Moming through the Pandemic – Lisa: Full time working mom of two

Wow. How does one even start something like this? For the last (almost) year we have been moming through a pandemic. Did you ever see something like this coming? Were you prepared for it? I wasn’t.

I remember when it first started in our town and the absolute fear that went through my mind. I learned to tame that fear a bit as the months went on, but it’s still there. Not being able to see friends or family or go out and about like we used to do is hard. It’s hard for everyone, but we do what we need to do to stay healthy and get back to normal (whatever that might be).

We wanted to hear from all the moms out there. How are you? What are you feeling? I know I am completely overwhelmed. In the next couple of weeks we are going to do a spin on our Mom of Fame. We are going to be asking you how it’s been Moming through the Pandemic.

Tell us about yourself and your family.

Most of you already know that I am one part of the Momfaming duo. I have a five year old son and an almost two year old girl. I am a full-time working mom and the last year has been nothing short of challenging.

My kids are in daycare so that my husband and I can both work. Sometime in March the daycare closed down and didn’t reopen until July. Both of our works had us working from home (and we both still do). We managed to get work done and still keep our kids busy by the skin of our teeth. Want to know if you are a patient mom? Get thrown into a pandemic when you can’t leave your house. It tested the best of us.

How has life changed for you since quarantine began?

My priorities have changed 100%. My kids have, and always will, remain the top priority. My husband and work were, of course, up there too. The biggest thing that changed was how I viewed the space I was living in. I never cared so much about those sort of things prior. Our house was always cluttered and messy and it didn’t bother me (until I had people coming over).

Now that I work, live and spend almost 100% of my time in my house I care. I care SO much. Dishes can’t be left for the next day, vacuuming has to be done daily, clutter is getting thrown out or donated. I had to have a nice, clean, light workspace.

My house became my sanctuary and it needed to show itself as such.

What is something positive that has come out of having to quarantine?

Watching my youngest turn from a baby to a toddler. Since Adam and I work full-time we miss a lot of moments in development. This is the hardest part of being a working mom. Going into an office and knowing that you are missing these precious fleeting moments with your kids.

The gap of time where we had the kids home with us Cece learned to say words, walk and came into her own little personality. It was a perfect time to, literally, watch her grow.

What is the hardest part about it?

I have to narrow this down to three things. I think we can all, obviously, state that the hardest thing about this pandemic is seeing how many people are losing their loved ones without being by their side. I cannot even imagine this scenario (even though we have had people very close to us get it – one is still recovering after months).

  1. Not seeing family or friends. Right from the start Adam and I knew that we would be sticking to the rules and keeping our bubble incredibly small. At first it was no one. In the summer we would see a few family and friends outside. In the fall/winter we just saw grandparents.
  2. Watching my son notice how different the world is. Ben and I had a standing date every single weekend. Whether it was going to a movie, out to lunch, a trip to the mall or a playdate with a friend. Him and I always have our own special time out of the house with each other. His favorite thing was to go to restaurants. He loved the whole act of it. Picking where to go, where we would be sitting, what he would get to drink/eat and watching people (and playing Pokémon Go).
  3. Being the best mom and employee at the same time. For four months we were juggling working full-time while also being a full-time mom. Luckily, Adam and I were both at home and shared the responsibility. You had to move from one thing to another seamlessly and it was ROUGH. The kids needed attention, but so did work. It took some time, but Adam and I figured it out and tried to rock it out.

What have you learned about yourself during this time?

Beside having a lot more patience then I thought I had?!

I learned self-confidence. I am not sure why it took a pandemic to make me see it, but I found out that I am a really good mom. There are still days that I don’t feel that way, but looking at the last year I know that I kicked ass and that I make it all work.

My kids got a lot of screen time, but they also got SO much more love, attention and play-time than they ever thought possible.

What surprised you the most about your child(ren) during this time?

How adaptive they can be. Things changed and things changed almost overnight. They went from seeing friends and family every single weekend to just mom and dad. They went from going to daycare and being occupied all day to independently playing.

Every time something changed they rolled with it. They didn’t freak out, they didn’t cry (maybe I did a little) and they didn’t complain.

