Category: Working Mom



Daddy takes charge and becomes numero uno.

It’s a little hard to take on coming home, especially knowing that I’m heading back out come Sunday, but it’s just what happens when they’re little.  He’ll certainly never remember it, but I have to admit it stings, more than a little, and it will take me a while to forget.

Sometimes this whole finding a balance between work and family thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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This month has been a tough one from a work perspective: I was supposed to be gone at least one day a week every week this month, which got changed to being gone at least one day every week this month but one.  And did I mention being out of town almost all of this week and then for the next two weeks straight?

It’s the first time I’ve been away like this since the Munchkin was born, and it’s turning out to be a lot harder than I ever realized it was going to be.  I never used to have an issue with long-term trips.  Heck, it wasn’t until a year after we were married that we managed to hit the point where we’d lived together as much as we’d lived apart, and we’d been a couple for six years by then.

This time is different, though.  This time I can’t help thinking about all the things I’m missing out on while I’m gone.  All the good night kisses I’m not getting in.  All the books I’m not reading to the Munchkin.  His non-stop chatter on the way to daycare in the morning and back home in the evenings.  Heck, all the bathroom trips we’re working so hard to encourage him to make when he’s ready, which is so not glamorous parenting at all.

Tonight really hammered it home for me.  On this trip, in preparation for the two weeks solid I’ll be out of town, we both downloaded Skype; once the Munchkin got his bath tonight, we started chatting.

And it just hit me how much I wanted nothing more than to be there on the couch with them both, just hugging him and reading his tractor book and trying to get him to chew up his strawberries and oranges before he swallows them.  I don’t think it helped that I know that, when I get home tomorrow, he won’t be there because he’ll be having a Nana night, so I have to wait that much longer to see him in person.

But I’ll get through this week and be extra glad to pick him up from daycare on Friday.  And then we’ll get through the next two weeks.  I keep hoping it will get easier, especially since this likely won’t be the last time that I have to be out of town for extended periods of time for work.

Oh my!


This has been one crazy week in the Southern household.

Sunday and Monday I dedicated to loads of cooking and prep work to have dinners ready to go for the next month.  The Munchkin is all too ready to eat adult food at night (he flat-out refuses baby food most nights), so no more waiting until he goes to bed to cook dinner.  Instead, I gave once-a-month cooking a shot, and, if the interior of my freezer is any indication, this is going to work pretty well.

Unfortunately, I spent so much time focused on busting my butt to get things taken care of that I didn’t take care of myself.  I dehydrated myself to the point of a fever by Monday night.  Although it took me a day and a half to figure out that that was why I felt bad.  *rolls eyes*  So I missed work on Tuesday and most of Wednesday (had to go in to handle some time-sensitive issues).

But, hey, Wednesday night was family night, so we would all be home and have a yummy meatloaf dinner.  Hooray!  Right up until I asked Southern Honey to come into the kitchen to pull the meatloaf out of the oven while I got the rest of the Munchkin’s dinner together.  At which point the Munchkin followed him and managed to burn his fingers grabbing for the inside of the oven door.  Cue what was supposed to be our relaxing family evening at home turning into night at the ER.

Fortunately, it was a very minor burn, but it was on his hand so the on-call ped told us to take him in.  A dose of Ibuprofen, a bottle, a dry diaper, and a nap later, he was entertaining people in the ER by walking around holding onto one of our hands.  (We kept him away from people in general and took him to/from the kid play area; I make that statement based on the number of hellos/smiles/waves he was getting, not the fact that I think he’s a fairly cute kid.)  We were home by 10 with a tube of antibacterial ointment to treat the burns for the next week.

Needless to say, he didn’t really sleep well that night, what with the disruption to his evening and the sock on his hand keeping him from licking off the ointment.  Or last night, due to the above reasons and a runny nose.

Which, I found out when I went to pick him up from day care, may be RSV.  They have three kids out with confirmed cases.  *headdesk*

Needless to say, we go to the doctor on Monday unless he gets worse over the weekend.  It sucks that all these negative things happened this week, because it’s been so much fun to watch him explore feeding himself and discovering new foods: meatloaf, broccoli, tonight’s Cincy-style chili and spaghetti.  We’ll get through it, though, and there are certainly plenty of fun dishes on the menu in the next few weeks for him to enjoy.

It never fails


We finally decided to take a vacation, said that we had earned some time away from the shop and away from home to relax as a family, set a general date for getting out of Dodge, selected a destination, cleared the time off with our business partners at the shop.  It was practically a fait accompli.

Then I went to work to request the time off there.

And sitting in my email inbox was this lovely bit from my boss, pitching a two-week training overlapping said planned vacation time.  A really desirable training.  One of those training sessions that looks ridiculously good on the resume.  The kind that, when your boss suggests you go to it or apply for it, you go to it or apply for it.

