5 Things to Say to the Working Moms in your Life

1. “I’ll drive.” This is music to my ears because my car is full of stuffed animals and tupperware and you might find yourself akwardly siting on a pacifier.

2. You’re doing a great job.” I often feel my life is a tornado, and that I’m failing at everything rather than balancing anything. There’s no such thing as too much  reassurance.

3. “We can do this meeting by phone,” or, “You can work from home.” Please and thank you. It means I can save precious time and spend more time with my offspring.

4. “Remember, your family comes first.” It seems so natural to assume we know this, but work — particularly leadership roles — come with a lot of pressure and expectations. Reminders of what really matters are a good thing.

5. “I know it’s hard.” I don’t want sympathy or special favors, but at a very basic human level it’s nice to know someone else recognizes the things you are juggling. If you’ve never worked while parenting a small human, I don’t know that there’s any way to fully explain the way things are sometimes just HARD, despite flexibility and support and good childcare. There’s an emotional tax on even the best situations, that sometimes just needs a pat on the back.


A Baby’s Guide to Google

Since my daughter was born last summer, I estimate I have Googled no less than 2,000 queries related to different aspects of parenting. I’m tremendously thankful for this plethora of easily accessible information, serving as a 24/7 new-parent concierge. Where else would I find immediate answers to my endless, burning questions about baby poop?

But what’s often a blessing can in time become a curse. I something think Google is an enabler, preventing me from relying on perfectly good instincts with the nagging fear that there might be a better/easier/less-tiger-momish way.

Some of my searches fall into the straightforward new mom category. These feel relatively normal:

How to swaddle newborn

Correct temperature water to mix formula

Two-month shots

But there have also been the less typical ones that would make more seasoned moms smile.

What causes green baby poop

Best Pandora station for infants

Why baby obsessed with ceiling fan

And of course, those that fall into the category of straight up desperation:

Why won’t baby ever stop crying

When will baby sleep through night

Sometimes I wonder if the tables were turned, and my 10-month-old could Google, what her list of searches would include. Here are 10 items I think I’d find among her searches:

  1. Why is my working mom always stressed?
  2. How much sleep do adults really need? Why won’t mom play at 3 a.m.?
  3. What is a hangover and can I catch it?
  4. Convincing my parents I need a later bedtime.
  5. Easy ways to avoid bath time.
  6. How to steal an iPhone, beginner’s guide
  7. Vomiting on ugly clothes to avoid wearing them.
  8. Hot jammie trends for 2015.
  9. Learning to burp on your own.
  10. How to master peek-a-boo.



There are moments

There are moments when I really don’t understand how moms can be home with their kids all day without developing a criminal record…How single parents make it all work…What other tricks I can pull out of my sleeve as entertainment. When we’ve made forts and fingerpainted and played outside and had a play date and there are four more hours til bedtime. I question if this is easier for others; if having another baby is actually a reality one day. 

But still I love it. All of it. 

Before you arrived, I was used to struggles I could beat and get past, ones with clear it solutions. This new normal is wholly unique. It’s endless new challenges. It drives me crazy while simultaneously forming a wild and wonderful journey like no other.

Now that I’m free of the post-partum awfulness, which for me surpassed baby blues or anything deserving of a cutesy name, I’m able to identify why some parts of new motherhood were the hardest.

I can reflect back and see the way I yearned for things to be black and white. I desperately sought clear-cut parameters for things where no such clarity exists. And I wanted these things so I could ascertain if I was doing things right. If I was a good enough mom. I wanted the validation that I was good enough for you.

Oh how I wish I knew then to just hunker down. To embrace the challenges and the fatigue and the insane learning curve rather than googling and crying in search of answers. I wish I knew to accept that there are things like colic, and baby sleep, that no book can solve. That you sometimes have to take one mind-numbing minute at a time and that patience will be redefined daily.

There is no rush to a finish line. 

A recent NYT article so perfectly defines this: “One of the most problematic aspects of modern parenthood, I think, is that we believe — falsely — that we have more control than we do. But what if the answer is simply time? Patience? The child who worried you 10 seconds ago will dazzle you 20 minutes later. Imagine that logic applied to the whole arc of a life.”

Today, as you insatiably battled teething and a forbidden quest to eat dog food, I struggled. But I was able to really enjoy the struggle. That will only make sense to other parents, I think; it’s not a point of pride so much as being fully engaged in the chaos. 

And just as it always does, bedtime arrived. And when you finished your bottle and snuggled into me with a sigh, beautiful brown eyes blinking at me slower and slower as you drift into dreams, I know joy.  

There’s no greater satisfaction than tending to your needs and enjoying each moment with you. Your shrieks, your hugs, the way you dive head first into life — often literally — forces me into the present and is a fascinating privilege. 

I still worry sometimes, or my mind will start to wander…is our play structured the right way? Are your probiotics the best brand? What else should I be doing to make sure you’re perfectly supported? 

But mostly, there is no room for worries, and that in itself leaves so much space for joy.


we all can grow in tandem

In yoga, intructors often remind us that we’re ony competing against ourselves. We’re told over and over again to ignore others in the room and focus only on our own practice. And it’s an easy enough thing to embrace this in yoga — because we are independently struggling to not faceplant into another person — but harder to sustain in other parts of life.

This is how real growth takes place though: when we intentionally wear spandex.

Awkward pause…

Kidding. It happens when we focus on our own progress, devoid of comparison to outside influences. If we start to base success on a comparison to others, we put ourselves at a disadvantage (in yoga, this is when you fall over). But when we stay focused and support others’ success, we all can grow in tandem.

