Category Archives: working mom

How TV Movies and Moms Have Changed Over the Years (Guest Post)

Today’s Guest Post by the bloggers over at Sheri’s Berries is a fascinating study on the evolution of TV moms and is perfectly times for Sunday’s celebration of mothers. 

For many, the idea of a perfect family was quite simple, especially if they grew up watching shows like Leave it to Beaver and I love Lucy: a stay at home wife who took care of the household duties. But as the years went by, mothers started to take on new roles. By the 90s most of the TV and film moms were employed while still taking care of their household.
Shari’s Berries got really curious on the subject and researched the evolution of TV and movie moms starting with the 20s. It includes data about marital and employment status, the average amount of kids and even some fashion trends.

Evolution-Of-Mom_header

It was common to see stay at home moms in the 1940s, as their primary duties were taking care of all the household and making sure kids got a delicious home cooked meal. Few such as Doris Walker in A Miracle on 34th Street stood out as a working mother.  As the years went by, there was a rise in the amount of mothers who held jobs—and even those who owned their own business—while still maintaining a household.

There is one trend that hasn’t changed much: martial status. Although we started seeing more divorces in the 1970s (along with widowed and single mothers), it seems seeing a pair raise children is still very popular in TV today. Of course, it’s important to note that some of these moms’ marital status changed as the show or as the movie progressed.

Perhaps the most interesting data we came across was the changing roles of moms in TV and movies. While being a housewife remained popular in all of the decades, by the 2000s we saw a large number of full time lawyers, doctors, talk show hosts and some in the process of retiring. Let’s not forget that there were also witches, vampires, fugitives, which of course fall into the “other” category.

How many kids can a mom handle nowadays? It seems as though the years have stuck with one or two as the most popular. But in the 80s we had mothers with a lot more kids. Carla Tortelli in Cheers had eight, while Claire Huxtable had five and still held full-time jobs. Talk about a super mom!

It’s never a good idea to ask mom what her weight is, but thin was very popular in the 40s. As the decades went by, we saw a rise in average-sized women on TV that continues today. Cheers to curvy women! Our favorites include Good Times’s Florida Evans and Maria Portokalos from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Evolution-Of-Mom_build

Have you ever dressed up as your favorite TV or movie character? If so, you’ll realize that one of the most important part of the costume is the hair. So many iconic characters are recognized for it: Marge Simpson, Peggy Bundy, Katie Bueller—the list is endless. As time goes by, we see more of a classic, long wavy look.

Which era did you grow up in, and what TV and movie do you remember most?

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Filed under Female Empowerment, Motherhood, working mom

A little more about me

I’ve always been curious to know more about what my fellow working moms do for a living so I thought I would expand a bit on the basics described in the About Me page.

What I do when I’m not home being mother/wife/horsewoman:

By trade and training I am a mechanical engineer. More specifically, I use rotor dynamic analysis to determine the potential for or source of existing vibration issues with machinery. In layperson’s terms, I determine why things that rotate (or have internal rotating parts) are shaking and figure out how to make it stop. 🙂

It’s been a rather interesting job over the years. I’ve studied machines that ranged from a reusable space launch vehicle to waste water treatment pumps.  There have been a few long time line projects but most are completed in a few weeks.  I have always like to have an immediate goal so this works well for me (I’m one of those people that takes pleasure in simple things like finishing the last of a jar of peanut butter.  Look I finished it!!  Now on to a new jar!)

I work in a small company.  Like it’s me and my boss and his wife (the office manager) small.  We have some off site people we contract with but I don’t interact with them on an every day basis.  This has it’s good points and bad points.  I’m an introvert so I relish the quiet.  However, it sucks sometimes not to have anyone to complain to about difficult customers or non working analysis.  It also doesn’t lend to making me get out of my comfort zone and socialize.  Thus I have been doing other things like rejoining SWE to make myself actually interact with others.

So there you have it.  That, in a nut shell, is my life for 70% of my waking hours every weekday.

My office reference book stash and engineering toys

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LIVING life vs just living

I watched a screening of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty last night.  I haven’t seen a Ben Stiller movie that I’ve thought much of over the last few years.  Some silly stuff that has been entertaining but nothing to make note of (I had to IMDB him to remember what he was in lately).  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is like nothing I have seen from him before.  It was like a love poem to life.

