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Returning to work after mat leave

There’s always a fine balance between work and family, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I recently resumed work after my maternity leave expired and I can tell you that it has not been easy caring for an 8-month baby and working on a full-time 9-5 job. I’ll take you back to a week before my resumption and my first day of resumption.

Before I resumed work, I had a colleague who also went on maternity leave a year before I did and she would tell me tales of how emotionally attached she was with her baby and I could tell that she really missed her baby from her ‘every second call’ to her nanny. With that in mind, I began to set my emotions in check for the D-day.

On the morning of my resumption, I woke up in a high spirit, I had my bath, wore my favorite floral dress that I had abandoned when I was pregnant and put on some makeup and jewelry. After getting ready to leave for work, I stood in front of my full-length mirror and admired how beautiful I looked because sincerely speaking I had not had time for a proper me-time and self-care. Before I left home, I gave all my baby’s essentials to my sister who lives with my husband and me and told her all she needed to do for my baby.

After what seemed like a 10-mile drive to work, I was finally in front of my work building, at first I had a partial guilt feeling because I was not taking care for my baby by myself and I was not with her but then again I had to work to earn a living so that I can take care of her.

After being warmly welcomed by my colleagues I felt like my old self again and I gradually let go of the guilt feeling. However, an hour after I had settled at work, I began to miss my baby in a way that I couldn’t explain, it felt like I was missing a piece of me. Without further ado I called my sister’s phone but she didn’t respond, I dialed it again still no response and before I could calm myself, I began to cry because I was worried and scared, only for my sister to call me 3 minutes later to tell me that she was upstairs playing with my baby and her phone was downstairs.

I am gradually adjusting to my work life, although I still get emotional sometimes, I have improved and I know that 80% of nursing mothers have experienced similar situations when they resume work. Getting a fine balance between work and family is always hectic but I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

First time mom

Oprah Winfrey once said, “The choice to become a mother is the choice to become the greatest spiritual teacher there is”. I pondered on that quote for days, after I found out that I was 3 weeks pregnant. Thoughts like ‘so I’m going to be a mother now’, ‘so someone is going to be dependent on me’ or the frightening thought like ‘how is labor going to be like’, filled my mind each passing day. I constantly had that scary yet exciting feeling about being a mother, mostly because it was going to be my first time ever. Although my mother was not around to teach me the basic things every first-time mother ought to know, I had Google and Siri as my coach and best friend. You could catch me at any given moment saying ‘Siri, what’s the best way to bath a baby’, or ‘Google, what are the dos and don’ts for a first-time mother’, and the list goes on and on. And just like the Boy Scout motto which says “Be Prepared”, I tried my possible best to be prepared for everything.

Before my very eyes, it was a week to my due date, I started giving pep talks to myself and told myself severally, ‘Girl, you are ready for this, you got this’. I was indeed mentally, physically and most importantly financially ready to bring my little bundle of joy into this world.

My due date finally came, I was nervous but yet excited at the same time. My darling husband was with me, dishing out lovely words of encouragement as I laid on a bed in the labor room (my labor experience would be a story for another day).

All the long hours in the labor room felt like they would never pass by until I heard the cry of my baby girl then suddenly all the pains vanished like magic. I held her in my arms never wanting to leave her, and for the first time in my life, I felt the joy of motherhood, and in that moment I truly understood the joy of motherhood

It’s been months since I joined the motherhood wagon, and all the research I made on caring for a baby, when I was pregnant finally paid off, I could score an A+ on my caring skills. My experience being a first-time mom has taught me how to love, care, cherish, provide and protect someone other than myself. Like Oprah Winfrey once said “The choice to become a mother is the choice to become the greatest spiritual teacher there is”, therefore, each and every day I strive to become the greatest spiritual teacher my baby would ever know.

