From working woman to stay-at-home mom

Molly sat with her parents at lunch one day when she was 30 years old. The conversation shifted to life goals, and the trio pulled out some business cards they had stored in their wallets and started making a list. Six years later she came across her list again and realized that while she’d accomplished most of her career goals, there were two personal goals that she’d made no progress on.

Be married by 32.
Have kids by 33.

“I realized I hadn’t accomplished those dreams,” said Molly. “I was so career focused, but I’d always, since I was a little girl, wanted to be a mother. I was getting a little nervous because I wasn’t married yet and was concerned that the biological clock was about to run out.”

Shifting gears from career to family didn’t necessarily come naturally. Molly’s own mother was very career focused, and Molly took pride in her professional performance. But when her mom was diagnosed with cancer – ultimately losing her battle – Molly knew that she couldn’t waste any more time to have the life and the family she wanted.

“Before baby, I was the person who was all about how much money I was making, being the top producer, driving a certain kind of car, looking a certain kind of way,” said Molly. “I never could have imagined being happy being as a stay at home mom and doing the simple things and making three meals a day. It’s just been a complete 180 for me from one identity and way of being to another.”

Making the transition to new mom took some adjustments for Molly, mainly in the way she looked at her new life. Here are some things she does to make every day at home with her son feel like the incredible gift it is.

  • Appreciate the simple things.

“I used to not understand how women could be happy being home all day with their children,” admits Molly. “But I am amazed at how much happiness you can find in the simple things. Sitting outside blowing bubbles for my son, taking my son swimming in the pool, going to the park, going to the beach, watching him play with rocks, just seeing his discovery of the world. Every moment that we’re together, every moment of the day is incredible. I just can’t believe how happy the simplest things make me.”

  • Get out and have adventures.

Molly said a lot of new moms are scared to leave the house or don’t want the hassle, but she thinks that getting out and doing something is definitely something that helps her in the right frame of mind.

Take walks, go to the park, head to the mall, visit friends. Giving them new worlds to explore will keep them occupied, and fresh air will keep you from feeling cooped up.

  • Give yourself a break.

Patience takes time to work up to, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed or like it’s about to break you, take a break.

“So many moms are afraid to leave their children, even for just a moment, but if you need a breather, take it,” said Molly. “Sometimes you have to put them in their crib, put them in the high chair, and just step outside, take a deep breath, maybe call a friend.”

Those few minutes can rebuild your enthusiasm, your perspective and your patience. And that’s best for your baby..

  • Ask others for help.

It really does take a village, so reach out to friends, family, other new moms, and especially your husband. Hire a babysitter for an afternoon if you need to, or trade babysitting with another mom. Find a way to get the help you need.

  • Take care of yourself too.

“The most important thing I’ve learned is I have to take time for myself,” said Molly. “For five months I was at home, with my son, by myself, no friends or family helping out, and I hit a major wall. I knew that if I wasn’t happy as a person, I wasn’t going to be happy as a mom.”

Molly started running again, going to get her hair or nails done, meeting her girlfriends for happy hour, anything that made her feel like she was taking care of herself too.

“When he was born, the doctor put him on my stomach and I looked down at him and the perfection was just mind blowing,” said Molly. “In an instant, I realized the weight of ‘I’m responsible for this life.’ It completely took me over and changed me and my life. I’ve never felt that abundance of love for anyone or anything at any time in my life.”

What mommy means

When you’re out and about and you see another mother, for whatever reason, there’s an instant connection. You know, that glimpse and half smile you give to a woman whose changing a diaper or that accidental buffer we form around pregnant women in crowds.

As different as our lives may be, and unique and special as our own children are, there is something about being a mommy that is almost cliche it’s so universal.

Only moms understand what mommy means and that to earn the privilege of the title means you’ve made the shift from selfish to willing to die for another human being without ever really considering it.

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What mommy means

When you’re out and about and you see another mother, for whatever reason, there’s an instant connection. You know, that glimpse and half smile you give to a woman whose changing a diaper or that accidental buffer we form around pregnant women in crowds.

