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Posted by Fitz

It’s rare when I get the opportunity to post twice in one week, but I’m taking full advantage of the fact that AVM is sunning herself on vacation while we are battling rains the likes of which Noah never even experienced.  So today, dear readers, I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

We are woefully unprepared for this new baby.

Now, my post the other day was true: I am very lucky to have my family, and who cares what the nursery looks like.  99.9% of the time, anyway.  The other .1% of the time, well, I still complain.  Especially now that we’ve squeezed the toddler bed into the room (of course Beanie won’t sleep in it, but that’s for next week).  The room is jam packed with white furniture and now seems to have lost its sense of self.  Moving things around has made the room feel crowded and has unearthed filth that we didn’t know existed.  We’re going to have to start from close to scratch to make this room the cute little sunny haven that it once was, and it brings to mind this one, very important question: Why did we wait until I was 31 weeks to start? 

We have gone through some clothes, and I did take out the breast pump that I’m going to try to use again.  Does it matter that I don’t remember which part goes where, or why I bought this freakazoid looking thing when the Bean was an infant?  Does it matter that I have a million bottle bottoms but no tops?  Why did I save every stained bib?  Why?

I feel like the next few weeks are going to be a mad scramble to get ready for the poor little Sweet Pea who didn’t ask to be born to a family of complete room-arranging, preparation-avoiding, in-constant-denial slackers.  We’re going to push ourselves to the limit to get everything to a good place and keep our Bean in a routine while we do it.  It’s not going to be easy, and I fear that most of it will not be fun.  It’s what needs to be done, though, so we’ll grin and bear it.  If you know of any decorators, contractors, painters, etc. who are looking to give away their services to a frantic, though well-meaning family, please send ’em my way.

Posted by Fitz

 

You have all been kind enough to follow me as I transitioned from a stay at home mom to a part-time worker to a full-time employee.  I have to tell you, these past few months of being a full-time employee have been difficult.  It’s not just about the job itself, but more about the travel and about the expectations I put on myself.  Like many women, I can’t just do the job and go home.  I have to be the best – or close to it – at the job, and be fully engaged.  I have to check my Blackberry before bed, log in a couple of hours on Saturdays to catch up for the following week, and say yes to things that I have no business agreeing to.  After all, in a shaky economy where The Economist just reported that motherhood is a key factor in inequal pay, what choice do I have?  Right?

I have to tell you, the stress and pressure that I’ve heaped onto my own shoulders has paid off in spades.  I’ve done a great job at work, and it has been recognized.  Part of me loves it – there is no denying it, especially when things seem to be going very well at home, too.   The other part of me wonders if I’m missing out on the best parts of motherhood (at worst) or not spending enough time taking care of myself (at best).  It’s a conundrum, and I’m one of a gazillion people who face the same dilemma.  What is a woman to do?

After a lot of soul searching, I made the decision to approach my boss about going back to my part-time schedule after my upcoming maternity leave.  I was nervous about it; after all, I’ve only been full time since September, and wanted to make sure that I still had a little job security.  Luckily, my boss agreed to the arrangement I proposed, and my entire team has rallied around me to make sure I can be successful in that role when I do come back.  I’m very grateful for their understanding and accommodation, and feel that all of the hard work I’ve done has paid off in this very particular way.

So, last week, when I got an email announcing that they were starting the interview process for my full-time replacement (which I knew would happen), I wasn’t prepared to feel so…defensive.  “Hey, that’s my job!” and “How vulnerable does this make me?” swam through my head as I experienced another vortex of conflicting emotions about my choice to scale back on work to scale up on life.  I was honestly shocked to feel this way…and while there were no tears, I felt…weird.  Like I should be able to do it all without any feelings of guilt or remorse or whatever.  Like it is my duty to do it all.

Luckily, those feelings were short lived.  Once I stepped back from my emotions and thought about what part-time would be like – still challenging, still engaging, yet give me the time I want with my kids – I felt fantastic.  I experienced a sigh of relief that I haven’t had for a long time, and feel so happy with my decision.  It’s funny that this whole episode coincided with Thebump.com’s survey results that we posted last week, too.  Because, you see, motherhood is only impacting my career because I want it to.  I’ve made deliberate choices to take a step back from my career (a bit) to focus on my family, and it’s empowering to know that I can.  I’m lucky that I’m able to work part-time, and plan to cherish every minute of my days off with my kids.  Knowing me, I’ll also cherish those days where I can immerse myself in adult-speak and work-related problems, because my job is in my blood for better or for worse.  And what a relief it is that I get to have both in my life, in the best kind balance that I can create for myself.

