We are so grateful every day to all of the moms who are willing to share their stories with us. Next up is Jamie! She is an amazing mom to a 6 month old boy (and 2 adorable dogs!). She talks about not being a people-pleaser (anymore), how pregnancy was pretty terrifying, and the ups and downs of being a working mom. Please help us welcome Jamie into our Mom of Fame, she definitely deserves it!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
My name is Jamie, and I’m a new mom to my son, Max, who is 6 months old! I live in Oakland Township with my husband, Chad. I’m also a pharmacist and dog mom to two sweet goldendoodles, Maddie and Chloe.
What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?
“Do what’s right for your family, not what others think you should do.”
I am a people pleaser so this can be difficult for me. Sometimes the best decisions for our family may not make others happy, and I need to accept that.
Also, what is best for another child or family may not be what is best for my own. It is easy to get caught up in comparing which isn’t healthy or productive.
How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?
People are quick to tell you the negatives of parenthood, and I think I had a skewed view of what our new lives would look like due to this. When pregnant, I constantly had people telling me to sleep while I still could and to enjoy my freedom while it lasted. Since Max was born, I still sleep (though some nights not as much as I would like!) and don’t feel like I have lost all my freedom. Any challenges pale in comparison to the overwhelming amount of love and joy our son has brought us. It has been a much more natural, joyous transformation to motherhood than I imagined.
What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?
Patience, empathy, and love.
Describe a time when you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.
Pregnancy was overwhelming and at times, completely terrifying, for me. Our journey to have a baby was difficult. As my pregnancy with Max progressed, I felt more secure but can’t say I ever relaxed until he was born healthy. We are blessed in that Max is generally a very calm, happy baby without any health issues thus far. I can’t say I’ve been too overwhelmed since his birth (at least so far!).
Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?
It is harder to find time for myself, such as working out or getting pedicures. I feel guilty not spending time with my son when I’m not working, and I also try to clean and do laundry when he’s sleeping. I have gained the most precious baby boy, and the love and joy he has brought to my life is indescribable.
What do you want your child to learn from you?
I hope Max learns kindness and love. I pray he grows up to be a kind, emotionally aware, humble adult who helps make the world a better place.
How has your transition to being a working mom been? What has been the hardest part? What advice would you give to other moms going back to work after having a baby?
The transition of returning to work has been the most challenging part of motherhood so far. Thankfully, I have a career I love which helps tremendously. The hardest part of working has, of course, been leaving my son. I rarely left my son during my 14 weeks on maternity leave. My husband encouraged me to get out of the house when he was home from work, because it can be isolating to be home all day by yourself with a newborn. Besides those short trips, though, I never left Max. The thought of leaving him with anyone else caused me (and honestly still causes me) so much anxiety.
The weeks leading up to my return to work were difficult. I struggle with relinquishing control, so the thought of being away from him and me not being there to comfort him when he cried was gut wrenching. My husband took a week and a half off with him before he started daycare, which helped ease the transition. I still felt emotionally and physically drained from being away from him. The first day of daycare was a hard day – I burst into tears as soon as I walked into the building. Thankfully his teachers all were very understanding and made things easier by sending smiling pictures.
Besides the difficult transition those early days and missing Max, returning to work has had positives for all of us. Staying home with a baby can be lonely (especially a winter baby), and I felt more like myself once I got into a routine and returned to work. I make sure to make the most of time with him when I’m home and on my days off. My husband cares for Max by himself some nights and every other weekend while I’m working. I tend to take over when I’m home, so having this one on one bonding time has been great for the two of them. I have seen an increase in my husband’s confidence when it comes to parenting, and Max lights up whenever he is around my husband. It has also been healthy for our relationship to fairly equally share in both caring for Max and having careers.
People are quick to judge how you choose to raise your child. I have gotten judgement, questions (even from total strangers), and opinions on if I “have to” work full time and especially about using daycare. I don’t know that I will always work full time, but it is the right decision for our family now. We chose to use daycare to give our family consistency, reliability, social interaction for Max, and learning opportunities. This decision was not well received by all our family, and everyone seems to have an opinion. I remember someone telling me prior to even being pregnant with Max that my priorities would change once I had a baby and that I would have to quit my job. My priorities have never changed – I desperately wanted to have a child. Max has been and always will be my top priority, regardless of whether or not I work. I’ve been thrilled to see him thrive at daycare the 3-4 days a week he is there.
We are all doing what we think is best for our families and children, and I wish people weren’t so quick to judge. We can all be the perfect moms for our babies whether we work part or full time, stay at home, use grandparents for childcare, have a nanny, or use daycare!
My advice for a mom returning to work after having a baby is to give yourself grace. I am sure I looked quite disheveled those early weeks after returning to work as I was trying to figure out how to balance everything and get a morning routine down. I was completely exhausted (and still am some days) from working full time, pumping milk, caring for Max, cleaning bottles and pump parts at night, trying to clean and do laundry, and often waking up multiple times each night with Max. Everything gets easier with time and an adjustment period. Always keep in mind that you can be an amazing mom whether you work full time or stay home!