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Friday, October 11, 2013

On working, being a mom, and being a working mom

So I figured since I gave you an update on the babies, I might as well give you an update on myself and my latest trials and tribulations in motherhood.

For starters, I’m still nursing. And pumping. And I mention that topic first because it still consumes quite a bit of my time. On a typical weekday, I nurse the twins twice and pump 4-5 times. I used to just pump 3 times at work, but wasn’t able to keep up with what we were sending to daycare every day, so I added in an extra session first thing in the morning when I get to work and one right before bed. And guess what- I still can’t keep up with what we are sending to daycare. (Thankfully I've had a freezer stash to help me out. Un-thankfully that freezer stash will officially be depleted as of next week.)

This was a major source of stress for me for several weeks. I was convinced that my supply was going to disappear entirely and that we’d have to switch to formula before I was ready. I think the reason this was so unappealing to me is twofold: (1) The cost! Formula-feeding two babies is not cheap. (2) I have never been good at admitting defeat. If I was (am) going to stop nursing, I wanted it to be because I wanted to and was ready to, not just because I couldn’t hack it.

Does this make me foolishly stubborn? Maybe, and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time! But admittedly there is a third reason, and that is the fact that I don’t want to be forced into making decisions due to going back to work that I wouldn’t have had to make if I was still at home with the babies. I already feel like I (and they) have to sacrifice a lot for me to be at work and away from them all week, so it just seemed like one more thing I would be forced to give up against my will, and I just wasn’t ready for that to happen.

SO with all that said, I’m still giving it my best shot. But I’m thankful to report that I have stopped obsessing for the most part and come to terms with the fact that I will have to supplement with formula during the week at some point (sooner rather than later), and that is a-ok. I think I had convinced myself it was an all or nothing deal, which isn’t the case.

Now let’s all pretend I didn’t just devote 3 overly lengthy paragraphs to that one topic, ok?

While we’re on the baby-feeding front, I also wanted to touch on the topic of introducing solid foods! This proved to be one more source of stress for me that had me very frazzled at first but I have chilled out about in recent weeks (do you sense a theme here?). I wanted to give making our own baby food a try really for the same reasons as above: it’s cheaper AND it’s something I would likely do if I was staying home. But I was worried it was going to be a pain in the butt and one more annoying chore on our weekend to-do list.

Thankfully it has been a lot easier (and less time-consuming) than I anticipated! We have introduced apples, avocados, sweet potatoes, pears, and squash, and already have some carrots frozen to add into the mix in the next week or so. Pretty sure these babies are already going to eat healthier than I do and have more expanded palates, so props to them. Oh, and no, we didn’t buy any of the fancy baby food prep machines. We use a blender, ice cube tray, and Ziploc bags and so far that’s really all we’ve needed.

Again, I have no issue with jarred food (other than the cost) and will have no problem using it for convenience purposes when needed, but I'm thankful to have the choice.

Related to both of the topics above, let me just go ahead and state the obvious by saying that being a working mom is hard. (I actually think being any kind of mom is hard, but being a working mom is my current reality, so I’m just generalizing from my own experience!)

Raising two infants is exhausting no matter how you slice it, but having to wake up at 5:15 am and be both presentable and fully functional with other adults for 40 hours a week in addition to that takes exhausting to a whole new level for me. And on the weekends when I really want to just hang out with Brian and the babies and enjoy our time together, I also really want to have clean laundry, paid bills, and food to eat for the next week, so something pretty much always has to give. And either way, there is guilt involved over whichever one doesn’t happen.

All that to say, I’m still overwhelmingly thankful for our current circumstances… which you might not know from all of the whining I do, but it’s true. I get excited about picking the babies up from daycare every evening and about getting to wake them up every morning (assuming they aren’t already awake… I’m looking at you, Colby). And at the same time, I also get excited to catch up with co-workers in the lunch room every day and about the fact that any free time or productivity isn’t limited to the duration of naptime that day. And therein lies the paradox of being a working mom.

So there are my deep thoughts for the week. In case this is too heavy for you, fear not because I’ll return next week with more mindless reading material for your viewing pleasure!


Brittnie said...

This has to be really hard. I feel that stuff has to give (and thus comes the guilt) a lot and I only work part time. Regardless, I am certain you are doing a fabulous job in all areas. You are a rockstar mom, wife, employee and friend!!

Terrie said...

I think you and Brian are doing an amazing job as working parents, and especially you, since you are the one responsible for the biggest part of their nutrition. It is hard and it is easy to feel guilty. Rest assured, I am not the only one who applauds you! I am so very proud of both of you and all of your efforts. Those are two very fortunate babies and we are fortunate to call you family. Love you!

the blogivers said...

For what it's worth, I can tell you do a great job of maximizing your time with the babies and making it high quality, so props to you! I know it has been tough at times, but I hope you will give yourself the credit you deserve for giving your best at work AND at home - not easy to do!

Natasha said...

Amanda, I don't know you in real life but honestly, I think you are amazing. Most moms who work have only one baby. You are doing it with two.

In Canada we get a one year maternity leave and I had one baby at a time and nursing was so hard. I just about stopped nursing at least once a week. I just think you are doing a great job.

And I'm not reading this post as whining -- it is the reality of your life and reality is not always a pretty picture.

Allena said...

My son is 4 and my daughter is 9 months...I STILL struggle with guilt about these same topics. I can't devote 100% of my time to everything. It's just par for the course, and it becomes more of a gnat buzzing around your eyes instead of an elephant sitting on your chest. You are doing amazing, and I love your attitude about breast feeding. I have always had great supply, so I can't put myself in your shoes for that, but I totally get what you're saying - if you wanted to quit that would be one thing - but reality is a b*tch sometimes and the best thing to do is deal with it - which you are!! Good luck - I love looking at those precious babies. :)

Hoags and Kisses said...

Can I just say that YOU ARE AMAZING!!! Thank you for the honesty that IT IS HARD to do it all... wife, mommy, work, and all that those entail. I don't know the first thing about breast-feeding/pumping except that it's challenging and majorly time-consuming so high fives to you for sticking it out this long. There is no such thing as defeat at this point!

Beth said...

Six months without supplementing is incredible! You're awesome, all around - I've always known you to give everything 110%.

Brittany Sciba said...

You're doing a wonderful job balancing everything! Your babies are very loved! :)

chantal said...

Working AND exclusively feeding two babies breast milk for so long - amazing. I work and pump too, but only for one. At just over 7 months, I've started supplementing with formula. And regardless of how awesome our parenting is, there's always lingering guilt. The best you can do is make every moment count!

Sarah said...

Keep up the good work with pumping and nursing! It really is worth it! I am still nursing my 18 month old and pumping 2x a day at work. It is a huge commitment but I wouldn't want anything else.

Courtney Squillante said...

You are a rock star!!!

allison said...

Working, raising two, being wife, homemaker, etc....AND keeping up with this blog. You're a total rock star! I don't know how you do it all. Feel free to keep venting make the rest of us feel normal for having the exact same feelings.