Wednesday, February 19, 2014

// W O R K I N G M O M S - J E S S I C A //

When I first decided to start this "Working Moms" series (which was like two weeks ago) I was telling a friend about it and she suggested I include mothers with jobs such as nurses, doctors, teachers, etc.  I agreed!  And then, the very next day, Jessica emailed me.  I was so excited because this is exactly what I had just been talking about!  Jessica is a dentist.  I am happy to have her contribute to this project and I hope it serves as an encouragement for those who work as well and I hope it helps to keep us connected.  As we share our stories, no matter how different they may be from one another, we learn and grow: we connect our lives to one another and at times, make lasting friendships.  Thank you Jessica for sharing!  I love the bit on breastfeeding as well.  Congratulations on keeping that up, despite working full time!  Oh, and I hope you find your babysitter soon!  <3  ( Jessica blogs at Sunday Morning.  <3

I live in chilly Newfoundland, Canada with my husband and new baby, Cohen. My husband and I met in dental school seven years ago. This is our third year practicing dentistry in rural Newfoundland. When we found out we were pregnant, I planned to take 8 weeks maternity leave. Lots of women in my profession take less than that. Some women in my profession also have a full time live in nanny, which was not something I was interested in. Others live near family, who are able to do a lot of the childcare. This was not the case for us. Juggling parenting and our careers is a huge challenge.

Why I work:

My schooling put my into some pretty serious six-digit debt (this is the case for most dentists I think). So financially, I have to work. I am technically self employed, so I don't qualify for unemployment or maternity pay. Which means I made zero dollars when I was home with the baby. Also, I have to work a certain number of hours every year to keep my license. So I definitely couldn't have taken a full year off. Also, I love my job. Every single day I go in to work and feel like I am exactly where I should be. That feeling is what keeps me working.

Finding a sitter:

By far the hardest part of going back to work has been finding a sitter. I have interviewed at least 10 potential sitters. In my tiny town of 6000 people or so, that is a lot. I have advertised online, on Facebook, on the bulletin board at the grocery store. Currently, we still have not found someone I am happy with! So one of our receptionists from the clinic watches him. I love her, and Cohen loves her, but the clinic will need her back eventually. If ever I couldn't find a sitter I loved, I would have to stop working. My top priority is Cohen, always.

The first day back to work:

Oh, I had such a hard time leaving Cohen at first! He screamed when we left, and I cried all the way to work. It was the same for the first few weeks. I would feel sick to my stomach, and feel like I should just go back home. But then I would get to work, and start interacting with the staff, and doing the work that I trained for many years to do. And I was fine. After work, we would race home to see Cohen. I still practically sprint from the car to the front door. I can't wait to get that baby in my arms again.

Nursing and Pumping:

I love breast feeding, and it is definitely the right choice for me. I bought a fancy double breast pump for work, which has been the best thing I ever bought. We started giving Cohen breast milk in a bottle really early (around 2 months), so he would be used to it. At first he wouldn't take a bottle at all, no matter what we tried. Then we discovered that he would take a bottle as long as I wasn't around. Even now, he will only take a bottle if I am away. Pumping at work is quick and quiet with my pump, and I come home at lunch to nurse every day.


I know sleep training isn't for everyone, but for us, it has been soo good. I really think that the work I do requires me to be rested and at my best. I know I wouldn't want a dentist working on my teeth who wasn't feeling on the ball. So we sleep trained Cohen when he was around 5.5 months old. It means that I only have to get up once in the night to feed him, and it means that I get the sleep I need every night.

What my work day looks like:

2 AM: My alarm goes off for me to sneak in to Cohen's room and feed him. After I put him back in his crib, I pump while I surf the internet.
7 AM: Our alarm goes off for the day. I nurse Cohen, eat breakfast, get ready for work.
8:05 AM: Our sitter shows up. We chat for a while and my husband and I finish getting ready for work
8:30 AM: At work. I am usually booked solid with patients all morning
11:30 AM: Sneak away to the washroom to pump.
1 PM: Drive home to nurse Cohen and have lunch.
2 PM: Back to work, see patients all afternoon.
5 PM: Head home from work. Nurse. Hang out and play with Cohen. Give him a bath and get him ready for bed. Read him lots of books
7 PM: Cohen's bedtime
8 PM: Eat supper with my husband and relax.

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