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Entries in pamhuber (14)

Wednesday
Nov132013

{Guest Post} On My Own, Yet Never Alone

When E was 8 weeks old, I went back to work part time. But as I worked for an ad agency with networked computers and servers (and email, the best invention of all time), working from home was a total option. Plus, I'd always had side clients who couldn't afford agency rates, so between the regular paychecks and the freelance work, I had plenty going on for a new mom who really wanted to work from home. 

Around 5 weeks old. I'm amazed only 1/3 of us are sleeping here.

For awhile, anyway. Loooong story short, and without placing any blame one way or another, the agency and I eventually parted ways in January of this year. 

At first, I freaked the &a@#! out. No regular paycheck? No health insurance? Hubby was working for a local sports team, and it was definitely a job for a single 20 something, not a man in his 30s trying to support a family. But we support each other, because we're a team (seriously, I should make us T shirts for the amount of times we've reiterated this to each other the past year). So we talked, we freaked out together, and we realized that we'd make it work, no matter what. We had savings, we had motivation, and we had each other. And we had moms willing to help how they could—one subsidized rent, the other E's (incredibly pricey, but that's for another post) insurance. Thank you again and eternally to you both.

And then, because this is how things tend to work, a new job fell into his lap. A good union job with incredible benefits in a big company with plenty of room for growth. But it's also at the low end of the totem pole for now, so he's not making enough money for me not to work. 

So, that. Not working has never been an option for me, anyway. I've got seven years of full time college education, two degrees, and enough debt to tell me that not doing what I love and pursued as a career would really just be, well, stupid unfulfilling.

Plus, I love E. He's incredible, he's amazing, he's breathtaking. I love being his mom. But I am still me, first. I decided to become a mom in addition to—as a part of—being me, not to redefine my life. I have the utmost respect for women who want and are able to be stay at home moms…it's just not for me. I need to be creative. I need to share the talents I've spent the past 10 years honing with other people. And I need to do it for a living and feel like I'm helping to financially support my family.  

And so now I'm a full fledged small business owner. Sole proprietor, according to my taxes. I get to work from home, I get to work part time, and I get to do what I love. I've been on my own for almost a year now, and I've never been happier. I've added clients locally and nationally, small and large. It's been, in a word, great. 

Is it hard? Oh my god, unbelievably so. I work in an industry with deadlines, and I've got a 20 month old son with plenty of deadlines of his own. And his come first, but I'm not about to tell my clients that (though the vast majority of my clients ARE parents, as well as small business owners themselves, so I really don't have to). He has needs. They have needs. And I constantly have to find ways to balance that. 

Priorities, people. He's showing me leaves.

We struggle financially, seeing that some months I'll get 8 checks and some months I get maybe 2. I miss the stability of a regular paycheck, but we're making ends meet, so that's really all I can ask for at this point. Plenty of small businesses fold within the first year, and knowing that, I can hold my head up and say we're doing just fine.  

But I'm still really looking forward to daycare when he turns 2. Mama needs a nap herself now and then. 

~ Pam Huber of Seriously Yum

Need logo/branding help? Brochures or business cards? Invites or other event collateral? We recommend checking out facebook.com/PamHuberDesigns or pamhuberdesigns.com for more info. And Pam can always be reached by email at pamhuberdesigns at gmail.com — she's great to work with and perfect for small business owners (just check out our cool logo on this site!).

Tuesday
Feb052013

{Guest Post} Eleven Month Update

I'm too tired and stressed out to even begin making bad excuses for not having written the past two months, so...exhale...moving on. Here we go.

This kid is too much. He indiscriminately says "dada" and "blahblah," (but no "m" words whatsoever), waves at everyone at the grocery store (and starts flapping his little hand as soon as I open the bedroom door when he wakes up), claps while running around, eats constantly, and gives some awesome kisses. He also destroys everything. Everything.

