Guest Post: Observations of a Working Dad

This guest post is written by the incredible husband of yours truly and can I just say, he is the best man I know. Check out his perspectives on being a working dad and what he thinks about stay-at-home parents too. This guy is a class act.


A few years ago, Anne Marie Slaughter’s engaging article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” sparked an extensive discussion about the scope and degree of professional success women could achieve without sacrificing their commitment to family.  Many who were critical of the article, myself among them, nonetheless agreed with Slaughter’s central premise that women have for far too long been denied the kind of professional advancement available to men.  And that much more needs to done to open those doors.  But what us critics disliked was Slaughter’s implicit assumption that it was only women who desired the appropriate (and ever elusive) “work/life balance.”  She scrapped the stereotype of the homemaker mother only by reinforcing that of the distant and career-devoted working dad.  I’m not going to rehash that debate here—though I think it’s an important one that has continuing ramifications in public policy and private enterprise.

J and A 4

I’d simply like to make some observations about parenting from the perspective of a working dad.  A working dad who yearns to more often snuggle his sweet baby girl as she wakes up in early morning, read to her as she drifts off to sleep at night, bathe her and play with her and laugh alongside her.  And yet a working dad whose chosen profession makes many of those yearnings unfulfillable.  That’s not necessarily a bad a thing.  On this, Slaughter and I are in complete agreement: because of a set of deeply engrained cultural expectations, no one, man or woman, can rise to the top of American industry and at the same time show up to every after school dance recital, Saturday soccer game, and weekend swim meet, not to mention supply the innumerable intangibles that it takes to be an engaged parent.  In short, no one can have it all.  This has been a hotly resisted but inevitable conclusion I’ve drawn since joining the workforce and parent-force simultaneously.  It’s not new, but now it’s mine—my very first observation about parenting: it’s hard trying to excel at both fatherhood and work.

J and A 3

Jolting though it was, that’s not the observation that most surprised me upon entering parenthood.  What most surprised me was how exhausting it is to be a stay-at-home parent.  This one is a true observation; I’ve had no first-hand experience at this (which I’m confident is largely the reason our sweet daughter is turning out so well).  I’ve gained a new respect for moms and dads who’ve taken on these ’round the clock parenting duties—and somehow managed to stay enamored by their little ones’ every new discovery.  While I haven’t been there, I get a glimpse into this world each Saturday morning when I hang out with Ainsley so her mother can make some headway on the aggregated sleep lost the prior week.  After this mere half a day, I’m always stunned by how demanding and disorienting full-time, complete responsibility for another’s life is.  And as much as I dislike my work some days, I honestly don’t envy the always-on-call, never-get-a-break rhythm of stay-at-home parenting.  I don’t think I could do it.  And so I often watch in awe and amazement, baffled by the combination of her acquired insight and motherly instinct, as my incredible wife identifies and satisfies all our daughter’s needs.  I have no clue how she does it.  She is truly unbelievable.  This was my second observation: stay-at-home parenting takes a rare combination of patience, fortitude, persistence, humor, diligence, and an endless supply of love.  I’m convinced those who do it are super-human.

A and J

My third observation is more prosaic.  But it’s one that only those with the unique vantage point of a working parent can make, perched where we are between the frantic attempt to balance personal and professional success and the recognition that we could never do what our super-hero spouses do at home all day.  This last observation is the surprising rapidity and consistency of Ainsley’s development.  It’s something that you just can’t pick up on when your days are consumed with constant changing, feeding, burping, holding, both wiping tears and shedding them, and so much more that stay-at-home parents miraculously accomplish each day.  But I see it; I see the almost-imperceptible trends of growth hiding beyond the seemingly random array of noises, movements, and discoveries.  I see the gradual yet linear development in Ainsley’s pre-verbal communication, hand-eye coordination, head- and body-control, and much more.  And I see how quickly it goes, in real time.  Understandably, days at home can drag on for my wife.  The little things consume her time.  When Ang was pregnant we were once told that when we became parents the days would drag and the weeks would fly by.  That’s the perfect way of putting it.  Except that the working parent sees more of the flying and less of the dragging.  And boy is it fast.  We try to cherish each moment, but it seems that by the time we catch our breath, Ainsley is on to the next stage, discovering new facets of being a tiny human.

