mom who works

the joys and challenges of being a working mom trying to find "balance"

nursing mother, working mother June 26, 2009

Filed under: baby & kid gear,food,general — Deborah @ 8:49 am
Tags: , , ,

My recent post “Impossibly French?” got me thinking about breastfeeding, nursing, and working. I nursed my daughter for 13 months while simultaneously working full time and attending law school part time. I know, I know, I’m still waiting for my medal.

But, sarcasm aside, I am sometimes asked the inevitable “how did you do it” kind of questions, the kinds of questions I remember swirling around my head in the last months of my pregnancy as I was gripped by the panic of “oh my god how WILL I do it?” At the time, I didn’t know ANYONE who also worked full time and nursed, and it was something that I desperately wanted to do.

So here for you are some resources that I found invaluable in my quest to be the UBER nursing/working mom:

  • BOOK: Nursing Mother Working Mother. This is THE tome on the mechanics of “how do you do this” when you want to nurse and also work. It’s a bit preachy, bordering on granola-hippy-crunchy in tone, but if you can get past that you’ll find it can give you a helpful crash course on the basics.medela pump in style
  • PUMP: Medela Pump In Style, or any of the high-quality Medela dual-electric breast pumps. What can I say, if you’re gonna play, you gotta pay, and the Medelas are worth the price. DO NOT go for second rate on the one thing that will make the whole working mom, nursing mom package doable.
  • LOOK MA NO HANDS: Hands Free Pumping Bra. I had the very simple and sturdy Made By Moms Pumping Band (which allowed you to basically stay dressed and just velcro the thing on), but there are a number of styles to choose from. If you are lucky enough to have an office to pump in, with this sexy little number you can check email and keep working while you’re taking your 2-3 20-minute “breaks” to pump. It also helps with pumping while driving, see PUMPING ON THE GO below.
  • SUSTENANCE: Oatmeal, my favorite being McCann’s Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal. For those times whenMcCann's Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal you hit a “dry spell” a bowl of oatmeal (or two) a day can help keep your milk supply up. Seriously. Eat it every day for breakfast and you will provide like Bessie the Cow.
  • SUPPORT (of the physical variety): Bravado Nursing Bra. These are by far the BEST nursing bras. I tried the cheaper ones – ladies don’t waste your money. Pony up for 3-4 of these babies and you will be SET – comfort, convenience,  and not ugly. What more can you ask for?
  • MANUAL PUMP: Avent Isis Manual Pump. For those times when the “whir, whir” noise of the dual-action Medela is just NOT appropriate, and you need to remove some milk NOW, the Avent Isis is the best manual pump out there (like while flying on a plane, seriously!). It helps if your baby likes the Avent bottles (mine did) but I think they do have adapters for other bottles as well (or you could transfer the milk).
  • PUMPING ON THE GO: Medela Car Adapter. I literally have pumped while driving from Milwaukee to Madison on I-94, going about 75 mph, for a meeting. I have pumped in parking lots. If you are serious about being a mom who works and also nurses, you have to be prepared to pump wherever, and whenever, you need to.
  • FOR FUN: Beer, but talk with your doctor first (the lawyer in me talkin’)! No more than one or two per week, and not within an hour before nursing. The wives tale says an occasional beer can help with milk production. Something to do with yeast, hops, who knows? But it’s great to tell everyone who asks, “It’s for the baby.” Worked for me.
  • KEEPING IT COOL. Milk Freezer Bags. You are going to be such a good pumper and you will have SO much milk you’ll need to get one of those standalone freezers … right?! Right. So you need some good freezer bags to store all that milk in.
  • SUPPORT (of the emotional variety). Discussion boards for nursing & working mothers. My lifeline was the Working & Pumping Board on iVillage. YMMV. You can always come here, too, and any of the other great boards and blogs for moms who are trying to work & nurse.

It’s a lot, I know, but if you really want to succeed at what can sometimes be a challenging (but very, very rewarding) endeavor, then you need to gear up to make it as easy as possible for yourself.

Just think “mmmmooooo”!


back saver June 25, 2009

Filed under: general,mom gear — Deborah @ 8:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

samsonite rolling laptop case

I have spent the last 10 years of my life breaking my back lugging a laptop case back and forth from work to home and everywhere in between. Now that I am in private practice as an attorney, this is getting onerous because in addition to a not-too-light laptop, plug, etc, I am lugging lots and lots of paper files.

So I finally relented and bought a Samsonite wheeled laptop case.  What the hell took me so long! What joy to not have a twinge in my back and be breaking out in a light sweat just to get from the parking lot to the office. It’s also not too big, so it doesn’t look like I’m heading out on safari, either. You stylishly wheel your way into your meeting, cool, calm, collected, with everything at your fingertips. LOVE IT.


