Drupal life after kids

webchick's picture

For those who missed it, there's a new addition to the webchick family coming soon. This of course is a time of incredible excitement and incredible terror and all of those things that I believe are natural when one crosses this threshold. :)

But something I've been spending a lot of time pondering about is what my Drupal life looks like post-webchicklet, and how other parents (particularly moms) have handled this.

Let me paint a picture for you.

Right now, my position within the Drupal community can probably best be described as the "Drupal community data bank." :) For just about any Drupal community-related question one might have, I usually know who to talk to, and often also know that that person's having a bad day today because of a specific home life issue, so try not to bug them too much. I also know they have a Drupal core patch that was RTBCed exactly 48 seconds ago, but in all likelihood still needs work because the person who RTBCed it has a tendency to let their enthusiasm get the better of them, so I'll need to do some extra manual testing. I can tell you about key community decisions we've made in the past, the entire history leading up to them, which concerns each key member in the discussion had, and what new things are coming down the pipe to address them.

I can do all this because I am on Drupal.org about 12-18 hours a day, and can get by with very little sleep (a superpower I understand will serve me well in motherhood ;)). Obviously, though, this isn't going to be sustainable at all with a little one underfoot. So I'm pondering a bit on what my role in the Drupal community in the New World Order™ looks like. Hm.

I would love to hear from other parents (especially moms) on how you coped with the inevitable loss of free time that accompanies a new life in your life. How did you set boundaries? How do you ensure that you are present as a parent, even when there is work to do and fires to be put out? Did you need to change your career life entirely, or were you able to make adjustments and if so, how?

Sorry about all the questions, but I'm very curious to hear how others have handled this. :)


Excellent questions, and

techgirlgeek's picture

Excellent questions, and while you are pondering the questions, I will take some time to ponder an answer.

I will tell you that your "living on little sleep" super power will indeed do you well, however when you are not sleeping, at least for those first couple of months, you will be tending to the little one. Also, when they are not mobile is when you may feel like "oh I've got this" and then he/she will start to move on it's own, first trying to roll off the changing table, then across the floor, and finally trying to run across the street. Life as you know it will never be the same.

In the early days you and Marci are really going to need to agree on who's doing what which night. One gets to sleep, while the other one gets up for feedings. I highly recommend trading off as much as possible. You are lucky in that, I assume, neither of you will be nursing (sorry if this is incorrect) so trading feeding nights should be easier than it was for me.

How do you ensure you are present as a parent? Great question ... my best answer? Do your best. (Maybe not helpful, but that's really the best we can do.) There will be guilt, some days for the job, others for the kiddo(s). I know there are days when I should probably put the computer down and play with the boys, and visa versa ... I do wish you luck.

As for boundaries, I would set yourself "office hours". Again, make sure you and Marci are really clear on schedules. From this time to this time I'm in office hours, and from this time to this time you are. Which means the other one is "on". (If that makes sense.)

My best bit of advice, make sure to make time for you as an individual, and for both of you as a couple. It's really easy, as this child becomes the center of EVERYTHING, to lose track of yourselves. Things will slip by the wayside, don't worry about the vacuuming, it'll be there tomorrow. In the beginning, if you have friends that can bring you meals, awesome, because learning to be parents and remembering to cook dinner gets difficult at best. :)

Eventually your new normal will start making sense, but try not to analyze every second. As women, and as programmers, we think we can control everything, sadly, we can't, especially parenthood. Take it one day at a time.

You are going to be awesome at this!

Step 1: work & personal life

DamienMcKenna's picture

When our second child was born I wasn't involved in Drupal yet so I didn't have the (taps arm) addiction =) That said..

IMHO the most important thing for you to work through is deciding how you intend to do your work-vs-family balance post-baby: will you or your spouse be on primary baby duty, will you be splitting it even, are you taking adoption/maternity leave, are you going to work part-time or intending to work full-time, etc? Caring for an infant is very time consuming, you'll both be on-call 24x7 until the child starts sleeping in longer stretches, so if you're going to work you'll need to plan for breaks to tag-team baby care.

