Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thoughts on being back at work

This adorable, slightly concerned cat with eyebrows is here to indicate that this is a slightly concerned blog post.

It seems like just yesterday I was rushing to get to a good stopping point on all my projects at work before Scott was born.  It's hard to believe that now I have an almost-12-weeks-old and that I've been back at work (part time) for a whole month.  Awhile ago I wrote about my experience being a full time mom while I was on maternity leave, I thought I'd give an update on how it was going doing the whole working mom thing.

I should start by saying that I'm so so so so so greatful that I've been given the opportunity to continue working part-time while Scott is little.  I know many women have to go back to work (to jobs that are much more time consuming and stressful than mine) when their children are younger than Scott, and I give them a huge amount of credit for the amount of work I'm sure it takes to keep both of those balls in the air.

In a way, working part-time is the perfect situation.  I'm able to spend more time with Scott and not feel as rushed to take care of all the household responsibilities, but I still have a reason to put on pants with buttons and think and interact with adults in the "real world".  On the other hand, it's been harder than I expected to split my time in two different worlds.  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I'm adult Chelsea and am trying to keep up with my responsibilities at work.  On Tuesday and Thursday I'm mom Chelsea and am singing the ABC song during diaper changes and doing finger plays at the library.  Often at the end of a work day, it's frustrating because I simultaneously feel like I just don't have enough time to get everything done but I also miss my little guy.  I want to be able to focus my attention on what I'm doing that day at that moment and let the responsibilities of my other life wait for when I'm involved in that life, but it rarely works that way.  At work, my thoughts drift to Scott or what's for dinner, or what we need to get from Target and at home my thoughts drift to what I'd be doing if I were at work then.  It's not a 100% bad thing... last weekend while I was in mom mode, I had some ideas for the discussion section of the paper I was writing, but it's definitely more difficult than I though it would be.

Even though it's not as perfect as I'd originally thought it would be, I do think that continuing to work part-time is the best decision for us right now.  Plus, after this week I'll be doing some work on the days I'm not actually at work so hopefully I'll feel less disconnected on my off days than I do now.  I'm not sure how long I'll keep up this schedule before I return to work full-time, but I really do want to enjoy my extra time with Scott and not let vague notions about not doing everything well enough to allow some idea of perfect to be the enemy of the already very very good.

Thoughts?  Words of wisdom?  Cat pictures you'd like to share?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Let's talk about poop

Actually, let's not.  As a new parent, there's a temptation to regale people with stories of the late nights, endless nursing sessions and epic poops - because let's face it, poop stories are usually pretty funny - but leave out all the sweet and wonderful things about sharing your life with a new baby.  Yeah, having a baby changes everything about your life, but some things are so so so much for the better.  Here are my top 5 things (so far) about being a mom.

1. Middle of the night feedings - It seems strange to say it, but I actually like waking up to feed Scott in the middle of the night.  I love the intimacy of wrapping my body around his while he nurses and I doze, and although I try to get him back into bed after he's done, I love drifting off to sleep with him in the crook of my arm and waking up to find him there, peacefully asleep, a few hours later.  Nursing during the day can sometimes seem frustrating or hurried (he always seems to need to eat right when I'm hungry, need to go to the bathroom, want to put the laundry in the dryer, etc.) but at night with no distractions it's peaceful and relaxing. 

2. Watching Daniel be a parent - It'll probably embarrass him to read it, but I love to watch Daniel talk to, sing to, read to, and take care of Scott.  It's a completely different and new way to think of your spouse, and it makes me happy to see two people who I love so deeply love each other (well, Scott will one day).

3. Comedic timing - Okay so this one is about poop, but Scott's got a way of letting one rip at just the right serious or sweet moment.  And they are so loud!  How does such a little creature have so much to expel from his body?  

4. Watching Scott learn and explore the world - He's still pretty much a potted plant (people always laugh when I say that - laugh, people!), but he's starting to magically turn into a mini person.  He responds to sounds now and will watch Daniel and I if we walk in his line of sight or turn toward our voices.  He's starting to "play" with toys that we put in the way of his flailing arms and legs and the smiles... oh, the smiles.

Yes, crazy woman with the camera, I do see you.
5. Thinking about the future - The fun thing about little kids is that every new phase is fun and exciting (until puberty when it all goes downhill).  I look forward to all the new things that will happen for him - from sitting up and walking to having his first taste of ice cream (it's great, Scott).

What are your favorite moments being a parent?  Or people without kids, what are your fondest memories when you were growing up?

Monday, February 25, 2013


So far, we've called Scott
  • Cuddlebot

I was programmed for maximum cuddle output

  • Cuddleuffagus (like snuffaluffagus)
  • Crankodile, Grumpelstiltskin, crabby patty and Mr. Crabs when he is fussy 
  • Potato, sweet potato

You're giving me a complex.
  • The Guy
  • Scottzilla
This has been a big week for smiles and watching Daniel and I.  He'll look at the mirror on his activity gym and turn his head (sometimes) when he hears a rattle or we squeak his Sophie.  The smiles are still involuntary, but, as he approaches the 3 month old mark, to watch him waking up to the world bit by bit.  

But Scott, how do you type with boxing gloves on ?
 What are some of the strange nicknames you came up with for your kids?  What were you called growing up?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Five Things Friday

1. We went to two baby story times this week - one at the Monroe St. library and one at the Middleton library.  We did some songs and little finger plays and read a couple children's books.  I liked the activities, but honestly, anyone can write a kid's book.

