the insider's guide to being a mom

In last month's American Baby magazine, I was interviewed for an article entitled "The Insider's Guide to Being a Mom." Interestingly, the interview was conducted after my return to work with Baby #1, but the article was not published until after Baby #2. To be completely honest, I'd forgotten all about my discussion with the writer, so it was a nice surprise when the article was finally published!

Now, while I do not profess to be an expert of ANY KIND WHATSOEVER in the field of Motherhood, I did want to share my interview in hopes that if you have a friend who's a new mommy returning to work, you'll pass it along. And because American Baby doesn't have an extensive website, you can't find my pearls of wisdom anywhere else but here on this lil' ol' blog.

Without further ado:

Return to Work on a Wednesday
I remember reading this somewhere and I think it's great advice. True story: on my first day back after maternity leave, the elevators parted, I took about four steps into my office and immediately started bawling. Not one of my finer moments, needless to say. My entire system was revolting against the fact that I was back to sitting in front of a computer again when I'd just spent the last 3 months caring for my newborn baby. Starting on a Wednesday gave me a few days to get back into the swing of things, and before I knew it the weekend was here. I'm not actually sure I could have made it through 5 days that first week.

Cut Yourself Some Slack
At first, I felt so insignificant going back to the same mundane tasks I'd done before (my attitude was admittedly not the best at first), but the good news is that managing work and baby gets better. Give yourself some time. Returning to a routine is not going to happen overnight and THAT'S OKAY, mama.

Let it Out
Check in with your working-mommy friends during this period if you need reassurance that, yes, your feelings are natural. And on that note, make time for all your friends (mommy or not) -- find time for a coffee or a glass of vino -- your significant other is there 24/7 (and you couldn't do it without him!) but sometimes there is nothing like a girlfriend to boost morale.

Repeat Your New Mantra
Work makes me a better mom. This is what I truly believe, even though I know it's not going to apply to everyone. In addition, I provide the health insurance for my family. I remind myself how important that is on tough days when I'm missing my girls.

I hope that helps!


big apple books: new york baby & more

Duo Press may lead the pack in the amount of NYC-themed books they publish, making them officially near and dear to my heart. In their own words, Duo shares with the world "innovative books for curious children," and the phrase couldn't be truer of their Big Apple selections. The following books are all by the author Puck, who I must admit I'm quite curious about since I can't seem to find a photo of him anywhere!

New York Baby, with colorful illustrations by Violet Lemay, is just adorable. This board book describes the best of NYC with a few ABCs added in for good measure. "F" for "Fugettaboutit"? Um, that's awesome. I also love the shout out to the 4 seasons, a fact which I'm pretty sure we all take for granted. If I do say so myself, this makes a great shower gift for a NYC bebe.

Next up, their 1,2,3 books for Brooklyn and NYC. Total cuteness. Obviously I'm not giving away the plot here, but any New York City parent is going to love that one of the number descriptions for 1,2,3 Brooklyn will have you counting water towers. In Manhattan? Taxis and bagels, of course.

The creative vision doesn't stop there -- I love Wow! New York City and Doodle New York for the big kid set. The first artfully creates NYC landmarks out of paper clips (paper clips!) and will be as much of a hit with parents as it is with kids. At the end of the book, landmarks are described in more detail. With Doodle New York, Lemay's whimsical illustrations are back again. Kids are invited to express their artistic side by "drawing their way through New York." Drawings are begun and your child does the rest.


movie night: "won't back down"

There is a line in the new film, "Won't Back Down," when Maggie Gyllenhaal's character says, (and I'm slightly paraphrasing here), "Remember the mother who lifted a car off her child? She's got nothing on me." And she's right. Her character, a single mother in a low income neighborhood fighting to improve her daughter's school, proves early on she's a force to be reckoned with. When she partners with a teacher (played by Viola Davis), desperate to reclaim her lust for life and the passion she once had for teaching, there's no stopping them.

Now, I'm not giving anything away. Anyone watching the movie for 30 seconds knows how it's going to end. And that's actually okay -- I think as Americans, rooting for the underdog is part of our DNA. While I don't know enough about the public school system to really comment on the "trigger law" which is central to the story's plot, in VERY simple terms I can tell you it's when parents and teachers join together to take over a troubled school. Though they ultimately prevail,  Gyllenhaal and Davis' characters encounter an enormous amount of red tape and opposition from the teachers' union and school district.

Here's how I really connected with the film -- Maggie Gyllenhaal. Against all adversity and every hurdle along the way, her character gives 110% to create a better future for her daughter, knowing full well that it all starts with a top notch education. Viola Davis, who is always SO good in everything she does, is once again excellent as a woman who learns to let go of guilt and reclaim the spark she once had for her career. 

It was such a pleasant surprise to watch a film with powerful lead characters who happen to be women. And I suppose what REALLY gets to the point is that these women, in addition to being caring and nurturing mothers, are also women of conviction and resilience. While they may start as the underdogs, they don't stay that way for long.

Disclaimer: Circle of Moms invited me to a press screening of "Won't Back Down" and provided compensation. All opinions expressed herein are my own.
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