Archive for the ‘Working’ Category

Hello Everyone! Enormous thanks go to our wonderful MoM’s who have agreed to “try out” for HDYDI! We are beyond thrilled that so many of you are reading along with us, and we hope you enjoy our contest week. Please vote for the author you would like to hear more from, as the authors with the most votes at 12:00am Eastern Time on Sunday, June 7th, will be invited to write for HDYDI. Enjoy and PLEASE VOTE!

Post #1: Inseperable, by Carissa

Carissa is a reformed lawyer who now stays at home with her 21 month old boy/girl twins. Carissa and her husband, Aaron brought their twins home from South Korea in October of 2008 when they were 14 months old and have been living and loving life with multiples since! While Carissa started out blogging to get through the adoption process, she now blogs to keep track of the daily happens at their house in central IL as well as get advice on everything from childrearing to fitness! Please visit her at Faith, Hope and Love, http://abc123vn.wordpress.com/

I never expected to be a mother to twins, to be honest I was beginning to wonder if I would be a mother at all. See we could not use any of the usual infertility methods and were told we had about a 2% chance of getting pregnant at all and if it was multiples I would have to be on complete and total bed rest due to some of my issues, so we chose adoption. When we started the process we actually said we would love boy/girl twins and the social worker about laughed us out of the room. See twins in international adoption are rare and boy/girl twins are even more rare so we had about as much chance of getting pregnant as we did of adopting boy/girl twins. Fast forward 14 months and we receive the referral of boy/girl twins from South Korea – boy were they tiny in the pictures even though they were five months old, they had been born at 25 weeks 5 days and must have been fighters to make it that far and be in such good health (though not perfect)! By the time we said yes, we knew that they would be about 14 months old when they came home, the whole thing seemed surreal.

Fast forward again to October 12, 2008 – the day we became a family. Little Man and Little Princess had just turned 14 months old but were more like 7 to 9 months old developmentally. No one had prepared me for one baby let alone two. I will never forget that flight home, Little Princess would ONLY go to her new daddy and would scream when I came near her and Little Man wanted to be walked around the plane for the first 10 hours of the 12 hour flight. My husband’s dinner ended up on the floor and some people were giving us dirty looks, though most were offering to help. I begged my mom to have the pilot turn the plane around so that I could give them back, I didn’t want to do this anymore. My mom, who had come with us for this EXACT reason, quietly told me that was not an option and I was their mother through the good and the bad. 

Little Man and Little Princess have now been home days shy of eight months – yep I have been doing this by trial and error for eight months! As I am sure every mother of multiples has experienced the sleep issues, the eating issues, recently the double tantrum issue and the attachment issues, but that was more adoption than multiples. And some have experienced the multiple doctor visits and the numerous therapists to boot. But as my husband and I were discussing the other day, the thing we love the most about our babies is their bond with each other. See we learned after we said yes that due to a few issues one of our sweet babies has if we had not said yes our babies would have been separated and adopted by different couples possibly worlds apart. We cannot imagine the two of them apart, they don’t even like to play apart. They have their own language that they use to talk to each other – while we love it we hope this goes when they learn to talk. They learn from each other and compliment each other – see our daughter has NO fear and our son will not do anything until he is absolutely sure it is safe, so while he learned to walk first she taught him how to climb the stairs! I love when they try to calm each other or even try to get the other to laugh so that they don’t have to cry anymore. 

I cannot imagine the damage that would have been done if these two had been separated. We are not sure our son would have survived, it took him about 7 months to fully open up to us and really start the attachment process even though he started bonding before that, his sister is the only reason we heard laughter from him before that time. And our daughter may not have been so happy and carefree, she shows us what pure joy is every day!   I have yet to separate them for more than an hour or so at a time, mostly because that causes huge fits and massive jealousy (what is the other one getting that I am not) but I know the day is coming when I will be forced to separate them in some way or another. I already am dreading that day as their bond is greater than any siblings I have ever seen and it will break my heart to see them upset because they do not have each other. For now we keep them together and relish the bond that they have and we will deal with the separation when we have to with the help of the moms from How Do You Do It!