What are you most looking forward to doing once life gets back to ‘normal’?

Oh, man. I miss SO much. I am so looking forward to planning a big ten year trip with Adam. I am looking forward to spending more time with my nieces (and nephew – when he can come from Cali!). I am SO looking forward to going out and grabbing a drink with my friends.

They say you don’t miss it until it’s gone and boy are they right. These minor things in life that you use to take for granted have a whole new meaning now. I guess that’s something I’ve learned as well. To live a simpler life and to be forever grateful for what we have.

What is something you began doing during quarantine that you will continue to do (or hope to) once it’s over? Why?

I have really enjoyed working from home. I didn’t think I would at the start, but now I really think I flourish in my work space. I got myself a desk and a beautiful set-up. I am able to work longer hours without sacrificing my family. It’s really a great work/home/family balance and I hope that I can continue doing so.

Anything else you want to add?

I feel like quarantine with your kids and spouse could really go one of two ways and that there would be no in-between. We had the best days, we had good days, we had bad days and we had the worst days. It was really one of those in-between scenarios.

The BEST days outweighed the worst days by far. We became an incredibly close family that started understanding each other so much more. Day in and day out with the same people will do that. You know when to back off and when to lean in.

It’s been a very crazy last year, but I am forever grateful for the ones I am quarantining with.

Mom of Fame – Brooke: Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis

Brooke is another amazing mom we were so happy to interview for our Down Syndrome Awareness month! She found out that her son, Ashton,  was “rocking an extra chromosome” while she was pregnant and hasn’t stopped advocating for him since! She talks about how important it is to put your marriage first, what it was like having a baby who needed open heart surgery, and how her son gave her a strong voice. Please help us welcome Brooke into our Mom of Fame, she’s another mama who definitely deserves it!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

My name is Brooke and I married my high school sweetheart, Jesse, 6 years ago on October 12th, 2013. We grew up in Wisconsin and went to college there. We now live in Littleton, CO and we love to hike and snowboard and spend time outside with our dog and son. We expanded our family on February 8th, 2019 with our son, Ashton Thomas, who rocks an extra chromosome.

Miller Family Picture Church

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

I think the best advice I was given from a friend and from our church was to put our marriage first and to show each other love so that our son has a good example. Another piece of advice was to not lose ourselves in our child. We still spend time with friends and do our hobbies with and without him. Getting in date nights is so important!

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I think motherhood is more difficult but more rewarding than I expected. Ashton has a ton of appointments and went through open heart surgery. Having a special needs child can be exhausting in that aspect. But, his one smile will turn around your entire day. I never want to stop snuggling him.

Ashton 8 months

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I believe my three strengths are advocating for him, juggling working full time and being a mom, and finally showing him love. I know he can feel how much we love him already.

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

There have been a million moments already of feeling overwhelmed, and he is only 8 months old! I think the most stress was the week of his open heart surgery. It was so difficult watching him wean off pain meds and not being able to hold him for days. He developed chylothorax, so I was unable to breastfeed him for weeks and I felt like we kept getting kicked while we were down. Now, he is an excellent nurser and he is so strong and recovered much faster and better than I ever would.

Ashton fall

Is there anything you feel you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I have really tried hard to maintain my work, my relationships with my friends and family and my husband, along with my hobbies. We have had difficult moments juggling time together as a family and time alone as husband and wife. Luckily, our parents have been very helpful in watching Ashton so we can have time alone. I think I have gained a strong voice that I didn’t know I had with advocating for him and shouting his worth.

What do you want your child to learn from you?

I want Ashton to learn to love and accept all people, no matter what they look like or believe in. I want him to be kind to everyone and to grow up knowing Jesus and to have a strong faith. I hope he finds a passion later in life and will find a career that he loves.

Ashton elephant

Since it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, what is the most important thing you want people to know about Down syndrome or about being a mom to a child with Down syndrome?

I want people to know how awesome Ashton is and that my life is not any worse than a mom of a “typical” child. Yes, we have more appointments and stress about his health, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything. He is so perfectly him and his extra chromosome makes him so happy, sweet and loving.