He's like Baby Hulk or something. The things he picks up and lugs around the house kill me. They'll be as big as or as heavy as he is...laundry baskets, hair dryers, giant toys...and then he chucks them as hard as he can. Seriously watch your toes around this kid. I've been decked by The Joy of Cooking, hubby's been taken out by a curling iron. I'm glad our floors aren't real wood, or they'd be dented to all hell by now. 

"No" is hilarious. He understands what it means, and he'll stop whatever he's doing, but then he'll give you a ridiculous little devil smirk and sneak right back to trash digging or highchair climbing to get to the bookcase or running through the house while emptying the toilet paper roll—all with a HUGE grin on his face—til I grab him and pull him away/out. It's totally my fault for giggling. (Note: He knows that the heater is off limits. The important stuff is actually enforced.)


We go through a lot of books at nap time. Now that he's discovered he can turn the pages, we flip. I get maybe 3 words out, and he's on to the next page. Then we look at the cover. Then back to the page. Next. Next. Next. All done. Back to page two. Repeat. Backwards. So instead of reading one or two books, we now "read" three or four.

I don't care, he loves it. But that pretty much sums up most of the things we do all day. He also loves to high five, ideally in the middle of dinner time. What am I going do, NOT slap an eager little slime covered hand? Come on. So I'm covered in applesauce and slobber. Definitely not the worst thing he's gotten on my hands in the past 11 months. Buh. Said it before and I'll say it again. Babies are gross.

I seriously owe the Dixie Chicks a beer. I cannot explain the phenomenon, but Lullaby is the best song on.the.planet. We still sing it once at each nap time, and it's apparently not my wonderous singing voice that does the trick. Tired crying in the car on a car trip? Put that shit on blast and he's instantly quiet. And usually asleep before it's started over (because obviously it's set on repeat. We'll listen to it 5 times in a row just to make sure he stays asleep.) Also, FYI, it is possible to wear out an mp3 file.

As for me, I've started avoiding the camera. And the mirror, for that matter. I just look tired. My skin is decent enough, but the purple bags under my eyes are unacceptable. Tinted moisturizer may be great for people who have slept within the past 11 months, but it's not doing much for me. And I'm not leaving the house for long enough periods to put on full foundation every day.

And E's finally sleeping through the night, so I can't even blame him. Out by 7pm and up sometime between 5 and 7am. If its 6:30 or earlier, I can usually give him a boob and he goes back to sleep for an hour. The cat, however, has begun waking at 4am. It's a whole ordeal. (Hubby would like to interject that we have a cat for sale. We do not.) It's just the working from home when he's needing more and more constant attention that's killing me. My nanny only comes 12 hours a week, and I could honestly use her for 40. Or, you know, 80. Plus.

In not un-related news, I've also gained 6 pounds. Turns out not working out and only breastfeeding 30 minutes a day burns less calories than the 10 hours a day the first few months burned...so I now have to add "lose 15 lbs" to my to-do list. Rad. Why not.

The big 1.0 is next. How am I planning E's 1st birthday already? For the record, I don't really get the whole 1st birthday party as an EVENT thing. He's one. He doesn't care. I can give him peas and sit and have a Let's Wave at Each Other for 5 Minutes party and he'd probably be just as happy. (If not happier.) And my house is small and he already has a lot of toys. A lot. So we're just having parents and a couple aunts and uncles over for appetizers. He'll eat peas.

Seriously. He really, really likes peas. 

Photos to come, I'm sure. Wish me good sleeping in the meantime.
xo.

~ Pam Huber

Monday
Nov262012

{Guest Post} Nine Month Check In

Hey, so remember how I planned to write about my experience as a new mom at least once a month?

Hang on, I'm laughing. It's hard to type....almost...oh, man. Tears.

It's just that between working what's basically become a full-time job again as a designer from home, having a husband busting his ass at work to help with bills (and therefore not at home in the evenings to help as much as either of us would like), and trying to stay a literal step ahead of an ever-mobile baby, I have so much free time it's amazing. I just don't want to rub it in or anything.

