The Upside of Down

Some of you may not know I have a job outside of wiping butts and boogers.

It’s true, there’s a life outside of cutting cheese into hearts and having an audience watch you pee.

During naps and after bedtimes, sometimes at three in the morning, I work on a magazine that I’m the editor of.

I’m also writing a book… And I work as a freelance writer putting together nifty little articles for some of your favourite spaces on the internet.

If you asked me when I became a mom if I could handle doing the working-mom-thing, the answer would’ve been no.

If you asked me when I actually went back to work after my first born, I would’ve broken down and cried in your arms.

At the time, it wasn’t right for me – but neither was the job.

I’ve been spending my entire life trying to find my place.

Navigating this big old world, trying to define myself, and redefine myself, and redefine myself once more as the world tells me I need to be more like “her”, more like “them”, more like that “mom”.

I’ve lost myself so many times trying to find the place I thought I had to be or be the person I thought I should be, that I completely lost sight of who I was and what I wanted.

The truth is, I love being home with my babies – but I also love being Anneliese. An ambitious, creative woman with a passion to better this world.

And what’s even more? I’m a better mom when I get to be that woman.

Working all hours of the night on my passions and all hours of the day on my babies can drain my soul sometimes – but it also lights a fire within me.

It pushes me closer towards the woman I always wanted to be.

When you start shushing the noise and start listening to your soul, your life comes alive.

And who would’ve thought I would’ve learned all that in a pit of darkness?

But sometimes, there’s an upside to down.

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Mompreneur in the Spotlight: The Oakville Parent

Friends, I’m so excited to introduce you to Carrie for this week’s Mompreneur in the Spotlight segment. Carrie, a mom of two, left her corporate job and launched The Oakville Parent in 2016. She began her business with the intention of helping moms, their families and their children find resources, services and programs in their communities, and from there, it’s continued to blossom. Check out her inspiring interview below!

Tell us who you are.

My name is Carrie and I’m happy to introduce you to The Oakville Parent!

I moved from Toronto about 5 years ago with my husband and eldest daughter. Not knowing too much about this lovely community on the lake, we quickly settled into our life here and have grown to love Oakville.  We recently added a 2nd daughter to our family and I began The Oakville Parent in late 2016.

In my previous “Corporate Life” I worked in digital media sales working with a number of national brands in Toronto and Montreal. I always knew I wanted to start a business, something I could build from the ground up and shape myself. The Oakville Parent is very much a passion project.

What inspired you to start The Oakville Parent?

I love writing and I wanted to create an online space local moms and families could visit that would inform, inspire and connect them with local resources and lifestyle content.

The Oakville Parent is less than a year old and still very much in its development stage. What I started out with, content and goal-wise has changed over the last several months as I learn what resonates with the community I’ve built.

Tell us about your business.

What began as an Instagram feed documenting my travels around Oakville with my eldest daughter grew into an online destination for families and business owners to discover, connect and experience local. I love the creative side of the business, building the website, writing content, developing its social footprint; I enjoy working with other business owners and often encourage guest writers to come on board.

What has the response been from the community?

I’m a big supporter of collaborating and working to lift others. When I first launched, I quickly
learnt who my supporters were and those who immediately labeled my brand as competition, however misplaced that may have been. Over the last several months with traffic to the website and followers continuing to grow I’ve discovered that what I’m offering both businesses and the community is something unique which is what I’m really striving to accomplish.

How do you manage your time effectively (both with your kids and with your work)?

With a lot of help. My oldest is in school full time while my youngest attends preschool a few mornings a week. Family helps fill in the gaps and thank God for nap time!

What’s the most difficult thing about growing your brand?

Time. When I worked in the corporate world, time felt more on my side. I was in an office full time where my whole day was devoted to my work. Now, with two young children I need to balance work with family needs.

What would you say is The Oakville Parent’s biggest achievement?

Offering unique, customizable solutions for local companies to connect with the community that follows The Oakville Parent.