Ashton motherhood shoot

Surgery and Being a Mom Don’t Mix

This past Monday night was a pretty scary night for me. It had been a full weekend of family (between a family cook off and baptism)! My brother from California and his family were in town and the fun was just beginning.

Well, around 7:00 pm (while we were bathing the kids) my chest really started to hurt. I’ve had an attack like this before and just went downstairs to take some tums. A couple hours later and it still didn’t go away. I took a strong antacid and tried to sleep.

Around 1:00 am, when I still couldn’t sleep, I woke Adam up and he urged me to go to the ER. I declined for a bit, but thought it may be in my best interest. I drove myself to the ER and upon getting there and walking in I vomited three times. I checked myself in and all the tests began. They ruled out a heart attack (which I didn’t think it was), but wanted to check my gallbladder.

Ding ding ding! That was it. I had gallstones and needed to get it removed. Usually this is outpatient, but my blood was telling them that my liver enzymes and bilirubin was high. This told them that I most likely had one stuck in the bile duct. I had to wait a FULL 36 hours in the hospital before I was able to receive the test needed. I was PRAYING I didn’t have one stuck as this would have led to another procedure to take the stuck one out. They told me that if they had to do it there was a 1/20 chance that I would develop pancreatitis (due to my age). Let the praying begin.

Another 12 hours to get the results, but the stone passed and all I needed was the gallbladder out. Woo hoo!

The week in the hospital was rough. My mind went everywhere. I hadn’t eaten since 6:00 pm on Monday and I didn’t get out until 4:00 pm on Friday. It was rough. I missed my kids an insane amount and my breastmilk supply dropped.

Cece had to have formula. I know this isn’t a big deal to most. Fed is best and I understand that, but this was taken away in a very awful manner for me. I didn’t have a choice. I am working an insane amount to get it back. Right now she is a 50/50 baby.

I thank god I married the man that I did. He stepped up like I never thought possible. He was dad, mom, homemaker, provider and still came to see me everyday. He was and is being a wonderful man.

Recovery has started. It’s almost like I have to bond with my baby all over again (cue the tears). I can’t pick her up for four weeks and that’s going to kill me.

I count myself as one of the luckiest people on the planet though. I have an incredible husband, parents and in-laws that have gone out of their way to help and stay with me and wonderful friends who have checked in everyday and even brought over fun goodie bags (thanks, Erin!).

I now need tips and tricks to get my breastmilk supply up and running. Please help!!

Mom of Fame – Jamie : A New Mom’s Take on Returning to Work

We are so grateful every day to all of the moms who are willing to share their stories with us. Next up is Jamie! She is an amazing mom to a 6 month old boy (and 2 adorable dogs!). She talks about not being a people-pleaser (anymore), how pregnancy was pretty terrifying, and the ups and downs of being a working mom. Please help us welcome Jamie into our Mom of Fame, she definitely deserves it!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

My name is Jamie, and I’m a new mom to my son, Max, who is 6 months old! I live in Oakland Township with my husband, Chad. I’m also a pharmacist and dog mom to two sweet goldendoodles, Maddie and Chloe. 

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

“Do what’s right for your family, not what others think you should do.”

I am a people pleaser so this can be difficult for me. Sometimes the best decisions for our family may not make others happy, and I need to accept that.

Also, what is best for another child or family may not be what is best for my own. It is easy to get caught up in comparing which isn’t healthy or productive.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

People are quick to tell you the negatives of parenthood, and I think I had a skewed view of what our new lives would look like due to this. When pregnant, I constantly had people telling me to sleep while I still could and to enjoy my freedom while it lasted. Since Max was born, I still sleep (though some nights not as much as I would like!) and don’t feel like I have lost all my freedom. Any challenges pale in comparison to the overwhelming amount of love and joy our son has brought us. It has been a much more natural, joyous transformation to motherhood than I imagined.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

Patience, empathy, and love.

