Dylan turned four months last week! He is the best baby. He’s usually in a good mood loves to smile, laugh and have long babbling conversations. Time goes by so fast when you have a newborn. I’m trying to savor every minute I have with him but I feel this constant urge to take photos and document every precious moment. It all seems so fleeting. I feel like i’m desperately trying to hang onto these days before they quickly become memories.
If anything, having Dylan reminds me to slow down and indulge in quiet moments together instead of trying to cross the next task off my to-do list. I truly feel that it’s these moments in between our big plans that seem to bring the most unexpected happiness. We are constantly getting to know each other. When I look at him, his face lights up and he gives a big smile back. It’s one of my greatest joys in life. I feel like it’s his way of telling me how much he loves me without having to say a word. I love learning what makes my boy happy, upset, smile, giggle, grumpy. Seeing the world through his eyes is a gift. Everything is new and pure and fascinating.
Being a mom of two is a wonderful thing, but it comes with its own challenges. I’m figuring it out as I go but here are some things that are currently on my mind.
On two kids under two
Having two kids under two years old is challenging, for sure. Some days are exhausting (especially long weekends like this one). They each have their own demands so there is rarely any downtime. Yet somehow, I am really loving this stage in our lives. We just went out to dinner and were talking about how special this time is. We have two little people that love hanging out with us. They also say or do something new and/or hilarious every single day.
Our kids are truly amazing and I love being their mother. Becoming a mother two years ago was life changing and one of the hardest things i’ve ever done. Eventually though, we got into a groove. Adding another baby to the mix is an adjustment that i’m still getting used to. The attention shifts from your first born and you need to figure out how to juggle two demanding little people.
I have to say though that i’m obsessed with my little family. Seeing my daughter develop into her own little person and how caring she is with her little brother makes me so happy. She thinks he is absolutely adorable and loves helping out. Dylan smiles nonstop when she’s around and is infatuated by her. Watching her kiss his head and wrap her little arms around him melts my heart.
Sorry for all the mushiness but i’m seriously in love with them. I just wanted to share an update because motherhood is such a huge part of my life and I want to be open about what i’m going through. If you have any advice, please share in the comments!
I know this can be a controversial subject but I wanted to share my experience. With Perry, I exclusively breastfed her until she was 9.5 months old. I would travel with my breast pump everywhere I went, trying to find a private place to pump whether it was in a tiny airport bathroom stall, a car or a conference room (without a lock). I would wake up at 5am everyday to get ready for work and squeeze in a full feeding, have two pumping sessions at work, and nurse her when I got home.
It was emotionally and physically exhausting. I won’t even go into how painful the first few weeks were. I really devoted all of myself to ensure that she was receiving only breastmilk. From 9.5 months to when she was about a year, it was a combination of nursing, pumped milk, organic formula and solids. I was proud of how long I was able to feed her with just my body but also disappointed in myself for not getting to at least 12 months. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? When I was pregnant with Dylan, I told myself that I could do better and vowed to only give him breast milk for the first year.
As with any misdirected plans, things didn’t quite work out that way. Dylan’s weight wasn’t where it needed to be when he was born so in addition to nursing him, we supplemented with pumped breast milk and formula. I love being able to breastfeed him but J and I were just uncomfortable not ever knowing if he was getting enough. My friend also let us borrow a baby scale and I was going crazy weighing him before and after each feeding, praying for a good reading. It was all I could think about. I was nursing him as much as I physically could and he still wasn’t gaining enough weight.
There was something about giving him a bottle of milk that gave us the reassurance we needed. I no longer cared about being able to say that we were exclusively breastfeeding. Fed truly was best. Our feeding schedule has had slight variations over the past few months depending on what’s going on. I’m now back to exclusively breastfeeding him again but that may change depending on how he’s doing and i’m okay with that.
I just feel like breastfeeding is so stressful. I already put a ton of pressure on myself in everyday life and when it comes to my kids, I want to do anything I possibly can to ensure they are getting everything they need to thrive. As a new mom two years ago, it was one of the hardest things I did. It left me with such anxiety and guilt for not getting to the year mark. Parents face tremendous pressure when it comes to feeding their babies. I wanted to share my story in case anyone else is going through a similar situation and could use another parent’s perspective.
Up until recently, Dylan was sleeping in a bassinet in the office. About two weeks ago, we moved him to Perry’s room so they now officially share a room. For some time, he slept through the night, 7pm to 7am. Now he’s teething and going through a four month sleep regression so he has been waking up throughout the night. Surprisingly, there were a few nights when Perry did not hear him crying and slept right through it.
Unfortunately, this week she seems to hear every little cry and wakes up with him. I feel like they’re feeding off of each other and if one cries, the other cries twice as loud. There have been times when I just toggle between the two cribs, hoping Perry will suddenly decide she wants to set a good example for her brother.
One thing we are working on is putting him to sleep when he’s awake. That way, he can fall asleep on his own and self-soothe. I sometimes want to rock him to sleep on the chair (which usually means rocking myself to sleep) but I know that will backfire on us. For now, we’re trying to stick to a similar routine everyday, some of which includes taking a bath, reading a book, turning on the sound machine, and singing a song. I’m hoping (praying) that they’ll get used to sleeping in the same room and things will get…quieter.
I told myself at the beginning of my maternity leave that I would use this time at home to gain momentum with the blog while the kids are sleeping. I’m excited that Street Style Philosophy is growing in the direction I want it to. I wanted to put myself out there by going to blogging events, meeting other Philly bloggers, and maximizing opportunities. I wrote a separate post about how I fit blogging into my life and make time to accomplish my goals. You can read about it here.
On going back to work
I’m on maternity leave now and going back to work in October. Before Dylan was born, I was preparing for a launch at work (most of you know i’m a Pharmacist). Just like when I was going on leave with Perry, I didn’t know how I was going to leave everything at the door and focus on my baby. In my mind, I thought i’d be working on projects while feeding Dylan at home. Looking back, that sounds insane. Truthfully, I was able to start my maternity leave and clearly separate work from home. My boss was incredibly understanding and stressed that this was time for my family.
Now that i’m going back in two months, I’m starting to think about what life will be like. I know a few things for sure based on my first maternity leave. I’ll be completely out of the loop, the structure of my team will be different, and i’ll have 4500 unanswered emails. With Julian and I both working full-time, I know the work/mom balance will be difficult.
I remember how hard it was to go back to work after Perry was born. I’m terrified at the idea of leaving my little baby at home without me…again. I keep telling myself to enjoy the last few weeks of my leave and trust that it will be okay. The other day my friend gave me some great advice. She said that it’s going to be hard to matter what and i’m going to be nervous. So why start worrying now? She said to enjoy the time I have at home and not think about it until the time comes. So that’s my current strategy.
For all you mamas (and dadas!) out there, both new and veteran, i’d love to hear your thoughts. What was your experience like going back to work?