I go through a lot of wine diet coke coffee.

Luckily not that much really changed around here in the 7th and 8th month. I mean, the crawling got faster (a lot faster), and teeth kept popping out of his skull left and right (there are 7 as of today), but it's been the last couple of weeks where things have really been picking up speed. Cause no big deal, but my 8.5 month old started walking.

WALKING. I cannot overstress the ridiculousness of this situation. He is putting one foot in front of the other and going. places. alone. (Granted, eight feet at a time. Still). And it is the cutest thing on the planet, let me tell you. He is so proud. And this is a kid who is easily impressed with himself. A giant burp gets a wicked grin from ear to ear. Finds the remote I hid for the 18th time that day? A huge giggle. Don't get me started on the radiance that takes over his face when he hones in on my cellphone from across the room and knows he can get to it before I can.

Am I being proud mama? Of course. But I know you guys expect more than just the pretty stuff. So here we go.

Teething. Teething is the devil. The bottom two were so easy and those damn top teeth would not come in. For weeks, I could SEE the left one. It was right. there. But would not break through. And it meant that he didn't want to nap. Or sleep. Or lay down in any way. We tried Tylenol. Teething tablets. Frozen stuff—washcloths, rings, applesauce...I even attempted orajel, but he was far more into the box than the tube. Poor kid. Poor us.

Dad brought home rubber hockey pucks.


And with teething comes slobber. Everywhere, all the time. And everything is in his mouth. Everything, all the time. I'm having to vacuum twice a day, because if he can see it, he has to eat it. Hairballs, cat litter, half an old cheerio...it's disgusting. Babies are gross, y'all.

Living with a baby is like living in a tornado. Everything in a drawer must come out and be strewn across the floor. Toys. Books. Pajamas. Peas. And once they're on the floor, they must go in his mouth. Speaking of, he's a big fan of pacifiers. He's also got an arm like Matt Cain, so if we don't come get him the second he wakes up, he's already thrown at least one of the two he goes to bed with somewhere across the room. Luckily he can find them out of thin air, because I'll look around the room for missing pacis for 5 full minutes and by the time I turn around, he's got one in his mouth and another clutched in his hand.

What's with the gender confusion? I mean, it's nice to know I don't have to dress my potential future daughter in dresses and bows (oh, god, I would be the worst at having a baby girl). I apparently just have to dress her in any shade of pale blue or white. Or grey. This is how conversations go (usually with old people, natch). "How old's your baby?" "He's 8 months." "She's so cute."

Sigh. Come on. I'm not offended by the mistake. He's a boy. A pretty boy, but still so obviously a dude. It's just dumb. Pay attention, people.

This kid can eat. I still nurse him 4 or 5 times a day (yeah, I had planned on nursing for six months. But he's still into it, so...), and he's also eating 3 full meals: oatmeal and applesauce for breakfast, veggies and chicken for lunch, and veggies or sweet potato and beef for dinner. (And yes, I make it all myself. My freezer has been taken over by freezer bags of single serving baby meals.) Plus yogurt or cottage cheese if he's still hungry. And a banana—a full banana—as an afternoon snack. (And don't even think about mashing it; he wants to eat it the way we do. It's terrifying the size of bites this kid tries to take.)

We were also having cheerios in the morning while mom checked her email, but then the eczema happened. And so now we're a gluten free baby, meaning we'll all be back to gluten free living as soon as we're eating more of the same thing every meal. Sigh. I have no one to blame but my grandpa myself for this one.

I hired a part-time nanny and it was the best decision I've made in the past year. She comes twice a week for five hours a day, and it's fantastic. I originally hired her so I could get some work done—which I do—but then I realized I could schedule appointments around her being here. At first it was boring stuff like the doctor, but then I discovered a new Pilates studio in town. And now I do everything in my power to go there once a week (second best decision ever—it's an expensive yet amazingly necessary indulgence). Anyway, I love her. E loves her. I wish she could move in. Alas, she's in college and stuff. Harrumph.

