How In The World Am I a Stay-At-Home Mom With a Full Time Job?

Calling all my working mamas!

How in the world do you do it? Especially if you have a 9-5 job. I work from home and thought it would be just fine with an infant and toddler. Hah. Forgive me for underestimating how much work it would be. It is really hard. At least I don’t have a job that requires me to clock in and out and sit at a desk for certain hours. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to work 40+ a week, but I get to make my own schedule. If it was not for the flexibility, I would not be able to work from home. Because quite frankly, I basically have an evening shift work-from-home job.

Many people have a misconception about what it is like to work from home with kids.

They think it’s all paradise. OK, yes I get to work in my pjs and yoga pants on most days, but, as I said before on my Instagram, most of the time I get my work done when the kids go to bed at night. It is impossible for me to do anything during the day, but it is still possible to work from home if you do not mind working in the evenings. My days are spent taking care of my little guy (on the days older brother is at school) and doing occasional chores. If I need to meet up with friends or colleagues for coffee, he tags along.

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So… how in the world am I a stay-at-home mom with a full time job?

Recently though, my husband and I have made an arrangement for me to work 5pm to about 9ish. I lock myself in my office to work and he takes care of the kids. Some days I don’t actually start until closer to 8pm and work until midnight or 1am.  I usually take a break to help with the kids’ nighttime routine.  Some days I have more work. Some days I hardly have any when I’m all caught up. What I don’t like about that schedule is that I am missing out on quality time with him and the kids. So I try to make sure that I have absolutely  no work to do on the weekends so I can spend  time with hubby. My toddler goes to preschool three days a week, so at least that gives me some quiet time to respond to emails or do quick chores while the baby naps.

The thing is, I underestimated how much work baby#2 would be. Sounds wrong but it is so true. My first was very quiet. Yes, he cried when hungry or sleepy, but for the most part, he was very easy going and could entertain himself easily. Now baby #2 is very different. He does not like to be left alone and always wants me around. He’ll play for maybe ten minutes on his own, but that’s it. So, he is a full time job itself. Thus the reason why I can not do a single thing until hubby gets home.

I never used to be a night owl. But now I am mostly productive in the evening. I suppose we are testing the waters, but I would be lying to you if I said it was easy.

Sometimes, we, mothers, have the pressure to keep it all together and make sure that everything is perfect. We feel the need to be the perfect wife and the perfect mother. If not, then we are failing. We easily compare ourselves to so and so who seems to have it all together. Little do we know that so and so is also struggling with the same challenges.

Everything will not always be perfect, and that’s okay.

Some nights the dishes will remain in the sink, and the floors won’t be shiny. Some days you’ll have to order take out and take a shower late at night. That is the reality of it. As long as you are doing your best, mama, then do not give in to the pressure of having to be perfect all the time.

Some of you wonder how in the world do I still find time to write and blog? I suppose this is my escape. Blogging keeps me sane.  It gives me a place to escape to for just a little while.

It is not by my own strength that I am able to do this. God is my strength. When I do not read my devotional/Bible or spend some time in His presence, I definitely feel a sense of loss and weakness. But as soon as I put some worship music on or meditate on His promises, I instantly feel renewed. Strengthened. Awaken. So I have to keep reminding myself that if I keep trying to do everything on my own, eventually I will continue to get weaker. One of my favorite verses in Proverbs 3:5 reads,

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all  your ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct your path.

So although I may not understand how I will be able to overcome this challenge, God does. And I will continue to trust in the Lord with all my heart for strength and courage.

This post was also published on Huffington Post.

Be the Friend You Wish You Had!

Be the friend you wish you had and never take the ones you have for granted.

This past week, I had the pleasure to reunite with a long time friend of mine. She came to visit us from Texas along with her husband, and little baby girl of two months. Best friends reunite! We finally got to hold each other’s babies who are only 7 weeks apart! I only wish she lived closer.