I'd still start catching up

30equals's picture

I'd still start catching up sleep already ;)
And computers are kid magnets.


webwriter's picture

What exciting news!

I am a long time lurker, very rare poster but I wanted to chime in on this issue.

Your life is about to change drastically, even if you think it won't. I sit here typing this as my 16-year-old plays Planetside on his computer at the other end of the office counter and I can honestly tell you it was hard to imagine ever getting to this point.

I recall days in the first few months where I could not believe my husband was home so early... and realized it was 5 PM and I never even made it to the shower.

I told myself I wouldn't be one of those women who couldn't handle a baby and work and promised my boss I'd work from home every day and maybe we could even work out some telecommuting because I was so sure I would be able to clock some work time while the baby was napping or entertaining himself... it makes me laugh now.

To be honest, I think it depends on the baby. My first was a wound-up ball of energy who never slept and never played quietly by himself. He needed constant attention. My second child was miserably sick his first year of life and needed lots of walking and bouncing to calm him. If my third child had been my first, I could have done it all, as she slept on a schedule and happily watched TV or played under her baby gymnasium for an hour or so at a time.

Also, it depends on what kind of help you have.

When mine were all still under 5, I ended up hiring a sitter to come to the house 6 hours a day so I could work. That worked out really well, allowed me to focus in the time that I had and not stress about kids/work at the same time.

1 suggestion: Get a baby sling. Not a complicated backpack thingy or some overworked carrier but a simple sling with padded bumpers on it. It is so versatile, I couldn't have done half of what I did without it. With the baby in the sling, you can hold him/her close and still have both hands available.

I distinctly remember nursing my daughter in the sling as I walked through Walmart, getting groceries. LOL. No one could tell.

I carried my sleeping son down a windy beach in the sling, putting a heavy sweater on over me and the sling together. I looked still pregnant, but he never even woke up.

As the baby got older, he/she could sit up and look around, on my hip or facing out from the front or even ride on my back, papoose style.

The biggest use though, was being able to sit at the computer with the sleeping baby held close and comfy. Whether sleeping or awake, they were much calmer and happier in the sling than in a baby seat or any other sort of holder.

As exhausting as those days were, I miss them. My babies are all too big now! The most important thing is to enjoy that baby while you can. Work will always be there, but babies grow into toddlers into teenagers before you know it.

Best of luck.

Slings FTW!

DamienMcKenna's picture

A hug +1 for getting a sling - babies love being snuggled close like that, and it's much easier on you to have them there.

So... I tried the whole sling

EclipseGc's picture

So... I tried the whole sling thing, and while we're done having kids, our luck with slings was so so. Perhaps you have a favorite brand that worked out so well? I think we definitely wanted exactly what you talked about here from a sling, but the children always seemed awkward and unhappy in a sling. Perhaps this was our kids, perhaps it was the sling. If you have suggestions on how to pick a good sling, I think that would not go amiss here. It's advice I would have happily followed. :-)


My 2 cents

Dave.Ingram's picture

Hi Angie,

I'm not a mom and certainly don't have the involvement that you have in the community, but having just had our third baby (a month old now), I've definitely been through this a little.

I would second the notion of setting boundaries. I previously worked from home, but found it increasingly difficult with kids and my wife around to get things done. So the most useful thing for me was to get an office and set times where I work, and times where I'll be home (and not working).

Having a baby is an amazing experience and also can be quite stressful at times. Good up front communication about who will be taking care of the baby at what times makes a huge difference because you don't need to feel guilty then if your wife is tired because she was up all night with the baby. Keep communicating as well so that if one of you feels overloaded, you can make adjustments as needed.

No matter how many parenting books you read, you'll never be fully prepared for everything that comes.. so just be prepared to be flexible and err on the side of caution when you're planning your schedule in the first months so that you get some time to rest and just enjoy your family whenever possible. They're only babies for a very short time. So be sure to enjoy that.

Dave Ingram - Gainesville, FL

Hi Angie, First of all

sunnydeveloper's picture

Hi Angie,

First of all congratulations, you have been such an incredible role model to so many of us, and I was so thrilled to hear your good news. I have no doubt you will continue to inspire many more as a mother.

