After Vivienne was born in October, I was given 6 short weeks of maternity leave aka “disability leave” to heel and take care of Vivienne before returning back to work full-time. For those of you that may not know, I work as an Executive Assistant at a financial company in Scottsdale. As an already hormonal new mom, can you imagine how many times I cried during those first 6 weeks? A hot mess. The crying was due to the fact that 1. I didn’t want to go back to work. 2. I also didn’t want to put a 6 week old in daycare 3. No particular reason. I just cried. Unfortunately, the truth is … we didn’t have much of a plan. Pretty shocking for a type A personality, right? I think I had high hopes that we were just randomly going to win the lottery or something. I don’t suggest this thought process.
The outcome: After a couple of conversations with my boss (who was basically a god-send throughout this entire situation) we agreed to have me come back to work full-time but work part-time from home in the mornings. This allowed JJ to work 6am-12pm in the office and come home to take care of her the rest of the day. Now, JJ works and part-owns the company with his mom, so our situation is not like many others. We are FORTUNATE to say the least. This worked really well the first 5 months. At those 5 months were over, my boss expressed the need to have me back in the office full-time. Although I was so sad (tears were back) I had the most amazing man step in…Vivienne’s dad.
JJ took on the roll of working full-time from home, as well as becoming Mr. daddy daycare.
The situation did not happen overnight nor did it come easy. But the most important thing for us was the need to be the ones to take care of her during the day. Of course, we are very aware of how lucky we are and the fact that this is not a normal circumstance for everyone. No one told us how difficult these first couple of months are, let alone the decision you have to make that best fits with your family’s needs. Maternity leave is far too short for men and women in the US and majority of people in the world have no option but daycare. So, trust me… we are beyond aware and grateful for those who have helped make this possible for us. We don’t know what will happen when she really starts crawling and walking (aka she no longer just lays where you put her) … but we will figure that out when the time comes.
So, our schedule for the week is as follows:
Mornings: I wake up, pump, (maybe) shower, make breakfast, wake her up if she didn’t wake up on her own, feed her breakfast and milk, play/hang before her 8am nap time. Once she falls asleep, I run around the house to make sure the bed is made, dishes are clean, things are put in place (the OCD in me) before throwing my hair up in a bun and walking out the door. This is true for most days. Of course, Vivienne may not decide to nap right away or I MAY have showered that day which means the hustle is really on to get ready and get out the door by 9am. I work until 5pm, 30 minute drive home, and jump for joy if Vivienne is awake from her nap by the time I get home. Hang with her, make dinner, feed her dinner, give her a bath and bottle before she goes to sleep by 7pm. The typical schedule for Monday-Friday.
So, how do we make it work? TEAM WORK.
We probably have never worked harder as a couple than we have these last 7 months. It is a refreshing feeling to know how well we can partner together as parents and work together to keep this girl on schedule. We both know how important it is. Acknowledge your partners hard work as a parent, whether they are there all day or just spend a couple of hours with them in the evening. It’s so important.
How do we make time for ourselves?
We pick and choose but ultimately give each other as many breaks when its desired/needed. JJ gets away some nights during the week to play sports with friends and golf once or twice a month on a Saturday or Sunday. I spend my free time working on blog content and doing photo shoots. So, technically still working… haha but I love it. I definitely am aware that I need to make more time for girlfriends and working out. I’m trying to do it all. Baby steps.
How do we make time for each other?
We go on dates, watch shows/movies together, cook dinner, and entertain friends at our house. It’s not always easy but we at least like to share a glass of wine together at the end of the day and catch up. Some of my favorite nights have been just the two of us, getting dressed up and going out to try a new local restaurant together. Pretending we are food critics. We ventured to the new Mora Italian in Phoenix, where Chapman BMW provided a luxury car for us to take with us for the night.How cute is that? So, thank you Chapman BMW for making our date night even more memorable!
So, you guys must be the perfect couple?
Everyone looks like the perfect couple via social media. As a married woman of a little over 6 years (recently celebrated on April 23rd) I will be completely honest when I say it is hard work. Anyone who tells you its all rainbows and constant butterflies, I don’t believe it. You are two completely different people, raised by different individuals, who are attempting to share a life together (and even raise another human). You are bound to have things to work through. JJ and I met at a very young age, didn’t always see eye to eye, yet fell in love. We have worked SO hard at bettering ourselves as individuals and together as a couple these last couple of years. This year especially. In the past, we have taken our differences to a marriage counselor to help mediate our personal and relationship struggles. We couldn’t speak more highly of counseling. Having a person from an outside perspective sit and listen to reasons why you are upset, while validating them, and explaining why you could have perhaps gone about the situation differently is refreshing and needed. That is just one example of why counseling is so amazing. Even personal struggles that we have gone through that we may have taken with us in our current relationship… issues with a parent, past boyfriend/girlfriend, friendships, self esteem, etc. all things that can be making us act a certain way in our present lives. No matter what you have been through, a marriage will always be work. We have made it a priority is continue to always work at it.
The bottom line? We are a normal, healthy couple with many similar struggles that you all go through. We are best friends, stubborn, strong minded, yet find ourselves still in love after almost 9 years together. We have learned to acknowledge the good instead of pointing out the negative, pick our battles, and just be supportive of one another. It’s truly amazing what Vivienne has done for us. After getting through the shock of having a child in general, we appreciate what goes into it, and have naturally worked harder now than we ever have before to be the best partners in this new journey together. We find it important to make time for each other, ourselves, and together as a family.
Photos by Amaes Photography