It was great to just to all be together and talk, laugh etc. We talked about how things happen in life in interesting ways. For my loyal readers, you’ve read by now on my blog how I discussed friendships and the more difficult it becomes to have or keep friends around once married or once you have children. It is hard to understand why or how certain friendships simply do not last all the way into adulthood, but it happens more than often.

This friend of mine here, I’ve known her since high school. The funny thing is that I did not like her much when I first met her. We were introduced by my then best friend.  Long story short,  From high school, through college, marriage, and now motherhood, we’ve been there for each other. Today, we are both wives, mothers, and women of faith.

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It is not about how many friends one has, but more so about the value of those friendships.

I thank God for the friends he’s blessed me with. My prayer is that God keeps us in each other’s lives for as long as possible! Sometimes we don’t realize the value of certain friendships until it is too late. I can attest to that personally.

As we discussed different topics during her visit, we both realized that we had lost many friends over the years, but that we were okay with it. If you are personally struggling with being a new mom without any “mom friends”, know that this is common. Many of us are going through the same thing, myself included. My advice is to just be patient. Sometimes we make friends in the most unexpected encounters.  So I encourage you all to be the friend you wish you had and never take the ones you have for granted.

What is your biggest struggle/concern in regards to adult friendships? Share your thoughts!

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Dealing With Mommy Guilt & Comparisons

 

I never knew how competitive moms could be until I became one myself.

From feeding choices, to daycare, career choices, and sleeping methods, moms constantly compare their child or parenting choices to others.  Most do it unintentionally and are probably unaware that they’re comparing. But still, it happens often.

The moment will come when a mother has to make one of the biggest decisions in motherhood-one that has moms of today divided into two categories: being a stay-at-home-mom or a working mom. Some are able to do both (more power to you!), but most moms are not able to. But with whatever decision you decide, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about your decision.  Moms already deal with enough stress, so we should be uplifting one another instead of making each other feel bad for whatever reason.

I’ve talked about how some moms sometimes feel a sense of self loss at times. It can get lonely. Staying home with an infant all day and feeling out of touch with “life out there.” Or maybe you had to go back to work and now you’re feeling mommy guilt because other moms have it “easy” and are able to stay at home with baby (which isn’t easy at all, by the way!).  Whichever you are,  you should not feel bad for making a decision that another mom doesn’t agree with. And what’s with the term full-time mom? We’re all full-time moms, the way I see it… I hate that term…

Anyway, it has been a rough couple of days. Enough coffee could not help with the physical and emotional exhaustion I’m feeling right now. Exhausted because my baby is teething and hasn’t been sleeping well, and also because I have recently gone back to teaching online part-time. Although I get to stay home with my 3-month old infant,  I sometimes second guess my decision to go back to work.

Is it too soon? Am I crazy?  How will I manage everything?

I’m grateful to have a career where I can do both-stay home with baby and work, but I won’t lie and say it’s easy. I don’t know how long I will be able to do it but for now, I’m enjoy the little moments.  I get to see him grow and reach every milestone.

“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.”
-Barbara Kingslover

Keep doing you. No matter what, do what’s best for you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And if your friends are making you feel bad about your parenting decisions,  get you some new supportive friends!

The Hassle With Making Mom Friends

Oh crap. I only have one mom friend.

Several weeks ago, I was sitting simply reflecting on my life and the friends I’ve had throughout the years and I started to think,

“Oh wow. What happened to so and so…? Oh crap. I only have one mom friend. I think. Or maybe two at the most.”

Which would be fine if they lived in the same state as me.
So I started to realize that some people just move on, and others have a hard time moving on or letting go. Which one am I? And I the kind to hold on to bits of memories of friendships that once existed or am I one to just finally go “out there” and make some new friends? But like they all say, making mom friends is not that easy. Either they live too far or sometimes you just don’t click. I’ve been down that road before. And do I really have the time and energy to invest in a new friendship right now? Do I just walk up to a mom at the grocery store and say, “Hey, wanna be friends and have play dates…and stuff?” Awkward a bit. Isn’t it?