I have been part of open source for close to 13 years, with Drupal for over 6 but I had 3 children (one critically ill for a nearly a year) during this period. While I can't speak to ever reaching(even close to) your community-database level, I can say that the 'free time' thing in Open Source is definitely in competition with family. While women are underrepresented in Open Source, mothers even MORE so, and you really don't hear much about that.

However, participating in community(more Mozilla than Drupal these days) is my 'me time'. I find time when everyone is in bed, lunch breaks at my day-job, I just do a lot less. I do more community organizing, teaching, and less coding.
Although the first year is a little crazy, I think you will find time here and there.. It's part of who you are, and you will find a leaner way to manage it. I suppose part of that is accepting that you can't get to all the fires, but someone else will.

I once tried to write a blog post on this topic: http://tiptoes.ca/?p=231

Maybe we can invent the hackjam / daycare scenario I've so dreamed-of in the last 9 years.

Again congratulations - for all the challenges, the rewards of motherhood are so much greater.

I would just like to add - my

sunnydeveloper's picture

I would just like to add - my entire approach to motherhood is to follow your own intuition. I am sure there are some great suggestions here (and everywhere) but you will know what's best.

LOL, you mean life WITH kids :)

KarenS's picture

I read the title and thought you were talking about coping after the kids are grown and gone and I was impressed that you were looking so far ahead (and I was going to tell you not to worry about that).

Life WITH kids, that is something else. At first you will be really really tired because babies sleep all the time, except at night. Eventually that will straighten out (usually in a few months), and then you start to see what your new 'normal' looks like. It takes a surprising amount of time to care for kids. There is the fun stuff of course, like singing and reading to them, but there is dressing and feeding and changing diapers and dressing again and feeding again, etc. etc. It just takes a lot of time.

I wasn't trying to do something like Drupal while my kids were small. I'm not sure how I would have managed. You can do some things while they sleep or while they're otherwise occupied, but you probably will find it hard to focus on much when they're awake. And you may think you're going to have a 2 hour window to get some work done while they nap, but that turns out to be the day they refuse to go to sleep. You just have to roll with things like that and expect them.

If you're working at home this would be extra hard. I think a lot of people trying to do that either have a spouse who takes care of the child during some pre-arranged time period or have a babysitter or nanny who can do that. That lets them have some time where they can focus totally on their work, and then they can relax and focus totally on the child. I'd recommend that kind of arrangement if it's at all possible.

Also congratulations! It's normal to be a little bit terrified, but my kids are the absolute, hands-down, best thing that has ever happened to me. I promise you it's worth any adjustment it requires :)


JeremyFrench's picture

First huge congratulations. Your starting an awesome adventure.

Sitting here with an eight month old which has just taken two hours to get to sleep. (yet done how back on Drupal.org).

You will have to accept (and so will the Drupal community) that you won't be able to dedicate as much time to the Drupal project. We will get used to it. In a way it will help the community scale, so long as one (awesome) person can hold the whole think in their head we will let them. Many people will step in in little ways.

your priories will change, you are allowed to have a life outside Drupal. you'll find time to focus on some things, just not everything.

good luck.

The rule is that the baby

mollyavalon's picture

The rule is that the baby needs the attention of however many adults there are in the house.

I thought I'd finish my dissertation with my sleeping baby by my side. He wasn't that kind of child. I ended up hiring a sitter to come to the house. I would get things like showers and laundry done while she was there, and then would leave with my laptop to get my work done. It is very hard to concentrate on work when there is a crying baby, or a happy baby, or a baby in any state other than sleep in the house.

That baby is going to grow up in a heartbeat. Mine is 25 now, and although he loves me dearly (and thank goodness we made it through those teenage years where he hated us), that snuggly goodness is a distant memory, dammit. I've never done anything as wonderful as having a child. What a gift! Congratulations!

First, Congrats!

stacfabs's picture

Well, first of all, congrats. Motherhood is an amazing, stressful, fulfilling, you name it job/journey. My little one just turned 1 last month and baby number two is cooking away. As someone who just experienced this I would say that the work/life/mommy balance is the hardest thing so far.

