Guilty Mommy

The thing about being a part-time working mom with part-time daycare is that sometimes I have to work when I’m home with the kiddo. This means I try to schedule calls during nap time and check emails secretly from my phone when we pull into the garage so she can’t see me and yell “phone, phone, phone,” one million times in a row. It also means I feel a lot of guilt during the time I am home with her.

The thing about being a mom in that there is so much pressure to do it right. Choose the right parenting style, teach them the right manners, figure out how to make sure they aren’t little jerks. And with Pinterest and blogs and Twitter and Facebook I’m constantly wondering how all of these women are making time to decorate insanely adorable Easter eggs with their children rather than running from one errand to the next and constantly wiping snotty noses and doing laundry and everything else it takes just to keep the ship moving.

When I’m home with Evie I want to do things like take her to the Children’s Museum, and do crafts, and run around and play outside and just generally be an awesome exemplary mom. But it turns out the Children’s Museum drives me crazy because it’s actually filled with screaming children that aren’t mine, and I suck at crafts, and it’s freezing outside. So we go to the grocery store and maybe the Starbucks drive through because mommy is addicted to cappuccinos and then make some lunch and eat it and clean it up and play with the stacking cups for ten minutes before a tantrum hits and thank god it’s naptime. And then I do my client call and she wakes up and we start all over again.

I know what I have is truly the best of both worlds and I am lucky lucky to be able to spend this time with her and have my career, and really it’s only a few days a week anyway, but it’s hard not to feel the guilt set in some days. I know if I went to a full-time job I’d have guilt too, and I know that staying home full-time isn’t right for me either. So I’m somewhere in between, trying to be okay with that. Now I have to go look up how to decorate Easter eggs before my client call.

Home Again

Protip: Don’t move while pregnant. Have I mentioned I’m pregnant? No? Because I haven’t been here in 4 months? Well I am. Due June 1 with little girl #2.

We are finally out of my parent’s house and into our new place. To say the move has been stressful would be an understatement. Everything took longer than it was supposed to and it seems like one problem after another keeps popping up, but at least we are here now. Moving is just so hard, and then add the hormonal craziness that is pregnancy and I am struggling. Oh and it doesn’t help that Evie and I both got the flu. So yeah pregnant, sick, moving, toddler with the flu, perfect storm.

The boxes are not unpacked. The closets are not organized. The spare bedroom (read: baby 2’s room) is stacked full of junk. The clutter is killing me right now. Everyone says don’t put too much pressure on yourself, it’ll get done, blah blah, but it just doesn’t feel that way right now. It feels like it’s never going to be done and it’s always just going to be a huge mess.

At this point during my pregnancy with Evie I was obsessing over crib sheets and dressers and chandeliers. At this point I barely have time to think about this poor baby. I really want to give her the time she needs. Focus on her and sing her songs and do everything I did with Evie. But it just feels impossible right now. I need to get back to prenatal yoga. I need to exercise more and eat better and just take better of myself in general but I feel like I am way too busy taking care of everything else right now. And the flu. My god this is the sickest I’ve been in a long time. It hurts.

I’m trying to get back to healthy by eating lots of green smoothies and giving myself the opportunity to rest when I need to, and I’m slowly getting there. But I have to say the stress of this month has knocked me on my ass.

The good news is we’re here, and we’re not going anywhere. Our little family is growing and we’ve got a new home to build a life in.

I want to write here more. As usual I really do. And I’m going to try to. I miss getting it all out into the wide world for anyone and no one to read. Say hi if you’re here.

Suburban Life

Well we’re at my parents now. It’s okay so far. Some days are better than others. Really it’s nice that my mom is around to help with Evie all of the time, she’s been great. And I feel like I never have to clean or do dishes, because she’s kind of a neatnick. I feel bad about it but it’s like it’s just always done. So that’s nice I guess.