J and A 2

These three observations—that a sustainable work/life balance is hard (read: impossible), that stay-at-home parenting is harder, and that infant development is both rapid and consistent—likely seem commonplace to veteran parents.  After all, none of them are particularly novel.  In fact, they’re fairly predictable.  But they have, nonetheless, shaped the way I approach both parenting and work.  And for me there is value in pausing to make these observations.  And pausing to consider their implications.  It might follow from these observations, for example, that I need to let go of some of the sweeping ambition that has hung around from my single or young-married days.  Or maybe I need to give up some of my (vanishingly scarce) personal time to study more intently my daughter and her needs.  These observations remind me that she’s worth it.  She’s worth any sacrifice, any dampening of ambition, any changing of plans, any expending of energy.  She’s worth anything.  Because she’ll only be my cuddly, tiny, adorable little baby for so much longer.  And that’s something I need to cherish.  Life’s too short for it to be about anything other than investing in the ones we love.

J and A 5

Have thoughts to share? Comment below!

The Truth About My Messy House and My Messy Life

You know what really gets to me? People who seem like they have it all together. You know the ones… the mom of four who you’d never guess was a mom at all by the looks of her washboard abs. Or the seemingly super happy person who always posts pics on Facebook of exciting adventures with their perfect family that surely never fights or disagrees about anything. I know it’s my naivete getting the best of me, but at times I actually believe the lie that some people have it all together. My mind begins to spiral and I start feeling really bad about my own level of accomplishment – or lack thereof.

If I think about it hard enough I know that no one has a blemish-free life. We like to pretend we do. We overcompensate. You know, look completely polished on the outside so people don’t find out that on the inside we feel chaotic and confused and lonely. We are so incredibly fearful of losing people, or losing the approval of people, that we choose to hide instead. What would people think if they knew the truth? That the woman with the washboard abs spends three hours in the gym every morning while her kids are at school. And don’t even talk about how bad she wants to say yes to that coffee cake only to find herself skipping breakfast most mornings in favor of just the coffee. Or that the Facebook friend only posts their absolute best, cutest pics and not the ones that highlight pimples and back fat.

I wonder if we were a little more honest about what’s going on inside and a little less protective of the outside part of us, the part everyone sees, that the people we encounter would feel that they’ve finally met their kindred spirit. If our vulnerability would actually enhance our relationships instead of turn people running, like we so often fear.

This isn’t easy though. I get that. So in order to clear up any rumors that I have it all together (ha, ha right?) here are a few insights into my inner world:

  • I can’t remember the last time I swept the floors and my house is collecting dust balls in ever corner.
  • Not only do I hardly ever sweep, when I do I am one of those people who doesn’t move the furniture around but rather sweeps around it. So if you were to remove everything off our living room floor you’d find a couch-shaped dust pile, an exersaucer-shaped dust pile and a variety of other furniture and toy-shaped dust piles throughout the house.
  • Lately, out of the blue, I have been having irrational fears about Ainsley getting sick.
  • There has been a huge box on the floor of our entryway for like four days.
  • I am one of those people who doesn’t take the clothes out of the dryer until I do a load of wash and actually need to use our dryer. So there is currently a load of clothes in our dryer that has been there for about five/six days since I last did laundry.
  • Most days I can be found wearing one of five outfits: (1) black leggings with blue v-neck fleece I “borrowed” from a friend 12 years ago, (2) maternity jeans with red shirt and gray hoody, (3) Jake’s navy blue pajama pants with Duke sweatshirt, (4) Jake’s gray sweatpants with USC hoody, or (5) black workout pants with white tank top.
  • More often the than not, the above five outfits have bodily fluids stained on them.
  • I much prefer to post pics of my daughter on social media sites than of myself because I have not yet come to terms with my post-preggo body and would prefer to hide it a little longer.


So there. That’s my life right now. No makeup, unpolished. My homemaking skills are still in process and I should probably incorporate a few more outfits into the rotation. And while I’d like to say it feels good to be honest, it’s still a little scary. But maybe if we all did this it wouldn’t be so bad.

