Tag Archives: maternity leave

The Last 3 Weeks

Well, hello blog. Sorry for my absence. Being a full time working mother of two is hard, yo. This is my third week back at work and it’s been eventful.

Having your client come to town during your first week back at work after a 10-week hiatus is crazy. My first week included busy days and one late night out on the town with the client. My poor boobs almost exploded in downtown Milwaukee.

Speaking of, pumping at work sucks. I’m grateful that there’s a private room where I can do this, but really. Not enjoyable. I am able to come home on lunch and feed Charlotte (hallelujah!), but I’m still pumping twice a day at work. I just hate having to reschedule meetings and disappear for a while to do this. But I feel strongly that breastfeeding is important, so I will endure.

Again, speaking of, …two Saturdays ago. Ugh. Where do I begin. We woke up Saturday morning and I looked at Charlotte in her basinet next to our bed and noticed some brown on her jammies. I had gotten up to feed her twice during the night (yikes) but I didn’t notice anything strange. Except for some seriously bad nipple pain (sorry to any male readers). Then I realized, that brown on her jammies is blood mixed in with spit up. THAT’S NEVER GOOD.

I had a brief heart attack at the thought of my newborn baby spitting up blood. Then I had a realization. She wasn’t bleeding, I was. Apparently when you go from rarely pumping to pumping at least twice a day for 5 days, your nips don’t really like it. Ouch.

Since I couldn’t feed Charlotte while my nip healed, I had to pump and dump all weekend. Doesn’t that sound like a fun, wild weekend? Well it sure was! But it gets better!

In the midst of super duper sore nipples, Derek disconnecting our washer and dryer to drywall the laundry room, I got a cold. Yes! Because that’s what happens to me.

By Tuesday, I felt like death. So even though I was just off of work for 10 weeks and had only worked 6 days, I had to come home early and lay on the couch. However, children don’t really get the memo when you’re sick. Big whoop. Mommy’s sick? I should take a long nap? Nope!

My second weekend wasn’t much better. Still no laundry room while Derek tiled the floor in there. Oh, the laundry pile. It was epic.

And I think it may have been that laundry pile that morphed itself into the straw that broke the camel’s back. Me being the camel, of course. By Saturday night, I was spent. Would you like to know why? Well sit back. Here is a bulleted list:

  • The previous night, I was up every single hour with Charlotte while she experienced her first cold! Unbelievable! Riley never got sick until he was 9 months old. Again, thanks for bringing home those preschool germs, son! All night her poor nose was so stuffed up that she couldn’t breathe. Babies don’t know how to breathe out of their mouths, apparently. So all night she snorted and chortled and coughed. It was so sad.
  • Also, Friday night, Derek’s band played so he didn’t come home until 3 a.m. And Charlotte and I were up to greet him. He set up the humidifer for her and we all settled in for a nice four-hour stretch until Riley woke us up at 7.
  • For some odd reason, it took my handyman of a husband 8 hours to tile a tiny laundry room. Therefore, I was alone upstairs with the kids while he worked. All day. Have I mentioned I was sleep-deprived?
  • I had cleaned the house that day, gone grocery shopping and taken both kids to the farmer’s market. A relaxing weekend? Of course!
  • Again, by Saturday night, I was so completely fried that there was a 100% chance of mental breakdown. And that’s what happened. No one prepares you for how overwhelming it is to become a mom for the first time. And no one REALLY tells you how overwhelming it can be to have two children. And work full time. And still try to have your own identity.

The next day,  I took a long run and felt instantly better. I’ve written about it before, but running is so therapeutic for me. Derek and I have figured out a game plan so I can run at least 3 times a week. And suddenly, I feel more like myself.

And to end on a happy note, look at my beautiful children. I love them so much, that’s overwhelming.


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The End of Maternity Leave

How is it possible? I have to go to work tomorrow? Ten weeks passed by that quickly? I don’t believe it. But really, my last day at work was July 6. That was a loooong time ago when you think about it. So come tomorrow morning, we’ll be setting up a new routine. With me dropping Riley off at preschool, pumping at least twice a day while at work (ugh), coming home on lunch to feed Charlotte, and hopefully having enough hours in the day to make a healthy dinner at night and have some fun in the backyard with the family. That’s all I ask for.

Because I’m feeling nostalgic for the last ten weeks, here is a look at our family maternity leave in pictures.

It all started with the birth of this little girl. The painful, drug-free birth. I still can’t believe I did that.

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that I will never, ever forget the look on Riley’s face when he met his sister for the first time. His eyes were wide with disbelief, wonder and pure, ultimate happiness. It was amazing.

A lot of my maternity leave was spent exactly like this. Not that I’m complaining. An added bonus? My left arm is ripped!

You gotta love baby #2. When she was 2 weeks old we ventured out to the zoo with her. And saw dinosaurs. At the zoo. Huh?

We went to the Wisconsin State Fair even though it was in the 90s. After walking around for about an hour, we were too hot to continue, so we headed home. But not before Riley and Daddy had a ride on the giant slide.

Every so often Riley asks to hold his sister. We prop her on a few pillows and I stand there with my hands inches away from them just to make sure. And when he holds her, things like this happen, unprompted. He’s smitten with his “little princess.”


And then our little girl turned one whopping month old. 


Her little tiny smiles (she’s almost always got one for Daddy and one for Riley) turned into big grins:


Poor girl is wearing her brother’s hand me down doggie jammies. Get used to it, kiddo!