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After posting about this on my Instagram, turns out that I was not alone.  They suggested:
“Go to a mom meet-up” or “go to the library” or “what about your church?”

I’ve done all of the above.
There was a time after I had my first baby when I was actively or maybe even desperately on “the search” for new mom friends. But after having my second baby I now realize that it will happen eventually and to not kill myself trying to make friends by forcing it upon myself. Tried that once and let’s just say it didn’t end well. I also don’t have much energy to even entertain the idea of making friends, let alone go anywhere by myself, hence, the bathroom, without:
A) a newborn crying in the background

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B) a toddler following me to the bathroom.
But all jokes aside, sometimes it’s hard to accept our new circumstances. After losing a few friends years ago, I would find myself wondering if I had done something wrong but I realized that this is just life.

People get married. People have babies. People move away. People move on. Sometimes you just don’t have anything in common anymore, so the friendship just vanishes little by little. But that’s the beauty of friendship. You never know what’s ahead.

I’m learning what true friendship is and I realize that some friends were never really my friends to begin with, and I’m also realizing that I was not always a good friend myself. Matter of fact, I was probably a crappy friend. We like to point the finger, but now that I’m older and wiser (I think), I can look back and admit that.

A true friend, no matter what, knows and understands what is important to you and would stick by you through those significant moments in your life. A true friend also knows when to give you your space, but still be around at the same time. The true friend knows how to be there for you even when you don’t think you need them there. And when you become a mom, having a mom friend takes “a whole nother” meaning. You can’t ask for too much or expect too much from them. Just someone you can meet up with at the park with the kids, meet up for coffee for some “mommy time” and grown up chit-chat, or go for a morning walk to lose that baby weight.

 

So whenever my new mom friends will make their appearance in my life, I think I will be a pretty darn good friend—better than I ever was. But for now, I’m content with the ones I have, even if they live hundreds of miles away.

 

Also published on HUFFPOST  Here

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You Make Motherhood Look So Easy!

Is motherhood as scary as it sounds?

For the past couple of weeks, since giving birth to my second baby, I’ve gotten comments such as, “You Make Motherhood Look So Easy!”

My first thought was, “What the heck does that even mean?”

I received this comment from a mom and from a friend who doesn’t have children yet.

I was so confused, so I asked my husband if I should be offended or flattered.Then I decided to ask for clarification from one of the persons who told me this—the one without children yet.  She further explained that as someone without kids yet, I made motherhood look like it wasn’t so bad and as scary as it sounds. I made it look easy. Maybe she could do it too after all. You know? Be a young mom and have a life too.

Then it hit me. Many women simply do not have kids yet because they are afraid of:

1) losing their freedom. 2) losing themselves along the way. 3) not having a life.

Often times, without realizing it, moms do scare women who don’t have any kids yet. All they hear when we talk about our children is all the scary stories about breastfeeding and crying babies or how toddlers will make you want to pull your hair out.

It is true that motherhood is not easy, but at the same time, it is the most rewarding journey any women can experience.  You will cry, laugh, possibly get depressed, but most importantly, your heart will explode—with love you never knew you could feel.

Spaces (1)Do I make motherhood look easy? No. I simply share my daily life as a mother and a writer.

Why should I give up my dream and passion for writing because I’m a mother?

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The key is, don’t lose yourself because you had a baby. Instead, let motherhood bring out the best in you and bring out new interests you never even knew existed.

For example, before motherhood, I did write, but it was mostly fiction. But now that I am a mother, I have developed new interests and topics in writing, and more opportunities within the writing realm has presented itself that I didn’t have before I became a mother. I made the decision to not use my children or motherhood as an excuse for not following my dream. I want to be an example for my children so that when they grow up, they too will follow their dreams and live a life with passion. No matter what. Is it easy? Absolutely not!

Some days I don’t write. Actually, not some, but more like several days go by without me even typing a single word. And that’s life—that’s motherhood.