Linking up with Still Being Molly

5 Observations From 5 Months of Parenting

Ainsley turned five months old yesterday. Five months, people! Being a mom has been the weirdest experience ever… I’m convinced stay-at-home moms exist in their own time continuum, where the days sometimes trudge along at the same pace in which I am running these days (i.e. SLOW) and yet the weeks and months fly by. Seriously, how have five months come and gone already and what happened to that tiny, porcelain doll who used to fit perfectly snuggled against my chest? She has been replaced by this real, live, squirmy, squeaky human being.

5 months

They say babies change a lot between three and five months of age. I am not exactly sure who “they” are but they’re right. She has a personality and I am beginning to understand what makes her tick… and what ticks her off.

Here are five observations from five months of parenting:

1. The Parental Exaggeration Phenomenon (aka PEP): It’s kinda funny how as first time parents every little thing is a big deal. Like how the first time Ainsley got the smallest stomach bug and had one bout of diarrhea we almost took her to the ER. One bout. Emergency Room. And also how the first time Ainsley let out the tiniest little decibel of sound we started telling the world she laughed. We didn’t know it at the time but we were totally lying to everyone. I am not even sure what that sound really was but a laugh it was not. And then it happened. A real laugh was born in the 3-4 month range and it was the world’s sweetest sound. And mommy and daddy also laugh at how silly we were, thinking that first, whatever-you-call-it, was actually a laugh. Check out the real deal here.

Belly Laughs

2. Mommy Cred: At the beginning I was terrified of everything. I was afraid my baby would stop breathing in the middle of the night. I was afraid to drive with her. I was afraid she wasn’t getting enough food. I was afraid she was getting too much. I was a wreck 23 hours a day. So last weekend, Jake, Ainsley and I went on a road trip to North Carolina. The timing was perfect because a while back our preggo friends jokingly asked if we could come to their gender reveal party. Naturally we laughed in their face a little bit and said “yeah right, we wish.” I mean, a weekday road trip, are you kidding? Just a few days later though Jake was asked to attend a recruiting event for his law firm in Durham, NC. Divine coincidence? Hard to say but it sure worked out well for us. Jake was able to stay in town an extra day for the gender reveal but had to fly back early the next morning. So while we all made the 5-hour trek together, it was just Ains and me on the drive home. My goal was to make it to Richmond which was a little more than halfway. I have a friend who lives there and this seemed like a good opportunity to visit and break up the trip. Sadly, Ains woke up to eat before we made it to Richmond and then at some point after that had a silent-but-deadly blowout. I have no idea when but when she woke up from her nap she was screaming bloody murder. Of course at that point in our journey there wasn’t anywhere to stop so I pulled off the road and stripped her naked in the passenger seat. While seemingly impossible, she managed to increase the volume and intensity of her screams while laying in her birthday suit with the door open and 32 degree air blowing on her tiny body. (Please don’t call CPS on me, she has totally recovered I promise). It was both my saddest and proudest moment as a mom thus far. I felt terrible for my lovey all cold and stinky and whatnot but at the same time, this formerly frail mom turned into a bada$$, diaper-changing superhero over the course of five months. Mommy cred – through the roof but please note, I will not be including pics of the aforementioned event.

3. Easing in: Just as I couldn’t be the diaper changing whiz I am today overnight, sweet baby girl needs time to ease in to things too. I have noticed that whenever I am introducing a new toy or activity, her gut reaction is to resist. I don’t blame her. I am the same way. Here is when we introduced the Exersaucer for example:


Also like her mom, she doesn’t do much to hide her disgust. Here is when we introduced the tray that attaches to the Bumbo:


Also not a fan at first. A hundred bucks says she will be loving both of these in the next week or two. She is her mother’s daughter.