As different as our lives may be, and unique and special as our own children are, there is something about being a mommy that is almost cliche it’s so universal.

Only moms understand what mommy means and that to earn the privilege of the title means you’ve made the shift from selfish to willing to die for another human being without ever really considering it.

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

Mission Impossible
Give up on being mother of the year (they think you already are) and relish in your perfect flaws at Imperfect Parent.

Some Friendly Advice
Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris have been in various stages of pregnancy or new momdom for 5 years running. The two friends created a go-to site offering decent, open-minded and agenda-free advice at The New Mom.

Productive Parenting
From infants to young adults and everything tween, Parenting.org offers tips and advice to help your child be all you wish you could have been and all she is capable of.

A Lactation Education
Get news, product information, how-to videos and a hearty laugh from the women of Breastfeeding.com.

Coping with brain drain after having a baby

Marin graduated from law school seven months pregnant and gave birth to her first child in July. She expected the shift from student to stay-at-home mom to be a transition, but she didn’t expect the mental adjustment it would require.

“I went from constantly being intellectually stimulated and busy in law school – definitely setting my own time and pace – to being not really intellectually stimulated and just physically so tired all the time,” she said. “I had no idea what kind of a strain it would be on me.”

After years building confidence through educational accomplishment, Marin found her self-esteem crumbling as she struggled with things that seemed to be a breeze for other women. How much she knew about law was completely irrelevant when it came to breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding was so hard for me for about three months,” she said. “I put a big black X on our calendar. I was like, ‘If it still hurts by this day, that’s the day I’m stopping.’ But it got easier and easier — or maybe I got tougher and tougher.”

Marin describes motherhood by saying it “rocked my world.” The lifestyle change was so immediate and so dramatic, she had no choice but to hang on for the ride and build a new life for herself.

Marin decided to apply the problem-solving and multitasking skills she used in her education into her new role as a mother. Rather than accept loneliness and feeling drained, she began to gather information and do a little bit of research.

Here are some other tricks Marin tried to ease her way into motherhood:

  • Get some perspective.

“My mom has seen all of her kids from babyhood to adulthood,” Marin said. “When I would complain about it all, about how I was so tired, like, ‘He had to sleep with us all night long and I couldn’t even put him back in his crib,’ she would say, ‘Oh, I miss the days when I could sleep with my baby in the bed.’ Having a new baby was a golden time for her, and being able to have that perspective really did help me think.”

  • Share your experiences.

Marin said she wasn’t shy about picking up the phone and calling family whenever she needed help.

“Advice from other women was always really important to me, not because I couldn’t have gotten by without it, but just because a lot of experiences are the same, and it’s just nice to share common things,” she said. “It’s definitely reassuring.

  • Find your rhythm.

By sleeping when her son slept and giving up keeping a day planner Marin was able to more easily adjust to life with a new baby.

“Not scheduling out my time was unsual for me, but it works,” she said.

  • Seek out stimulation.

One of the most difficult aspects of switching from student to mother was the lack of mental engagement Marin could get. In school, she was used to being fed new information all the time, but at home, she had to be proactive about getting it. She joined a book club, started taking trips to the library, became a volunteer teacher at an elementary school and began blogging to keep her mind busy.

“I realized I’m in charge of feeding my brain,” she said. “It doesn’t come to you anymore. You have to reach out and look for it, but there’s so much out there that once I changed my outlook, it wasn’t bad at all.”

Although the transition from law school to motherhood was a very difficult period of adjustment, Marin has found that seeing everything through the experience of her son, Charlie, has made her life richer.

“Last Christmas felt like my first Christmas as well as his, just realizing it’s his first time seeing snow,” she said. “This summer is the first time he’s played in the sprinklers. You see things that are normal or predictable for you with a fresh set of eyes.”

If you’re feeling the need for something a little more enthralling than the latest Baby Einstein, try joining Good Reads, on online book club where you can chat, track and discover books.

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

Some Friendly Advice
Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris have been in various stages of pregnancy or new momdom for 5 years running. The two friends created a go-to site offering decent, open-minded and agenda-free advice at The New Mom.

