Ann was one of our roommates in college. We lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with 1 bathroom and 4 girls! As you can imagine, we got to know each other pretty well. Ann was (and is) always so much fun to be around whether we were going out to the bars or just sitting in our apartment watching tv. When she told us she was pregnant we were so excited she would be joining us in the “mom club”.
Before she was even thinking about getting pregnant she asked us all kinds of questions about being a mom. Most of them centered around giving birth and the healing process after. As Ann says in her interview she likes to be very informed before she makes a decision. Luckily, we both had pretty easy deliveries and babies that we could tell her about or she may not have wanted to get pregnant at all!
We had so much fun interviewing Ann while all of our kiddos played (not really with each other, but around each other at least!) She told us all about her transition to being a working mom, how important she thinks empathy is in motherhood, and how she gained a new respect for her husband after having her daughter. Please help us welcome Ann into the Mom of Fame, she definitely deserves it!
What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give it to somebody else?
One piece of advice that I found helpful was from a book I read. It talked about accepting help; especially in the beginning. If someone offers to come over and help you, let them! It seems obvious but even after reading that I still felt like I was putting people out or that they thought I couldn’t handle it. I quickly realized that people truly care about you and your baby and are happy lend a hand.
The other advice came from my cousin who has two older kids. I was stressing out about something, probably sleep training, and he told me, “I don’t know if this will make you feel better, but whatever you’re worrying about right now, it won’t last long and then you’ll have something new to worry about that feels more important. It pretty much never ends.” I have found this to be true and strangely comforting, it has helped me have a little perspective to know that nothing I’m dealing with now will last forever.
I would give this advice to a new parent, especially accepting help.
How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?
I thought I would have more trouble in the beginning. I haven’t spent much time around kids; I was the youngest in my family and never babysat. I feel like I’ve taken to it a lot easier than I thought I would. I imagined I would question myself a lot more, but I really don’t.
What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?
Patience and Empathy – in those first couple of months when she was just crying her heart out, I think I did a pretty good job of always trying to stay calm. I would just tell myself that whatever she is going through is worse than what I’m going through. She has entered this new world and it must be overwhelming. I’m sure she thought she was starving to death when she was hungry or if I set her down she thought she was all alone. I tried to remind myself that she’s not not sleeping because she’s maliciously trying to ruin my night; she’s obviously going through something.
Organization – Just making it to a doctor’s appointment takes a new level of preparation! Also, getting her prepared for daycare takes a lot of time management and organization. I always like to keep myself organized, so that when I come home from a long day at work, I can spend more time with her rather than preparing all her stuff for the next day.
Research – I am someone who likes to know all the facts and opinions about everything going on. I always feel more comfortable making decisions when I have put time into reading everything I can on a subject. I don’t always listen to it, but for example, as I start to feed her solid foods, I try to read everything I can.
Describe a time when you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.
That first month, I would say, is the most overwhelming, so far. When your body is healing, you’re not sleeping, she’s not sleeping, and you feel like you don’t really know what you’re doing. On top of that, your hormones are all over the place! It is somehow the most exciting time, bringing home your new baby, and the most difficult.
Is there anything you feel you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?
Naturally, I have lost a little bit of freedom and independence. When I come home from work I want to spend all of my time with her so it’s hard to do anything else! I haven’t really found balance between spending time with her and taking a little time for myself. I think as I get used to working and having her, I will feel better about doing a few things for myself, but as of now I focus on spending all my free time with her, which I truly enjoy.
I’ve gained everything. I’ve gained her and she’s amazing. Also, I have gained a lot of respect for my husband because he is so helpful. He has really taken to fatherhood and is so supportive.
What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?
I just want her to be a good person. I want her to learn to be kind and confident and respectful. I want her to understand the importance of working hard and appreciating what you have.
How did the transition go from being home with her on maternity leave to working long hours and having her in daycare?
I think it went pretty well. It helped that I had a friend come stay with us for a month. He stayed home with her and helped me transition. I got to go back to work knowing that she was at home and I could call whenever I wanted and check in. I was also able to work on my morning routine to adjust for her needs.
Now that she is at daycare, I think it is going really well. I think it is beneficial for both of us to get a little bit of separation. She always gives her caregivers a big smile when she arrives and she looks happy playing with the other babies. They send me pictures and videos and watching her interact with the other children is so cute! I really think it is harder on me most days being away from her.