4. I am the student and Ainsley is the teacher: Whereas at the beginning of my parenting journey, I obsessively read everything I could online and anywhere else in order to figure out what the heck I was doing, I have since become a student of my daughter. She is my best teacher. I realize now that all kids are different and while I want her milestones to be met perfectly on par with all the other kids, she is her own unique person and I want to treat her as such. In observing her I have become a much more astute mommy and can now predict when my kid is going to have a meltdown or start giggling, fussing, etc. The one thing I haven’t been able to figure out still is when she is going to have a major poop blow out. If there were any rhyme or reason to that it would really help me out when we’re out in public. Oh well.

5. Strange Sadness: I never imagined how sad it would be to say goodbye to some of her old clothes. Ains is still super tiny. 9th percentile in weight. Up from 6th percentile though! So we are just now getting rid of her 0-3 month clothes and it really made me sad. I spent at least an hour the other day looking through old pics of her wearing the stuff that is now folded up in Trader Joe’s bags and tucked neatly away in the closet. While I am glad she is growing, I wish I would have just sat and stared at her a little longer in some of these outfits. They represent my little newborn and the fact that she can’t wear them anymore shows just how fast time really flies. One day she will be wearing the clothes with the little T next to the number and then small, medium or large outfits and I will surely lose it then.

Here are some of the cute outfits that no longer fit. Top row: handmade necklace onesie from cousin Dawn, blue polka dot onesie and cupcake hoodie. Bottom row: Santa dress which Jake picked out the day we found out we were having a girl and Duke onesie with ruffly sleeves.


Anywho, that’s that. Five months have come and gone. Soon she will be six months and that just sounds really old. What have you observed your first few months of parenting?

Linking up with Still Being Molly

My 5 Favorite Non-Essential Baby Items, Ages 0-6 Months

When Jake and I first went out to register, we spent over three hours in the car seat section of Buy Buy Baby. I thought I had done enough legwork – you know, asking friends on Facebook for their top registry picks, talking to fellow mommy friends, researching on the internet. I printed out, like, 10 pages of comments along with other info I could find online and brought it with us to register but it wasn’t enough. We still spent more than three hours with the Buy Buy Baby salesperson asking questions and looking at every model of car seat they had. By the time we were done, my big, preggo body was so tired that the only other section I could handle  was the nursery where I just sprawled out on a rocking chair and lulled myself into a catnap.

We finalized our registry and got most of the items we asked for along with many generous gifts we didn’t ask for too. Lovely handmade quilts, tons of clothes (I would kill for even half of Ainsley’s wardrobe) and enough gift cards to purchase furniture and whatnot.

We all know what the essentials are right? Diapers, wipes, somewhere for baby to sleep and so on. But you could spend a small fortune purchasing the many, many, many other items the baby store people try to convince you that you’ll need. Some of which are helpful. Some of which are totally unnecessary. If you’re on a budget, like we were, you will need to narrow things down. In addition to the obvious stuff, here are my favorite non-essentials. Obviously, you need to make your own choices but here is what we’ve loved and our reasons why:

1. Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play

r n p

Ainsley was diagnosed with reflux at three weeks old so lying flat on her back has always been uncomfortable… up until about three weeks ago when we transitioned her to her crib at night. Before that though, Ains was in her Rock’n Play all the time. Day and night. As evidenced by the above pics. One thing that is great is she can subtly move the chair while sitting in it which allows her to rock a bit. Babies love that. We even bring it with us on vacation. Most essential, non-essential piece of furniture by far.

2. Snap-N-Go Stroller


The Snap ‘n Go Stroller has been a lifesaver. My delivery was brutal and it took weeks to heal. I could hardly carry around my six pound baby let alone heavier objects. The great thing about the Snap ‘n Go is that it is light and easy to use. All you do is place your infant carseat in the frame until you hear it click. Sadly, Miss A is not loving being in her carseat anymore so I am not sure how much longer we will get away with using this as our primary stroller but I will keep trying as long as possible.

3. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer Book


This book totally changed the way I view my child and helped me create a realistic schedule for our days. It was recommended by several people before I finally went out and bought it. I’m so glad I did. Here are my takeaways:

  • Ainsley is a tiny person. She is not “the baby” but rather Ainsley Grace Charles and although she has not been on this earth for long she still deserves to be treated with respect.
  • E.A.S.Y. – Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time. It doesn’t work perfectly. At least not in our house. But it does help. Let’s say Ains is fussing and I can’t figure out why. It helps to have a framework for the day that I can use as a guide as I figure out what’s wrong. If she’s just eaten, it may be that her diaper is wet. Or if I can rule those out, maybe she’s tired. There are also some charts that help decode baby body language (like what it means when they arch their back or frantically kick their legs). Those alone are worth buying the book for. You can get a used copy for crazy cheap on Amazon.

4. Carseat Canopy

carseat canopy

One of my favorite showers gifts was our carseat canopy. An awesome family friend made ours and it has come in handy on more than one occasion. For starters, with the winter we are having it has helped Ainsley stay warm and protect her adorable porcelain skin from getting too dry and cold. The other thing though, and people said this would happen, is that strangers will touch your child. No joke. This just adds an extra layer of protection between you and those who aren’t aware of the concept of boundaries.

5. Security Binky Blanket


I can’t remember when but Ains reached a point when she learned how to grab at things. She will grab at anything within reach now.  It’s fun seeing her reach this new milestone but the problem is, she grabs blankets and pulls them over her face when I am not looking. So I found this tiny blanket that attaches to her paci and she absolutely loves it. Now, in addition to her loving the way it feels, I don’t have to worry about her being suffocated by a bigger blanket.

Like I said – it’s all a matter of personal opinion. These are a few items we have grown to love. What essential, non-essentials do you recommend?

Linking up with Still Being Molly

Five-Minute Friday Party: CHOOSE

Today I choose to participate in the Five-Minute Friday Party. Apparently this has been going on for years over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog. Hundreds of people across the web join together, to separately write an unedited blog post for five minutes. You get the prompt from Lisa (today’s is: choose) and use that as a baseline for you post. And then you write. And stop after five minutes. Like wearing no makeup, I feel a bit exposed. No editing? As a people pleaser, I often edit and re-edit my blog posts to ensure that no one will be offended by anything I’ve written. Blogs are meant to be a recording of our own thoughts. A place where we can be real and take a step out of our comfort zone, letting others into our ideas and thought processes. I am trying to be more authentic and stop caring about what others think of me. But I don’t want to make waves either. I want to be a peacemaker. So, how does the consummate peacemaker live an authentic life? My true inner voice and reflections may butt heads with yours. Do I make revisions in order to avoid making waves? Or do I just let the words flow out and the chips fall as they may?

Five minutes are up.

Linking at Lisa-Jo Baker.

The Soup I Eat Every Week… An Easy Weeknight Meal

Before getting married, I prided myself on knowing all the best places to order takeout. If you needed ideas of where to get pretty much any kind of food, I was your girl. I would get home from work around 7:00 or 8:00pm each evening, and I would be starving. So, instead of spending time in the kitchen preparing a meal, I would stop somewhere on my way home and get takeout. Sushi, soup, salad, sandwiches, whatever. Not only would cooking probably have starved me to death, I really had no desire to do it anyway. That is, until I got married.

As soon as my husband and I got back from our honeymoon, it was like a light switch was turned on and suddenly I wanted to figure out how to make meals we could enjoy together. Plus we had like, no money, so it was either a home-cooked meal a la Chef Angela or yet another Famous Bowl from KFC.

Since having a baby, cooking just doesn’t happen as much as I would like anymore. Freezer recipes prepared on the weekend are now the norm. Or recipes that can be prepared quickly, in between diaper changing, preparing bottles, feeding and the other items in my new job description. Quick recipes often include my favorite cooking tool, the crock pot, or soups and such that require a simple dumping of ingredients and then allow you to walk away while the flavors marinate in deliciousness.

So, there’s this soup recipe… It’s easy to make and so good. I make it pretty much every week. Last night even. I have always loved soups – for as long as I can remember. My parents said when I was a toddler, my babysitter would feed me soup all the time and I have loved it ever since. The original recipe comes from Skinnytaste, one of my favorite sites but have adapted it each time I’ve made it, to basically incorporate whatever ingredients I have in the fridge and cupboard. I don’t even look at the original recipe anymore. It takes very little time to prepare and I can’t imagine how it could ever be messed up.

