Moms & Babies

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Celebrity Baby Blog

Marla Sokoloff’s Blog: Finding My Mama Mojo

04/20/2012 at 06:00 PM ET
Me and Elliotte – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff

Our celebrity blogger Marla Sokoloff is a new mama!

Since audiences first got to know her at age 12 as Gia on Full House, Sokoloff has had many memorable TV roles — Jody on Party of Five, Lucy on The Practice, Claire on Desperate Housewives – as well as turns on the big screen in Whatever It TakesDude, Where’s My Car? and Sugar & Spice.

Sokoloff, 31, also sings and plays guitar and released an album, Grateful, in 2005.

She wed her husband, music composer Alec Puro, in November 2009 and the couple — plus pup Coco Puro — make their home in Los Angeles.

You can find Marla, now mom to 10-week-old daughter Elliotte Anneon Twitter.

Let me start this off by saying how incredibly touched I was by all of the support I received after my last blog.

My breastfeeding struggles have been the hardest part of mommyhood and it really helped me to read all of your comments and suggestions. I also loved hearing from those of you who are going through the same thing — it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Thank you for not judging me and for reminding me that no matter what Elliotte is being nourished and is healthy … and that is all that matters.

How is it possible that I already have a 10-week-old? You guys weren’t kidding around when you said it goes by fast! It truly feels like yesterday that I was doing jumping jacks on my bed and eating crazy pregnancy salads trying to induce labor. (None of that worked, by the way.)

Two and a half months in and I think I’m finally starting to get my mojo back. (By mojo I mean I’m now brushing my hair and showering on a daily basis … HUGE improvement!)

Elliotte and I are now starting to have somewhat of a routine and just like every mom told me, it all gets a little easier every day. That being said, I think I apologize to my daughter at least once a day as I explain to her that I’m still new at this and she needs to bear with me!

A few weeks ago we had our very first public poop explosion. In my perfect world, I just assumed that my little lady would save the epic debacles for the privacy of our own home.

Of course, the restaurant we were eating at had no changing table in the bathroom, so Elliotte and I high-tailed it out to my car and we changed her poopy pants on a very busy Los Angeles street. Super glamorous, right?

As she lay there confused as to why she was naked in the trunk of my car, I whispered to her, “I’m sorry baby, Mommy has no idea what she’s doing.”

Split my maternity jeans – oops – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff

I’ve decided that having a sense of humor about such events is the only way to get through it all. Last week at Mommy and Me, I split my jeans open as I excitedly sat down on the carpet ready to sing “The Wheels On The Bus”. Hoping no one would notice, I gracefully took a swaddle blanket out of my diaper bag and placed it on my lap.

I looked over at Elliotte and gave her a wink, letting her know that this new mom disaster moment was our little secret.

My self-esteem mojo is still a work in progress, to be honest. (Did I mention the jeans I split last week were maternity?) This in-between phase of still wearing your pregnancy clothes while longing for your former self wardrobe is pretty miserable.

Obviously I knew that my tightly pulled pregnancy stomach wasn’t going to be toned and perfect once the baby was born, but one could only hope that the uncomfortable belly band I wore for six weeks would at least produce an ab or two. (Jessica Alba … I give you and your post-baby bikini major credit!) I’m pretty sure (okay … I’m 100 percent sure) that my relationship with the bathing suit is now forever changed.

Last week my friend (and fellow new mommy) Lindsay Sloane and I hosted a party benefiting Baby Buggy. We got a bunch of our mom friends together for a fun afternoon of spa treatments and manicures and everyone donated a box of diapers or wipes to help families in need of baby essentials. Baby Einstein and Quinny sponsored the event and there was even a fun play area for all of the little ones to hang out in.

It was such a great afternoon! I was going to post a picture but Lindsay and I agreed that we both look a little too sleep-deprived to share!

A lot of you have been asking me when I plan on going back to work. That is a question I don’t have the answer to just yet. The thought of leaving Elliotte all day and handing her off to someone else while I’m shooting is a tough pill for me to swallow.

I know that she will only be this little peanut for a little while longer and I just don’t want to miss a moment. I also know that eventually I will need to pull myself up by my bootstraps and get back to work. So working moms and dads of PEOPLE.com, tell me … how do you do it? How do you find the balance between your children and your career?

