Hello, hello! I have some exciting news! I was a guest on the Career Mom Community Podcast with Debranetta Howard, and we had a great discussion on finding passion in …
My family has been battling germs for a few weeks now and we just can’t kick it. As soon as one person gets better, another gets sick. Last week, my youngest was sent home from daycare on Thursday afternoon, and the first thoughts that flooded my brain were all about mom guilt and blaming myself.
- I knew she seemed a bit off this morning, I should have known not to send her in, but it didn’t seem that bad. Why didn’t I see it sooner? — Denial
- I should have worked harder throughout the week to meet work deadlines early in anticipation of a child getting sick. Why didn’t I think ahead? — Blame
- If I can make nap time happen during these certain times, I can still attend these meetings. How can I make this work? — Bargaining
The working mom guilt is real, and it’s tough. As a parent when something happens, even if it’s totally out of our control, we are so hard on ourselves for not being able to anticipate it. We can’t prepare for everything, and it’s absolutely ridiculous to even think of that as an expectation, but we still do it.
#2 above is the kicker for me and the one I always get stuck on as someone who works in an office setting. How could I possibly have worked harder to meet deadlines early “just in case” I needed the extra time? If I had extra time, I would’ve filled it with more deadlines! You want to care for your child, but you feel pressure to keep up at work. It may not even be pressure from work, it may be internal pressure to be both the perfect employee and the perfect parent.
During the pandemic when we were both working from home, my husband and I started listing our meetings on a whiteboard so we knew when the other couldn’t be interrupted. We’ve continued a generic version of this so that we know who has flexibility if childcare gets interrupted. It’s our loose sick day plan from week to week. It’s not perfect, and doesn’t solve all our problems, but even just thinking a little bit ahead and talking through a few “what if’s” will ease some of the tension when an issue actually arises. It’s also worth noting that talking through scenarios with others helps verbalize who needs to be involved, who is making adjustments, and how it’s all going to happen. It should never be assumed that one person is always on sick duty because they have a more flexible job or boss. That still abuses the employee-work-relationship.
Another tip is that you need to decide how you’re going to work it out with your job ahead of time. Your boss needs to know, and trust, how you are going to deal with interrupted childcare. Know the regulations set for you as an employee and where you have flexibility to negotiate. Will you agree to be available to work remotely, or are you totally signing off for the day? Set expectations. Set boundaries. Share them and stick to them.
No matter how good of a planner you are, you’ll never be able to escape the extra stress a sick child brings into the mix, especially if you’re thrown off-guard by a daycare phone call in the middle of a meeting where you have to pick them up within 30 mins (Eek!). But by having even just a simple plan and communicating it to work, spouses, secondary childcare options, etc., you’ll know that you did your best and now you can attend to your child’s needs and focus on getting them healthy. That’s what is most important.
Good luck, mama. You are so strong. You got this.
Most of the time, I practice unplugging and staying off social media on weekends. Scrolling Instagram does not equal worthwhile self-care time. Especially if you use it as part of your job or business. Your mind never takes a break and it makes it even harder to separate yourself from work mode.
Ultimately, it’s not that hard to do on weekends since I’m so busy with the family, and now I’m able to recognize the habits that were depleting my free-time. I used to find myself plopping down on the couch as soon as the kids went down for nap and scrolling social the entire time. Then I’d be bummed I didn’t get any “me time” or anything accomplished while the kids were asleep, which as a result, would affect my afternoon mood and my patience with the kids.
So now, depending on how the morning goes, I take note of what would serve me best while the kids are either sleeping or occupied. Sometimes the answer is really that I just need to put my feet up, take some deep breaths, close my eyes, and listen to an audiobook (or if you’re a napper…nap). Other times, I will feel refreshed and my best if I listen to some tunes, get some housework done, workout, meal prep, or call a friend. It all depends on the day, the kids’ moods, and my mood.
During the work week, us working moms have to plan every single minute in order to get to daycare, meetings, practices, meals, and bedtime on time. So my piece of advice is to try letting it all go on the weekends. Don’t plan every single minute or activity. Enjoy the time you have with the family, and don’t let your free-time slip away with mindless social media scrolling that won’t make you feel any better about yourself.
Self-care is not about doing nothing and wasting time. It’s about whatever brings your mind to the present and makes you feel more confident and energized to just be you. A new TikTok recipe isn’t going to make you feel the same way as being in tune with your body and your needs….even if you think you NEED to try the baked feta pasta. So next weekend when you’re temped to start scrolling, stop, reflect on your day, and do something that will address your needs and improve your mindset.
What’s your favorite way to spend your kid-free time on the weekends?
What is an unexpected way you find yourself practicing self-care? For me, it’s paying attention to the out-of-the-ordinary aches and pains of my body. We put a lot of strain on our bodies through pregnancy and keeping up with toddlers. I believe I’m referred to as a geriatric millennial, and honestly, I get it. I’m sitting here writing a post about how my joints hurt for crying out loud… and I just used to term for crying out loud. So yeah, it me.
