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Working mom for a year

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One year ago today, my maternity leave ended and I went back to work. My little dude was seven weeks old. He was fine, snuggling with the ladies at the daycare we picked, before I had even walked out the door. I returned to work at 8:00am that Monday morning wearing clothes that still didn’t fit right, with an overwhelming feeling of nervousness.

For the past seven weeks I had spent nearly every minute with Oscar. Snuggling him, nursing him and watching him learn before my eyes. Leaving him in the care of other women who themselves are mothers, aunts and grandmothers, calmed my nerves. Returning to work and having my coworkers there to greet me so early in the morning, with a bouquet of flowers and hugs of comfort, was wonderful.

Throughout the past year (and some) I have gone through so many emotions and changes. I’ve learned how to tune out tantrums. I’ve learned how you can love this slobbery, booger covered THING more than anything else in the world. I’ve been more terrified than I have ever been before. More worried. More tired. More loved. More needed.
I’ve spent countless hours alone in a private room pumping milk for Oscar for the next day. I’ve cried, struggled and wondered how the hell I was going to produce enough milk to feed him.
This kid is the best decision I ever made.
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Dear baby…

(I wrote this when I was pregnant with Oscar)

I sit here, nearly 21 weeks pregnant (still not gaining weight, but I’m totally showing). Being pregnant so soon after a second-trimester loss is weird. I was pregnant when I would’ve given birth to the first one. I held my breath nearly the entire first 16 weeks until I passed the time we lost the first.

Everytime someone notices I’m pregnant I’m asked if its my first baby. Technically yes, it’s the first one I’ve felt kick. The first one I got to see on a 20-week sonogram and the first one I’ll name. Is it my first pregnancy? No. But technically it’ll be my first child.

That’s the hardest part. No one talk about miscarriages. So many happen before friends and family know. In our case, everyone knew. We had shared the information with the world. So when we were told our baby died, we didn’t know what to do. How do you react? Who do you tell?

Once we were open about it and had our immediate families help spread the news so we didn’t have to, we found out about SO MANY other people who had also lost babies. It was so very sad and comforting to know that we weren’t alone.

In about 19 weeks, I’ll get to meet this baby, hold him/her in my arms, and finally breathe the sigh of relief I’m going to be eagerly waiting to breathe. Until then, I am going to count the moments until I get to 37… 38… 39…40 weeks.❤

 

Body image blues

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I was at Target and overheard a mother telling her daughter she couldn’t get the romper she wanted because it makes her “look fat.” This child was probably about six and looks like a normal six-year-old. The romper actually looked pretty adorable on her and I think she knew it. She asks her mom if she could “please have it? Because I really like it!” The mom sighed and sent a photo to grandma (she narrated what she was doing). Grandma immediately called and said, “no, she looks fat.” This poor child pouted as she went back into the fitting room.

She’s SIX. She shouldn’t be worried about whether or not she looks fat. She’s already being taught at this young age that her weight will hold her back (in this case from wearing the romper she so loved) and that her weight is something to be valued. Why is body-shaming starting at such a young age?!

In a society where wrinkle creams are being sold to barely twenty-somethings (seriously) and flat stomachs are the standard of beauty, why should this surprise me? Why, of all things in this world, would a mother telling her child she was fat be something that “grinds my gears,” so to speak?

Because it wasn’t true and was completely unnecessary.

There’s already an unbelievable standard of beauty that we all, men and women, face on a daily basis. Tina Fey explained it the best, “Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits.” I will never be tan, with a size 24 waist, with no hips, killer legs, etc, etc, etc. And I’m fine with that. I’m also 27-years-old, so I’ve had essentially a lifetime to work on my self esteem and self worth. And let me assure you, it’s been a long time coming.