Already 10 weeks old! – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff

I look forward to hearing from you all — leave a comment below or send me a Tweet @marlasok.

– Marla Sokoloff

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Showing 68 comments

blessedwithboys on

What a pretty girl!

caitlin on

You’re right, Marla. It never gets easy to leave your child. But you have to realize that what you’re doing is for her. Your work makes Elliotte’s future better and brighter.

It gives your daughter pride to know that what you do benefits her. One day when she’s older, she’s going to see you getting ready for work and she’s going to tell you how proud of you she is. And its true. Elliotte will be proud of you every day of her life.

Jory on

OMG she is sooooo beautiful…she has such beautiful big eyes. :) Im due in 29 days and I can only hope that I get as much support as you when it comes to breastfeeding im sooo scared about it.

Ashleigh-Faye on

Its hard I will say that. I was lucky to run my photography business out of my house for 4 years. Now im working out of the home in a studio its a bit hard. My son has SPD and ADHD so he has to stay with dad or my brother on days im at studio. Its a bit hard being away from him. But im doing it for me too!!! I say take your time. It goes by so so fast!!!!

J on

She is such a cutie! I always love reading Marla’s posts.

Monica on

Don’t worry about not getting your “old” body back right away. I am not one of those moms who is back in regular clothes right after baby is born. Both times I had to wear maternity pants for 3-4 months post baby and then wasn’t even close to pre-pregnancy weight until about 9 mos post baby.

I guess it’s really true when they say it takes 9 mos to gain the weight and 9 mos to lose it (and I was breastfeeding too). If you haven’t figured out yet, your body will never be like it was before pregnancy, but you’ll grow to love the new body you end up with- altho I could do without the saggy boobs after nursing 2 kids!

And it’s all a learning process- there is no right or wrong for anything to do with baby. You’ll figure it out as you go. Good luck!

Tee on

Marla, Elliotte is absolutely adorable! Thank you so much for sharing pictures of and stories about your little girl.

As to your question, I can honestly say that most people will not agree with my answer but I’m okay with that! (The world would be boring if we all agree.) I think Moms should stay at home with their children whenever possible. I do understand that there are times when it really isn’t possible… single mothers and whatnot… but it is possible more often than not. Sometimes it just takes some sacrifice financially, you know?

So to answer your question, I wouldn’t worry about going back to work if you can afford to stay home. Your daughter only has one childhood and as her Mom, you should be there for it!

aly on

I’m sure your jeans were just worn out from constant wear when you were pregnant! Shoddy craftmanship on maternity clothing. :)

You look great and your daughter is beautiful. I had a really hard time with my post partum body. My son is 15 months old and I finally feel like my body is finally back to normal…except for my ginormous boobs. I went from a C to a G and now am at a DDD. I’m still breastfeeding so I have hopes that they will get smaller when I’m done. Ugh.

My advice about going back to work? If you don’t have to and you don’t want to, don’t do it. Go with your instincts.

C on

Congrats Marla on your beautiful lil creation, she’s adorable.

I totally agree with you Tee, well said!

Kandyce on

Love you and your baby is precious. Keep the faith… there will be a moment where it all miraculously comes together.

Marky on

As a mother and now a grandmother, I think it really needs to be the decision of the mom, unless there is a true financial need to return quickly. In my family, there have been stay at home moms (myself included), and moms who returned to work 6 weeks later. My daughter was a single mom who had serious financial needs, and she found a way to work part-time while finishing her education, and I took care of him as needed.

Not everyone can stay home, and if they can’t, or for whatever reason, want or need to go back to work, no one should be indignant or have a hissy-fit about it. It’s a decision that only you (and your partner) can make, and how you feel or what you think will be best for your family is what matters. If you can’t come home from work, take a minute to unwind, then spend time with your children doing things with them that matter to them, pay attention to their schoolwork, and pay attention to what is going on in their life because you are “wiped out”, reconsider. Your children need that from you, and you need to consider those needs, as well as your own.

I wish I had more carefully thought through the fact that sometimes a mom doesn’t get a redo in some areas of your life, whether it is with meeting your children’s needs, or establishing your career.

