Decisions, Decisions

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I've been having some hard times lately and I'm looking for some help/advice. No one said motherhood was easy by any stretch of the mind, yet I thought I'd never have to make so many life changing decisions so quickly.
First up, breastfeeding.... I quickly discovered this was one subject everyone is EXTREMELY opinionated about. When I was pregnant, I made the decision to attempt to breastfeed (BF). From reading all about the positive aspects of BF, I knew I wanted to give it a shot...but to be honest, once Caroline was born and it was go time, it was really overwhelming. From the lactation consultant at the hospital who was extremely inconsiderate and not-so-helpful to random people preaching their experiences to me, I think my view on BF was somewhat diffierent than others-I did not view it as something that was beautiful, but something I must do to provide CC the nutrition she needed. I felt like a cow with an udder, and it was exhausting that I was the only person who could feed her, 8+ times a day. It was emotionally draining and honestly, I didn't enjoy it. She latched on, was eating like a champ and gaining a ton of weight, yet I felt a disconnect because I felt like I wasn't being the mom Caroline needed because I was so concerned with just this one aspect of motherhood. Once I started pumping and others could feed her from a bottle, this helped A LOT. This gave me a bit of freedom and helped me get some "me time", which I have learned is essential for a new mom.
Now, we are in the middle of weaning from breastmilk to formula, partially because of indigestion issues she has had. This hasn't been an easy transition, as Caroline has really bad gas so we have had to experiment with all sorts of different formulas before we finally found one that works for her digestive system. She still gets 1-2 bottles of breastmilk a day, but I know in my heart of hearts this was the right decision for not only Carline, but for me and our family. I am able to give more of myself to my daughter and we still have that time to bond when I feed her...it's just my perspective and what works for us, but for other moms out there who have felt guilty about throwing in the towel on BF, this is to say...YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Then there is the decision that is haunting me day and night...going back to work.
At first, I said there was no way I wanted to be a stay at home mom (SAHM) and I couldn't wait to get back to my corporate career, yet as we inch closer to the day I am supposed to venture back (Tuesday, May 29th), I can't help but get depressed at the thought of leaving Caroline.
We have her enrolled in the best daycare, a place I know will take great care of her, yet in the back of my head all I can think is that I should be the one with her day in and day out...that home with her is where I need to be. We looked into hiring a full-time nanny to come to our house, yet when you put pen to paper and look at that financial commitment, it makes no sense for us to pay someone that amount of money when I could be there for free. For other moms out there, how did you decide whether or not to go back to work? I am stuck and so confused right now, and I have been praying about this decision a lot, since my deadline is looming closer each day.
Honestly, I need help and I am hoping some of you out there can help me see things from another perspective having been there as well.

- 56 Comments

  1. I am no help to you at all as I do not have a child of my own. I can't imagine how you feel right now as I am sure leaving your child is one of the hardest things to do as a parent. Follow your heart and know that I am praying for you :)

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  2. I'll be praying for you and your decision! I know it must be tough, but I know that if you truly seek the Lord He will give you peace over the next step for your family. Praying!

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  3. First off congratulations on your baby girl! Our sweet girl is almost 1 and I had many of the same feeling as you. I did return to work and was able to work from home 2 days per week. I will say now that I'm back working I'm really glad I went back. It's completely natural to be unsure of returning. I guess what I would say is perhaps give it a chance and see how it feels. Also don't beat yourself up with the BF I only last 7 weeks. Going to formula was the best decision for our family and I felt like I was a better Mom for it. Good luck and always trust your gut...you know more than you think you do :)

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  4. First time commenter...cute blog!!

    I've done both. With my oldest I *had* to return to work. It was so, so difficult and I cried for about a month and a half after I started leaving him during the day. That being said, he isn't warped or damaged or any other negative thing. His life experience has been "Momma went to work and I went to daycare."

    With my second (there are seven years between my kids), we were in a very different financial position (Thank you, God, for the end of law school) and I came home to take care of my oldest while I was pregnant with my youngest. Her life experience has been "Momma stays home with me and I go everywhere with her."

    There are pros and cons to both. Are you ready to give up the day-to-day stimulation of your career? Is being at home with Caroline something that you can truly envision in the long term? What are your perfect options? Can you go part-time or work from home a few days a week? Finances are always a consideration and that is so, so personal and I know you guys have already talked about it.

    In short, kiddo, there is no easy answer, but rest assured: Whatever you decide to do, Caroline will know that you are her Momma and she will love you for whatever you are - a career woman or a SuperMomma. You can do this!