But you know, I guess I just feel a little displaced. Like I’m just waiting and can’t live my life until the next step happens. The house is moving slowly. We had problems with the structural and the framing and now it might not even be finished until January. The day we found that out I was pretty upset. I just wanted to be in my new house for Christmas. Of course we’d be with the family for Christmas regardless, but I just wanted Evie to wake up and have Santa and all of that in her new house. I don’t know. I guess I’m being sentimental. But still it’s just a bummer.

Life in the suburbs is pretty different from our little neighborhood. We used to walk everywhere, and now we pretty much never walk anywhere. With the exception of the dogs, but yeah. I joined a music class for Evie down here, and it’s just such a different vibe. I don’t know how to put my finger on it, it’s just different. Maybe the moms are older? Or younger? I have no idea. Maybe it’s just the teacher and I’m projecting my feelings about being down here on the other moms.

It’s not that I hate the suburbs. Really there are a lot of amazing things and I can totally see living here some day. We are a short walk away from an amazing trail. It’s five seconds to Whole Foods, a great shopping center, and pretty much anything we could ever need. The restaurant scene does leave a little something to be desired, but you know with a 15 month old we’re not exactly having leisurely fancy dinners anyway.

I just want my own house. My kitchen knives and my room and my things. Two more months. Or three.


They say moving is one of the top five most stressful things you can do, besides marriage and divorce and having a baby and death and a new job I think right? I don’t know but I do know that we are currently selling our house and it is sending me into convulsions pretty much every night. We are under contract right now and dealing with inspection issues, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed everything works out because I cannot deal with having to show my house again. Having a house show-ready is pretty much one of the most annoying things I’ve ever had to do. As my mom will tell you, I am not necessarily tidy.

I mean I don’t live in a pigsty and my house is almost always relatively clean (I said relatively okay?) but I have stuff. You know, stuff. Piles of mail. Ten pairs of shoes in the entryway. Some random markers on the kitchen counter. And don’t even get me started on the baby toys. We have so many baby toys. Child needs toys, what can I say?

So yeah, having everything looking like a page out of Real Simple was not easy for me. I persevered of course because I am slightly scared of my realtor, and we had an offer relatively quickly. Unless there’s a disaster, we close September 14. And miracle of miracles, we found a place to live.

Only problem is it’s under construction and won’t be ready until the end of November (hopefully). That means we have 2.5 months of homelessness. So we’re moving in with my mom.

I know. I am a grown woman with a child of my own and I’m going to live with my mom. But it’s going to save us a good chunk of change and really it makes the most sense. The biggest issue of course is that it’s the suburbs, but I think it might be a nice little trial run for us to see how we like living there. Our new house is in the same neighborhood we’re in now, and we absolutely love it, so we won’t have to do the suburb thing on a permanent basis for a while. But this will be a nice little experiment.

I’ll have to drive Evie back up to the Highlands a for daycare, which is going to be a pain, but luckily enough my consulting schedule is flexible enough that I can take her opposite of traffic times. Hopefully. And it will be nice to have my mom around to help out. I am going to do my best not to take advantage of that though. Because I am nice like that.

I just hope construction isn’t delayed and we don’t have any problems and it’s all smooth sailing. That’s totally going to happen. I’m putting it out there.

In other news I am leaving my baby girl for the first time overnight tomorrow. John and I are going to Seattle for three nights, just for a fun weekend getaway like we used to do before kids. I am doing my best not to freak out because I know she is going to be absolutely fine with my mom and my sister, but I’m still nervous. I’ve had this child attached to me in some way shape or form for almost two full years. I’m gonna miss her like crazy.

But it’s time to cut the cord and go drink way too much coffee and wine and sleep in past 7:30 (hopefully!!!) and enjoy my husband and a city I’ve never been to but I’ve heard wonderful things about. Wish me luck!