Describe a time when you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

Pregnancy was overwhelming and at times, completely terrifying, for me. Our journey to have a baby was difficult. As my pregnancy with Max progressed, I felt more secure but can’t say I ever relaxed until he was born healthy. We are blessed in that Max is generally a very calm, happy baby without any health issues thus far. I can’t say I’ve been too overwhelmed since his birth (at least so far!).

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

It is harder to find time for myself, such as working out or getting pedicures. I feel guilty not spending time with my son when I’m not working, and I also try to clean and do laundry when he’s sleeping. I have gained the most precious baby boy, and the love and joy he has brought to my life is indescribable.

What do you want your child to learn from you?

I hope Max learns kindness and love. I pray he grows up to be a kind, emotionally aware, humble adult who helps make the world a better place. 

How has your transition to being a working mom been? What has been the hardest part? What advice would you give to other moms going back to work after having a baby?

The transition of returning to work has been the most challenging part of motherhood so far. Thankfully, I have a career I love which helps tremendously. The hardest part of working has, of course, been leaving my son. I rarely left my son during my 14 weeks on maternity leave. My husband encouraged me to get out of the house when he was home from work, because it can be isolating to be home all day by yourself with a newborn. Besides those short trips, though, I never left Max. The thought of leaving him with anyone else caused me (and honestly still causes me) so much anxiety. 

The weeks leading up to my return to work were difficult. I struggle with relinquishing control, so the thought of being away from him and me not being there to comfort him when he cried was gut wrenching. My husband took a week and a half off with him before he started daycare, which helped ease the transition. I still felt emotionally and physically drained from being away from him. The first day of daycare was a hard day – I burst into tears as soon as I walked into the building. Thankfully his teachers all were very understanding and made things easier by sending smiling pictures. 

Besides the difficult transition those early days and missing Max, returning to work has had positives for all of us. Staying home with a baby can be lonely (especially a winter baby), and I felt more like myself once I got into a routine and returned to work. I make sure to make the most of time with him when I’m home and on my days off. My husband cares for Max by himself some nights and every other weekend while I’m working. I tend to take over when I’m home, so having this one on one bonding time has been great for the two of them. I have seen an increase in my husband’s confidence when it comes to parenting, and Max lights up whenever he is around my husband. It has also been healthy for our relationship to fairly equally share in both caring for Max and having careers. 

People are quick to judge how you choose to raise your child. I have gotten judgement, questions (even from total strangers), and opinions on if I “have to” work full time and especially about using daycare. I don’t know that I will always work full time, but it is the right decision for our family now. We chose to use daycare to give our family consistency, reliability, social interaction for Max, and learning opportunities. This decision was not well received by all our family, and everyone seems to have an opinion. I remember someone telling me prior to even being pregnant with Max that my priorities would change once I had a baby and that I would have to quit my job. My priorities have never changed – I desperately wanted to have a child. Max has been and always will be my top priority, regardless of whether or not I work. I’ve been thrilled to see him thrive at daycare the 3-4 days a week he is there.

We are all doing what we think is best for our families and children, and I wish people weren’t so quick to judge. We can all be the perfect moms for our babies whether we work part or full time, stay at home, use grandparents for childcare, have a nanny, or use daycare! 

My advice for a mom returning to work after having a baby is to give yourself grace. I am sure I looked quite disheveled those early weeks after returning to work as I was trying to figure out how to balance everything and get a morning routine down. I was completely exhausted (and still am some days) from working full time, pumping milk, caring for Max, cleaning bottles and pump parts at night, trying to clean and do laundry, and often waking up multiple times each night with Max. Everything gets easier with time and an adjustment period. Always keep in mind that you can be an amazing mom whether you work full time or stay home!

Five Things Every Working Mom NEEDS During the Week

Going back to work after the second child was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Not only are you grappling with the fact that you are leaving your three month old with a stranger (and paying a lot of money for it), but you are scared to jump back into your job and give it 100%. 

I have been back at it for a little over a month now and here are a couple of the things that have saved me.

Kroger Clicklist (or any other drive-up/at home service)

We would never eat if it wasn’t for these services. We drop the kids off at daycare, work eight hours, pick the kids up and go home. We are out of the house from about 7:30 until 5:30. This does not leave a ton of time to grocery shop.

