To the Full-Time Moms

9.20.2017

Before I get to today's post, I wanted to let you know that the winner of the Milo and Molly tooth fairy pillow giveaway is Sabrina Alley! I've sent you an email. Thanks to everyone who entered, and if you didn't win, you can get 20% off Kristen's Etsy shop with the code THELADYOKIE or just click this link to get the discount applied to your cart. Good until the end of October!
It's hard for me to believe, but this January it will be two years since R started full-time daycare. If you've been around The Lady Okie blog for any length of time, you know that going back to work after having R was one of the hardest if not the hardest things I've ever done. Although I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom, once I had a child, I was surprised to discover that it was something I really wanted.

Over the past two years, I've used this blog as part catharsis for my own emotions and a way to process my thoughts about being a working mom. I've also tried to use my (small) platform as an encouragement both to other working moms who have a hard time like I do and also to shine a light on some of the negative stereotypes I see surrounding working motherhood and traditional daycare.

What I have discovered in my journey is something I knew but had to see firsthand to really understand: this is an incredibly sensitive topic. SAHMs want to feel validated in their choice to be home with their children as an important job even as they sometimes feel less than a contributor to their household income and society at large. (I say this based on other blog posts I've read from SAHMs and conversations with friends of mine who are SAHMs.)

I do completely understand how a mom who stays at home can get frustrated and defensive when someone implies that staying at home means they "don't do anything." Kids are a lot of work, and anyone who wonders what a SAHM does all day just doesn't even know what they are talking about. Raising children is very important and vital work and should be celebrated and supported.

On the other side of the coin, as a working mother, I struggle to feel that my work as a mother is validated even though I may not be with my children all day. There are three phrases in particular that I see and hear often in regards to being a SAHM that I passionately disagree with. I just saw one of these the other day on an "about me" page I read of a blogger who recently redesigned her site. I assume that the people who say these things don't intend to be hurtful to working moms, but they are very problematic.

"I quit my job to be a mom."
"I left my job and got promoted to a job with zero vacation or sick days, but it's the best job in the world: mom."
"I am a full-time mom."

Let me explain.

If you have a child, you are a mother. 

Having or not having a job outside (or inside) the home does not make you more or less of a mother than you already were. You also do not get "promoted" to the job of mom upon leaving your job at the office. If you have a child, you are never off duty. There are no part-time moms. I have a full-time job in an office outside of my house, and I am also a full-time mom. 

This is not to say that a mom who stays at home with her children is less than a mom who works. Both are hard in different ways, and both come with struggles and successes of their own. Both types of moms should be encouraged, supported, and celebrated. 

All types of moms are needed in our society as examples of all the different things moms can do.

We need stay-at-home moms and moms who work in the corporate world and moms who work in the nonprofit world. We need moms who work from inside their home and moms who run their own businesses. We need moms who work part time and moms who teach and moms who keep other moms' kids. Moms are awesome, and we need moms everywhere because everyone has different strengths and weaknesses they bring to all kinds of different situations.

What so frustrates me about the above phrases is the implication that to have the title "mom," you have to be home with your children, and that only after quitting your job are you truly a mom.

As a mom, I have made the best decision for our family at this time by continuing to work and contribute to our family income to help my husband in providing food, clothes, health insurance, and a home for my children. I have (with Jordan) researched, toured, and chosen a daycare provider I trust where R (and soon J) has fun, learns, and is safe. She is not being "raised" at daycare, despite what the internet likes to say about it, and I have never once considered myself "off duty" from motherhood just because I've dropped her off at daycare to head to the office. I am a mom always, wherever I am, and so are you.

What I would like to do is help people understand how their words might be implying something about working mothers that just isn't true. And not only that, but it's hurtful. 

Even though it has been so, so hard, I am so grateful for the past two years and for how much I have grown as a result of working and taking R to daycare. I've had to learn to trust my child with someone else. I've had to learn to give up some of my ideas about schedules and food and learn that it's okay if it doesn't always go exactly how I would have wanted it. (Still learning it, by the way.) I've learned to juggle sick kids and sick days and working at home and being efficient with the time I have because I want to be a good employee but also intentional with the limited time I have with my children.

I've needed to have open hands and have also learned to have a more sensitive and empathetic heart, especially for my fellow working moms. I know this is cliche to say, but honestly and truly--if through sharing my story over the past two years I have encouraged even one other working mom to know she isn't alone, it is worth it. If I have opened the eyes of even one person to the struggles and insecurities of working motherhood, it is worth it.

I am so grateful for each person who has reached out to me over the past two years with comments of support and encouragement for me as I walked this road. Working motherhood is where God has placed me in this season, and I want to be faithful in it even when it's hard. (Still learning this one too.)

So, cheers to two years. And to all the full-time moms out there (that's all of us, by the way): your work is important. It matters. You're a great, fantastic, and wonderful. 