Either way, good luck as you decide which way to go, and everyone in your family is important, Elliotte is adorable, and looks as if she is a joy!

marlee on

Hi Marla! Loving your blogs! You seem like such a down to earth and cheerful person. How great that you are already taking your daughter to a mommy and me class! That is awesome!

I have two boys, 4yrs and 14mths and if I were you I would put work on the back burner and be a full time mama. No one will love your baby or teach them the way you will- she’s yours and you are the most important person to be with her all day. Read Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s book “In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms”. It helps put things into perspective and gives some great ways to respond to people who question why you aren’t going back to work and leaving your precious baby with someone else all day.

It is SO rewarding to be a stay at home mommy- your children resemble you and your family’s values- if you leave them with a daycare- your child will be learning someone else’s values and someone else’s way of treating others, etc. Consider staying home into your baby is in Kindergarten you will NOT regret it- you will be so happy in your heart that you are spending your days with your baby- those days go so fast- and before you know it she will be a big girl heading to school and off with her friends. Take time now to be with her as much as you can!

God Bless You and your family!

Marnie on

Thanks for another great blog Marla!

I think the first poop explosion in public is one of those defining motherhood moments. Mine happened during a book signing for one of my favorite authors at a Barnes and Noble. Nothing like trying to inconspicuously drag yourself and your stinky child out of the third row during a reading… I was mortified.

As far as going back to work – I wasn’t ready at three months postpartum, but by six months I was. I’m an editor and I very much missed being in the office, the exchange of ideas with co-workers, our monthly meetings, etc.

Luckily my office was very flexible, so I spend two days a week in my home office while my mom takes my son out for the morning. We have lunch together and I’m also able to play with him and get a little laundry and cleaning done before jumping in again for the afternoon while he naps. The other three days, I’m in the office and we have a wonderful nanny who watches my son at home 20 hours a week. It’s really worked out well for us.

I enjoy going to work and want to work for my mental health, but I want to be home with my son too. It’s so hard to strike a balance but you have to do what works for you, so that you can be the best mom possible for your kids.

Holiday on

She is adorable! I miss having a tiny baby as mine are 6 and almost 2. I have been a stay at home mom for 6 years, since my son was born. I love watching them grow and teaching them so much. We have a blast together and I couldnt imagine leaving them all day.

staceyhead84 on

I’m not a mom myself, but I love reading your blogs. Elliotte is SO cute! Those eyes are amazing! I used to work at a daycare where we took as young as 6 week old babies in the infant department. It seems young, but most of the moms were either single, or if they were married, one person working wasn’t enough. Go with your instinct–they say motherly instinct will guide the way. I always put in a prayer here in there when I’m trying to make decisions as well. Good luck! You’ve got an adorable daughter!

Krista Groen on

I’m in Canada so we are blessed to have a full year paid after baby, which is amazing….and I don’t know that I could have left her for an entire day much before then…definitely not before 6 months – that was about when I felt like doing anything like that.

I hope you are getting lots of support still for BFing…I had low supply d.t. hormonal imbalance in pregnancy, but was able to partial BF til 8 months which was great – I hope you also find a rhythm that works for you and your little babe.

Elisa on

she’s really adorable!!

Aubree on

Congratulations! Such a beautiful baby girl

Leslie on

What a cute little girl!!!

Marla looks beautiful too!

marina on

First of all, what adorable baby girl you got there! She is a cutie!

I’m not a mom, so I have no advice to you. I do can tell you that my mother was a working mother, and I had a great childhood. I learn so much from her and I always been proud of all things she was able to accomplished, while never missing a doctor appointment, school recitals, she always knew if a have homework or not, and she was always ready to help me.

Yes, when I was six years old I spend over 8 hours at school, so, yes, sometimes I spend more time with my teacher than with my parents, but I don’t remember my teacher, I learn everything I need to know about life from BOTH of my parents. I never ever wanted my mother to stay at home, because I knew that she work to make a better future for me and because it make her happy, and I’m sure she hasn’t had any regret about the choices she made. I love my parents and I’m very proud and grateful for everything they made for me.

That being said, I have tons of friends that have stay at home mothers, and they have great childhoods as well. My best friend mother left her job right after she married, and then she stay at home and raise three children. She loved being at home, and doesn’t regret a thing either.

