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With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it’s hard not to ignore the cacophony and reality of buzzwords–crisis, doom and gloom, economic downturn, recession, depression.

Times are rapidly changing—unemployment is in freefall, various companies are going belly up, the government is bailing out corrupted financial firms. I even had a heart-to-heart with a cabdriver last night about the stock market tanking. On a good day, cabbies limit the small talk to one question: “Where you going?” (No time for complete sentences.)

It’s hard not to ignore. But, whatever you do, don’t panic.
I’m no financial guru, but things will work themselves out; it has to, right?
It’s the time for frugality. We’re all making cuts; it’s imperative at this point.

For our family, as the price of gas teeters between outrageous and ridonkulous, we’re browsing for a more economical vehicle. We’re planning on traveling home for one holiday, instead of all of them. I spend Friday nights scouring sale pages for the best deals. I buy 3 different newspapers on Sundays, instead of 2—for the coupons. (Aside from the journalistic enlightenment, of course.)
Now is the time to reassess priorities.

…which is why we assessed that our family is always our number one priority. At a time when joblessness is at a high and people are losing jobs byway of layoffs, I’m quitting mine.

But this isn’t the time to panic.

After feeling so broken and defeated after 11 fruitless interviews for 9 different companies, I have to hold it together. As I often tell Jeff, if I crack, who is going to drive me to the crazy house? (There is a possibility of a carpool if anyone needs a ride.)

In all seriousness, even though I’m holding on by a thread, when push comes to shove, there’s got to be a better way. Thanks to Jeff’s faith in me, the stability in his career (not to mention his kickass bosses for acknowledging his sickening brilliance/hillbillyness {those characteristics, at least for my husband, are interchangeable}) and the moral support from friends and family, I’m taking the Leap.

Visualize Jack clapping and flashing that toothy grin.

When my career became a job, and the job became a source of too much anxiety and angst, I knew in my heart that having it all didn’t necessarily mean doing it here. As always, I have lots of ideas and I can’t wait to pursue them.

I’ve been writing a lot of goodbye emails to colleagues this week who, in return, have wished me well on The Next Big Thing. Once I get my act together–hopefully by next week–I will have some exciting announcements about The Next Big Thing.

I can’t wait to share, so please stay tuned!

A year ago today, I started out the day looking a LOT like this and ended looking more like that.  Despite my obtuse exterior, I truly had no idea how much my heart–OUR hearts–would grow that very next day.

As summer fades to fall and we start putting away the shorts and pulling out the long sleeves, our family is inevitably going through a transition of our own.   As much as I possibly can, I’m savoring the last few days as the baby phase officially winds down.

But alas, with a kid whose nose is like a running faucet and the overwhelming temperament to match, the past few days have been hard to enjoy.  Like most families with kids in daycare/childcare outside the home know, if your kid appears contagious, he or she is banned!  Since Jeff’s been working crazy hours and I’m faced with monthly deadlines (my last for this publication!) the daycare logistics have been less than desirable.  Jack has been with me at work 1.5 days this week, home with me another and home with Jeff for half a day.    In those movies where they glamorize magazine editors, they don’t show the part where their baby completely MELTS DOWN on Park Avenue during lunch hour for every Suit on the east side to see.  To get even more graphic, since I wear black almost every day, I’ve started to look like a walking chalkboard– you know, with the runny nosed, clingy kid and all.

And to think, I once considered black a forgiving color!

But, it is what it is, right?

In a few hours, we’ll be on our way to Va. to celebrate Jack’s first birthday with family!  Yippeee and ughhhh!  And quite honestly, it’ll be, what we hope, the last major celebratory event outside of the state in which we live—aside from major holidays, of course.  Interpret it how you will, but times are a changin’.

We’re throwing a smallish family party on Saturday at Lola and Lolo’s house.  And from the looks of it, we may have the tailend of a storm for even more excitement!  Cross your fingers that it won’t rain!  Of all the things that haven’t been working out in my favor, I hope my kid’s party will be spared!  We are not driving 700 miles just to have waterlogged Lumpia and soggy cake!!

Either way, it’ll be a happy day!!  I can’t believe our boy is going to be 1!

My mom’s been making the grueling 350-mile trip, twice a week, since I started working last month. We’re super-lucky. That, I know.

But, because it’s a family situation, nothing was never really defined; as in, how long would this arrangement last? What was going to happen if/when we move (away from the City)? What if I go nuts in such a small space with my mom hoovering over the baby? Just kidding.
But really? I’m not saying I don’t completely appreciate my mom’s gracious gestures of watching Jack as a newborn, it’s come to the point where we need to make some solid decisions about our future. We’ll be living in NJ for the long haul. And, as anyone knows that’s moved away from family, it’s difficult living so far away. But as it’s become more and more reinforced since Jack’s birth, it’s time for us to do things on our own.