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  5. I appreciate your honestly when it comes to BF I will be a new mama in November and am keeping my hopes up for BF. Your true bluntness is appreciated it's NOT easy and NO ONE EVER blames you for throwing in the towel! You are a wonderful mama and I am sure whatever decision you make about being a SAHM will be the best outcome possible for your little family! Good Luck and prayers! (:

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  6. I don't have kids, so I'm probably not the best advice, but I will definitely be praying that you have a peace about all these big decisions. I do work in daycare though, so I can say that your sweetie is going to be loved on so much while she's there! Daycare workers are some of the sweetest ladies, and if that is the decision you make, I think Caroline will do really well with it!

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  7. Tough decisions, I think it took me almost a full YEAR to get myself on board with the decision that I would stay at home. I never wanted to be a SAHM, but my daughter came 8 1/2 weeks early and that decision was quickly made for me (you really can't put a preemie in daycare in the beginning & I interviewed a few nannies but didn't feel good about any of them.) That said, it has been the BEST decision I've made. Sure, I've missed my work and adult interaction, but being home is what you make of it. Is there an option for you to return part-time? Then you might not feel like you were leaving CC so much, but still getting some independent time for yourself (which is SO important!!) What would your job opportunities be 6 months down the road - would you have to find something new? Could you work from home? It's scary, I know. You just have to trust what feels right for you and your family. Best of luck sweetie!

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  8. I really appreciate your insight and honesty with regard to BF. I'm trying to keep an open mind for when that time comes but already know how exhausting it can be. It will be interesting to see how it turns out for us. As for working...I hear you! Is there any way you can go back part time? Or work from home at first? I am hoping/planning to do that at the end of my leave to help with the transition. Let us know what you decide.

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  9. All of this anxiety, being a Momma is definitely harder than it looks. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels this way about work, breastfeeding, and all the other Mommy struggles! I'm still exclusively breastfeeding but trying to find some me time for myself! Your honesty is very accurate.

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  10. Are you able to work at home at all? I know that for me going back was easier after I had the conversation with my manager that I would need to work at home 1-2 days a week. (It was 2 until she turned 1). I still have childcare in my home on the days I work from home, but it is so nice to be able to see my baby when I go on a break or have lunch with her!

    The only other suggestion that I have, and this may not work for all companies, but my husband and I both have flexible hours at ours. So, I leave for work early in the morning, around 6. This is so nice because the baby is still sleeping, so I don't have to feel guilty with her crying, and then he does the morning shift and takes care of taking her to childcare. This way, I am home earlier and she has 2 less hours at daycare. Maybe this could be an option?

    It is so hard to go back at first, but you just have to do what works for your family and know you are a great mom no matter what you decide! You will cherish all of her moments and be there for her no matter what! Once you get through the first week, it does get easier :)

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  11. You are a great momma! We had to give up breastfeeding due to tummy troubles too. It made for a much happier baby and momma.

    From a working mom's perspective, I TRULY enjoy it. I struggled so much with the thought of daycare, ESPECIALLY because of my daughter's tummy troubles. But I can now say that we are past our struggles and working was the best decision for me. I think I am a better mom because I work. Does that make sense? There is something about working that makes you treasure each and every moment you have with your daughter even more. Sometimes I feel guilty for saying this, but I enjoy the break that work provides me sometimes! And like I said, I am a better mom because of it. If I was home with her all day every day, I might go a little crazy. There are many positives to daycare, and if it's a good one like you say, she will learn so much! Of course, there are benefits to staying home too! You don't miss any of the milestones are YOU are the one that takes care of her. Ultimately, you can't go wrong with your decision. You could always try working, and if you absolutely hate it, then put in your resignation and stay home! Keep praying girl!

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  12. First off not breast feeding is YOUR choice! I personally just finished a year of breast feeding only. It was a challenge but a great decision for our family. I think you made the right choice for you! That is all that matters!

    Returning to work is hard! I returned part time (2 days) a week. My husband and I set a short term goal of trying work for a month and seeing how I felt. I personally needed the challenge and goal oriented work place. I've been back at work for a year part time and have enjoyed working. My daughter goes to work with daddy or stays with the grandparents when I work and they love this bonding! I love that she has a great relationship with the family.

    However I am trying to get pregnant with number two and don't know if I will return after I have the second.

    If you do go back it is sad at first it takes a couple days to weeks to get adjusted.

    I thought I read somewhere that you were thinking about starting your own business. If this is true that might give you the work outlet you need. Might be a win-win for you. Now might be the perfect sign to start

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  13. You are doing a great job it sounds like! I almost gave up BF so many times because it was so exhausting. What matters most is that Caroline has a happy mommy. Regarding going back to work, I really had no choice. I thought I would have no problem going back to work, so we bought our house and cars assuming we would have my income {not smart}. I want nothing more than to be able to stay home with my little girl, but it's just best if I work for a few more years. On the positive side of this, we are dumping most of my income into paying off our house and cars so when I am able to stay home in a few years, everything will be paid off. So there are pros and cons, you just have to do what feels right in your heart and makes sense for your family. You could always try going back to work, and if you're completely miserable decide to quit. Good luck with your decision making =)

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  14. oh I forgot to mention that I went back full time, and later decreased to 4 days a week and it made it a little easier. I thought there was no way my bosses would go for it, but I prayed and prayed and prayed for them to have a good reaction when I asked, and I was not met with any opposition.