I know that there is a lot of pressure and debate about this subject (and some of this post are the living proof of that!), but what I’m trying to say is that only you know what it’s go for you and your child, and whatever that is working full time, working part time, start working after six month, after a year, or simply stay at home, will be the right choice for you and Elliotte. I’m sure you will make it work and be an excellent mom! Good luck!

(and sorry for the looong post, and going a little of the subject, but I’m tired of seeing mother ripping each other)

Lisa on

I am in agreement with Tee – if it is possible, stay home with your daughter. I planned to take a year off after I had my son then return to work part-time. When I went back, that lasted about 6 weeks. I just couldn’t do it, even though he was in the best of care with my mother.

Everyone’s situation is different, of course. My job did not define who I was (before and definitely after the baby) so it was easy for me to let it go. I can go back to work when my son hits school age – you don’t get those precious years back ever!

Finances play a huge roll so I know that not everyone has this luxury, and some just wouldn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom, which is fine. To each her own, right? I just know for myself that I made the right decision.

And, honestly, it’s not all fun and games – it’s HARD work (sometimes I think it would be easier to actually go to work instead of stay home!). But at the end of each day, I feel that it is worth it and that I have fallen in love with my son even more than the day before.

kjc on

In Canada we get a full year mat-leave, so I’ve been lucky not to have to return to work. My little dude turns 1 this week, but I have extended my leave for another 6 months. I am hoping to be able to return to my job for only a day or two a week after that. Finances will obviously be more difficult, but I am willing to sacrifice that so I can spend more time with my son.

My mom and dad worked full time while my sister and I were growing up. We didn’t mind spending time with babysitters/nannies or in daycare, but my mom looks back now and feels bad because she feels like we were raised by someone else. We let her know that it simply isn’t true.

While I didn’t mind that my mom worked full time, I don’t want to be like her and regret it when I look back on my sons childhood. I don’t think I’ll ever regret staying home or working 1 or 2 days a week, but I can see myself regretting all the time I’d be giving up with him if I returned full time.

Elizabeth on

My little one is 4 weeks old and I also have a 2 1/2 year old. I’m returning to work in 4 weeks. Although it’s not absolutely necessary for me to return to work, I really crave that independent, working woman feeling.

I have my own office so pumping will be easy for me. One of the things that makes it easy for me to be a working mom is that I’ve always had family members as caretakers to my girls. If I had to use daycare or any other strangers, then I could not do it! It would be a very easy decision to stay home.

When my girls start elementary school, I do plan on working a lot less or not at all. I want to be able to always do the drop off and pick up and be available to help with homework.

Congrats again, Elliotte is beautiful and growing so much already! Toddlerhood will be here before you know it and it will be endlessly entertaining as you see her personality and brain working.

Stephanie on

It is definitely not easy to leave your adorable baby at home, while you go to work 9 hours a day 5 days a week. However, the only reason that I have been able to do so it because of my amazing family. I am so lucky to have my mom, mother-in-law, cousin, and best friend watching my adorable son, Connor, for the next 8 weeks as I am back to school as a teacher.

Luckily, I will be off for another 8-10 weeks during the summer, in which I hope to be able to grow the courage to leave Connor with a new person for several days during the next school year because the days can be too much for all. I don’t know if it will ever get easier but just having my baby in the arms of loved ones makes it so great that I can continue a career that I truly love.

amanda on

Marla,

I agree with the other posters that you should consider staying home as much as possible if you can. That said, I have 2 kids (5 yrs old and almost 2 yrs old), and I have only stayed home full time with them since May 2011. Prior to that, I worked part time at a Mother’s Day Out for 2 years and then part time as a high school English/History/World Geography teacher for 2 years.

I *totally* understand the need to work — and not just from a financial standpoint. I’m going back to teaching part time in the fall. Some women are so stinkin’ gifted at being able to devote themselves fully to being at home all of the time. I am not one of those women! I obviously love my husband and our kids to pieces, but this mama is a much happier and relaxed mama when her mind is being challenged in the classroom. I am not a little kid person, and I desperately need the interaction with other adults and teens on a regular basis, but I also really want to be home with my kids as much as possible.

Enter the University Model School! I will teach for 2 hours a day 3 days a week. It’s perfect! So, I encourage you to find the balance between being home with your sweet baby girl as much as you can but also tending to your own desire to go back to work.

