22 WEEKS - GOING BACK TO WORK?

“When are you going back to work?” <———This question…the one question that everyone asks [that kills me a little inside every time. ] 

I’ve been working since as far back as I can remember. No seriously… my mom made a chore chart back in the 80’s and I would get 25 to 50 cents depending on the deed I did. I loved the idea of doing something for money… so much so that I would try and invent chores just to get more lol And at the end of the month, I would get all my moolah [and immediately spend it on these weird dragons, wizards and unicorns with crystal balls…don’t ask.]

After that, it was baby sitting. To optimize my clientele, up my cash intake and get a leg up on the local competition…at the age of 11, I took a CPR and First Aid Class, got certified and had business cards made, that I dropped off in people’s mailboxes around the neighborhood. I earned my PhD in dirty diapers that year.

Then when I was 14, I used my years of swim training to solicited rich parents at a local country club to teach private swim lessons to their kids. I taught so many kids that I started my own swim team…and took them to swim meets. I worked all through high school, had 3 jobs in college and I never really slowed down since. 

For those of you who don't know, over the past few years I’ve been working at a fast-paced, high paying job in the tv industry…being the main contributor to our family’s finances [the steady income at least.] Even after finding out I was pregnant, the plan was to take my maternity leave…and go right back to work. I knew I was never going be the stay at home mom type. 

And then Killian was born…

A few days after giving birth, we came home from the hospital and Anthony said something to me about “checking in with my job to make sure everything was good to go back in a few weeks”. In that moment, I had a complete postpartum, hormone-crazed mental breakdown.  My eyes welled up and I began crying. Snot was dripping out of my nose and I could barely catch my breath I was so hysterical, I shouted at Anthony, “How can you ask me that? How could you ever ask me to leave him?!!” [Pro Tip: Maybe don’t ask a woman who just gave birth, is stitched up, high on narcotics, sleep deprived and nursing the most precious baby in the universe ABOUT ABANDONING HIM AND GOING BACK TO WORK!]

I don’t blame him for the question…I DO blame him for the timing, but I don’t blame him for the question, since all I’d ever said was how I’d take 6 weeks off and be right back at work. <———And I said that …because I thought I would. But now here I was…staring into the eyes of this little life I created and suddenly he was my new obsession in life. He was the job I always wanted. I wanted to research and obsess on how I could make him the healthiest, smartest, most athletic and awesome, prodigy baby in the universe. I wanted business cards that said Killian’s Mom! Only problem… being a mom doesn’t pay that well. Against my better judgement I'm going to share an unfiltered, nip censored, not so pretty, but very raw photo of that moment of time.

Now I won’t bring you into the countless private conversations Anthony and I had regarding our finances and me working. Lets just say there was lots of yelling and crying [on my part]. I know what I was asking wasn’t easy. I put a lot on Anthony. With no warning I basically told him to figure out how to double his income and be the sole provider to our family. I was hell bent on it too…I once said, “I don’t f%@king care Anthony…I will move to Kentucky and live in a $300/month apartment if I have to, but I’m not ever leaving him.” As the weeks passed, it became clear I was going to have to return back to work. We live in Los Angeles and have a mortgage…need I say more?  But we called a 6 week truce and he agreed to not remind me I’d be going back…or mention it at all. He agreed to let me enjoy the remaining weeks I had left...But still visitors would come by to see Killian and ask, “Oh so when are you going back to work?” And I’d feel like I was going to die.

As my maternity leave was nearly up, I called my job to touch base on an exact return date [I was promised my job would always be available and waiting for me]…except when I was told, “Sorry but we don’t have your position anymore.” ….Truth is..they did have my position…its just they gave it to the guy I had trained to cover for me while I was gone. The guy who had text and emailed me through all of my bedrest and maternity leave with all kinds of stupid questions AND who I helped, to make sure I wasn’t dropping the ball while being gone. But that’s a different rabbit hole…So what now? On the one hand, my heart sank…holy shit, what am I gonna do? And on the mom hand, I felt relieved…Anthony couldn’t make me go back to a job I didn’t have anymore. 

Still...I was so stressed I could barely sleep. I was sick to my stomach about going broke…but then my heart would shatter and I’d feel like I couldn’t breath at the thought of leaving him. I had nightmares about picking him up from daycare and he was in the corner crying all by himself in a dirty diaper, starving because the caretakers ignored him all day. I felt like I was slowly dying inside...Over the next couple months, friends would stop by or family would call… and every single one would ask, “So when are you going back to work?” I wanted to scream, "I have a job! It's called raising a tiny human and I'm sorry it doesn't pay well!"

