Mat leave and childcare


Over the last 4 weeks:

-I’ve watched a LOT of trash TV during nursing and pumping sessions. Biggest wastes of TV time: The Revolution, The Chew, and the fact that E! has turned into the Kardashian channel. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Kardashians, but if that’s not on E! during the day, it’s some morbid show like “Teens that Kill.”

-I’ve successfully rotated between maybe 5 outfits. I love my nursing tank tops, and will usually rock one of those will a zip-up hoodie and lulu pants. One day I will wear real clothes on a regular basis.

-I’ve eaten a lot of eggs and cookies

-I’ve snuggled a little lovebug, sang more songs out loud than I have in a long time, fell out of love with my pump –it does a great job, but turning it on makes me cringe because pumping is such a pain, and have really enjoyed daily walks and hanging out with my friends

-It’s been a lot of insanely hard work, and I feel like I’m so so busy busy, and not busy at all at the same time. If we have one appointment or outing planned for the day (tomorrow is her one month checkup!), I feel like the day is packed

Each day, I try to plan one thing to get us out of the house, and today it was one that I had to do solo: stop by work.

It was only for a little over an hour, but it was my first day being back at work in 5 weeks. Nana watched Livi for me, so I went to take an optional Tabata training that I ended up missing. I thought it was at 1 instead of 12- FAIL.… so instead, I talked with my bosses and work friends and also got the rest of my leave time figured out. I’m very fortunate to work where I do, and the ability to take a personal leave of absence to spend time with Livi has been incredible. As much as I love my job, I have to admit that wasn’t sure how I’d feel being back there. I didn’t know if I’d walk in and dread the thought of going back, or feel energized and excited.

It was definitely the latter.

It was great to catch up with everyone, and I can’t wait to learn the new class formats. I’ll probably observe and take quite a few classes too, just so I feel like my confidence is back before I start teaching again.

4 weeks have already flown by, and I bet the next 8 will go by even faster, so we have to figure out childcare while I’m gone at work for the day. We’re very lucky to be surrounded by friends and family here in Tucson, but many of them work fulltime and I while I’m only part-time, it’s 3 full days each week.

When I was in elementary school, we did the daycare thing for a little while- my brother and I hated it. They split up the “little kids” and the “big kids” so I would hear little Kyle crying for me through the fence, and spend playtime holding his hand through the hole in the fence at the bottom. We also stayed at a daycare that a woman ran out of her house, which was amazing. She had a playroom entirely filled with toys, and was such a kind and sweet woman.

Moms out there, who usually watches your kiddos when you’re working or out and about?

When you were young, did you stay at a daycare, have a nanny, or your mom/dad home with you? 

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  1. Lyndsi on February 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I had a working mother and I now we are best friends! I went to a daycare at a ladies house and loved it then once my brother was old enough we were home together after school or my cousin would watch us. My mother did everything in her power to be sure to attend every school and sporting event that we had, and it was that dedication and effort that we appreciated. We ate dinner and read together every night. I do not have any children yet but I know from my mother’s example that you can be a working mom but also a great one!

  2. Debbie on February 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I was very lucky…when my daughter was born, my sister did not want to go back to work, she had a 2 yr old and a 6 month old. We worked it out so that I am able to pay her enough money to have her stay home and she watches my 2 kids so I can work…they get to see their cousins every day and I get to see my sister…we both make out and the kids love it! It has worked out for 4 years, I still can’t believe it! I work 4 days a week and it is so nice to have my sister an email or phone call away…she emails me updates all day long and I never have to worry that my kids are not in good hands. Things will change when my daughter starts school fulltime but we will deal with that when we get there.

    My nurse practicioner looked into all options and they found that hiring a fulltime nanny was actually less expensive than daycare….and she helps clean and cook too! You should look into that option. Knowing your baby is safe at home is so much nicer than dropping her off at a daycare.

  3. E on February 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I’m surprised you’re going back to work so soon, as where I’m from you’re entitled to 6 months paid maternity leave with a further 6 months unpaid maternity leave. How long are you entitled to under U.S. employment law? Good luck with everything 🙂

    • Fitnessista on February 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      I think it varies where you work, but since I’m part time and haven’t worked at my job for a year, I qualify for unpaid leave of absence instead of traditional maternity leave. I’m just happy to have my job waiting for me 🙂

  4. Julia on February 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Hey Gina,

    I’m sure you and Tom will figure something out. I know a lot of people advocate being a SAHM (I happen to be one my self, I can’t teach other people’s kids all day and leave mine with someone else…) but life goes by so quickly. This is the busiest (but not busiest, like you said) time of our lives. I wonder if you could work out a more spread out work schedule or work evenings when family is home to watch Livi? I totally recommend being a SAHM who makes an effort to socialize and gives childcare a chance – in limited amounts.

    • Fitnessista on February 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      i totally agree. i’m fortunate that we’re in a position where i don’t have to work, but i like to teach, so that’s why i do the part-time thing. the good news is that my bosses are very understanding and flexible, so i’m sure that it will all work out.

