Parenthood Pangea

Being a parent sometimes feels like being an island. There is an ever present fear of messing your child up. In the moments you are in public and your child manages to do the embarrassing, it can be isolating when all judgmental eyes roll your direction. Or when you feel an emotional wreak the first days back to work away from your baby. It is hard in these situations to remember there are other people who have been there too. 

I put up a quick Facebook post with pictures of the boys before returning to work last week. In the post I mentioned I’d be going back to work the next day. A few other moms commented back saying they would be thinking of me or expressing empathy as they had been there too.
It is the moments when another parent reaches out to say “I’ve been there” that feels like a life raft. The reassurance that another parent can say “me too” creates community. As a parent, it helps to have that commonality – to know we are not the only ones who have had that experience. 
The first week back to work was rough. I missed my babies terribly. There were fun moments at work. The pull to be with my little one feels deeply instinctual. Getting reminders from other parents who have been there too helped pass the work days.
To all the parents out there, I encourage you to look out for each other. Let that struggling mom or dad know they are not alone. Let’s merge the islands of parents to create a parenthood Pangea.
Before my return to work I did finish the buttons on the convertible nursing scarf/ponchos. As promised from my earlier post here are a few pictures for my readers.


Yesterday, my husband and I went out for lunch to celebrate our anniversary. We are celebrating early this year since I am returning to work from maternity leave tomorrow.

In light of the celebration I was reflecting on our honeymoon a few years back. We had the privilege of going to New Orleans for the week. I remember we had wonderful food, saw a few sights and mostly spent quality time getting to know each other better. As a musician, my husband says he has felt a bit of regret when friends ask how much music he checked out. We went to Preservation Hall one night. We talked about in the grand scheme of things, we did something far more valuable by spending time bonding. Early love is being so entranced with one another.

That is why I call this special time with my newborn a babymoon. I have been free from work and focusing primarily on getting to know my new son well. We have been able to invest in a bond that will give him a solid foundation. And I can say this early love is evident by the entranced nature. Staring into his little dark eyes while he nurses looking back is intoxicating. 

Tomorrow will in no way be easy. Only a mother can understand the feeling of being torn two directions when going to work. It feels impossible to be both good at my job and a good parent. I will do my best to provide for my baby by not only going to work, but also trying to pump milk to sustain him. The odds and challenges will be before me, as they are for many working mothers who pump. 

Looking back on this time of baby-moon, I do not have regrets. My original “to do” list this time is hardly touched. The apartment is not clean. My bank account is near empty from the unpaid time. Yet, I am satisfied in knowing that I could spend this time bonding with baby and focused on that very thing. That is a gift I would not trade.


Today is feeling like the final countdown of my return to work from maternity leave. 7 days and I will be jumping back into the chaos known as “working mom”. It is difficult to not feel a certain amount of dread of the unknown. Will my husband and I be able to keep a functioning household and care for our children? Will we be able to attend to the needs of our marriage? And of course, there is the fear of the unknown logistics of expressing milk at work in order to maintain a breastfeeding relationship with my newborn.

 Baristas and most people working food service are familiar with how little private space exists in our workplace. Most cafes have a cramped backroom that serves double duty as an office and prep area. With my first son, I worked in a cafe with an L shaped backroom and was able to hang a shower curtain to draw for privacy. This time around I do not have such a lucky layout. My plan is to wear a nursing cover while expressing.

 In my search for the right nursing cover solution, I discovered an opportunity in product supply. Most available nursing solutions work well for the nursing mom. However, there are few options that offer full torso coverage other than ponchos. I am simply not the poncho wearing type and did not want to get a poncho just for expressing. An infinity scarf is much more my style. The coverage from a scarf is typically just one sided. Thus, I came up with the idea of an infinity scarf with a button in the middle of the neck opening to convert to a poncho.

 Versatility is one of my favorite features. The scarf I made today offers wearability options. It can be worn as a scarf doubled over or hang long. Then when it comes time to nurse, it can be worn cross body style or buttoned in the middle for more privacy. The buttoned poncho option also offers just the right amount of coverage to conceal a double pump set up for expressing in public.

 The scarf itself it fairly easy to make. It only requires one seam if jersey material is used. My scarf is taking a bit longer since I wanted it to be reversible. (Again, I love versatility.) It is amazing I got as far as I did in the process and only had the tin of sewing pins dumped out 3 times by my toddler. Sorry for the lackluster quality photos. Hopefully, I can finish up with the button attachment tomorrow and share a picture of the truly finished product.

New Leaf

It is springtime in Chicago. I love midwest springs. By the time the new season rolls around, I have grown weary of winter’s cold, grey demeanor. Spring time ushers in new life. The grass pokes fresh green sprouts checking for the warmer temperatures. Then trees bud and blossom in the celebration of winter’s death grip releasing.

This spring also brought new life to our home. Our second son, Oliver was born before one last snow flurry. He was our little olive branch this year – a promise of new life.
To date, I have been in full-time management within the corporate cafe business. It has been a special occasion – taking FMLA leave from work to spend time bonding with our newest family member. With my first son, my relationship with work life changed drastically. I no longer felt like work was my life; I developed a new sense of family and home became my life.
With my second son, I am feeling a greater urge than ever to spend more time at home. It is pushing me to explore other avenues of creative income sources. It is also stretching me to discover other occupations that spark my passion and interest. I sense that with the arrival of my little olive branch this spring, there will be a greater turning of a new leaf in our home.