I have only used clicklist and although my order isn’t always perfect, I love it. It allows me to leave the kids in the car. I don’t have to take the three year old and infant into the store. This is a miracle. 


I love planning vacations. I love planning fun weekends with the kids. I do not like planning the day to day schedule. Between work, pumping (yes, pumping), appointments and somewhat of a social life, our day to day needs to be planned and organized. 

A few things that have helped me is that I have literally every single thing ready the night before. This includes all my pumping equipment, my daughters bottles, my sons clothes (and mine) all ready the night before. This allows me to just get up and get ready to get out the door.

I keep a large weekly calendar in the kitchen by the door. This way my husband can’t miss it and can see what we have going for the week. 

I also plan and schedule every single pumping session at work. I try and time this with the time that her daycare will be feeding her the bottles. This works for me. 


Support System

No joke. This is the most important of them all. My husband and I are SO incredibly lucky to have such wonderful parents. They have made this transition a lot easier on us. 

My parents watch my daughter on Tuesdays and along with that have been picking up my son from daycare that day. My mother in law has been picking up my son on Mondays and this is a huge help. 

Both kids go to two different daycares so I am in the car after work for about an hour and a half. By them picking up my son it saves me so much time. It’s so wonderful. 

Another important part of my support system is the texts and calls from friends. I know I have cried, complained and gone out of my mind. I appreciate you all listening.

Having a positive mindset

I know many of you might think this sounds lame, but this is SO key to having a good week. If you start your week without this your entire week will be ruined. I know. I’ve gone into Monday morning with an awful attitude and it changed my whole week.

I get it. Sometimes it’s really hard to stay positive in the AM. You have been up with your baby, your toddler and dog (just me?). 

Time to yourself

This one actually took me a good long while to actually understand. Not until recently was I giving myself any time after the kids went to bed. Once they went to bed I was instantly in as well. Sometimes this is still the case, but you quickly realize that this is your only alone time. Period. 

I have been staying up and watching some TV or reading or, honestly, just doing nothing at all. 

My house is not always clean and clutter free. I am not always put together like I was before kids. Being a working mom is HARD. You are constantly thinking about your kids during work and work when you’re with your kids. It’s hard to turn either off. 

I am so very lucky to have a husband, family and friends that help and support me. Also, this mom community in which we started. It gives both Erin and I an outlet to learn, discuss, complain and relish in the joys of motherhood. 

Let me know if you have any great tips or tricks to make the work week a little easier!

#Momguilt Part Two – The Second Child

So awhile back I wrote a blog about #Momguilt. Little did I know that it only gets TEN TIMES worse when you add a second child into the mix.

The same feelings of guilt are still there.

The guilt of …


making a healthy dinner

when I lose my patience

when I’m distracted by something else *phone*

that I allow TV and tablet

Now there are even more and a lot of them have to do with my attention and how I can evenly divide it. I would, ideally, like all aspects of my life to feel most important.

  • My children. This is the area where I have the most guilt.
    1. My son. I feel guilty that I have literally changed my son’s life in a drastic (but beautiful) way. When my attention is on him I am distracted by his sister and her needs. I know that I don’t give myself credit, but it’s hard.
    2. My daughter. Although she gets attention – (just finished up a wonderful 12 week maternity with her) it’s very different from what Ben got when he was a baby and I feel guilty about that. She really will never get my FULL attention because she is the second child.
  • My husband. Although it isn’t said and completely fine – I know that my husband is the one who gets the shaft completely. Our lives have taken a turn from the two of us, to the three of us, to now, the four of us. I am sure it will get better, but right now this mama goes to bed right when the baby does which gives us almost zero time together.
  • My Work Life. Although I just started work I am already feeling guilty. When you don’t have kids your work is basically your baby (right? Am I the only one?). I know that I will get into a groove again and it will just take time. Why do we think things should just happen instantly?!
  • Daycare guilt. This is geared more toward my three month old. My son (three years old) thrives at his daycare. There is a constant pressure on my chest about leaving my three month old with others. The guilt I have about going to work and not being with my children is great.