It can be so difficult to leave your baby with someone else, so don’t be afraid to stand your ground with what your expectations are for her care. You are her mom! You lay the ground rules and if they are not followed, then you have every right to find someone else to be with Elliotte when you are working.

I wish you and yours the best!

MA momma on

Marla, Elliotte is adorable! Nice blog as well, very casual and easy writing style. You and Jenna Von Oy ought to hook up and pen a book together! ;) I am a full-time, working mother and I struggle with it every day. My daughters used to be in paid daycare and are now in the care of both sets of their grandparents, which is a huge relief. My eldest starts kindergarten in the fall, which I cannot believe. I agree with what others have said, go with your gut. If you can afford to be at home, then be at home. You only get one chance to witness all you are witnessing now and it does go by so fast! Savor it and remember, you are the best momma, torn maternity jeans and all ;)

Alexis on

Congratualations to the Puro family on their new addition! Elliotte Ann is just too precious for words!

You raised a good question Marla, regarding the balance of work and parenting. It’s also a controversial question and topic. Why you ask? Because it will forever be the battle of Stay at Home Moms vs. Working Moms. I hate to admit it but it’s true. Let me give you a piece of advice, you will NEVER regret spending too much time with your children. You will however, regret not spending enough time. With that being said, I will tell you that I AM a working mother. I stopped working as soon as I found out I was pregnant (I’m an event planner and REALLY needed to slow down) and stayed home 2 years with Katie. After I noticed she was becoming more independent and starting to “hold her own” as I call it. I considered going back to work because let’s face it…one income households just don’t cut it these days. As much as I LOVE event planning and I’m damn good at it. I just didn’t see how it would be acceptable for me to be at weddings at 2AM when I have a baby at home that’s craving my attention. Once wedding season picks up…it’s almost like you’re a doctor on call. I’ve always had a background in insurance and while it’s not as exciting, it pays the bills and allows me the freedom to be at home with Katie in the evenings and weekends. My husband works at a private golf club and his schedule is grueling. I don’t see as much of him as I’d like to so taking both of Katie’s parents away in her most vital years, seemed unfair. We decided it would be best for me to make myself most available for Katie. I go to work at 8AM and I’m home by 5PM. I cook dinner every other night and Thursdays is Ladies night while Friday is ladies and babies night with my girlfriends. Saturday is family day and Sunday is Daddy’s day. Family day is when I take Katie to visit with my husband’s side of the family or we take day trips to visit my relatives. Daddy’s day (Sunday) is the ONLY day the hubby has NOTHING to do so this day is especially reserved for daddy, Katie and I. Unless it’s an emergency, that day is ours. Sorry everyone! Honestly, it’s hard to find a balance and at some point, someone or something is going to get neglected and THAT’S OKAY! Moms strive to attain this perfection or this reality that we have to be Martha Stewart, Heidi Klum and Betty Crocker all rolled into one and that’s just not REALITY! I applaud you for admitting that you don’t know what you’re doing at times and you even have a humbling humor about it all. You can’t imagine the mom’s (and I know a few) that aren’t willing to admit they don’t know it all and they probably aren’t mommies of the year every once in a while. They say in acting, a pie in the face comes with the job. Well, the same can be said of parenting. Every now and then, a good pie in the face helps you realize that we aren’t perfect and perfection is what we STRIVE for. As long as you’re finding time for yourself, your husband and your little girl…the rest will fall into place. NEVER feel guilty about working! In order to provide, we have to work. NEVER feel guilty about a ladies night! Keeping your sanity will make you the best mommy yet. It’s good to take time for yourself and you should never feel bad about that. When mommy ain’t happy, no one is! That’s what we say here in the south and it’s true. Keep yourself happy! IF you absolutely don’t have to be away from Elliotte then don’t! Spending as much time with her as possible is what’s most important. Also, never play it too safe. We only get ONE chance to be good parents. Always protect your little one and go with your first instinct. You seem like a wonderful mommy so you don’t need luck but I wish you and your family the best. Take care and keep us posted.

New Momma on

Hi Marla! First off – Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl!! Like you, I just gave birth at the end of February to a baby girl. I read your post last week about breast feeding issues and was afraid to post my comments (I got over it :)).