Cheers to you.

For a list of all the posts I've written about working motherhood, go here.

at least one thing will be in the same place i left it

9.17.2017



It's been a while since I just shared an old-fashioned post with pictures and updates of what we've been doing lately! So that's what this post is.

With Jordan and I both working full time, our days are busy, but our evenings and weekends have been pretty full too lately, and our family of four has been having lots of fun being out and about. It surprisingly doesn't feel much more complicated to get out of the house with two kids than it was with just one. We are already used to making sure we have a bag for R, so what's one more, really?
But I will tell you that so far we haven't managed to be earlier to church than twenty minutes late, so that's something we need to get better at. At least we all look cute! And squinty. The ladies in the nursery love J so much. They always tell me how sweet he is, and I'm all, duh obviously. He's the best.


Two weekends ago, my parents drove up from Texas, and we went to a chuck wagon cookoff. (Note: this original post said "last weekend" because that's when I started writing this, but it took so long to actually finish the post that last weekend has become two weekends ago. help.) There were I think six different wagons where they were cooking chicken fried steak, potatoes, biscuits and rolls, beans, and peach cobbler out of covered wagons and cast-iron skillets and it. was. so. good. I did not go around to each wagon getting more peach cobbler and rolls. Okay, actually I did have self-control and threw my bowl away after four helpings because not having a bowl was literally the only thing that was going to stop me from continuing to eat.

Why do we not live outside in wagons anymore? I think we need to forget overalls and focus on bringing back spurs and outhouses. Who's with me?
Last month, we drove to small-town Oklahoma for Jordan's grandma's 80th birthday. All the cousins and grandkids and great-grandkids (of which R and J are 2 of the 3) surprised her, and she was shocked. I like the drive out to western Oklahoma, because when I start freaking out about buildings everywhere and trees getting cut down and giant landfills, it calms me to look for miles in all directions and see flat nothing except for the occasional windmills and "mountains" that are really just medium-sized hills. 

Don't be sad for us. We like it here.
I'm happy to say that my obsession with buying R expensive hair bows died with her desire to wear them, and I haven't picked up any more harmful shopping habits for J or R. One thing I've always found wasteful to buy are shoes because they grow out of them in 8.2 seconds, which is why R wore the same $8 pair from Walmart (Garanimals brand!) forever. 

But. BUT. My sister-in-law bought R a pair of Vans for her birthday and now she is too darn cool for school. This is what aunts are for, amiright? Buying their nieces and nephews fun things like shoes I would never have picked out for her in a million years.
R loves art, and my MIL bought her some watercolors for her birthday, which is nice, and I try to be cool about it, but really inside I'm all omg keep those at your house please because it stresses me out and I'm sweating everywhere and DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING WITH THOSE BRUSHES. I really wanted to be a fun mom who was fine with her kid making messes everywhere, but actually every time I let her "help" me cook and she spills flour all over the floor, I die a little inside.

However, painting is kind of nice because it keeps her in her chair and contained for a good five minutes so I can go to the bathroom by myself or unload the dishwasher without her attempting to help by grabbing all the knives. The waterproof capabilities are questionable seeing as how she has blue fingers for the rest of the day, but it's a small price to pay. We keep the Gathre mat underneath the chair to catch spills, which I still maintain is the single most useful thing I've bought in the last 2+ years of motherhood. (Not sponsored; I just love it.)
Last but not least, I decorated our mantel for fall! Since the rest of our house looks like a disaster area all the time no matter how much time I spend picking things up, this mantel is a calming presence in my life. R has started carrying her bathroom stool all over the house, and I am not exaggerating when I say that no drawer, cabinet, or shelf is safe now that she has higher reaching capabilities. But I can look at this mantel and know that R can't get up there, and everything is going to always be in the same place it was when I left it. 

Small mercies, my friends.

p.s. If you haven't entered to win a personalized tooth fairy pillow, go here and do it before I choose a winner on Wednesday! There is also a discount code for 20% off Milo & Molly Etsy Shop.

Milo & Molly Personalized Tooth Fairy Pillow Giveaway

9.13.2017


This post is for everyone who loves to shop small! I'm so excited to partner with Kristen, who runs the Etsy shop Milo and Molly, to share with you about her products, specifically her adorable Tooth Fairy Pillows

Losing a tooth is a big deal, and it's such a fun idea to have something like this where a child can keep their tooth until bedtime... to be magically replaced with money overnight! I shared a week or so ago about our transition to a toddler bed and the pillow we bought for R. I know a visit from the tooth fairy to leave something under that pillow is not as far away as it seems!

Kristen designed these pillows for her son before he lost his first tooth based on one she had as a childEach pillow is handmade from a beautiful wool-blend felt, and the pocket can be personalized with the initial of your choice and over 80 different colors.

