Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Finally back home

November was a difficult month.

I had my large Annual Conference at work - the culmination of a year's worth of preparation, immediately preceeded by a few frantic weeks of "Did we remember this?" and " When will those be shipping?" and "Did you get all the presentations in?"  Yeah,  fun times.

So glad it's all over. We traveled to San Antonio and I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't get any pictures of my DS, who came along with my mother. Many thanks to her for coming with. People seemed shocked that I would bring my mom and son, but when you're nursing an infant, it's very difficult (on the mind and the body) to be away for an extended period of time. The four days away would have been four days too many.

It always amazes me how so many parents want to "get away" from their babies. For parents of multiples, colicky babies, and those with older children - it's certainly understandable. But a normal infant? I don't really understand. I just couldn't bear being away from my baby for more than a long day. I have done that a few times, and even then it was difficult. And after I've been away all day, the last thing I want to do is tuck him to bed alone. My favorite part of the day is bedtime. I get to snuggle in bed with my two favorite boys in the whole world. What could be better than that?

One thing that I expected to get a lot of flack about from my mother on this trip was cosleeping. It's certainly not in the norm, and most doctors these days will tell you it's unsafe. That couldn't be farther from the truth. There are numerous benefits to cosleeping, the least of which is being able to nurse at night without getting out of bed.

When I first returned to work, I would sleep on the futon in DS's room. When he woke (which was often), I would take him to the couch, place him on the Boppy, and nurse. More nights than I care to admit, DH would awake to find the two of us passed out on the couch, with DS dangling off the Boppy. THAT is unsafe. Realizing that my sanity couldn't keep it up, I started bringing DS to bed with me. and Voila! Life was suddenly easier, simpler, and much sweeter. I was well-rested in the morning, and he would awake with an angelic smile (until he got in the "let's grab mommy's nose, lips, and eyelids with razor-sharp fingernails" stage) and a stream of babble. It is wonderful. No crying, no fussing, no sleepless nights.

We've traveled many times, and spent almost two weeks total in hotel rooms. Yet every time, DS has transitioned beautifully. He goes to sleep and wakes up just like at home - with minimal complaining and a breast to suckle. I am so thankful to cosleeping for making this work for us.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Got an old t-shirt? Then you have a diaper!

I've been using cloth diapers on my son since he was born. It was an easy decision for me - I have substantially younger brother for whom I changed many, many diapers, and my mother mostly used cloth. Cloth diapers have come a long way in the decade and a half since my brother was born.  There are countless types, some extremely easy for the novice user, and some more complicated; some plain white (or undyed) and some with the cutest prints you can imagine. I could go on for ages.

Today, while hanging out in my newest forum addiction, Diaperswappers, I stumbled upon a link to an awesome tutorial for turning a t-shirt into a diaper - without sewing a stitch. This is extremely intriguing to me, because I don't have a sewing machine right now but am interested in having my own stash. I've been using a diaper service mostly (apartment laundry rooms are no fun), but the allure of the cute diaper is always there. Check out the tutorial for yourself. I will probably try this out with one of the legion of t-shirts left over from 16 years of school and swim teams. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Babywearing PSA

This is (sort of) older news, but still important for me to post here. As I mentioned, I'm a fan/growing advocate of babywearing. But, babywearing can be dangerous - even deadly - if you're not using the proper equipment with the proper instruction. Infantino Slingriders are one of the most popular baby carriers on the broader market, and they are hands-down the most dangerous. Read the consumer report blog post here. I would go into more depth, but instead I'll link to a great blog post from a fellow babywearer. And here is an excellent, scientific explanation with pictures as to why these slings are dangerous and deadly. If you know someone who uses one, please let them know it's not safe. There are many affordable alternatives that are MUCH more comfortable.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Working from home

I have a full-time job away from home. I also have a part-time job in my home. But on Wednesdays, those two worlds collide just a bit and I get to telecommute from home for my full-time job. Telecommuting is a fabulous thing. I can sit at my computer in a tank top, sweats and slippers, sipping tea from my favorite mug, and working on as many projects as I can handle. More employers should get with the program and let their employees work from home at least once a week. For me, I'm even more productive on my telecommuting days than otherwise. Instead of lollygagging, I'm focused with a set of tasks to complete for the day. Partially I think it's that accountability factor. If I can't show that I'm getting work done at home, I won't be able to keep this gig. So I get more done on Wednesdays than any other day of the week, without leaving the comforts of my own home.