The story is about a man who goes through life doing only what he needs to do.  He feels so much responsibility to provide for his mother and sister that he didn’t do anything for his own enjoyment.  Instead he escapes into elaborate fantasies where he does amazing things.  All the things that he wishes he could do (and then some, after all this was made by Hollywood) if he could just get up the courage.

I feel like this sometimes with my life.  Ok, I’m not saying my life has no meaning or anything quite so depressing but I have often wondered if I am doing everything I could be doing to make not just those I love happy but to make myself happy as well.

Am living up to my full potential or just sloshing through life enough to get by?

Could I do more to LIVE my life and not just live?

Most importantly, how the hell do I make my quite, shy, introverted, self do it?

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Filed under Musing of Life, working mom

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit pumping…..

FYI, I’m going to be talking about my experience with weaning Evelyn so if anyone doesn’t want to read about nursing, engorgement, boobs, and lots of baby poop they may want to skip to the next post. I’m sure it’s about something cute the girls are doing.

As the title suggests (bonus points if you can identify the cult comedy I’m parodying), this post is about my decision to quit pumping milk at work during what turned out to be an inopportune time.

Just as I did with Rose, I had a goal to breastfeed Evelyn for a year. This included 3 pumping sessions per day after I went back to work. Luckily for me, I was blessed with easy nursing babies and produced the amount of milk needed to do so with no problem. As I look back on the two, year long nursing/pumping periods I can only thank my fabulous genetics (my mom had the same supply blessing) for letting me provide my daughters with a easy and really cheap food source. I have nothing against choosing to use formula but that stuff’s expensive!  I did have to cut out all citrus, caffeine, and alcohol as I discovered (the hard way) that all of those would give both the girls upset tummys. A small price to pay but man, I’m looking forward to a tall glass of fresh lemonade. Our lemon tree has been mocking me all year.

I have an extra incentive to stop this time as well. I’m going to Ireland in the middle of August with a friend and need to be totally dried up so I don’t have any clogged duct/engorgement issues when I’m there. That would be awkward.  Evelyn is such a gentle snugly nurser, I think I might have kept doing at least the evening snuggle/nursing session for a while otherwise. Once I’m done with that I’m done for forever. Forever! Sniff sniff.  <— by this I mean I’m a little sad but noooo second guessing on having a third.

As Evelyn’s birthday approached, I started to reduce the number of times that I pumped at work. Three weeks before, I reduced from 3 pumping sessions per day to 2. Two weeks before, I reduced from 2 to 1. The last week, as you can imagine, I went to 1. On a side note, while I am going to miss the evening and morning nursing sessions, I was waiting with baited breath to stop pumping. Totally worth it but man, work is crazy and taking 20 minutes out of my day 3 times a day was really getting difficult. Besides not being sure when I would have a chance to check Twitter anymore at work, I was very happy to pack those pump supplies up and take them home that Friday. By reducing slowly like I did, I only had minor discomfort and no engorgement/clogged duct issues.  Yay!

So then…. three days before my last pumping day Evelyn woke with a little fever. She didn’t seem to be too bad although we noticed that she pooped a few more times then normal. By Friday she still had a fever and the increased pooping had turned into diarrhea along with a decreased appetite. As the fever was a little high even with Advil, and the poop kept coming we took her into the doc. On the way, she threw up. Lovely. The doc said it was most likely Hand Foot and Mouth as her throat was a raw and the strain this year included a tummy issue. Fun times.

Because of her sore throat and tummy ichyness, the only thing she would put in her tummy was milk. And only straight from the source. And only for 5 minutes at a time. And often. Anyone who has nursed before knows where this is going. I went from my boobs being adjusted to being totally drained only 3 times a day to a small overly warm creature simply sipping for 5 minutes every hour for 2 days straight. Then I went back to work on Monday where I no longer had a pump. Whomp.

To say I looked like I had taken my lunch hour to get a boob job by the end of the day would be an accurate description. And then Monday night Evelyn would wake to nurse a little every hour or so all night. Then repeat the next day. And the next. And the next. By the middle of the week her poops were looking/smelling like newborn due to a diet of only breast milk for so long. Finally on Friday she woke with no fever, started having regularish looking poops and took up eating everything in sight. By then my body was so confused it didn’t know what to do. No pumping/nursing all day then tons of milk production at night. My hormones were off the charts let alone a clogged duct or two.

