June 15, 2010

i’m pretty open on this blog. however, if there is one topic that i think about a lot yet never venture to write about, it’s this one:

while i may mention them in the context of working in the NICU, i only make sly allusions to having some of our own in the future. and no, currently there are no babies on the way. but i am going to go out on a limb and say that i hope that by the end of the calendar year, that will change.

along with everything — everything — else. it was 9:30 pm while i was folding laundry that i had a mini panic attack about this yesterday night. because i was tired, i had had a full day with almost no free time, and currently i live a babyless existence.

yesterday was just another day. i went straight from a 5 AM wake up call –> post –> workout –> work –> meeting –> board review –> drive home –> easy dinner/cleanup –> billz/insurance paperwork –> laundry –> 4 minutes of reading in bed (literally) –> sleep at 10 PM for 7 hours total (which for me, frankly, is inadequate).

i don’t mind this busy-ness as it is; on the contrary, i really do enjoy my current life. but i sat there folding and wondering . . .how do parents with jobs do it!?!?

i mean, i realize that it’s going to mean some serious lifestyle changes (good-bye blog? workouts? sleep?) and honestly, that makes me sad. i am sure that once our future bundle of joy comes into the picture, it will be 100% worth it, but i admit i feel slightly ashamed that i’m even bothering to think about these trade-offs as any form of sacrifice.

furthermore, even with the empowerment that comes with a career that i’ve had to SWEAT to develop (ie: the above NICU references!), i already feel hugely guilty at even the thought of day care (remember: these are unconceived babes i’m talking about!). so . . . am i crazy?

part of it is that i haven’t had a great role model for a working mother — instead, i had a wonderful role model who stayed at home while my sister and i were little, baking whole grain breads and feeding us home-puréed baby foods before it was cool to do so. so maybe that’s part of my mental block?

anyway. coming clean about some of these anxieties wasn’t exactly easy, but i know i can’t be alone with these thoughts. and when i really thought about it, there didn’t seem to be much harm in sharing them. experienced moms who have been through it or busy not-yet-mothers who share any of these fears . . . as always, i’d love your thoughts.

and on a much lighter, unrelated note
i just had to share this laptop lunch from yesterday:

smoked salmon, goat cheese, and arugula wrap; blueberries; asparagus with leftover raspberry dressing
maybe this part is related. because i don’t care what it takes; my future children are going to rock some seriously gourmet lunchboxes someday.



workout: arms/abs session from week 2 of gina’s summer shape up; 25 minutes elliptical (5 warm-up and 20 after), levels 10-12.

reading: 1 hour board review session on pulmonary.


  • Reply Jenny June 15, 2010 at 10:45 am

    You two will have lovely babies!

    I will assure you of this: It will be alright. It will.
    I shared many of your fears/concerns/thoughts before my daughter came, but a lot of this will fall into place almost automatically post-baby, simply because we *make room* in our lives for what we love the most. This means some things will fall to the wayside, but the important stuff you will (and should) hold on to. For me, running is important. I run just as much now as I did pre-kiddo. But I don't blog anymore and I spend a lot less time reading blogs. Although nice and all, it is a time sucker and my time is limited. I spent a year at home and then worked part time for 4 months, but now we are both back to full time jobs and Ingrid is in day care. We are lucky in that we have busy but flexible jobs (I'm writing up my PhD thesis and E is a medical scientist too) so we plan work so that she only spends 6.5 hours/day in daycare. Taking help from grandparents, siblings and friends helps too. We still exercise, read books and go out on dates, maybe just a little less often than before. But we love having her in our life and spending time together as a family is worth a lot to us.

    I feel like I have written up a novel here, but I want to add something else. Make sure you enjoy the fact that your time is yours (and Josh's) now. Sleep in when you can. Go out to breakfast and sit for hours. Read blogs and books and enjoy the quiet. It makes letting go of some of those things easier once the little one comes. Also, they grow up so fast. You think they stay the same forever, but really it changes so fast. Ingrid is only 1.5 yrs and already we have so much more time and energy than we had when she was an infant. She sleeps through the night, eats normal food and can be put to bed by my mum = freedom for us!

  • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 15, 2010 at 11:37 am

    jenny: thank you so much for the thoughtful response; clearly you (and some of my real-life friends: siobhan and denise 🙂 ) are one of my role models in this regard. and your answer is consistent with what other tell me, too. although i would LOVE the swedish maternity leave . . .

    also: i promise despite the lack of long brunches and such most of the time, i really have been enjoying life the past few years EVEN with the demands of residency. next year (hopefully with a pregnancy!) promises to be even more fun, both career and lifestyle-wise.

  • Reply lee@In My Tummy June 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I think what Jenny said is great. Not that I know from experience, but I bet that you will figure out exactly what is important and what isn't. Maybe blogging isn't as important, or maybe it is. I think everyone worries about this. Hell, my schedule isn't nearly as packed as yours and I worry about it (Not that I'm looking to have a baby anytime soon!).