I love this kid so much it's stupid. You always hear the cliched, "you love your kids in ways you never thought possible" and roll your eyes and throw up a little in your mouth (no? just me?) but holy crap, it's true. He makes me laugh all day long. And what's better—I can make him laugh. Big, high pitched, squealing giggles, whether I'm making funny noises at him, wearing one of his stuffed animals as a hat, or I'm chasing him on my hands and knees down the hall (uh, yeah, you do some dumbshit things just to get that giggle, trust me). He wakes me up at ungodly hours, I grumble my way down the hall to his room, and then I pick him up and he cuddles into my arms in a way that tells me he just needed his mama and I'm totally done for.

This is not how I imagined my life with a child, by the way. I miss my friends, I miss sleeping in (actually, I miss sleep in general), I miss jumping in and out of the car without dealing with restraints. But it is what it is. We had a baby. We chose to have a baby. And he is so happy, and so much fun, and yes, ohmygod so much work. But he has changed our lives in a way that...well, the selfish part of me won't let me write 'for the better,' but he's changed our lives in a way that's definitely...more. There's more laughter, there's more frustration, there's more planning, there's more love. More messes, more kisses, more being puked on, more screaming, more patience than I thought possible, more cuddles, more amazement, more noise.


Holy hell, and there's only been nine months of this. And as always, I'm aiming to write again next month. Wish us all luck...

~ Pam Huber of Seriously Yum

Wednesday
Jul252012

{Guest Post} Four—oops, FIVE—Month Check In

I'm not going to be cliche and gush on and on about how fast time flies because I don't really feel that way. I mean, a lot has happened, and E's changed so much, but time seems to be passing at a normal clip. I'm not sitting here clinging to the past/present and "Oh, if only he'd stay like this forever"ing...I'm more excited to see what he'll do next.

I get grief from other moms with toddlers about this a lot..."Don't wish him bigger!," "Once he's walking you're screwed!," "You think he's a lot of work NOW..." And I do think he's a lot of work now. And maybe I'm being totally naive about the whole thing (this is definitely possible), but I'm happy he'll eventually be a little easier to self-entertain. Cause right now I'm going a little nuts.

So, to all you fellow quasi-type-A, 'I can work from home with a baby—how hard can it be? They sleep all the time, and I can multi-task like a mo-fo' future moms out there, lemme break it down a minute here.

E is a 30 minute at a time napper, and although he's up to about 4 naps a day, I spend an additional 40-120 minutes of my day trying to get said naps to even happen. So the "babies sleep all the time" line is total B.S. Sure, some babies do. But that doesn't mean yours will.

And unless you have a champion napper, you're not going to get anything done. Because when they aren't sleeping, they need attention. They need to be fed. They need to be changed. They need you to make them laugh. They. Need. You. If you're going to attempt to work from home, prepare for a lot of evening, early morning, and weekend work. The only days I truly get anything done are when my mom comes to visit mid-week. (Note: tears from a stressed out new mom plus a retired grandma are a very effective combination.)

And now the fun stuff. Here's what's happening in new-mommy land.

I am shedding everywhere. We have two cats who like to make their presence known—I regularly find cat hair in my car, on dishes, in the bathtub and other once-sanitary cleanish places like that…and now I'm joining the pack. I hadn't lost a hair in 9 months, and then, boom. Three months post-partum on and I'm finding it in drains, on clothes, in diapers, in my lunch… it's like living with sasquatch. Add the fact that E has a grip like a bulldog—and his favorite handle is my hair—and I have a bit of a situation happening here. My sister presented me with some salon-quality hair thickener/growth inducer yesterday that's a favorite amongst her new mommy clients. Fingers crossed. (But so far, so good. I love having a product-rep/stylist sister.)