In my opinion the traditional banner ad, the button ad, simply posting a company’s upcoming sale on your Facebook page, is an uninspiring promotional tactic. You need to dig deeper and help a company/brand tell their story – one of the main reasons I launched my “People of Oakville” series was to provide for a platform in which business owners could share their message in a more meaningful way.

What role has social media played in growing your brand? What other marketing tactics do you use?

To date, it’s been everything. Instagram is personally my favourite social platform and I think that’s reflected in my following and engagement. What I love most about social media is learning about new companies and discovering like-minded individuals and of course, all the beautiful images I scroll through. I also use email marketing and cross promote with many industry experts and guest contributors to grow my reach and brand awareness.

What tips would you give to moms wanting to leave their corporate job to launch their empire?

Plan ahead and ensure everyone in your corner (e.g. partner) is on side.  Work out a reasonable start-up budget for what you’re willing to put into the business to get you going and choose your marketing expenditures wisely. Good luck Mamas!

Mompreneur in the Spotlight: Oakville Family Birth

Last week Grown Up Glamour kicked off an exciting new series focused on celebrating mompreneurs. The series, targeted at moms wanting to leave the corporate world and begin their own business, is intended to empower mothers as they navigate the world of mother-hustling. Entrepreneurship comes with highs and lows, and when you give up everything to start your own business while also raising your family, those highs and lows are even more intense.   We want moms to understand that mother-hustling isn’t a “get rich quick” opportunity but it is an opportunity to create balance in their life – and turn their passion into something to be proud of.

This week we sat down with Jaklyn Andrews from Oakville Family Birth. Not only is Jaklyn a dear friend of mine and an incredible human, but she’s also a kind, compassionate and supportive doula who has helped many women (and parents) in their parenting journey.

Read more below for the inspiration behind Jaklyn’s career change – and how she keeps it all together while building her empire.

Tell us who you are.

I’m Jaklyn! I’m a doula and childbirth educator and I own Oakville Family Birth. I’m also a lucky wife and mama (two kids and a dog, the suburban dream!).

What inspired you to start your business?

Becoming a mother, of course 😉

I always knew I would hire a doula for birth support but I never imagined the kind of journey it would take me on. My first birth experience was really challenging, the opposite of what we were hoping for, and the support our doula provided truly changed my life. I knew in that instant that I was meant to do this. At the time I had a great career in public health research and I knew absolutely nothing about business…it was very confusing, to be honest. I couldn’t turn it off though, the passion I’d discovered. It took over a year of exploring options and finally heading back to work after maternity leave (that was rough!) to eventually make the jump.

Tell us about your business.

There are a lot of misconceptions around doula work, so I’ll start with the very basics: a doula is kind of like a best friend who knows a lot about pregnancy, birth, recovery and baby care. We support families throughout the perinatal period as they prepare for and welcome their babies. Doulas listen, guide, teach, coach, and help expectant parents and young families. It’s physical, emotional, mental, and also practical support. A doula’s job is to make life easier for their clients through all the highs and lows of pregnancy, birth, and parenting.

I created Oakville Family Birth to support all kinds of families, all kinds of births, and all kinds of parenting choices. That’s my bottom line…I’m passionate about providing truly non-judgmental support. As my business grows, I plan to bring on other doulas and other birth and parenting professionals who share that passion.

What are the skills a mompreneur must have in order to be successful?

The first thing that comes to mind is organizational skills. Having systems in place to keep you, your business and your family on track can be the difference between success and failure.

Next is discipline. You will have to make sacrifices for the greater goal. You’ll have say no to some fun stuff and slug through some not fun stuff to get to the other side.

Finally, confidence. Yes, confidence is a skill! At the risk of sounding dramatic, google it… it changed my life.

How do you manage your time effectively (both with your kids and with your work)?

I’ll let you know as soon as I figure that out! I’m half-kidding.

I use a combination of part-time daycare, back up child care, friends and family and a little bit of Netflix (#sorrynotsorry) to get everything done. I also work for a few hours every night after bedtime. My husband is the main reason our household is still running but lately we’ve been considering outsourcing some of that.