What I’m talking about here is the arrangement of my mom traveling from Va. to NJ every week to be our childcare provider. It’s been a great ride, but I think I made the executive decision that it’s time to start looking. I haven’t spelled it out in so many words, but it’s been the unspoken next step for a few weeks now. With Jack being a little more self-sufficient as an infant, this spring, the plan is that we’re going to transition to a daycare scenario. I’ve researched the nanny route, looked into the home daycare scenarios, but at this point in time, since we hope to start off doing daycare in a part time situation, it looks like we may be going the out of home daycare route for now.

As much as I’d love to be home with him all day, I know that’s not in our cards– especially considering the higher cost of living in our area.

childcarecrisis1.jpgSo, on Friday, I started the daycare hunt– again. I have no idea what daycare is like in other parts of the country, but I’m assuming it’s similar.

Around us, daycares are structured like schools. Even the smallest baby has an agenda while at daycare. At the particular daycare I toured on Friday, the director showed me around and then described the “infant schedule” to me. Each baby was fed at their respective feeding time, based on what the parents suggested. They were changed every 2 hours on the dot. They practiced mobility, language, among other things each day. Since all the facilities in our neighborhood are in the 2K range or had 1 year waitlists, I chose to look at this daycare, located in a neighboring city.

Too far to walk, too arduous to lug a baby, I chose to drive over to the daycare. It was cold and street parking was at a minimum, so I had Jack in his Bjorn. When we arrived, it was late in the afternoon, so most kids were gone at that point. However, the few kids and babies that were left were all scattered around, doing their own productive little activities. The director showed me all the different stations and where Jack would be for most of the day. What was most interesting to me was the fact that Jack could be in a 4 baby to 1 teacher scenario OR for a few more dollars and much more peace of mind, he could be in a 3 to 1 scenario. Jack seemed to like the 2 teachers we met and bobbed his head along to their conversation. He drooled at the little babies that were around, too. I especially loved the way he looked around with so much interest at all the colors and lights in the place.
I left the daycare feeling a little relieved that the affordable places came highly recommended, the people were very kind and competent AND Jack almost portrayed a sense of approval. Having my mom watch Jack every day has been wonderful; however, even though she insists, it’s almost too hard to allow my mom to travel so much just to help us out.

When I first looked at daycare facilities last year, before I even started to show, I got a firsthand look at the mounting expense of childcare. Having received multiple emails after that post, and then going on to have many more conversations with other friends on that same topic, as always, we’re never alone. Childcare is so expensive, and with the media harping on the idea of a possible recession, I can already feel the tightness in my chest and I haven’t even stroked a check yet.

Our friend emailed me a link to this very timely article the other day. I’m sure many others can completely or at least, partially commiserate with my current woes. Aptly titled, the “Childcare Crisis,” I couldn’t have written a more appropriate headline myself.
The article basically laments about the mounting costs of childcare, and how dual income families, like us, are the norm, yet many still feel the crunch with the inherent expense of childcare in order to go to work.

Ah yes, it aligns with that work-to-live mentality. I can’t speak for everyone else, but working and then paying for childcare can be such a Catch-22. We have to work to pay for living expenses, thus we must pay for childcare. But what do you do when childcare eats most of your salary? (I mean, besides drink heavily? haha.)

It’s a shame that most middle income families, make too much to get help, yet it seems the middle income families feel the strain just as much. if not more. But still, it amazes me that there are people who continue to abuse the system when there are so many families who really do need help, not to mention the families that do the right thing. Like that dude I was stuck behind in line at the grocery store who bought a mountain of meat–over $100 in steak and shrimp–thanks to the government. blah.

Jeff and I moved away from families in search of better jobs and with hopes that one day, we would have the ability to care for our family. That day is finally upon us, so where does that leave us?

If I do say so myself, so far, Jack has been just fine. We might struggle with the distance from some family and some friends. We may struggle with long hours and crappy commutes. But, if all this sacrifice will allow for a happy and warm home, then so be it.

Now that this whole childcare search is upon us, all we can do is work harder to provide and continue to maintain a balanced home life. It’s such an upward battle, but then again, the giggles remind you that it’s so damn worth it.

Not sure how the weather is everywhere else, but up here, it’s definitely a winter wonderland. We had some rain, sleet, snow and then more rain today. All that wet stuff made for a messy commute. We’re supposed to have a Nor’easter this weekend, but we’ll see!

I don’t have too much to report, other than we’re all doing well and still transitioning. With me being back at work and rounding the corner of my second week back, I’ve definitely come to terms that it’s going to be a long road until we get the hang of all this. From work to my mom watching Jack to finding time for a social life to trying to figure out what’s next; I think all aspects of the transition is proving to be difficult, but most especially my choice to continue to exclusively nurse and work full time. I don’t have any thoughts on other moms’ parenting decisions, so I’m apprehensive to even begin discussing my own choices openly. But of course I will anyway.