No, my parents never told me I was fat, or ugly, or anything else. They didn’t give me unrealistic expectations. They let me express myself the way I wanted to. When I was a kid my hair started growing and never stopped. I told my mom, at two, that I didn’t want a haircut. So for the next six years, every time she asked, I never wanted a haircut. When I was eight, my hair was past my knees. Yes, my friends, I decided I finally wanted a haircut. So my mother hands me the scissors and I chopped off my braid (and about three feet of hair). It was so liberating! I got to make the choice that I wanted, which was to grow and finally cut my hair.

It was in that moment that I began to feel empowered and in control over my own external looks. Sure, there were many moments where I doubted myself and was made fun of. At age 8, when I was in fourth grade, I was about 4’9″ and wore a women’s size nine shoe. The boys in my grade refused to believe me, going so far as to make me take off my shoes to prove it to them. Also in the same grade, I cut my hair to a new style for me, a bob haircut. I loved it. I’ll never forget the day I went to school and one of the popular boys didn’t recognize me. He walked straight toward me, going “hey, nice haircut!” When I turned and smiled, because I thought he was complimenting me, his face fell so fast and he quickly turned and walked away. My fourth-grade self was very impressionable and hurt by this.

When I was in my 20s, a former coworked used to make comments about what I was wearing every day. She made fun of my Halloween socks, my necklaces,pretty much everything. She told me that I was only worth 1 carat, while she was worth 5. Seriously. Those were words that came out of her mouth.

It has taken me nearly my entire life to be OK with myself, my body and my looks. Much like everyone else in the world, I am insecure and have things I dislike. But I’m working on it. Today, my hair looked good. That’s a step in the right direction.

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[Almost] One year later

After my doozy of a last post, almost a year ago, I’m just coming back to add a quick update for those people who may come across this site during a search, or who still follow it.

Two weeks ago Joe and I welcomed our son, Oscar, into the world. We were extremely lucky this time around- I had zero complications, minimal morning sickness, and a pretty uneventful pregnancy.

It took us six years of marriage to get to this point, the point where we’re sleep deprived, surrounded by dirty diapers, newborn clothes and pacifiers. But we’re loving every minute of it.

I’ll reiterated what I said a year ago, though. You never truly know anyone else’s experiences. I suffered a loss, took it hard, dealt with it the best way I could. Joe and I ended up moving into our house on what would’ve been the first baby’s due date. Oscar arrived almost EXACTLY a year to the day I had a D&E  for the first pregnancy (he was off by one day). It’s amazing how life works. I will never forget the “could’ve been” for my first (supposed to be) baby. But I’m grateful every single day that I was able to carry Oscar to term, give birth and hold him in my arms. Some people never get to experience that. I am lucky, I know that.If you’re reading this and you’re TTC, or holding out hope for your rainbow baby, it can happen, and I hope it happens very soon for you.❤

 

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True life: I had a miscarriage

In March, Joe and I were excited and terrified to learn that we’d be welcoming a baby into our lives later in the year. We went to our monthly appointments, got to see his/her little face, hear the heartbeat and spend time planning what we’d name it. We bought a crib and even discussed how do decorate the nursery and what we’d do when it woke us up at night.

Then, at our 16-week appointment, when I was just beginning to show and could no longer wear my non-maternity clothes, we were told terrible news. Our baby no longer had a heartbeat.

There were zero warning signs. I had morning sickness, couldn’t brush my teeth without gagging (the worst), and was gaining some weight. I never felt cramps, never bled- nothing. As my OB told us the bad news, I was fairly certain she was joking. After all, I had been doing everything correctly, following the rules, taking my vitamins, and everything that you’re supposed to do to keep the fetus healthy. In the end, it didn’t matter. There wasn’t anything we could’ve done. The entire process was devastating and terrifying. I had to have surgery, which was a first. I’ve never had an IV in my arm, never had any surgery, save for a bone graft in my mouth, but I don’t count that.