I'm not as involved in the Drupal Community as you are, but was that way with my job. 14 hours a day...very little sleep...and I loved every moment of that. I was answering emails 3 hours after his birth (no exaggeration), couldn't wait to get back to work (I work from home so I went back after only 1 week away) and dove right in. I would NOT suggest that to anyone.

While I was blessed enough to have the flexible job I do, it gave me the opportunity to work during his naps but eventually that caught up with me. Even with an amazing husband/partner that helped me through night feedings/changes, etc... I was still pushing myself too hard and eventually felt it. I would say that the the hardest thing for me was (and sometimes still is) to remember to be present when with him. I finally had to basically tell myself to "schedule" that mommy time and remember that it's good for no one (especially me) if my mind is other places than where I was.

The final step for us that worked the best (in many ways) was I hired some in home help for a few hours a day (via care.com) so I could plan to have a few hours of undivided work time. And then I would spend the rest of the time being a mom (house chores done during naps and the occasional nap myself with him laying on me...which is the best) but I'll admit my phone was never far from me so I could at least review emails and answers any MAJOR fires. :)

After having some in home help for about 4 months (and moving to a new state), we decided formal daycare was the next best option. For many reason, but primarily because I wanted him socialized and exposed to things (germs are a natural part of daycare, so be prepared) and that also afforded me some undivided work time. It felt selfish at first to be sending him off to someone else so I could work but he LOVES daycare and thrives there. Not every kid is as flexible and lucky to adapt as well, but you never know until you try...if you want that. We also have play groups we go to for "Mommy and Me" time that is great for bonding and on those days/hours when he's not in daycare I literally schedule that I am not working.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas on how to cope and include that, but feel free to directly email me if you have specific questions. I'm not saying I have all the answers, but I just went through and am about to get even deeper into it so I'm happy to share any thing you can ask about. :)

Good luck and again, congratulations.

Your oxygen mask ...

dianamontalion's picture

As I have every confidence that both the community and the baby will be well tended, I want to answer the question with a question: What do you need in order to feel joyful, renewed, and sustained during the next ten years of work and motherhood? What role can we play in your life, how can we create space for your essential contributions, that will enable you to balance more gracefully and do the one thing no one else is (likely) going to do ... take care of webchick?

One of the hardest parts of parenthood for me was remembering that meeting my own needs, asking for both the rest and the intellectually stimulation I needed to be happy, healthy, and satisfied (or at least, kinda) was essential. Culture and my own drive pushed me to take care of everything/everyone else and feel guilty for whatever time or creative space I gave myself. Now that my son is an adult, I see the error of that thinking. There is one thing that he needed more than all other things: a happy, satisfied, rested, intellectually and creatively balanced mother. Those are the best kind :-) And a lifelong pursuit.

Every joy, every moment,

I guess there will be more

drico's picture

I guess there will be more often Ready To Be Changed than Ready To Be Commited ;)
congrats !

Lots of great comments

adrinux's picture

+1 on slings, the simple cloth kind. I'm jealous of my wife's. they need to be sized to you though.
+1 to "they are all different" - our third sleeps well at night, but has short naps during the day. Better sleep, but no chance to get stuff done during the day.

Your sleep superpower may fail you, it's not just the reduced hours but the disturbance that is a killer, with luck you'll get a good sleeper, but being woken up every couple of hours by our second was tough.

Finally: It's not always about time, parenting can bring big changes to your perspective on life - you may actually not care about Drupal quite so much after a few months.

Enjoy every moment.

Deb Roepken's picture

Congratulations to you and Marcie. Having raised three girls while running a full time computer processing business from home for 25 years, I can definitely relate to this.

If you work from home, it's easier because you can schedule your work around the child's schedule. I also put all of my equipment (which back than was big and heavy and we didn't have wifi or laptops), in a central location so I could keep and eye on them and still work. Hopefully your nights won't be too bad, so scheduled feedings are important.

Most infants sleep alot probably more so in the first three months. It's a natural order that allows you to organize yourself.

