March 11, 2019

Back to Work

Today marks my fourth week back at work since maternity leave. Although, instead of going "back" to work, I started a new job, one that is already proving to be infinitely less stressful and demanding than my previous one. Despite having a roughly 2.5 hour roundtrip commute each day, I'm feel like I have so much more balance in my life than my previous one. In similar vein with my last post, this post is all about the new role I'm navigating - the role of working mom.

I thought I would have a really hard time going back to work, especially with so much change, but so far, my experience has been really positive. 

It helps that I was home with Aurora for 18 weeks. I have long advocated and supported paid maternity (and paternity!) leave and I truly believe that 6 months should be the standard minimum. I didn't feel like I was leaving my newborn behind. I didn't feel like I had barely recovered from childbirth. I felt ready to go back to work. I miss my baby when I'm at work but since I've been back, my weekends feel like a wonderful eternity of playtime.

It helps that our childcare situation is pretty ideal. The Pilot is home with her 3 days every week and we have a couple of part-time nannies that come over the other days. My mom has also come down to stay with us for a week each month since I've been back. We do want to put her in daycare in the fall so that The Pilot can have his weekends back but this is a really ideal situation for right now.

It helps that I'm working with other new moms. A few of my new colleagues are new parents or will be soon and they've been in my shoes and have been really supportive helping me navigate not just my new role and workplace but my pumping breaks and communicating to my male colleagues why the new girl is away from her desk so often!

It helps that I have a long commute. Ok, this is probably the weirdest thing I'll say. I hate driving. I bought a brand new car in July before Aurora was born and dragged my feet for 3 months before The Pilot made me go to the dealership because I needed to have my own car when The Pilot's sits at the airport for 4 days at a time. When I worked from home, I really never stopped working. It was not unusual for me to work 7-7 or even later some nights. I had a lot of midnight deadlines with clients that really toed the line of how late they could push that. (I once submitted a $2M grant proposal at 11:59pm.) Having a long commute gives me time to think about my day and unwind. The commute is long but I don't sit in standstill traffic every day. I would trade it tomorrow for a shorter commute to spend more time at home with Aurora but I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I took this job and I spent two months thinking about whether I could do that commute, so now that I'm in the thick of it, I'm going to look at the bright side. Plus, audiobooks are a godsend!

So there are a lot of things working in my favor right now. I've figured out my commute and pumping, now I just need to figure out how I can start working out again but four weeks in, and I'm feeling really good about navigating my new role as a working mom. The days The Pilot is away are a tricky to navigate and a little more tiresome than the days I have his help but honestly, I feel like I have my shit together way more than I did before I had a baby. My days have to be more structured and so they are, and that's made this navigation much easier. There is still a lot I have to figure out and I know there are going to be times when this feels impossible, but right now, I'm happy.

February 1, 2019

2019: New Year, New Me

It's a little late for a New Year's post but I've been trying to think about what to write for my first post of the year...and first post in over a month.

I've seen so many posts slamming the whole "New Year, New Me" mentality but in my case, it isn't so much a mentality as a reality. This year, I'm a mother and, I've settled into a much different routine with very different priorities. 

I'm also starting a new job this month, moving out of the world of consulting into academia and I'm wildly excited about. In a lot of ways, I feel like this job is the dream job I never knew existed. I know that's saying a lot before I've even started but everything about this just feels right. And I think that's saying a lot considering I wasn't looking for a new job and definitely wasn't planning to leave where I was. I was happy there and comfortable but we grow when we leave our comfort zones so I'm looking forward to it.

I do love the start of the New Year and thinking of what the year will bring. I already know that this year is going to be fun. Aurora will say her first words, take her first steps, and experience so many firsts! And I'll be along for the ride juggling a new job with parenting and running and reading and yoga and all the things I've done before, trying to maintain some semblance of me in this new role. I know it won't be easy and if I've learned anything from parenting, it's to stop putting pressure on myself. The dishes might pile up but if Aurora wants to play, I'm going to play with her. 

That said, I do like goals so here are my (hopefully realistic) goals for the year, and how I've done in January to date!

Read 3 books each month. I crushed this in January, reading a total of 6 books! I always want to make reading a priority, especially now that I have a baby. I want her to see me reading and do the same when she's older. It helps that she's at an age now where she's too distracted to nurse in anything but a quiet room where I can get some reading done!