Luckily, I have an amazing husband, family and friends who make me feel like I am doing it all and doing it with grace. We can’t be perfect. No one is.

Now, please pass me a glass of wine.

The Struggles of Going Back to Work

As I write this I have about four more weeks before I have to go back to my full time job. Yep. Full-time job. That sounds crazy, right? I have a *newborn* and a toddler so that surely is my full-time job. RIGHT!? I am screaming this because I am not quite sure how I am going to do it all.

Why, as a society, have we not gotten better about how we treat working moms? Why is everything still going to be expected of us when we go back to work?

Let me tell you right now – maternity is NOT a vacation. It’s not 12 weeks where the moms get to party and live it up. It is quite literally the hardest job you can imagine.

While your body (and mind) are healing from pushing a baby out you are taking care of a newborn and most likely other children. You are on call every minute of every single day.

Besides taking care of your children you also feel like you have to cook, clean, shop and maintain everything around the household. You should have to be the one to do it all, right? That’s what society tells us.

Going back to a full-time job and having a full-time job at home doesn’t seem possible and I am fearing it.

I am fearing leaving my three month old daughter with complete strangers.

I am fearing how my nights will look when trying to get everything ready for the next day.

I am fearing the new morning routine. Trying to get a toddler and newborn out of the house.

I am fearing dinners and how on earth they are going to get made.

I am fearing how any household task is going to get done.

I am fearing getting back into the groove at work and finding my stride again.

I am fearing all the breaks I will need to take to pump.

I am fearing not breastfeeding my daughter whenever she needs it and instead having a stranger give her the pumped milk (this one also makes me incredibly sad).

So, there you have it, I am a scared and I know I’m not the only one that has these thoughts. I know mothers everywhere are thinking the same things and more. I just wish we would be able to do something about it and stay home with our babies a little longer.

One can dream…

How do you know you’re done having kids?

This question has been playing in my mind over and over again since I had my second baby. She is only seven weeks old, but I’ve had a good amount of time to think (because of the measles outbreak in my home town I’m afraid to go anywhere).

I’ve always thought I would be done at two. I have a boy and a girl and I feel like that’s perfect for our family. A family of four sounds good. There are two of us and two of them. Financially it makes sense. We will still live our life how we normally do and take vacations every year. It makes sense.

My baby boy. The first born. It was easy to know I wanted one more after him!

So if I think all that WHY can’t I get that nagging voice out of my head that says ‘well, maybe…’. There are pros and cons to everything and I know that, for my family, the pros of two are better.

My second born. This time it’s a little harder to make that call.

How did you know? How did you know that you were done having kids? I didn’t take the time to enjoy my last pregnancy and I wish I had since it might be my last. That’s so hard to think of though, right? I won’t feel the kicks again? Or the moment they lay your baby on your chest?

Tell me. How did you know? Did you go through a mourning process?

Mom of Fame: Balancing Long Work Days and a 6 Month Old

Ann was one of our roommates in college. We lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with 1 bathroom and 4 girls! As you can imagine, we got to know each other pretty well. Ann was (and is) always so much fun to be around whether we were going out to the bars or just sitting in our apartment watching tv. When she told us she was pregnant we were so excited she would be joining us in the “mom club”.

Before she was even thinking about getting pregnant she asked us all kinds of questions about being a mom. Most of them centered around giving birth and the healing process after. As Ann says in her interview she likes to be very informed before she makes a decision. Luckily, we both had pretty easy deliveries and babies that we could tell her about or she may not have wanted to get pregnant at all!

We had so much fun interviewing Ann while all of our kiddos played (not really with each other, but around each other at least!) She told us all about her transition to being a working mom, how important she thinks empathy is in motherhood, and how she gained a new respect for her husband after having her daughter. Please help us welcome Ann into the Mom of Fame, she definitely deserves it!

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give it to somebody else?

One piece of advice that I found helpful was from a book I read. It talked about accepting help; especially in the beginning. If someone offers to come over and help you, let them! It seems obvious but even after reading that I still felt like I was putting people out or that they thought I couldn’t handle it.  I quickly realized that people truly care about you and your baby and are happy lend a hand.