Posted by Fitz

Many of us grapple with the idea of the “perfect” time to have a baby – for some, it’s two years after the wedding, for others, it’s right after that next promotion comes through.  Every couple makes this very personal decision based on their own goals and dreams of the future, and TheBump.Com and ForbesWoman decided to collect some real data on what those goals and dreams look like with a recent survey.  Here are the highlights:

25 TO 29 IS THE SWEET SPOT WHEN IT COMES TO THE “IDEAL AGE”. 42% of women surveyed responded that 25 to 29 was the “ideal age” for a working woman to have or adopt her first child. Women aged 30 to 39 were most likely to think 30 to 34 was the ideal age for a working woman to have or adopt her first child.
 
FINANCIAL SECURITY, NOT FERTILITY, IS THE TOP REASON WHEN CHOOSING AN “IDEAL” AGE TO HAVE A BABY. Despite all the ongoing research surrounding fertility and age, interestingly enough, fertility is not the number one factor when it comes to deciding when to have a baby. The top two reasons were financial security (33%) and being emotionally “ready” to become parents (31%).
 
YOUNGER MOMS MORE CONTENT WITH TIMING OF THEIR FIRST CHILD. Respondents who had their first child from 25 to 29 were the most content with the timing of their first child (82%). More than a third (35%) of moms who had their first child from 30 to 34 wish they’d had their child at a younger age, and 57% of moms who had their first child from 35 to 39 wish they’d had their child at a younger age.
 
62% OF WOMEN FEEL MOTHERHOOD NEGATIVELY IMPACTS A WOMAN’S CAREER. Yet working moms who were surveyed didn’t feel as strongly when it came to their own career. Non-moms were more likely to think that motherhood had a negative impact on women’s careers compared to moms and moms-to-be (71%, 59% and 58%, respectively).
 
NEGATIVE FEELINGS DOMINATE WHEN RETURNING TO WORK POST-BABY. Working moms surveyed chose “guilty,” “overwhelmed,” “stressed,” “sad,” and “anxious” as the top five feelings when it came to how they felt when returning to work post-baby. Working moms who “chose” to return to work were less likely to feel as negative.
 
59% OF WORKING MOMS NO LONGER CARED AS MUCH ABOUT WORK POST-BABY. Although 59% of working moms are “glad to be back at work” post-baby, 59% also said they “no longer cared as much” about work.

About the survey:

  • 2,210 women responded
  • 49.38% of those women already had children; 26.95% were pregnant, and 23.67% were childfree
  • 45% of the women surveyed were still working
  • 30 – mean age of respondents; 27 – median age
  • 93% were US residents
  • $87,500 – median household income
  • 83% – college grads; 36.6% – graduate degrees

We’d love to hear you sound off on these results: do you agree?  Are you surprised?  Please comment below with your thoughts and opinions of this issue…once we hear from you, Duff, AVM and I will chime in with our own thoughts.

Thanks to TheBump.com for sharing this information with us!

photo credit: www.more4kids.info

Posted by Fitz

I wish I had something better to write to you all about today, but the fact of the matter is that I’m running on fumes.  At empty.  Zero capacity.

Sometimes I see women who make it all look so easy.  They often are juggling two toddlers on their hips while immaculately dressed, fit, and well fed.  Their kids are not only perfectly behaved, but look as neat as they do.  I stop to say hi, and learn all about the new house project/work project/gourmet meals/spinning classes or whatever else they have going on, and I smile and nod enthusiastically.  I find these women to be inspiring, most of all because I know they can’t be as put together as they seem, but they manage to pull off an image I try to achieve.  Most of the time.

Then, there are days like today, when I’ve come home from a business trip to a mountain of work, laundry, mail, all with no plans for dinner and a toddler who wants 100% mommy time.  When I know that tomorrow will bring more of the same, minus the business trip, and feel like there is no end in sight to the things that need to be done to fulfill the many roles that I’m playing right now.  And, while most of the time I revel in the fact that I can juggle all of these things – mostly with ease – the days like today are the ones that make me want to secretly fly to a Caribbean island and spend a few weeks passed out on a lounge chair with my Kindle and a (non-alcoholic) fruity drink as my companions. 

Being a pregnant working mom isn’t quite as easy and breezy as I thought it would be (why would things change just because I have a baby bump?), and that makes me nervous about what will happen when my new little sweet pea has entered the world.  Will I be able to handle it all while maintaining some semblance of sanity and humanity?  Will I have to quit something to be good at anything?  Will I remember who I am in the chaos?

