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Q&A with Chandra Fredrick (Oh Lovely Day)

Posted on March 15 2017

What is the best part of motherhood?
Oh man, that's so hard! I would have to say the love. It is amazing how much your heart can love these little people. And feeling their love -- their total unconditional love for their momma. The way my boys look at me - it's like the heart eye emoji all the time. And if you have more than one child, the love between siblings is pretty amazing too.
What is the most challenging part of motherhood?
For me, I think the most challenging thing is not completely losing yourself. We live in Los angeles far away from family and have no help so I rarely get time away, time alone, or time with my husband without kids. There is rarely a feeling of freedom. So finding ways to carve out little bits of time each week to prioritize myself is key but so hard to do consistently. I've been trying to get in a hike on Saturday mornings and that brings me a lot of peace and mental rest. Also, being sleep deprived for years is pretty tough.

How do you balance work and family?
I don't really think I do. I don't really think balance is possible honestly. Right now I'm working from home while I have two of my sons (ages 2 and 8 months) home with me all day, and we also pick up my oldest from kindergarten. Getting work done during the day only happens if I'm able to get them to nap at the same time. But I take an hour in the morning while they play to try to address anything pressing or at least clean out my inbox, do a little work at nap time if possible, and then work mostly at night. And if I really have a deadline that I need to meet, I put on some Blippi on the iPad, and they are occupied for a while.
What is a typical day like for you?
I'm usually up to nurse the baby around 5:30 am. Sometimes he goes back to sleep and I try to get some quiet work time in for an hour before the bigger kids wake up. I love that 30+ minutes of quiet and peace alone with my coffee before the chaos begins.Then I make breakfast, make and pack Charlie's school lunch. Have another cup of coffee. Eat whatever scraps of breakfast that is left on the kids' plates. Feed the baby some food. Put the baby down for a nap and play with my toddler or take them out on an adventure walk and let the baby nap on the go. Get home in time to do the lunch rush -- I have to time their lunches just right so that I can give the toddler his lunch to eat while he watches a show on the iPad so I can nurse the baby and put him down for a nap. Then once I get him down I put the toddler down for his nap. Then maybe I get lunch, a nap, a shower, or some work done. Never all. Usually only one or two. But it's a break. When the babies wake up, I pack them up into the minivan and we go pick up my oldest from kindergarten. By the time we get home and play a little it is time to get dinner ready. The school pickup-dinner rush-bath-bedtime phase of the day is my hardest because I'm on my own until my husband gets home from work and giving the kids dinner while feeding the baby, then bathing the baby for his earlier bedtime, responding to requests for "more milk" or "something else to eat", etc. It's pure craziness. I'm always texting my husband like "ETA!?"

What do you do for “me time?”
I'm not great at taking me time. But I finally started taking Saturday mornings for myself. Once I nurse the baby before his morning nap, I'm out the door. I usually try to go for a hike, but sometimes I'll get a pedicure or even go to Target or Trader Joe's alone. I don't think doing family errands solo really counts as "me time" but it is way better than doing it with two kids two and under.
What is one piece of advice you would pass on to other moms?
Don't compare yourself to other mothers! Whatever you are experiencing, be it breastfeeding issues, a colicky baby, the terrible twos, or a sassy four-year-old, there are lots of other moms going through the same thing. It is a season of motherhood that is hard but temporary. So all you can do is your best. Other moms might seem like they have their shit together, but I assure you we all lose our shit sometimes. And you don't know what that mom is really going through, how she copes, or what her inner mom critic is saying to her. You don't know how much help she has. Be kind to yourself and cut yourself a break. You're doing a great job. And depending on the time of day coffee, a nap, or wine can turn a day around :)

photo credit: Jennifer Roper

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