Every spare moment of my day is spent prepping a meal for the baby. For me, after the whole calculated and medicated labor and delivery, I was amazed at how nature just instantly kicked into high gear. Many of my friends and family said nursing just didn’t work out for them, but for us, it was one of those maternal things that instinctively happened. And if I’ve done anything right (for us) in my short time as a mom, I feel pretty confident about my choice to continue nursing as long as it works.

With that said, by the end of the day, I feel like a cow– not size-wise, but utility-wise. My hormones are still pretty loopy, and with all the extra stuff going on, I think I’ve run the gamut on every imaginable emotion this week. Earlier in the week, when I bitched about how hard things were, I told some girlfriends who knew my woes very well. Having various friends that have experienced similar or the same things, makes the transition much less painful. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone!

Backtracking to the other day where everything just seemed to fall apart, I told my girlfriends this: I got home closer to 10pm and guess who woke up when he heard my voice? I can’t tell you how big my heart felt when he laughed and smiled at the silly things I said. That was the most amazing reward to punctuate an otherwise difficult day.

I can easily say the same for the whole week!

This morning, I had an unplanned crashcourse on juggling– you know, the balancing act that is life.  With a broken boot in hand, it feels like I bombed.

Not too long ago, I was reading an article that profiled some uber gorgeous model who was fantastically rich and privileged and worked long hours for being beautiful.  The said model, who recently had a her second child, said something that was surprisingly quite prolific.  “For most working women, motherhood and life is a constant balancing act.  No matter how hard you try, it won’t always be balanced perfectly.  Sometimes, it’ll be 40/60 other times it’ll be 30/70.  But as a mother, it’s your duty to recognize which falls first.”

I read this article while I was still blissfully pregnant, oblivious to how hard everything would really be.  I kept telling all my girlfriends that I was determined to make it all happen– the ostentatious career, the booming social life, the well-rounded child and of course that dynamo relationship with the husband.

Who knew that I’d ever take a model’s words to heart?

In contrast to a beautiful weekend spent doing holiday things with my boys, I had such a terrible morning. First of all, my mom’s bus was over an hour late, which in turn made Jeff late since he goes into the City to pick her up.  Once they finally get back to our place, I’m running around like crazy to get dressed, make sure Jack is fed and make sure he has enough food for the day since I won’t get home until probably 9pm. And of course, I go to make coffee, toast a bagel and sterilize my pump parts and the goddamn fuse blows.
Of course it does.

Meanwhile, Jack is peacefully sleeping in his crib, doing that sleep-smile thing he does so well.

So, here I am in just my robe and a towel with no electricity. The circuit breaker is downstairs in the landlord’s apartment and of course only Jeff has the number bc I’m a jackass. But you know what? Jeff already left for work.

It took about an hour for the electricity to come back on and at that point, I’m sure I had tears streaming down my face. Not only had I hung up on my husband because I was bitter that he could leave for work, I had thoughts of my magazine deadlines that needed to go out the door the first thing this morning… and all I could hear was that resonating rumble of the bus outside our window that came and went without me every 10 minutes.

Ultimately, I knew I had no choice but to stick around to make sure the electricity came back on. It’s not like I could leave my mom and kid literally in the dark.

I was disgruntled and exhausted and it wasn’t even 9am yet.
And just when things couldn’t get any worse, as I was walking to work, I noticed my heel was wobbly. I looked down at the back of my boot and saw the heel all ragged–it turns out, the heel on my favorite black boots had just died.

Now that I’ve had several hours to breathe and regroup (somewhat) I realize that I still have a lot of learning to do– especially in the “you’re only human” category. On days like today and thanks to some wise words from some very awesome girlfriends, I have to remind myself that it’s all about Jack and Jeff and making us work. 
The rest is just extra.

I made it through my first day back!  All in all, it wasn’t as bad as I had originally anticipated.  It was bad, but not that bad.  My friends at work definitely softened the sting.  It was pretty fun showing off how much Jack has grown since I first introduced him in October.

On the way home last night I had a revelation.  Once I got off my bus, I had 5 short blocks to walk before I got home.  As soon as my feet hit the pavement, I went running.  Well, not really, but I sprinted.  I wasn’t sprinting because it was cold and windy, I was sprinting because I could not wait to throw my door open and see my smiley baby waiting for me.  Of course that smiley baby was snoring in his crib, but you get what I’m saying…

My friend and I used to joke people in the city who ran to the bus or pummeled people to get on trains.  It completely made sense to me yesterday why these people did such aggressive things:  they were in a rush to get home to their Baby Jacks.  It’s true when they say, things change when you become a mother.   Mind you, I’m not running children down in the street to get on the bus, but I’m definitely streamlining my commute just so I can spent more time with my sweet boy.

