Happy (fiscal) 2016! Five sanity tips for a happy mom year.

Well mamas, here I am, celebrating the Fiscal New Year 2016 which for me officially started last week. I must acknowledge my complete disappearance from the internet during the 4th quarter of 2015, but it was inevitable: I work in retail. November & December are two short, innocent months that each take years off of my life. This year was no exception: I wrangled a normally two-person job as just one run-down lady and then I spent January mopping up the mess. February, sweet February, is the true new year when everything starts over and I can surface for some fresh air again. Me and the ground hog, we’re on the same schedule.

When reflecting on the last 3 months, all I can think of is being in constant survival mode, from managing work/daycare schedules to planning to spend 10, yes T-E-N, days with family over Christmas. I’m not sure if these are truly words of wisdom, but here are a few things that I did to gain efficiency and/or preserve sanity.

sliding at yerba buena gardens in san francisco iamaworkingmomblog

  • Pre-think. Never, ever save thinking for in-the-moment. It slows you down and you’ll probably make a poor decision, like eating a 16 oz bag of Sour Patch Kids for breakfast. I gained back a solid 5 minutes per day by looking at the weather and picking out all 5 of my daughters daycare outfits on Sunday night, folding and stacking them in order for the week to come. It’s more likely that her socks actually match AND I gained 25 whole minutes of morning time back! And double that if I can plan my own outfits in advance! Neurotic? A little. Efficient? A lot!
  • Along with pre-thinking, pre-prep. I have astonished myself with my new-found fondness for meal planning. I get with Brandon on Saturday afternoon and we negotiate out dinners for the week, me constantly reminding him that Munchery food-delivery is not really that delicious for the price and still requires microwaving. Then we make stuff. It’s meal planning, but it’s also doing things like prepping the 5 bottles of milk for daycare lunches so they are handy in the fridge, ready to go each morning. I also have reduced both thinking AND prepping by planning Sunday-Thursday dinners to be something that makes for a good leftover lunch the following day. Perhaps a tad sad for my toddler who doesn’t get unique school lunches, ever. And if she didn’t like dinner, oh well, maybe she’ll like it better cold during daylight hours? (This has often been the case, specifically when dinner involves melted cheese, which she HATES, because she insists on defying toddler stereotypes) But she generally gets a good square meal, and I get to subtract 5 instances of thinking and prepping from my life!

Fairmont Hotel San Francisco

  • Make (fun) commitments. Do you know me personally? Then you know I am the definition of a homebody. Once I’ve crossed the threshold from work to couch, don’t even bother trying to pull me back out. And now that going out involves prepping a toddler? Forget it. I do ostensibly love to do things, of course. And yet, the holidays were so overwhelming with work that I easily could have spent my weekends inside and alone with a book. But I rallied and made commitments with all my favorite friends and we had a blast doing festive things around San Francisco. Putting things on paper and telling my friends I would be there makes it happen. This included friendsgiving at Golden Gate Park, The Nightmare Before Christmas @ the SF Symphony on an impromptu mom-date, a visit to the Dickens Fair (apparently a 30+ year tradition!), hosting an Apres-Ski brunch party at Delancy St., venturing to the Fairmont Hotel to see the life-size ginger bread house, taking the toddler to a family-friendly Symphony Sing-a-long at Davies Hall, and even venturing south for a German Christmas Market. The last 3 months were a blur, but if anything stands out, it was all of those special adventures with friends around the city. (Thank guys!)

utah state capitol christmas tree featured on iamaworkingmomblog.com

  • Remember what “vacation” means.  Every single year we go home for Christmas and every single year we somehow forget that being home is not a vacation. We love and adore our family, but running around (toddler in tow) seeing everyone, attending parties, navigating multiple feet of mountain snow– this isn’t what “vacations” are made off. This year we even packed in a four-generation family portrait session at the Utah State Capitol (above).  Each year we try to come home a couple days early to have some time to ourselves and regroup, but I think next year we can trim our 10-day-trip to 5 or 6, and have 3 or 4 days to really get some R&R at home, or maybe even sneak in a night in Napa!
  • Don’t make New Years resolutions. Make fiscal new year resolutions instead! Because you can spend January watching everyone else eat salad and go to the gym while you continue to enjoy cookies and Netflix. Trust me. It’s satisfying.