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  15. I'm not a mom so I won't offer any advice, but as a friend, I just hope for you to get some peace with whatever decision's that you make. You've got a lot of great people surrounding you and will make sure that you make the right choice for you, Jeff, and Caroline. xoxo

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  16. I don't have a child yet, but I have already thought plenty on how it would be to be a SAHM vs going back to work. I always said I could NEVER be a SAHM, but after seeing my best friend with her little one..I don't know how I would ever be able to leave mine. I think it's a hard decision and in the end you have to do what you feel is right. Definitely appreciate the insight on the BF as I've always been one to think of it in a similar fashion as you. In the end you are a great mommy and I'm sure whatever decisions you make will be the right ones for you and your family.

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  17. BFing is not easy. I felt the same way about it in the beginning.

    I am a SAHM, something my husband and I always hoped I would be able to be. In the beginning I felt a little sad about leaving my career behind and I missed the responsibility and rewards (money and praise). but as Owen and I continued to bond I knew the best place for him was with me. When he's all crazy and having a melt down and just needs smoothing who do I want to be doing it? Me or someone who is doing it as a "job"? I also want to be able to take him out ro Gymbore classes, to the park and to playmates when he is a bit older. I plant to go back to work maybe even part time eventually but right now this is what is best for my family.

    I hope you can find peace in whatever decision you make!! You're a great mom!

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  18. As far as breastfeeding goes, the best advice I've ever heard given to new mothers...."Don't listen to anyone's advice"....haha! Just do what's best for you and Caroline!

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  19. Thank you for being brave enough to write down what most moms feel those first few months of their child's life! When my daughter was born, I was deadset on breastfeeding, as I thought that is what I should do because everyone else was. What I didn't know was it was very lonely and I often felt guilty if her belly was upset or she was extra cranky, etc (always wondering, did I not feed her enough, was it something I ate....you know). I did stick it out and at the end I'm glad I did but it was HARD! I wish I had known that so I wouldn't have felt so guilty about my feelings about it.
    Staying home vs. working was another hard decision. When she was first born I wanted to go back to work so bad! I knew how to do my job (I was a teacher) but I didn't have a clue how to take care of a newborn. I took one semester off and by the time I was supposed to go back I didn't want to anymore! We were in a routine, I knew her, she knew me, etc. I worked until her triplet brothers were born three years later. Then it was a no brainer (daycare for four...no thanks). There are days I love being home with them. there are also many days where I long for adult interaction and miss contributing to our finances and miss feeling productive in the community. If I could find a part-time education job, I would probably consider it. (Best of both worlds, maybe?who knows!)
    I don't think there is any "right" answer that will fit every single family.
    As long as you are happy, Momma, your baby will be happy whether you bottle feed, nurse, work outside the home or stay home. Hang in there! You are doing a great job!

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  20. Hi Natasha,

    I have been reading for awhile but hiding in the shadows with no comments. This post drew me in as it is many of the same things I found I felt when my son was born. Mostly - returning to work and entering day care. There are good things and bad things (the only bad really being you miss your baby). We found that day care has been an excellent place for Brode as he has learned SO much, has the best manners, shares well, and loves his friends. In complete honestly I don't know that I could teach him all those things as well as they have being at home. I find that I have gone through stages with it - it is easy, then hard, then easy again, and then hard. Do you have a work part time option? I think day care is amazing for the development and socialization for a child and work stimulation for you is great, but doing part time to get both seems like the best option and what I've always though of doing.

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  21. hey love your totally not alone on the breast feeding. I have commented a few times and mentioned that I was only a couple weeks behind you (my little girl is 7 weeks now) The first week was absolutely brutal with breastfeeding and i shared the same frustration with the NON STOP feeding and feeling like one giant boob. My daughter eats all the time and now it has become much easier and pumping was a HUGE help it is still ALOT of work. Do not feel guilty and let other moms judge you. At the end of the day you need to do whats best for you to keep your sanity. What formula did you find that worked? We aren't going to be weaning her off yet but already nervous when that day comes! Best of luck to you and your hubby xo

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  22. I am not a mommy yet, but these conversations already arise between the hubs and I for our future. I think you will really need to weight the pros & cons of each. I hope your boss can give you more flexible hours or work at home days. It wont be an easy decision, but I think God knows exactly what's best for you - so don't stop praying! I'll be praying for you too, momma!

