Q&A: Self Isolation, Working from Home Without Childcare, Pregnancy, Baby #2
Today I’m answering your questions on isolating with a toddler, working from home, getting ready for baby #2. If you have a question that wasn’t answered in this post, leave it in the comments section below! Q&A: Motherhood and the pandemic.
Q&A: Motherhood and the Pandemic
Do you have childcare right now or are you and Conor tag-teaming it?
Tomorrow will be our fourth week without our (amazing) nanny, so we’ve been tag-teaming childcare for three weeks now. I love and trust our nanny and she has been isolating, but we’ve been in touch and decided that it was best to play it as safe as possible, so she will probably be home for at least another two weeks. We are lucky enough that we can do our jobs from home so we’re doing our best to do as much as we can and are splitting childcare. The biggest stress has just been feeling like we don’t have enough time to get our work done, mostly because we don’t.
How are you handling the unknowns and stresses of delivery during this pandemic?
I had a really rough/anxious two days last week but am trying to stay in check by remembering that we get to be at home. We are so lucky that we have a safe home and the ability to be here with Margot. Being pregnant and knowing a newborn with zero immune system will be here soon feels a little scary, but I will do whatever we need to do to protect our family, and if that means not seeing anyone for a few months, so be it. I’ve felt really sad that it’s not safe for my daughter to leave the house but I all I can do is keep her safe at home and try to make these days as fun for her as possible.
I wonder what will be in the next few months or what fall/winter will look like, but there’s no way to know. I am hoping the hospital will feel safe by the end of June/early July. Women are having babies now and will continue to have them the next few weeks when things get worse. Women are having babies in NYC. We will figure it out.
How are you doing?
A few of you asked this and I really appreciate it. I am doing a lot better than I was last week. Being able to isolate at home has helped but when I’m stressed, I usually control what I can by cleaning and organizing, and there’s very little time to do that these days. We’ve had some warmer days outside, and the sun is a game-changer. Margot is sleeping better (thank you, Bumble Baby!) and we’re getting into more of a groove. I miss my friends but don’t mind being at home and love having so much time together. The hardest part is when I have work I have to do and feel like I’m not paying enough attention to Margot. It’s a struggle.
How is COVID changing your birth plans?
I am due July 4th so right now, it hasn’t changed anything. My “birth plans” are the same as they were with Margot, to get an epidural and do whatever needs to be done to make sure our baby arrives safely.
How are you prepping for the possibility of birth with no visitors and social isolating after?
It’s so hard to say what things will look like in three months but I strangely already feel prepared for that. Not having visitors in the hospital won’t be a big deal. I really hope Margot can visit but at this point, am just assuming there won’t be any visitors and will be pleasantly surprised if she can. Since I am the more cautious side (started self-isolation early) if things aren’t looking great, I will likely not want visitors in our home. I am also planning on sticking to that now, so until it feels safe and worth it to see anyone, we will continue to do what we’re doing.
I will also talk to my OB and pediatrician since I trust both of them. We have been completely isolated for almost a month now and of course I’d love to have our people around, but health comes first.
How has this pregnancy been compared to the first?
I am a lot less tired, have had zero heartburn, and feel (mostly) normal, so I’d say it’s been easier. My pregnancy with Margot was fine, but I was exhausted for a good 18-20 weeks and did not experience that this time around. I’ve had some Braxton Hicks but they’re not that bad at all. Can’t complain.
What’s the first thing you want to do when self-isolation is over?
Leave the house? I can’t wait to take Margot to the park and zoo – to just get her out, see her buddy Liam, and spend time with friends. Going to brunch sounds like such a treat, doesn’t it?
How did you know you were ready to become a mom?
I had always wanted to be a mom and it was something I thought a lot about in my late 20s. Conor and I got married a few weeks after my 35th birthday and expected it to take 6-12 months to conceive (if we even could), so we stopped not trying right away. I ended up getting pregnant on our honeymoon and we definitely weren’t ready to find out we were expecting a baby less than a month after our wedding.
Would I recommend getting pregnant immediately after a wedding? No. Would I change a thing? No, because Margot wouldn’t be here. IfI knew it was going to happen quickly and result in Margot but could have waited a year, I would have done that. It would have been really nice to have more time as a newly married couple before diving head-first into parenthood.
How did you know you were ready for baby #2?
