Category: raising kidlets (Page 1 of 55)

PPD & The Working Mom

PPDHeads up, this is an old post I wrote years ago when Ollie was an infant. It is no longer online so I am reposting it to help new moms. 

Hi. I’m Brandy and I have suffered from postpartum depression/anxiety…twice. I had no idea how to start this post so lets just shine light on the elephant in the room right off the bat (holy cliche sentence, Batman).

Being a mom is hard…working or not. We can all agree there. I can gladly state that the newborn phase of my children is the hardest (so far). While I don’t doubt my ability to mom or how good a mom I am, I know I have struggled with both Landon and Oliver as new babies. I also had great support to help me…and I know not everyone has that. As I stated in other posts, life at home isn’t for me. The colic. The crying. The long days of getting nothing done. The second time around was a little better knowing that it was a finite thing until I went back to work but still very isolating and scary at times. It wore me down.

I am willing to admit all this but I think some moms struggle with that. Sometimes that struggle is just a small nagging but sometimes it is more. Sometimes the long days with little sleep and so much frustration build and build. As hard as you want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is really faint. You get angry over little things and no amount of deep breaths help. You break one day and scream at your kid and then bawl your eyes out at what you did. People telling you “it gets better” mean nothing because while you know they are right, you want it better NOW.

What made it better for me? Going back to work.

As insane as that sounds, it has done so twice. With 6 years of self reflection, I know this is because of how I am wired. I thrive on achievement, if not over-achievement, and meeting goals. I have my dream job where I get to create and discover every day. So to go from that to a shower being my biggest accomplishment for the day? SUCKS! I thrive at work. I get to do what I love…create and help people. I get to work with amazing people. And? I GET TO SIT DOWN. I get to go to the bathroom without someone crying. I don’t have to put some one to nap and then wait to see if they actually will. There is routine that HAS to happen. We have to be at work at X…so crying or not, it will happen. Once we get home, I have X amount of time until I can drink relax. Everything is calculated out and predictable(ish). Yes, I have more on my plate with a full time job but I can think about something other than sleep schedules and poop colors. It gives me balance.

A few weeks after I went back to work, I went to see my therapist. She could see the difference when I walked in the door. She was pretty amazed. I no longer needed my anxiety meds.There are still the calls from daycare you dread but it is part of the gig. The next day brings something new…not just more of the same.

This post was spurred by this post on Huffington Post that I related to instantly. Another mom who found relief in the working world. I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. I write this to show it is possible, as crazy as it sounds, to add more to your plate to make it better.

Have you dealt with PPD/PPA? If so, how did going back to work affect you? Better? Worse?

PSA: If you are struggling after your baby is born, even later on, please talk to your doctor. It is nothing to be ashamed of and completely normal. You may just have a case of baby blues but it could be more. Take care of yourself.  If you want to read other stores, please check out Postpartum Progress. I am also happy to answer any emails, tweets, etc if you need help. – Brandy

Sweetest Day

Throughout our days with these kids growing like weeds, we feel like we need to do more. We need to enrich their lives with experiences. Sports, camps, the zoo, theme parks (Tweetsie photos soon, btw), trips to the beach and the fair are just a few that come to mind as I type. We plan out all these things with precision and care. We want to give them happy memories..I get it. But then sometimes you are 3 activities deep and just going “what the hell was I thinking?”. Sometimes the memories are perfect. Happy smiles. No tantrums. No low blood sugar rage.

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Kid Sleep without the PTSD {Giveaway}!

Monday night, Ollie was up at least 6 times. At first it was he needed to be wrapped in his blanket like a burrito, then water, then I have no idea. I blacked out from rage and exhaustion. It was an atypical night for us, so my body was thrown. I pretty much struggled all morning. I whined. I Facebooked about it. I basically threw an adult tempter tantrum.

Later that day I went to the gym and got talking to a dad who I was relaying my lag from lack of sleep. He went on to “commiserate” with me. Ya see his son didn’t stop waking up multiple times until he was 2.5. He was now pretty consistent at once a night…and he is almost 4.