Post #2, by Megan

Married in 2000, my husband and I have entered a new chapter in our life:  parents to 3 children.  Often stopped by strangers with the comment, “Your hands sure are full!” I just smile and remember a quote from an online blogger: “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.” 

I have soon-to-be one year old boy-girl twins and a 5-year-old son.  Recently back to work at a new job after a stint as a stay-at-home-mom, I’m studying in preparation for my massage therapist Board exams, while searching for balance in life, love, and marriage. 

This new road in life is sure to offer many adventures, headaches, joys, frustrations…what greater bliss, though, than to love one’s children and see them grow every day.

Birthdays are a time of reflection for me.  I’ve never really been one to make New Year’s resolutions; instead, come spring, right around my birthday, I feel the need to take stock in myself, my life, and my goals.  The same is true with the kid’s birthdays.  We just celebrated my son Logan’s 5th and later this month we’ll celebrate the babies’ first.  Some pretty major birthdays in my book.  All I can think about is how far we’ve come in the last half-decade since Logan was born, and how different life is from just one year ago before Kade and Addie arrived.  Remembering that I was so big that I couldn’t make the walk around our block this time last year or how I would go to my pre-natal appointments just dreaming of hearing the words “let’s induce” make me realize how different life is today.  And how both my husband and I were completely, totally different parents and people.  So much has changed since we became parents – and then, parents of multiples.

And yet, I find myself fondly gazing forward, too.  I can’t wait to get an idea of who the babies really are.  Their personalities are blossoming.  And every day, there’s something new that they are learning, each at their own pace and own style.  It’s the same with Logan.  He’s more and more a “big kid” every day; I see him practically growing overnight!  Skills that were once hard or challenging now come easily and he is more outgoing and independent than even 6 months ago.

All of this makes me wonder what and who these little people will become.  I would take a sneak-peek into the future if given the option.  Just to see what they look like, or who they are friends with, or who they choose for partners in life.  Is it possible to be completely enthralled with the future at the same time I’m pining for the past?  It’s as if these children are each a special little gift to be opened one day at a time.  I have to remember to be patient and enjoy the joy of watching them grow.

That’s the goal, isn’t it?  To enjoy each day, each milestone for what it is, and not just where it’s leading.  What about all of you?  Do you feel yourselves missing the stage that’s just passed as you pack up the now-too-small clothes?  Or dreaming of what the future holds?  Or, are you able to just sit back and take it all in?

Post #3: A Milestone, by Jenna

Jenna is a mom of a 2.5-year-old son and 4.5-month-old identical twins daughters, and wife to another researcher and student. At some point she will get back to her PhD studies, but in the meantime she’s at home learning with, and from, her three children. She has considered starting a blog to record her experiences and to reflect on her mothering journey, and maybe some day she’ll find the time to do it.

Today marks a milestone in our house. Tonight our 4.5-month-old twin daughters will sleep in their own bedroom.  They usually only wake for one feeding during the night.  Their milestone is about sleeping in their own room. My milestone is about accepting how my life has changed since we found out we were having twins.

I’m a planner and organizer-type person so naturally, before we even conceived the baby, I decided how I was going to balance work, school, my young son, and a new baby About a year ago we decided to have a second child – and I had a plan. According to my plan, I am supposed to be making the final revisions to my doctoral dissertation while I waited for the date to be set for me to defend it….

Instead… yesterday, I found myself at the library with a crying baby in the baby carrier, a crying toddler in one arm, while I pushed a double stroller loaded down with a second baby and a pile of picture books and board books. Clearly my plan is not working out as I imagined it would.

It all changed the day I had my first ultrasound at five months. At three months, and again at four months, I had been thrilled to hear the heartbeat of my baby. My sister had teased me about having twins and even asked the midwife to check for a second heartbeat. The midwife had reassured us that there was only one baby, placing the stethoscope at several different spots to demonstrate that there was only one heartbeat. My plan seemed to be working out just fine. I could finish my research analysis and rough out my thesis before the baby came, relax with my newborn while my committee read through my work – and I’d be ready to make the final changes just as the baby was getting old enough to be eating a little solid food, thus freeing me a little to resume my academic work.