The problem with this is that it’s two weeks of me being out of town, which means we would need nearly two weeks of after-hours and weekend care for the Munchkin, which I would need to have in place before I could even apply.  As a result, we were on the phone this evening trying to see what our options were — my mom has used up pretty much all of her spare time off with health issues.

We’ve probably got it figured out as a possibility now.  It would mean cutting back and practically eliminating our vacation.  Our first vacation in almost three years.  Hell, our first vacation as a family with the Munchkin.  I’m really getting tired of work interfering with my time off.  Even for a chance to go to this training.  Summertime in the desert just doesn’t sound that desirable a destination.


Let’s just post-date this back to nine day ago, since that’s when I started writing it and promptly got derailed by a gassy baby or something:

It appears that my leave is coming to a close, and I’m getting ready to start weaning myself back into the work environment.  That definitely throws a new kink in the works of adjusting to being a new parent and coping with a fussy baby.  So, in preparation (and to hopefully help with the fussiness), we’re trying something new: supplementing with formula.

Breastfeeding has been something of a bust for me.  I know that it’s supposed to be this awesome bonding experience between mom and baby, but it’s been more of an exercise in futility and frustration.  The Munchkin could try feeding for over an hour and not get enough to keep him from being hungry.  I can pump for half an hour and barely get enough for his bottle.  I can barely keep caught up, much less get ahead.  End result?  Sore nipples and frustration all around.

On top of that, he’s been extremely gassy, to the point of being in discomfort and sometimes pain for hours on end.  This is apparently my fault, as in something I’ve been eating.  So, I’m cutting out dairy products to see if he’s lactose intolerant.  Farewell, milk on my cereal.  Goodbye, hot chocolate.  And stop teasing me, brand-new carton of Breyer’s mint Oreo ice cream in my freezer!

Five weeks in


Well, the Munchkin turned five weeks old yesterday.  I almost can’t believe it — I feel as though I’ve missed a lot in the last five weeks simply from lack of sleep, and that makes me sad.

What makes me sadder is knowing that I’ll have to go back to work at least part time in just a couple of weeks.  What else am I going to miss while I’m at the office every day?  (Aside from the tantrums when I’m not holding him the way he wants me to, anyway.)

These five weeks definitely haven’t been without their challenges, though, and I’m not sure I’d go through them again for all the money in the world.  With the shop opening, Southern Honey has barely been home at all, and when he has been, it’s mostly been to sleep.  That’s left me picking up the slack with the Munchkin, all the time.  And the poor Munchkin has been dealing with some hideous gas issues that have left him crying for hours on end (there was one night where he screamed for six hours in an eight-hour stretch).  If it weren’t for my mom alternately babysitting him and letting the two of us stay at her house on nights when Southern Honey worked third shift, I would have gone completely around the bend, and that’s not hyperbole.  I don’t know how single moms do it!

The Munchkin’s current thing, now that his weekend bout with gas, probably brought on by the formula my mom gave him on Saturday, is over, is refusing to be put down unless he’s asleep.  Seriously, if I go to set him in his vibrating bouncy thing at the wrong moment, it’s meltdown city.  And you can forget about the Boppy.  Or the crib.  Or the play yard.  If it’s not close to body heat, he doesn’t want anything to do with it most of the time.

This includes going to sleep and staying asleep, too.  I’m only able to type this because he finally fell asleep deeply enough for me to put him down without waking him.  And I just realized I put him down on top of my breast pump tubes, so I’m going to have my work cut out for me trying to get to them so I can pump while he’s out.

Breastfeeding definitely complicated things.  I had to start pumping early on to stimulate my supply and to start stocking up.  When he was eating every two hours and I was by myself, this basically meant I was hooked up via the boob to something just about all the time.  I barely ate or slept, and it took me less than two weeks to find myself back down below my weight when I got pregnant, only not in a good way.

Now he’s eating about every three hours during the day and every four or more (!) at night on good nights, and I’m exclusively pumping — he wasn’t getting enough even during hour-long breastfeeding sessions going back and forth between breasts, and it had the added bonus of making him gassy as all get-out.  So I’m hooked up to something quite a bit, but it’s not as bad as it was before.  Although it is harder to pump when I’m here by myself with him.  At night, Southern Honey feeds him while I pump out the next meal, and we manage to get back to bed quite a bit quicker as long as the Munchkin is ready to go back to sleep (he was not after his 7:45 feeding this morning).

Despite all that, I wouldn’t trade him for the world.  Ask me again next week after our road trip for my little brother’s graduation, though.  My opinion may have changed.  *laughs*


And that is a seriously good thing.  Tomorrow is my last day at work, and by Saturday I’ll be at 39 weeks.  I think that means things are coming up on the end (theoretically).

I think Monday’s decision to go on leave early was the best decision I’ve made all week.  I”m not getting much sleep at the moment, courtesy of back pain that strikes after I’ve been lying in one position for more than about five minutes.  *rolls eyes*  And lack of sleep does not make for a friendly pregnant coworker, believe me.

