working mom

It’s 5 a.m. and the first of my alarms goes off.

I have to set several, I’ve learned the hard way that I’m not to be trusted with the snooze button.

I hit snooze (See? Told ya so) and burrow back into the covers, willing the new day to wait just a few more minutes.

Instead, I hear the baby stirring.

And so my day begins.

I trudge to his room to nurse him, trying to reach him before his whimpers turn into wails and he wakes his big sister. I’m partially successful, we get halfway through the feeding before my three year old wakes up and starts calling for me from her bed.

I call back to her and tell her to come join us. She crawls in my lap and I sit in the glider underneath the weight of both of my children, I push my feet against the plush ottoman to rock us back and forth, back and forth…

It’s soothing, this quiet moment with my babies. Or at least, it should be. But my mind starts to spin with the things I need to get done that day. I know I have a few e-mails to respond to, and some reports due out, and what else? I can’t fully remember in my under-caffeinated state.

Mommy? Please you put my hair in a ponytail like Rapunzel?

My daughter’s request snaps me back into momma mode and I smile and say yes. We make our way to the bathroom so I can smooth the tangles out of her hair and get her ready for the day.

It’s hard, sometimes. Not thinking about work when I’m at home.

Eventually, miraculously, I make it to work on time and settle into my routine. Coffee, e-mail, making my to-do list. The day moves quickly – and that’s by design. I do my best to stay as busy as possible so I don’t have time to let my mind wander.

Even so, I find myself glancing at my phone to make sure I haven’t missed a call from daycare. I spend most of my lunch time trying to figure out the perfect place for my daughter to take gymnastics, it’s all she’s been talking about lately. I take a break to pump milk for the baby.

And random things remind me of random things. My coworker talks of her daughter’s cheer competition and that reminds me I need to pay the invoice for ballet. I nearly spill the milk I just pumped and I remember I need to add milk to the grocery list – and what else? Eggs, maybe? I can’t fully remember in between the hustle and bustle of my work day.

The phone rings, my e-mail pings, and I’m back to work.

It’s hard, sometimes. Not thinking about home when I’m at work.

I hurry out the door at the end of the day, eager to pick up my kids from school. My heart melts when the baby beams at me from across the room and attempts to army crawl toward me. I put him on my hip as we head toward my daughter’s class.

She shows me everything she’s done that day and I smile and nod while walking toward her cubby – I know there will be a bag of soiled clothes in there because she’s not wearing the pants I sent her to school in that morning. Another day, another accident. Such is the life of a potty training child.

When we get home I toss the soiled clothes in the washer to be dealt with later and we head outside to play. I’m still in my work clothes – and I don’t even care. We skip and sing and play pretend until dusk. I do my best to slow my mind down, to not worry about the things left undone so I can focus on teaching my daughter how to draw flowers with sidewalk chalk on the driveway. So I can cheer as the baby rolls over for the umpteenth time.

It’s hard, sometimes. Making the pivot from professional to momma.

Dinner, bath, and bedtime come too quickly – they always do. I worry as the evening turns to night that I’m not doing enough. Do they feel loved? Do they feel valued? Do they know that I’m here for them – even when we’re apart? Do they know that when I go to work each day, it’s for them?

At the end of the day, my daughter and I curl up to read books in her bed. As we settle in, she nestles her head into the crook of my arm. Her messy curls spill onto my shoulder and brush against my cheek. She flings an arm across my neck and softly whispers, “I love you, mommy”. 

And I know I’m doing something right.

 

working mom, working motherhood, working mom tips, working mom life, career mom, work

I don’t know if anyone has filled you in on this little tidbit yet, but when it comes to children – one plus one does not equal two.

I’m fully exhausted by the time we get out the door to go anywhere or do anything. It is a bona-fide miracle when all four of us all get out the door in clean clothes and on time.

Just kidding, the on time thing never happens.

On Easter, for example, we planned to leave for church at 9 a.m.  I started getting myself and the kids ready at 7 a.m.

We left the house at 9:10.

Why? Because we’re in the circus season.