It's a pretty sweet deal.  My husband's cousin is our babysitter, and she comes up by train every day to watch our son. Even today, she's here so I can be mommy milk machine but still be able to work with little to no interruption. I used to think moms who hired nannies or parents helpers were the paragon of laziness. I certainly know better now! And consider this my apology to all of those moms about whom I thought snarky thoughts.

Speaking of working, I'm living the life I'd always dreamed. Good job, good pay, happy family, etc. Lacking a few small details the basics are all in place. Silly me, though, now that I have what I always wanted I've had a mental shift and realized this is no longer "it." I went to college and got a degree so I could be a career woman. Now I want to be a mom. Making money is great and wonderful and all, but being with my son (and future babies) all day is so much more than that. When I was on maternity leave, instead of chomping at the bit to get back to work I was dreading my return with a heavy heart. I'm still not happy to be back, 5 months later.

So I've been trolling the blogosphere and internets lately, looking for work-from-home schemes and ways to make money on the side. I figure if I can become thrifty enough and find a good supplemental income, I can leave the 9-5 world behind, at least for a little while. Whenever I mention this to my friends they give me looks. You know the kind. "Oh really? That'll get old soon and you'll be back." I really don't think so. Being a mother is more than a job or a biological process, it's a vocation. And I hear it screaming in my hear, squeezing my heart and tugging at my hands. I just need to figure it out, make it work.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's a rainy day, it's a rainy day.

It's raining outside and I can't go out to play. Why do we need the rain, anyway?

I hope the rain clears up by Saturday. This will be my first Halloween as a mommy, and I bought Adrian a super-cute monkey costume. I justified it to myself by forming some vague plans about taking pictures with pumpkins and using those for our 2010 calendars (Christmas gifts for the Greats). I still have no concrete plans, other than a chancy babywearing get-together that may be canceled/postponed due to weather.

Speaking of Babywearing, allow me to educate the uninformed. I'm a novice babywearer at best, but essentially it's as simple as it sounds - wearing your baby in a carrier of some type on your body. Most people that you see babywearing are sporting the ever-present Baby Bjorn or something similar. There's been a lot of debate and some research over the safety of these that I won't rehash here, but I will admit that a Bjorn was my first carrier. It was a hand-me-down from a colleague, and when my Hotsling didn't fit it was my only other babywearing option.

Why babywearing? You'll see a lot of information and opinions on how it fosters closeness, bonding, etc etc. Those things are all great. For me, it comes down to practicality. I have a high-needs baby. I don't believe it's OK to let a baby sit alone and wail for hours (or even minutes, really), but a girl's gotta work. There are dishes to be washed, laundry, cleaning, errands, etc. How do you accomplish that and hold a baby when you only have two hands? Strap them to you!  Household tasks become infinitely easier (though they remain infinitely tedious), and things like grocery shopping and quick trips to the mailbox/laundry room are easily accomplished without losing feeling in your arms.

Then, of course, there's that wonderful addiction to carriers. I already have a fluff addiction, but a carrier addiction could be more insidious because (unless you're crafty) it's expensive. My current collection consists of six carriers, four that I actually use, two that were free, and approx retail value is well over $300. If I followed my fingers and bought the ones I'm currently lusting over, that number would jump substantially. The nice thing is that at least the carriers are worth it. If they're well made, they can be used for years and might even have some re-sale value left when you're done.

One thing about having an addiction is finding people who share it. Hence - the babywearing party. I'm sure it sounds silly, but I will be bummed if it gets rained out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm ba-ack

I've finally decided to (re)join the blogosphere. I started out with blogger back in the day, taking my diary online with plenty of teenage musings and angst. I posted about my daily trials and travails (homework and boyfriends and college Oh My!) for years, fading out slowly as I completed college, joined the "real world," and got married.

I've been toying with the idea of writing again for many moons, but a quick glance over my old blogs made me realize it was time to strike out for new land.

This blog will focus on my new life as a mother, wife, and worker bee in our nation's capital. I'm always striving to find and maintain a balance between life's Wants and Needs, which change drastically once you add children into the mix. It's a perilous path that parents tread, and this is where I'll be hashing out which steps to take and which ones to skip.

"Make it work" is a ubiquitous phrase in our culture, especially for fans of Tim Gun or Ne-Yo, but it resonates outside the world of runways and rap stars. Every day we're faced with dilemmas and decisions that can make or break us - but all we need to do is make it work.