About four years before I had my son, I moved from New York to Los Angeles with my husband. We were both excited about the move, but we left a lot of friends and family on the East Coast when we moved west. The transition was harder than I thought and when I found out I was having my first baby, I still hadn’t made the kind of close friendships I had left behind in New York.
I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions. I’ve never been convinced that saying “I’m doing x, y and z” in the month of January makes me more apt to do it. But what I do like doing in the first month of a new year is taking stock of what I’ve accomplished over the past year—what worked and what didn’t; what was super fun and what sucked. It’s a good way for me to see that I actually have gotten some things done, both significant and small, and that little steps do, in the best cases, result in big strides.
No matter how many successful working women have proved that you can be a devoted mother while also being your family’s primary breadwinner, there will always be someone who will question whether a new mom went back to work because she had to—that her husband must have lost his job, or this tragic circumstance wouldn’t have transpired.
But hey, I’ve also heard from plenty of stay-at-home moms who feel judged for swapping their power suits for diaper bags, so the situation seems ripe for controversy no matter who ends up staying home to care for the bub.
This morning when I dropped off my son at day care, I overheard one of the other moms say to her daughter, “Ok, let’s get to your classroom. I’ve got to make it to my spin class this morning.” I hate to admit this, but I felt a twinge of envy.
With Sandy top of mind this week, I wondered how working moms affected by the storm were dealing with the responsibilities of work and family when potentially faced with no electricity—and no day care! Do you do a double feature of your bub’s favorite show and try to sneak in an hour of work? Wait until bedtime before starting that new project? Or, just forgo it all together and chalk up your missed deadline to Mother Nature?
For several months I avoided telling the world I was pregnant, but after gaining about thirty pounds in the first trimester, people who knew me were starting to do double takes.
But what was the right way to tell people that I was following in January Jones and Scary Spice’s footsteps and carrying a “bastard baby” (a term I had heartlessly used several times in recent years) without having to rehash the brutal and gory details of the Jason drama?
Where you work has a big impact on your life as a working mama. To understand just what makes a company mom-friendly, I spoke with Jennifer Owens, editorial director of Working Mother and director of the Working Mother Research Institute about the magazine’s 2012 Working Mother 100 Best Companies.
This week’s news about infant sleep training reminded me of my own sleep-deprived first year as a mom. My son was not a great sleeper. In fact, he was a terrible sleeper. I had heard from friends that the first few months were going to be rough, but the same people said, “But don’t worry, by three months he’ll sleep through the night.” Well, three months came and went and then four and then five.
Even though I’ve been getting up before work to exercise since April, I still struggle to actually get out of bed when the alarm goes off. Struggle doesn’t quite cover it: I dread getting out of bed when the alarm goes off. The house is so dark, cozy and quiet, I’m so tired, and I just want to sleep in.
What does it mean to be a feminist? It means kicking the can down the road so other women can live their best lives. Whether you identify as a feminist or not, you’ve absolutely benefitted from the work other feminists have done on your behalf. If you’re a pregnant mother who will return to work after your baby is born, you have a radical feminist opportunity coming your way – breastfeeding.
I had a conversation recently with a fellow working mama and good friend who has a daughter around my son’s age. She was telling me about her daughter’s first haircut—an event she’s been anticipating (and dreading) for the past six months. Even though her daughter had asked for a haircut—saying specifically, “Mommy, I want a haircut”—my friend was worried that her daughter might react badly to the cut and that it would be an unpleasant experience for everyone.
This Monday Yahoo announced that 37-year-old Marissa Mayer would be its new president and CEO. The very same day, Mayer revealed she was pregnant—she’s due to have a baby boy in October— and she told Fortune magazine this about her maternity leave: "I like to stay in the rhythm of things. My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I'll work throughout it."