12 to 18 hours a day? Try 4 hour sprints with aways in between. If all else fails, hire a nanny and get an office at an outside location. I never had this option, because no one else did what I did. So you may come to a point where you have to make a decision about 'your' future.

Many children have working moms. Don't give away your career unless it's absolutely necessary. Good luck!

Be prepared for many shifts over time

gravelpot's picture

Parenthood is a very fluid experience; this is only the beginning of a long journey, and while there's no telling how your perspective on how to balance your family life with your work will be different when your baby is five years old than when she is a newborn, I can only guarantee you that it will be very different.

As a new father, I had no way to understand how different the logistical and emotional demands of parenting a school-aged child are from parenting a baby. And in a few years I am sure that I will look back and marvel at how different the demands of parenting a teenager are from parenting an 8 year old. :-)

Every family finds their own balance, as well. I know parents of children the same age as mine who travel quite a bit for their work, leaving one parent at home on a regular basis to handle the majority of the work. Personally, I can't imagine that, and that does place some real constraints on the professional choices I feel like I can make. I can't say that I'm always happy about that, but I never doubt the basis on which I make those choices.

Congratulations to you and Marci!

Dear Angie, Congrats, I know

EclipseGc's picture

Dear Angie,

Congrats, I know we've talked this topic over in person a couple times, but I thought I'd formalize my own thoughts here and maybe give highlight to a few things that haven't been covered so well yet by others in this post.

First, the discussion of managing your own time is obviously +100000000. Figuring out how to give the community, your spouse and your child(ren) the attention they need and deserve is difficult, and scheduling when they're going to get your time is really the only way to proceed. Unfortunately, that's not a newborn friendly strategy... it's a 6+month old strategy (if you're lucky). The first few months are going to be insane. We were very lucky in a lot of ways, because Ju's parents lived with us for the first month after both Alaise and Kai were born, and in Kai's case, Ju's brother was actually around a lot as well, so we had many hands for help. If you have a way of getting this for that period of time, I'd encourage you to do so. Alaise was literally sleeping through (most of) the night in her own bedroom by 4mos, which in retrospect is absolutely amazing.

Second (and this won't matter for a good 4-6 months), on the topic of baby sleep cycles, this can be soo soo hard. Your parental intuition will tell you "rock that baby to sleep", or "cuddle that baby to sleep" or whatever it your child's thing is. That is great, and it's an awesome feeling, but you have to remember that the habits you set now are the way you will proceed in the future. One of my wife's best friends had to rock her kids for literally years to get them to go to bed, so do what you want to continue doing. We had a number of strategies for getting our kids to sleep, and now a-days my 3yr old and 2yr old (as of today) just go to bed as long as they have their sleep animals (God help us the day those get lost or fall apart...). We sing and read books, but the kids don't need that to sleep, so on nights we've stayed out late together, we can just go home and put them to bed without anyone feeling like their routine is messed up.

I think my main point here is this: As important as a schedule is for yourself, keep in mind that you're developing a schedule for your kid at the same time, and that is going to have a really long term impact on what your life looks like: when Marci gets your time, when Drupal gets your time, and when your kid gets your time... so don't be afraid to defend that schedule a bit. I promise, it'll be attacked from all sides. :-)

Also, don't sweat the first few months. Drupal can procede without you (I'm sure we'll figure it out), the infant cannot. And infants have a way of making sure you meet their needs. ;-)

Good luck!


I have been crying as I have

aaron's picture

I have been crying as I have been reading these comments, which is not so good for my eye gazer. There is so much love and support in the Drupal community, it continues to amaze me. In light of that, I am not surprised to hear such good advice about parenting and maintaining a life of your own.

Other than the certainly ill advised gallows humor of don't get diagnosed with a terminal illness in the first six months, I'm not sure what value I can offer to the conversation. But I will reiterate what's been said, by suggesting that you guys work out a schedule that leaves everyone sane and happy. That has to be paramount, because if you aren't there's a lot at stake. In our case, we have been fortunate to have a great team of caregivers, who have been incredibly helpful in our particularly trying times. (I didn't listen to my first piece of advice.)

