Disclosure: I was invited to the R3 Prevention Summit as a brand ambassador. I'm not being paid for this post, but I recieved free admission to the summit and to related VIP events. My opinions are my own.
There are a lot of different opinions out there on how your life will change after a baby is born. While I was pregnant with CC I received a lot of contradicting advice in regards to how to handle the changes to come. Some parents urged me to accept that life would never be the same, and embrace my new post-baby life whole hog, kissing the world I knew goodbye. Other parents insisted that I could keep my old life, and that I simply needed to add the baby to it. "Compromise everything!", one camp hollered, while the second camp insisted that I compromise nothing.
For the most part, I heard two philosophies: either I could adjust to baby's existence, or baby could adjust to mine. As usual, Scott Bobleo and I have found our own experience somewhere in the middle. There's no denying that CC changed our lives, and for the most part I try not to fight it. I don't sleep like I used to. I don't eat like I used to. My butt deflated. These are things that I can't change, so it feels healthier to just accept them as natural conditions of parenthood.
But then there is the rest of my life - the parts of me that were valuable to me pre-motherhood still exist, and they need to be nourished. My creativity, ambition, and sociality scream for attention with the same gusto that my baby anticipates his next meal. When it comes to those aspects of my life, I embrace the second philosophy. Rather than give up my career and my friends, I've decided to take CC along for the ride.
Since being cleared by his pediatrician for contact with the outside world, my little guy has been toted to happy hours, meetups, days of co-working, and even conferences. I'm not going to pretend that it always goes smoothly, or that we make it to every event that I want to attend. We don't. But we do OK, and we're getting better all the time. I'm lucky that he's a happy, healthy kid without a fear of strangers or new places. For the most part he does really well out in the world.
His only real issue is that he doesn't like nursing in public. He prefers to eat in a calm, quiet place - like his room at home. This was a major roadblock for a while. He'd get hungry, then cranky, then crazy, and no matter how much he wanted to eat he wouldn't nurse! I spent many MANY outings in the backseat of my car trying to nurse a screaming baby while the other adults enjoyed dinner INSIDE the restaurant.
Eventually I started using bottles during outings which made a world of difference. I pump as much as I can (which isn't all that much, but that's a story we can get into another time) and then leave the house for any major outings armed with a bottle. He still won't really settle down to eat, but he'll distractedly sip it throughout the day. It's just enough to keep him in a good mood, which is all you can really ask for when it comes to going places with a baby.
We've been going out for a few months now and our most successful day out to date would have the be the R3 Prevention Summit. I was invited as a brand ambassador to attend a preview dinner and the Summit, and asked to share my experience on my blog. It seemed like a great opportunity to share a snippet of life as a working mama - specifically a working blogger mama.
Our Trip to the R3 Prevention Summit
The event kicked off on Friday night with a cocktail party and a screening of the documentary film, Resistance. While I never like to pass up a good party (and this one had a pig roast!), and the film touched on a topic that is prime to rile me up, we didn't make it. We'd just returned from a week-long trip to my parents' place in Houston where I had been taking advantage of some serious Grandma time to work on my book. That week also involved a whole lot of Ebola-panic talk from my Dad - enough to give me a bit of a new mom anxiety attack. While I know that the topic of antibiotic resistance is incredibly important, I was fairly certain that watching a whole documentary on the subject would lead me down a quick path to cardiac arrest.
CC and I woke up around 7:30 am on Saturday, and while 150 lucky people were attending that morning's Barre 3 Class, we were nursing, cuddling, and getting ready for our day. By 9:00 we were on the road. Baby Boy napped during the car ride, which was extra long thanks to the inevitable closed roads and traffic that seem to attend every weekend these days in downtown Austin. The delays were actually a blessing in disguise as they allowed CC to nap for more than a solid hour before we parked in the Long Center garage. I unloaded a stroller, packed up my moby wrap, and waltzed in to the event around 10:15 - just in time to see Andie MacDowell hit the stage.
Andie MacDowell was quite striking in person - a real beauty. I would have liked to pay closer attention to her thoughts on aging with grace, but the seats in front of the stage were in full sun. CC is still too little to tolerate direct sunlight, so we stuck to the shadier spots at the Summit. As luck would have it, the entire cooking demo area was shaded. Score! We caught two chef demos that day - one with Chef Sonya Cote of Eden East, and one with Shannen Tune of Hotel Derek. We also stopped by the food stands and got our snack on.
We also spent some time perusing the pillar activities. There was a fitness tent where exercise sessions seemed to be springing up throughout the day, and two smaller session sections focused on mind and body wellness. There were also tents dedicated to natural beauty and nutrition, each filled with products from Summit sponsors. The busiest tent housed chakra cleansing, reiki sessions, and henna tattoos.
I would have liked to get in on some of that new-agey goodness, but the lines stayed long throughout our stay - too long for a squirming little one. I did manage to get myself hooked up with a pretty henna tattoo. It's been years (holy wow, like more than ten years now that I think about it) since I've had henna done. It brought me back to my days of prancing naked around bonfires in upstate New York. (We'll get into that part of my personal history another time.)
Throughout the day, CC was a champ. He had a great time watching all of the lovely people and spending time in the fresh air. He spent the first half of our stay in his stroller, content to look out at the world with his ever-increasing skills of observation. He's so curious lately that I've taken to calling him "Inspector Baby". Everything he sees must be thoroughly checked out - from people to pets to random inanimate objects. The Summit was an opportunity for some serious looky-looking. Around lunch time he began to get wiggly so I moved him into his moby wrap. Facing out from his Mama, CC took in the whole event from a fresh perspective, happily bouncing along as I mingled.
Around 12:30 he started to get sleepy, so I decided to call it a day. We said our goodbyes then headed back toward the car. By the time I reached the parking garage he had nodded to sleep in his wrap, probably dreaming of Andie MacDowell doing yoga with Chef Sonya Cote.
All that stimulation made for a slightly crankier than usual baby that evening, but all in all, our trip to the R3 Prevention Summit was a great success. CC was a real star. While I was changing his diaper that morning a woman came over to catch a glimpse of my giggling, wiggling four-month old. "Is he always this happy?!" she asked. I stopped for a moment to send a little gratitude out into the universe before telling her that yes, he pretty much is.