2. I took advantage of the library outing to pick up this

and this (hat tip, Andy)

I started reading Stiff (aloud) today while I was nursing Scott, and I think we're both going to like it.

3. Does anyone have a recommendation for kids' music that isn't awful?  I've started singing the ABC song, Twinkle Twinkle, etc. for Scott, but a run out of songs and animals that make one syllable sounds pretty quickly.  In general, I hate kids' music and TV programming, but I wouldn't mind finding a CD of nursery rhymes and traditional songs - preferably one that doesn't have kids singing on it.

4. 43 reasons why growing up in Florida was paradise on Earth.

I love that there two dedicated to Publix (Publix subs are the best), although I disagree with #18 because Grad Nite at Disney was AWFUL.  So crowded.  So all night.

Coquina and manatees are pretty sweet.

Hurricanes and jean shorts, not so much.  

Yes, are drivers' tests are a joke.  No, I can't parallel park.  Other than some flurries, I didn't see snow for the first time until I was 13.

5. I did some running and stuff.  I'm guessing you guys can live without details this week.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Taking the morning off

We had a long night and a late morning, and I'm going to forego blogging today in favor of taking Scott to baby story time at the library and (hopefully) getting in a nap later.  We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Scrub a dub

While living during the Edwardian era did have some drawbacks - rigid social hierarchies, the risk of dying from... well... everything - it was pretty awesome if you had a lot of money because you could pay people to do everything for you.  Heck, rich people weren't even expect to get dressed on their own.

Oh yes they did.
Unfortunately that's not accessible to most of us today, and if we want the chamber pots emptied, we have to do it ourselves.  However, it's frustrating to feel like you spend a huge chunk of your free time studying to take over for Joanne Froggatt when she decides to leave Downton Abbey and they kill off Anna next season.  Downton Abbey and the Mystery of the Missing Cast Members...

Anyway, after spending a particularly annoying Sunday afternoon feeling like I had a mountain of cleaning to do when all I wanted was lay around and cuddle Scott and maybe do a little blogging ;), I decided to come up with a chore schedule so I could get a little done each day rather than putting my dust blinders on during the week and going on a weekend-long bender with my pal Mr. Scrubby Bubbles.

Unload and re-load dishwasher

Su - Meal prep, Target
M - Vacuum and dust downstairs
T - Clean kitchen and downstairs bathroom, grocery shop, wash towels
W - Vacuum and dust upstairs
R - Clean upstairs bathrooms, wash sheets, take out trash
F - Vacuum and dust downstairs
Sa - Clean up laundry room and garage

I'm just starting this week so I can't tell you if its working yet, but I'll give you an update.  I saved the bigger, more time consuming chores for days when I'm home and the smaller, easier ones for evenings after work.  Thursday and Friday will swap once I'm working on Thursdays instead of Fridays.

So what's your housecleaning strategy?  A little each day?  Do it all at once?  Feel like your time is worth the cost of hiring someone to clean for you (I would totally do this if we could swing it - maybe if I ever get a sweet blog patron or a book deal)?  Have a character you'd like to see die off on the next season of Downton Abbey? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In the bag

As a teenager, I could leave the house with just my keys, $10 (remember how cheap gas was in the 90s?), drivers licence and some lip gloss (Lip Smackers watermelon flavor, if you're wondering) in my pocket.  However, my "mom" card came with a lot of added baggage - literally.  Here's what I'm carrying around so hopefully I'll never be found changing Scott on the hood of the car using a Culver's hamburger wrapper for a diaper and a plastic Target bag onesie.  

I bought a diaper bag right after we learned that there was the possibility that Scott might be born much earlier than we'd expected.  A combination of frantically trying to be prepared and stress-induced retail therapy led me to the diaper store where I bought this very cute but not really cost-effective Skip Hop diaper bag. 

Here's the contents.  I've got my nursing cover, an extra outfit for Scott, a burp cloth, pacifier wipes, baby wipes, some disposable diapers, A&D ointment, an umbrella (a holdover from when I lived in Florida and carried an umbrella in every bag), and a plastic bag to bring home dirty cloth diapers.

All of this is fairly evenly distributed within the pockets of the diaper bag.  I don't really have a system.  I just try to keep any dirty diapers in a separate pocket in case the plastic bag has any leaks.

When we were making our first outings, I used to bring both this diaper bag AND my big shoulder bag, which was way too much to carry so now I just stick my wallet, phone, keys, etc. in the front pockets.

OR, if I'm living dangerously (we're only going to be out for a single errand), I'll just bring my shoulder bag with a burp cloth and a pacifier.

A few other essentials I carry with me are a pacifier case strapped to the side for easy access

And hand sanitizer for easy hand washing after diaper changes.

The only thing I know I'm going to regret not having one day is an extra top for me.  However, I've been lucky so far and only been the victim of a single poop explosion while out and about.

So far my only complaint is that the bag is just a tiny bit too small, which I'd probably say about any bag smaller than a steamer trunk.  Stuff expands to fit the size of the container, and I really don't want to drag around waaaaayyy too much stuff.

What do you think, moms?  I know the contents will change as he gets older (read - emergency puffs stash), but is there anything I'm missing that you've come to appreciate having with you?  Or do you have any strategies for going out with out feeling like you're part of a camel caravan?