, we decided we’d figure it out as we got into the labor process.


Many times you do have the option of choosing to have midwife at a hospital, but for different reasons that just didn’t seem to be an option for me…that is until the blessed day came, and it was time for me to give birth to the new baby.

Once again, my water broke as a trickle without contractions, and I was sent to the hospital to speed up the process. Right away it became obvious that the doctor on call was overwhelmed. She’d had a crazy day with multiple c-sections, and she looked exhausted. As we waited and waited and waited for my contractions to come stronger and stronger, the doctor’s and nurse’s orders were for the me to be entirely bed-ridden. Luckily, just in the nick of time, my doctor’s replacement arrived, who happened to be a midwife! She happened to walk in during a very uncomfortable and awkward attempt to pee in a bed pan. Immediately, she urged me to get up, go to the bathroom move around, brush my hair, my teeth, and do anything else possible for me to feel comfortable.She allowed me to change out of the hospital gown and into my own clothes. She was then able to check and see certain things that hadn’t been clear beforehand, and was very encouraging and helpful with different ways to handle the pain, rather than just grin and bear it in the hospital bed. And when the pain and exhaustion of a 15-hour birthing process became too much, she didn’t give me a hard time for ultimately ending up with an epidural after all. When it came time to push, she took her time and took pride in making sure the process went smoothly. She even allowed my husband to deliver our baby once she safely and securely eased his head out.

In the end, I got the best of both worlds. Although in the end I didn’t end up with a natural birth after all, it was the perfect combination to have the support and patience of a midwife with the backup of a hospital in the case that any emergencies occurred. And I don’t think my husband will ever stop talking about being the one who delivered his new baby boy.

 


Why do maternity photos? And how the heck do you do pregnancy shots?



When my brother,  One Way Street Production photographer approached me about doing a maternity shoot, I was excited, but a little clueless. We’d always done family photo shoots with him and had focused on the kids, but I had no idea what to expect or what to do about the fact that these photos were going to be centered around the pregnant belly.

“What’s the point?” Asked my husband. “We have a camera. We can take pictures of your belly.” But the thing was, I was eight months pregnant, and there still wasn’t a single photo of baby number 3 in the belly.

So I wanted to do this. And to be honest, I was excited about doing some unique maternity photos of how big the belly had gotten, and to be able to show the new little baby boy just how loved he was from the get-go, and how huge he was in my stomach!



Although I was still clueless, so of course I started Googling sample photos. And everybody was naked! Naked mommies, naked daddies, naked bellies, naked babies…not exactly the family dynamic I wanted to focus on. And I especially couldn’t picture my husband being in on such intimate photos being modeled out in front of my brother behind a camera.

 

So I decided to do something that was going to make everybody happy. I really wanted to focus on the relationship between baby boy’s older siblings and him, and maybe get some frames of my husband handling the belly (Which he loves to do day and night…even when I’m trying to sleep).

But as child photography should go, the kids who usually are all about the belly, would not pose for the camera, but we still got some pretty good shots with them and the baby in the belly! We were dealing with One Way Street Production after all.

One Way Street Production

One Way Street Production

One Way Street Production

One Way Street Production

But what do you do if you want to do shots, and you don’t have baby’s older siblings to help you out with that? You can pin down whatever hobby you and your partner may have, or include your pets, too! That’s what my brother did when he had a fellow photography friends, Michael Will Photography, document his own wife’s pregnant belly.  Check them out at http://michaelwillblog.com/2011/10/heather-michel-pittsburgh-maternity-photos/!


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