Although that does lead me to a similar word of wisdom, which is to lean on your community. Don't be afraid to ask for help, whether by having home cooked meals, where you are not the cook, or massages, and when the time is right, childcare so both you mothers can again remember that fleeting time B.C. (Before Children).

Good luck on your grand adventure. I know that you'll be a good mother.

Aaron Winborn
Drupal Multimedia (my book, available now!)

It's all about balance

stella's picture

My little one has just turned 1. Any day-dreams I may have had about being able to do work or contribute to Drupal while home caring for her quickly went out the window.

First of all she came almost a month early, which I definitely wasn't prepared for, and had to send her dad and my mother-in-law off with a big long shopping list. We didn't even have nappies! I even found myself two weeks later trying to wrap up loose ends for work and finish moving house. Looking back now, I'm not sure how we got through those first few weeks, and all on hardly any sleep.

I will say that we probably couldn't have done it without friends and family. They came and cleaned the house and got everything in while I was still in hospital. They also cooked dinners, did the washing and looked after the baby so I got some time to sleep, or even have a shower! I can't over-emphasize how much of a godsend family and friends can be. They look after you while you look after the little one. Don't turn down offers of help!

I must admit Ailbhe was very placid, and still is, but I definitely don't have as much time for contributing to Drupal as I did before. It's difficult to juggle everything. You have to balance work, the baby and also your relationship. Your priorities also change and you'll find yourself opting to play with the baby rather than contribute to Drupal. I guess my feeling on it is I don't want to miss anything.

One year on, I still find it difficult to find time for Drupal. In particular, I find it hard to work on my Drupal modules and often do more community work, organising camps and meetups, rather than coding. Maybe it's just cos I need to get out more and last thing I want to do after a long day when she's finally gone to bed is to work on regular expressions :)

My bits of advice:

  • don't turn down offers of help - you'll need them!
  • don't try and do too much, particularly in the first couple of months, just enjoy it!
  • Take turns and share the work. In particular, we found it useful to take turns doing the feeds, so one of us would give her the 9pm feed and then go to bed, while the other person covered the midnight feed and then went to bed, allowing the first person to get up to cover the 3am feed. It meant that we each (hopefully!) got 5-6 hours unbroken sleep which was brilliant
  • Forget the housework, it'll still be there waiting for you tomorrow, go get some sleep instead! Or even better, get a cleaner in if you can
  • When they reach an age to send them to a creche, etc, be sure to get one close to you. Our childminder is only a 5min walk away which is very handy. A nanny in your own home is another way, but I opted against it because I work from home and I didn't think I could handle hearing her crying or playing in another room while I had to work.
  • Have date nights - you have to work on your relationship too, so even if it's just a laptop-free evening, a takeaway and a dvd after the baby is asleep, don't knock it. You need couple-time.
  • You also need me-time :) We take turns bringing her shopping or even just to the playground, so the other person can relax a bit, even if it's just for half an hour
  • Adult interaction - in my case, where I was home alone with the baby for 6 months, I did crave more adult conversations and interaction. It's important not to forget your own needs and having a life outside of the baby. I must say I did find mom-baby groups helpful here. You meet other people going through similar stuff and it was great for getting me out of the house and having someone else to meet for coffee while all my other friends would have been too busy at work, etc. I even made new good friends too and we still meet regularly for "play dates".

I hope the above helps, and that you're not overloaded with advice at this stage, but you and Marci will eventually find a new balance after the little one arrives, and things will inevitably change, maybe you won't have as much time for Drupal, maybe you will, but it doesn't matter. Drupal will survive you have to step back for a while. All that matters is that you're happy and your family is happy.

Oh, and congratulations to you both again!

What helped us the most

juan_g's picture

When people told us it was going to be a busy time, we smiled because we couldn't imagine it was going to be THAT busy. You will see... maybe; every case is different.

What helped us the most, surprisingly, was Dr. Harvey Karp's research explained on his well-known book "The Happiest Baby on the Block". It was really nice for our baby's and our family's sleep. (-.-)zzZZ

After those first months, there are many other great books, probably a matter of personal preference. For me, for example Dr. Wayne Dyer's "What Do You Really Want for Your Children?", and the transcripts of talks with children about life in "Krishnamurti on Education", are a couple of my favorites.

