A couple of weeks ago Tom had a work conference in West Virginia so the whole family decided to tag along. We stayed at the prettiest resort nestled between the mountains and had the most relaxing time.
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I have grown up in South Florida for most of my life. As a little girl though, I used to spend every summer in Pennsylvania with my father. However, after he passed away in 1998 I stopped visiting Pennsylvania as often. Coincidently, my husband Tom is from Pennsylvania too. (I am from Pittsburgh and he is from Erie, which is about 1.5 hours away from each other.) When we started dating I was over the moon excited to go back to PA and visit his family frequently through out the years. Having the opportunity to spend my summers up there as a kid combined with our yearly trips up north, continued to give me a taste of northern living that I just loved. I knew in my heart that one day I’d end up back in Pennsylvania. It was just going to take time.
These “real” thoughts about moving started recently after the birth of our son. After he was born we started talking about long term goals as a family. Both of us agree that we do not want to raise a family here in South Florida. Things have just changed so much since I was a child here and we feel PA will be a better environment for Jude (and our future kiddos) to grow up.
A few months ago we got the ball rolling. I went on a few interviews in both Pittsburgh and Erie, just to see what other opportunities were out there. I ended up with several offers and recently settled on a great position in Erie, still working in the field of Psychiatry.
(In case you were wondering, Tom is lucky enough to work from home so he can live / go anywhere as long as he has a cell phone and access to the Internet.)
From what I have seen, everything is much more different in the northeastern US in such a good way. People value family life so much more. They are less judgemental, have manners, hold doors open for others and say “please & thank you,” much more than I see here in Florida.
So, piece by piece things have been falling into place. Now, we can confidently say we have decided to make the big move up North!
We are going to be relocating to Pennsylvania very soon and I can not wait to see what this next chapter of our lives will bring us. Cheers!
If there is one thing you learn to appreciate more than anything as a Mom who goes back to work, it’s time. Time is by far the most valuable thing you have and having a good work / life balance is important. There are a few things I do in order to be able to maximize time wherever I am.
Have a schedule: If anyone knows me, they know I am not the best planner. I will wait until the day before an event to figure out what to do, which is definitely a fault of mine.
Knowing this, the way I stay on top of myself is to have a planner and set my week / month ahead of time. I recently posted a picture on Instagram of my new planner and that thing is a life saver. I am old school and have an actual paper planner. (I love stationary and the smell / feel of paper!)
Anyway, planning out the week before allows me to have better time management skills. I wake up early on the weekends, brew myself a big cup of coffee and while Tom watches the baby, I brainstorm. I think of upcoming events, things I need to get done during the week, and even schedule family time. For some reason, having everything written down in a planner in my purse allows me to not have to worry because it’s all on paper. Another benefit of having a “hands on planner” is that when an idea pops up in my head, I can whip it out and jot down my thoughts. I always make sure when I buy planners, the week is organized with time segments and areas to take notes.
Do your best: I always say this but it’s so important to remember; don’t compare yourself to other people. Everyone has their own issues, some are just better at hiding it than others; let’s be realistic here.
I tell myself all the time to take deep breathes and remember I am doing my best. Because hey, at the end of the day if you truly feel like you are, what more can you do? I chose a profession I love and also couldn’t wait to be a Mommy. Should I have to give up one to really enjoy the other? I don’t think so. And neither should you.
Don’t forget to take time for yourself: There are days where work is just brutal, mentally and physically. Tom can even see it on my face when I walk in the door. He has no problem telling me to enjoy dinner, go upstairs, draw myself a bath, and relax. Things can get overwhelming at times and it is so important to take a minute for yourself. Because let’s face it, at the end of the day, if you aren’t feeling well you can’t help anyone else!
And for those that don’t have a significant other, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people are actually surprised to see how much of a support system they have when they need it, family and friends combined. Working in Psychiatry I have seen people who feel very helpless and when things get tough, they are shocked to see how many people out there truly care.
I think pride is something we all battle with. We try to “tough it out” on our own or are afraid to be vulnerable. But then we are forgetting a crucial part of life, it isn’t meant to be spent alone, it’s meant to be shared. Don’t forget that!
1. Don’t compare yourself to other mommies: We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Let’s face it, some people are just better at other things than we are, and it’s okay. Focus on what you’re good at and embrace it. And if you’re up for it, see what it is that you’d like to be better at and work on that too. None of us are perfect. We are all trying to figure out what the “right and wrong” thing is and I’ve realized it’s different for every person and baby. So at the end of the day, when you lay your head on your pillow at night, if you can tell yourself your doing the best you can; guess what, it’s good enough.
2. It’s okay to work: In our society we are so full of shaming. Shaming moms for going to work. Shaming moms for staying home. At first, I felt so guilty for going back to work and leaving my baby at home but I know that I am working toward a better life for all of us. Tom and I both work so hard and want to be able to give our son a good life. We want to travel with our family, have great experiences, send him to good schools, and teach him about the world. For us, that comes with the price tag of me going to work and I’ve learned that’s okay. I know it also sets a good example for him that you have to work hard in life for what you want. No one is going to come and hand him anything in life on a silver platter. So if going to work each day shows my son that you have to work hard in life to get what you want than I’ll take it. (I have also chosen to work part time and for me it’s the perfect work / life balance. I still get to socialize with adults, do work that I enjoy and also spend time with my baby.)
3. Better time management: With working also comes better time management. I value the time I spend with my son so much more. I’ve learned how to plan my days accordingly. I found myself to be more organized and when I get home I soak up every minute with him. Looking back while I was on maternity leave, I realized how much time I wasted. Hanging at home, watching tv, cooking and what not. With a stricter schedule I am able to set time aside just for my son. We eat dinner together as a family, play, enjoy his night time bath’s and read books before bed. On my days off, we laugh and play so much more than if I was home every day. So for me, it’s a good balance.
But like I said, to each their own. Some mommies excel and love staying at home and kudos to you! (But it’s not for me.)
4. Don’t compare your baby to other babies: All babies are different. What one baby excels in another one may differ. Some babies walk sooner, some babies get teeth sooner, some babies talk sooner; every baby ticks to their own drum. I have read multiple articles about baby development and it’s hard not to compare your child to others (especially when all your friends around you are having babies.) As long as your pediatrician tells you that your baby is healthy and hitting it’s milestones don’t drive yourself crazy! It’s not worth it. The baby years are so short as it is. So sit with your little one and savor every milestone because I have to say, my son is 6 months old already and man has time flew by. They say life moves faster when you have kids and that couldn’t be more true. Embrace the sleepless nights, their first smile, the little giggles, the funny poop faces and grimaces because one day those will fade and I guarantee you’ll miss them.
5. Don’t be afraid to still live your life: Some people have kids and let them dictate their life. I truly feel you have to make your children fit into your lifestyle. If you enjoy traveling, travel with them. Going to dinner, take them with you. Hanging out at the beach, bring them along with an umbrella. Having fun outdoors, strap them on you and hike along. (Being safe of course.) Life is meant to embrace what is important to you. It’s all in our mindset. Granted, it’s still important to take time as a couple and have time to yourselves but don’t let having a child make you feel like you can’t do anything. My mom used to take me everywhere and I swear to this day the reason I am such a social butterfly is because she always brought me along with her on her daily extravaganzas.
Well there you have it! Little thought’s I had to share. Us mommies are all in this together and trying to figure it out. Cheers to doing our best and not letting the idea of being a “perfect parent” ruin how great each one of us really are.