In the span of 10 seconds we went from happy and excited to devastated and worried. After all, I haven’t been pregnant before, I had no idea what to expect. We knew a miscarriage was a possibility, but were told that it was extremely rare past 12-weeks (only 2% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage after 12-weeks). Joe was (and still is ) a trooper. He was more concerned with me, my emotions, my feelings and how I was handling things. I’m still not OK and still won’t be OK for a while.

We had told our friends and family when we hit 12-weeks that we were expecting. So Joe had the tough task of telling his mother and my mother. I laid on the couch and cried. I kept trying to remind myself, ‘you can’t miss what you’ve never had,’ which is easier to swallow now than it was at the beginning of June. My emotions are sometimes compounded when the few friends/family members who found out they were expecting around the same time talk about finding out their baby’s sex, getting to see their baby at their 20-week appointment, and mentioning how excited they are, because that should’ve been me and Joe. It’s hard to be excited for them, yet grieve for our own loss, you know?

All things come in time, I suppose. It’s been about two months since we found out, and we’re much better emotionally than we were then. Why am I telling you all of this? Why am I airing my personal, private information for public consumption? Because I felt so very lost in the month after, and still do at times, that I’m hoping I can give someone else a little comfort by letting them know they’re not alone. I know I’m not the first, nor will I be the last person to have a miscarriage. It’s not anything I would wish upon anyone.

Miscarriages suck. But you’re not alone.

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What NOT to wear on an interview

I’ve had to get dressed for my fair share of interviews. I work in a fairly creative field (communications and graphic design) so I’m able to break out of the “MUST WEAR PANTSUITS” model for interviews. I still tend to wear a blazer and either a dress, long pants or a skirt. I suppose I still have a uniform of sorts when going on interviews. I feel regardless of what type of job you’re interviewing for, there are some general rules you should follow about what to wear and what not to wear. Today I’m going to talk about what NOT to wear on an interview. Unless you don’t want the job, then, by all means.

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1. If it looks like something you’d wear to prom.

2. If it’s ripped, has holes, or is some kind of denim.

3. Anything short. If you can’t bend over without flashing your panties, save it.

4. General rule- if it’s shorter than an inch above your knees, don’t wear it. Some people are very conservative and that’s not OK in an office environment. (It’s always better to err on the side of caution/conservative until you learn the rules of a specific environment.)

5. Six-inch heels or heels you can’t walk in. Seriously. Just don’t.

6. A wedding dress. I know you want to wear it more than once, but unless you’re working at a wedding dress shop, not a good plan.

7. If it looks like you’re going clubbing or stayed up all night drinking, no.

8. Anything with sheer panels or cutouts. Save that for later.

9. Tops with words or phases on them. It’s great that you love unicorns. But you don’t need your potential employers to know that until you cover your desk with figurines.

10. Anything that resembles lingerie. Unless you’re working as a stripper or a lingerie shop. Then, by all means!

11. Sneakers or flip-flops. Or anything spiked.

Basically you don’t want to look like you’re going to the beach or a party or a wedding. You want to look professional and polished, and it’s possible to do that without sacrificing your own personal style. I usually pick something neutral, like a grey blazer, dark pants, or a black dress. Add something with flair and color, like a printed top or a statement necklace. You want to look comfortable in your outfit and you don’t want to give an interviewer a reason to not invite you back for a second interview. It’s always better to head off to an interview dressed more conservatively. My previous office was casual to the point where the CEO wore sweatpants, except when it came to interviews. If it was an interview day the CEO, directors and managers would dress in suits, dresses, etc. They knew they were presenting themselves as a potential place of employment and also needed to dress the part.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

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Shop my closet!

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I’ve been busy sorting and organizing my clothes and shoes over the past few days, getting some ready to sell. I have so much clothes, so little space, and I’d love to find new owners for the stuff I can’t keep any longer. I’m using the Poshmark app to upload the information about my closet. If you don’t have the app, but have an iphone, you can download it and use the code HCQAN to get $5 credit for yourself (and me!).