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  23. Good for you mama! I gave up BF after a month because it consumed my life. I would cry and cry when I had to feed her. Once we made the switch to formula it was like the heavens opened and angels sang haha! Such a relief! Only YOU know what's best for CC and don't you worry one bit about what others say! You're doing a great job!

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  24. Don't worry about not bfing!! It took me long time to be ok with it, Hudson (3) never latched & had cows milk protein allergy as well as a corn startch allergy. All of this made us have to buy ready to feed liquid gold at $10 a bottle. I pumped for 6 months just because i felt like i was a bad mom.

    As someone who grew up wanting to be a SAHM and was for 18 months and then worked for a year I must say I miss working! Having just moved from FL to TN I've been looking to go back to work. Maybe not fulltime but I miss the interaction!

    Good luck with your decisions and remember nobody should judge you for doing what's best for your family!

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  25. Hi Natasha,
    Thank you for being so honest about bf. My husband and I are talking about starting a family this fall and that is something that I have always said that I want to do but have hesitations about it. Hearing your thoughts have made me feel a little more at ease with the process.
    Also I hope you will keep us all updated on your thoughts of where you have decided to place Caroline in daycare. I am at the same decision point when the time comes and live in the same city and would love to hear what you think of the facility.

    You are doing a great job at being a mommy!

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  26. Hi!!
    Congrats on your adorable bundle :) Being a Momma is the hardest and most rewarding job in the world! I have a 4 and a half year old son and a 2 and a half year old daughter and they keep me busy!!
    Ugghhh. Breastfeeding. That was one of the hardest things I've done. I had the same feelings you did about it. I lasted just over 8 weeks with my son and 6 weeks with my daughter. It was extremely painful for me and even after working with a lactation consultant the pain did not resolve. I ended up pumping for a few weeks after I stopped BFing but I wasn't producing enough to make it worth while. Both of my kiddos are extremely healthy, only 2 ear infections and 1 bout of pneumonia between the 2 of them in their young lives!
    When I was pregnant with my son my husband and I were living in Madison, WI and relocated back to the Twin Cities, where we both grew up. I had fully intended to get a job while pregnant but there were not many jobs in my field and as a result I was unable to find one while pregnant. I was home with my son for 4 months before I went back to work part time. I work in the medical field and have the option to work part time and once my daughter was born I was so glad I was not working full time. With my son, I would have been ok working full time but with 2 kiddos it would have been SO much more expensive for daycare and my time would have been a lot harder to spread around. I know many, many, many moms that work full time and have multiple kids but for me, I knew I wanted to be with my kids at least a few days of the week! Plus, they really loved being able to play with other kids and it's good for them to be in someone else's care at least for a little while. We now have a nanny that comes to our home the 2 days a week that I work and it is great. With what we pay her we still end up about one paycheck (mine) ahead each month. My husband and I couldn't be happier with the decision to have a nanny! Good luck to you!! You are definitely NOT alone!!

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  27. I know you'll make the best decision for you and your family. Prayers. And keep your head up!

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  28. Honestly, I hate being back at work. Sigh. However, I have promised myself to try it until the end of 2012 (eight months). I needed to force myself to give it some time, especially since with law school I have a lot invested in my career. Plus, financially it is important to our household that I work. However, I work from home 2 days a week so I could have a nanny, and in a couple months I will nanny share with a friend. Also, I noticed that I was getting really worn down, so I am now working 4 days a week, and taking a 20% cut in pay. It's only been a week, but that is really helping!

    Like with BF, I think that you have to play around with what makes YOU happy. People will tell you that BF is best, or being a SAHM, etc, but above all, a happy mama is the best kind of mama!

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  29. Hey. No worries on bf. You have to do whats best for both of you. And you are right. It is tough--stressful, tiring, etc. As far as work...i was worried it would be tough and i thought id cry when i took her to daycare and i did the night before i took her but then that was it. She was in great hands and i was good with it. She jas done great. We started her out part time and then she went full time when she was 10 months. I worked from home on thursdays and she stayed with ashley moneyhun 1x per week. It got tough to be productive working from home when she became mobile. Do whats best for you all but i can tell you that im a better mommy being a workung mom. She has excelled in development because of daycare. I cherish my time with her but as a working mom im not alone. Im surrounded by other working moms at work and that helps a lot too. Good luck whatever you decide. :)

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  30. Both of these issues I relate to extremely! I kind of 'gave up' on the whole BF myself! It wasn't a pleasant experience for me at all. I felts like I spent my whole day at my 'milking station' It was depressing! Once we did the bottle, my husband formed a wonderful bond with our boys too, him being able to snuggle and feed our children was a must for us too!! I am a SAHM myself and I truly love it! We have a few reasons why I am a SAHM, 1) Child care here in the Madison Area is EXPENSIVE! I would be paying the same amount in childcare as what I would be making if I were working, and that didn't make sense! It's different for everyone and every family. You'll know the right decision for you and your family! Maybe try working for the 1st few weeks and then reevaluate then! You're a wonderful Mother!!