  5. Amy on February 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Growing up, my mom was always at home….very fortunate to have her there! I had my kids at an ‘older’ age (1st one I was 30, 2nd one I was 36) so I worked in my career and had always planned on resigning and staying at home once we had kids. Both hubby and I agreed this was best for our family. However, I have been really fortunate to still work part time as a consultant and make my own hours. When my kids were really small I worked 2-3 hours a week. Now that my oldest is 8 and my little one 3, I work about 10 hours a week consulting and my wonderful parents take my 3 year old on adventures with them when I am working. It truly is a win-win situation for us. If I had to put my kids in daycare, I wouldn’t have done the consulting gig over the years, but different things work for different families! Good luck with whatever you decide to do 🙂

  6. Carly on February 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Growing up I was babysat by a couple of different ladies that ran nannying businesses out of their home. Now, I work as the nanny and go into other people’s houses to look after their kids. Although I only experienced one side of this, I have to say that I think the experience of the kids being able to relax and play in the comfort of their own home while having the nanny come in, is probably better.

    • Fitnessista on February 8, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      i agree. that’s definitely our first choice

  7. Sara on February 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    We moved J from her preschool when she went up to the 4 year old class – different set of teachers and totally different ‘vibe’ from the 2-4 y.o. group. There was another little girl there that was making her life miserable – basically she was the equivalent of a pre-school stalker. As soon as J walked in she (L) would rush over and never let her play with any other kid. I overhead L telling other kids things like ‘we don’t like you’ and ‘we don’t want to be friends with you’. I spoke with the teachers and but they saw it as a positive thing because L had never made a friend before (she had behavioural problems) and I think it got her out of their hair – before J got there, they had to look after L all the time. It got to the point where J would cry, scream and beg me not to take her there.

    So, I looked around and found a holistic type of preschool that had started in someones house but quickly became a franchise. It was such a change from the other one (which was church affiliated). All the teachers had teaching degrees (not compulsory for ECE here) and they forbade junkfood. They had a worm farm and all sorts of outdoors play areas. They did yoga and meditation (!). J thrived there and I wish we had started her there. We chose the other one on recommendation from friends. So, it’s well worth looking around. The closest, or the one that everyone else uses may not be the best for your girl.

    J was at pre-school from the age of about 6 weeks (they have a babies area) which was a necessity, rather than something we wanted. I think that’s way too early, but there was no other way. She had an advantage though because, at that time, her grandma was head supervisor in the nursery. Of course this taught her superb skills in teacher manipulation and she is still very good at that..

    Ooops, I wrote a Novella. Summary: you will figure it out. 😀

    • Fitnessista on February 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      that school sounds AMAZING

  8. Brigid on February 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Both of my parents worked my entire life, except for my mom’s six weeks of maternity leave. I had a combination of center-based and in-home daycare and time with my grandmother. I may be in the minority here, but I think — and studies consistently support me — that daycare is really good for kids. In it, they develop motor and speech skills more quickly, they learn to share and interact with other children (especially important for only/oldest kids like me), and they are exposed to a broader worldview and experience. Plus — yes — they do get sick more often at first, but it strengthens their immune systems in the long run (and eliminates that same period from happening when they first start to school). Don’t let anyone guilt you into staying home by saying that daycare is “letting someone else raise your child.” That’s bonkers. You are always the mom, and the pilot is always the dad, no matter who watches Livi from 8 to 5 (or even less, since you are part-time). Teachers will also spend those hours with your kids from that time period once they start school, and they are certainly not parenting in your place. You just need to find a high-quality daycare that meets your needs, whether it is center-based, in someone else’s home, or with a babysitter at your home. Studies also show that children with two working parents report higher self-esteem and other positive attributes. But, of course, the ultimate choice is what works best for your family. Everyone else’s opinions are great for them, but only you and your hubby can make the “right” choice.

    • Jess on February 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you for this! People, other women in particular, can be mean. Telling you that you’re failing as a mother or letting another person raise your child if you work. I complete agree with you about that way of thinking being bonkers. I actually had someone say to me that I shouldn’t have had a baby if I wasn’t going to raise her. I burst into tears.

      • Fitnessista on February 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm

        that is ridiculous. i hate how women can be so judgmental about these things- every family and situation is unique

  9. Margaret on February 9, 2012 at 1:07 am

    I think the trick is to find the right place. I use to be a preschool teacher and we tried really hard to let kids visit siblings. One of my students loved to go in the baby room with her brother. Sometimes they were short staffed or the kids were really fussy so she couldn’t but most of the time it worked out. We had kids from 6 weeks through 5 at our facility, but it also cost about the same as college.

    I loved my preschool as a teacher and know my students and their parents loved. I attended a playgroup in a woman’s home that I supposedly liked, I don’t remember it, and I adored the preschool I attended. My dad worked part-time when I was little so I didn’t have to go to preschool all day but I chose to because it was so awesome. I Seriously think part of the reason I loved teaching preschool as much as I did is because I loved being a student.

  10. Noelle on February 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    3 days a week is totally ideal. Its the perfect amount of time to have your own life and work and the perfect amount of time to be a mommy and be with baby. I wish I had that schedule!!!! We use an in home daycare which offers a day rate if I were to find something that was only 3 days a week. My mom was a stay-at-home mom which was great, but I really like the idea of a great in home day-care, my daughter (1 year old) gets to play with friends and learn things from older kids while she’s there and she’s such a happy girl. I think a combination (like you’re doing is best). I personally think (if you find a good daycare) that they learn a lot more in day care then they would at home with a relative, generally speaking. I’m sure some people would really stimulate and teach them but in general I think being around so many other kids is great for them. Good luck! It’s a hard decision.

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