The other advice came from my cousin who has two older kids.  I was stressing out about something, probably sleep training, and he told me, “I don’t know if this will make you feel better, but whatever you’re worrying about right now, it won’t last long and then you’ll have something new to worry about that feels more important.  It pretty much never ends.”  I have found this to be true and strangely comforting, it has helped me have a little perspective to know that nothing I’m dealing with now will last forever.

I would give this advice to a new parent, especially accepting help.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I thought I would have more trouble in the beginning.  I haven’t spent much time around kids; I was the youngest in my family and never babysat.  I feel like I’ve taken to it a lot easier than I thought I would. I imagined I would question myself a lot more, but I really don’t.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

Patience and Empathy – in those first couple of months when she was just crying her heart out, I think I did a pretty good job of always trying to stay calm.  I would just tell myself that whatever she is going through is worse than what I’m going through.  She has entered this new world and it must be overwhelming. I’m sure she thought she was starving to death when she was hungry or if I set her down she thought she was all alone. I tried to remind myself that she’s not not sleeping because she’s maliciously trying to ruin my night; she’s obviously going through something.

Organization – Just making it to a doctor’s appointment takes a new level of preparation!  Also, getting her prepared for daycare takes a lot of time management and organization.  I always like to keep myself organized, so that when I come home from a long day at work, I can spend more time with her rather than preparing all her stuff for the next day.

Research – I am someone who likes to know all the facts and opinions about everything going on.  I always feel more comfortable making decisions when I have put time into reading everything I can on a subject.  I don’t always listen to it, but for example, as I start to feed her solid foods, I try to read everything I can.  

Describe a time when you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

That first month, I would say, is the most overwhelming, so far. When your body is healing, you’re not sleeping, she’s not sleeping, and you feel like you don’t really know what you’re doing.  On top of that, your hormones are all over the place!  It is somehow the most exciting time, bringing home your new baby, and the most difficult.

Is there anything you feel you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

Naturally, I have lost a little bit of freedom and independence. When I come home from work I want to spend all of my time with her so it’s hard to do anything else!  I haven’t really found balance between spending time with her and taking a little time for myself.  I think as I get used to working and having her, I will feel better about doing a few things for myself, but as of now I focus on spending all my free time with her, which I truly enjoy.

I’ve gained everything. I’ve gained her and she’s amazing. Also, I have gained a lot of respect for my husband because he is so helpful.  He has really taken to fatherhood and is so supportive.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

I just want her to be a good person. I want her to learn to be kind and confident and respectful. I want her to understand the importance of working hard and appreciating what you have.

How did the transition go from being home with her on maternity leave to working long hours and having her in daycare?

I think it went pretty well. It helped that I had a friend come stay with us for a month. He stayed home with her and helped me transition. I got to go back to work knowing that she was at home and I could call whenever I wanted and check in.  I was also able to work on my morning routine to adjust for her needs.

Now that she is at daycare, I think it is going really well. I think it is beneficial for both of us to get a little bit of separation.  She always gives her caregivers a big smile when she arrives and she looks happy playing with the other babies. They send me pictures and videos and watching her interact with the other children is so cute!  I really think it is harder on me most days being away from her.

Secrets of a Daycare Director: 5 Things You Must Do Before Choosing a Daycare

Choosing a daycare for your child(ren) is hard! There are so many options out there, how do you know which is best? What should you be looking for? What should you ask? Should you send your child to a chain? A private daycare? An in-home?

Only you can make these decisions based on what is best for your family but I am here to hopefully make the decision a little easier. Before I became a stay at home mom I was the director of a daycare. I gave hundreds of tours and saw all different kinds of parents looking for all different kinds of things. After giving all of these tours I decided that these are the 5 things you must do before choosing a daycare.