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Why Daycare is More Than OK

It is no secret I love daycare. They have taken great care of my boys. They teach them tons of things in ways I couldn’t dream of. They teach sharing where I can’t really do the same peer to peer lessons at home. They make best friends and I have even made mom friends myself. I could, of course, go on but that’s not my point here. My point is that I don’t view daycare as something I had to settle for. Sometimes readers will ask “how did you make the decision to go back to work and send them to daycare?” or the more abrasive “How do you send your kids to get looked after by a stranger?”And after I flip a table at the later, I say, “I never really considered the other, honestly.”

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The 2 Wheeler

2wheelerLearning to ride a “2 wheeler” has been looming over us for years. I recall playing sometime last year and Landon saying “well I can learn to ride a 2 wheeler when I am 6.” as he watched the little neighborhood girl whip around on her bike in the cul de sac. That longing statement of “I want to be big…just not yet” was inspiring and at the same time ominous. So when his brother clearly was too big for his tricycle and needed the next bike up, we told him “you aren’t getting training wheels” like true cheap mean parents. I mean…he was turning 6, we recalled for him. Time to buck up, kiddo.

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Formula AND Pumping, Not OR

formulaHappy World Breastfeeding Week, everyone! With the celebration this year, the healthcare center at SAS asked me to participate. I went on camera and talked about my journey a little. When I was contacted about doing it, I jumped at it and asked if I could speak to a specific issue: formula and pumping. I did both with both my kids and while I don’t regret a thing, I always felt kind of alone. I felt like I was forging my own journey. There was little out there for support.  You are usually sifting through info from 2 vastly different sides. Either you exclusively breastfeed or just give formula and while neither is bad, it isn’t your only choice. The biggest group of moms this seems to effect is working moms. You go down a VERY common path. You start work and quickly see how hard it is to make those bottles. You pump and pump. You take from your maternity leave stash. You are living pump to pump. Then? Daycare says “he could use bigger bottles” and you heart sinks. How?

So a few years ago, while I was in the throws of this for the second time, I wrote a post I am reviving below. It is still relevant for new moms struggling to figure out that magical machine in a bag. Here ya go, mama…

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4 Ways to Finding Your Mommy Soul Mate

IMG_0096Or at least some mommy friends. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of questions via Twitter and e-mail about how to find new mom friends. How to start a conversation at the park, how to get people to not think you are crazy and how to find that parent (and kid) that you can just relax around. Basically how to date again…but this time you are trying to find new friends in a new landscape.

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Periorbital Cellulitis

New band name or crazy infection in a toddler’s eye? Spoiler alert: It’s the later. As your resident mom-who-uncovers-medical-weirdness (see pinworms, shingles, hobo iud, asian pear allergy, oh and I have found I’m allergic to sodium lauryl sulfate!), I decided this one was also worth documenting so you know what it is. But first, a story.

Last Thursday, my allergies were kinda crazy. I am claiming it is the Rose of Sharon in the backyard blooming and sending me into sneezing fits. Around the same time, poor little Ollie was rubbing his eyes too. The tyke gets everything from me, it seems. On Friday, he heads off to school just like normal. At lunch time, I get a call from daycare “Ollie just keeps rubbing his eye a lot. Is it allergies?” I explain that I THINK it is but who really knows. They ask if I could give him something to help so he could get some rest at nap. Sure, I say. We have an on campus pharmacy, so I ran up there, grabbed children’s allergy meds and trot to daycare. Sure enough he looks like he has been rubbing it non-stop. Poor Beans. He says he is fine. I give him meds and head back to work. When he wakes up they call and say it’s now swollen and seems to be getting more swollen. Hmmmm. I call on campus healthcare get a 4:15 appt to knock out any doubt before the weekend. I head to pick up Landon and drop Kevin at healthcare with Ollie. 20 minutes later I get a call to get back, we have to go to the ER.

Wait, wut?

The FNP (and consult with my primary care dr) have determined he has periorbital cellulitis but they can’t do the blood test in the office there…so to WakeMed Children’s ER we are sent. He could also possibly need a CAT scan if it’s bad (hence the children’s ER). Since we are carpooling, we head home to drop me and Landon and pack bags for Kevin and Ollie. Who knows what is going to go down. On the way home I did what all new age moms do. TO THE GOOGLE. And in a shocking turn of events, it was a relief (I know, right?!) We caught it early and most likely the dr would just give him some antibiotics and it should clear right up.

Photo Jun 26, 8 15 40 PMOK but what is it really?

