Holiday gift guide: Best WAHM gifts

Chances are, you know a work at home mom: Almost a third of moms in the US do not work outside the home, and if the number of mom friends selling leggings, face wash and children’s books is any indication, a good chunk of these work at home (including me!). And I can guarantee these mamas could use a thoughtful present this holiday—that’s why I pulled together a list of the best WAHM gifts to spoil the working moms on your Christmas list.

Shopping for a work at home mom? This gift guide with the 10 best WAHM gifts has working mother-tested ideas and products. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Pumping at work: Responding to unsupportive colleagues

The other day, a friend of mine wrote online about the trouble she’s having pumping at work. Coworkers walk in on her while she’s pumping milk for her baby. She’s rushing to pump and still get back to her class in time to teach. And unsupportive colleagues are making insensitive comments.

Because that’s just what a working mom needs: Flak for doing her best to feed her baby, continue her career and maintain her own health.

(Skeptical that pumping is more than a luxury or convenience to breastfeeding women? Please read this NPR article about the health risks of not being able to pump breast milk regularly.)

Other moms and I jumped in to defend our friend online, since we can’t drive to work with her and stand up to those jerks in person. Unfortunately. Though I’d totally do it.

We suggested a handful of comebacks a working mom could use to the ignorant, curious or hostile comments she got. If you’re heading back to work—or are already back and are unsure of how to respond to coworkers—here are ready-to-use replies for an unsupportive colleague’s comments about your about pumping at work.

Pumping at work is hard enough without unsupportive coworkers. Here's how to respond to insensitive, mean or just ignorant comments. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

7 must-dos for a kid-free business trip

7 must-dos for a kid-free business trip
Original photo by Jeremy Sternberg, creative commons

You’re on a kid-free business trip, so you’re probably feeling equal parts guilty and giddy. Chances are, you haven’t been away from home and kids in so long that the prospect of dealing with traffic and the TSA, crossing time zones, working long hours and eating what passes for a continental breakfast sounds positively like a vacation.

It’s also likely that you might not know what to do with yourself. I’ve been there, though, so I’ve done you the solid of making a little list of all the things you must do on your next kid-free business trip.

While you’re gone, drop me a line and tell me all about your kid-free extravagances like eating in a restaurant with no play place and sleeping on an un-jumped-on bed. Read more

Maternity leave vs meternity leave

By now you’ve read the infamous article about Meghann Foye’s “meternity leave,” or at least the outraged responses populating social media. Her jealousy over “co-workers clocking out for maternity leave” inspired the ire of parents who have taken family leave—and who bristle at the idea they simply checked out to drink mimosas on a weekday, reflect on their life path and admire a sweetly cooing infant. 

(Riiiiiiiight. I want that kind of maternity leave, too.)

A dear friend, who is a high school English teacher, was one of these angry mothers. But she was surprised when that anger turned into something completely different. These are her words. 


Maternity Leave Meternity Leave runningI read an article today about Meghann Foye’s desire for a “meternity leave” and I almost lost my shit. And by almost, I mean that I was near tears and had to call a friend. I said the dreaded words out loud—that I was losing control today. I was slipping closer to the void, getting closer to that dark, murky water where I wonder why I ever thought it was a good idea to have a child at all.

The first half of the title alone was enough to push me to the brink of exasperation: “I want all the perks of maternity leave…” What perks? Had I missed the perks?

Meghann describes a desire to reflect on her life, and to have time to grieve her losses—her “meternity leave”. The irony was so laughable I almost cried.

Yes, Meghann, I would like those things, too. Like you, I would like some quiet space and time, preferably weeks, to just sit around and wonder aloud to myself how the hell I got here. I would like time to grieve—truly GRIEVE my losses. You know, put on Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You,” imbibe in some fruit-flavored wine and cookie dough ice cream in cheerleading shorts, turn off all the lights, and lay on the floor and bawl-my-eyes-out GRIEVE until I feel better. I would like to grieve a list of the following things:

  • my empty bank account and my payment plan with the hospital after my daughter’s stay in the NICU
  • my previously unstained couch, carpet, seats of my car, and undergarments
  • the stretch marks on my breasts from having my milk come in so quickly after the birth of my daughter
  • the fact that life-affirming sex with my husband has been hard to come by since my daughter was conceived
  • my inability to find a fucking shirt that fits

I could go on. You get the point. That is, you do if you’re a mother, but Meghann is not. She does. not. get. this. Meghann, there is no time to grieve losses on maternity leave. There is only time to rack them up. Read more

A portrait of working moms

I am honored to be a part of A Well Crafted Party‘s series about working moms! Writer Jenni Bost’s story about me is up on her site—check it out!

Catherine Ryan Gregory portrait of working moms
Beautiful photos by the inimitable Mary Boyden from Momma Bear Magazine

As I told Jenni, I want my girls to see me working—for the ups and the downs.

“I want them to witness the excitement, passion, even frustration it sparks in me,” I told Jenni. “Because no relationship is perfect, including the one with your work. Seeing that I can be angry or aggravated by work but push through it and stick with it is a great example of how life works.”

I also want my girls to grow into the independence and creativity I had when both my parents worked when I was a kid.

“When I grew up, both my parents worked. Having a lot of free time on our own made me and my siblings invent fun for ourselves. We spent hours imagining ourselves as fairies or orphans or alligator wrestlers. We dedicated weeks to turning our play room into a haunted house. We made up songs and ran around outside and skinned our knees and broke windows (though not too often, thankfully),” I told Jenni. 

“I want my girls to have a similar childhood – one that’s not micromanaged by me.”

Are you a working mom or dad? How do YOU make it work? If your parents worked, how did that color your childhood?

Life > Blog

Balancing life with two kidsLong time no see, Blog.

I’ve been writing here much less frequently since Kiwi was born. Well, duh, you might think. I do, after all, have an eight-week-old and toddler to take care of, plus a husband to occasionally talk with, plus a full-time job writing. (Cleaning and cooking have completely fallen by the wayside, too. Our house is a constant disaster.)

My hiatus is perhaps to be expected, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

I like this blog. I enjoy writing it, sharing it, connecting with other people and building a community of other bloggers and readers. It doesn’t bring in a cent and probably isn’t advancing my career in any way, but it has become something that’s important to me.

As moms, it’s easy to let go of the things we enjoy—but that don’t tangibly contribute— especially in the hazy first months of a baby’s life. But we shouldn’t.

Even though this blog centers around my family, it’s for me. I am a writer, and writers write. Sure, right now I’m writing and editing full-time, but this is fulfilling in a different way. I get to say what’s in my heart (or in my sleep-deprived mind, at least).

At some point, I’ll regain some of the balance that’s missing. In the meantime, I haven’t completely forgotten about my tiny corner of the internet. I’ll be back.