Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Working Moms Against Guilt

    In less than 2 weeks, I will carry the label "working mom". What a doozy. Me, a working mom? I am the daughter of a stay-at-home mother who created a world of wonder and innocence. My days were filled with bike rides around the nearby college campus, going to the local library, having our own "library time" at home, baking, crafts, naps, and helping mom in the garden. It was just me and her. Every day. I knew when I woke up, my mom would be up soon too and we were going to play all day. {Later I realized she made me feel like we were playing, although she was working to keep up with me, the house, bills, food, laundry etc!} Soon, my little brother came and our days were filled with mommy time too.

     When I went off to school, I still knew my mom was only a phone call away. Forgot my lunch? No problem, I'll just call mom and she'll bring it. {Don't forget the sweet note she wrote out beautifully and stuck in there as a surprise too.} Not feeling well today? Don't worry, mom will come pick me up and she will take care of everything. Teacher needs a volunteer to help out in the classroom? My mom was there, and my friends thought she was cool too, which made me feel special ALL DAY.

     I would think about how one day I would be a mom and I would be just like her, but maybe better since sometimes she was annoying goofy and I wouldn't be like that, right? In the meantime, I went to college, became a teacher, found pride in my abilities as a teacher and in my profession.

Then, little Baby Jack came along.

     Now it's time for me to become that super mom just like my mom was. I HAVE to make sure Jack has every experience, every advantage, every comfort that I had growing up knowing that my mom was always there for me. The only difference is that now I realize all of the sacrifices my mom made. Looking back, my mother gave up so much to be a great mommy, although to me it was literally just a walk in the park.

   Now I am struggling with working mom guilt. The first time I left Jack to go work at the school {only for a couple of hours}, I felt this pang. It was a bad feeling in my gut and I couldn't figure out why it was there. Is Jack okay? Yeah. I'm I okay? Yeah. Is the house okay? Yeah...

    Then I realized. I felt guilty for leaving him. I felt guilty that I was trading a few hours of his precious baby life to leave and go somewhere else. To make it worse, my mom was getting to have those precious baby hours and I wasn't. Should I work? Would I rather stay home with Jack? I spent all summer mentally struggling to figure out which sacrifice is the better sacrifice. Give up 8 hours of his precious baby life to go to work or give up a career that I dreamed of since I was a little girl? My mother sacrificed the career, but that doesn't mean that is the best choice for me too... does it?
     My husband let the decision be up to me. He preferred I go back to work from a financial aspect, but knew if he decided for me, it could cause me to feel resentment. I appreciate that, because the moment I felt the choice was truly mine was I able to find the answer to my question. I am going to be a working mom. And I will fight working mom's guilt every single day until he is a grown man. Will I miss him? Of course. Will I second guess every decision I make? Yes. But teaching is a part of who I am. It is not just a career, it is a passion.

     I still want to be that comforting, always-there-for-you type of mom and I am not afraid to do whatever it takes to be that great mom. I want Jack to have library time, long walks in the park, craft time, and nap time, and he will.

I will make sure of it.


Here is a great article that inspired this post. It's okay, because now I know I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I'm Baaaaaaaack! All things are BRAND NEW...

Hello... is anyone there? I mean seriously, I haven't posted AT ALL since last October! I PROMISE I have good reasons though... no I'm not going to make excuses. I think these reasons are pretty legitamate.... and by that I mean I had every major life experience all crammed into the past 9 months.

Reasons I Have Been M.I.A. :

1. I got ENGAGED!!!!

     It is cushion cut perfection and I could just go on and on about how he proposed in Florida last November on the beach under the moonlight... but I won't ;)

2. I got MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes! I really did! To the most amazing man that I get to now call my husband :)

3. I was PREGNANT!!!!!!!!! 

     Of course we always knew we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, so we were so excited when we found out I was expecting and due in June! When January rolled around (5 days after our wedding) we found out I was going to have a little BOY!! Joe and I were over the moon .... :)

4. I started a NEW JOB!!!!
       I resigned my 3rd grade classroom and took a job in the same town where my husband works. This was SUCH a difficult decision and one that definitely brought a lot of tears. That job was my dream job, but life has its way of taking interesting turns, and this was one of mine. I took a Title 1 Aide job in an elementary school in the town my husband and I would soon live in.

