“At first glance it may appear too hard. Look again. Always look again.”
I am almost done with my third week of work post maternity leave. I don’t know how it has been three weeks already. My days are separated into three chunks of time. The mornings with my baby getting ready for work, my day at work without him, and the evening time after I pick him up from his amazing nanny’s home.
Let me start with his perfect, mennonite nanny Ms. B. A friend from work found Ms. B through care.com, a wonderful place to search for childcare in your area. We had desperately wanted to have Miles stay with Ms. B and her family very early on in our child care search but when we were first looking she didn’t have any space for our little one- so we kept looking. We found a wonderful local daycare that was more traditional but felt much better than some of the large daycares we found in our area.
It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but the people were kind and I was exhausted and growing our baby so we settled. Then, the week before I was supposed to start work we set up a visit so Miles could see the space with us. We walked in and I immediately felt sick. Miles eyes were wide with worry and the chaos that surrounded us. To some I’m sure it was the exact place they wanted their baby to be, but for me it was too loud and sterile and too different from our home.
So, I followed my mommy gut and told Chase I would not be taking my baby there. I had no alternative, Miles was supposed to start that Monday and I was supposed to return to work, but I couldn’t. I knew my mental health would suffer if I had to leave Miles there while I worked.
I told my office what was going on and my supervisor and colleagues gave me so much grace. They told me to take the time I needed to find the right place for our family. I know what a privilege this is. I am so aware that a majority of people do not have this option. This is why I work where I do. In a place where you are a person first and a professional second. I’m lucky. Lucky and grateful.
My gut told me to text my good friend from work to see if she knew of anyone like her nanny Ms. B, and so my friend asked her nanny Ms. B, and by some manifested, beautiful chance Ms. B had a spot. If I hadn’t listened to my heart and my gut Miles would not be in the perfect daycare that he is now. Trust your instincts. Listen to what you know is true deep in your heart.
Yes, the thought of staying home crossed my mind. To be a stay at home mama would be such a privilege. To snuggle my baby every second and smell his head ten million times a day. To bear witness to every development and stage he goes through. But that is not a possibility for our family right now for a variety of reasons- also, deep in my heart, I don’t want to stay home with him all day. I know that this is a taboo thing to say so let me explain.
First, stay at home parents are epic. You all use your gifts and strengths to love and nourish your babies and I think you’re amazing. But for me? My strengths help me love and nourish college students as they navigate the challenges of young adulthood. I’m good at my job, I love my job, and becoming a mama has made me even better at it.
I was intentional and compassionate with my students before, but now? Now I remind myself that each one has a mama that loves them the same way I love my Miles. I think about how I would want a career counselor to speak to and help my baby and I do just that.
Miles is growing and developing each day with Ms. B and that is her strength and her gift, caring for our little one. My time with Miles is after work and on weekends when I get every cuddle, squeeze and kiss that I can! It’s okay to want more. To love being a mama and to love your work. It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay.
To my working mamas, I salute you. Keep sending your gifts out into the world in your work place and keep cuddling those babies at night when you’re done. Let them fill your heart and take all that love into work the next day.
And Miles? He saves his biggest smiles for Ms. B each morning. He’s as obsessed with her as he is with Chase and I. It takes a village, Ms. B is part of our village.
Follow your gut. Listen to your heart. Sometimes we create our own struggles and heartbreak when we ignore our intuition and do what we think we’re supposed to do, or what the world tells us to do. Deep down you already know the truth, let your values and gut guide you. Listen listen listen.
Bonnie Rae xx
For pumping: Medela instagram
For life: Carry on, warrior
For your ears: Women’s work
For your heart: Relax & Unwind
For your wardrobe: Nursing friendly clothing
I love living a slow, intentional, minimal life. I love writing about my triumphs (and my failures) here on this blog. I love sharing how I am trying to be more authentic and mindful each and every day.
But… that does not mean that my life is never busy. Living slowly and more purposefully does not mean that you will not be stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted at times. That’s life. It comes in seasons.
This season of life for us is busy, and it was all self inflicted.
First, we planned a surprise wedding. Next, we had a baby. Then, we adopted another dog. Now, we’re moving. WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! A tiny, adorable, old, wonderful, creeky, beautiful house (and yes, it’s painted millennial pink.)
All of these new adventures are positive and exciting. They’re each aligned with our purpose and getting us where we want to go. We are speeding up in order to slow down.
Sometimes, you have to speed up and be stressed out in order to get where you want to go. Life will not always be peace and bliss and quiet. There will sometimes be things to do and places to be. But if it’s all aligned with your purpose, your why, your values- then it will be worth it.
Bonnie Rae xx
P.S. For moving, renovation and life updates be sure to follow my Instagram
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“If all girls were taught how to love each other fiercely instead of how to compete with each other and hate their own bodies, what a different and beautiful world we would live in.” Nikita Gill
Oh my goodness, I’ve missed this. I’ve missed writing. I miss being able to get my thoughts onto the page before they leave my brain. For me, the hardest part about parenting so far has not been the sleepless nights or the poo explosions or the pumping- it has been trying not to lose myself.
When you have a baby the world does not want you to be anything but a mama. You’re no longer allowed to be smart or sexy or cool- you’re a mom and that’s that. That is supposed to be enough and if you want more, you’re selfish.
The same does not go for men. You can be a million things and a dad. No one identifies you as a dad first and all your other identities second. No one shames dads for wanting to be themselves and to be a parent.
This happens to women in so many ways. Be pretty, but not too pretty. Be tough, but not too pushy. Show emotion, but don’t be dramatic. Take maternity leave to care for your family, but not too much or you’re not serious about your career. A woman is always given unattainable standards. We can not win. Too often our harshest critics are other women- or ourselves.
I want to be able to be a mama, a blogger, a counselor, a sister, a friend, a partner-all of it. I want to do it in my own way without judgement.
I don’t want people to decide who I am, I want to decide that for myself.
I want all mamas, all women, to be able to do their own thing in their own way. Empowered women empower women. It’s time to love one another and lift up the women around you. A huge part of being a feminist, of being a human, is allowing other women to make choices you might not make yourself.
No matter what their path, be it different from you or exactly the same. Withhold judgement, extend love and acceptance.
Be vulnerable. And when someone is vulnerable with you, open your arms and heart- accept them fully.
A new day is on the horizon.
Bonnie Rae xx