She had her first boat ride at Grandma and Grandpa’s! However, with the drought we had this summer, the water was too low to actually leave the pier. We’re still calling it her first boat ride, though. And yes, she has a teeny tiny life jacket.


At our family reunion this summer she got to meet extended family and we took the first picture of us as a family of four (!!!!). Crazy.


One of my favorite moments of the summer – the beach! Even though Charlotte’s diaper exploded everywhere and I may have flashed some teenage boys while nursing her. It was still good.


One reason I”m thankful for the drought was that the 4th of July fireworks were postponed until Labor Day! And started at 8:00 so we could go to them and still get Riley home sort of near his bedtime. We loved it. There’s something about laying on a blanket in the dark during the summer. 


Labor Day in our backyard. In cute outfits. Have I mentioned I love dressing up a little girl?


And then Char Char Binks turned 2 months old and I started feeling the impending doom of heading back to work.I think my fondest memories of the day-to-day of my maternity leave were our daily walks to the playground. Usually it was just me and the kids (and our pup Lola) at the playground and we always had fun. I think this is one of the things I’ll miss the most.

Goodbye, maternity leave. Thank you for the best 10 weeks of my life.



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The Beach

For the past two summers, we have made a point to head to Terry Andrae State Park at least once a year. Living right on Lake Michigan, a good 15 minutes from the water, we never head to the beaches around here. The lake around Milwaukee is um….dirty, to say the least. But you head an hour north of the city? It’s beautiful.

Clean water and clean sand equals a perfect playground for a three-year old.

Riley spent most of his time at the beach doing this:

With the occasional belly flop onto the sand in a sure attempt to get sand into every single oriface in his body. And he succeeded.

Charlotte enjoyed her time at the beach as well. As much as a 5 week old baby could, I guess.

For her, the highlight of the day came when her diaper leaked so utterly horribly that MY pants were also covered in poop. I found poop on her elbow, people. It. Was. Bad. There’s nothing like squatting in the sand, trying to change a tiny infant’s diaper on a beach towel while sand blows and seagulls swoop down to see what’s in there. Not to mention the fact that I discovered said leaky diaper while nursing her. On the beach. A windy beach. Chances are good that I exposed myself to a group of teenage boys walking by. Free birth control! I figure I did a public service.

Anyway, we got the traditional Riley shot at the end of the day. (We couldn’t figure out how to prop Charlotte up on the sand, so I think we’ll start her shots next year.)

This year’s photo was much, much easier to snap than the last two years:

At least we got him to sit down this year.






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Themes of This Maternity Leave

1. Smelly dog.

We just paid $60 to get Lola a bath at PetsMart a few weeks ago and for some odd reason this dog stinks. Like hot dog. No, not hot dogs. Like a hot, smelly dog. Ick.

2. Shedding dog.

And she’s shedding. Like crazy. She’s mostly German Shepherd, so yes she normally sheds a lot. But it seems excessive these days. I don’t know if it’s because it’s been such a hot summer, or because she’s shedding her summer coat or what. But. This. Dog. Sheds. I’m so sick of seeing tumbleweeds of dog hair floating across the floor.

3. Complaining about the dog. Derek recently said he was going to keep a tally of the amount of times I complain about the dog’s stink and shedding every day. I bet if we turned it into a drinking game, we’d be wasted by noon. Fun!

4. Vacuuming (see number 2)

I feel like it’s all I do. And then 24 hours later, there’s dog hair everywhere again. The bain of my existence.

5. Sore boobs.

Little miss Charlotte likes to eat. A lot. Between feeding her every 2-3 hours and pumping every now and then to attempt to build a stash for when I go back to work, my boobies are working over time. My poor, poor boobs. Not sure that I’ll be able to nurse Charlotte for 11 months like I did with Riley. The girls are going to need a break, I think.

6. Laundry

Two kids, two adults, a household of sheets and towels. Yes, I do laundry. A lot. If you come over to my house, chances are very good that there is at least one laundry basket of clean clothes in someone’s bedroom waiting to be put away. Chances are even better that it’s MY clean laundry that is waiting to be put away. What? I’m on maternity leave. I don’t care if my clothes are wrinkly.

7. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

We have one for lunch almost every day. We are a family of distinguished taste.

8. Long walks.

When you can’t formally exercise for 6 weeks, walking is your new BFF. And since we received this stroller as a baby shower gift, we have been putting it to good use.

Yes, it’s as big as a Chevy Metro, but it gets the job done. And it has speakers, so I can hook up my iPod and listen to music whilst aimlessly wandering the neighborhood. And when the little boy starts singing along to Mumford & Sons, it makes the walk even more enjoyable.

9. Playgrounds!

When you have a 3-year old that you REALLY want to nap, trips to the playground are a must. Pair that with a long walk, and you’ve got my new normal these days. Too bad every day is about 90 degrees. Maybe all the baby weight will just sweat out of my body. I can hope!

10. Family quiet time. It’s just been working out that every day from 3-5 is family quiet time. That’s Riley’s normal nap time (though he doesn’t always nap these days, at least he generally stays in his room and plays semi-quietly). Charlotte is really good at napping around this time. Derek is quiet because he’s working. And me? I get the luxury of watching Barefoot Contessa, Facebooking, loading the dishwasher or other such glorious tasks.

11. Olympics.

Love them. Whether it’s kayaking, fencing, or table tennis, if it’s the Olympics, I’m watching. Pairing maternity leave with the Olympics makes me a happy girl!

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