You can check out the things I’ve added so far and I’m planning to add new things every day. If you don’t have the app, but would like to buy something, please email me at smooreink (at)gmail(dot)com. or tweet me @redheaded. If you’re buying off-app please add $5 for shipping (the app automatically includes shipping to the purchase price).

 

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My dress fabric shows up as another dress and skirt!

Have you ever had one of those moments where you see something that looks really familiar to you, before realizing you own something made with the very same fabric? I wore this dress back in 2011, when my hair was red and shorter than it is now.
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I came across this dress and this skirt on eshakti and noticed the fabric immediately.

It’s the same fabric as my dress! So weird and yet so cool.

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10 things you must tell yourself today

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I keep reminding myself that it’s never too late for my dreams. Joe has been encouraging me to shift away from negative thoughts and talk, because I often fall into that “can’t, don’t, won’t” trap. It’s been tough, but I’m making progress and my mental state is beginning to thank me for it. Instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I focus on what I can. One of my goals for this year was to learn to be less negative and less critical of myself. Slowly, slowly, it’s working. And that makes me happy.

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Review: Influenster Spring Fling VoxBox

About a year ago Jenni invited me to join Influester. Influenster is a free online community where you can post reviews and you’re given the opportunity to receive free products to test and review. I finally received my first VoxBox to review, which made me mighty happy. I’m not a product junkie by any means, but I enjoy trying out new things.

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I received:
Tastykake Kandy Bar Reese’s flavor.
NYC Applelicious lip balm in 356 Big Apple Red
Secret Outlast clear gel deodorant
Osis Dust It texture powder
Impress press-on manicure in Over the Moon

I did not eat the TastyKake, but gave it to my mom because she actually likes chocolate. She said it was good.

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I tried the NYC Applelicious lip balm first, which I really liked. It wasn’t really dark or really red, but gave my lips a nice color and sheen.
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Keeper!

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I already use Secret as my deodorant of choice, but tend to stick to the “naturals” line and the semi-solid. Also a keeper.

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Next up is Osis Dust It from Schwarzkopf Professional. This product totally confounds me. It was easy to use (part hair, add powder, fluff with hands) but it gave my hair the weirdest texture. I used it on freshly washed and dried hair, but as soon as I added the powder it felt oddly rough, similar to how my hair feels when I have used dry shampoo two days straight. I used it to create a bump earlier last week and was pleased with the results. So far it’s a keeper, although I think I need to figure out how to really use it. My hair is so long and thick I’m afraid it won’t work as well for me as it would for someone with shorter hair.

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Lastly, the press-on nails from Impress. These were, by far, my least favorite product.
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The directions were straight forward and easy to follow. However, I found my index and ring finger nails were all the same size and although Impress includes 24 sizes, they only include two of each size. My middle finger nails are also only slightly larger than my other nails, so it was really difficult and annoying to try to find sizes to fit all my nails. Per their instructions, when needed I deferred to a smaller size.
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I don’t have long nails (I think they’re fairly short!) and I still found it difficult to fully cover some of my nails. I also found it awkward to try to do normal things, like unbutton my jeans, once all the nails were on. My nails were in pain immediately after application. I’m blaming it on the awkward sizing of the fake nails. If it were possible to get sizes that actually fit my nails, I’m wondering if they’d still hurt.
The nails lasted through a shower, dish washing and overnight. Once I woke up Monday morning, I immediately removed them because I couldn’t stand the pain anymore. I’m currently only wearing one pinkie nail, because I want to see if it actually does last a week. I don’t polish my fingernails often, so I could see using these for a big event instead of using nail polish, if I could ignore the pain.
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Overall, I thought the box was pretty cool. Only one of the products wasn’t a keeper, but I’m glad I got to try the nails. If you’re interested you can sign up for Influenster for free (I do not get ANYTHING for you clicking and signing up, so click all you want!).

•••I received these items free, from Influenster, for review purposes. All thoughts and reviews are my own.•••