The silence in our household became deafening. In the meantime, I had assumed this position of “stay at home mom”. We’re talking the 1950’s version. I felt that since I was no longer contributing financially, I had to make myself useful with cleaning, cooking, paying bills, watching the baby, etc etc etc. I actually found myself feeling the need to “earn my keep” in my own house.  Shit I even made freezer meals and put Anthony’s slippers by the front door. I completely lost myself playing “the doting wife”…and I did a pretty good job if I do say so myself. Especially considering the incredibly rough recovery I had. 

So that brings me to now. Well the truth is…in the past few months this one little life turned our whole world upside down and pushed both Anthony and I to new depths. Anthony is a music producer and ended up taking on a lot of new projects…which in return, made his company take off. We (and by we I mean me) also started Pawesome Paradise (an at home dog boarding service)…yep we watch other people’s dogs when they go out of town and it’s awesome. Both of these things plus my disability have helped us to get by.

But where did that leave me and going back to work? "Getting by" isn't a long term solution. Well I realized that I was never going to be 100% Susie Homemaker or the 9-5 working mom. So last week, after Anthony’s motivational speech, I decided to take a page from my old business savvy self…the 11 year old who made business cards for babysitting. The 5 year old who created jobs that didn’t exist. I decided to set out and see if I could make Stay At Home Mom my job. You see I started writing this blog 10 months ago for ME. It was my personal online baby book and nothing more. I never expected for other people to read it. But then a couple friends commented…then a few more. Week by week, it grew and I realized, hmmm maybe I have something here?  [Maybe one day I could get that business card that says Killian’s Mom]  They always say you should love what you do…and I love writing. Sure I use far too many ellipsis and yes, my punctuation is usually wrong, but I write like I speak. Actually I write…exactly how I speak. So I decided to bet on myself and see if I could do it… for ME…so I can feel fulfilled, but also never miss a moment with my guy. Because I think a part of me loves being susie homemaker AND a working mom.  

So I branded myself The Get Real Mom and got to work. I designed logos, taught myself html code, photoshopped banners, read 3 books on how to get paid blogging, wrote a Buzzfeed article…and yes... even designed 5 shirts and opened an Etsy storefront.  Because why the fuck not? I’m throwing it all against the wall and hoping that something sticks. I've been working tirelessly...marketing myself during nap time and blogging after bedtime.  Realizing weekly updates were not enough, I decided to add How-to’s and “10 Ways to XYZ”. I needed more content to widen my demographic to people beyond my friends list. And everything must be tweeted, pinned and shared. It's a business and I'm trying everything I can. As type this... working on my designs for iphone cases and laptop decals...I have no idea where all this is going to take me. It could go no further than my friends and family on Facebook. But I'm giving it a shot. I'm working harder than I ever have in my life...for him...and for me. And if it fails...it was always just an online baby book anyways. So if anyone is wondering, “When am I going back to work?” I guess the answer is…I'm already back. I have two jobs…full time mom/part time blogger. The Get Real Mom #KilliansMom

Wish me luck...or just buy a T-Shirt !

and b/c I have no idea how to transition out of whatever the hell just came out of my fingers…lets talk about weight loss…

WEIGHT LOSS/DIET/EXERCISE:
DUM DUM DUM Another pound bites the dust DUM DUM DUM Another one gone and another one gone...Another pound bites the dust ...I'm 117lbs. Keep drinking my child...keep drinking.

ME AND MY BODY:
I went on a Mom Date. Yep. There was a girl I worked with briefly almost two years ago. Turns out our sons were born 10 days apart in the same hospital...so when she suggested a meet up, I figured why the hell not? The location? The Los Angeles zoo. [How fitting for my life] The morning of our meetup, I stood in front of the mirror doing my make up, thinking, "Does this look like I'm trying too hard? Hmmm maybe do your makeup, Kristen, but don't do your hair ...What to wear? Sneakers? Converse?" ... this was slowly starting to feel like an actual date.

I packed up the nursery and we set off. As we got closer, I got nervous. What if it's awkward? What if she judges me? Oh god...what if she reads my blog and asks me about Hemmy?! I listened to 3 rounds of Justin Beiber's Love Yourself...got pumped and headed to the front entry.

We met, did an awkward hug...and then... had a fucking fantastic time. It was nice being in the company of someone who I didn't have to explain myself to. Someone who was going through the EXACT same thing as me. Someone who spoke "mommy" and flung words around like "fussy" and "teething." We were two pros, breastfeeding in tandem...amongst all the animals. At one point, a safari train drove by us and I wasn't sure if we were in fact the animal display and if we should wave or stand very still. We talked about poop, sleep...and everything in between. It was the best time I'd had in a while.