I’ve become pretty good at time blocking. I have specific times for working when I hustle hard and tune out everything else. The same goes for family time: I try to be “all-in” when I’m with my little crew so that everyone’s love tank stays full.

Being on-call for births requires a few extra layers of organization. Any given day, our bags are packed and we’re ready to get where we need to go so that I can be with my clients when they need me. My kids are amazing and go with the flow, for the most part.

What’s the most difficult thing about growing your empire? What’s the best?

The highs and lows can be difficult. If you’re going to do this, you’re going to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. On your toughest days, you might regret the whole thing and wish you could go back to your old life (your pre-entrepreneur life and possibly even your pre-baby life!). What I’ve found helpful is to celebrate every little win – every website visitor, every inquiry, every client. Stay humble but hungry, as they say.

The best for me is calling all the shots. I can take on more or less at any given time, depending on what’s happening in the other parts of my life. I spend more time with my kids than I would have if I stayed on the path I was going down. Also I LOVE my job, so there’s that.

What role has social media played in growing your brand? What other marketing tactics do you use?

Social media has played a huge part in growing my brand from the beginning. Although my target market is local (Halton/Hamilton/Peel), I use social to share broader messages of encouragement, realness and self-love for young parents and parents-to-be.

I also make it a priority to be out in the community, forming genuine relationships and helping out other small businesses.

What tips would you give to moms wanting to leave their corporate job to launch their empire?

Believe in yourself! From the bottom of my heart, I know you can do it. You have something unique to offer that no one else can duplicate so trust that there is room for you in the market, get out there and show people who you are. Anyone can do this if they’re willing to work hard enough.

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Follow along with Jaklyn and Oakville Family Birth 

Website: www.oakvillefamilybirth.com

Social Media Pages:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/oakvillefamilybirth

Facebook: www.facebook.com/oakvillefamilybirth

Contact Information: hello@oakvillefamilybirth.com / (289) 813-4363

Are you a mompreneur with an inspiring story? Contact us to be featured. 

Why I’m Okay with Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom

I decided I wanted to be a mom when I was five. It was around that time I also decided I wanted to change the world…and become famous. Looking back, it appears I wanted to become some sort of hybrid between June Cleaver and Oprah Winfrey. Daytime television can be pretty influential. With that in mind, I should probably limit my son’s exposure to Paw Patrol. Though if he decides he wants to grow up to be a crime-fighting dog, I promise to always support him.

The dream of being June and Oprah were always an attainable goal. I grew up in a time where women were encouraged to never settle for less, where our futures were bright and (almost) equal. So, for six years I tackled life as Oprah. I completed two post-secondary degrees, engulfed myself in my career and made it a priority to give back to my community. It was during this time I met my husband, a wonderful man who shares my same ambition and values in life, especially when it comes to family. We welcomed our first child a little over a year ago, and that’s when I finally got to experience myself as June.

For awhile, Oprah and June struggled to find balance. Mothering instantly found a tender place in me, yet part of me yearned to be valued outside the four walls of my home. Then the time came for me to leave my sweet boy and return back to the workforce. And while I had every intention of being Oprah and June in unison, my new perspective on life made the transition even harder than I imagined.

For six long weeks I tried to fake it till I made it. Everyone said my son would adjust to daycare – and he did. They said I would find my groove and learn simple ways to make it work – and like Stella, I got my groove back. They also said it would get easier, but it never got easier for me. Actually, those six weeks were some of the hardest weeks of my life.

Those six weeks helped my husband and I define the upbringing we really want for our children. We had endless conversations about what’s truly important to us and what lifestyle we really want to live. Those conversations led to the very significant decision that I would leave my job and become a stay-at-home-mom. A decision that came after much thought and planning on how we would make it work relying on only one income and my freelance work. A decision that came with weeks of analysis and budgeting, and years ahead of sacrifice. With that being said, at the end of the day this decision wasn’t based on numbers (though it was a huge deciding factor), it came down to lifestyle and my feeling of accomplishment.

When making this decision I really struggled with finding the answer to three questions:

Does being home with my family mean I’m not accomplishing my dreams?

Does it make me a lesser person because I couldn’t handle life as a working-mom?