I settled myself on the ultrasound bed ready to see my little one. Seconds later, I was looking at two little heads! We were expecting twins! Immediately, lying on the ultrasound bed, I started frantically trying to revise my plans, to rescue my well laid-out program that would have seen me graduate with a 9 or 10-month-old baby.

Being pregnant with twins turned my plans upside down! I had to give up my academic work so that I could get the rest I needed. I had to shop for all of what a second baby would need, instead of just checking off on my list what I already had from our first child’s babyhood. I had to figure out how to shoehorn two babies into our small 3-bedroom condo that was already overflowing with the accoutrements that our son had brought along with him. Desperately, I tried to preserve my connection to the academic world by maintaining my office in the third bedroom, and having all three children share one room.

Coping with twin girls and a 2.5-year old son continues to be a series of daily lessons in living in the moment. I try not to plan more than one activity, such as a playdate or going to the library, in a day. In fact, a day when I have dinner ready when my husband gets home is a successful day.  Many days I also manage to get a load of laundry done, the floors vacuumed or the dishwasher emptied – all endless tasks with three small children.  But it is an ongoing struggle not to expect to accomplish more in a day than just keeping them clean and dry and fed and safe.

The reality of my derailed plan is particularly apparent this week. My mom is visiting and with her help, I am converting my office into the girls’ bedroom. Soon after our girls were born, I realized that my office space would need to become the girls’ space, and I’ve spent time moving books, office supplies, and craft materials out and packing files and papers in boxes. But really, I’ve resisted the whole process.

I like what my office, no matter how messy it might be, represents.  It is my space in the house. It represents all my years of work as a student and as a researcher, and all that I’ve accomplished. It isn’t about the mundane and repetitive tasks of diapering, feeding and burping babies, and reading and rereading the same picture books. It is about losing track of myself in ideas that interest and excite me.

I don’t want to give up what my office represents.  Being a stay-at-home-mom was never part of my plan. But, I’m a long way from ready to be back at work or study fulltime. I’m not ready to be away from my children. I don’t want to be away from them from breakfast until dinner every day. I don’t want to come home so exhausted that we don’t spend quality time together. I need to find a way to focus on the present and the riches they bring to my life, rather than on what I’m giving up because they are here. I love to watch my daughters sleeping, holding hands. They are so clearly completely comfortable and contented. Seeing them smile when I come to get them up after a nap is the most wonderful feeling. At these moments, it is so clear to me that at home with my children is where I belong.

The challenge this week, and in the weeks and months and years to come, will be to, as time permits, create a new approach – one that will truly balance my time, that considers our family’s financial situation, that allows me to be actively involved in raising our son and our two daughters, and allow me to enhance, enrich, build, develop my sense of self in the process.



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Guest post from my husband, Brian, The Superdad.

If you are not familiar with our family, my wife Cynthia and I have four children: a four-year-old daughter Alaina, 20-month-old identical twins sons Aaron and Brady (baby A and baby B, anyone with multiples would get the ultra-sound humor in that decision) and a 6-month-old son Brett. Before Brett was born, we had the three older children in day care full-time. It was a financial stretch. Actually, financial “disaster” would be a better choice of words. Once the baby was born we had no option but to have one of us stop working. Now, Cynthia works full time and I am a stay at home dad. How did we come to that decision? For us it wasn’t that hard.

I own a small Real Estate company. By small I mean just me, (hey the boss is a great guy). As a Realtor most of my hours are nights and weekends anyhow so the decision to be the stay at home parent was easy. We have learned not to depend on my income like we did in the past. The adjustment required giving up many of the luxuries we honestly didn’t need anyway. The life changes we made were tough but in hind site they were the best decision we’ve ever made. Cynthia works for a great company and there is a tremendous opportunity for her professional growth within her company. Besides, her company was our source of health insurance so that had to weigh into our decision.

To be honest with you, I was a little nervous at first. Could I really do it? My wife is an amazing mother and as the father (and as most fathers do) I tended to follow her lead when it came to child rearing.  Like a lot of dads, I was the king of short, extreme play sessions with my kids. I would get down and dirty with them. Rolling around on the ground, rough-housing and tossing them up in the air. It was that little thing that they got only from their daddy and both the kids and I loved it. Sometimes it would last 5 minutes, other times maybe 30 minutes, but it was never for hours on end. The general care of the kids always fell on my wife’s shoulders. I didn’t realize how much she did until it was my responsibility all day, everyday. I have a tremendous appreciation of my wife and everything that she does for this family.