    I'll be really excited if you have a baby! Umm, does that sound creepy?

  • Reply Monica June 15, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I have the same fears. I want to have a baby within the next year or two, but I worry a lot about having it all. I mean I am exhausted as it is! How am I going to keep my sanity and have a career, relationship time and me time? It doesn't help that a lot of the new moms I meet are frazzled but you have to put things into perspective… it is a temporary thing… babies grow, become more self sufficient and you adjust. At least that is what I keep telling myself! LOL

  • Reply Whit June 15, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Oh my gosh, you would have the most fabulously dressed baby ever. This makes me happy. I'm pulling for you by the end of the calendar year!

    I don't have them [obvs], but I do want to say, YOU CAN do it. Somehow, those babes just wriggle their ways into your life and you wonder: How did we ever live without them? What did I spend all my time doing again? They just WORK, and it's gorgeous.

    [my perspective comes from my parents tossing a bebe into my life at the tender age of 17. I learned a lot watching my mom, and I often walked the floors with her myself. It's work, but it's oh so rewarding work.]

  • Reply Christi June 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    One thing someone told me in the years post-baby that really stuck with me: every year plan on building back into your life one thing that you put aside to make room for the baby. As your other posters said, you'll put aside the things you can give up, but you can slowly get them back as well. Good luck!

  • Reply Chelsea June 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Oh man, do I ever share your fears. I'm sure I'm going to write a novel here.

    I really really really want to start a family, but because my husband is a grad student, I'm the "bread winner" right now. On one hand, I know there are tons of people in grad school who have kids, but I worry about making ends meet without having to put the baby in daycare the day after its born so I can go back to work. On the other hand, I'm afraid I'm going to have trouble getting pregnant, and if we wait too long, it'll be too late. I know a lot of people have kids in their late 30s, but I'd prefer to start my family sooner.

    I've always heard there's no perfect time to have a baby, and that it's not that you don't have a life after the baby is born, you just have a very different life. You just make it work.

    Also, my co-workers who are working moms say they think working makes them a better mothers because they have "adult time" each day. So I think the work vs stay home question depends a lot on the mother. I'd like to stay home as much as possible when my kids are little, but I think I'd go crazy if I didn't get to visit the adult world at least sometimes.

    Oh, I'm so excited for you and Josh. When Daniel started grad school, we decided to table the issue until he finished his qual. He's hoping to change advisers and projects this summer and will take the qual in the early fall so hopefully we'll have a better idea of our time line after that is done.

  • Reply Heather @ Side of Sneakers June 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    YAY BABIES!! 🙂 My mom was an AWESOME role model for working moms- she was single, worked full time, and raised me (and I like to think she did a good job of that;)). I think it's one of those things that you're never going to have the perfect situation, but if you put your mind to it you can make the best situation for YOU. 🙂

  • Reply Lauren June 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    My husband and I both work full time and I would be lying to you if I said it wasn't hard. Our son will be a year old on Friday and I honestly wonder what I did with all my free time before he was born.

    Honestly, you just find a way to make it work. Have I managed to read an entire book since he was born? No. Did I manage to paint our living room finally after five years? Yes. However, it did take me a week to get it done!

    As someone else mentioned, you might not get to do everything you used to but you do figure out how to get creative and carve out time for the things you REALLY love. It helps when you have a supportive spouse and you can "trade off" when you need to and create some time for yourself.

    Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Without a doubt. I will tell you one thing, being as organized as you are will certainly help! Good luck!

  • Reply Susannah June 15, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I made the choice to stop working and stay at home with my (now 9 month old) son. BUT a significant part of that decision was based on the fact that I will be able to re-enter the workforce on my own terms eventually (I am a technical and grant writer), from home if I wish. I've always said that if my passion or career was different (and I've always used being a doctor as an example!) then I'd probably feel differently about staying at home.

    Also, to respond to your guilt about potentially putting a baby in daycare and therefore presumably not spending as much time with him or her, I think sometimes people don't realize that staying at home is not 100% playtime with your child. Of course it depends on your financial situation, but for us, part of the tradeoff of me not working is that I do it all. I don't want to make any assumptions about your finances, but our friends who are dual-income families often have a cleaning service come to the house and dry cleaning drop-off and lawn services, since they have more disposable income and want to spend their time at home with the baby.

    And finally (yet another novel of a comment!), it is good that you have fears about time management with a baby in the picture. It means you are already attuned to important things: the fact that you want to maintain who you are as a person and the fact that having a baby is no small life change. I was honestly shocked by how difficult it was to spend quality time with my husband after our son was born, and by how physically draining caring for a newborn and nursing was. But like everyone else has said, things evolve, and when you make the important things top priority, everything else will rearrange itself.