But anyway, I developed tendinitis in my wrist from carrying around my 1-year-old so much this past year, and knee problems from squatting with improper form to pick her up 10 billion times a day. Because of the pandemic, I’ve had more time with my kids (not complaining about that!), but at the same time family and friends haven’t been around as much to share the carrying/cuddling duties, and my body really feels it.
I thought I could push through if it only hurt when I picked her up, but it eventually got so bad I could barely type on my computer, and that got me thinking. Us moms tend to “push through” things too often on the mom side of things, until the issue starts to affect other areas of our lives. I was seriously willing to wince in pain every time I picked up my daughter, until I realized it was also affecting my work life too. Most of the time, we give everything we’ve got to our families and work, and don’t leave any space for ourselves.
So here is your cue to tune in to your mind and body and notice how you’re really feeling. Don’t just push through something to make it work. Identify the heart of the issue and find something you can do for yourself to make it better. It could be something seemingly little, like a little pain in your wrist, that could improve multiple aspects of your life if you gave it the attention it needs. Be true to yourself, practice self-care, and never forget to treat yo’ self.
I’ve been absent on the blog for a few months, but I have a good excuse! Her name is Brooke Elizabeth Backes, and she’s my favorite thing in the whole world. She didn’t come to us in the most conventional, or easy manner, but she’s a true miracle baby.
I won’t get into the fertility journey here (you can read about it in this post), but Brooke is the IVF rainbow baby that we waited for for 5 years. She apparently thought we’d waited long enough, though, and decided to join us 5 weeks early!
It started off as a regular checkup with our doctor when things got a bit crazy. My doctor sent me right over to the labor & delivery floor and got me settled in with an IV. I was admitted for preeclampsia with dangerously high blood pressure that could have resulted in a stroke for me, and could have been fatal for her. They did some blood work, gave me a steroid shot to help speed up Brooke’s lung development, and called in an ambulance that transferred me to a high risk children’s hospital nearby (since she was going to be a preemie). I actually didn’t know this until her birth, but IVF pregnancies tend to be high-risk more often than not. So we’re always monitored a bit more closely.
Once I got to the hospital and was induced, things moved along so fast I never really had the chance to let it sink in that we were having a baby, like, right now…in 2017, not 2018.
Brooke totally handled the birth like a pro and came out happy and healthy at 4 lbs 9 oz. She was crying and breathing on her own. She was able to keep her weight up with stable blood sugar levels and a steady temperature. She never even had to be admitted into the NICU. In fact, she was discharged from the hospital before I was! Therefore, we call her our 34 week Supergirl.
Social Butterfly will still remain a professional outlet for all things social media and technology, and I will only highlight Brooke and/or parenting if it’s relevant to a certain topic or trend. I’m not a Mom blogger, and never see myself doing so. I’ve had some fun with blog brainstorming during midnight and 3AM feedings, so we will be back to regularly scheduled programming soon enough.
So please join me in welcoming Brooke Elizabeth to the online world. It can be a scary and unpredictabe place, but I know she will be looked after by our wonderful friends, family, and community.
In January 2013, we began our journey to start a family. These 5 years have included several pregnancy losses, numerous months of waiting and unknowns, and multiple fertility treatments.
From our most recent IVF cycle, we are delighted to share that we will be expecting Baby Backes in early February 2018. So far, things are going well, and we certainly appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers. But of course, we are still cautious. The fear of a loss never goes away.
We know everyone’s experience is different, but we thought it was important for us to share our story, especially for those who have experienced infertility and pregnancy loss as well.
It can be a traumatizing and lonely experience, and it’s a topic that needs to be discussed more freely to encourage acceptance, strength, and healing. So if you are experiencing pregnancy loss or infertility, I encourage you to reach out and find someone, or something, to help guide you through it. I am a great listener and pen pal if anyone is interested.
There aren’t a lot of resources out there, and I wasn’t drawn to online support groups surrounding this topic. In fact, I was quite turned off from some popular pregnancy websites and apps for the way they treated miscarriage. In order to update your profile to reflect the recent changes, you had to “delete” the baby from your profile. If that’s not a slap in the face, I don’t know what is. I reached out to the companies, and I do believe they’ve updated some of their profile preferences since then, but I don’t actually know because I refuse to use them this time around.
As a result, though, I found that I preferred a more introverted route with personal one-on-one communication, reading, and listening to podcasts. And a good doctor that you can trust goes a long way. I would have been lost without the comfort and care from my OB and fertility doctors over the years. At one point we tried different doctors for a second opinion, but it turned out to be a total mismatch and we were miserable. So we went back to our original doctors and they have no idea what a positive impact they had on us throughout the process.
Your experience is your own. It is unique to your situation. No matter how short or long your journey has been, it does matter. It is shaping who you are, and who you will become. My experience changed me, and I know that I am not the same person I was 5 years ago. There were highs and lows (some rather extreme lows), but I am stronger now, and I am proud of who I have become and the direction I continue to grow in.
So thank you to everyone who provided us with love and support throughout the years, and I hope that anyone going through this can find what works for you to reflect on your experience to continue moving forward one step at a time. And I hope that you find peace, patience, and strength throughout the process.