How to End up on the Winning Side of August

According to Baby Center data from 2013, more babies are born in August than any other month. The second, third, and fourth most popular birthday months were July, October, and September, in that order. What can I say — we get cold, we make babies — it makes sense.

But August has a new distinction. Recent research out of the University of Washington establishes that August is also one of the two highest months for divorces in the US (March is the second highest).


In Simon & Garfunkel’s 1966 April Come She Will (also of The Graduatefame) masterfully and succinctly written by Paul Simon, we are walked through the months of the year. April is ripe and promising as are the warm and lusty spring and summer months that follow, until August. “August, die she must” I always thought this was about the end of the summer season, longer days, less bounty and frivolity — more structure and chilly winds blowing in.

But maybe not.

We lose so much in August

We lose our Identity:

From childless to parent (and according to this new research from married to single).

We lose our children:

We send them (with such trepidation) off to kindergarten, middle school, high school and later to college with increasingly higher bills and expectations — but the loss of our children to the expected and natural course of independence is a loss and a shift none-the-less.

We lose ourselves:

The pulse and precision of our work-self takes on a new, less familiar groove. The former competent master of our career gives way to a new creature. We are on our back, on the bottom of a learning curve, sometimes lonely and even lost — learning the early ropes of parenting. Old skills feel irrelevant, and while quickly mastered, there is so much to learn before the game changes (daily, weekly, monthly) right before our eyes.

From go-getter with the glow to the trials of the fifth trimester…

I suppose that is right -August die she must.

And yes — YES — there is joy in so many of these moments — beginnings, remarkable firsts and discoveries — not only endings. With these August days, these new parent days, can also come optimistic new views, roles and perspectives — yet to be discovered, and new, unchartered terrain to explore. Days and nights filled the newness of it all -fragrant with sweet smells of baby, sweet with delicious, squeezable thighs and connected via a perfectly pudgy hand holding your single finger — amazing days indeed.

And then what? A return to the workplace. Or not. A confusing fifth trimester in which support in imperative and questions and doubt run rampant.

And still, I cannot help but wonder, are we set up to succeed as we lose and gain? Is the American workplace ready or even aware of how little it will take to create cultural shifts that offer true support? At the It’s Working Project — that is how we spend our days — considering how it can work well. We strive help the private sector successfully bring parents back to work with ease, as a matter of course and with a sense of pride. We listen to parents as they share their experiences of back to work after baby in the US and we support the employer with simple, cost effective, easy to execute but high return strategies that work — making sure that we don’t loose the remarkable parents of our workforce as they journey into parenthood.

Want to join us? If you are a parent, share your story. And, if you are an employer let’s see how we can get you where you need to be — beyond simply compliant in all the best ways!

August, we are ready for you!

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The Mother of All Days

There are a lot of people celebrating the 5 year anniversary of National Breastfeeding Month. And good for that — it is progress and progress is good.

In the end, (remarkable progress aside) the very personal, real-time, real-life challenges of back to work after baby defy explanation. That “day one” of being a working mother, of bringing one’s new self with a new maternal identity, responsibilities and concerns back to one’s old role in the workplace can be both traumatic and taxing. It is stressful. Add pumping milk to the equation — and the level of strain becomes overwhelming. Again, the experience is confusing and isolating — complex and filled with bumps in the road.

What can help to ease the way? The key is support at home and in the workplace. Our research at the It’s Working Project underscores again and again the power of a supportive supervisor (and peer) within the workplace and of course a willing and able partner — committed to helping a woman find success, however she defines it — makes all the difference in the world.

I spent some time with the JPMA discussing the role that product plays in back-to-work after baby success. And in particular, the ways in which innovations have led to a softer re-entry including the challenges and hurdles associated with pumping at work. We all agree the connection is there.

But how to get what you need at work? Dina Baskt, Co-President, A Better Balance shared a bit of insight on getting both support and tools in the workplace; “Employees should emphasize the bottom-line benefits to employers of providing first-in-class benefits to nursing mothers. These programs increase retention and productivity, while also demonstrating the company’s commitment to working families.”

Here are some of my picks for products to keep in your back to work after baby tool box. Proven partners that aid in navigating the complex and confussing new world of pumping in the workplace.

Work Pump Repeat— written by Jessica Shortall — This is a must read (and must gift along) for any woman in the world of well, Work Pump Repeat! Consider this part how-to, part hack guide and all about support for working mothers everywhere.

Loyal Hana — for the look that says “ready” and means business — this line is designed for your return to work — easy to use and stunning to wear. Complements are guaranteed!

Nursing Bras — Bravado is synonymous with nursing bra form and function. Their Body Silk Seamless is as comfortable as they come. Take the time for a proper fitting and then stock up on enough bras to keep you from adding washing to your daily “to do“ list. And might I also add — keep it fun with a pop of color to balance out your black and ivory staples.

Nursing Pads — Keep an ample supply of Nuk Ultra-dry Disposable pads at the ready. These are slim and lightweight — easy to store and keep handy. Make sure you have an ample supply at work, in your bag — anywhere you go!

And extra shirt — just in case — see above for our pick, Loyal Hana!

Soothing Lansinoh cream and Breast Therapy Packs will do the trick to keep irritation and discomfort away — and there will be days when you will need it.

Milk Storage Bags — fill your freezer with Purple! Lansinoh bags are a cult favorite. I have to admit I love seeing images of freezers full of these bags.

Hospital Grade Pump — a small investment for your employer and a time and energy saver for you! Yummy Mummy is a great source for a Medela hospital grade pump for your workplace pumping room.

Speaking of pumping rooms — Keeping it comfortable and private are a must! I am a big fan of Monte Chairs, chic, simple and oh so supportive! Couple with an ottoman or poof for an ideal space for workplace pumping.

Monte Glider

Fill-er-up — Skip Hop just launched a new version of insulated diaper bags — complete with ice packs and adorable food containers this bag perfect for taking snacks to fuel your workday and then transporting pumped milk back home!

Skip Hop Fit All Access Diaper Bag

More on the daily commute — ‘Bébé au Lait’ has workhorse Wet & Dry bags -these are ideal for keeping pump parts and other accessories close by and ready to go. Their whimsical designs will bring a smile to your face as will being super organized and ready to take on the day!

Day is done — what better way to reconnect with baby then adding Boppy to the mix — take off your shoes, settle in, take in that beautiful baby and enjoy the moment of ahhh!

That is my list. Now of course, I am wondering — what is on your must-have list for the newly back-to-work mother? Share with us here!

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