To my coworkers: I leave work ‘early’ but I’m doing more than ever

Nothing forces production like needing to finish your work to head home to your favorite little human.

To my coworkers: I leave work ‘early’ but I’m doing more than ever

I work hard, really hard, at everything I do in life.

Being an employee, wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister—all the hats I am so privileged to wear, I wear with pride. In my twenties, I was all about balancing all of them—or at least trying.

But things changed for me in a big way when I had my son. My priorities shifted. The “other stuff” fell to the second or third or fourth place on my list. Everyone in my life understood, and respected this priority shift.

But the one place I felt resistance was at work. I’m not sure why that is, but my dear coworkers, this is what I want you to know.

I’m the only one who knows how I’m feeling.

In the beginning, I was pregnant, and so tired. A tired that was debilitating. And sick. But not ready to tell you. So you looked at me with side eye when I walked out the door.

You didn’t know at the time, but I drove home with all the windows open in the middle of the winter to keep myself awake. And then collapsed on the couch. I napped for 30 minutes, just so I had enough energy to make dinner and get ready for bed.

When you see me dip into the parking lot for 30 minutes, it’s for a good reason.

No, I’m not gossiping on my phone. Or taking a nap in my car (like I did when I was pregnant #sorrynotsorry). My mom is in the parking lot, with my tiny 12-week-old newborn son. I am his primary source of food, and he needs me. And I need him.

These first few months back to work are hard, really, hard. This arrangement will allow me to replace one of my pumping sessions with a real feeding. Because—Pumping. Is. Hard. And frankly, I miss that little guy.

I leave at 5pm, not because it’s the easy thing to do, but because it’s the only way.

I was always the type that would stay until the job was done. I didn’t want to bring work home. So if that meant ordering dinner to the office, being the last one there and turning out the lights as I left alone at 10pm, then that’s what I did.

But the second I gave birth to my son, my priorities changed. Monday through Friday, I only got two short hours a night with him. And I fully planned on soaking up every second of that. Even if those few short hours were mostly filled with dinner and bath and bedtime routines. That time was still precious, no matter what we were doing. So, I will have my computer shut down at 4:59pm and will race out the door to pick him up. I don’t feel sorry about that.

I should be the one to be there when he’s sick.

I’m not going to apologize for leaving early or coming in late because I had to take my son to the doctor. Or because I want to be the one to pick him up when school calls to say he’s not feeling well.

I’m his mother, and I think that is a pretty important job, that requires me to be hands-on. He needs my snuggles, my attention, my love. That is how he will feel better faster. Don’t worry. I will take care of my work obligations. But for now, you can find me caring for my son.

I don’t want to be the only mom NOT on the field trip.

These events are few and far between—so cut me some slack. They are as much for my son as they are for me. I need him to know that I am present as a mom and want to be there with him. I need him to know that he comes first. Before any meeting, or brainstorming session, or client call. HE is my priority. And it will always be that way.

I don’t value my job any less now that I am a mom.

It’s funny, I feel like I’ve become more focused at work now that I hold the title of a “working mom.” Nothing forces production like needing to finish your work to head home to your favorite little human. I’ve become insanely productive and can multitask like a champ. I’ve learned to block meetings off for myself so that I can stay on task and accomplish everything I need to.

In fact, coworkers, now that I think about it, this mom thing has actually made me a better employee. More productive, more efficient and more task-driven. I hope you see that, too.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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