It's very possible that you will not have the time for everything, so a very dynamic list of tasks sorted by importance/priority would be helpful. First thing first, second thing second... At least the most essential things can get done this way. For example, geek tools like Emacs Org-mode, or VimOrganizer, can help here. I use the Emacs one. ;)

Best of luck, and congratulations!

Two thoughts

hanpersand's picture

I have been mulling this over for a few days. I think I have two main things to add to this awesome thread.

  1. Yes, your work life will likely change when you become a parent. It did for me. But don't assume it's for the worse. I have fewer hours that I can work, but I have become way, way more efficient in the hours that I am working. Having less time has served as a kind of career highlighter. It has helped me prioritize what I want to be doing the most, with whom I want to be working the most, what kinds of projects interest me the most. Do I find that I don't have time for everything I might have once had time for? Yes. Does that help me be a better worker and focus my career better? For me, the answer is: most definitely. My kid is now school age. Adapting my work life to parenthood took some time, but human beings are excellent at adapting to change. I'll bet your family will find your own great ways to adapt.

  2. The temporary mantra: "Temporary, temporary, temporary." My several years of parenthood have flown by. The "the days are long but the years are short" cliche is true in my experience. Parenting a newborn can be intense. There are times in parenthood that are more difficult than others. The hard times, as well as the easier times, are all temporary. I find that it helps me get through the hard times and savor the amazing stuff when I remind myself of that. I have a lot more time to work now that my kid's in school. At some point, I won't have a child at home anymore. My life is changed forever by becoming a parent, but that change is ever-changing in itself.

Angie, congratulations again! Wishing you all the best!

Hi Angie! I know you were

chrisshattuck's picture

Hi Angie!

I know you were looking for mostly mom input, but I put together some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for a while about balancing home and work life. I'm sure you're busy, but just in case, here it is:


Good luck with everything, you're going to be an awesome parent. :)

Chris Shattuck
Learn Drupal with over 1700 Drupal video tutorials


g76's picture

Hi Angie! congrats!

Wow, Drupal life after kids, well, life after kids in general! There is so much that could be said and shared. Everyone has given such great input already, but I just wanted to agree with so much of what has been shared and share a few things myself too. I also wanted to preface things by saying that parenthood and motherhood is the best thing can ever happen. It, although the most challenging venture, is the most wonderful, fulfilling, rewarding, life-changing experience. I would never trade it for anything. I just can't put it into words, my family, my kids are everything to me, they are my life.

-Don't be too hard on yourself, ever! I remember, especially after my first child thinking I would be able to still accomplish so much. Then reality hit and there were so many days where going to the bathroom and taking a shower without interruption were major milestones! I remember having numerous days where I felt near insanity from sleep deprivation. I even went into my doctor once thinking I had something terribly wrong with me. I told him my severe and persistent symptoms: extreme fatigue, irritability, inability to focus, etc.. He looked at me seriously and said, "I know exactly what it is, and there is no cure." I said in panic mode, "what is it?!". He replied, "It's called motherhood!". I also wanted to pass on something he said to me that really helped, he said, "If you feel like you're going crazy, your not actually crazy, you're just fine, it will be okay."

-Yes, take help and ask for help! There is some kind of weird expectation we can put on ourselves to be "supermom and superwomen". It just isn't possible. I have always had great support and help from my family, which I do not know what I would do without. I get help from my husband and the older girls of course, and my Mom too. Even now with my children growing up(8,12,16), I still find myself feeling like I am just chasing my own tail. I wake up and see the unfinished housework as I am shuffling the kids off to school. The housework is behind because I spent a large portion of the day before getting into Sass/Compass which I felt I was so terribly,terribly behind on and it was so long overdo. Well, now I feel behind on the house, and I am sure I will have forgotten something like signing a paper for one or more of kids that will make me feel behind on that. But when it comes down to it, it's all good, as long as you don't forget the kids:)! And I have to remind myself that no one person can do it all, it's impossible. I need help all the time, we all do.

