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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Working from Home is Hard

Today is a snow day in Buffalo, N.Y. The snow has been steady, but not unmanageable. Normally, I would have gone into work, but I had requested the day off because we were supposed to be visiting preschools for Matthew. With literally every school closed for the day because of "an impending" blizzard (that did not happen), I chose to stay home with the family, and work remotely.

It's been an eye opening experience as to how hard it is to work from home with two young children. Kudos to all you mommies who have found a system that works.

Today, while on a conference call, I had my 3 year old having an all out, sprawled on the floor, screaming at the top of his lungs temper tantrum because mom was on the phone and wouldn't let him ring the dog bells over and over and over again.

My husband was unsuccessful in keeping him and my daughter out of the room I was in and proceeded to yell at me that he couldn't do anything more to help me. So, I resorted to running upstairs, closing my door and dead-bolting it.

Now, I feel guilty that I left my husband to deal with the theatrics and upset that my son is sobbing uncontrollably. My conference call ended an hour ago, but I am staying in my quiet space so I can finish some work uninterrupted.... oh the mom guilt!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Winter Sickness Be Gone!

This winter has been brutal on Matthew. A few weeks ago, he had his first ear infection and first round of antibiotics. In three years, I thought this was a pretty good record until we quickly found out he was allergic to amoxicillin. Full body hives, swollen eyes, puffy cheeks and a swollen wrist earned him a trip to the ER or the "hospital hotel" as he called it.

That was the scariest night of my life to date. The 17 minute trip to Children's Hospital was the longest 17 minutes of my life. Luckily he wasn't struggling to breath, but he was congested and itchy. He was scratching so hard I thought he was going to scratch his skin right off. After 3 days of steroids and new antibiotics, my Matty Matt was back to his old self.

That is until this past Sunday morning. He's sick again. This time with a terrible cough, fever and snot every where. I really don't know where all of the mucus can possibly live? It just keeps coming. With each sneeze a flood of thick mucus pours out. Last night, we slept a total of 2.5 hours. He couldn't get comfortable and every time he laid down the coughing fits began.

He just can't catch a break this year. God was kind to me last year with the new job, because Matt was barely sick last year. This year, it's been a rotating cycle of illnesses.

Thank goodness he's still in pretty good spirits considering, because this tired mama could not handle it if there were any more obstacles to conquer this year.

I know things could be so much worse and I'm grateful for the good health  of both my littles, but when your running on coffee and fumes, a cold seems like your overcoming Mt. Everest.

Cheers to all the moms who are having it rough this disease-infested winter. It's a doozy of a year.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Balancing Super Mom & Work Mom

I haven't posted in a more than year. Life's been busy. New job. Kids getting older. Stresses always evolving. It's not the obstacles that define your life though. It's how you conquer them.

Last year, when Avery was just 4 months old, I left my cushy state job where I was coasting. To be honest, I had become a robot. I came in, checked my email, gabbed with the coworkers, answered letters, occasionally wrote press releases and attended meetings. I watched the clock tick the hours down until the hands hit 5 p.m. Each night I went home, took care of my kids, went to bed and started again. I was bored. And lost. And lazy.

I needed a change. I needed to restart my career before it was too late. Before I fell so far down the rabbit hole that I wouldn't know how to succeed once that cushy job ran out. I decided on a whim that I needed a reboot. I needed passion again.

One day I noticed a job posting on LinkedIn and thought why not? A high tech start up company sounded exciting and fun. Some travel would be involved, but not overwhelming and I'd be the public relations department. I updated my resume. Hit send. And never looked back.

I wanted excitement, and excitement is what I got. I work more than 40 hours/week, sometimes more than 60. Travel a few times a year and earn the hard work that I put into making a small technology company globally known. Balancing being a mom to two toddlers and a bad ass working woman is hard. It's exhausting and I often question if I am doing the right thing. Am I there enough for my two young kids? Am I able to work hard and be a good mom?

Every day I come home to two amazing kids and a wonderful husband who holds down the fort until I get home.

Matthew, now 3, is such a joy. He is funny and witty and sweet (most of the time). We had trouble potty training him until Santa took his diapers away, then magically he was potty trained within 24 hours. Did I mention he's stubborn?