It’s called Chicken and Cavatelli Soup, but I just call it Chicken and Whatever Noodles I Have Soup.

The above pic is of the real version of the recipe. Dang, it’s good. Here is how you make my fake, yet still really good version:

  1. Melt some butter in a large pot.
  2. Add a clove of garlic (I usually buy those little glass containers of minced garlic and add anywhere between 1/2 teaspoon and a full teaspoon.)
  3. Add chopped onion, carrots and celery (I estimate – maybe one onion, two carrots and 2 stalks of celery? Play with it until it is to your liking. I try to make my soups pretty hearty because if I don’t my husband says they’re not filling enough.) Saute for a few minutes, until the veggies soften a bit.
  4. Add either one of those 32 oz cartons of chicken broth or a couple of cans of chicken broth.
  5. Turn heat down and let simmer. You are supposed to add a bay leaf which I do if I remember. When I forget, it still turns out good. Oh and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In a separate pan, bring water to a boil and add noodles. I usually use orzo for this soup but I have also used macaroni noodles and small pasta shells. Again, whatever I have in the cupboard. I just make a handful or two and once soft, add to the soup.
  7. I also add a handful or two of chicken. My favorite way to make chicken is in the crockpot over the weekend by adding a few chicken breasts and a can of chicken broth. Cook on low 4-6 hours. You will know when the chicken is done because it will shred easily. Divide into zip lock freezer bags and store until you want to use them. For this recipe, I just grab a bag and add the chicken to the soup. Or, you could shred a rotisserie chicken. Truly, this soup is adaptable so just experiment with it.
  8. Taste test it and when you like the way it tastes, it’s done.

I will be making this soup for years to come. It is the perfect meal to bring someone who is sick or even a new mom (if you add bread and/or salad). I hope Ainsley likes it because she sure will be eating a lot of it one day.

Linking up with Eat, Drink & Be Mary, Where We Can Live Like Jack and Sally and Southern Komfort Blog.

The Book That Will Change Everything

As I look back on the initial weeks following Ainsley’s birth, I am thankful for some bright spots amidst the sleeplessness and near-debilitating anxiety. For example, remember how all my preggo friends who were due around the same time had their babies before me? Well, once we all had our babies I stopped being bitter and none of that mattered anymore. I was grateful that we shared our pregnancy journeys together and I was even more thankful that they were along for the postpartum ride.

So one night around 3:00am, in a state of delirium, my friend and I were commiserating about how hard our lives were. It’s kind of ridiculous thinking back now. Here we were, two new mommies of beautiful, healthy baby girls and all we could think about was the hard stuff. It took weeks before we were truly able to appreciate how blessed we really were. Are.


But that was the frame of mind we were in so… we were texting back and forth, trying to stay awake so we wouldn’t accidentally nod off and drop our children and somehow our conversation took a hilariously inappropriate turn. We started coming up with chapter titles for the book we would one day write, promoting a celibate lifestyle. Sex is not worth it because it could lead to pregnancy, we thought. And pregnancy could lead to childbirth. And spiraling down the rabbit trail we went. (Please note: it was 3:00am, we were delirious and we love our children very much.)

And still, that conversation continues periodically as we encounter new stages and challenges. Other friends have joined in too. So I wanted to share said titles with all of you. (Please note: There are more, far too inappropriate to include in this public sphere, but I invite all moms to let your minds wander…)

  • Chapter 1: Nursing is Not Natural (Subtitle: Just because moms produce milk and babies can suck, does not mean nursing comes naturally)
  • Chapter 2: Formula Poop Stinks
  • Chapter 3: How to Properly Remove a Poop-Saturated Onesie (Subtitle: This little factoid is a game changer)
  • Chapter 4: What’s a Shower? (Subtitle: Is that odor me?)
  • Chapter 5: Is that Poop or Food Stained on my Shirt?
  • Chapter 6: Creative Substitutes for Nursing Pads (Subtitle: Because who has time to go to the store?)
  • Chapter 7: My Everything Hurts
  • Chapter 8: How Could My Husband Do This To Me?
  • Chapter 9: I Don’t Know Myself Anymore
  • Chapter 10: The Diaper Is For Peeing On, Not The Changing Table

Possible book titles include:

  • The Many Layers of Motherhood
  • My Complicated Mom Life
  • How Could My Husband Do This To Me? (Subtitle: See Chapter 8)

Want to help us brainstorm more? Join us in the comment section below. This book is sure to be a New York Times Bestseller.


