WOOF! Being a Mom is hard work. As if every parent in the world didn’t already know.
Charlie is quickly approaching 5-months old already, and even though I’ve been around the sun 36 times, I feel like Charlie has been a part of our lives forever.
So here’s how some things are going – and my thoughts are as scatter brained as I probably feel!
My “maternity leave”…
Charlie was born March 16th, 2022, and I took maternity leave through May 31st (with light office work mixed in). I technically took 5 months off though, because being super pregnant and hauling heavy equipment in the wintertime doesn’t work out so well! So you can imagine how eager I was for multiple reasons to get back to work. June started off with a BANG… in fact I think I took on a little too much, haha. But all my lovely clients have been so patient and accommodating, including making sure I am comfortable pumping if the length of the photo session required so.
Slowly getting work done…
Work focus has totally changed. It’s really hard to even get a couple hours of daily work done in my home office. I am attempting to be a stay-at-home Mom who works when she can. Adam, my husband, also works from home. Most days I can ask him for a break to… simply take a break… or get a little work done. We also have all parents nearby; a huge blessing that we hope to take more advantage of as Charlie begins eating solids. And all have been a big help when I have photo shoots to attend to.
I am breastfeeding, and almost always direct. Charlie hates drinking from the bottle. Up until recently, he has eaten about every 2 hours. So you can imagine adding in diaper changes and needs for myself (like eating, showering, laundry, cleaning, etc.) that fitting in work can be a challenge!
And where there is free time, the couch beckons.
Working with my buddy…
I sit here typing this blog post… with a sleeping baby in my lap and reaching over the boppy pillow to the keypad (making plenty of typos because I’m not use to the angle). I’ve made many a business call while he’s asleep in my lap or even nursing. And no doubt you’ve heard him if you’ve been on the other line – he’s a nooooooisy eater! I’ve also learned to used my computer’s talk-to-text feature, especially when bouncing a bored baby on my hip!
No public photos…
If you’re a family member, friend, or fan, you’ve probably noticed too that we haven’t shared any pictures. Photos stopped at the sonogram and maternity photos. I thought I would be annoying the whole of the internet and every social platform with #cutiecaptures of Charlie. But Adam and I talked a lot and decided that sharing publicly would risk crossing a line. Both Adam and I are professional digital media makers (photo, video, and more), and we agreed that there is a gray line: genuinely sharing our joy vs. exploiting him via over-posting. We desperately want to show him off to everyone – a confusing feeling – but have decided to keep those shares private and to ensure that we are not using his image for personal gains. And you know what, access to our son is something special, and something to be earned.
I was surprised by this decision. And I am even more surprised that we have stuck to our decision. It may not last forever but we’re feeling good about our choice.
But we are taking a ton of photos…
I have so many cute photos of Charlie! Even some with me that I am thrilled by. We took newborn photos with my talented friend Tiffany of Little Cuddle Bug Photography. And I have taken photos too, some with Adam’s help. There are easily thousands on our smartphone cameras too.
Seeking out help…
Handling the workload of June was a challenge (July and August are slow every year) so I decided to seek out help. I hired a retouching service to work though some large headshot jobs. Retouching takes so much time and focus, and I knew I would take weeks to get through dozens of portraits. I’ll admit, while I wasn’t thrilled with the results, I was also pleasantly surprised. The photos needed a bit more attention, so I sent them back 1x and 2x for reworks. And I even came in at the end to add my unique touch. I can’t say it was totally worth the cost, but my sanity was worth the cost tenfold.
Even with 3rd party help…
… I constantly feel guilty. So many sweet fleeting moments are passing by. I feel like I should ditch work to soak up every second! But I would also go nuts – we all need a break at times. Even from the cutest of babies.
Eating and drinking constantly…
When my job in January/February/March/April/May was solely to grow baby and keep baby alive, it was pretty easy to eat 3 to 4 meals a day, healthy snacks, and chug 1.5 to 2 gallons of water. I have found that while getting back to work, my focus to maintain my breastfeeding diet has been harder to track. But I’ve never eaten this healthy in my life and I’m being rewarded for it! I feel great, and I almost fit back into my regular clothes.
But my back is killing me…
… in all those new places you didn’t know existed. My upper back, my middle back, and I even hurt my neck last week which is causing me headaches! Lol, but we hope to get stronger as we get back into a workout routine to avoid these aches and pain of an aging life.
The kindness you’ve shown me…
Everyone asks about the baby… even the clients that don’t really know me. You all have been so thoughtful and I cannot thank you enough for making this an easy transition when it comes to work-life. Many of you have specifically been checking on me too – something I do not take for granted.
Some cool things I’ve been trying…
Yep, I’m doing it! We cloth diaper full-time, even overnight. Yes, I wash them myself. No, it’s not that bad. Yes, my washing machine is fine. Yes, you could handle it too. No, really! No, it’s probably not saving us money. But my baby’s butt is super happy and so is the environment.
If you look at the cost of our cloth diapers (which we can use till he is potty trained, because they are resizable) and all the supplies I bought to make cloth diapering easier, we probably spent $500.00. I have to buy laundry detergent and do laundry 2x a week. I figure since we are on city water, that will eventually add up.
Disposable diapers can cost about $2,000 per child. So we are saving some. I’m doing it more so to prove that I can.
I even have reusable swim diapers – they’re great!
MAKING OUR OWN BABY FOOD
Yep, I’m doing that too. Even his “rice cereal” that we just started this week – I’m making it with quinoa. We learned that rice soaks up more arsenic from the environment than any other grain, so we figured we would try something out of the norm. And he loves it!
I will also be making his other baby food, whether it is pureed or baby-led-weaning method. We will probably do a mix.
BUT THESE THINGS TAKE TIME
Don’t I know it! These two commitments are taking a lot of time away from work. But I think it’s worth it in the end.
AND my scatter brain dump is complete!
A little al lover the place and not all about getting back to work as a Mom, but if you’re a Mom you get me. 🙂