Not everything can be steam sanitized. Teething rings and the microwave don't mix. Unless melted plastic was your goal.

Speaking of, sticking a refrigerated ring or cold water in your baby's mouth for the first time is quite fun…I can't lie, I love the 'WTF, mom?!' face he's been perfecting lately. I can't wait for food. And I don't think he can either. Right now everything goes in his mouth. Everything.


Cloth diapers are gross. Even with a fantastic diaper service like I had. Because while the service does the super gross part and cleans them, I still have to change them. And they bunch. And twist. And soak through. And as cute as the covers are on the outside, the inside can get downright disgusting. And that part I have to clean. I lasted three months. And then it was time for some Honest Company diapers. They're as close to earth friendly as I can find while still being cute and well reviewed. And cute they are.


His toes are his favorite snack.

I believe whoever came up with the term "cat nap" must have also had a mini-horse sized cat like my Ramona. And that cat thought that the best time to tromps through the nursery—knocking over frames and whatever else happened to be in her path, hopping on and off changing tables, and climbing up and then perching upon the back of the rocking chair—was exactly 4 minutes after the baby drifted off at nap time.

We've learned that hitting things against surfaces make awesomely fun noises. It's especially fun to hit things against his own forehead with alarming strength. Sophie, water cups, teething rings…And all good parents know that the best thing to do when your child is in self-inflicted potential harm is to point and giggle. We try and tell ourselves he won't actually dent his perfect little forehead, but we're usually laughing so hard we can't stop him anyway.

We're finally sleeping through the night. (He won't go to bed before 9pm, but he'll sleep til 7am, so whatever.) And if that's not good enough, in the morning I generally get the world's best smile; it's like the kid is about to break his face. It's generally accompanied with some form of "agadabowiehaha(wookie noises)ba!" Which obviously translates to "Hi my indentured servant Mama! I missed you doting over me and now I'd like to hang out and have you change this soggy diaper and feed me. Now!


Suddenly the cats are very interesting. 

The cute dude in the mirror is one of his best buddies.


I'm not sure this is supposed to be happening yet.


So all in all, this kid is a definite handful, but he is the happiest baby ever. Seriously. He smiles at everything, laughs at nothing, and is generally in a good mood most of the time. His mama is extremely grateful for that. Even if she gets nothing done during the day.

I'd like to also note that the post partum has all but passed...I really was struck by the outpouring of support online and in person, so I'd like to thank everyone for the concern and kind words.

Aiming for a six month check in next...

~ Pam Huber of Seriously Yum

Thursday
May242012

{Guest Post} Three Months A Mother

Well, three months in, and everyone is still alive.

And I could say that the reason I haven't been writing about it more frequently is because I'm busy (I am), that I'm exhausted (oh, my god), that when I have a moment of free time all I want to do is sit on the couch and veg out (with wine). But really, I think the real reason I've had such a hard time finding the words to share the past 12 weeks is because I've had more postpartum than I'd like to admit. And certainly more than I want documented online for my son to one day potentially read. While I know the kind thing to do would be share it with you in the case that you have or will one day feel the same and know you aren't alone, I just can't.

But I've struggled. A lot. With emotions and feelings that I didn't want to have or share or be judged by, no matter how common this 'side-effect' may be. The bottom line, however, is that my son is perfect, and beautiful, and awesome, and all I want to do is make sure he knows that his father and I will do—and always have done—anything and everything needed to make sure he knows that we're in his corner. Cause, seriously, look at this guy.


So. That said. Moving on.

Looking back at all the research and judgmental observation of other parents we did while I was pregnant, no one just came out and told me what we really needed to hear. And so I'll say it.

Put the pile of books down. Stop worrying about what kind of schedule you're going to put a tiny, helpless human who has been in the world for mere days or weeks on. Stop judging other parents because they are doing it "wrong," because they're doing what they have to do to survive. Seriously. And stop listening to what worked for your best friend/aunt/mom/grandma/neighbor/stranger at the grocery store. Because what you think will happen is not going to happen.

