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My mornings are hectic—and other confessions from a working mom

Why can’t we talk about what it’s really like?

My mornings are hectic—and other confessions from a working mom

I’m lucky enough to have a few people at the office I can truly commiserate with about the day to day struggles of being a mom. I have cried to them after a terrible morning and they have to me as well. This has been a tremendous source of support and strength in my life.


So, it got me thinking—Why isn’t there more of this?

I can’t help but look around at my colleagues and imagine what their mornings are like. I wonder if they’re like mine.

But of course, I picture impeccably groomed and dressed children walking out of their polished homes in a neat and orderly fashion. They give their mother ample time to get to the office, maybe even with time to spare.

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Maybe she even stops for a latte. She looks fantastic. She hasn’t spilled anything on herself and she probably worked out before her kids even got out of bed.

Now, let’s talk about what I look like at 6am.

I am usually half-dressed, chasing an even less dressed 3-year-old through the kitchen. Trying to drink my coffee and pack lunches at the same time.

I am likely trying to decide which part of my morning routine I can do without because I don’t have time for it all.

Maybe I will decide to give up styling my hair and just pull it into a damp ponytail.

Or perhaps I will pass on eating breakfast, even though I’m not one of those people who can go without food (I get hangry).

I’m usually having several conversations simultaneously, trying to convince my 7-year old not to wear leopard print and polka dots in the same outfit without hurting her feelings, while reminding my 9-year old that she has clarinet practice.

I am refereeing, breaking up brawls over the coveted Elsa juice glass or the headband that they all like to wear.

I am shoving permission slips or lunch money into folders (hopefully the right folders) and french braiding as fast as my fingers will go.

Sometimes there’s yelling, or crying or sulking. And sometimes I need to remind myself to stop and take a deep breath.

I get to work, usually having done an okay job of pulling myself together. My shirt is basically clean and I even have mascara on—sometimes.

So, why can’t we talk about what it’s really like to raise a family and have a full time career? Why can’t we admit that sometimes it is just so hard?

Maybe it is pure self-preservation that makes us do this to ourselves. If it looks like we have it all together, then maybe it will feel that way too.

Or maybe it’s just plain pride—not wanting others to think we can’t handle things.

I point no fingers because I am guilty of it too. I sometimes wear the façade that says I am cool, calm, collected and ready to take on anything today. I am trying to make this all look easy, and, frankly, it’s just not.

Working in a female-dominated profession, I can’t help but imagine the possibilities if our mom worlds were open books to our work worlds.

Can you imagine if we all went around saying things like, “I was late today because I couldn’t find my daughter’s shoe. Literally, it took 30 minutes to find the shoe and I had to rip half the house apart”?

I have lived that one on more occasions than I would like to admit.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that my 14-year old son isn’t the only one sending his mother ridiculous texts during her meeting like, “Did you buy Salami?” or ”Can you take me to Best Buy?” Or texts saying, “I forgot my soccer cleats” followed by a series of repeat texts that just read “Mommy?” “Mommy?” “Mommy?”

So, I have decided to make a real effort towards this. I am telling myself that it’s okay for people to know what my 6am looks like and I welcome them to tell me about theirs.

As human beings, we often seek a sense of community and commonality. If we could talk about the day to day struggles rather than hide them, imagine what that could feel like. The more years I spend as a working mom, the more I find myself thirsting for this sort of camaraderie.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could be each other’s community, each other’s sounding boards, without fear of judgment or criticism?

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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