Welcome back to Wins and Woes, a moment in the week when we step back from the data to share your stories about the ups and downs of pregnancy and parenting.
Today we have three amazing stories and a reader question for you about being a mom in a male-dominated industry, illustrated by Rachel Deutsch (aka @weirdmomart).
Three days each week I haul my 2.5-year-old and 10-month-old into the pre-K building for my 5-year-old, for drop-off and pickup. Predictably, my 2.5-year-old completely melts down every time we leave the pre-K building. Special snacks in the car didn’t work, bribes didn’t work. Six months into the school year, I finally thought of a solution — bubbles. Now I carry a bubble wand into school with me, and my 2.5-year-old happily follows a trail of bubbles back out to the car after each drop-off and pickup. I hope it lasts!
Need a nuzzle
—Life’s Tough, I’d Rather Not Get a Helmet
My daughter recently started helmet therapy to round out her flat head. It was complicated getting here — traumatic birth, bad/no guidance from various doctors, months of physical therapy and neurotic repositioning to try to avoid the helmet — and complicated to start wearing it. She started a cold and fever the day we got the helmet, then wearing it aggravated the eczema on her cheek to the point where it got infected and we had to pause while it healed.
I’m working on making peace with how this has all unfolded and our decision to put her in the helmet for her long-term benefit. I’ve tried to stop beating myself up for not knowing that her tendency to sleep with her head to the right as a newborn was an issue and would lead to months of stress. I’ve mostly peacefully absorbed the fussy logistics that the helmet adds to our days. I’ve swallowed my irritation with the expectation that I make this unhappy situation cute and fun with clever helmet decorations. I even remained polite as the orthotist told me (not my husband, who was sitting right next to me at the fitting appointment) about all the best soaps and tips and tricks that moms (not dads) have used to clean and care for the helmet and the baby wearing it.
But the worst part so far is what I feared most and knew I would hate: when I hold her, I can’t stroke and kiss and sniff her sweet soft baby head. Everyone I’ve talked to and everything I have read says that the helmet experience is manageable and everyone involved adapts, but I simply don’t see myself getting used to nuzzling plastic. I feel robbed!
My 14-month-old has his first “job.” He can close the microwave door! It’s such a little thing, but he knows it’s his job and he loves it. He’s been watching recipe videos with me this week, and we’ve been letting him be involved in all the food prep as much as possible. I love it. I’m so excited for him to grow up loving cooking with us.
This week’s reader question
I just found out that I was denied a significant promotion. I work in an intense, male-dominated industry. I had my second child about a year ago and have sacrificed a lot on the home front for my professional ambition. I am having trouble assessing whether this is a short-term setback or a long-term incompatibility. How do I decide whether to keep pushing and trying again or to leave the industry altogether?
—Mom in a man’s world