**Soon I will be putting together a list of essential questions to ask while on a daycare tour. It will be included in our next newsletter so be sure to sign up so you don’t miss out!**


When I was a director I HATED when people would do this. It seemed like they would always come when I was either trying to eat my lunch (like poor Ryan is trying to do above) or right when I was trying to leave for the day. Now I say I hated it, but I completely understood why the parents did it. When you call and make an appointment with a director for a tour several things happen. First, she writes it on the calendar where all of the teachers can see it. Then she walks around the morning of and reminds the teachers that a tour is coming and what time. This means that everyone is on their best behavior. The director is prepared for exactly what to say, the teachers are using their sweetest voices, and the children are doing the most engaging activities (because the teachers planned it that way).

When you just drop in for a tour you are able to see a more genuine version of the school. You can first see how the director handles having her day (and probably her lunch) interrupted. Then you can hear the teachers when they don’t necessarily know they are being heard by a prospective parent. And finally, you can see what the kiddos are doing in the middle of a random day. I’m sure most places would prefer a scheduled tour, but if I were you, I would just drop in! (And if they won’t accept a drop in tour, they are probably not the place for you).

When you are touring a daycare or preschool you are obviously looking at a specific room depending on the age of your child. You really should look at ALL of the rooms, though. I was always amazed when I was giving a tour and the parents wanted to skip all of the rooms besides the one their child would be in. I understand you may be short on time, but trust me, this is necessary.

For one, if your child is there for more than 6 months they will probably be going to the next room. It would be a shame to choose a school because you loved the toddler room, but then have to pull your child out because the preschool room is terrible. Also, if your child is there all day they will inevitably be with the other teachers for part of it. The end of the day at most daycares consists of creatively shuffling the kids around so that teachers can go home while ratios are still upheld. This means that your child will end the day with a different teacher than they started with. Don’t you want to meet everyone who will be with them throughout the day and the year?

Every two years a daycare has to renew their license (if the daycare you are looking at isn’t licensed…RUN!). This means that a consultant shows up randomly and makes sure the daycare is following all of the necessary rules. At the end of their visit they write a report to show the violations that were found. Before even visiting the daycare you should check out their licensing report. This is available online and should be very easy to find by googling “daycare licensing reports in ___ (if you live in Michigan, you can find it here).

A few things to keep in mind when reading the reports. First, don’t panic! It is the licensing consultant’s job to find things wrong with the daycare so there will always be at least a few violations. Second, not all violations are created equal. Be sure to read what the violation is before deciding the daycare doesn’t deserve to watch your child. Teachers are only human and sometimes accidents happen. Finally, if you are really uncomfortable about something you read but like everything else about the school, ask the director about it. You will learn a lot from how she answers those types of questions.

In order for you to be comfortable with sending your child to a daycare, you have to trust them. The best way to begin to build that trust is to speak to other parents who trusted them with their own children. Many schools will already have a list of parent references, but if they don’t, don’t be afraid to ask for one. Then actually CALL a few of the parents on the list. Make sure you have specific questions for them so that you get as much out of the call as possible.

Now obviously if they are providing the references, they are all going to be people who had good experiences at the school. This is what you want to hear, though! If you are looking for complaints about the school check out google or yelp. Right now you are looking for people to ease your mind about sending your child there, and a parent reference list is a perfect place to find that.

Each parent is looking at different things during a tour depending on what is most important to them. Along with those, I would suggest you also focus on three things; the teachers, the children, and the equipment. Specifically:

Teachers: The teachers should be engaged with the children. She should be on the ground with the kiddos or in a chair near them. She should also be speaking in a positive way to the students and about the school. Feel free to ask the teachers specific questions about how the day looks in her classroom, what curriculum she uses and/or what she does about behavior problems. The teachers should be prepared to answer questions and the director should be able to monitor the class while she does so.

Children: The children should look happy! Now obviously there will be crying kids every time you walk into a daycare, but the majority of them should look like they want to be there. They should also look engaged in the classroom and the activity that is going on. Finally, they should look comfortable with the teacher and the director.

Equipment: The equipment should look well taken care of. If there are a bunch of broken toys or cracks in the floor it’s not a good sign that the school is staying updated and safe. The equipment should also look age-appropriate. This is important for keeping the children engaged as well as for their safety.