-Make time for yourself a priority. If you don't plan it, it won't happen. This can be difficult with a baby, sometimes it just means sleeping when they are. Not that I am perfect at this by any any means, but it is so important. Routinely schedule time for yourself where you do nothing productive at all, consider this just as important as anything else, because it is. The saying, "If Mom's not happy, no one is happy." has much truth to it. As women and Mom's we can have a tendency to put everything and everyone else ahead of ourselves, but this can lead to burnout which leaves you not being much good use to anyone! I've been there:)

-Plan to have all your great plans utterly destroyed. Everyday is a slew of unknowns, especially with a new baby. You could plan to have time to yourself, to sleep, or to get something done while your baby sleeps. But who ever said they would always stick to a perfect schedule? They just don't and that's okay. You can plan to go somewhere at a certain time and even have them all ready to go, and yourself ready(an amazing feat in itself-and I am very low maintenance), and then they decided to have a major blow out in their diaper and through their clothes after you just changed it, or there is always the lovely projectile hurl spit up even after you just fed, burped, and cleaned them and yourself up. Or what if they get sick, or you are sick, or both? And yes, every child is so different and your own intuition will serve you well. Just expect the unexpected and go with the flow. If your schedule allows I think it's a great idea to plan not only "buffer hours" every day, but a "buffer day" every week too. This is a day where you plan nothing and if you need to catch up or reschedule things, this is the day. If everything goes smoothly that week(what's that? -such a foreign concept), then claim the additional day for yourself and time with your family. When the kids were babies, everyday was a buffer day!

-Expect alot of joy, love, laughs and maybe the more than occasional embarrassment from your kids. Of course when your kids get older you have the great pleasure and fun of embarrassing them! Something my husband and I like to do on a regular basis! Enjoy all the moments: all their "firsts"(smiling, laughing, blowing spit bubbles, crawling, walking). Enjoy the snuggling and talking and the list goes on! Every age and stage has it's own unique joys as you watch them grow. Time seems to go by so fast, so enjoy. My oldest just turned 16 and I can't believe it! I remember stressing out when she was 3 or 4 because all she would eat was cheese sticks and I thought she would be malnourished and I was a terrible Mom. Turns out she quickly grew and never stopped, she is now way taller than me at 5'7" , size 11 women's shoes, and looks like a runway model in her 20's! I also was reminiscing about when she was a baby and one day when I woke up and looked in the mirror I saw what looked like a big red bruise covering the tip and top of my nose. It turned out that we fell asleep in bed together that night and somehow she latched onto my nose and was using it as a binky all night! It took over a week for it to go away! My second girl spent her toddler and pre-school years as a permanent attachment to my leg and had this bizarre fear of getting her picture taken. Every pre-school class picture we have(I was the teaching aide in her classes), is of her in my arms crying and screaming for her life while all the other kids were nicely smiling and posing. She was also afraid to try new things especially in front of other people. I worried for years that she would never get out of her "shell", and again thought I must be doing something wrong. Turns out now, at 12, she is in Theater Arts, loves to sing, and is practicing to record a video to try out for XFactor. She also turns every place we go into Karaoke night, which makes grocery shopping quite interesting these days! Oh, and last but not least, my youngest son. I worried so much about his reading as he was behind in Kindergarden, yet he excelled at Math. He just did not want to read, and there was nothing you could you do to change that. Trying to work with him more on it quickly became pushing him, even though that was not the intention. Backing off and letting him focus on it when he was ready was the best thing we ever did. After all the worry he is in 2nd grade now and doing great. He is a hilarious little guy! The other week I was talking to my husband and telling him about these crazy stupid dreams I had the night before because we left the TV on and infomercials were playing all night. The dream had something to do with Chuck Norris and the Bee Gees in a brawl over a Dyson vacuum cleaner. I didn't think my son(just turning 8) was really paying attention, but of all of sudden he looked over and said, "Mom, that's weird, I really think you should see a "Sockologist"." We just bust out laughing!

Sorry I have gone on so long, I'll wrap it up now by saying congrats again!