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  31. Oh, forgot to add something about the formula! We had the same issues with both of our boys and finding the right formula! I think we went through 8 different brands before we found which one worked best! It ended up being Members Mark Brand from Sam's Club!! The cheapest one too, crazy huh?!!

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  32. Oh I feel for you. Hang in there with the decisions!! God certainly direct your steps if you keep looking to him. Remember that whatever decision you do make it isn't set in stone for LIFE. If you do go back to work and after time you realize it's not working, then stop. You can always decide later.
    Personally I feel that like you said in your post, you are the best person to be with your daughter all day. God gives us our children and they are young for such a short time, if you can make the financial sacrifice to stay at home, God will bless your family in ways you would never know. Truly a hard decision, and whatever you decide you will fill tinges of the "grass is greener" mentality. You will do great with either choice you make.

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  33. I had issues with BF my little girl too. She wouldn't latch. It was quite frustrating and I hated it. I gave up on BF because I didn't want to be so concerned with it. We had issues with finding the right formula but once we got her on Similac Soy, she was the happiest little thing. I can't say I regret not BF. I know the cost of forumla is high, but it is so much easier and less frustrating.

    As for being a SAHM...I SWORE I would have no issues going back to work. During my entire pregnancy I told my boss I would have no issues. Now, my husband and I are trying to figure out how I can stay home. I never imagined how much I would love my little girl and how much time I would WANT to spend with her. I hate sitting at work thinking about my girl all day, wondering what she is doing. I know they are taking care of her at daycare but I want to take care of her. I would hate to miss the first word or the first roll or the first crawl. I also know that I am not nearly as productive as I could be because I'm always distracted by my thougths of her. Or I'm always googling a new toy I saw or looking for advice on cold remedies.

    My advice, try going back to work for a month. (I say a month because the first week will be absolutely horrible and you can't make a sound judgement based on the first week back, but you fall into a routine after about a month.) If after that month you still feel obligated to stay home, do whatever you have to do to make it happen. You won't be happy until you do.

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  34. Ahhh breastfeeding. I was neutral on it before Eli was born. I said we'd try it, see how it went, and then switch to formula if need be. In the end, it worked for us, but I have plenty of friends who bottle feed and their babies are healthy and happy and have a great bond with their moms. You have to do what's best for you and your family! The best piece of advice I got was "it's better to have a positive bottlefeeding experience than a negative breastfeeding one" - so true.

    Returning to work is a hard one. I'm in Canada and we get up to a year off with our babies. I'm so thankful for this time and dreading the idea of going back to work in the fall. Are you able to work out a deal with your employer where you work from home one or two days a week, or even return on just a part-time basis?

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  35. I always wanted to be a SAHM, my hubby wanted me to be too. I like working bc I can literally buy Olivia anything I want but at the same time being home with her is what my heart desired, so I quit my ft position with a long commute for a pt position a couple blocks from home. We could afford for me to stay home but right now this is really working for us.

    ALso, I hear ya on BF. I was never able to do this with Olivia but I pumped for 3 months. It was extremely challenging and I def spent time crying over it bc it is very hard but Olivia has been formula fed since she was a little over 3 months and it very healthy. She turns 1 this month and has only been sick once. :)

    You are right, no one tells you. i think it is very courageous of you to write a post like this!! I am sure you are helping other new mamas out there! :)

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  36. I always wanted to be a SAHM, my hubby wanted me to be too. I like working bc I can literally buy Olivia anything I want but at the same time being home with her is what my heart desired, so I quit my ft position with a long commute for a pt position a couple blocks from home. We could afford for me to stay home but right now this is really working for us.

    ALso, I hear ya on BF. I was never able to do this with Olivia but I pumped for 3 months. It was extremely challenging and I def spent time crying over it bc it is very hard but Olivia has been formula fed since she was a little over 3 months and it very healthy. She turns 1 this month and has only been sick once. :)

    You are right, no one tells you. i think it is very courageous of you to write a post like this!! I am sure you are helping other new mamas out there! :)

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  37. Hi there! I'm a new mommy too (my daughter is now 6 months old) and I struggled with both issues. BF'ing is HARD..whew! I have been able to pull through and now really enjoy it but it's not for everyone and I think you made the best decision for you and your family.