I distinctly remember my first taste of being an at-home dad. When they were about 3-months old, the twins were both out of daycare sick. Cynthia had just returned to work from maternity leave and could not take the day off. I was panic-stricken. I was a very hands-on dad but this was a different ballgame altogether. Only a few hours into the day of non-stop crying, I remember calling my wife at work freaking out that she had to come home. “I can’t do this!” I hollered. I was so used to passing off my own children when things went wrong that I didn’t know what to do when I was completely on my own. Needless to say I survived the day. The boys seemed fine too. But I didn’t want to be a stay-at-home dad after that experience.

So how did I manage it later on? Did the children change? Not one bit. I did. I took on a bigger every day role on the weekends. I stopped relying on my wife to do all the “dirty work” and I am not just talking about changing diapers. This prepared me for the big day when we would take them out of daycare and I was on my own. I am not going to tell you it was easy, or that everything came natural but it was manageable. After a week or two I was an old pro.

The key was routine. Guys, your wife probably preaches this to you every day. I was just like you. The weekend came around and I would take the kids out to do something fun, not caring if it was a little past their nap-time. “They’ll be fine,” I always said. Great call genius! Kids are all about routine. Break that routine and they may be fine for a few hours, but it will bite you in the end. It may not be until the next day but you will regret it. You learn fast on this job.

The second key change for me was patience. You learn quickly that you can’t satisfy all of your kids needs (especially when you have three under two years of age) at once. You have to prioritize. You have to learn to let the screaming bounce off of you. Focus on what you can do to make one of them happy. Move quickly without taking short cuts and move on to the next issue. After awhile you get to know each child’s tendencies and you can get them what they need before they need it. Once you’ve reached this point being an at-home parent is great.

Now don’t misread that. I didn’t say “easy”, I said “great”. It is the most rewarding job (and don’t kid yourself, it is a real job) albeit the toughest one I’ve ever had. Work stress and child caring stress are completely different. I also don’t want to belittle the working parent’s role. It’s a team effort. You should both try to appreciate what the other does.

I could tell you a million stories, but I have a short attention span and this post is already longer than I would voluntarily read. I do have a few parting bits of advice. I sensed a collective cringe when I wrote that. Fear not. I am not going to tell you how to raise your kids. To be honest I wouldn’t have the first clue how to raise someone’s kids. I can, however, give you a few tidbits that have made all the difference our arrangement:

1 – Get out of the house, for your own sanity if nothing else. I take the boys to a local children’s museum a couple times a week. We also go to story hour at the library and a playgroup at an area YMCA. Dig around a little, you can always ask other parents you meet what they do. Getting three little ones out of the house is a daunting task but there is a wonderful reward. Giving them a change of scenery is not only fun, but it always leads to a nice long nap for my kids. Hello “me” time.

2 – Appreciate your spouse. We are a well-oiled machine at this point. We both know what needs to be done each evening so we just do it. Don’t wait for your spouse to ask you to do what you know needs to be done. Just do it and next thing you know the kids will be asleep and you can finally relax. As a side note, everyone has a bad day. My wife and I give the other heads up on those especially tough days. Something as simple as, “just to warn you, it’s been a long day and I’m unusually cranky”. It’s simple yet effective.

3 – Try to create “me” time for each other. Take care of the kids solo so your wife can go out with her friends to lunch, shopping, or a movie. Whatever makes her happy. My wife plans to take half days on Wednesdays this summer so I can play golf. Don’t underestimate the meaning of little gestures.

4 – Get the kids on a schedule and stick to it. They may not like it at first but trust me long term you will all be better for it.

5 –Don’t let the little hiccups get you down. Look, things never go as planned.  If you can appreciate them for their future humor, you will be better for it. Just this morning I woke up sick as a dog to find Brady buck naked in his crib with you guessed it all over the mattress and crib. Was I in the mood to deal with “that” today? No chance. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hilarious. Why not laugh about it then?