Now another week later, thank goodness things are back to normal both with Evelyn’s illness (which turned out to be a virus and not HFM) and my boobs. I can go all day or night without getting really uncomfortable but still produce enough milk for Evelyn on the morning and evening nursing sessions.

Soon I will drop those sessions too. That will be a little sad. I love the baby snuggles and the look of a milk drunk baby breathing gently in my arms. But the next chapter and Ireland awaits. 🙂

 It’s going to be hard to say no to this face.wpid-20130703_183553.jpg

 

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Filed under breastfeeding, Evelyn, working mom

Making Changes

For almost 3.5 years now Rose (and now Evelyn) have been going to the same daycare.  Jenny was a family friend and we knew she did in home care so when it came time to look around and pick a place for Rose she was already on the list.  We looked at big places, we looked at small places, we looked at expensive places and we looked at cheap places but we always came back to her.  She had been my mom’s friend since she was a Care Bear (teaching assistant) through her high school in my mom’s classroom.  While I had only met her during social things, I figured my mom’s judge of character was pretty good.  Plus, I had met and liked her kids which I think says a lot about a children’s caregiver.

This was one of the best decisions we could have made for Rose (and eventually Evelyn).  While my working mommy guilt would never leave, it made my heart feel good to know that she was being “raised” during the day in such a loving environment.  By loving I mean that she truly loves my kids.  And her family loves my kids.  And they love them in return.  It’s like they were being cared for by family without them actually being family.  I can’t tell you have many times Rose would just about kick me out the door in the morning and cry when she had to leave.  It was like pulling teeth to get her out the door.  Heck, last night she spent the night at “her Nenny’s” house just because.  If there is anyone in the area that needs childcare or after school care for their kids, her house is the place to be!

Rose and her “Nenny” at Rose’s 2nd Birthday Party

Jen and Rose Blog

 

And now for the big “However”.  However, when my mom retired, she started to take Rose for the day here and there.  Then it was a steady one day a week.  Then it was two.  Then she started to take Evelyn one day a week…. You see where this is going.  My mom decided a month or so ago that she wanted to watch the girls every day during the week.  She will get to watch her granddaughters grow every day and be able to help in shaping their sharp little minds.  She was a fabulous teacher to a classroom full of elementary school children and I know that she is going to be a fabulous teacher in her new little classroom of two.  She is already planning all of the “field trips” and such she is going to take them on.  Luckily for her, my dad is understanding of her desire to do this.  Of course it helps a little that he adores his granddaughters.

So with a heavy heart, today was the last day I picked my girls up from Jenny’s house.  I won’t lie and say that a tear didn’t fall as I drove away.  Luckily it will not be the last time Jenny and her family will be in my kids life, through parties, babysitting and hopefully her being available when my parents are on vacation, there will be more “Nenny, Megan, Kelly, and B” times to be had.

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Filed under daycare, Evelyn, Rose, working mom

Taking a Me (and Evelyn) Day

I work 9 hour days so that I can take every other Friday off without loosing some of my income.  This means getting to work at 7am every morning and working through till 5.  Most of those Fridays off are filled with play dates, errands, chores, and general running around.  This Friday however, I had been in a little stressed so I decided it was time to take a little me time.  Well, a little me and Evelyn time.  Rose was off galvanting with my parents at Dillon’s Beach (I missed her but I saw the pictures.  She was having so much fun I don’t thing she missed me much at all.  Ha!) so Evelyn and I took a day just for ourselves.  It did involve a little Target shopping but really, that’s no hardship.

The two of us slept in, shared a pancake breakfast, perused Target, picked up my new sunglasses (technically an errand but hey, cool new shades), shared some lunch (found that Evelyn likes Indian food), took a shared 2 hour nap, hung out with Daddy for a bit, shared some dinner, assembled a fan for Evelyn’s room, then did nothing else the rest of the evening but just be with each other.  It was fabulous for my mind, fabulous for my heart, and fabulous for my soul.

 Photo bombing an Evelyn selfie.

 Evelyn assisting with putting her fan together.

Evelyn snuggles

 Evelyn telling me she loves me.  The feeling is mutual.

 

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Filed under Evelyn, Musing of Life, parenthood, working mom

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Evelyn and Mommy Feet
Breathe in….