You hear me? It's. Not. Going. To. Happen. You are not in control of this situation. You will never be in control of this situation. I thought I'd be relinquishing some control, sure. And then the boss showed up and let me know I was just a fool for having any preconceived notions at all.

My child was not going to use a pacifier. 

And then, on the second night of nonstop crying unless he was being nursed, the nurse informed me he was likely using me as a pacifier. If I wanted to get any sleep at all, she recommended the real thing. I refused, because the book* said not to introduce them before 4 weeks. About 4 days and numerous crying fits (mine, not his) later, I realized I couldn't act as a human pacifier if I wanted to function in the world, and I caved. Nipple confusion, my ass...he still nurses just fine, thank you.

*"The book" refers to any number of books. No need to be specific, because this was always my answer: "But the book says to..."

My child was not going to sleep in our room. He has his own room and a monitor for a reason. Sleep in our bed? Not a chance.

And then, when every peep he made the first night home had me in his room, peering at this tiny little thing in his giant crib wondering if he was ok, it was quickly clear that he needed to be in our room. But as we had no bassinet, we had to fashion a makeshift bed for him (and found a second use for his changing table pad), which we placed between our heads. And then we all slept.

When we bought him a bassinet the next day, after five minutes of sleep he promptly decided that was enough, and the screaming began. And the only way I could get him back out was in the crook of my arm in my bed. Which is precisely where he stayed the next 11 weeks until he decided the Rock and Play next to the bed would suffice. His crib is the next stop...one step at a time.

I didn't need my mom the first week. 

But she came anyway. And then one night she wordlessly took the crying child from me as I paced the house, sat up with him from 2-5 am, and I remembered what it was like to sleep during those hours. The next day, she cleaned my house and went grocery shopping. Again. My mom is awesome.

I'd just sleep when he sleeps.

Ha. Hahahahahahaha. Right. This has got to be the single Worst. Piece of Advice. Ever. This child didn't sleep during the day for the first 10 weeks (note: no, this does not mean he slept better during the night), and if he did, it wasn't more than half hour at a time. (It's still only half hour at a time, but at least now we're up to 4 or five naps a day). So how exactly does that give me time to sleep? You at some point have to feed yourself. A non-toasted plain bagel is not exactly the type of meal I was used to. It's no wonder I lost 17 pounds the first week.

And a shower is nice. Shampooed hair is nicer. Blow-dried clean hair totally wins. And since our moms can only visit for a day or so at a time, I've been pretty much on my own to do basic house stuff the rest of the time. Laundry has to get done. (Mine can wait, but this kid knows how to crap his way through multiple outfits a day.) Dishes need to be washed (not optional. We don't have a dishwasher.) Anything that isn't baby centric needs to happen. Cause hello, if I have a half hour to myself, I'm not about to sleep through it.

So what have I learned the past 3 months? Basically, that this is hard. Like, hard in ways I didn't know were possible. Breastfeeding alone is an 8+ hour day (at least the first couple of months—by now we're down to 5 to 6 hours a day. I know because I have an app that times it. Obviously.) Every moment of the day is consumed by the need to care for someone else. And sure, some babies sleep through the night by the second week, nap constantly, or only eat for 10 minutes a side. Some babies only poop once a day—or every three days—by six weeks. Some babies are, well, boring. But E is so, so not that baby.

He is, however, a champion at the toothless grin. He's crazy strong and frustrates himself by constantly trying to sit up by himself. He thinks it's hilarious when I sing Jack Johnson songs to him. He talks constantly. He loves bath time. His favorite thing to cuddle with is whatever t shirt I slept in the night before. He knows that the best time to ruin a diaper is the minute I've put on a clean one. Or, even better, when I hand him to Daddy.

So we're learning. Every day is different, and every day is a challenge. But we're hanging in there.

Happy three months, Mister Man.

~ Pam Huber of Seriously Yum