So whatever field you’re in, don’t let motherhood scare you from being successful. If it’s painting, paint on. If it’s music, sing on. If it’s writing, write on.

Continue to grow as an artist and let the journey of motherhood be your inspiration. Embrace motherhood and its challenges and allow them to strengthen you, mamas!

 

 

Leave My Body Alone…Curves and All

It can be very difficult for some women to get back in shape after baby. We all have different body types, so for some it may happen in a month and others it may take a year or even longer.

I’m still not cleared to exercise, so today I started with some light stretching, as my muscles were feeling tight. My baby slept peacefully in the solly wrap against mommy’s chest.

My advice to women postpartum is, I believe that when you are ready, take your time and do the exercises that feel right to you and your body. There are many ways to get back in shape, but wait until your body is ready and do not feel pressured by anyone to lose the weight so quickly.

It is so easy for people to talk and say, “Wow, you’ve gained so much weight.” or “You look like a mom now.”  (What does that even mean?!?!)

….But don’t let comments like that get to you. Many people literally have no filter, and they don’t realize how much those words can affect a woman who is already dealing with a newborn and now the stress of trying to look like “herself” again.

I struggled with this after my first baby. The pressure to look myself again. I’d always been the “slender type” and now that I was a bit thicker, I was very uncomfortable and not confident in myself anymore. No matter how many times my husband told me I was beautiful.

It all starts with you. You have to love yourself. You have to love the new you. And you cannot let anyone else define you.

This time around with my second child, now 4 weeks postpartum, I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight or maybe even smaller due to exclusively breastfeeding since day 1. With my first I did not breastfeed exclusively until he was 6 weeks old so the weight took longer to come off.

Anyway, I do feel a lot stronger, lighter, and confident now. And even if I had not lost the weight so quickly, I told myself that this time around, I would not let those words get to me.

“Be careful now with that weight. If you wait too long, you may not be able to lose it anymore.”

Who says stuff like that?

You’ll be surprised. Some people do not consider the feelings of others. As if you are purposely trying to get fat. People do not realize the struggles and pressure, we, women, face concerning our body image.

It is easy to compare your progress to someone else’s and start to envy, but when you find yourself doing that, stop, breathe, and accept the way you are.

With time, hard work, and dedication, you can get back to the body you once had. But for now, enjoy the journey of motherhood–curves and all.

 

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The Birth Story of Baby #2: Another Emergency C-Section

 

Birth Story of J.J.: Baby #2

On that Wednesday, my family and I did some walking in a local mall where I kept getting non ending pressure in the pelvic area. I started to lose more and more of my mucus plug and could hardly walk. Three days prior, my Dr. did give me a stretch but I was barely a 1 and 50% effaced, so I didn’t think it would work–neither did she.

So that night around 2am, my Braxton hicks contractions started to feel a bit more intense little by little. I was 38 weeks and 4 days. The hubz was scheduled to get up at 4am for work, and I had a feeling labor was near so when my contractions started to get stronger, he decided not to go just to be safe.

They say all types of things: don’t go to the hospital unless your contractions are a minute or less long and 4 minutes or less apart. Or they say to labor as much as you can at home etc. See, with my first, my water broke, so that was an easy call. But with my second, we were unsure. My contractions were coming every 8-15 minutes but they were definitely getting stronger after each one. We waited at home and labored until 4am. Then I got worried. I heard many terrifying stories about labor moving so quickly suddenly with second pregnancies.  I didn’t want to risk it.

So we ended up going to the hospital at 4am. When we arrived, they checked me and sure enough, I was 3/4 dilated. 🙂 I was definitely in early labor.  I got admitted…

This time I promised to myself that I would not opt in for pitocin NO MATTER WHAT. With my first, it ended up in an emergency  c-section, which I was trying to avoid.  The plan was a VBAC.

Fast forward hours later,  I labored on my own all the way to a ten. My husband and I did a lot of walking around the hospital and once I reached a 6, and could no longer handle the painful contractions, I got an epidural.