I’m having the same issues where ultimately my daughter is getting 50% breast milk and 50% formula. I was introduced to the nipple shield at the hospital and am convinced it ruined my milk supply. When breast feeding became so painful, because she was so hungry, I gave up and now only pump and bottle feed. I love that I now know how much she is eating and it has paid off – she wasn’t back to her birth weight at 2 weeks but since then gained 2 lbs in 2 weeks!

Last week was my first week back to work and it was hard to hand-off the Mommy duties to someone else (Grandma! thankfully!). The way I get through it is by telling myself that whether I do it now or a year from now, I will have to leave her at some point. I’m just getting used to it a little faster than some.

And btw – I am still rockin my maternity jeans!

Raini on

Ha! My son is 9 months and I’m still trying to find the balance btwn work and motherhood. It’s hard but I keep telling myself I’m not the only working Momma out there and I can do it too.

On one hand it’s nice to have some time for you but on the other hand it is SOOOO hard to leave your baby. I cried the entire weekend before returning to work, before drop off, after drop off, on the drive into work and at work. Let’s just say that was not a very productive day but as each day passes it gets a little easier.

Hardest for me is trying to figure out how to be “Super Mom”. How do I feed a baby, make dinner, unpack and repack for daycare, bathe a baby, shovel in dinner, clean up from dinner, make my lunch and try to spend quality family time before he goes to bed?

I’m trying to do this in 2-2.5 hours and it’s hard. Some days go so smoothly that I’m showered and ready for the DVR at 8:45 and I’m like wow, today was an awesome day. Other days I am dragging my lifeless body up the stairs, collapse onto my bed and sigh/grunt “love you, good night” to my husband. LOL

It does get a little easier each day yet harder at the same time so you learn to cut corners where you can. I now clean in 1/4 the time it used to take me and I plan, plan, plan. Planning out dinners in advance and making enough leftovers for a day or two helps as well as freezing meals in advance. (although we are so over frozen homemade mac & cheese).

It’s all a learning experience and even though I don’t feel like I have it all figured out I will tell you that I love it and can’t wait to expand my family and make life even crazier. : )

acs1281 on

I had no problems leaving my baby. But I wasn’t cut out to be a stay at home mom. My house stayed cleaned and my daughter was sleep trained, so I just walked around looking for stuff to do while she napped and rotted my brain with Jerry Springer, Maury and General Hospital.

After 14 weeks of maternity leave I was MORE than ready to come back to work.

It helps that I love my job, but what helped more than anything was that I found an AWESOME home daycare. The lady who runs it only takes a few kids (less than 6) and only a couple of babies at a time. CJ got individualized attention and learned so much. No way did I have the patience to do with her what Judy did. Once she hit 3 1/2 I sent her to a great preschool which also had a VPK program. Never once in all her 5 years have I worried about the quality of care she’s gotten, nor have I worried about throwing myself off the roof out of boredom.

You’ll know when it’s time to go back to work. I admire the heck out of folks who don’t (my mom stayed home with me) but I’m just not that type. (I did, however, nurse her until she was 2. Even working full time, she never got a drop of formula. We all have our “thang”… formula was mine)

Joelle on

Marla, great article (and honesty)! It’s definitely hard to find the balance between a family and a career. Our son is now 2 1/2 years old and I still don’t feel that I have a “perfect” balance (and I’m sure no such thing exists).

I went back to work after 6 weeks of being home with our new baby boy (who was born October 2009) and by January 2010 I was juggling family, a career, and was returning to my graduate studies as I work on my Master’s degree.

You really have to make sure to prioritize. I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) that if you don’t pay attention, we may end up unconsciously putting other things before family. Remember that if you hold something up to a standard, family should always win out.

And don’t worry about the “poop” episode. One time I had to lay our son down on his changing pad on a bathroom floor and there’s time I’ve had to hold him in my arms while I juggle going to the bathroom in public.

It’s all a part of motherhood and something you’ll always remember and cherish as a funny moment :)

Lisa on

My mom worked part-time and had babysitters when we were younger and then went back to work full time when we were all in school. I never minded that my mom worked. In fact, I think it made her happy. She’s a nurse and I think working was better for her than staying at home. I’m super proud of everything she does… she’s the smartest nurse I know. So why would I want her at home?