Avery is an active 17 month old, always dancing and chasing her brother around. Although she isn't saying many words, she has "mama" down pat.

They can be exhausting and frustrating some days, but they are the greatest achievements of my life.

Eric and I haven't slept in 4 years, but the love and support we share are values that I treasure and thank God for every day.

Life is always changing. We are always growing. I just hope that along the way our children know how much they are loved and how proud I am of them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Oh those terrible twos

For the most part, Matthew is the sweetest, kindest, most adorable little boy in the world. But there are days when I look at him and think "who is this demon child and what have you done with my sweet boy?"

I took a personal day yesterday to spend time with my family of four before I embark on a new career journey (more on that later). We had plans to go shopping, take care of a few returns and then grab lunch at a new beer place in the Galleria Mall. Unfortunately, our two year old had alternate plans. As I stood in line at The Bon-Ton in Eastern Hills, Eric took the littles on a walk around the store. As I waited my turn, I saw out of the corner of my eye my son running full force through the department store and my husband pushing my daughter in the stroller frantically trying to catch up. I pretended not to see this or to know them and continued to wait. What is that saying? Karma's a B****!

Once I finished my returns, I caught up with them and learned that Matthew had walked straight into a display and hit his head. He was also whining that he wanted to "eat, eat dinner" - his term for I need a snack, but in the second mommy fail of the day, I realized that I had not packed any snacks for him. We trudged on to the next store though because I was determined to make the most of our outing. We took Avery out of the stroller and put Matt into the stroller. I pushed Matt as Eric carried Avery in her car seat. All the while, my two year old was whining louder and louder that he wanted to eat, eat dinner.

After a disastrous visit to store number two,we had had enough. About 25 minutes into our "family outing" we called it quits and headed home. For the entire trip down Transit Road, it was a surround sound of crying from Avery, who hates to be in her car seat if the vehicle is not in motion, and whining from Matthew that all he wanted to do was to "eat, eat dinner." If you are familiar with Transit Road, you would not be surprised that in this cluster of frustrating noise we would of course hit every single signal as it turned red, making a painfully long trip even more dreadful. 

Once we were finally home, I brought Matt into the back room to watch the Harry Potter marathon that was on ABC family. He was really getting on my last nerve, so I decided to try and ignore his incessant insistence that he have access to my iPhone. In my state of obliviousness, I had not seen the right hook as he came across and slugged me in the nose. He may be two, but he packs a punch. After a much-needed time out and nap time, the evening was much better. However, yesterday was a painful reminder that the terrible twos are a real thing and certainly no fun to live through. Someday we'll look back and laugh.... some day.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Adjusting to being a working mom

Back in my twenties, I would have sworn up and down that I would never want to be a stay at home mom. Even when I was desperately trying to have a baby, I always thought that I would be so bored at home "just taking care of my kids." Oh how I am eating my words.

I would give anything to be able to spend all day with them now. They are seriously the coolest kids in the world.  When I was out on maternity leave, we were in this groove where we'd wake up, eat breakfast, play for a few hours or go on an "adventure"to the grocery store or to the zoo, and then I'd put both kids down for a nap. I can't believe that actually happened almost every day, and during that quiet time, I'd get the chores done, start dinner or sit and have a second cup of coffee. It was blissful. I even found myself really enjoying cooking - a task that, before Avery, was one that I always dreaded.

Now that I am back at work, I am missing those "blissful" days. Getting to spend just a few hours of the day with them isn't enough. By the time I walk in the door, it's dark outside, the kids need dinner, baths, some playtime and then bedtime by 9 p.m. I miss them, and they are right there. My weekends are filled with playing catch up on household chores, laundry and grocery shopping. I'm lucky I have a husband that does his fair share of chores, because otherwise I think I'd go insane. 

I love my job and what I do for a living, but I miss my kids when I am at work. I know they are in good hands, but they are not my hands, and so in closing I'm envious of all you stay at home moms out there.

Here are some updated photos of my prides and joy.

Friday, November 6, 2015

And then there were two!

Avery Elizabeth Szpylman was born at 2:22 a.m. on August 27, 2015, and it was at that exact second that our family felt complete. Over these last 10 weeks, I have never been happier in my entire life. My two children bring me so much joy that I feel my heart could burst. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I was born to be a mom, and it just so happens that, in my humble opinion (haha), my two little ones are the best two kids in the whole wide world.