An Absolutely Brutal Week and the Decision to Stop Breastfeeding

I recently made the decision to transition from breastfeeding to formula feeding and I have to admit, it was not an easy decision to make. We have been all over the map in terms of feeding since the moment Ainsley was born.

At the hospital, I nursed during the days and she took a bottle in the nursery at night. When we got home, our pediatrician was concerned she had lost too much weight since birth and recommended we supplement nursing with formula. While recovering from delivery, I was living in a fog from lack of sleep and pain meds, so letting others feed while I napped was a gift. However, it did cause my milk supply to slow down and by the time family left town and I was on my own again, I had to make a quick decision about how I was going to feed – breast or bottle. When faced with the decision alone, without any outside influences in favor of or against either option, I made the decision to nurse exclusively. For the first time ever, I felt like my mom instinct kicked in and when we went back to the pediatrician a few weeks later, Ainsley had gained weight. Huge relief.

I had to work hard to get my milk supply back up. I hired a Lactation Consultant to come to my house, fondle me quite a bit, and get me back on track. I ate dozens of lactation cookies, drank Mother’s Milk tea, took supplements, the works. Finally, we were up-and-running again. Ainsley continued to thrive the next two months. We were smooth sailing.

When she hit her three-month birthday, we experienced a week like no other. Note to self: Do not get on this girl’s bad side because she will make life miserable for all who cross her path. Jake and I could not figure out what was wrong with her that week. She whined and cried and fussed all week long. It was torture for all three of us. We were terrified our happy-go-lucky girl was gone and had been replaced by a miserable little being whose sole desire was to suck the life out of everyone she came in contact with.

And then it hit us. This was a total Mom and Dad fail. We realized… she was crying after every meal (although to our credit she was also crying the rest of the day too)… she might be hungry. Or tired. Or both. The girl would not nap. She would fight it and fight it and fight it and being the novice parents that we are, we would succumb to her tears and hold her. All day.

But on top being sleepy, the girl was hungry. Her cries screamed, “Feed me!” Sadly though, I did not have enough milk to offer the poor love. So here we were again, back to supplementing, only this time my mommy instinct told me it was all good. Baby girl got happy once her tummy was satisfied. Everything shifted again. Our sweet, joyful, smiley girl was back.

Sweet, Happy Baby

Sweet, Happy Baby

As the feeding saga continued, and little A continued to grow, I stopped being able to keep up with her needs and my milk supply began to dwindle again. After a couple weeks I was pumping like 3 oz. a day. Not nearly enough for one meal let alone a day’s worth.

And that leads us to where we are today. As of the four-month mark, she is exclusively a formula-fed baby. I struggled with this transition. I wasn’t sure how hard I should push to keep the nursing going. I was also a little embarrassed to admit that I had officially gone to the other side (no offense to you formula feeding moms out there. Just keeping in real. These were my struggles).

That said, we just had her four-month checkup and the doctor said she was thriving. She is smiling, giggling, oohing and aahing. She actually seems happier than ever. She is finally napping and eats way more than anyone would ever expect considering her size. I can only imagine the girl has the kind of metabolism the rest of us only dream about.

She can't believe she is 4 months old either!

She can’t believe she is 4 months old either!

Plus, I know plenty of formula fed babies that like never, ever get sick. It is kind of crazy. Like never. And as my friend and I discussed just this week, we were formula fed babies and obviously we are perfect in every way.

So I wonder why I struggle with these feelings? I think part of it is just me. If I am not wrestling with one issue it’s another. I am one of those people that can never be happy just being happy. Part of it also is my tendency to compare myself with others. Are other moms stronger than me? Do they have superhuman milk-producing powers that I don’t have? Does not nursing make me a bad mom? I know the answers to all of the above are no, no and no. But I still question. I still wonder.