After a really difficult first (almost) year with Margot, neither of us felt prepared to go through that again, but the thought of a second baby and two kids felt right to us. I don’t know that we were, but we decided to try and got pregnant right away. When my second pregnancy ended at six weeks, we were both really sad which made us think that maybe we were more ready than we thought.
It also helped that Margot ended up becoming the sweetest, funniest, and most wonderful little person in the world because had we known this was coming, it might have made the first year a little easier. Knowing what lies ahead makes it a little easier. I know how quickly it goes by and am excited to experience all those sweet firsts again.
Are you nervous about baby #2 or just excited?
Margot wasn’t the easiest baby so I am hopeful that things will be a little easier this time around. We’ve done this before and know it isn’t easy, so we (sort of) know what to expect. Yes, all babies are different, but the shock of “oh so this is life now” won’t be there this time. I am mostly excited but have no idea what to expect with two, and know it won’t be easy.
I know it will be an adjustment for everyone but cam’t wait to see my two girls together. Margot is so sweet, kind, giving, and loving, and is going to be the best big sister.
How are you preparing Margot for baby #2?
I should probably do more than I’m doing and would love some advice on this one. Margot has a few dolls and a big sister book, and we talk about the fact that there’s a baby coming. We’re just starting to set up the nursery and had Margot help sort through a few things. Having her help with that and explaining what things might look like will hopefully help, too.
Can you share your newborn must-haves?
I have most of my favorite items linked here in my shop but will write a post about what we’re using (again) and the things I’ll be purchasing in the next month or two.
Will you do something special like a gift from little sister or matching outfits?
I’m going to have Margot bring the baby a little stuffed animal, and we’ll probably get Margot doll and changing station or something appropriate for a big sister. I haven’t given it much thought. I did already buy the girls a set of matching pajamas and Margot picked out their matching outfits.
What sleep routine are you trying with baby #2 knowing how difficult things were with Margot?
Margot was really sensitive and crying it out wasn’t an option. She threw up a lot as a baby and my biggest regret is not pursuing further medical help to get her feeling better. Meg McMillin posted about Kate from Bumble Baby and how helpful she’s been with baby sleep, so I decided to work with her, and started early since Margot has been struggling at bedtime. One phone call and a few days of texting later, we’ve seen the most amazing change! She went from crying for hours to less than 10 seconds. I am confident and hopeful that our sleep experience will be a million times better this time around, and am so excited to work with Kate. We are going to start implementing her tips early on and will basically do whatever she tells us to do. I’ll keep you all posted on that!
Any tips for another pregnant mom on how to survive pregnancy with a 20 month old?
All toddlers and pregnancies are all so different. If I had a toddler when I was pregnant with Margot, I’m not sure how I would have functioned because I was in bed the second my work day ended for months. I was exhausted and had the worst heartburn but this pregnancy has been really easy. Aside from having to pee a lot, I feel pretty normal. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Slowing down or needing to rest is normal and ok. It’s ok to sit and play vs running and playing with your toddler. It’s also ok to take a break or ask for help.
Can you share a link to the diaper bag you ended up choosing?
It’s in my shop! I haven’t had a chance to use it since it arrived right around the time we started isolating but it’s beautiful and seems to be the perfect size.
Have you noticed things that Margot has developed or learned a lot of in the past month?
Yes! She’s changing so much all the time. Over the last month, everything seems to be a 3-4+ word sentence, so it’s been really fun hearing all her new catch-phrases. She’s always saying be careful ______ (to anything and everything), oh my goodness, oh come on guys, I miss you so much, ____ is so cute, etc. Everything is “so cute” these days. If you’ve seen Finding Nemo, she does a great impression of Dory speaking whale.
She likes to point out when things are the same, so if she sees a photo of me, she’ll say “same mommy” and she regularly leaves the room and says “see you later guys” then 10 seconds later, walks back in and says “came back!”
My favorite “game” she plays that somehow never gets old is when she hands something to me and says “that for me?” and I then say “is that for me?” and then talk about how kind she is to share. She does this with everything and it’s just the cutest/sweetest, especially when she gives me her beloved fluffy. She’s so kind! Oh and “hold you mommy” when she wants me to hold her. She also tells me I’m her best friend and “favorite”.
Physically, she’s not a big climber but doesn’t really have anything to climb since we can’t go to the park. She walked late (17 months) but is starting to run around more.