Should I feel worthless because I seek a future with my family and it goes against everything I’ve worked so hard for?

In taking time to soak in this big decision, I’ve realized the answer is no. I’m not saying I won’t go on to be Oprah one day (#RememberMyName), or that I won’t continue to work hard to pursue my dreams as a writer. What I’m saying is that I’m going to be proud of  being true to myself, proud to seek a path that makes my family and I truly happy.

At some point all mothers face this cross-road in parenting. We come up for air and realize there will always be something in our life that has to be sacrificed. We must redefine who we are—all with less sleep, clarity and the greatest responsibility that we have ever had to assume. At the  very same time we’re constantly questioning if we could be doing it better. We hold guilt over snapping too easily, not engaging the way we think we should, having unwashed dishes in the sink and unfolded laundry in the dryer.

It was living moments like this every single day for six weeks that made my husband and I consider what we really needed versus wanted in our life. If vacations can wait, if cars can be driven into the ground and if I take a crash course in extreme couponing we can each place ourselves in the role we truly want – and for me, that role is mom.

 

 

 

Mompreneurs in the Spotlight: Love Powered Co.

Grown Up Glamour is beginning a new series on our blog where we interview an inspiring mompreneur who turned her passion into an empire. The series, targeted at moms wanting to leave the corporate world and begin their own business, is intended to empower mothers as they navigate the world of mother-hustling. Entrepreneurship comes with highs and lows, and when you give up everything to start your own business while also raising your family, those highs and lows are even more intense.   We want moms to understand that mother-hustling isn’t a “get rich quick” opportunity but it is an opportunity to create balance in their life – and turn their passion into something to be proud of.

This week we sat down to chat with Anna Lozano and Lindy Sood. These inspiring mothers and business-women recently launched Loved Powered Co., a parent-led, self-worth movement powering the next generation of mindful leaders. Together, they have created 22 beautiful affirmation cards (which are more than affirmation cards) destined to affirm greatness in your littles and you.

Read more below for the inspiration behind this amazing product – and how they keep it all together while building their empire.

  1. Anna and Lindy we’re so glad to have you join us in this new series. Tell our readers who you are.

Our names are Anna Lozano and Lindy Sood and we would like to welcome you to the Love Powered movement.

We are moms, entrepreneurs, friends, and soul sisters who realized that together, we have a powerful message to share with the world. Months ago, we started talking about what is lacking in the marketplace when it comes to personal growth products for families. We searched high and low for the perfect tool we could use in our homes, but what we were looking for just didn’t exist. So, we created it, and we are now making it available to you and your family.

Our mission is to create a self-worth movement, powering the next generation of mindful leaders. A better tomorrow starts with our children, and that means we need to do the work now, healing ourselves in the process.

This is so much bigger than a product, it’s a global movement creating a better tomorrow. Welcome home, to our Love Powered family.

What inspired you to start your business?

Together, we have an electric energy between us. We have complimentary strengths. We knew we wanted to build a business together, but we didn’t know just what. We wanted to create something special, something that would impact millions of families in a positive way. Separately but simultaneously we were both very involved in a self-discovery and self-improvement journey.  When we had children, stating positive I AM affirmations (a ritual that literally helped to transform both of our lives), became even more important in our home.  We saw a need (guided personal development tools parents can do with their children), and we decided to fill it. From a spark of inspiration, to birthing Love Powered Co. nine months later, we are mom’s on a mission to make tomorrow a better place.

Tell us about your business.

Love Powered Co. is a soul fuel company, powering the next generation of mindful leaders!

Love Powered Littles is our first product – Not your typical affirmation cards….we go deeper.  22 POWERS to affirm the greatness within your littles (and YOU!)

Our mission is to power our littles with positive self-talk, confidence, self-love & self-worth. Our recipe is simple: Affirmation. Connection. Repeat.

What are the skills a mompreneur must have in order to be successful?

Self-motivation – no one else is going to do it for you.

Passion – motivation can only go so far. You need a deep, intrinsic drive to keep you going on the hard days.