All that to say, the decision is made and the milk is no longer. I am back to enjoying wine, cheese and broccoli again. Okay, maybe not enjoying broccoli, but I am back to eating it again.

Pasta Salad with... drum roll... broccoli!

Pasta Salad with… drum roll… broccoli!

As moms we can only do our very best. We do have a mommy instinct that kicks in for even the least maternal among us (i.e. me). We can research and seek the opinions of others but ultimately we all have to make our own decisions. No judgment. No comparing. And that includes ourselves.

Current and future moms – Are you (or did you) breastfeed or formula feed? What was your thought process when you made your decision? Leave a comment… I would love to know your thoughts.

The whole truth and nothing but the truth…

The transition of non-parent to parent is like going from (insert ANY profession) to… I don’t know… Cardiothoracic Surgeon overnight. You feel clueless pretty much ALL THE TIME. Your new workspace is filled with foreign objects that require a ridiculous amount of training to operate (moby wrap, what??). Your identity shifts drastically. Everything you used to believe about yourself (like that you are strong, competent, intelligent, to name a few) is flushed down the toilet. And don’t even get me started about the loss of freedom. You’re on call 24/7. Sleep is for wusses anyway.

This is not to say that parenthood isn’t worth it. You don’t understand true love until you are looking into your baby’s eyes and see that first sparkle of recognition or the toothless grin that lights up the room. Those moments can bring tears to the eyes of even the toughest dude out there.

But that’s not the point right now. My husband tells me I am on a Truth Campaign because ever since becoming a parent I have no problem sharing with anyone who will listen how hard things are at times. Sleepless nights, deafening crying spells and what’s a shower again? Very rarely does anyone tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what parenting is actually like.

I feel a bit misled. Yes it is joyous and yes it is oh so good. But I knew it would be all that. People tend to focus on the good stuff only and minimize the hard, crazy and weird details. Like, I had no idea that one day I would need to cut my daughter’s onesie off her because it was just that saturated with poop. Or that months would pass and I would never not feel narcoleptic. (My baby is four months old and I still woke up six times last night – twice to feed, once to burp and change her and three other times for reasons I am too tired to remember right now).

Aforementioned onesie that is no longer with us. RIP.

Aforementioned onesie that is no longer with us. RIP.

I think there are a few things going on. For starters, as time goes on we forget the hard stuff from the beginning stages of parenthood. When, I don’t know. But eventually these high stress moments from the early months fade away and we long to do it all over again.

It also seems though that we don’t admit the hard stuff because it would make us seem like we’re not cutting it in the overseers-of-tiny-humans department. And with the fancy, shiny images on Instagram and Facebook our babies all look perfectly aglow. Mine included. And while I do find her absolutely angelic on most days, some days are completely exhausting. There, I admitted it.

There is also this comparison thing that happens when you become a parent. Social media makes it hard not to believe that everyone else’s baby is perfect and every other parent out there is adjusting fantastically to their new reality as mom or dad. Don’t believe what you see people! Sure, we go out on errands and to Baby Rhyme Time at the library but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t hysterical crying the whole way there and the whole way home!

And then there’s the guilt. Oh the mom guilt. It’s what leads me to question whether I should even post any of this. It’s what also leads me to emphasize again, that my baby is precious in almost every way, almost all the time. We had a rough week recently, that’s all! Really, I love her with every inch of me! Promise! It’s all true… but so is the other stuff. Why should we feel guilty for being real with each other?

Why is this even important? Why start a Truth Campaign? Because when I know others are going through even a small inkling of what I am going through I somehow feel better. Not that I want you to struggle but knowing that you are… even a little… brings me a wee bit of comfort.

Moms, Dads, new parents everywhere… we are in this together. Let’s be real with each other and support one another and celebrate small victories. We are on the adventure of a lifetime right now and it comes with a cost. Every good thing does. So let’s not be ashamed to admit it.

What a Difference a Year Makes



V Day

Happy V Day

Follow Me!
Get every new post delivered to your inbox!

Join other followers

Powered By