I certainly understand that some women prefer to stay at home, but with a flexible job, I think it can work and you can have both a family and a career, if you want it. I certainly don’t feel I was raised by strangers and I respected my mom more for returning to work rather than just staying home while we were at school.

Sarah W. on

Elliotte is a real cutie! Poop-splosions happen and you get through it. Having a sense of humor about it is a great way to approach the situation.

I returned to work 3 months after I had both of my kids. The best thing you can do is keep a strict schedule, plan for the next day the night before hand, and split household chores with your hubby (or have outside help).

You just do the best you can and don’t sweat the small stuff. I think whatever you decide, you will do a great job!

claire on

marla,
what a beautiful princess! i love your real-life attitude about motherhood– you had me laughing out loud about your maternity pants episode. :) it’s so important to have FUN with being a new mom, as stressful and overwhelming and anxiety-ridden as it is. as a new mom myself who struggled with postpartum depression, it’s inspiring and comforting to read your honest blog.

for me, i learned with the help of others that nurturing your own identity apart from ‘mom’ is so important to your health and well-being, and if you’re fulfilled, you’ll be a better mother for Elliotte. so if you enjoy what you do, and it’s an important part of who you are independent from your new mother role, then i encourage you to gradually get back into work at your own pace.

ultimately, do what you feel is best for you and your daughter and don’t let anyone else tell you what’s right or wrong otherwise. look forward to your next post!

Terri on

What a cutie your little peanut is. My daughter is now 8 yrs old and I still refer to her as my peanut. I stayed home the first year and then cried for two weeks straight when I started working again. It’s an adjustment but previous moms are right when they tell you to remember that you’re doing it to benefit your child. Plus, it’s the quality of the time you spend with them not the amount.

A happy mom is a better mom and there is no right or wrong answer to working vs. staying home. Do what feels right for you both. Congrats again on your little one.

Laura on

After having my first son, I went back to work when he was 9 months old, but a demanding job for both myself and my husband (he works 10 hour days) just was too much stress, so I stopped working to become a stay at home mom.

Then we had another child (they are 18 months apart in age) and for now I am happy with that decision, eventually when they are both in school I will go back to work, but that is not for another year or two.

The toddler stage is a lot of fun too.

Cindy on

As time passes, you will figure out what situation works best for your family. In ours, I work full-time and daddy stays home. My employer is flexible when I need time off for mommy things and my husband is a great stay-at-home parent. Now that our daughter is in kindergarten, he works part-time but still be there for her in the morning and afternoon.

I couldn’t be luckier. I hate that dads are overlooked when the conversation turns to finding a work-life balance, like mom staying home is the only solution.

Your daughter is a beauty.

Denise on

Precious. Enjoy her, they grow up too fast!!!!

auntieali1 on

What a beautiful baby girl! And you DO know what you’re doing – give yourself some credit!! :)

I cried the entire first day back to work. I cried the entire drive into work, pretty much the entire time in daycare, anytime anyone said “Welcome back! How’s your baby?” Which probably seemed like an innocent question, but it reminded me I wasn’t with him. It’s hard. Really hard. But for me, it’s slowly gotten better.

I would love to know how to balance it all – there doesn’t seem to be ‘enough’ time, or enough of me to go around. You just do your best to be the best mommy, the best wife, the best friend, etc that you can, and know that you’re still doing great. One smile from my baby and I know I’m doing a great job. You are, too, and you will make it work for you and your family. :)

The nice thing about the “mommy club” is that no matter what you’re going through – breastfeeding issues, working mommy guilt – you’re NOT alone. Other mommies can relate and make you feel less alone.

Dawn on

You do whatever you can do when having kids. But i believe working gives you a sense of individuality, you will always be a mom, but you also need a little time to be you again. Its nice to feel productive outside of the home, and its nice to be contributing with a job and its also good to show your child a good work ethic

Lynne on

She has the greatest expressions for a 10 week old!

Girl, if it makes you feel any better at all–my baby is 15 months old, and I still pull out my maternity pants!

Easing into work is the best way to get back to it. Also finding that person you trust with your little one. I have always said–your babysitter will be the one that makes sure you can go to work without worry; do not screw up that relationship! I even paid mine vacation time!