  • Reply Bridgette June 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Oh boy, don't be scared by all I've blogged about! I'm probably not the best role model, so just ignore my stresses. I think my issues with having two kids in grad school has more to do with the horrific things that my unique lab challenges have put me through than having two kids. Yes, it is tough. Josh is only seven weeks old, but it is already getting better. And Sophie is a total ball at 2.5, now that she is over acting out. My life has completely changed, and the sleep thing is rough, but I wouldn't trade it. I had a stay at home mom too, and day care is tough, but find one you trust. I think it has done wonders for making Sophie social. And she can now sleep through anything 🙂 We can chat via email some time if you ever have questions, but you can do it!

  • Reply Anonymous June 15, 2010 at 3:50 pm


    I had the same fears before having my children. I had my first child 15 years ago as an intern (clinical psychology phd) and my second 9 years ago. I also had no role model for a working mother as my mother stopped working when her first child was born. My husband became a stay-at-home dad nine years ago and this is how we manage. It is very tough for us financially but has been good for the kids and for my career. Many things go out the window, especially in the short term and yes, it is exhausting. But, I still manage to do many things I enjoy (shop anthro–all online) and run marathons. Many things are never completely done (totally clean house, all laundry done haaaaaaaaaaaaa) but life is more intersting and rich. Also, the question 'can I really do all of this' never really goes away. It just changes forms as the kids get older. It does get easier though–with older kids that is. Such an exciting time of life and scary tooo–especially for planner types.

  • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 15, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    everyone: i'm on lunch break and i am LOVING hearing all of your experiences — thank you so much for sharing. keep them coming!

    and to the last anonymous – i am so excited that you are still able to shop anthro and run marathons . . . but josh is going to be pretty much the polar opposite of a house husband. i'm totally envious 🙂

  • Reply Siobhan Brady June 15, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Sarah – All I can say (now that I've come through the first year with a smile on my face 🙂 ) – that you figure out how to change your life once the baby is born. You learn what is essential to do and what isn't. You plan and balance and most of all – you enjoy every single second of seeing your baby's smiling face. It is possible to balance it all (even with a partner who is just as busy with work) – it just takes creativity, patience, respect and love between you and your partner. Which you and Josh have heaps of. I've moved from my previous definitions of what it meant to be a successful female professor (work all the time – never let go of an opportunity – never say no – continually try to do as much as the next "big" person in the field) and into one that better suits me and our family. Which means – producing almost as much – but letting go of that which is not as important. I'm much more precise with what I choose to work on – and how I spend my time at work and in evenings (ie I never watch movies anymore)… You will figure it all out and it is exhausting and challengin – but really happy at the same time… You and Josh will be awesome parents – and I can't wait to share in your journey!!! xoxo

  • Reply Katie June 15, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Good luck Sarah! I am pregnant with my first (due date is tomorrow! EEK!) and still trying to figure out how we are going to deal with the new challenges of parenthood! I feel lucky and blessed and happy that I have a great partner. I really can't imagine going on this "journey" with anyone else! I think that's what's keeping me from going completely over the edge (though I am totally anxious about being overdue. I am a punctual person–and by punctual, I am always five minutes early. WHERE IS MY BABY?).

    It sounds from your writing that you and Josh have a great partnership–you can make any situation work as long as you're together, right?

    I am planning on going back to work post-baby. At first, I had a really hard time with it. There I was, 20 weeks pregnant, without even having the opportunity to MEET MY BABY, looking for daycare centers for someone else to watch my baby. That was rough. I'll make it work though. While I do NOT love my job, it gives some balance to my life. I like to talk to adults and spend money a little too freely and if I wasn't working, I would have to depend on my husband for our only income and not be around adults as much. We'll see how it goes though!

    Good luck!

  • Reply Jess June 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I don't know how working mothers do it either. I can barely keep up with my cat. 🙂

  • Reply The Happy Runner June 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm


    I agree w/the others that you will figure it out. I was late to the having a baby game and decided that the best thing for me was to leave my career behind, at least for a while. I had a VP job and the hours were just too much for not enough reward. I'm glad I left b/c I LOOOOVE staying at home w/my son. But, I also do freelance work, so I'm satisfied that I'm still in the loop, contributing, etc.

    I admit that I often envy my friends who work full time outside the home b/c they can workout or run errands on their lunch breaks.

    You will figure out a way to balance what is important and you'll find that some things just aren't important anymore. You can't necessarily know what those things are yet, but you'll learn!

    Good luck!

  • Reply Morgan June 15, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I'm already worried about what's going to have to go once my little boy comes along. I have a feeling blog reading and writing will go by the wayside a bit. I just don't know yet. I am so beyond lost about my career path, so I don't feel like I'm giving that up, but I would like to figure it out soon. For now, I will be a stay at home mom.
    I think it's OK to have anxieties about this. I had anxieties about EVERYTHING before getting pregnant and we kept saying we would wait for the right time. The truth is, there will never, ever be a perfect, ideal time to get pregnant, something will always be in the way. I think it all just works out. It will be OK!