Periorbital cellulitis is an inflammation and infection of the eyelid and portions of skin around the eye. Sounds scary simple, right? Thus the reason I am writing this. If left untreated, it can get really bad including loss of sight and nerve issues. It usually comes from foreign bacteria getting in the eye…usually from a bug bite near the eye. So backing up, on Friday morning I had noted Ollie had a red spot on his cheek but I brushed off as eczema . I guess he got bit by something outside (another lovely mom trait!)

So what happened?

They did not happen to need blood tests or CAT scan. They felt it was pretty clear cut. The boys were home in a few hours. He got some antibiotics and after even 2 doses the swelling was gone and the bug bite was even healing. By Monday he was completely unphased. Go figure.

Moral of the Story

If your kid’s eye look swollen all of a sudden and they complain of it really hurting, go to the doctor. While I am happy everything played out just fine, it still scares me to know that I would have had NO IDEA. If Ollie’s teachers hadn’t said anything seemed that off, I would have just kept calling it allergies. I could explain away it all just like any sniffle or bump. Praise be to Ms. Maria and Mrs Dana.


The Tale of Ole Corn Nose

Mommy merit badges are a thing. I have lots of them.  I’ve got one for picking up poop with my hands. I’ve pumped, fed a baby and ate breakfast at the same time. I’ve pulled 70lbs of kid in a wagon around the neighborhood. I’ve had to take my kid to the dr for worms. My mommy badge sash is filling up quite nicely.

Today I got a new one and it’s a life lesson you need to know.

At 12:30, I get that dreaded caller ID. Daycare. I answer while wincing. “Yes”. Mrs. Dana says “Sooooooo I think we have a first”. Uh oh. “Oliver walked up to us a minute ago and said ‘I have corn in my nose’. And he, indeed, has corn up his nose.”

You have got to be kidding me.

So I head up to daycare to see if we can get it out. I really have no idea what I will do. Time to put on the mommy thinking cap.

I get there and he is perfectly happy and telling me about the corn in his nose. I look and I can see MAYBE a sliver of a kernel. He had it in both sides and I could barely see any. Le sigh. So I call our healthcare center (literally like a couple hundred yards away) and luckily they can see us immediately. I grab him to go.

In the meantime, I contacted The Thread in great motherly fashion with “This kid. I swear to sequins”.  Then Brandee says “wait! My niece did this with a peanut. Let me text my sister!” She comes back with this:



Yup. You are reading that correctly. So as I walk to the car with a corn nosed child in my arms, I’m like “well I mean I have to try, right?” So I told Ollie “Mommy is going to do something silly. I am going to blow in your mouth. Can you do that?” So I tell him to open his mouth and essentially give my child mouth to mouth. It makes a weird gurgle and POOF: a piece of corn shoots out of his right nostril. Then I hold that nostril and do it again. POOF: another. He is cackling. I ask if there is anymore and he says no. I figured healthcare is expecting me and kids lie, so we head up there.

When the dr gets in the room and I tell him what I did, he gives me a high five “That’s exactly what we were going to do”. They checked and sure enough it was all clear. So I recommend storing away this nugget of info in your parenting brain because you never know when you need it.

I swear, y’all, we are so screwed with this second kid.

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Mommy, What’s A Selfie?

I climbed in the hammock playing hide and go seek.


They found me. Rats. “Mommy can we get in?” Sure. They delicately got in. Smashed along side me. “Don’t move or you’ll fall out”.

I’ll admit, it was a snuggle trap.

“Mommy lets take a picture!” Alrighty. “Selfie!” “Mommy, what’s a selfie?” Stupid internet made my guilt flare for a second. We keep being told selfies are “ruining this generation” and catering to the “me me me” millennial kids. But then I remembered I was having a great moment with my boys and that wasn’t about ME ME ME it was about US US US. So we cheesed. We giggled. We made funny faces. I didn’t even look at the photos until later that night. I found this one.

It’s everything. Have you ever been in a moment and wanted to capture it somehow? I feel like I did. The smiles. The scrunched faces. The snuggles. I got it all because I taught my kids about a selfie.

As the family photographer, this is often my only way to really capture a whole moment. I have thousands of photos of my boys doing things. In the snow. In the bath. Screaming at the dinner table (hey, real life y’all). But every so often my go go gadget arm can wrap around those sweaty mops of hair and get something like this. It won’t always be this way. So thanks, selfie revolution, for giving me this blip in time.

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