Self-awareness – you need to know who you are, know your strengths (and exploit them!), know your weaknesses (to surround yourself with others who can fill the gap), and realize how to bring your unique talents into your business.

Time management – with kids, businesses, investments, activities, etc, you need to know how to prioritize your time in the most effective and efficient way.

How do you manage your time effectively (both with your kids and with your work)?

We have set up some non-negotiable barriers to ensure presence & connection with our kids is 100% paramount when we are with them. Between the hours of 3:30-8:30, we shut it off. We don’t answer. We put down the phone. After 8:30pm, we pick it back up again and finish off our day.  We created an ‘Unplugged Sundays’ movement within our community and we hold each other accountable to this.

We also surround ourselves with a support posse. On the times when we can’t unplug, we ensure our kids are taken care of (grandparents, friends, nanny).

What’s the most difficult thing about growing your empire? What’s the best?

Difficulty always leads to growth, so we welcome the challenges that come our way. There have been hiccups – when we have thought something was going to go one way and it pivoted…but we are learning every single moment, and that is a huge gift.

The best? Creating something from scratch. Having a nudge/spark of creativity and growing it. Seeing something go from an image in your mind to a physical product in our hands. It’s invigorating!

What role has social media played in growing your brand? What other marketing tactics do you use?

Social media has been a major piece of our pre-launch and launch campaign. We posted a pre-launch video that had 17,000 views & 90 shares within 2 weeks. We are mainly focused on growing our FB community, page & instagram following at the moment. All of our growth has been organic and from our on mompreneur hustling skills!

What tips would you give to moms wanting to leave their corporate job to launch their empire?

Do it. There will never be a perfect time. The world needs more women entrepreneurs. The world needs more you. What is life, if you don’t bite the bullet, pull the trigger and just go for it?!

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Follow along with Anna, Lindy and Love Powered Co. and be sure to check out them out on Kickstarter!

lovepoweredco.com (coming soon).

Kickstarter  http://bit.ly/2eR8w2e

Instagram: @lovepoweredco

Facebook: @lovepoweredco

Twitter @lovepoweredco

Are you a mompreneur with an inspiring story? Contact us to be featured. 

 

Back to Work: I survived. It was one hell of a week, but I survived. 

This past Sunday my sweet baby turned one. A whole year old.

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A year where the first 6 months felt never-ending as I navigated the unknowns of motherhood. And where the last 6 months felt like my entire life was flashed before my eyes, as I watched my boy learn, grow and develop into what would be a happy, hilarious and tiny toddler.

As I reflect on my year with Jack my heart hurts. There were so many moments I neglected to enjoy as I struggled with postpartum hormones and sleep deprivation. My heart also hurts because it’s beaming so much with love and pride, a hurt that can only be felt when you truly love someone more than yourself.

While sitting on my couch this Tuesday morning at 3 a.m. the memories from this year, both good and bad, flew through my mind like you expect your life to flash before death. Indeed, I felt like a piece of me was dying – more specifically, a piece of my heart. In only a few short hours I would be bringing my son, my one very true love besides my husband, to a facility –  leaving him in the arms of a stranger while I spend my day in a cubicle making money for The Man. My heart ached and I cried.

As if this wasn’t torturous enough – abandoning my baby – my mind also questioned how we would survive?

If you’ve talked to me about my son recently, you would probably know he doesn’t sleep. If you’re inside my close social circle, you’d know I haven’t slept longer than 2 hour stretches in the last 8 months. This is no exaggeration, and yes, we’ve tried pretty much everything. Returning to work meant not only giving up my necessary afternoon nap, but it also meant a stranger holding, consoling and rocking my baby as he struggled to sleep.

If you’ve talked to me recently, you’d know my husband and I are expecting our second child. Another little being, who we are elated to meet. If you’re inside my close social circle, you’d know I found out I was pregnant when my son was only 8 months old and I was battling some serious postpartum hormones. Returning to work meant putting myself another peg lower on the totem pole, and not fully healing before the arrival of our sweet baby bean.