The pocket fits a tooth (obviously), and then either a folded bill or a few coins. I was showing  my mom these pillows when she was visiting last weekend, and she said the going rate for a tooth where they live is five dollars per tooth. Everything's bigger in Texas, right? INSANITY. I think 50 cents will be good enough, maaaaaybe a dollar if things get crazy. We'd go broke buying back teeth!

Kristen has kindly offered to give away two pillows personalized with the color and letter of your choice to one winner. 


Enter using the giveaway tool below. You can either leave a comment on this blog post or inside the Rafflecopter. One winner will be chosen and contacted via email one week from today. Entries will be verified. Don't cheat! That's not nice.

*US residents only on this one. Sorry, international friends.

You can also shop her Etsy and use the code THELADYOKIE to get 20% off until the end of October! Or, you can click this link right here to have the 20% automatically applied.

She always has new things she's working on, including these fabric button bookmarks and these headbands. Last year I bought a pair of super cute mittens from her shop, and she occasionally hosts flash sales on scarves and other handmade items from her Instagram, so I recommend giving her a follow to stay updated!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Confession Session vol. 8

9.07.2017


Whatever happens next, I hope we can still be friends.

Whenever I see a nursery room reveal, it almost always includes some type of gorgeous display of artwork or bows or tiny baby shoes hanging directly above the changing table. And it's adorable and also totally and completely nonfunctional. Have you ever tried to change a squirmy toddler? They will flail about and knock all that cute stuff right down.

Speaking of baby stuff I raise my eyebrows at: spending more than $10 on a crib sheet. Sure, Etsy is exploding with the most adorable, organic crib sheets with fox patterns and black polka dots, but your baby doesn't care that you spend $45 on their crib sheet and will puke and poop explode on it just the same. Related: changing pad covers. Whoever came up with these things is an evil genius. Resist.

It's back to school time, and all the preschool and kindergarten moms are posting about how sad they are that their child is going to be away from them all day and how much they are going to miss them. And yes, I feel for you. I am sympathetic. It's so hard to be away from your child all day. But as a working mom who has spent all day away from her babies since they were infants, I also sort of feel like, Hi, welcome to my level.

I have a hard time being friends who people who are flaky. DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO. BE WHERE YOU SAY YOU ARE GOING TO BE. Let's move on. I really can't talk about it.

Continuing my ongoing quest to be grouchy about anything related to Instagram stories, can we talk about the new thing people are doing where they post a screenshot of their IG feed with a heart over the most recent photo and write "check out my latest post!" Come on, guys. It's okay if not every single person who follows you sees every single photo you post. Don't waste my time with this nonsense.

I'm probably going to get some hate mail for this one, but here it goes: I totally understand why people who don't have kids say their pets are like their children. There are a shocking number of similarities, and yes, I'll give you that your golden retriever Sparky is a beloved member of your family forever amen. But I don't even know how to respond when that same person has a child and now refers to the dog as the child's big brother. NOPE.

Posting pictures of kids on the potty on the internet. I think it's inappropriate HOWEVER, I totally get why people do it because R is (very very very loosely) working on it, and when she's sitting on the potty it's adorable and I want to take twenty pictures and show everyone. I won't, but what I'm saying is that I sympathize with the urge.

Anddddd.... last but not least. I confess that when a blogger posts a list of confessions and it turns to to be a bunch of things like "I confess that I thought all day yesterday it was Wednesday but it was Thursday!" or "All I had for breakfast was a cookie and I didn't put on makeup until noon!" it makes me wonder what is wrong with them. Don't get my hopes up about sarcastic ranting and then hit me that snoozefest. Swipe left.

ARE WE STILL FRIENDS? I think I might have lost some of you on the dog thing.

Make me feel better and confess something below. This is a safe space.

Read more confessions here.

The Crib to Toddler Bed Transition + Our Favorite Toddler Pillow!

9.04.2017



*This process is going to be different for every parent and every child. This post is our personal experience of what we did with R and hopefully is helpful to you! 

A couple of months before J arrived, we started working with R on transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed. We pushed the issue mainly because we plan on R and J sharing a room at some point (right now he's in our room), and we wanted her to be used to sleeping in the bed before that happened; also we did not want to buy a second crib. However, I honestly have to say that I think it was too early. She was around 20 months old when we started, and I don't think she was totally ready. That said, we did it and I'm happy to say that after an initial rough start, she is doing well!

For some reason, most of the articles I could find online about moving a toddler from a crib to a bed (whether that’s a toddler size or a twin size) made it sound like a much more simple process than we experienced. Again, I’m sure part of that was due to R’s age, but it was still frustrating to keep reading posts like "And then we put her in the bed and she stayed and did great!" That is not what happened for us, so just know that if this is happening to you too, you aren't alone.