6 – Enjoy your kids. Everyone you meet tells you to enjoy your children because they grow up quickly, but it’s true. The next thing you know they are going to be teenagers and want next to nothing to do with their parents. Keeping this in the back of your mind will help with those especially frustrating days. Always remember that they won’t be little forever so enjoy them.

For those out there contemplating being a stay-at-home parent. Do it. Don’t hesitate. In fact, you should jump at the opportunity. The first few weeks might be tough but you’ll find a way. I love that I get to see my kids everyday. My wife would love to be in my shoes (most of the time). Granted I am so tired by the end of the day that I have zero social life, but eventually they’ll grow up and I’ll have plenty of time to do that stuff again. You only get one chance to raise your kids.

I am a better person for it. You can ask any of our friends or family if I have changed and they would say with absolute certainty, yes! They don’t see me as much but when they do they notice that I am more relaxed. The little things that stressed me out before bounce right off me now. Just this past Sunday as we were stuck in traffic with the four kids in the car, instead of freaking out about the guy trying to cut me off, I turned to my wife and said, “I’m really happy. We have a great family, our relationship has never been better… things are great”. Pre-stay-at-home dad would never have said that. I am grateful for my amazing wife and beautiful children and I love them more than you can possibly imagine. Pre-stay-at-home dad would never had written that in a public blog either.

Now if you will excuse me. The boys are all asleep and the Yankees have a day game. Off to the couch I go with a cold beer in one hand and the other hand down my pants. I may have gotten a little softer, but hey, I’m still a dude!

(Mom’s edit: no beers were consumed during the writing of this post. I hope. You can read more about our family on our personal blog.)

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Guest Post: Au Pair

Dana and Walker live in Seattle with their 2 year old identical twin boys, Finn and Ollie.  They’ve been blogging about their life with the “Deuce” since they were just a plus sign on a pregnancy stick.  Both Dana and Walker enjoy documenting their family adventures, parenting struggles and hilarious toddler antics… Dana through her writing, and Walker through his photographic expertise. 


An Ode to Our Au Pair


Parents, be warned… this might sound like a sales pitch.  Over the last year or so, I’ve had many conversations with friends that start with, “So, how’s it going with your Au Pair?” and end with, “Where do I sign up!?”


I realize that not everyone can say they are 100% satisfied with their childcare arrangements.  Searching for the right ‘fit’ for your family can be exhausting.  I know, because I haven’t always been so happy with our situation. Believe me, I know what it’s like to stress about childcare.


Over the last 2 years we have tried every childcare arrangement in the book.  When the boys were 4 months old, they started attending a childcare center that had good references, and flexible hours.  The staff seemed kind and competent, and the price was reasonable.  And although my hectic workday was book-ended with stressful and exhausting daycare pick-ups/drop-offs, I believed this was all part of being a working parent. 


But soon the double-baby-barrel-holds up and down two flights of stairs… combined with serious doubts about the owner’s ability to keep staff members happily employed longer than a month… became too much for us to handle.  And so, for the first time we found ourselves in the horrible position that I do not wish upon any working parent: without childcare. 


In Seattle, finding another daycare without a 6-month wait list was impossible (especially for twins).  So we expanded our horizons a bit and decided to hire a nanny and found an incredibly loving and playful caregiver for the boys.  And the best part…coming home every evening (without having to manage the double-baby-barrel-hold in and out of the daycare) and just sitting down on the floor with my two happy babies…made it well worth the extra money we were paying.  But 3 short months later we found ourselves scrambling at a moments notice to find replacement care when our nanny decided to return to school.


In midst of my frantic search another twin mom suggested getting an Au Pair.  I had never seriously considered the idea, and even then dismissed her suggestion, since I couldn’t fathom how we could fit yet another person in our house.  But once I heard the cost benefit, my ears perked up, and we quickly starting thinking creatively how we were going to rearrange our living space to make it work (for example, our once family room is now our bedroom). 


Since welcoming Anna (from Brazil) to become part of our family we’ve learned first hand the many other benefits to this arrangement.   