Productive Parenting
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A Lactation Education
Get news, product information, how-to videos and a hearty laugh from the women of Breastfeeding.com.

Your New Best Friend
Debra Gilbert Rosenberg has gone three rounds with new mom mania, which is why her book, the New Mom’s Companion: Care for Yourself While You Care for Your Newborn, comes straight from the heart and speaks right to the minds of the recently blessed.

Growing your family in a small space

Shortly after her son was born, Kristen made a big move to a big city—and she’s loving every minute of it.

“We moved into a studio apartment in New York City when our baby was a month old,” Kristen said. “I thought raising a baby in a new city would get lonely, but he’s now ten months, starting to walk, and we are loving life.”

Kristen said her initial concerns about loneliness came from hearing so many stories about new moms getting depressed just after giving birth.

“I think it’s partly because they are alone a lot,” she said. “You bring home this baby. It’s just you and your husband, and maybe your husband’s working.”

“My mother-in-law’s a shopper, and while she was still here, we went shopping a lot. It was great practice for getting out on my own with him,” she said. “After she left, I would take him shopping in the city, laying him on a blanket in the dressing rooms as I tried on clothes, and then I would go eat lunch by myself with him.”

One major adjustment Kristen had to make was living in a small space.

“Since we’re in a studio, he’s always right next to me,” she said. On the one hand, she said, living in a small space has limited her son in ways that other babies might not be, such as not having a lot of toys and extra things.

“With your first child, you want him to have everything, but we only have space for the basics,” she explained. “We’ve done our best to fit in things that other babies have—a full-sized crib, a walker and lots of small toys.”

On the other hand, Kristen’s found she doesn’t have to do the same kind of baby-proofing that’s necessary in a house. She put in protectors for the plugs, and latches, and locks for the cabinets, but said she hasn’t had to do much more than that.

Check out these links to hear how other mommies make it work.

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Some Friendly Advice
Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris have been in various stages of pregnancy or new momdom for 5 years running. The two friends created a go-to site offering decent, open-minded and agenda-free advice at The New Mom.

Where did YOU go?
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Organized Chaos
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Make Baby Stuff
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From pregnant to parent

When Vanessa found out she was pregnant, it triggered a roller coaster of emotions for her.

The ride began on New Years Day. After taking a pregnancy test she said to her husband, “Happy New Year. Guess what’s going to be happening this year?” He was floored and very nervous as he started going through the list of “Can we afford this?” and “Should we be doing that?” As the idea grew on him, though, the fears and uncertainty turned to excitement.

Vanessa was looking forward to being pregnant and having a baby as well, but from time to time she would feel a real sense of anxiety over whether or not she was ready to become a mom.

“I was in denail about the whole giving birth thing,” she said.

Five days past her due date, Vanessa’s doctors decided it was time to induce. They gave her a planned epidural and killed time playing games and watching TV with her husband and best friend.

“It hardly felt like labor, and then it came time to start pushing,” she said. “That’s when the epidural starting wearing off — perfect timing. I pushed for a few hours, a part of a day. You can do anything for a part of a day.”

Vanessa considers herself to be a little bit of a Type-A organized person and worried that that she was going to try and have everything be rigid, but said it actually ended up being kind of natural for her to just go with the flow.

“Instead of getting anxious and worked up, it was better to just roll with it, to take cues from the baby,” Vanessa said. “My husband was a huge support in that, and we became a team. We didn’t worry too much about if we were doing this right or that right. If you just relax and go with it, it will go well.”

Take a second to check out these 10 tips to help you adjust to becoming a new mom or these other resources if you’re on a journey from pregnant to parent. Good luck!

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A Virtual Doctor’s Office
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Nurse in private or public?

The great nursing debate rages on, despite breast feeding sit ins and loads of lactivism. We went to talk to some real women to see how they felt about breast feeding in public and here’s what they had to say.

So what do you think? As moms and women, are you put in an awkward place when you see a boob in public or are you empowered and proud?

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Nursing Out Loud
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Hungry for History?
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Pumping in Practice
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