I feel guilty at work and guilty when I’m not working—but why?

I am a mother, and mothers are deep, complicated souls who cannot be pigeon-holed into one position.

I feel guilty at work and guilty when I’m not working—but why?

I am a procurer of many markets, a woman of many talents, and a mother who wears many hats.

Each day, I shuffle through my apparel, switching out my garments to fit what role is required of me. Sometimes wardrobe alterations are needed multiple times a day, as I slink out of one façade and into another. I am versatile and flexible; changing on a dime to accomplish the tasks at hand.

I am a mother, and mothers are deep, complicated souls who cannot be pigeon-holed into one position. We are multi-taskers, flying by the seat of our collective mom jeans.


I have my mama hat—

A floppy entity that is weaved together from straw. Chasms protrude along the brim, scars from motherhood’s many accidents. It is smeared with oatmeal and is always sagging in my eyes, as if the hat itself carries the responsibility of three small children.

From the moment I first placed it upon my brow, I knew that this was the greatest hat I would ever wear. Although it sees its share of sweat and tears, it is one my most treasured possessions. Sometimes, after little bodies are tucked into little beds, I stare lovingly at my mama hat, fingering the frays and appreciating the moments it has brought me.

I have my wife hat—

It used to be more polished. That beauty started out as a trendy piece that I would throw on for a date night out or a movie night in. It used to be accompanied by spontaneity and passion and there was a time when it felt like it was my most significant accessory.

But it took a beating in recent years—trampled on by tiny feet and sat on by the dog. It had to be temporarily placed on a shelf in the hall closet while I dealt with night nursing, colds and flus, and the robust demands of young motherhood. However, my children are growing older, allowing me to dust off my wifely fedora and put it back into rotation.

And last, but surely not least, I have my working hat—

It is a cloche hat, the iconic women’s fashion statement of the 1920’s. It is classy, daring, and makes me smile when I put it on. It fills me with poise and assures me that my well runs deeper than mother, and wider than wife.

When I wear this hat I am challenged. When I wear this hat I am fulfilled. This cloche hat does not take away from, but adds life to, every other facet of me. But as well as it fits, and as successful as I may be when I am wearing it, there is guilt sewn into its very stitches. And each time I place it upon my head I am filled with equal parts exhilaration and shame.

For as mothers we are expected to be adaptable in our fashion and yet we are criticized for showing too much pleasure in one specific style.

We are taught to mind our children, take care of our husbands, clean our houses and cook our dinners. And then, inevitably, we are looked down upon for doing so—because being “just a mom” is somehow not enough. And for some women, it is not.

Sometimes the need for mental challenges makes us yearn for more—beyond the bliss and reproach of domesticity.

But God forbid a mother works—and God forbid she likes it. Somewhere, scrawled neatly in perfect cursive and etched into every woman’s brain, is the dishonor of being happy, and seeking satisfaction, when she is not wearing her mama hat.

We have been conditioned to feel inadequate in every accessory—that somehow being fluid in our ability to change and accommodate, although it is expected of us, is wrong.

I want to be free from the heavy guilt of a working mother.

I want to relish in the frenzied, beautifully soiled nature of my frayed straw hat of motherhood, while feeling confident and stunning in the fedora of wifely attire.

I want to feel proud and righteous when my cloche working hat fits snug upon my head; to be content in knowing that I am anything but simple.

For I am a woman of many hats.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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