These questions have no easy answer of course, and I’m pretty certain that the answers I do find will change on daily – or sometimes hourly – basis.   Let’s just hope that the days like today turn out to be few and far between.

Posted by Fitz

Caifornia Sea Lion

Boomerang, age 3, Mystic Aquarium

Last Friday, I emailed my husband.  He would have panicked if he could have seen me in that moment, all crazy-eyed and manic, but luckily I spared him the site so he could focus on the words:

“What are we doing this weekend?  If we spend one more day doing errands and playing in the house, I will officially blow my brains out!”

To avoid the above scenario and the mess it would indubitably cause, we did a quick brainstorm of what we could do in the area that would be fun for us all and came up with a day jam-packed with The Mystic Aquarium, Friendly’s, the Tanger outlets at Westbrook, and home in time for dinner.  It was so nice to have a break in routine, and to see The Bean have so much fun looking at the fish and the sea lions (Coco was her favorite).  The day served as a pleasant reminder that we can’t let the daily grind get the best of us because of the temperature, and that the onus is on us to create some fun as we wait for these long, cold days to pass. 

In that spirit, here are some of our favorite things to do.  These are Connecticut hot spots (for kids), but no matter where you live, I’m sure you can find something similar.  Enjoy, and let us know what you do to relieve the cabin fever!

Don’t forget to check out KidsCT.com, too, for all sorts of things to do with your little one in any season.

Photo credit: Interrose.co.uk

Posted by Fitz

Ah, Valentine’s Day…a day of romance and sweets with your sweet, with a long, lazy dinner at a superb restaurant, a bottle of perfectly chilled champagne, a decadent dessert, and…well, I’ll let you choose your own adventure to end this particular scenario. A Hallmark holiday, to be sure, but one that my husband and I always enjoyed as an exclamation mark to another year’s worth of love and devotion.

My favorite Valentine’s Day ever was our first as a couple. We had been dating for five months, had already been on a vacation together, and were planning to get our own apartment in the spring. We knew that this was it, that we had each found the one that we were waiting for, and Valentine’s Day would have been just as special sitting on the couch at the place I shared with my roommates as it was painting the town red. It was a night of anticipation of what was to come for us as we moved closer and closer towards getting engaged, and my now-husband made sure it was special.

While some of the details of the evening are fuzzy to me now, seven years later, I remember the dress I wore (black matte jersey, wrap style), how we took a cab to the restaurant – Philip Marie in the West Village – because it was so cold, and how I ordered lobster ravioli, thinking it was the ultimate in sophistication even though I hate seafood (for the record, it was pretty good – but I haven’t eaten lobster since). I remember that the restaurant’s atmosphere was perfect for the evening, crowded with couples who we would have noticed were having a good time, if we could manage to pay attention to anything except for each other. I remember that we were so close at our little table for two that I repeatedly – and embarassingly – snuffed out the little votive because I breathed. It was a perfect night, and one that I’ll always remember. Perfect.

Fast forward to 2010, and here we are living the American dream with a house in the suburbs, one beautiful girl, a new baby on the way, and all of the joy, trials, and tribulations that come along with this new life that we have built. My husband is still the best friend I could never have asked for, because I didn’t know a man like him existed. We fight, we differ on a lot more issues than we ever could have imagined on that first Valentine’s day, and we’re forgoing a big night out this year because we really want to get a new rug for the den. Instead, I’ll make a nice dinner and he’ll clean up, long after our Bean is asleep, and I’ll try to stay up for the entire movie that we decide to watch. I’ll try to be more affectionate and tuned into him than I have been of late, and we’ll both remember that first Valentine’s Day with love for the couple that we used to be, and the family we are now.

Forget the wine, the chocolates, the fancy meal. Don’t forget the flowers, because I love them (just get them at Trader Joe’s so I don’t feel too guilty about the expenditure). All I need this Valentine’s Day is time with my family, to be still and enjoy our last few months as a family of three…to remember how we got here, and to think about what the future has in store for us. While it’s not glamorous, it’s the Valentine’s Day celebration I’ve always hoped for.

Britax Boulevard Convertible Car Seat 2009 Meghan

 

Thought you might like to know that Albeebaby.com, one of our favorite baby and toddler gear sites, is having a big Britax car seat sale!  Marathons of all colors and styles are marked down to about $220, and Boulevards are even less – you can get up to 40% off, which is a great deal.   Save an extra 15% by entering “15OFF” at checkout, too!

Enjoy, and let us know if you get anything!

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