The Garden

Can I just give a little shout out to the weekend? We had such a good Father’s Day. We got lucky and John got on early flight home, surprising me on Friday night. I was so happy to see him. As Honest Toddler (possibly the best new blog in the world) would say, by about 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon I was comatose and about to hand Evie the iPhone and just tell her to stay alive, but we made it through.

Anyway, yeah I was happy to see him, and our weekend was great. We went to breakfast, we went to the pool, it was awesome. I even weeded (wed? weed? weeded?) the garden for about 15 minutes. I don’t know what it is with that garden. Every year I have a vegetable garden. Every year since we’ve lived in this house. And every year, despite my black thumb, we seem to at least get some zucchini and some cucumbers out of the mix. We have a raspberry bush that occasionally produces 10-15 edible raspberries if I’m lucky. At least enough to throw in some oatmeal one day. One year I actually had a successful head of lettuce. I think.

But even with the zucchini, which let’s face it a monkey could grow, mostly it’s just weeds and I think it causes me more stress than happiness. Which is not really the point of gardening is it? I like to imagine myself as some contented housewife with her floral gardening gloves and big floppy hat just enjoying the sunshine and digging in the dirt, emerging with a bounty of beautiful fresh organic vegetables that I can then lovingly serve to my family. But more often that not, it’s me out there in my pajama bottoms during nap time swatting at the flies and cursing the spade and wondering if those leaves are weeds or some sort of vegetable, wondering what I planted again and accidentally digging up the one little sprouted carrot I did have. I do enjoy the herbs, I feel proud when I actually keep the basil alive and can put it in a dish, but that’s rare.

In reality I think I just feel like I need to have a vegetable garden because we have the space for it, and lots of other people around here do it successfully, and it just seems like something I’ve always done. This year I am really trying to keep the little buggers alive, and so far I think I might be winning the war, but it just isn’t enjoyable for me. I guess I’d rather get my outside plant-y time by watering my pretty flowers that someone else planted and go buy my organic vegetables at the farmers market. Maybe I just need to accept that I’m not cut out for gardening. I’m going to suffer through the rest of this year, and so help me god we better get some cherry tomatoes or I will cut someone, but next year I give up. I’m done. I think I’ll make the vegetable garden a sandbox for Evie and call it a day.


Part Timing It

So I’ve mentioned here that I recently changed my job situation. Basically I left my full time gig – but I’m still consulting for them on the side. And I have a few other clients in the mix as well now. I started my own business is what I did. It’s called Jeni Anderson Media. 🙂 I’ve been thinking about switching this blog to my domain over there, but not sure. We’ll see.

It’s been an adjustment – first I only had Evie in daycare one day, and now we’re back up to two. It turns out I love being home with her, but I also need some time to myself if I’m ever going to get anything done. There is unfortunately no way that I can squeeze everything I need to do in on Tuesday and Thursday, which means I’m always working when she’s napping, or at night, or when she’s tormenting the dog. The good news is it’s never too much and I’m attempting to never let it interfere with my time with her.

It’s actually perfect for me and I think it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I was so immensely frustrated leaving her every day. And now, I don’t have to do that if I don’t want to. It isn’t just time with her either. It’s been a great decision for me professionally because it allows me to really steer my own path when it comes to my career. If I don’t want to pursue a ton of business, I don’t have to. But if I do decide to really hit it hard again one day, I know I can do that as well. I like that I’m still earning a paycheck, staying up to date on what’s going on in my field, and I still get to talk to grown ups most days. But I also get to go to the grocery store at 2:00 on a Wednesday and take my little bugger to music in the afternoon and work out at 10 a.m. I just love it.