Everything makes so much more sense now.

It’s hard to believe, but after 2 months of maternity leave and working from home, I’m back to the painful grind.

I was up every hour last night, not because of Jack, but because of the anxiety of re-joining the rat race again. Actually, I started the waterworks before I even got out of bed. Every time I looked at his chubby little face, I was overwhelmed with guilt and the fervor to *try* and balance work and family. I cried before I left the house, I cried on the bus and I cried when I turned that last corner before I got to my office building. Needless to say, it’s been a teary day. Jack obviously didn’t know why mama was sad, but his adorable babbling somewhat made it known that I was doing the “right” thing by jumping back into the workforce.

I know I’m not the first mom to leave their little baby to go back to work, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier. I’m extremely lucky because Jack’s in the best possible care while I’m here all day (and night!) Having him home with my mom somewhat made that difficult goodbye a little easier. At least when I call home every hour on the hour, my mom doesn’t think I’m crazy… she knows!

It’s been a rough start, but I know it’ll get easier once I get acclimated with my schedule again! Now, the piles of mail and email– that will never go away! 17,000 emails and counting. Ack!!


My first week of working from home went rather smoothly. I even went into the office on Tuesday for a quick meeting. It wasn’t as painful as I thought! It was nice interacting with adults again. Even though I’m cringing at the mere thought of commuting every day and coming home when it’s dark out, I’ve already told a few people, it’s nice to be home and have that transition. Since I’m working the whole day on the computer, staring at him through the video monitor isn’t the same as staring at him while sitting in the chair next to him.

my editorial assistant

With my mom back in Va., it’s just Jack and me during the day until we go home for Thanksgiving. Because he’s a pretty good napper, I’ve been able to do my work without any major problems. Although, when it’s feeding time, Jack commands my undivided attention. After he eats, we take a few minutes to burp and regroup. It turns out, Jack’s a pretty good editorial assistant…but a pretty decent mouse pad too! haha.

Not long after he “helped” me with some work, Jack was back to his routine: snoring his lunch away! (the bouncer vibrates so you might hear that above the snoring.)

Well, I’m back in the saddle again. It definitely feels WAY too soon to be fielding emails and doing work stuff again! Oh well, it is the nature of my beast and it has to be done. Thankfully, the baby’s napping so I can read all 18,000 of my emails. Yeah. 18,0000!

As I check him out in the video monitor, I feel so guilty for not sitting in the chair next to him and staring at him sleep, like I have for the past 2 months. Hopefully, that guilt will subside as I get back into the groove. I guess I’m lucky that I can transition by working at home for a few more weeks. But at the same time, it’s work…and I have to be away from him, as much as I hate it.

Jeff and JackWe had a nice weekend. We didn’t do too much, just the usual. The boys watched football while I ran errands and grocery shopped yesterday. When I came home and lugged all 10 bags of groceries up the stoop, I stood at the end of our stairs and heard my boys. Jack wasn’t crying, but I could tell he was fussing. Jeff was soothing him, and it was the most touching thing, ever. Jeff was singing to Jack; it wasn’t a familiar lullaby or anything, but more like a normal conversation with Jack, but in a sing song tone. Yes, my big burly husband was singing to our boy. haha. I stood at the bottom of our stairs for a good 10 minutes to listen to how cute it was! It doesn’t get any better than that!

When I finally went upstairs, little did I know that Jack had been crying intermittently for a good 2 hours since I left. Poor Jeff! Poor Jack! Jeff and I are realizing that Jack all of a sudden is rejecting the bottle. He only wants me to feed him. Crikey! We need to figure that out quick, especially since I go back to the office in just a few short weeks 😦   Oh yes, Jack also got to meet another cousin–Nick– who was in the City for business.  It’s always fun seeing family, even if it is for few hours.

Alright, I need to get back to my 18,000 emails. More updates later!

Jack in bear buntingNot sure how it is where everyone else is, but it’s finally cold here in NJ/NYC and feeling like fall. Jack and I walked to my dr’s appointment this morning and he loved the brisk fall air hitting his chubby cheeks. It was cold enough to bundle the baby in one of his several buntings, his bassinet’s boot and use a blanket. Oddly enough, our hot baby was still balmy even though I was frigid to the bone!

Yesterday, Jack, Lola and I ventured into the city to take care of some errands. It was certainly a very nice fall day to be walking around! Jack did really well and even found some time to nap in between all the screeching sirens and taxi honking! The kid is definitely a city baby. We need to introduce him to nature eventually so he isn’t freaked out by those sounds!

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