    As far as going back to work goes, during my pregnancy I knew I wanted to stay home with my daughter but we were not sure it was feasible financially - or if I did it would mean major sacrifices. When I was 6 months pregnant my husband received a job offer that was too good to pass up and we relocated from Maryland (where my family was)to Florida (I was then 7.5 months) which put us in a different financial position. While I was afraid to leave my job, the company I had been with for 7 years and my career I knew that full time wasn't going to be an option for me since my husband travels, he LOVES his job and we don't have family around. I decided to go back part time with the same company as an independant contractor and work from home two days a week. We have a nanny and it's working out GREAT! It gives me adult interaction and I get to be home with my little one..the perfect solution for us. Would part time be an option? If not, if you can stay home I'd do it but if not it will all work out. You're doing great, hang in there!! PS - Love, love, love her name!

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  38. I totally agree with you on the BF'ing thing. It's something I didn't really blog about because so many people are SO opinionated. I only lasted a month with my first but I am going to give it a try again. I have the same thoughts as you--it's a way to feed my baby.(and maybe shed a few pounds & save some money..ha!)

    I went back to teaching 12 weeks after G was born and it was so hard. I finished the last half of the school year with my class while he was in a great daycare. It was just something that we prayed about for a long time & I resigned at the end of that school year.

    I have loved being at home & don't regret leaving my career. It will still be there when I want to go back, but my toddler won't be. I joined a meetup group for Franklin/Brentwood & have met so many great friends with kids! Good luck making your decision!

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  39. Is working part time an option for you? It is always worth looking into.

    Also, I send my daughter on days I am working to a lady that watches children in her home. She only watches 1 other little one on the days she has my daughter. And, it took some looking into...but I found there were lots of people that did things like that. I like this so much better than the daycare we were originally going to send her to. It feels so good that I know she gets lots of one on one love and attention when we are gone, but it's also not as expensive as paying for a full time nanny to come to our house.

    Best of luck!

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  40. To be honest, I would not work if I didn't "have" to financially. My motto is that they are only young once and I hate missing out on things because I am at work. One good thing for me is I am a nurse so I only work 2 nights a week and don't miss much but if I had the choice, I would stay home full time. :)

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  41. Hi! I've never commented before but I really enjoy reading your blog!

    I decided to give up working after I had my son (he's 16 months now) and it was the best decision I have ever made in my life.

    I really thought I would miss my job and my co-workers and it was something I really struggled with when making my decision but to be honest I don't miss my job at all.

    Being home with him has been so rewarding and I really can't imagine not being home with him.

    I hope this helps you a little bit. Good luck with your decision! :)

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  42. I wouldn't give a second thought to the breastfeeding thing...you did it for several weeks and that's great! It works for some and not for others, don't let it stress you out.
    I went back to work after only 8 weeks...I thought it was going to be really hard, but honestly it hasn't. BUT, right now my mom is keeping her for us and I can see her during lunch so that helps TREMENDOUSLY. She will start church day care at the end of July (she will be about 5 months then) and I know that will be hard but it is totally best for our family. Everyone's situation is different and you have to do what is right for you and your family. In a perfect world, I would work three days a week or so...but unfortunately the world isn't perfect! Ha! For myself, I feel like I have too much invested in my career (law school) to quit now...and I enjoy the stimulation I get. I know each stage/age is very different with babies...but for ME, I found myself getting a little bored sometimes at home. (Of course if I was really rich and could shop/eat out/do fun things all day every day this would be different!)Of course this wouldn't be the case when she is a little older...but for now it is what it is. Again...I would ideally love to work part time (I think that would be most working moms dream!) but I am happy to be working right now. Yes, I miss her like crazy but I know it's best for our family/me. Good luck with the decision! I know it's a tough one!

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  43. Breastfeeding is definitely a full time job in and of itself...but either way your baby is going to grow and be healthy and you have to do what is best for YOU, so you've obviously made the right choice :) As far as returning to work...I just recently decided not to go back. It was a hard decision but once again, you have to do whats best for you and your family, and for us...that was to have me be at home. You've got some good advice here as far as exploring options (part time, work from home, etc) and those might be really great options if they are available to you. Best of luck in these tough decisions...motherhood is quite a ride, huh?

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  44. Switching to formula at three months was the best decision for everybody at my home. Do whatever works for you.

    I didn't just go back to work...I started a new job when Avery was 9 weeks old. I cried and cried because I felt like Justin really pushed me into taking the job. I've been pleasantly surprised. My school is 2 miles away from home and it is easier knowing that Avery is with her daddy or grandma. That does help. I've been given the option to stay home next year if I'd like and honestly I'm not really sure what I will decide. It's nice been busy and working. I kind of like it.