If you talked to me this week, you’d know my first day back to work was an absolute shit-show. I began my day on 3.5 hours of sleep and ended it with a scene out of a horror movie – though now that I’ve healed, it seems more like a comedy show. I picked up Jack and we scurried home for dinner and snuggles. Not knowing exactly what he had eaten at daycare or how much he had eaten at daycare, I filled him with his favourite ravioli. Note to parents making this transition; ALWAYS ask your care provider when your child last ate and how much. When I picked Jack up out of his high chair, he instantly projectile vomited on my shoulder which went in my hair, down my shirt and made its way down my pants. In return, my disgusted and pregnant self couldn’t contain my dinner and joined him in emptying my tummy. Cue the dog –  who decided it was time for his dinner. Dave walked in to not one but two babies, crying on the bathroom floor, naked and covered in vomit…and a very happy dog.

It was then and there on that bathroom floor, after just one day of trying, I decided I wasn’t cut out for this whole working mom thing. I decided I wasn’t strong enough and I decided the only logical answer was to quit. If I quit I could continue to make home-cooked meals for my family,  take my naps,  fuel my son’s mind, grow my young bean, be a kick-ass wife for my husband and heal my very neglected soul.

As all these thoughts went through my mind, I remembered a feeling from that day I hadn’t felt in a year – the feeling of being a useful, intelligent, strong individual and woman. The feeling of being proud of myself for providing for my family, communicating as an adult, and inspired by things I’m passionate about (outside my family).

In reality, as hard as it is to crawl out of bed after a restless night of (no) sleep, drive my son to daycare and wave goodbye to him (and his tears) in the arms of kind and loving women, not all of this experience is bad . Parts of it are challenging while parts of it are refreshing – and I’m learning I’m capable of so much more than I’ve ever given myself credit for.

Although I’m only at the beginning of my short jaunt as a working mom (kudos to the mommies weeks, months and years into this journey), I’m quickly learning that with anything, balance is important and putting yourself first is priority. Moms are seriously wonder-women – but do you hear me here? Putting yourself first is priority. There will be days I’m going to call in sick because I need a day to calm my mind or play with my son, there will be days I’ll order takeout because I simply don’t feel like making dinner, there will be days Jack and Dave won’t have my full attention because my heart needs it more and there will be days, like this Tuesday, where I just want to quit.

Being a mom and a (pregnant) working mom is no easy feat. It takes time to adjust to new roles and routines but be kind to yourself, as I’m learning to do now. Life at home with Jack was hardly ever glamorous. We had our fun and I would jump back into that stay-at-home mom role in a heartbeat, but 5/5 days of the week Dave would always receive a subtle “when are you coming home” text when I was at the end of my rope. Neither being home with your kids all day or working full-time is glamorous.

Here’s a big (virgin daquori) cheers to you mommies, you bomb-ass-do-it-all-babes.  I’ll be taking notes from you as I dredge through this messy new chapter in my life and learn a whole new way to balance (I seriously was just getting the hang of having a kid).

 

Breast to Work

Empowering Woman: Tineke

It took me quite a while to get breastfeeding well established and to really start enjoying it. In the first months it was quite difficult (understatement..), not only painful (don´t get me started on cracked nipples or mastitis) but also the pressure of an underweight baby who needed to eat very often (and took his sweet time meaning you were basically only having 1 hour breaks in between feeding sessions) and not knowing how much milk you actually have and whether he was eating enough. By now I can say I loved breastfeeding but it took quite some tears and screams to get there.

So when my 16 weeks of maternity leave were over I definitely wanted to continue breastfeeding for a little longer. I guess my situation was quiet luxurious in the sense that I work 4 days a week of which 2 from home. So the 2 days from home were easy to cover: until midday when my partner was taking care of Lucas at home I would plan my breaks from work around feeding Bottletimes and in the afternoon when he was with his grandparents I had to extract milk once and then the evening session was live with mommy again. However, the days that I did go into the office were much more complicated. I have a very long commute to my office (2,5hours) so I would leave the house a little before 7am and come back only after 8pm. In the beginning I still did a morning feeding around 6am but once Lucas got a better sleep rhythm he wouldn´t wake up before 7 / 7.30am anymore meaning that I was not home for any of his feedings. Then my challenge was where and when to extract in the office or even on my way to the office.