It snuck up on me quietly.  There wasn’t any obvious signs.  Nothing that raised any red flags.

Breathe out….

Sure I had been having a lot of stress at work but I could handle it.  Sure I hadn’t been eating very well but the nursing has been keeping any extra weight off.  Sure I felt more and more behind on home projects but summer is here and there will be more daylight hours in the day.  But but but…

Breathe in….

Then I noticed that I wasn’t feeling as well as I usually do.  Then I noticed that I was quicker to anger, quicker to loose my patience.  Then I noticed I wasn’t happy for long periods of time.  Then I noticed…

Breathe out….

Finally my body told me to stop.  Finally my brain told me to stop.  Finally I listened.  Finally…

Breathe in….

So now I step back a bit.  So now I reanalyze what is important in my life and concentrate on that.  So now I take time to breathe.  So now I…

Breathe out.

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I will do this

I will do this.

I will work through this crazy, busy, difficult, stressful time in my work life.

I will take these projects and work them to the best of my ability and get them done as efficiently as possible.


I WILL do this.


I will roll with the punches and take all criticism as constructive even if it wasn’t meant that way.

I will take that criticism and use it to better myself in the future.

 
I will DO this.

I will keep my brain engaged in high gear for the next few days until the work load is lessened and I can breath again.

I will understand that I will feel guilty for modifying my work/life balance for a few weeks in order to get this done and will be ok with that.

I will do THIS.

I will appreciate every second of the day that I get to spend a few precious moments with my children.  Even when they drive me up the wall.

I will come into work 2 hours early so that I can spend an hour swimming with my daughters and know that it is worth it.

I will set an example to my daughters that hard work will get you far in life.

I will do this.

I will hold them in my heart.
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Being your own advocate (even when you don’t want to)

My fairly non confrontational nature has always made it hard to stand up for myself.  Not that I’m a pushover, but it takes a lot of emotional effort to go out of my way to make my feelings known (especially to a stranger).  Luckily for me I’m married to someone who has no problem making those phone calls or sending those emails (thanks hon!).  This stems from years of shyness in my childhood that was only partially overcome through tons of effort once I realized that I wouldn’t get anywhere in life living in a self imposed bubble.
 
Sometimes however, like in the past few weeks, I put on my big girl panties, take a deep breath and stick my neck out to make sure I get what I need.
 
At the beginning of the year, I learned through the fabulous online working mommy community that insurance now covers the rental of, if not the purchase of, a breast pump.  My electric pump that I use 3 times a day at work was already second hand when I was nursing Rose 3 years ago and has been starting to sound a little sickly.  I took it apart the last time it stopped working and found a manufacturing date of 1997!  Thus started the saga of me forcing myself to be an adult and my own advocate.
 
1st phone call: To the insurance company to ask how I would go about getting a pump.  I got no details other then I needed to go through one of their supplier for it to be covered.  Cool beans.
 
2nd phone call:  To the supplier who turned out to be a middle man for an actual supplier (and you wonder why our insurance is so expensive).  They said all I needed was a prescription from my doc and they would do the rest.
 
3rd phone call: To the doc to get a prescription.   Found out I needed a physical anyway (oh joy) so made the appointment and got the prescription.
 
4th phone call: To the middle man (previously known as the supplier) who told me to fax over the info.
 
5th phone call: (Big girl panties #1) To the middle man as it had been a week and I hadn’t heard anything.  They said they sent the info onto the supplier and that I should call them (heaven forbid the middle man do it).
 
6th phone call: (Big girl panties #2) To the supplier who was totally unprofessional. First she didn’t know what I was talking about then suddenly ‘remembered me’ and said she didn’t have any rentals available for another month or so (so why didn’t she call me to tell me this!).  *Side rant: I totally support people working out of their homes (I could hear her kids screaming in the background) but please try to be professional about it.  Answer your phone with the name of your company.  Speak to me like a valued customer, not someone who interrupted you day.  Make your answering machine state the name of your company not just leave the automated message on there.  Sheesh! Rant over.*
 
7th phone call:  (Big girl panties #3) To complain to the middle man who said that the lack of rentals was a problem with all their supplies (why didn’t they tell me that before) and if I changed suppliers it would put me at the bottom of the list.
 
