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In September, I had a baby. Next week, I go back to work. I guess I should not be surprised that this confluence of highly personal choices generates opinions from everyone from random people at the grocery store to my own family members. In case you also know a new mom about to go back to work, here are some things you might refrain from saying.
- •Day care is so expensive, you might as well just stay home.New mothers about to start working are filled with a complicated morass of sadness and pride, and the fact that making this transition usually means paying money to complete strangers and entrusting them with single most important person in our lives is, to over-simplify it, difficult. Assume that we have *also* done the math and either decided that working is the best financial choice for us and our family and/or that we are working for other reasons that are important to us.
- •Are you going to stop breastfeeding?Figuring out how to build up enough of a supply of breast milk to leave my baby for the first day AND how to fit pumping into my daily work life are emotional, stressful, and logistically complicated. I am very thankful for Jessica Shortall's excellent book "Work. Pump. Repeat." to help me navigate this universe. This whole area of breast milk versus formula is a mine field. Do yourself a favor, and just never ask anyone about it. Ever.
- •It is harder to be a stay at home parent, anyway.Maybe. Maybe not. Does anyone really know which is harder? And why is it a competition? Being a parent is hard. And easy. And wonderful. I do not see why we need a hierarchy.
Here are the best things I ate this year.
- •Pastrami on rye, Katz's Deli (Manhattan)I blame my vegetarian upbringing for the fact that it took me 35 years to make it to this New York institution. Katz's lived up to every ounce of hype.
- •Hot steamed crabs, LP Steamers (Baltimore)The first time I had steamed crabs, I did not think they were worth the effort. And then I met the hot steamed crabs at LP Steamers.
- •Biscuit breakfast sandwiches, Leghorn Chicken (Chicago)A friend stumbled across this tiny place and we went on to eat there every day for three consecutive days in Chicago. The biscuits were fantastic, but the blue cheese caramel butter was the real hero.
Here is how my 2015 went down.
- •Went to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.Cross that off the bucket list.
- •Gestated a human being.I found out that I was pregnant on NYE 2014. 2015 will forever be the year of pregnancy.
- •Took a canal boat vacation.Rented a 70 foot canal boat and traversed the Kennet and Avon canal near Bath, England. Nobody went overboard and much tea was consumed, natch.
Disclaimer: no babies were harmed in the making of this list.
- •Baby's first trip on the Subway, carried the stroller up the stairs with the wrong end up, baby almost slid out of bottom of bassinet.
- •The first time I gave baby a bottle, used a too fast flowing nipple, and almost drowned baby.
- •Half asleep, rocking baby to sleep after a 4am feeding with my eyes closed, only to open my eyes and look down to find baby staring at me wide awake, with a massive smile reminiscent of a horror film clown; freaked out.
- •Misjudged the distance between baby and the tummy time mat while placing baby on the tummy time mat.