Here’s where things went wrong. The resident on call and doctor on call seemed to be in a rush. They didn’t want me pushing for a long time, although I believed that I could. Apparently, the baby was not low enough to where I could push easily and not get too exhausted.  I remember asking the resident doctor what were the chances of me pushing successfully given where the baby was positioned at the time, and he replied, “It’s very unlikely. ”

Well…. thanks for your encouragement, doc!

Then they proceeded with their offer to give me pitocin to help baby move lower. I hesitated and deep down, my soul said NO!!! I had managed to get this far without evil pit. But these doctors are always so convincing.  They promised it would be a low dose and that they would stop immediately if baby didn’t tolerate it.

They gave me pit. One hour later, there was no progress. Then finally, they decided that I should just go ahead and push.  Finally. So I started pushing,  and the baby started dropping. I was doing a hell of a job pushing.  They were all surprised.

“We can see his hair. Wow. Lots of it.” A nurse mentioned.

“Wow. You’re doing fantastic! Looks like baby is coming,” Resident doc said.

I kept on pushing.

Things were going well. By now everything in the room was prepped for delivery. Nurses, residents and nurses all present.

Then suddenly, I had to stop pushing and change positions from left to right. Something was wrong. But they wouldn’t say what. Then all of a sudden, on the monitor, we saw the baby’s heart-rate drop from 110 to the 40s.

Everything after that was such a blur.

My husband and I stared at each other blankly.  Things happened so fast. Doctors and nurses and people, prepping me, moving me, and rolling me over.

Not again.  I thought.  Damn pitocin. 

So they rolled me over to the OR to have an emergency C-section.  I was so afraid. But then I felt a sudden kick in my lower ab. As if, little baby JJ was letting me know he was okay. And I felt peace. Because I believed that he was okay.

In the OR, I was so drugged up that I don’t remember when JJ came out wailing into the world. I don’t remember kissing him when they placed him in front of me. All I can seem to remember is the conversation the nurses and doctors were having about whether they should give me staples or glue.

I prayed it was glue, like my first C-section.  I also remember asking a resident, whose job was apparently to just stay next to me, if they shaved me. Lol. We had a good laugh about that later on.  Anyway, thankfully everything went well. Baby came out 8lbs and 13oz.  Healthy baby boy and healthy mama.

I was told he was born at 11pm on March 31st and my first thought was, Thank God–not on April Fool’s Day. So close.

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Although things did not go as planned, once again, I am grateful for a healthy baby and no life threatening conditions during surgery.  We were released from the hospital 72 hours later and we are both doing well.

My observations from having 2 emergency c-sections are that

1). pitocin is really hard on the baby and causes fetal distress.

2). Docs try to cover their butts to avoid getting sued. Thus the result of so many emergency c-sections.

3). We are on their schedule. Anything that takes too long will be expedited with the help of meds such as pit.

4). The Labor and Delivery Hospital system in the U.S. is a bit screwed up.

I understand why many women choose to have a midwife instead and have home births.

Always do your research and be ready for anything. Most importantly,  pray for your baby and for yourself before and during labor and all throughout pregnancy.

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Mommy Time

As a mother and a wife, I am mostly occupied throughout the day with taking care of my baby, spending time with The Hubz, and handling household responsibilities. Mothers are always busy doing something! So, any chance I get to just have one hour to myself and unwind, I jump at the opportunity!

Every now and then it’s okay and important to just have some time to yourself.

I had an interview downtown this morning, so after the interview I had the chance to check out Lola Coffee Bar. It was so good to just sit there and relax that I didn’t want to leave!

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I enjoyed some great coffee, a delicious chocolate croissant, and a good book!
That’s what I like to do with my “mommy time “.  Sit in a great cafe and read or write!

Mamas, how do you enjoy your “mommy time?”

Sometimes what we think we want so bad is not necessarily what is best for us.

I thought I wanted to have a full-time job and get my career rolling.