8th phone call: To the insurance company who said I could do a purchase instead of a rental (total pat on the back moment to myself for realizing I should ask that question).
 
9th phone call: To the supplier who said they could drop ship me a pump if I changed the order to a rental.
 
10th phone call: To the middle man who changed the order to a purchase (I finally got a fabulous woman who spent 30 minutes just to make sure everything was right).
 
11th phone call: (Big girl panties #4) To the supplier because it had been over a week and I hadn’t heard anything.  On a really weird coincidence, the middle man called me as I was leaving a message to the supplier asking if I had received the pump.  I think they lit a fire under them as the supplier called within 2 hours and said they would ship me the pump.
 
Phew!  That was, count them, 11 phone calls (not counting the 2 that I received) that I had to make in order to get this pump shipped to me.  Every single one of them took a lot of emotional effort make.  Every single one of them was needed for me to get this pump before I was done pumping and/or my pump gave up the ghost. Every single one of them was worth it.
*On a side note: I know by typing “big girl panties” 6 times I am going to see traffic to my site from strange men looking for pictures of large women in their underwear.
 
A thing of beauty

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The second time around

As the days before Evelyn’s birth pass by, I’ve begun reflecting on the differences between the my pregnancy with Rose and my pregnancy with Evelyn.  There are the obvious differences, a longer morning (or evening in my case) sickness period, aches and pains starting earlier, various parts of my body “remembering” what size they need to be for the pregnancy/baby and starting the process earlier (and to a greater degree).  But the most interesting change between the two is purely emotional and mental.

With Rose, I was focused every minute of every day on the changes going on with my body.  I anxiously awaited the passing of each week so that I could look up just what fruit or vegetable my precious baby girl was similar too in size and weight. Every twinge, every thump, and every hiccup was a sign that everything was still ok.  At all times at least some portion of my mind was on the alien creature inside of me.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t one of those pregnant ladies that relished every ache and pain.  I complained and commiserated with my fellow pregnant friends.  I was miserable in the early stages with nausea.  I was miserable in the late stages, anxious for relief from my giant heavy tummy.  I also had no idea what I was in for in the end.  Ha!  Still, a big part of my life revolved around my uterus.

36 weeks with Rose
36+week+belly

The second time around is quite different.  For one, I’ve been through it all before so I know what to expect.  Each new stage is more “oh yah, that” instead of “should I worry, do I need to call the doc, is this normal?”.  I worry less and just observe the aches and pains and changes in my body with a more detached air of inevitability.  They are just things that I have to live through in order to foster this new child within me.

Of course the biggest change is Rose.  I no longer can come home from a day at work and spend the rest of the evening on the couch, watching tv and eating whatever strikes my fancy.  Now my evenings are filled with cooking dinner for Rose, cleaning up after Rose, playing with Rose, giving Rose a bath, chasing after Rose when it’s time for bed, and spending the half an hour or so it takes to get her to finally go to sleep.  It’s no wonder that I have gained less weight with this pregnancy.  By the time she is in bed I’m too tired to make myself something evil to eat.  I spend large amounts of my day not really consciously knowing I’m pregnant. Well, until Evelyn uses my bladder as an exercise ball and my rib cage as a balance beam.  Then I remember!

 Rose on her Evelyn perch

I am looking forward to the birth of Evelyn (well, not the birth part but having her healthy and in my arms) but I also remember the things that happen after.  The things I had heard about with Rose but didn’t really believe because I hadn’t experienced it.  The lingering pains, the sleepless nights, having to listen to crying that you sometimes can’t do anything to stop.  I haven’t figured out if it’s better or worse that I really know what’s going to happen.  🙂

This time I will have to go through it all with a 3 year old daughter that I need to make sure gets attention as well.  I know I can do it, but I also am dreading it a little.  Still, I have a wonderful network of friends and family around whom I know I can count on when it all gets too much so I need to just calm these raging pregnancy hormones down and just let it happen.

Finally, let me say that even though this is the second time around, this whole pregnancy thing still both fascinates me and weirds me out at the same time.  I mean, there is a person inside of me.
A person.
Who is alive.
And moving.
And leaching nutrients from my body to survive.
And was created by my body (with a little help from Steve).
My body created a person!  Besides half of her DNA, every cel in her ever growing body is created from me.  CRAZY!!

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Filed under Evelyn, Pregnancy, Rose, working mom