One reason we ended up adding back another day of daycare – aside from the fact that I just needed the time – is that I really think she learns a lot there and benefits from being around the other kids. I could probably hire a nanny for a few hours every morning or something and get the things done I need to get done, but I enjoy taking her and I think she enjoys being there. She’s really bonded with one of her teachers, which is an absolute joy to watch, and she’s seriously learning from the other kids. I’m pretty sure George taught her how to crawl. And she watches Charlie eat and then she eats better when she gets home. It’s pretty cool to feel that good about leaving my kid somewhere. I know I’m lucky, because not a lot of people feel that way about their childcare centers. They have a Reggio Emilia approach, which is an Italian theory of childcare that basically allows children to direct their own learning and explore the world at their pace. It’s really great and it’s been phenomenal for our girl. Actually one reason I don’t want to leave our neighborhood is that I don’t want to take her out of this school.

The thing I miss the most about working full-time is the social aspect. Sure I can sit on Twitter all day while Evie sleeps, but it just isn’t the same as gossiping about what a d-bag old Kalon was on The Bachelorette in person. At least I can force John to watch it and we can make fun of the way that one guy said quinoa as kwin-noa together. I’m so lucky.

For once in my life, I feel really content with my career situation and I don’t think I’m going to worry about it anymore. Sometimes I wonder if I should still be climbing the corporate ladder, but I think for now, I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing. I’m a mom. I’m a consultant. I don’t always know what I’m doing on one side or the other, but then again I’ll probably never always know what I’m doing. Part timing it is definitely the way to go.

Single For a Week

I’m having one of those moments I have every two months or so where I think I should be writing here and start some kind of weird little plan where I’ll write every day about what’s going on with my life. (So, see you in two months, right?)

Anyway, John is out of town and I’m doing the single mama thing for the week. It is freaking hard. I never realize how lucky I am to have such a great, helpful baby daddy until he’s gone. Having a partner is such an essential part of parenthood. I seriously don’t know how single parents do it. Props to you guys. Evie is back in daycare two days a week so I can focus on the contract work I have, so I’m getting those days as a mini break, but being on duty all night every night is starting to wear me out. Cooking, dinner time, clean up, bath time, bedtime, and then any wake ups in the middle of the night mean I am one tired mama.

Evie is obviously awesome and I’m not complaining about her per se, (do I get to stop doing these qualifiers yet? Of course there is no question I love her times a million more than anyone could ever love anyone) it’s just that it’s everything that comes along with her. Suffice it to say that tonight we had a poop issue of epic proportions and I just can’t seem to get clean enough. You know it’s those things. GROSS. Sorry I just became one of those people who wrote about my child’s poop. I said I would never do that. But I did. Deal with it.

Evie is finally crawling, which is a relief in a sense but also proving quite difficult because I have to follow her around the house and make sure she doesn’t break the XBox or eat the dog food or slam her fingers in the door. She’s still a little timid and won’t go too far unless I’m close by, but I have a feeling she’s going to be off and running in no time. I can’t believe it’s almost her first birthday. This year has flown by. Way WAY faster than the year I was pregnant.

I just keep reminding myself to live in the moment, enjoy every part of this, even the parts that seem so unbelievable hard, because it’s over in an instant.



Nine Months

Dear Evelyn,

You are nine months old. Nine months of awesome. I love this age. I love how you babble and talk and think riding in the car is the most hilarious thing ever. I love how big your smiles are. The past three months have seen tons of huge changes, way too many for me to enumerate here. BUT I guess I could list a few.

You’re in the big girl car seat and you love it. I love it too because I don’t have to lug that giant bucket around anymore.

You finally started moving, rolling over and attempting to get your butt in the air to get on all fours, but mostly  you don’t really feel like it. You still aren’t really too close to full-on crawling and lots of other babies your age are, but our pediatrician assures us that some babies just don’t care that much. And that some babies are just lazy. Or a number of comments that could be taken as offensive by your parents, but really I think that’s just her doctor-y way of telling us to chill out, that you’ll get to it when you get to it. I do like your doctor actually, I like how she just tells it like it is. But you know, moms will worry. And be offended.

