Monthly Archives: February 2014

I’ll do the dishes, Dear. Go chase the children.

A fellow working mom posted this article in one of my Facebook mommy groups. Published in The Wall Street Journal, the article discusses how even though men and women now spend equal time in the workforce, their time spent on home tasks is still divided pretty unevenly. One mom echoed my sentiments exactly:

She didn’t really care that her husband did the dishes after dinner. Sure, it was swell of him, and she had friends whose husbands did less. But what she really wanted, at that point in her day, was for her husband to volunteer to put the kids to bed.

Until my second baby girl was born six months ago, my husband and I did split the hours worked in a week fairly evenly. My job, however, had much higher stress levels, a greater level of responsibility, and a (slightly) higher pay scale.

However, due to our hours, 4 weekdays a week out of 5, my workday ended with picking my daughter up and driving her home. It also started with dropping her off 2 days per week as well.

Let me tell you, there is nothing better after a stressful day than spending 45 minutes in the car with a screaming baby/ toddler.

I would then get home, feed, bathe, and get my daughter ready for bed. My husband would waltz in, play, and then she would go to sleep.

Now, my husband is more childcare oriented than many fathers. We trade night waking, he changes diapers, and my girls have “Daddy Day” each week when I work and Daddy is home. He even spent an evening in the NICU with my first feeding her expressed breast milk so I could recover for an evening.

But we have had these same breaks in labor as well. Sunday would come, our only family day, and my husband would want to rake the yard, or run errands. Alone.

I finally was able to communicate to him that no, shampooing all the rugs was not what I needed from him on the weekends. I need him to take care of the kid-now kids.

We really struggled with this. But now, things are different most of the time. Here is why: I went on vacation alone prior to the birth of my second child. And by vacation, I mean five days.

I recommend this.

Instead of coming home to dinner and a bathed and fed child, Daddy was it. He did both ends of pick up and drop off, worked a full day, had to come home and just keep on keepin’ on. You know. Like I did, every day.

Nothing can beat experiential learning for spouses. He finally “got” it.

Also shocking about the vacation experience-the number of people-and not just random people, people who know us-who asked me, “What will he DO while you are gone with your daughter?”

Ummm, you know, be her parent.

There are still times he defaults to old ways. Expectations are still often lopsided. Also, I do make sure he gets down time. Especially now that I am home with the kids 75% of the time, he now understands when I say, “I’ll scrub the bathtub. Chase the children.”

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When I don’t wish I had two goldfish, I highly recommend siblings

Once upon a time, before I ever became pregnant or married or a mother, I wanted a bucket of kids. Like, five.

That number has been revised a bit, but one thing I can say for sure: I highly recommend siblings.

Also it’s Valentine’s Day! So I guess this is a love note to my two girls, here on the internets-why I recommend siblings:

1. It builds team spirit. My oldest struggled with the arrival of her sister, but now, even when she still has her moments, she intuitively knows it’s not all about her.

2. Matching outfits! (Coordinating ones if you have different genders of siblings).

3. The bigger one entertains the smaller one. And not even by playing together-just by existing.

4. Each parent has a snuggle buddy!

5. You learn to really not sweat the small stuff as a parent. Oh, you fed your lollipop to your 2 month old sister? What good sharing!

6. Two opportunities for someone to visit me at the old folks home!

7. I know I can’t guarantee closeness as adults, but a sibling will always be an option for support. The ties that bind, and all that goodness.

8. Even teams for family activities! Badminton, anyone?

9. The older one teaches the younger one everything! It’s pretty cute to watch.

10. Lastly-most importantly-it’s about love. To see two children learn to love each other, and to see them share and experience that love. To feel your own heart as a parent expand for each individual being you add to your family.

Like I said, I recommend it.

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Mother Love is Sharing your Pickle

“Mother Love” always has this reverent tone. Images that come to mind are a mother with a newborn, a mother by a sick child’s bedside, Harry Potter’s mom throwing herself in front of Voldemort’s Avada Kedavra Curse…

While all those things certainly illustrate the bond between mother and child, and selfless devotion, I’d argue that mother love is simply more…simple.

My most self-sacrificing act of mother love? Giving my beautiful, wide-eyed child my delicious dill pickle spear that came with my sandwich when we go out to eat. Simply because she likes it and wants it as much as I do.

Or maybe it’s all the nasty, gross… I mean healthy, educational trips we take to interact with farm animals.

Or perhaps it’s continuing to breastfeed and co-sleep with my little baby because she hates bottles and bassinettes.

Nah, that last one is a little too on the “reverent” side. Scratch it.