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  45. I felt exactly like you about breastfeeding. I managed to make it 3 months but once I quit I felt as if a weight had been lifted off me. Being pregnant was hard and breast feeding was even harder and I didn't realize how it was affecting my life. I became much happier and a better mom once i stopped. And I honestly think sometimes about not nursing at all if I have another. I was laid off right before I had sterling which made my decision easier. I have never looked back and love being at home with him. It is hard girl and it is different for everybody but follow your heart! Things get easier:)

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  46. First, I know you probably won't have time to read this since you already have so many comments but I have to give you my advice and input on this one.

    Also, thanks for sharing. I always read your blog and it's nice to know I'm not the only one who struggles with these things.

    #1 - Breast feeding was something I always knew I would do. I was taught it's the only option. That's just what women do. I never saw it as a beautiful thing either. I'm a very private person and just didn't think I'd like it but I said I would do it. Well, after being in labor for a million hours and then having to immediately breastfeed, finding out it's NOT easy, and then getting contractions again (!) I was in tears. My husband told me I should only BF if I wanted to...not because it's the socially acceptable thing to do. I decided then and there to do formula. I was so scared to tell the nurses I needed bottles of formula but I did and I got through the rude looks and was happy. Showing my boobs in public or having to be home all the time is not for me. not to mention, we had to feed her every 2 hours so I needed help! So my point is - you're not alone. I think each woman should do what they feel is best for their family.

    #2 - think about how you are - can you see yourself staying home every day all day? or do you feel like you will be happier at work? I know that being a SAHM is not for me but I still dreaded the day I had to go back to work. It was really hard on me but you get used to it - if working is what you want. I think you just have to picture yourself in the roles and then decide which you like better.

    I hope this helped!

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  47. I wrote a post about going back to work on my blog, after staying home for 2 years. I ended up going back half-time and love it!

    New follower, please stop on by:
    http://penelopeblue.blogspot.com/

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  48. Dear Natasha,

    In time you will figure it all out. You don't have to figure it all out today. :)

    You may return to work and then decide that it's not for you.

    You may remember what it was like choosing all of the little things for your baby and that you had to have it all now....only to find out that they are not part of the actual necessities when you bring your baby home. I believe that you are off to a great start....you are blessed....you have a healthy baby and you will find your place in all this.

    Take you time and be gentle with yourself. :)

    I wish you all the best! :)

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  49. I am right there with you on the breastfeeding. I truly thought it was going to be the most wonderful, bonding experience ever....and I felt so stressed out the whole time. It was so nice that my hubby could help me feed her. I only breastfed for 4 weeks and I feel like I made the best decision for my family. I do not regret it at all. I will try again with the next one. I too am struggling with going back to work (next week!). Ugh...I just want to stay home and love on my baby. I am a teacher so I will have the summer with her, but I'm not sure yet about next year.

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  50. im going thru the samething right now...he will be 1 month tomorrow...been to a couple lact. consultants and its such pressure! its painful...and so im pumping for now..id like to go at least two months, but we will see.

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  51. Natasha, I can only imagine how hard both of these decisions have been for you, and how much change has come into your life with CC's arrival. Not being a mom myself, I can't say anything from experience. But please always remember, no one person is the same: what works for you will not work for others. Do what is best for you and CC. And always your family is behind you 100% in whatever decision you make. We love you all!

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  52. Congrats to you on your sweet baby! These are just the first of many struggles that we have to face in return for the best gift on Earth! Isn't it crazy how a job can be so challenging, yet rewarding at the same time?

    I will give you my experience on the working situation. In my family, I am the primary breadwinner so for us me not working was not an option. But I work for a small business and they let me bring both of my kids (I have a 9 month old and 3 year old) into the office with me for as long as I wanted. Then we started with part-time daycare, then full-time daycare. Now I work from home 2 days per week and it really is a perfect situation. My husband actually stays home with them or they are with my family. That being said, my oldest really misses "school". She is brilliant (obviously I'm biased!) and sweet and social and a whole lot of things that I don't see in some of my friends' kids that stayed at home. She has always been Momma's girl but she is MUCH clingier to me now that she is home all the time and as much as I love it, I do miss some of that confidence she displayed when she was in daycare and had all of her friends to play with and constant projects. As with BF, it is a totally personal decision and one that either way you may second guess a lot. That is one thing I have found with my second child is that I am much more confident in my choices than I was with my first and I really wish that I had been that way the first time around because I am a good Mom and my kids are awesome and they love me and that is truly all that matters. Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves and think we have to do everything and do it all perfectly. Good luck to you!