Anyway, you’re doing lots of other things that all those other babies aren’t doing, and obviously we are still convinced you are a genius. You figure out new toys so quickly, and unfortunately you get bored pretty easily too. This means I am constantly trying to find ways to keep you entertained. I think once you start crawling you’ll be so happy that you get to explore more of your world, but for now you are very demanding. You really enjoy nesting toys and things that stack, mostly so you can knock them down and spread them all over the place. You like to bang things and make a TON of noise, which is of course only adorable at home and not so much when we’re trying to grocery shop with the masses. Your favorite toy right now is this drum/hammer set that affords us entire MINUTES of pure entertainment.

You got your tubes in your ears in February, and that has been fantastic for everyone. You can finally hear yourself, and mom and dad aren’t constantly worrying about ear infections. Sleeping: meh. You were doing great, then not so great, and well I’ve decided to try not to worry about that so much. Of course I can say that now because you are napping peacefully.

Speaking of, I’ve been home with you now for two and a half months. I should probably write a whole post just on that, and what it’s been like, how life is at home and working from home when I’m doing the mom thing, but let’s just say it’s awesome. I love it so much. And also some days it’s the hardest thing in the world.

Mostly, I just can’t believe how old you are already and how fast this time thing goes. If I slack off on writing posts like I have been you’ll be a year old next time I have anything to say. And there is just so much to say about you. You’re becoming this incredible little person, with such a happy personality, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Parenthood is good for me. You’re good for me. I love you baby girl.




I talked to a friend today. She told me some things I didn’t know. Things I was sorry to hear, but things I was almost relieved to hear at the same time. She told me how she’s been struggling with a little bit of postpartum depression, and how damn hard it is to be a mom. And as she was talking, I found myself nodding. Nodding and saying yes and mmm hmm and I get that and I SO get that. And I realized this sense of relief flooding over me.

No, I don’t think I have postpartum. But I think I have a case of damn this is hard and I don’t know what I’m doing. I definitely have a case of that.

Every day. And it’s nice to know someone else feels that way. No I don’t want her to struggle. I want her to get better and for things to get easier and every day I’m going to be thinking about her hoping that happens for her and doing whatever I can do to support her. But I want her to know that it’s okay that it’s hard, and I’m so glad she said it out loud. Someone needs to say it out loud.

I’m new at this. The mom thing. I’ve got nothing to go on except books and message boards and millions of strangers on the Internets and nosy women at the local sandwich shop telling me what to do. Who do I listen to?

I might never know.

In fact I’m sure I’ll never know. I’ll never know until one day, I’m looking back at all this, or I see some woman in the grocery store struggling to keep her baby from crying and get the damn frozen meals in the cart because she sure as hell doesn’t have time to cook a real meal and maybe I’ll be a little judgy. But hopefully, I’ll be like this lady, and I’ll pay for her groceries and tell her to keep on keeping on and do the best she can.


I’ve been struggling with work. Going back was rough. Nearly impossible some days. There’s the obvious difficulty of being away from Evie for such a large part of the day. Then there’s pumping, which is pretty much the WORST. Side note – if you know a pumping lady, you need to go give her a cookie. She’s probably hungry. Then there’s trying to fit in exercising to lose the baby weight, and cooking healthy dinners, and getting your child on some kind of perfect sleeping schedule, oh and not to mention maintain some sort of a social life or at least pretend you still have friends, and it’s all just so stressful.

But other moms do it. Tons of them do. They do it every day and practically every single one I know makes it look so good.

But I’ve been struggling, and definitely not making it look good. I feel like I’ve pretty much been failing at both.  I’m a bad employee because I’m so sleep deprived and I just can’t focus on anything except my baby. But I’m a bad mom because I’m not home and she can’t even roll over yet and she’s getting all of these ear infections because of daycare and it’s ALL MY FAULT.

So I’ve been thinking about all of this, thinking about my life and how it’s happening NOW and I can’t just sit back and let it happen to me, and I’ve come to a decision.

I’m leaving my full-time job so I can spend more time at home.