First, the cost…   When you’re trying to swallow double-tuition at a daycare facility, it is a huge relief to know there is a less expensive option.  When you factor in the annual program fees, the weekly stipend, and other expenses (education, car insurance, and food), we are still paying at least 30% less then what were paying at the daycare.  And that doesn’t include the savings in babysitting fees.  We haven’t paid for a babysitter in over a year, and we go out (are you ready for this??) every weekend for a date night! 



Second, the flexibility… Au Pairs can work up to 45 hours per week (regulated by the State Dept.).  My job is pretty flexible, and I actually only work 4 days per week.  Because of the flexibility of Anna’s schedule I’m able to choose which days I’d like to work, and when I’d like to be with the kids (which is as much as possible!).   And then, as mentioned earlier, we work 5 hours into her schedule each week to baby-sit on the weekends. 


Third, the ease of our days…  If the boys want to sleep in before I have to leave for work, it’s OK, they can sleep in and Anna will get them up and ready for their day.  If I need to come home early to cook a big dinner, Anna can watch the kids until I’m finished cooking.  Most days when I come home, I just pick up playing with the boys, where she leaves off, and they never have to leave their Lego’s. 


Finally, the added love to our children.  I am sure that most caregivers show kindness and affection towards the children the care for.  But I am positive that Anna genuinely loves our kids, and plays with them like a big sister would play and care for her younger siblings.  Also, the boys are immersed in another culture, in their own home.  She is always singing preschool songs in Portuguese, and cooks them Brazilian treats. 


There is probably not a day that goes by where I am not honestly and sincerely thanking our Anna for all that she does with the boys.  But, don’t get me wrong; I am not naïve to what could go wrong with Au Pairs… I’ve heard the horror stories.  It is absolutely necessary to do your homework, go with an Au Pair agency that you trust, and interview many, many, MANY people before you find the right fit.  I also recommend really asking yourself whether your family is open to welcoming another family member in your home, sharing your lives with them… not just hiring someone to work with your kids. 


If anyone is interested in learning more about the agency that we used, or you have any logistical questions, I’m always happy to help a fellow twin parent find the perfect fit for their family.  Parenting twins is hard enough… it’s good to know that there’s a childcare option that makes things a little easier! 


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Mommy, Esq
 lives in the Boston area (where the winters try their best to get her to move South) with six month old Ned and Penny, and her husband of six years. She is a corporate lawyer by trade, but would love to attempt being a wedding photographer. She says “I love taking photographs and doing storybook photographing – which is why blogging is perfect for me!”

Mommy, Esq
began blogging during a lull at work during her second trimester. She says “Instead of catching up on professional reading I took a break and trolled the Internet to get excited about having twins. One of the first websites I stumbled onto was Goddess in Progress, followed quickly by Laura’s Mommy Journal. I have to admit I read their entire back blogs! I thought it would be fun to start my own even if only my sisters read it.”

Have your reasons for blogging changed?
Now that I am returning to work next week I want to focus a bit more on how to be a mom while also working at a demanding job. I’m also pleasantly surprised how much my in-laws like the blog. My mother-in-law checks it every day to see photos of her grandkids. I am worried I won’t have time to keep it up or take as many photos of the kids when I’m back at work.

How long have you been blogging? Since April 16, 2008 but it took me a little while to find my “voice”.

How did you learn about HDYDI? Do you have a favorite post?
My sister Allison mentioned it to me – she found it while surfing the Internet. I have re-read (numerous times) posts relating to breastfeeding, feeding solids and sleep – the holy trinity of a new mom. I like how the posts make me feel inspired to be an übermom but when it doesn’t work out (breastfeeding, making my own baby food) the same posts let me off the hook.

Do you remember your first words when you discovered you had more than one ‘in there’?
I didn’t say anything but I got really flushed and hot all over. I’m a triplet so I wasn’t surprised plus we had started Clomid after a couple of years of trying on our own. One thing that stuck with me was that the ultrasound doctor told us “not to get attached” since one heartbeat was slower than the other. I learned later that “vanishing twin” syndrome is very common – as often as 1 in 6 pregnancies – and that with early ultrasounds more moms know when they miscarry. It was a long 2 weeks before I went back to confirm both babies were doing fine.