Do you have the Grimm’s rainbow and does Margot use it a lot? Is it worth it?
We do! I just linked all Margot’s favorite toys at 20 months in this post. I found the exact colorway we have here. It was a splurge but is so pretty and it’s something I think she’ll continue to use in the years to come.
Are you going to do the whole “Easter Bunny” thing with Margot?
I don’t think so, but she will have an Easter basket and some bunny themed toys/items in there! The basket will be from us and not a giant bunny. I think it’s a fun/sweet tradition if that’s your thing, but it’s not one that I feel is important for us.
Recommendations for being isolated with a toddler!
Publishing a post on that tomorrow!
I feel like I have to vacuum every two days. Do you?
Yes! I have been vacuuming our living room rug 1-2x a week and use this mop on our wood floors at least 3-4x a week. We have dark floors so you see everything and we’re always spilling/dropping something.
Favorite Chicago photographers for a newborn photo session?
Katie Kett (one of my best friends, my wedding photographer, and our newborn photographer) and Simply by Suzy (also a good friend who is so, so talented). Shooting with Suzy as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Where has Conor been? Is he gone a lot?
Ha. Two people asked this one. He is right here with us, isn’t gone a lot, and he is not camera shy. We both work from home most of the time and he’s usually at Anecdote two days a week, but is otherwise home. We have been spending a lot of time together as a family but I don’t post most of what we’re doing – usually a glimpse or two of Margot or something in the house. My instagram is my social media channel, and it’s something he doesn’t really want to be a big part of, which I respect and understand. He’s really funny and has the best dance moves so sometimes I secretly wish he was into it.
How do you keep your house looking so clean all the time?
I need to show more of my house because the short answer is that I do not. It’s really just the living room that’s clean most of the time. We have a really organized system for storing toys and it’s an easy room to keep clean. There’s always stuff all over our dining table and kitchen counters and our office, too. Our bed is made half the time these days, laundry room is a disaster since we started work on it right before going into isolation and stopped pretty abruptly. The baby’s room is just piles of stuff and Margot’s room usually looks pretty good, actually. So most of our house is actually a mess. We’re doing great.
What room in a home do you think is most important to invest in and why?
I would recommend investing in pieces you love throughout your home and putting time and energy into the rooms that you spend the most time in. It really depends on where you spend your time and what you love. Our living room was priority since it’s where our family spends the most time. Our bedroom is second for us, especially with a new baby coming, so I am working on finishing that. It’s looking and feeling a lot better but needs a rug.
I’d get a great sofa and slowly collect the rest over time. It took almost two years to get our living room where we wanted it, so it’s also nice to allow some time to see how you’ll use a room before making any big decisions.
How did you develop your interior styling skills?
First of all, thank you. Much appreciated! I would say to follow designers and read stories/magazines that inspire you. It’s so easy to get inspiration on instagram, blogs, and pinterest. Looking at my first Chicago apartment, my style just feels like an extension of where it was 10 years ago. It feels more “grown up” but also still feels like me. It’s also not the easiest to try to combine decorating with a man, especially when he has good taste an opinions. Our condo was great but didn’t feel very warm or cozy.
How did you narrow down what you wanted to start a business in?
I shared how and why we launched The Everygirl in this post. Long story short, I wanted to inspire young women who felt lost since I spent most of my 20s feeling pretty lost and alone.
How have the economic changes changed your approach to content?
Great question. In all honesty, I have so little time to post and I mostly just share my life/home, so it’s not like I’m going to from shooting weekly outfits and tons of product roundups to wondering how to weave in product. I am more aware of posting product now, but I don’t feel like I’m always selling and the general feedback is that my readers/followers don’t feel that way, and they want to see my picks. I’m sure not everyone feels that way, but those are the messages I receive most of the time.
I think sharing content that’s truly helpful, like how we’re navigating life right now, working while caring for a toddler, cozy loungewear, finishing our house, or budget-friendly product roundups that people need right now will work. I want to know what everyone wants to read so I’m going to ask some Qs about that soon.
Favorite Cuyana items?
Favorite Easter Candy?
Hmm. Jelly Beans or Almond/PB M&Ms? I do not like peeps (but they are cute).
Did you buy any items from the McGee and Co collab?
I was going to but we had to take Margot to the pediatrician first thing that morning, and the few things I planned to buy had sold out. You can see my favorite items in this post.