But I’m starting to realize that maybe it isn’t what I should focus on right now. I have a beautiful 8-month old baby who needs his mama, and I should enjoy every single moment with him instead of wasting time wondering why so and so company decided not to hire me. (By the way, why do companies interview external candidates when they know that they will end up hiring an internal candidate? Stop wasting people’s time!)

Before KLM came into this world, I had no idea that he would change my life so much. In a world full of chaos and uncertainty, I know that there is a little funny guy who will always put a smile on my face.

Most mothers have no choice but to go back to work only after six weeks time off, but I am fortunate to be able to spend time and witness all of my baby’s milestones (thanks for making it possible, M.A., my husband) 

The older KLM gets, the more attached I become. I only work/teach three days a week  for a couple of hours, and on those days that I drop him off at his in-home daycare, my heart cringes every single time–even though it is literally only for a couple of hours. Just the thought of leaving him for eight hours plus now suddenly seems emotionally painful.

Those are the challenges that working mothers face–being away from their children. Being an adjunct professor has its disadvantages and advantages, but now that I’m a mother, I’m starting to realize that it might not be so bad after all. Teaching part-time gives me the opportunity to spend time with my son, while still doing what I love. Some days are more difficult than others though. So much that  I’m considering teaching only online or evenings when The Hubz is home. God knows what’s best for me and my family, so my prayer is that His will be done in our lives. He knows the desires of my heart, and my desire is to give my child the best of the best.

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If you’re a mom, why/how did you decide to be a working mom or a stay at home mom?

Exercising With Your Baby (A Good Bond)

Fitness is a challenge. Staying in shape is a challenge. Taking the time to exercise when you become a parent is even more challenging.

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On the days that I can’t exercise as long as I would like,  I try to include my baby in my workout session. He truly loves it, and has a blast.

“The key is finding an activity that you enjoy and that meshes with your schedule and lifestyle. If you like what you do during your workout, you’ll view it as a necessity rather than an option.”–BabyCenter

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Working out with your baby can also be a good bonding time. As you can see in these pictures,  my son was having a really good time.

It may not be as intense,  but it is better than skipping a workout altogether.

Just thought I’d share with other mothers…

Motherhood is the most rewarding experience, but at the same time, it is very challenging.

Since I gave birth to my bundle of Joy in July, it was hard to stick to a workout routine at first. I would start, but then give up after a week. I did walks with the stroller and the carrier, but then it started getting a bit too cold, so I just gave up exercising.

I always used to judge women who would let themselves go after having kids, but now I actually understand how that happens.

Let’s face it.

Motherhood is the most rewarding thing, but at the same time, it is very challenging.  You have to take care of the baby, the house, your husband, and keep up with yourself.  It is difficult.  For a couple of months, I just decided to give up on trying to get fit again.  But then I hit the point where I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror anymore.  So I decided to make a change.

I picked up my Rockin Body dvd by Shaun T ( beach body ) and have been working out 6 days a week for almost a month now.

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It’s so easy to quit, and it can be difficult to exercise when you become a mom, but it’s doable! There’s nothing like feeling great about yourself.

So I encourage you all to stick to your goals mo matter how difficult they seem. I’m glad that I am going into the new year already in a regular work out routine.  I feel much better, and sleep much better.

Exercising with Baby in Stroller

Like every other new mom, I’ve been worried about getting back in shape even though I’ve lost most of my pregnancy weight.  Exercising is almost impossible with a small baby,  but there are ways to do so.

I’ve made the decision to stop slacking off. Now that the fall has hit Arizona and the weather is cooling down, it is the perfect time to exercise outdoors. So I put my baby K in his stroller, and we went on a long one hour walk today.

It was a beautiful day. I look forward to walking with him everyday.

One hour can seem long so make sure you have some music to entertain yourself.

(My baby faces me in his stroller, so I can see if he was crying or anything.)
He was awake for 30, then fell asleeep.

Not bad for day 1. I plan on walking for close to an hour at least 4 days a week.