My husband actually saw both embryos on the monitor before the technician told us about it. He thought there would be more and kept asking them to confirm when we went back for more ultrasounds (“Are you sure there aren’t three in there?”).

If you could go back to the newborn days: Would you do anything differently? Hired a housekeeper who cooked for me. We had a baby nurse for 6 weeks but I was trying to breastfeed and pump and it was so exhausting that really I just wanted someone to pick up my house and feed me.

Did you have a favorite product that you can’t rave about enough?Currently the Fisher Price Jumparoo is all the rage in our house but the most useful product I have is the Dr. Brown’s formula mixer/pitcher.

What is one thing you do really well at as a mother of twins?

I am way more patient than I thought I would be since I’m not a particularly patient person generally. Even when I’m exhausted I don’t take it out very often on the kids – I can still fake happy and enthusiastic since I know they are going to bed around 6:30 pm. Of course it helped I had someone coming to watch the kids twice a week even when I was on maternity leave.

What is one thing you think you are horrible at?
I worry too much and compare the kids too much – to each other and to other kids their “age”.
What is the first thing you do after saying goodnight to the kids and closing the bedroom door?
Help Husband cook dinner and picking up the playroom. When I go back to work if I make it home for bedtime I suspect I will be logging back on to work some more.

If you had an entire day to yourself (money and obligations aside, and no access to kids or the internet): What would you ideally spend that day doing? A brunch breakfast (with a mimosa of course) followed by a massage and then a nap and TV at home.

What do you think you would actually end up doing?
Laundry, reading blogs, laundry.

Thanks for joining us Mommy, Esq!

Feel free to leave Mommy, Esq a comment, and check out our other featured readers:Sadia and Mamie. Also, let us know which readers and HDYDI authors you would like to see interviewed!

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I am a working mom. For whatever reason, the management at my office decided to be closed on Monday, October 13, known in the banking and government world as a holiday because of Christopher Columbus. No complaints that I’d get to join in on the fun. My partner is a working mom. She is a golf instructor and takes Monday’s off anyway.

So for the first time without taking vacation days, we had the same day home from work.

The montessori school where the kids attend was OPEN. And this is where it got tricky.

We went through what I perceive as a lot to get pregnant, love the twins more than anything, and, as working parents, ache for more time with them. And even though we’ll take turns grocery shopping after we put the kids to sleep, or run errands during the workday lunch break, or get up at 4:30 a.m. to pay the bills, there are still things that have to get done during normal waking hours.

So on Saturday’s, I leave the house for a couple hours to dart around town, hit the necessary venues, purchase what is needed, and rush home. I could take the kids with me, sure, but it would take me even longer to get done what needs to get done.

And this is what happened on Monday. Though not my preference, we got up like a normal Monday, and took the kids to school. I felt completely horrible leaving them there and wondered if the teachers were cursing me under their sweet smiles – because there I was taking the kids to school on MY day “off”.

But crawl back in bed, or get pedicures, or meet friends for brunch, we did not.

My partner had a dental appointment at 8:00 a.m., so I dropped the kids off and proceeded to pick up dry cleaning, then to develop some photos (which I had already pre-selected the night before and had on a jump drive as to be efficient with my time). By 8:00 a.m., I was at the local hardware store purchasing ten bags of mulch, two plants, one light bulb for the motion sensor light, bulbs for the back porch, and batteries for the smoke alarms. And then getting it all into the car. And then out of the car. I planted two jasmine vines, potted one croton for the front porch, pulled the ladder out of the garage, replaced light bulbs, cut back lantana, trimmed plumbago and oak and azalea, pulled weeds, tilled soil, put down and spread mulch, watered, and transferred a bouganvilla. By 10:30. At which time Jennifer arrived home and helped to bag lawn debris and then put down weed killer on the gravel driveway and the sides of the house where we have pea gravel. Then we moved to the back yard. Blah Blah Blah, you get the picture. It was a crazy busy day and the cuticles of my fingers are STILL black. We worked our asses off, all the while (I was) feeling guilty for having this one day we could have spent as a family and instead doing chores. But then what? Not do them? Being a responsible and loving parent also means attending to the household needs.

had we not done what we did, it would have taken 2-3 weeks of partial Saturday’s or Sunday’s to get it done, the same list of things we accomplished in 9 hours with two of us and zero of the kids. The kids we prayed for and longed for and finally did IVF for. Yep, those are the ones that we dropped off at day care and did yard work instead.