With a three year old and a seven month old, someone is bound to be having an off morning. One is hungry while the other is throwing a fit. The baby blows out a diaper at the same time that the three year old spills milk down her shirt. The baby needs to nurse, again, and the three year old doesn’t want to brush her teeth.

There’s. Always. Something.

The deceiving thing is that my children are, for the most part, really well behaved in public. So when we walked into church yesterday morning, we had the appearance of being very put together people. The boy cooed in his carrier. My daughter walked sweetly by my side.

I felt the glances of strangers as we walked by. Eyes that reflected their own happy memories. Smiles that spoke of sweet moments with small children. And I felt like a bit of a fraud. 

While I so appreciate those looks, because they remind me of how fleeting this season is, yesterday so much of me wanted to scream, “you don’t know what we went through to get here!”

My daughter’s shoes hurt her feet and she battled me for at least 10 minutes about a band-aid. The baby started to spit up the moment I got him dressed in his special Easter outfit and as a reflex I leaned him forward…so the spit up went all over me instead. My daughter was extra clingy and insisted on joining me in the shower…I could go on for an entire post with our morning hijinks.

Needless to say, I was totally frazzled, and that was before we walked through the doors of our more crowded than usual church.

So by the time we made it to our go-to breakfast spot after church, I was whipped. Our favorite waitress came over to take our order and asked how we were.

“Oh, just a circus as usual!” I laughed.

Because in so many ways, I feel like a ringmaster. On any given day I’m walking the tightrope of managing threenager feelings, making funny clown faces to make the baby giggle, and juggling ALL the things just to keep our lives moving.

The line between circus side show and mother of small children for me, is so blurred.  And maybe it never ends – this circus season. The acts may change, but life may not ever be calm and carefree until these babies are all grown up.

And I’ll miss this crazy circus life when that happens. 

 

 

 

rainbow water

When it comes to getting my children to eat healthy, I’ve learned that it’s all in the presentation.

No sweetheart, that’s not a pouch full of pureed prunes, that’s a smoothie!

…and so on.

Drinks are no exception. Especially now that we’ve hit the birthday party circuit – juice abounds and anything else can be a tough sell! We can get G jazzed about drinking milk or water 99% of the time, but that remaining 1% can be a real doozie.

Enter: Fruit infused water.

Now, I’m no fool. I know that plunking some fruit into some H20 isn’t enough to con your kid into drinking something that didn’t come in a cardboard box.

So here’s how you frame it:

Tell them they’re drinking a rainbow. 

Talk about the colors of the rainbow and what fruits you can use. Then, and this part is key, let THEM choose the fruits to use. That puts the ball in their court, and I’ve found when my three year old feels in control and is selecting from the healthy choices laid out for her, we all win.

Pro Tips:

  • Keep soft fruits like berries and lemons big & chunky so they will hold up a little longer. Hard fruits, like apples, should be sliced thin so they release flavor more easily.
  • Think sweet! You may love the crisp freshness of an herbaceous cucumber water, but your toddler may not agree.
  • Get creative! Mix & match flavors to see what you like and don’t like. Let it be a learning experience – like a delicious science lab in your very own kitchen!

Fruits to Use:

  • Red: Strawberries, Raspberries, Watermelon, Red Apple
  • Orange: Oranges, Clementines, Cantaloupe
  • Yellow: Lemon, Pineapple, Mango, Yellow Pear
  • Green: Kiwi, Green Apple, Pear, Honeydew
  • Blue: Blueberries
  • Purple: Blackberries

(I skipped indigo which is killing my inner rule-following perfectionist. But honestly. INDIGO? That’s not in my 3 year old’s crayon box so it’s not on this list either. Whatever, man. Get outta my rainbow, indigo). 

What You Need:

Need some more inspiration? Check out this rainbow of recipes:

Red Strawberry Infused Water

via The Food Network

 

Orange and Vanilla Infused Water

via the Detoxinista

 

Yellow Pineapple Mint Infused Water

via That Girl Cooks Healthy

Green Honeydew Sage Infused Water

via infusedwaters.com

 

Blue Blueberry Infused Water

via Stockpiling Moms

 

Purple Blackberry Citrus Infused Water

via The Pretty Bee

 

Happy Hydrating!