I have trouble dealing with idiocy on a good day when I’m not sleep-deprived, much less sleep-deprived, needing to pee every five minutes, and reading to explode a small person from my nether regions at any moment.  That tiny little fact made today all sorts of interesting, as I got about five last-minute requests, mostly for stupid things that, had someone else done their job at any point within the last … oh, month, would have been completely unnecessary.  The sorts of things that “a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part” was made for.  It was really kind of ridiculous.

But I survived, and I will survive tomorrow, and maybe at some point the Munchkin will be born.  In the meantime, he’ll rattle around in there, pounding my inner organs like uncomfortable pillows, until he’s ready to emerge, and I’ll try to get through tomorrow without strangling anyone.

Decision time


After a discussion with my boss this morning, followed by a talk with Southern Honey and some chat with another coworker who just got back from maternity leave, I came to the conclusion that the smart thing to do is to make Friday my last day at work.

My brain is really starting to go, and I’m afraid that if I tried to pull off another week after this one, I’d be running the risk of screwing something up.  So, I get to spend this week tying up all the loose ends I can and bringing a coworker up to speed on everything that’s been going on.  Fortunately, she’s been itching to get involved with what I’ve got going on for a while now, so it’s not going to be an inconvenience for her.  Plus she’s got a ton of experience with this particular issue, so it’ll be a boon all around.

We’ve got a meeting with the potential pediatrician first thing in the morning.  I really hope we like him because I’m not sure I have the energy to look for/meet with another one.

Now I’m off to throw a load of baby clothes from the shower this weekend into the dryer and get myself into bed.  I have no energy left right now.

One last hurrah


I realized recently that if we wanted to have some time to ourselves, just me and Southern Honey, anytime soon, it would have to be this weekend.  More, it would have to be tomorrow night.  That’s the only time to squeeze “us” time in between work and the store.

With that in mind, earlier this week I got online and decided to book us a room at a nice hotel down in Music City.  I had a whole bunch of rewards points to use, so I got it cheap — although if I hadn’t had the points, I would have booked it anyway since we got our tax refund back this week.  Then I came home last night and made reservations for dinner at Ruths Chris steakhouse.  And tonight after I got off work, I went to the mall and got a cute shawl and some earrings to wear with about the only dress I own that I can still wear at thirty-blimp weeks pregnant.

So I think tomorrow is going to be a great day, even if I have to strip down for an internal exam at the doctor’s office.  Prenatal massage after I get off work, then the short drive down to Music City, a delicious dinner, maybe some dessert, and a night without the cats or any other responsibilities at an actual, nice hotel.  Because, let’s face it, when are we going to have the chance to do this again?

It makes up for finding out today that if the government undergoes a shutdown, I’ll have to be furloughed instead of using my saved-up leave for maternity leave (if I weren’t trying to take leave under a shutdown, I’d still get paid to work because we’re an essential function or whatever).  Which translates to, essentially, leave without pay for any time I want/need to take off after having the Munchkin.  Which we can’t afford.  Meaning that instead of taking my six weeks straight and then slowly reintegrating to the office with the remaining four weeks, I’d be able to afford maybe taking two weeks, four tops.

Needless to say, I really, really hope it doesn’t come to that.


Don’t get dehydrated.  And don’t pee BEFORE going to the doctor’s office.

You would think the first would be one of those obvious things in life, especially while pregnant, but I’ve had problems with the obvious in the past.  Hell, I’ve had trouble with the whole hydration concept in the past.  You would think that passing out in public would solve one’s tendency not to drink enough.

You would totally be mistaken.

Yes, dehydration is indeed most likely what caused yesterday’s cramps and today’s contractions (there were probably contractions yesterday, I just didn’t have a monitor on to register them).  And you don’t pee first because they will inevitably want a urine sample to rule out things like kidney and bladder infections.  And if you don’t give a urine sample before they do an internal exam, you’ll end up with enough blood in your urine (microscopic amounts) to cause the doctor to request a second sample via catheter.  Which will make you sad.  And horribly uncomfortable the next time you have to pee.

You’ll end up getting out of an afternoon of work, but you’ll spend it all hooked up to machines in the hospital, watching hours on end of “Income Property” and Food Network.  You’ll also miss lunch and end up having graham crackers and peanut butter provided by the nurse because L&D always has food on hand.  You’ll miss the opportunity to get your husband’s Christmas present on your nonexistent lunch break.  Oh, and the aforementioned catheterization.  Not the best afternoon I’ve ever had.

I suppose at least it’s a good thing that my first catheter won’t be at the hospital for delivery (they cath you when you get an epidural, which I plan to do).  And the Munchkin is doing just fine — he had a grand time kickboxing the living daylights out of the fetal heart monitor and the contraction monitor strapped to my belly.