The first thing we did was move the bed into the nursery. My in-laws found the toddler bed at Goodwill for $50, and it fits perfectly in our shared nursery space. We wanted R to get familiar with the idea of a bed in her room before we introduced the concept of sleeping in it, so for a while it was just something she sat on occasionally, but she still slept full time in her crib for naps and bedtime.


The second thing we did was buy R a pillow. Until this point she had not been using a pillow at all, but I knew she would need one once she was in a bed! A friend recommended Little Sleepy Head pillows, which they bought because her son is sensitive to certain fabrics. The Little Sleepy Head pillows have hypoallergenic filling and are 100% cotton. They also have an organic option. All the pillows are made in the United States and are machine washable. (And trust me, I've washed and dried R's pillow a few times now and it's come out perfect every time!)


I got R a pillow and pink elephant pillowcase, and we loved it so much that I reached out to partner with Little Sleepy Head and share more about their products with you. They kindly sent me an organic toddler pillow, white cotton pillowcase, and gray alphabet cuddle case to try out. The cuddle cases are made with 100% polyester fabric and are suuuuuuper soft! I think this pillowcase will be perfect for wintertime. If you are in the market for a pillow for your little guy or gal, check out Little Sleepy Head!
After putting the bed in her room and getting her a pillow, we decided to move forward with attempting to transition to sleeping in the bed. The immediate problem was that she would not. lie. down. She kept crawling out and standing and jumping and just straight-up refused to have anything to do with lying down to sleep.

So we scratched it. We realized that we couldn’t force her to lie down and stay there, and sitting in her room for hours trying pat her to sleep didn’t appeal to either of us, so we continued putting her in the crib to sleep.

It was probably a few weeks later that we tried again. I normally do not rock her to sleep (I did that when she was a baby but never consistently because we wanted her to be able to fall asleep on her own), but one Saturday for nap time I rocked her until she fell asleep, and then instead of putting her in the crib, I put her in the bed. She slept for an hour or two before waking up, and we made a big deal about the fact that she’d slept in her big girl bed and we were so proud of her.

We still couldn’t get her to lie down on her own, but if I rocked her to sleep and then put her in bed, she had good success staying asleep. I felt like it was a step in the right direction because she was getting familiar with sleeping and waking up in the bed. After about a week, we decided we would give it another try to get her to lie down in bed and actually fall asleep.

Like I said earlier, so many people I’ve talked to or articles I’ve read about this act like their child either didn’t realize they even could get out of the bed or they actually listened when the parent told them not to get out and stayed in bed when they were told to. That was not our experience.

When she was in a crib, we would just close the door and let her cry it out for a bit. There are all sorts of opinions about CIO, but we personally are okay with it (within reason, of course), and most of the time she calms down and falls asleep within 5-10 minutes. Sometimes she’s still crying after that time, in which case one of us would go in and pat her, tell her we love her, and tell her it’s time for night-night.

In a bed, however, she would get out and stand at her bedroom door screaming “mama dada” and pounding on the door. When we first put her in bed, one of us would sit on the floor by her bed and pat her for a couple of minutes, and she would stay in bed, but she wanted to talk to us and play, and I think that us being in there was distracting to her. As soon as we left, she freaked out.

It took an hour or more and multiple times of going into the room and telling her to get back in bed before she finally fell asleep. We had no idea what to do to get her to stay in bed. It was very frustrating, and no one had any advice!

(I do want to be sure and add here that her cries were just because she wanted us in her room and were not because she was scared. You really can tell your kid's different cries, and I don't want it to sound like we listened to her cry out of fear and didn't do anything about it.)

So basically what we did is just follow the same routine night after night, and over time (we are talking a couple months) she started taking less and less time to fall asleep. We also did notice a difference after we let her cry it out at the door two nights in a row, which was super sad but I think necessary. She knew that if she pounded on the door and yelled, we would go in there, and once we stopped reacting so quickly, she slowly stopped doing that. Now she will knock on the door, but she hasn't pounded on it in a while.

That's what we did in a nutshell. Some nights are better than others, and we are just coming out of a pretty major sleep regression where she was waking up every couple of hours all night long. That was rough for everyone. Obviously she needed some time to adjust to the freedom of being able to get out of bed if she wanted to, and I don't know if doing anything differently than we did would have helped. Thankfully, she has been sleeping so well lately and not crying at all when we put her to bed!

I'm happy to answer any specific questions you have about the bed transition if there's anything that was unclear or something else you'd like to know about!

p.s. These next two pictures don't really have anything to do with sleeping, but I had to share. I was taking pictures of her in bed, and totally unprompted, she carried her pillow over to the rocking chair, climbed in with her book, and started reading to herself. And my bookworm heart melted over. The end.


*Check out Little Sleepy Head pillows here! We love them!
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