When you have a baby, sleep is not a commodity anymore so there were some trade-offs involved. This basically meant that I could choose between getting up 20 minutes earlier to extract milk or leaving my first pumping session for the commute… Yep, sleep is scarce so I chose the second option. So I would extract milk in the train under a huge scarf hoping and praying that the passenger sitting next to me would keep sleeping (advantage of the early morning train!) or working and at least not notice that something was moving under that scarf.

Then the next challenge came with the fact that in my office there was no nursing place. Our “office” is basically a little village with over 10k employees divided over different buildings and we have loads of convenient services in the village (gym, childcare, pharmacy, doctor, dentist, optic, travel agency, supermarket, Starbucks, hairdresser, and the list goes on) but no nursing room to Pumpbe found. So that left me with the option of the toilet (which was very cold because of no heating system, and let´s not get into the background noise) or booking a meeting room. The inconvenient part of meeting rooms is that most have windows so there were only a few I could work with. I would try to book these meeting rooms that had no windows or at least windows at strategic locations so I could set-up my “extraction station” with a barrier on the table from my bag, laptop and my notebook standing up open so that if somebody would come in, not too much would be visible. After a few months with the combination of toilet and meeting rooms, I finally found out that the reception had a closed printing room behind them and although it had no chairs I did use that option for the last weeks of breastfeeding. On the commute back home at night I would repeat the scarf trick.

All of this involved quite some logistics, not only the choice of scarf but also to bring your small cooler bag, make sure you put it in the fridge as soon as you arrive, don´t forget it in the fridge when you leave, getting the milk from the toilet / meeting room to the cooler bag in the fridge without everybody noticing what you´re doing and most importantly, keeping that cooler bag stable in your backpack on the commute back home. I did come home one night noticing a lot of little white spots on my black boots, yep, one of the bottles with extracted milk had opened and spread through my backpack…. The worst part was that my immediate thought was not “uh oh my laptop” but “noooo, after all the effort 250ml down the drain…”.

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Another challenge is when to pump. When I had relatively ok days with some meetings here and there I would just block my calendar every 3 hours for 30min but when you have full-day workshops or team meetings it gets a bit more complicated because obviously the breaks there are never on convenient times for your pumping schedule. So I would sneak out a few times a day with my grey Medela bag. (Also in Spain you never know when a break will actually happen, because hey who needs an agenda or if there is one why stick to it, so of course I would often go out in the middle of a discussion and 2 minutes after I came back they would break..)

After 4 months of this, when I had some business trips coming up and when Lucas had started eating solid food and therefore only has 2 milk feedings left I decided it was enough, but it definitely has been an interesting experience! The downside of stopping with breastfeeding is that it gets a bit depressing to look at your “new” breasts in the mirror (You would almost understand why in Spain they tend to keep breastfeeding for years!). Also I am already a bit nervous for Lucas´ next monthly check-up and the speech that I am going to get from the breastfeeding-taliban-nurse, but that´s a whole other story!

Photo credit Medela: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/dharder9475/23919221670/”>dharder9475</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>VisualHunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>CC BY-NC</a>

 Photo credit extracting in office: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/cafemama/118317846/”>cafemama</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>VisualHunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>

About Tineke

Tineke I am Tineke, a Dutchie living in Spain, happily not-married to César and mommy of Lucas. Before becoming a mom I always thought I was busy, however since we have Lucas the term “busy” got a whole new definition! Trying to juggle two demanding jobs, a busy social life while squeezing in some sports, keeping the house somewhat liveable, pursuing both of our entrepreneurial ambitions ánd having sufficient family time makes me wonder how I ever thought we were busy. And all of that in a country which is not my home country and therefore causes quite some cultural clashes in this whole motherhood thingy.

 Want to read more about my adventures as a working mommy abroad?

Workingmommyabroad.wordpress.com

Instagram: @workingmommyabroad

Twitter: @tinekefr