Mother of 3

Having a baby will always bring a new experience for any mother, new or with previous children. With my third son, I was the most prepared mentally but drained physically as I was caring for my other two sons. A mother of boys is a busy job, keeping up with their energy on a regular level is a task and during pregnancy can feel like a marathon! Taking care of household duties- cooking, doing laundry, cleaning as well as having a full time job can be exhausting on a daily basis. Being blessed with a husband who takes on a lot of the physical tasks of caring for the children is a huge help. Simply activities of bending down to bathe children were too difficult for me during pregnancy.

Having an even wider support system is essential when raising young children, unfortunately I don’t have that. Having a reliable baby sitter or nanny is an avenue I am pursuing to ensure we don’t burn out ourselves while  taking care of our bunch.

When I was bringing home baby #3, I was quite anxious about the dynamics of being able to cope with a newborn, recover physically from giving birth and still be able to take care of my 4 year old and 22 month old. I got my mum and 11 year old niece to fly in to help me out because I couldn’t do it on my own as hubbie would have to be at work. Their presence was a great help and I was able to focus on caring for baby and healing my body. I have learnt that it is as important to care for myself as it is to care for my children.

Being a mother is probably the best and hardest job on earth. Getting alone time weekly is needed to refresh and renew the spirit and to remind yourself that you are an individual and not only somebody’s mother or wife. Although these early years are some of the most difficult on our bodies and minds, we must remember to enjoy the moment as these days won’t last forever.

Having My Daughter

Going in to have my daughter was the best day of my life……………….My experience like many others I am sure started by being told that I was going to be induced on October 21,  therefore I was able to mentally prepare and more importantly prepare my home knowing that I would be coming home with a baby!! OMG!!

On the morning of Saturday, October 21,  I was able to wake up, shower, and have a good breakfast……..which I know many new moms do not get the luxury of doing. (I was lucky!!!)

I was blessed to be able to have my mom and dad, my mother in-law and of course my partner at my side through this crazy, amazing, magical, scary, exciting…..Did I say scary???……time.  Having them beside me was huge, this was one of the most important moments of my life and I can look back on it and say thank you to those who were beside me through the whole ordeal.  There were definitely some scary moments throughout the day (which I will not get into) but in the end it all turned out amazing and at 810pm my daughter was born and she was perfect at 7 lbs 3 oz!!!

Now to being a new mom at home……..just us……no nurses to buzz when I needed anything, How scary is that, they sent us home, outside, into the world with this precious little tiny baby at 1030pm on a Sunday night, Yikes!!! I was very lucky to have my partner at home for 2 weeks as well as my mother in law there to help for 2 weeks and of course my parents were less than 10 minutes away and were over all the time!! So definitely very lucky.  And as I mentioned earlier I was one of the lucky ones who was able to prepare before going to the hospital so the house was ready, well I thought it was, lol!! My daughter did not want to sleep by herself at all, the only way we got her to sleep was on one of us so for the first  2 weeks we took 4 hour shifts on the couch with her sleeping on us, not ideal but it worked (for us).  My daughter and I then started co-sleeping which again worked for us, I know I know most people say its so bad and so dangerous and you shouldn’t do it, but again it worked for us and my philosophy is “Whatever keeps you sane”. Finally at 4 months she started to sleep in her crib for 10 to 12 hours straight, woohoo!! Amazing.  This only lasted until she was 12 months and then back in our bed she came, lol!! This is something I am still working on a solution for.

Honestly though as scared as I was when we started this chapter in our lives I absolutely love it!!! I loved being at home with my daughter for a full year (again very lucky), we did as much as we could together, Aquafit, Mom and baby yoga, strollerfit, storytime and of course a number of mall trips and lunches.  I definitely wish that I could stay home with her forever but lets get real that’s not an option for most people these days.  We are now in a great routine, we get up we get ready and she goes to my parents every day (again lucky!!!) and Daddy and I go to work.  Bedtimes are pretty routine and we try and play as much as we can before bed.  Now I can’t wait for every new stage in the future!!!

We are truly amazing mommas and don’t ever forget that, we don’t need to be perfect we just need to stay sane and keep our babies loved and keep them safe enjoy it, enjoy it all!!!