Sure, we could have outsourced the job, in fact, we used to. But after spending an additional $500+ on childcare last week (because the kids were both sick and I was sick Monday and Tuesday and couldn’t miss any more work), this ON TOP of the tuition we already pay to the school, I made the executive decision to do it ourselves. Yes, it was less than paying a landscaper and handyman. But it was also at the price of not spending precious infancy time with our twins.

And pretty much, because every moment of every day can either be spent on kids or the things that need to get done (and I’m not talking re-organizing my recipe cards here, people. That’s on my list, but it’s now on my wish list, with a time frame of ‘within-10-years’), EVERY SINGLE MOMENT puts my heart in conflict as to what to with my time.


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My mother and I were talking the other day and, maybe because she lives 180 miles away, she couldn’t imagine how I “manage” to get the kids into daycare without leaving one in the car. And I told her we DO leave them in the car, but only when we go to Wal-Mart.

As for all the other times, it looks a little something like this:
Going To School

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My New Year

For well over two decades, my new year was the first Monday in September, not the first of January.  New pencils and backpacks and visions of organization dancing in my head. My world revolved around the academic calendar.  I was in school with no breaks other than summer vacation from preschool up through my master’s degree.  And when I finished with that, I worked in schools: first a high school, then two different colleges.  Even though it meant getting back to work, I always loved the beginning of the semester.  I loved the predictable rhythm of the academic cycle.  I knew that September would be crazy, March would be fairly quiet, July would be laid-back, and so on. I liked my job, liked my coworkers, liked some of my students.

And then, I had kids.

I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom if I could manage it. I remember my mom being there when I got home from school, ready to give me and my friends a snack.  I remember when my parents divorced and my mom started working and we had to go to the YMCA on a bus after school, and how much I hated it. I knew that, as much as I enjoyed my work, it was unlikely I’d chose doing it over staying with my kids, if indeed I had a choice.

Lucky for us, we did arguably have a choice. Lovely as higher ed was as a workplace, it didn’t exactly make me the primary breadwinner in our house. From the time we got married, M and I decided we would direct-deposit my paycheck into our savings account so that we could “practice” living on one salary, even though my income would be right there when we needed it.  It worked well, and didn’t take too long to adjust. And when we found out we were having twins, I did the math and realized childcare for two infants would eclipse my take-home salary and then some.

My stock line whenever anyone asked me if I would return to work or stay at home was that I’d probably do it “for the first year and see how it goes.”  This Labor Day, the great dorm and apartment moving day in Boston, with nary a UHaul to be found in the state, marks the beginning of my second year of life outside academia.  It snuck up on me, in some ways.  That one-year mark that I always had in my mind has come and gone, and I’ve barely given a moment’s consideration to returning to work.

Alright, sometimes I think about it.  There are times when I really would like to have some kind of part-time job. But even then, unless something magical and perfect dropped into my lap, I suspect it’s still a faraway thing. “Maybe when they’re in school” is my new stock line.  While there are things I miss about working (coworkers, income, the work itself), I never thought of it as my life’s passion. I enjoyed it.  It was a good fit.  I was, if I do say so, pretty darn good at it.  But I’ve heard it said that there are jobs, there are careers, and there are callings.  It was not a calling.  A career, sure.  More than just a “job.”  But it wasn’t what defined me, or made me whole.

At the risk of sounding cheezy or overly dramatic, I really do think that this mom thing is what I was really meant to do.  It’s me. It fits. I have embraced it as a defining thing.  It’s not the only thing that makes me who I am. But it’s primary, front and center. No close seconds. I’m a Mom.  A Twin Mom.  It’s what I do. My bosses are small and generally completely irrational and demanding. The hours are rough, no weekends, no vacation, no sick days. The pay is for shit. And to be completely honest, there are days when I want to quit. But still, it’s a pretty sweet gig.

Happy New Year, indeed.

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