  • Reply Anonymous June 16, 2010 at 1:32 am

    I think it is very wise to have anxieties about becoming parents. I think it is wise to realize that no one can "have it all"–a fabulous career, a perfect marriage, and parenthood. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day and a mom needs to sleep and eat. I chose to stay home with my children some 30 years ago and made homemade baby food (much like your mother!). I clipped coupons, cooked almost every meal from scratch, worked part time here and there. No, it wasn't wonderful all the time, but I wouldn't change a thing. You and Josh are smart and seem to have a great relationship. It will work out, but you are wise to be thinking.

  • Reply Denise June 16, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Wow! Your commenters all wrote novels but I would like to add my vote of confidence as well. It WILL work for you. I was TERRIFIED about finding a new routine – being able to work and be a mom at the same time plus finding time for exercise seemed so intimidating. We have developed a great routine over the weeks and months and it just works for us. You may not be able to train for a marathon in the first years when you have little ones, but you will still find time to run….I have one word for you "BOB." Rachel gave me her used Bob jogging stroller and it has been a life saver! Running is the only way I can exercise and spend time with Miles at the same time.

    I agree with the commenters who said to live it up while you can. Going out is more of a rare occasion but you really appreciate it when you do go out.

    It isn't always easy – I miss Miles terribly while I am at work and am still sad when I have to leave him on Monday mornings but I think I appreciate the time I do get to spend with him.

    A friend of mine told me a quote that always sticks with me "the days are long but the years are short." Enjoy every moment!!

  • Reply rosasharona June 16, 2010 at 2:30 am

    I'm glad you blogged about this because I am smack in the middle of adjusting to the full-time mom/full-time job thing and WHEW i am always exhausted. Add in the fact that I work nights and sometimes I am even suprised that I have kept up the way I have.

    Like previous commenters have said (and they are all good points/advice), you just MAKE it work. And you WILL make sacrifices…like for me, I barely ever watch TV or movies anymore (but this is probably a GOOD thing!) except sometimes when I am nursing. I never work-out anymore but I am slowly building up my resolve to start again…I just need to figure out how to keep Iris entertained while I am on our elliptical in the basement (???? this seems impossible!!?!?) I also never spend lots of time in the kitchen making tasty and CREATIVE meals. I mean I still cook, but it's something quick and easy, like heating up Trader JOe's frozen stuff. I still blog because it is an outlet for me and also a mode of communication with my friends who are (sadly) flung all over the world.

    These days my evenings on my days off have been freer because Iris now sleeps from 7pm to 7am (whohoo!) so I get some time before I go to bed to do what I need to get done. However, Iris is now more demanding during the day so I can't get ANYTHING done during the day. *sigh* I just hope it gets better. And I pray that you and Josh have a child who SLEEPS because it makes life SO MUCH EASIER!!!

    Everyday I waver from wanting to be a stay-at-home mom to wanting to work part-time. Given that for the next year, I will still be the sole earner (UNPAID residencies should be outlawed), I have no choice but to keep on chugging along, but I think I want to take a break from the job (and as a RN thank god i have the flexibility to do so) since we are planning on having a 2nd soon after mike starts working next year. Then after we are done with having kids, I'd definitely want to go back to work part-time because I find that some days I find myself really YEARNING to go to work because I need some adult interaction Also being with an infant all day long is *gasp* boring sometimes – let me be the first one to admit it. Iris is cute, but dang-it, I wish she could talk sometimes. Maybe my feelings will change as she gets older….

    Anyhow, my advice is to stop worrying about how you'll make it happen and just let it happen. Life will rearrange itself. You want a baby, have it. You are a smart, educated woman who is organized and used to multi-tasking— you are too qualified already!

    Wow I wrote more than I intended to…hope there was something there that helped! xxoo.

  • Reply rosasharona June 16, 2010 at 2:40 am

    oh i wanted to add that Iris is in daycare 2-3x a week and she loves it. she will end up a more social person in the end and the break I get from her while i am at home (sleeping nevertheless) definitely makes me a better parent for her. it always helps to look for a daycare/nanny who you trust. I love the caretaker at Iris' daycare – I would want her to take care of me!
    i wish i had relatives that lived nearby to help out with childcare but you gotta do what you gotta do!

  • Reply atilla June 16, 2010 at 3:02 am

    my simple advice to prospective parents is simple. Go to the beach. Take wine and cheese. spread out a big blanket. lie down and close your eyes and savor the moment. It will be the last time you do that for the next 15 or 20 years. Like I've always said children change your life but my opinion its for the better

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