“keep cool” trick of the day June 24, 2009

Filed under: food,general — Deborah @ 9:16 pm
Tags: , , ,

Today it’s about 1000 degrees here in “tropical” Milwaukee, with about 1000% humidity. Seriously, how do you people in Florida and New Orleans deal with this ALL THE TIME?

Now, I like a nice glass of red wine with my pasta dinner just like everyone else does, but it is SO FREAKING HOT here today that the prospect of a “room temperature” glass of Chianti just sounded very unappealing.

Enter, the fridge. Yes, I know, wonder of wonders, the fridge. In my time living in Italy, it would have been considered SACRILEGE to chill a bottle of red wine. They only did that in America with disgusting wines like Lambrusco.  For heavens’ sake, they didn’t even use ICE in their glasses of COKE when I was there. So, looking over my shoulder to be sure the Italian “polizia di vino” weren’t coming after me, I snuck the bottle of Chianti in the fridge. For an hour. And do you know what? It was perfect!

Everyone – chill your wines! And enjoy. Salute!


bad mom hall of shame

Filed under: family,general — Deborah @ 10:02 am
Tags: , , ,
Radio Flyer Tricycle

Radio Flyer Tricycle

Our house has been overrun with too much kid stuff. We have toys and gear coming out of our ears. My daughter is an only child of an only child, so let’s just say grandpa and grandma (and daddy) go a bit crazy when it comes to buying her things. While I wouldn’t want to deny her, the first thought that crosses my mind when the next new gegaw is being considered is “holy crap where are we going to put this?” Let’s just say I’m usually the big party pooper.

At any rate, I was in the process of trying to at least START clearing out the basement of all the extra BIG stuff that she doesn’t play with anymore. Things like a giant plastic basketball hoop, and a plastic kitchen set, and the tricycle. Yes, the tricycle. Let’s just say that was a controversial move and one that nearly put me in the bad mom hall of shame.

Me, I’m the practical type. If we’re not using it, and don’t foresee ever using it again, then we should get rid of it. But woe is me for even considering decimating the memory of all the fun times had on that little trike. Let’s just say that while I think I’m being practical, the rest of the family thinks I’m unsentimental and heartless.

In retrospect, I should have been more sensitive to this issue. One of my most vivid and painful memories of childhood was my mother’s stony insistence on selling my favorite doll from babyhood (my lovey) at a rummage sale, despite my cries and pleading with her not to sell it.  She, of course, was the practical type. I hadn’t played with it in years, it was just cluttering the house. Never mind watching the doll walk down the driveway with a new owner broke my heart.

I don’t want to turn into my mother. The trike is staying.


ah, the challenge of “summer cocktail attire” June 20, 2009

Filed under: general — Deborah @ 10:08 am
Tags: , ,

Tonight I am going to the annual fundraiser at the Urban Ecology Center – an amazing, non-profit organization that is a national leader in environmental education (and it’s right here in Milwaukee!). So the invite reads “summer cocktail attire.” Huh? I have no earthly idea what that means. And on top of it, I am hosting several clients from work at the event, so I can’t dress TOO casual, but I don’t want to be too formal either. Just another little bit of stress to add to my day!


I am in love with Professor Layton June 18, 2009

Filed under: baby & kid gear,general — Deborah @ 5:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

No, not some creepy university professor, but Professor Layton of “Professorprofessor layton and the curious village Layton and the Curious Village” on Nintendo DS. Ostensibly, I got this game for my daughter for her birthday. Ha! Sneaky mom. I really got it for myself. And it is just as addicting as the ads make it out to be.

You search for clues in this mysterious village where everyone loves puzzles and brain teasers. I just tell myself that it’s like Sudoku and good for my brain health – yeah, that’s it. Just don’t ever pay attention to the page that tells you how many HOURS you have been playing the game. It’s really, really disturbing.


does social media save time, or suck time? June 17, 2009

Filed under: general — Deborah @ 5:05 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I will admit it. I am a tech junky. A geek. Whatever you want to call it. I am thrilled by the possibilities tech may have to make my life *easier.* As a lawyer who specializes in tech law, this can be a good thing for my job, but not such a good thing for my life overall.

All too often, I find myself sucked into a vortex of techiness for tech’s sake, and it can sometimes take awhile to dig out. Take Twitter for example, that media darling. At first I thought it was a fad, but that attitude is SO mid-2008. Then I thought, “hmm…I should maybe check this out, you know, so I can stay on top of things for my job.”  Yeah, right.  So I signed up and started tweeting, only to emerge, dazed, hours later, wondering where on earth the time went.

Does social media save time? No, I think emphatically it does not. It TAKES time to manage your social *you* – your Facebook wall, your Linked In profile, your tweets. It takes a LOT of time.

The question I still haven’t answered is “why do we do it?” Is it just to hear the virtural tree falling in the forest, to leave our mark on the great ether that is the Internet? Do we have nothing else to do?