“So when exactly is she coming back?” we asked each other daily, just four weeks after our invaluable marketing manager, Emily, left on maternity leave (and just 3 weeks and 4 days after her darling Louisa was born). “And why is she gone so long?” we quietly pondered, conveniently forgetting the ordeal of childbirth, the ensuing exhaustion, and the complete inability to accomplish a single task without being interrupted or falling asleep. For us, Emily was gone an eternity; for her, it was a blink of the eye. But regardless of our mixed perceptions of time, we were jumping with joy when Emily returned to us this month, delighted to hear about her beautiful bundle of joy and thrilled that she was excited to be back in our midst again.
Of course we couldn’t just let her return quietly to her job without insisting on pictures, urging her to share her experiences, and anointing her as an expert in all things baby. Luckily she has willingly succumbed to our requests and shared a few tips on motherhood – as she sees it, four months in.
What has been the biggest surprise?
Emily: What a little personality she already has! It’s wild that at just under 5 months old babies have definite likes and dislikes. It’s been such a joy to see the world through her eyes; the smallest things are a source of wonderment!
The not so glamorous surprise? How shocking the sleep deprivation was the first couple of months. It goes by pretty quickly though and I can’t recommend “Moms on Call” enough for helping set the tone for getting your baby to sleep through the night.
How did you cope with sleep deprivation?
This was tough, but I quickly learned that sleep trumps everything in those early days. The laundry, dishes and organization of all that seemingly endless baby gear can wait till after you nap. Don’t be afraid to put your spouse and family to work either, it takes a village!
What’s the biggest life change since having a baby?
We are now on Louisa time! I schedule errands, appointments and all outings around feeding and nap times. I even booked air travel to accommodate her schedule. I got the timing just right and her first flight was a success-phew! There have been many days where I haven’t had a minute to get dressed until well after noon, that was certainly a change, ha!
What milestones have been the best?
Tummy time has been a popular one! She enjoys being (very!) active and this is a great way to get some energy out. Other fun ones have been the grabbing-everything-within-reach phase and the rolling over from back to front trick. She’s getting a big kick out of this new found physical freedom.
Any baby gear you have found most useful?
We used the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play every single day until she grew out of it a month or so ago, the portability and nifty incline for reflux symptoms were lifesavers. Other great items have been our Uppababy Vista stroller with the bassinet attachment, the Boppy lounger and the Puj fold-up tub for bath time.
As a new Mom, what are you now buying for shower gifts?
One practical thing from their registry and something fun like an outfit from B. Braithwaite, water colored monthly milestone cards from Inslee and anything from our HH baby section!
If Louisa were doing the shopping, what would she buy for herself?
Definitely one of Huff Harrington’s soft animal throws! She loves to lay on them and I love how you can set them down anywhere as a makeshift play mat (and how adorable they are!).
When I was a new Mom, my bible was “What to Expect when you’re Expecting?” What’s yours?
Mine too! It’s a classic. I also really enjoyed “Bringing up Bébé” for its insightful observations of French parenting written by an American mother.
Best advice passed down from your Mom?
Not to worry so much! She’s been the best source of good old fashioned mothering advice from the days before video monitors, sound machines and high tech strollers.
What was your nursery inspiration?
I wanted something classic (with a bit of folly!) that she could grow into in the years to come. Of course plenty of pink was involved and I had fun bringing together sentimental pieces with new, practical ones.Some of my favorite nurseries provided great ideas to incorporate (link to https://blog.huffharrington.com/oh-bebe-chic-nursery-inspiration/).
Does Louisa have a “witching hour” and if so, what are your tricks to cope? (Full disclosure, we were huge proponents of the dryer soothing mechanism. Each of our girls spent a fair amount of time being rocked by the vibration of the dryer.) Do you have any magic tricks?
Louisa’s witching hour is at about 5 o’clock in the evening and the only way she’ll take her cat nap is if we go on a walk. If it’s raining, I bring the stroller inside and do laps around the house!
You have a darling pup, along with your darling girl. How has Wally adapted to Louisa?
He’s been a wonderful big brother! He likes to do tummy time with her and doesn’t get upset when she grabs firm fistfuls of his whiskers. He does need a little extra attention from visitors which they are usually more than happy to dole out.
- Favorite Louisa book? – “A Girl and her Gator”
- Favorite part of the day? – The morning!
- Louisa’s favorite song? – Five Little Speckled Frogs
- Way to unwind? – Mommy group; we have a cute neighborhood playgroup and we rotate houses every month
- Treasured gift? -My friend stitched a darling needlepoint door hanger for Louisa, it was so thoughtful! https://lycettedesigns.com/
Last but not least (we have to ask this!): How did you get rid of the extra pounds so fast?
I did my beloved Stellar Bodies class until I was 8 months pregnant and I credit it for not letting things get too out of hand on the scale with all those outrageous cravings I had. I’m finally ready to get back to it almost 5 months postpartum, there is much work to be done! In the meantime, I’ve been walking everyday and eating (mostly!) clean. The real secret though? Nursing!
Emmy, we’re so happy for you and your little family. You have so much to look forward to … with Louisa, and with the friends that you will make through her. In fact the moms I bonded with when my kids were young and in school are still my closest friends now. That’s a wonderful extra perk for motherhood. And it makes up for all those sleep deprived nights – or in our case, evenings spent in the laundry room, bonding with the dryer! Thank you for sharing — and we’re so glad you’re back.
P.S. Don’t forget to join us next Monday, April 30th for our book signing with author Kristy Woodson Harvey. We’re serving up southern style hospitality so please RSVP if you can join us for nibbles and bubbles, Monday from 1 to 3 p.m.