Killian made his first friend too. It was amazing to see him interact with a baby the same age. The first time they looked at each other, they reached their hands out, interlocked their fingers and stared. It was the cutest thing ever. Of course, Killian then proceeded to do what he does all of his other friends...Shelby, Marty and Willow...he pet Blake. So we're working on that ...

I'm glad I left the house. I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and made a friend. I'm glad I chose sneakers as my footwear. Also...I absolutely love Meerkats!

BREASTFEEDING/FOOD:
Thinking of doing the truffle shuffle around my living room scream-singing My Milkshake Brings All the Boys To the Yard. Because I’m shaking…and I have milk in my boob. So it’s like a milkshake…? …I’ll let myself out.

Got lazy on baby food making so we’re just stuck in a rice cereal and avocado loop at the moment. 

SLEEP:
Something crazy happened on Thursday. I put Kilian down at 7:30PM…and he slept till 6:45AM. Like didn’t wake up once. It was like a flashback to the days where the concept of sleep wasn’t just a distant memory. I mean… I obviously woke up like 6 times to make sure he was still breathing, but he did sleep. 

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: 
I was walking down Ventura Blvd this weekend and I got an email alert on my phone. It was from Etsy. You sold 2 shirts! Honestly, I know this sounds so ridiculous, but I haven't been that proud of myself in a while. Not even 3 days ago, that shirt didn't exist. I thought of an idea, designed it in photoshop and now here was someone buying my design. It felt so awesome. Look, no one’s getting rich of these tanks, but it felt like the beginning. The beginning of this whole new thing for me. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment. I've now sold 4! [Just waiting for Pinterest to approve me to promote them and see where that takes me]

LOW POINT OF THE WEEK: 
On the eve of turning 5 months, I turned to Anthony and was like, “Somehow it appears we missed the 4 month sleep regression I kept hear about…so that’s awesome.” That night Killian woke up every hour on the hour. God’s hilarious like that sometimes. SOOOOOOO hilarious.

ANTHONY:
Killian has made Anthony and I better people. It’s like we birthed this catalyst. He doesn’t know it yet, but he has pushed his father and I to be the best version of ourselves…for him. Anthony and I haven’t really interacted much this week. It’s been more of a partnership. This week Anthony was in the studio producing nonstop and I was blogging, researching laundry detergent ingredients, posting Buzzfeed articles, building a business…and raising a tiny human. We would do trade off’s if one of us got really busy…and we BOTH cooked and cleaned. It was nice. Then again...sex would also be nice. 

KILLIAN: 
Well he’s 5 months old as of yesterday. Not sure how the hell that happened. On the one hand it feels like it’s been FOREVER…but on the other it feels like I just found out I was pregnant.

NEW THINGS: 

*He mastered rolling onto his stomach from his back…like 100% mastered it. Like does it all the time. #CantStopWontStopRolling However, he has NOT mastered from front to back. He can do it. He actually rolled front to back before he ever did back to front. But apparently those rolling skills are only good for daytime, which REALLY sucks in the middle of the night when he finds himself on his belly. He just freezes and starts crying…any advice for this?
*He jumps in the bouncer and seems to be exploring and playing a lot more.
*Definitely teething, so he’s been in a grumpy mood. It’s weird how I can see the tooth under the skin.

THINGS I DID NOT KNOW, BUT YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY KNOW:

*Wool Balls - Buy these things. You put them in your dryer…4 for a normal load…6 for a big load. They reduce your drying time by 25%, get out wrinkles AND stop static cling.

*Get a large water bottle. Fill it up with water. Put it in your toilet tank. Saves you water with each flush. You can also buy this brick. if you wanna be fancy.

*I already know this…but I didn’t a long time ago. If you ever have to take a pregnancy test, get one from the dollar store. They are just as effective if not more than the $15 ones. Here are 2 of my pregnancy tests from the dollar store when I found out I was prego with Killian.

END OF THE WEEK THOUGHTS: 
Be careful of “Stabby Questions”. I’m guilty of asking them myself. What are stabby questions, Kristen? They are questions like , “When are you going back to work?” or “Are you going to have kids soon?” Why are they stabby questions, Kristen? Well because, although they seem harmless, they can make the other person feel like they got stabbed… in the gut….because the answer might be, “I can’t have kids” or “I just had a miscarriage so we’re waiting a couple months to try again” or “yes, I am going back to work but I’m trying to to think about it having to leave my kid.” Stabby Questions. The End.