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  53. After being a working mom for several years, I recently made the decision to become a SAHM. (My last day of work isn't until next month so I haven't started my new "role" yet). I agree with other commentors about the positives of daycare such as the socialization, routines, developmental programs, etc. I enjoyed the balance of being a parent and having a career. My decision to leave the workforce was based on looking at my life as a whole and what felt most meaningful to me & my family. Childhood is so brief and I still have decades left for a career. My husband supports my decision, and while he did not feel uncomfortable sending our kids to daycare, his personal ideal situation would be to have them cared for by a family member. What I reminded myself while debating this decision is that no matter what I choose, it does not have to be permanent. If after staying home for awhile, I find myself craving the stimulation of corporate life, there is no reason I wouldn't be able to return to the workforce. I don't think there is an absolute right or wrong decision in this situation. And it's hard to figure out what will make you happiest until you try it. I hope whatever you choose feels right for you, your husband, and your beautiful baby girl. And if it stops feeling right, you can always take a new path :)

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  54. I recently found your blog and love it because I live in Nashville and was pregnant when I found your blog. I just had my 3rd son a week ago. I think the BF thing is such a personal decision. I have to be honest and say that with my first (almost 7 years old) I was told that formula was like poison, etc. and I actually LOVED every moment of BF him. When my 2nd came along, I was much more relaxed and confident in myself as a mom and although I did BF, I gave him formula too and didn't give a hoot what others thought. He wasn't a comfort nurser so I didn't "bond" with him in that way and like you said, it just kind of felt like it was my job to give him nourishment. My sweet little Andrew is just 8 days old and even though I NEVER had a single problem BFing my first too, A will not latch on. We saw several lactation consultants, had a very strange nurse (Baptist) who told me Andrew was just lazy and I had given him plastic (paci) and now he liked plastic better than me. Yes, seriously, she told me that. We have already had to supplement with formula b/c I was so hell bent on not giving it to him that he ended up in Vandy Childrens with severe jaundice. Now, I completely regret not giving him formula earlier b/c he was so dehydrated and I just kept thinking he would be like my other boys. Soooo, don't you worry what others think. You do what is best for that precious baby. I'm really struggling with the same thing and worry what others will think. I have been pumping like crazy which is actually worse and harder than nursing.

    About working-I fully planned to go back to work when my first son was born. I was a teacher in Davidson County. When he came, I seriously thought I would rather live in a trailer then have to leave my baby with a stranger. I cried constantly and felt a desperation like I've never felt before. I needed to go back to work for our family financially but my husband also needed a wife and mother that could be present. I ended up staying home the first year and going back to teaching part time when he was 13 months. It worked out great. When we had our 2nd, I stayed home b/c childcare costs didn't make sense. I've never regretted staying home with my babies but I have to say that it is very hard when you do the same thing every day and don't have adult interaction or a reason to put on make-up, etc. I found the winter to be very difficult and the days seemed so long. I would count down the minutes until my husband got home from work.
    Can you work a couple days a week to get that adult interaction, etc? That would be the best of both worlds. You will never regret staying home with her when she is a baby. She can't tell you about her day and you won't miss out on a thing. Just think, it's on ly temporary and they are only little once. Hope this helps a little! You are so cute and precious and I remember everything you are feeling right now with the excitement of a first child. If you do stay home, try to make play dates once a week with church friends or other friends that have babies around the same age. This helps so much to talk to other moms, etc. You will form a unique bond with these moms esp. if your best friends haven't become moms yet. It's hard to understand how time consuming it can be when you don't have kids yet. Have a great time at the beach and thanks for entertaining me with your blog. It's so fun to read.

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  55. I had the same issue with breastfeeding my first two babies. I felt a disconnect and it was emotionally and physically draining along with the fact that I only produced enough to actually breastfeed, never enough to pump, so that made it even harder on me. I did continue to breastfeed until she was six weeks old and then went to the formula. With my second son, I was again not producing enough for pumping, he was losing weight and becoming jaundiced and it just made more sense to go to formula. With my last two babies, I went straight to formula because I knew in my heart I couldn't go through that again and people do tend to make you feel like a failure for not breastfeeding, which is ridiculous and I can honestly say my two breastfeed children and my two formula fed children are no different.

    On the SAHM versus working mother, both are a job no matter what people say. I say try going back to work and see how you feel, if it is too guilt ridden for you then you will know what you need to do. I did both with several of my kids and I was fine either way but I finally found a "happy medium" and do medical transcription from home so I am still contributing to our finances yet I'm also available to our kids 24/7 and can be at every event, etc so it works for me. You have to do both to find out what works for you and go with your heart on the matter.

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  56. Just stumbled across your blog. Amen on the breastfeeding front. It is HARD WORK. I nursed Emmeline for about a month and I was also suffering from intense post-partum depression/anxiety. I wasn't being the type of mom I needed to be, so we switched to formula ( I bawled my eyes out ) and we kept on trucking.

    I now have a beautiful one year old daughter who has in her one year of life NEVER been sick. Breastfeeding is great, but formula is great, too! :)

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