It’s a lesson you learn in any introductory business class — how supporting your competition strengthens your market niche. When others in your sector succeed, it also positions you for success. But when you strive to be the only player in a space, you isolate the demand for your services and limit your growth potential.

There’s certainly a need to differentiate your product and offer something unique, but it doesn’t need to come at the expense of eliminating others. I can name my favorite provider in any market from airlines to donuts, but I can’t think of a thriving industry where only one player is successful.

Your toughest competition usually isn’t among those doing something very similar to you, but in those who threaten your operation through something you can’t deliver. If I’m an average grocery store, I don’t need to be threatened by other stores like me. Should I watch them and monitor their performance? Absolutely. But I should pay closer attention to stores poised to offer things in a different way at a more competitive price point (here’s looking at you, Costco). There are enough people who need groceries for all of these entities to exist when operated efficiently, but generally speaking, competition fuels innovation and growth for everyone.

It’s this way in our personal lives, too. When we fixate on others and try to “surpass” them we gain nothing but a false sense of validation. It never ends. It’s freeing to recognize that there’s no limit to the good things that can occur around us, and we grow the most when we learn to celebrate all of it instead of just our own.

dear daughter

Sometimes I know you more completely than I could ever know myself. I watch you with a perspective that is both outside looking in, and inside looking out. The shape of your lips, the tiny dimples on your hands, the way your breath changes as you succumb to sleep — those unbreakable details are etched in my mind like a habit.

Other times, I’m so struck by the wonder of your existence that I can’t help but feel distanced from you, if only in the sense that I’m not worthy of knowing you fully. You feel too amazing to have been a part of me, and parts of you seem to change so imperceptibly I struggle to keep up with and experience every moment.

It’s an ebb and flow of loveliness. Our own unique rhythm of love. Predictably chaotic and perfectly real.

It may not be “Mommy’s way,” but it’s our way.

I loved this excerpt from an article I read today:

“Although we’re doing MUCH better in this regard than we were a few years ago, dads still aren’t taken very seriously when it comes to parenting. In many circles we’re just clueless/unwilling partners who need a whole lot of hand holding to do the job well. Society oftentimes doesn’t trust us to do anything parenting-related (the lack of changing tables in men’s restrooms is an example). Some moms (not all moms) don’t trust us, so they’ll micromanage the hell out us – which in turn, takes all of the joy and discovery out of fatherhood.

Dads aren’t wired with maternal instincts (which leads to a lot of parental insecurity on our end) and we’re still fighting the stigmas and stereotypes society places on us – but at the end of the day, our kids trust us to do the right thing for them. The way we do things may not be “Mommy’s way” or the “best way,” but it’s our way – and if the kids are safe and happy, that’s all that matters.”

I’m blessed with a wondeful, engaged dad, and my husband is equally wonderful and engaged with our daughter. To me this is normal and necessary. In another lifetime, dads were busy hunting wooly mammoths and making fire and whatnot, while mommas focused on child rearing, and that makes sense. But life evolves.

Men and women are still wired differently, and may naturally gravitate to different household roles, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of societal expectations. I think it’s unfair to lump dads into a category of inferior parenting based on gender alone. It feeds a self-fulfilling prophecy, bruising their confidence in something society already suggests they won’t be as good at.

People often comment on my husband’s role with our daughter, expressing surprise that he has watched her alone over a weekend, taken her to doctor’s appointments or put her to bed solo. I get defensive for him. Of course he can do all those things. Isn’t it a disservice to not expect this as the norm?

Every family has unique circumstances and needs, and happiness and balance take on lots of different forms in different situations. I admit it sometimes requires a concerted effort on my end to not micromanage and share “my way” of doing things, so that he can have his own.

Someone sent me this article months ago and I have reread it many, many times, excerpt below:

“We do things differently, we worry differently, we parent differently. He thinks I make the bath too hot, I think he makes the bath too cold. We are technically parenting side-by-side, yes, but sometimes it feels like we’re on opposite sides in a fierce game of tug-of-war. I often feel like we’re each trying to pull the other person over to our own side. The Right Side.

But if co-parenting is teaching me anything, it is teaching me this: there is no “right” way to parent these children when both of us love them unconditionally. There is no right way to make a snack or pour a bath or sing a song or even, much to my dismay, dress a baby. There is His Way and there is My Way, and they are each right in their own way. We do things differently, and that’s okay. We are passionate about different issues, and that’s okay. Our parenting styles are not one in the same, and probably never will be. We are learning to be consistent with rules and discipline, but there is also a lot of grey area that we’re simply learning to embrace.

Maybe that’s the beauty of parenting alongside someone else. Maybe we each make up for what the other person lacks, and maybe our strengths and weaknesses balance each other out. Maybe it’s okay for one parent to worry about preschool enrollment while the other parent diagnoses mysterious rashes. After all—both need to be taken care of, right?”


everyone was a baby once

It blows my mind that everyone was a baby once. Everyone. The president, my mailman, uber drivers, you name it. We all came into this world with the same level of dependence and helplessness. We were all equals, once. 

When you really think about that — the fact that every adult you know spent years wearing diapers, drinking from a bottle and sleeping in a crib — it somehow levels the playing field. As adults, there’s so much competition to be a certain way, from the clothes we wear to the jobs we seek, that it’s hilarious to consider that as little ones, we were all pudgy schmucks who wore footie pajamas and spit up on ourselves. 

When I watch the babies at Lila’s daycare interact, they are shamelessly oblivious. If one of them happens to have a meltdown, or poops himself, no one bats an eye. “You wanna wipe your boogers on the floor? Cool. I’m gonna eat this block.”

These kiddos are in it to win it with themselves, in a blissful stage where no outside influences have permeated their psyche. I wish some of this freedom transferred to grown ups. Just not the public pooping.