I was expecting the transition from one to two to be the most exhausting, grueling, frustrating and exciting time of my life. Am I tired? Yes. Are there days when I get frustrated? Of course. Is it the most exciting time of my life? Absolutely. But to be honest, it's come very natural to me. I feel so much more relaxed this time around. I wake up in the morning and say to myself, "I got this," and for the most part, I really do.

During my maternity leave, I took the kids out to the park, to the zoo, to the mall, to the grocery store, to the doctors... where ever I went, the two of them were in tow. We took at least one adventure every week, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending quality time with my children each and every time. Even that time in Target when Avery screamed the entire trip, and Matthew decided it would be hilarious to keep dropping things out of the cart to watch Mommy try to pick the items up while baby wearing a screaming infant. If that had happened when Matthew was 9 weeks old, I would have ditched the cart and went home, and then cried for a couple of hours. This time around, I said "I'm not coming back later, so sorry folks, you will enjoy/cringe at the vocal talents of Miss Avery Szpylman for the next 45 minutes." Was I sweating like a pig and shushing Avery as I pushed the cart through the aisles? Yep! Was I pleading with Matthew to just sit tight a little while longer so that mommy could get what she needed? You betcha! And was I getting side glances from annoyed shoppers, unfortunately yes. But we got through the trip, and I didn't have to go back later. I just kept reminding myself that other parents have been through this, and there will be a time in the future that I'll look back and say those were the best days of my life, because I got to spend it with my kids when they actually liked being near me and wanted to spend every waking moment attached to my hip.

I went back to work this week, and it was HARD! I enjoy my job, but I really loved being home with my kids. I tell my husband constantly that it was the best time of my life. I even told him recently that we should have a third, so that I could go on maternity leave again. I'm pretty sure he secretly scheduled the vasectomy for the next day. But, it's those days when one or both of them are up at 2 a.m. that I just smile and think to myself, life doesn't get any better than this. My life as a working mom is hard, because it's 9 hours a day that I don't get to cuddle my two little loves. But I also appreciate the time I do get with them that much more.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Last month = 978,000 days

It's true what they say. Pregnancy lasts 9 months, except month 9 is the longest month of your life!!!

I am 37 weeks, 5 days along, but I feel like my gestational period has lasted years... I don't know how elephants do it. Don't misunderstand, I want the baby to bake as long as possible, but my body is giving up. My sciatica is at an all time high, making it difficult to walk some days. The contractions start, then always stall out. I can't stop peeing. And even though I have not gained nearly as much weight as I did during my first pregnancy, I feel like I am as big as a house because the baby weight is all in the front. My waddle has a waddle.

At last week's doctor's appointment, I had made a lot of progress. I was 3 cm dilated, 50 % effaced and baby's head was low. I admit, I got really excited, which I should always know leads to disappointment... Somehow, the baby decided the light was too bright and crawled back up the freaking birth canal. I went from 3 cm last week to a "loose" 2 this week - whatever the F that means and only 40 % effaced. I looked at the doctor and said, "you've got to be kidding me? How did I lose progress?" As always, he made perfect sense. My regularity of contractions has slowed significantly this past week, so my body has responded. I know that dilation and effacement really have nothing to do with when labor will kick into high gear. In fact, with Matthew, I was 3 to 4 cm dilated the entire last month of pregnancy, but it was comforting to know that when it was go time, I only had 6 more cm to go to reach push time. Who wants to run the 100 yard dash at 0? Oh I know, those women who claim to "love being pregnant." They are also probably the same women who "love to run 100 yard dashes." 

I hate those women. It makes those of us who are miserable look like terrible, ungrateful mothers, which is so far from the truth. I am so grateful that God has blessed me with another little one on the way and I am even more grateful that He didn't make me wait two years of actively trying to get pregnant to see those two beautiful lines back on December 23. But, I want to see the finish line more clearly. I want to know that for sure, in less than 2 weeks,  the newest Szpylman will make a debut. After today's visit, I am thinking Baby Spills 2.0 will be making a late appearance.  I need to drown my sorrows in chocolate.... I think I'll go grab the carton of ice cream.