5. I started getting very swollen, and there was bad news...
       With pregnancy comes a lot of weird things, right? Frequent trips to the bathroom, the expansion of all kinds of body parts besides the belly, the waddle, and swelling. Well, apparently my swelling was on a WHOLE entirely other level. A fun and exciting 4D ultrasound appointment took a surprising turn for the worse. I wasn't feeling all that terrible, but apparently things were not right with my body. I was admitted to the hospital 2 times in 1 week before the doctor delivered the bad news...

Trying to make the best out of an unexpected night in the hospital.
     I had HELLP Syndrome, a severe form of preeclampsia. Our son had to be delivered in order to get me better, and I was only 29 weeks pregnant. He was going to be tiny, and our hearts were broken. I was rushed to a major hospital 1 hour away with plans to deliver the baby via emergency c-section that night. Our blissful and care free pregnancy just turned into a horrible dream, one that still didn't feel real. To everyone's surprise, my condition began to level off. I was able to hold off the delivery for 4 days before my body simply couldn't handle it any more. 4 days = 16 days that our sweet baby wouldn't have to be in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, according to the doctors, and I was so glad that I was able to hold out for just a little longer. I would be only one day away from being 30 weeks pregnant when they decided he had to be born.
Admitted to the 2nd hospital after hearing the news that our baby boy was going to be delivered at 29 weeks.
Our son was born March 31, 2013 :: Jackson Charles :: 2 lbs 14 oz. I was not able to see my baby for 2 days after he was born due to my condition and all of the medication that I was still on. Seeing pictures on my husband's phone was the only way I was able to see Jackson.

This was followed by 2 long months of Baby Jack being in the hospital at the NICU...

     The entire month of April and May were filled with a LOT of ups and downs. Going in to the NICU journey, everyone told me that there would be a lot of ups and downs before Jack would be able to come home. Little did I know, each day could have its own ups and downs. It was a roller coaster ride to say the least. The doctors and nursers were simply amazing. I owe them my deepest gratitude.

They gave me my son.

The first time I did Kangaroo Care with Jackson

Kangaroo Care with Baby Jack

The NICU started to feel like a second home

Silly Baby Jack!

This little boy has my whole heart...

Growing bigger and getting very feisty!

Look mom, no tubes!!!! 

This was a very trying time for our families, and especially Joe and I because we were....

6. MOVING!!!!!!!!!!

     If you can believe it, our lives got even crazier! We moved in to our new house in April, less than 2 weeks after Jack was born. Between moving, unpacking, going to the hospital to see my baby, and spending time with my brand new husband, I was a very busy lady!

7. FINALLY, Jackson Charles came to live with Joe and I. Best day of my life. Period.

We brought Baby Jack home May 30, 2013
I couldn't get him out of that hospital fast enough! Later I told Joe I was so worried one of the doctors or nurses were going to change their mind and tell me I couldn't take him home. I don't think I actually let myself believe he was coming home until we were in the car and out of the parking garage.

I think he is adjusting well to being at home with mommy and daddy!
8. New life with brand new husband, brand new job, brand new town, brand new house, brand new baby.

     Since that sweet and special day that Jack came home, life has started to settle down. I was blessed to be able to have the whole summer to bond to my sweet boy and adjust to taking care of a baby. Saying I am *obsessed* with my little guy would be a HUGE understatement. I think I have at least 2,000 photos of him on my phone! It all comes with the mom territory, right?
Baby Jack :: July 27, 2013

I also found out I am going to be doing a 6 week maternity leave in a 1st grade classroom starting on the first day of school... yes, I think I am ready to go back to work. I think.

     Our family has been immensely blessed in the year 2013. I do not know what I have done to deserve such an amazing man or such a precious little boy. I have grown and matured in so many ways since that last blog post, that I almost feel like an entirely different person. Here's to a new school year full of fun and exciting experiences! Cheers to the beginning of a new school year! I'm baaaaaaaaaack!!!!!!