 

Why Momsxchange

Hi! Welcome to Moms Exchange. My name is @pickering_mom905, Co-founder of momsxchange.com

The reason we created Moms Exchange is because we believe that connecting moms is a step in the right direction to help moms connect and share stories and advice with each other, which in turn helps alleviate some of the feelings of loneliness, social isolation and disconnection some moms may face during and after they have a baby.  When I got pregnant with my daughter, I immediately had a million and one thoughts in my head……When can I tell people? What will happen to my career? When can I start pre-natal yoga? What will a year off of work be like? Will I take the full year off or will me and my fiancé split it?  Where will he or she go to daycare when I go back to work? And, of course, many, many others.

With these thoughts and questions floating around in my head, I needed somewhere to go to get all of my questions answered, but where? I ended up doing research on one site, buying baby items on another site, and reading advice from a million others.

Our goal at Moms Exchange is to have moms, new and experienced, provide real-time advice to other moms (via our online Mommy chat room tool), support momtrepreneurs and other local businesses owned and/or operated by moms (via our Mommy Business), buy and sell gently used kids items from other moms (via our Mommy Shop), and share their experience with other moms across Canada (via our Mommy Blog), all in one secure, trusted, and judgement free environment. Yes, that’s right, all in one spot. No longer will you need to look at three or four different sites to get everything that you need.

If you would like to help us alleviate the social isolation, loneliness and disconnection some of our moms’ face, or connect with other moms in your community, please sign up here… it’s FREE.

Flying with an 18-month-old

We recently got back from a trip to Florida and I realized that this is definitely a topic worth talking about.  All I can say is have no expectations and who cares about what others think, keep those 2 things in mind and you will be fine and so much less stressed!!

I must have read about 20 articles or more on tips for travelling before we went and this was our 5th flight with DD. She is 18 months now so definitely some different challenges and needs compared to the last time we flew with her which was when she was 10 months.  Here are my absolute MUSTS for a trip with a very active 18-month-old:

  1. 1. Always keep them busy
  2. 2. Try and plan flights around nap times
  3. 3. Change Diapers and Feed them before the flight if you can
  4. 4. Walk around (run if possible) before getting on the plane so you wear them out as much as you can
  5. 5. Do not board the plane early as they allow you to, the least amount of time on the plane the better
  6. 6. If you can score them get lounge passes……. these lounges have kids/baby rooms!!! Who knew??? These are areas where your kids can run around/watch tv and be free!!
  7. 7. Use an umbrella stroller if you can – do not fold it up until you are right at the plane (if you can get away without a stroller even better!!!)
  8. 8. Have as many snacks packed as you can
  9. 9. Buy new toys/activities that you can pull out on the plane in flight
  10. 10. Have an iPad with movies/shows ready to go as a backup plan……make sure it charged
  11. 11. Pray no one sits beside you and if they do pray they are cool and like kids……a lot
  12. 12. Pray, Pray, Pray for no delays………we had a 3-hour delay on the plane ride home (which was not at nap time) and that was not easy, thank gosh she slept for 2 hours but that was definitely a challenging time.
  13. 13. Always play and distract them and usually they will make friends with people on the plane

 

Travelling with a toddler does not need to be stressful or hard it just takes lot of planning and even more patience, so relax and enjoy it……most people have been there in their lives one time or another.

Word of the Week (WOW)

Matrescence: The process of becoming a mother.

Helpful info

1. Click here to apply for Maternity and Parental benifits

2. Apply for your child's Social Security Insurance number here

3. Complete your child's birth registration here

4. Are you eligible for Canada Child Benefits? here to find out

5. Toronto Public Health offers free prenatal breastfeeding classes online. Click here for more information

6. The Public Health Agency of Canada is committed to promoting awareness about SIDS and safe infant sleep environments. For more information, click here

7. Are you experiencing Perinatal Mood Disorder? If so, click here for more information

8. Click here to learn more about Health Weight Gain During Pregnancy

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