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I landed a pretty incredible opportunity with a start-up snack company last September. It was new and fresh and best of all, they understood that family comes first. They were willing to let me work from 9 am to 2 pm every day, partially remote, so I could pick my daughter up from school.

I had done the crazy hours commuting to and from NYC—leaving early, coming home late, missing bedtime—and I knew I just couldn't continue life that way. This job was 12 minutes from my house and the owners of the company GOT IT, being that they were parents themselves.

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All had been going great—it was a start-up, so it was chaotic, but I loved it. I loved the fast-paced environment and our team that was quickly being pieced together. And the company was doing well, too! We were in major national chains and had just landed a deal with a major airline. My team was growing, and so was I.

All that changed faster than I could have ever imagined.

Wednesday, March 11th, as President Trump gave his national address about the coronavirus, I was in the office discussing hiring two more people for my team and expanding our coverage. Thursday came and it seemed the United States was beginning to see how serious this might be. That night, the area I live in canceled school for at least two weeks.

I suddenly got a pit in my stomach.

People were rushing to stores to stock up on core supplies. And the stores were shorting their orders, only bringing in necessities. This thought kept repeating in my mind—our snack is not a necessity. I tried my best to push those negative thoughts to the back of my mind telling myself everything would be okay. We'd get through this.

Friday morning came and I called my boss to see what our game plan was. He said they had pretty much decided the company would work from home for the next two weeks. We spoke again 15 minutes before a conference call, had the call, and everything seemed normal. Until it wasn't.

Immediately following the call, my phone rang, and my boss asked if I could come into the office for a quick meeting. My stomach sank. I knew what was coming.

I arrived at the office feeling sick. He explained to me that our investors were getting nervous. Most of them were based in Europe so they were about three weeks ahead of us in dealing with COVID-19. Our is also made in Spain so they had used everything in order to get a four-month supply shipped over to the US quickly. They needed to scale back, and that meant making cuts.

I understood and thanked them for the opportunity they gave me, but it was still beyond hard to process. How had everything been going so well 48 hours ago? Even the morning I was let go I had no idea things would change so quickly.

When I got home, my daughter asked how my meeting went. It broke my heart. I had been so proud of myself for being able to find a job where I could make money, provide for my family and still make it home in time for school pickup. It was hard and finding balance was a struggle sometimes, but I was doing it and I was happy.

I was on the forefront of coronavirus-layoffs. In a matter of a few days, I've seen restaurants shutter, salons close and have heard thousands upon thousands of others are also out of work now, too. And I'm afraid there's more to come.

We don't know how this is going to play out but we do need to do our part to stop it from spreading so life can eventually get back to normal and our kids can go to the park again and go back to school. Until then, let's all practice patience.

If nothing else, we have a captive audience with our children. That's what I'm holding onto right now. Let's teach them how to react during difficult times and how to live their lives with more kindness than ever.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

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

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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