Run a marathon. I'm not quite running yet but I'm doing a combination of walking with running and plan to be running again in a few weeks. I have my sights set on a fall marathon. As much as I'm still dying to get that sub-4 marathon off my back, I don't have any time goals. I just want to tackle the distance again. It's been way too long.

Keep traveling. I was shocked at how many people asked me how I reconciled giving up travel for a baby. I've never had any intention of giving up travel. We got Aurora her passport for Christmas and, while we haven't used it yet, we will soon. In her 3 and a half months, we've taken her to Virginia, New Jersey, and Florida. Next up is a trip to Texas and then we'll start thinking about an international trip. Traveling with a baby, so far, is easy. I have no expectations that it will stay that way but I don't think that means it has to stop. 

Maintain a regular yoga practice. Every January, I do Yoga with Adriene's 30 Day Yoga Challenge. This year was no different. I'm about a week behind since long travel days and a sinus infection got in my way but I never actually thought I would be able to do the challenge in 30 days with a baby. I gave myself the grace and space to step off the mat when I needed to. Sometimes that meant that a 20-minute video took an hour because she woke up from a short nap or got fussy but I still got it done. I'm carrying the challenge into February and have every intention of completing it by the middle of the month and then, we'll see! I'm lucky to belong to a gym that offers both yoga and childcare but I haven't actually taken any classes yet. Usually, I can get to the gym and get in a 30-35 minute workout before she wakes up and needs to eat but now that she's a little bit older, her naps are getting longer and she can play independently. 

It's strange to look ahead at this year. In a way, everything has changed but in a lot of ways, things are the same. I had a lot of time to think about what life after a baby would look like (more time than I wanted) and even though everyone says you can't prepare for a baby, I think I was pretty well prepared. As for my blog, I'll post in this space when I can but I'm not going tp make ambitious promises like I have in years past. It's taken me close to a month to write this post (because I was reading so much!) but I'm hoping to be back soon!

Happy New Year!

December 13, 2018

Aurora's Travel-Themed Nursery

When I found out I was pregnant, there were two things I knew for certain right away - that I didn't want to know the sex of the baby and that I wanted a travel-themed nursery. We had a travel-themed wedding, why wouldn't we have a travel-themed nursery? It's kind of our thing...The Pilot is, well, a pilot and I've been addicted to traveling for as long as I can remember.

Photo Credit: Urban Row Photography
It started with this wallpaper that I found on Pinterest. It was a map of the world that had to be custom ordered from Portugal, was going to cost something like $500, and that The Pilot was adamant about not putting up after our brick wallpaper project (more on that later!). He was the one who came up with the idea to have a mural painted and we're fortunate to have a friend who graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art come over to paint our mural.

Photo Credit: Urban Row Photography
Eventually, Aurora's name will be painted into the plane's banner! Above the changing table are prints of some of our favorite cities that we hope to take her to one day - London, Sydney, and Dubai! I bought and printed them from Etsy shop, Brooklyn Print Company.

I adore her nursery. Even though she won't be sleeping in it for quite some time, I love spending time with her in there to nurse her, read to her, change her, play with her, or rock her to sleep. It's such a bright, fun space!

When I told people that we weren't finding out the sex of the baby, the first thing almost everyone said was, "Oh I could never do that! I'm such a planner!" Ugh! Anyone who has ever met me knows that I am too! But we planned her nursery just fine without knowing what she was! I think her nursery is perfectly neutral and would have worked just as well for a boy! It's bright, fun, colorful, whimsical, and I adore it! 

If you're interested in some details and links: 
  • Her crib is the Connor 4-in-1 from the Carter's by DaVinci collection.
  • I bought her mobile at TJ Maxx for like $6! It was a total steal! 
  • The hot air balloon sheets are from Target! We also have matching pajamas, a onesie, and a muslin blanket which I love!
  • Our changing pad is the Keekaroo Peanut and I love it. Seriously, this thing is so easy! It's made of a soft, foam-like material that is easy to just wipe down when it gets messy (which happens often!). It gets a little bit cold so we cover it with a muslin blanket but this changing pad is perfect! 
  • I bought my glider from Wayfair and it is so comfortable! I was nervous about buying a Glider online but this one is perfect and very reasonably priced at under $200.
  • The hot air balloon print is another Etsy find from a shop called Dream Paper Company
  • The cloud lamps are from Ikea! These provide the perfect, soft lighting for her nursery!
None of these are affiliate links, I just wanted to share in case anyone else is in the market for baby gear!
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