Morals, heroism, the law-many other factors can motivate us to do the “above and beyond” acts associated with mother love in literature or the media. It’s really the day-to-day sacrifices of comfort, of enjoyment (like a crispy pickle), of giving up one’s preference, that define mother love for me. Those unnoticed, unannounced, not-newsworthy moments.

Next time you see a mom trade her cheeseburger, or give up an aisle seat, or take her boys to see Monster trucks on Valentine’s Day-know that those moments are the ultimate mother love.

As for me? I’m keeping the video of taking my child horseback riding WHILE I was 36 weeks pregnant (no, I did not ride the horse, I just got to smell it *gag* and cheer) to show her when she’s older and claims I don’t love her because she’ll be 13 and angry about something.

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Thursday is Tip Day!

I think in the new hip world of social media, a new tip or trick that makes life allegedly easier is referred to as a “life hack.”

I’m not that hip.

But I do love a tip!

With that in mind, Thursday is now Tip Day here on Crinoline Logic.

Today’s Tip:
In exchange for the double memory loss brought on by the second child, I have some flashes of genius.

So here is one one of my genius moments: Put toddler socks on your small baby. They go up over the knee and don’t fall off. I current have 2T-3T socks on my 5 mo old.

Also, budget friendly as you get more uses out of big socks!

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Take Your Baby to Work Day

It happened. I brought my baby-and wore her-for two whole days of training.

It went really well.

First of all, I want it to go on the record that I have been blessed with unbelievably mellow, nice babies. Two of them. I feel this is arranged by the universe to give me time to recover between pregnancy (a bad scene for me) and toddlerhood (my first talked very early and her sister seems to be following suit. This makes the “terrible twos” extra exciting.)

But back to the whole “working while literally wearing a baby” thing-

I was very anxious. Anxious my baby would choose this one day to have an epic meltdown. Anxious I’d look unprofessional. Anxious the trainers really didn’t mean it when they said I could bring the baby. Anxious other parents would judge me. Anxious I wouldn’t learn anything because I’d be too distracted. Anxious people would think I was some weirdo breastfeeding militant. Anxious people would freak out about me nursing in public.

I should not have worried.

First of all, the other participants and the trainers LOVED the baby. I mean, most people like babies, but everyone thought it was great I brought her! Something different, I guess. People came to talk to me about their children and babies. Moms shared their nursing stories. People held her and played with her.

Secondly, she was a champ. I wore her in a ring sling almost the entire time (it was two eight hour days). I paced the back of the room with her, nursed her, gave her teethers. She nursed, slept, and looked at things. No crying. No fussing. I think she was pleased to just be with me without her sister smacking her on the head- I mean, “petting” her-while she was nursing.

Also, she listened to the training, so she is super smart now.

It was easy to pay attention with the baby because at this point, multiple distractions are my norm. Having only one distraction was peaceful. Also, I always get bored at trainings. With my companion, I wasn’t bored at all.

I have become fairly good at nursing in public. I am able to nurse my baby in the ring sling, which is useful to support her body without a nursing pillow. I wear nursing tanks and loose shirts, so my skin is covered. I pull the top shirt up, and the tank covers my stomach. I shove my nipple in her mouth and pull the shirt down so my breast is 99.9% covered. This level of access and modesty is what is comfortable for me. I do not use a nursing cover because I actually feel it calls MORE attention to the whole ordeal. Also, I like to travel light. I’ve had people actually peer into my baby’s face before they have figured out she is latched on and nursing. Also, I’ve covered her face while nursing for various non-modesty reasons (sun, wind, noise) and she hates it. Apparently, I didn’t offend anyone, and if I did, no one said anything.

There were a few downsides.

It was exhausting. The only thing more exhausting than being a working mom, I’ve decided, is working and mom-ing simultaneously.

My baby is not fantastic in the car, and screamed the entire way home the first day, and BOTH ways the second day. Stopping to feed, change, and soothe her did not help. This training was an emotionally and mentally challenging and depressing topic. My commute was an hour each way. The screaming almost unhinged me.

Lastly, I felt somewhat resentful. This is hard for me to admit, but I want to be honest here. I adore my baby, but I exclusively breastfeed her, and bed share. “Me time” is a sacrifice I willingly make as a parent. Giving up the time to soley focus on my career for a few hours was difficult. I had to “mom it up” while everyone else could just absorb knowledge and eat lunch and pee alone. It made me resentful at times throughout the two days.

Overall, however, it was very positive! I believe more women should ask about bringing their babies-nursing or not-to work related events if the event and baby’s temperament appear to be a possible match. I’m glad my day worked out for me, and to expand the idea of “working mom” a little bit further in people’s minds.

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