Coming to this decision was also one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. For as long as I can remember, I have been a go-getter. A climb the ladder kind of gal, always on the move. And I have (had) a great job. I liked it and was about to get another promotion and things were going swimmingly. But Evie has changed everything, and my priorities are just different now.

I want to be with her. I want to see her more and I don’t want to race out the door to show up on time for an 8 a.m. meeting that 6 other people are LATE to. I just don’t have the patience anymore.

I still want to work, and I’ve been struggling with the thought of leaving my job, so I think we’ve come to a happy medium and I’m going to do some contract work. I’ll still get to be home with Evie more, but I can keep doing the things I’m good at and hopefully all of these things I’ve worked so hard for won’t take a nosedive.

I know I’m lucky because I GET to choose. Not a lot of people get to do that. And there is a small part of me that still feels like a little bit of a failure, like I couldn’t hack being a full-time working mama. But there’s another part that says screw it.

This is the right decision for me, and the right decision for our family.

So as of February 3, life’s going to be changing a little bit. Or a lot bit. And I still reserve the right to complain as much as I want about how hard motherhood is. But that’s okay, because I get this.

And that makes it all worth it.

Six Months

Dear Evelyn,

You are six months old. I can hardly believe it. Half a year has flown by. And you are so awesome right now. You are babbling and chatting and let’s face it SCREAMING (in delight most of the time) and it is so hilarious. You are so clearly an opinionated baby and I just love it. You always have something to say about what is going on.

You are starting to move quite a bit more now, but still no rolling over. I have to admit it’s made me a bit nervous because apparently that is a big six-month milestone, but I know you’ll do it at your own pace. You have however, mastered sucking on your own toes, which is pretty adorable. After a couple of visits to the baby physical therapist you’re doing great on your tummy and lifting your head up a ton. I’m simultaneously excited and terrified for the day when you start crawling, so I don’t mind you sticking to the lump stage for now. I know it won’t last much longer.

The past month has had its ups and downs, and after your fourth round of ear infections we are officially taking you to an ear nose and throat doctor. You’ve been a trooper through all of this, always happy even through three days in a row of pretty heinous antibiotic shots right before Christmas. I think tubes might be in your future, and that scares the hell out of me, but I want you to be well and I want you to be able to hear me clearly WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU YOUNG LADY!

We went to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago and it was a pretty incredible trip. Something happened there, some kind of sleep miracle, and you actually started putting yourself to sleep for naps. We are still unclear as to whether or not this trend will continue now that we are home, but for now I am absolutely thrilled. Now if we could only get you sleeping through the night (really sleeping through the night, not this five-hour stuff).

Hawaii was all-around amazing for you I think. You loved the sun and the climate was wonderful for everyone. You didn’t enjoy the ocean too much and were kind of indifferent about the pool even though we were all pretty gung ho about your little float. You did rock some sunglasses though. And you had a great time just hanging out on the towel we put down for you in the living room of our condo. We rented a bunch of baby gear and I have to say that is such a fantastic business idea for a tourist spot like Maui. It was great to have a crib and an exersaucer and all of the other junk we need for you. Even though it’s all pretty tiny, you sure do need a lot of STUFF.

Oh and lest I forget, we started solids this month. Well not really, we actually just started a mashed up banana with some milk, but you seem to like it okay. We are going to start some cereal, avocado and other veggies pretty soon here. It’s kind of fun to see you eat but honestly I could wait on this one. I know it means lots of messes to clean up and it makes me kind of sad – it’s like the end of an era. Also, I am terrified of giving you any food issues. But I am going to try my best to set a good example and just have fun with it. Even if that means gooey smashed bananas all over the floor. I’m sure Saucer will love it.

I’m looking forward to spending some more time with you over the next couple of months. You’re going to say mama any day now. I just know it. You’re a total prodigy. I can’t find one picture of us together where you look happy though. Am I stressing you out? I’ll quit pressuring you. Just say it and I promise I’ll stop.

Love you baby girl,