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Copyright 2016 © i am a working mom blog

header photo By micadew from US (Happy New Year 2016) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

all other photos are mine.

Hyperemesis Part IV: Birth and Baby

This is the final post of my pregnancy story with hyperemesis gravidarum. It’s the best and worst part. I’ve told the story by trimester and if you need to catch up here are links to Part I, Part II and Part III. Just a disclaimer, while I do actually have several pictures of my labor, you don’t want to see them nor do I want you to, so just enjoy the pics of my babe when she is just a few hours old.

Labor is when one of my greatest and most painful HG lessons occurred. I will preface this story by telling you that my goal was a labor and delivery with as little intervention and medication as possible. I had a detailed birth plan, involving all kinds of good feelings and  absolutely no drugs.

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Moms to Marvel: Meet Michelle

Welcome to the November installment of my series Moms to Marvel. Each month I am sharing a story from an inspiring mom to get her take and experience on balancing working and motherhood. Check out previous posts here. If you have a story you want to share, contact me!

This post has been burning a hole in my pocket. I’ve had it for a few weeks, but I’ve been hemming and hawing about writing the perfect intro for my dear friend Michelle, but honestly I’m ill equipped to describe such an marvelous woman and mother.

Michelle and I became fast friends in San Francisco many years ago. We’re both nerdy, girl-power vegetarians with lofty life and career goals. As I observed Michelle take on parenting, I witnessed how motherhood for her wasn’t an either-or choice with her career. Career and family, simultaneously, are all part of her brilliantly designed plan of becoming the best person, and mom, she can be.

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Moms to Marvel: Meet Christine

Welcome to the September installment of my series Moms to Marvel. Each month I am sharing a story from an inspiring mom to get her take and experience on balancing working and motherhood. Check out previous posts here. If you have a story you want to share, or just want to pontificate about this topic with the rest of us, contact me!

Christine and I met on the job in San Francisco, many years ago when we were both childless, footloose and fancy free. The days when we would use our lunch breaks to go to a yoga class, or venture to the Ferry Building for impromptu happy hour on warm sunny days. And boy were those the days. Impromptu anything is a foreign concept to me now as I have willingly shackled myself to the schedule of a charming but impatient, demanding little toddler.

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Hyperemesis Part III: The 3rd Trimester

Fact: The 3rd trimester of pregnancy begins at week #28, and lasts an average of 10-14 weeks, as measured by standard linear time on a Gregorian calendar.

Fact: The 3rd trimester actually lasts approximately 25 years in time as experienced by women with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It feels like forever plus another forever on top.  Especially when trying to muddle through pregnant life as a productive contributor to the work force.

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Monday Funday

It will come as no surprise that for the last 10 years of my career, I lacked any fondness for Monday’s. In retail, the days are long with review meetings, and the state of the business sets the intensity level for the whole week. I worked for a few years at a flash-sale start-up, and Monday’s were so volatile that anxiety would start creeping in around brunch time the day prior. My coworkers and I affectionately branded this angst the “Sunday Scaries”

Motherhood has changed my tune. After spending 48 straight hours with a sick husband and a cranky, teething baby last weekend, I practically skipped into the office Monday morning. In fact I think I did, quite literally, skip. After dropping the toddler at daycare I was suddenly free of needy humans. Off to Starbucks (who I’m actually supposed to be boycotting over the La Boulange scandal), and then on to the office where I savored the utter tranquility of my boring, quiet cube.

Monday escapism: a working mom perk.

Moms to Marvel: Meet Gillian

Welcome to the 3rd installment of my series Moms to Marvel. Each month I am sharing a story from an inspiring mom to get her take and experience on balancing working and motherhood. Check out previous posts here. If you have a story you want to share, or just want to pontificate about this topic with the rest of us, contact me!

I’m so excited to introduce you to Gillian. Our mom friendship kicked off in birth class in San Francisco. Natural-birth class, that is, because we were both into that sort of thing. (Story for another day!) We happened to live within less than a mile of each other, and our due dates were ~10 days apart. And after watching numerous VHS tapes of women from the late 1970’s giving birth, we were bonded for life.

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