Keep posting the great pics!!

Halley on

Oh what a pretty baby!!

As for going back to work, you’re blessed to have the financial freedom to take an extended break. Thats amazing! Take advantage. One day you may want to or need to, and then you will. At first, its really hard. My first day back at work (my baby was 10 weeks old) I cried pretty much all day. But the next day I cried less and even less the day after. My boy LOVES his daycare provider, which helps a ton, and now at nine months he gives me the hugest smile when I walk through the door to pick him up. I look forward to it all day.

Going back to work is like everything else in motherhood, it gets easier as you find your groove. Having said that, if we could afford for me to stay home, I totally would. ;)

Laura on

I have 3 kids (6, 3 and 15 months). I work part-time (1-3 days per week). I do not keep a perfect home BUT my marriage is sound and happy and my kids KNOW they are my priority. Something has to give… it’s nice to be in a position to choose what that is. I am a better, more patient Mom for my time away. BTW, my husband works 12 hour shifts, so I work on his days off.

Guess what?! All 3 three of my kids spend time away from home! My 6 yr old daughter goes to 1st grade, my 3 yr old son goes to pre-school 3 days a week and my 15 month old goes to a sitter 2 days a week. Tuesdays are my son’s days (the sisters are away) with either Mom or Dad (I only work on my husband’s days off) and Fridays are “No kids” days where I clean the house, grocery shop and make my appointments. That way the weekends are family time! If I don’t plan and schedule that stuff in, it doesn’t happen! lol

It is all a juggling act and balance for you may be defined differently than someone else. I personally am not able to throw myself down on the martyr sword of motherhood. I do need my adult time and time away. I am from Canada and I have stayed home for the 1st year with all three, but am ready, willing and able to go back when the time comes.

No one can tell you what’s best for you and yours. True, you don’t get these years back, but I would rather they be filled with good memories and QUALITY time. Quantity is not the most important thing. I see plenty of SAHM that are not present with their kids and do nothing but complain.

The key question is what kind of woman do you want Elliotte to be? The woman you model to her growing up is part of the woman she will become. Think about what you TRULY want for her and it will all sort itself out. What you give yourself permission to do, you also give her future self permission to do.

As a final thought, I would also appreciate if as women we can STOP with the judgy, passive/agressive statements. We would do so much better (as would our sons and daughters) if we were far more accepting and compassionate to one another. Understanding that everyone has different needs and each is doing his/her best. Take care and all the best.

meme on

Marla, I feel that if you financially do not have to work then dont…I stayed home with our son for about 8 years, during that time had my daughter. The only income was my husbands which was not a lot but we scrimped and scrimped because I couldn’t imagine leaving my babies. Times were rough sometimes but I am blessed to say that I raised my kids, I was with them 24/7…not a daycare or nanny. I wouldnt give up the financial sacrifice for anything in the world. Material items and a bigger house or better car are nothing compared to being with your child. Good luck to you and your family.

Jillian on

First, your daughter is adorable!! Second, thanks for blogging here, reading what we write and acknowledging the comments. Third, you are hilarious!

I have five kids and have had my share of poop explosions over the years so I understand and laughed at your “trunk incident!” also, the maternity pants. I have also split a pair of pants while I was at a bridal shower for my sister shortly after the birth of one of my children. I moved on the couch and….split! I was mortified and ran to the bathroom. Fortunately no one noticed, but I was very uncomfortable and held out til it was over. I now laugh.

My husband and I own multiple companies and decided when we had children that I would stay home and would help out with them, only when I could. Being a mother has always been my number one priority. In the beginning, with one and two children I did more and now with five and most of them in school, I can help out a bit more. I wanted to be there for their first crawl, steps, words, etc and I am fortunate that I was able to be.

If you decide to go back to work because you financially need to or personally need to, just find a balance. Maybe start off part time. Could you find a family member or friend to watch her? This helps. I don’t have any non family members or very close friends watch my children. My friends call me overprotective. Oh well, I love them too much!

Mary

Kim on

It’s so funny to read your blog and all the funny new mum things we all go through happens to celebrities too! I know you’re not super-human or anything but it just makes you guys more human and thats a good thing!

lol the public nappy explosion I don’t know how many times I’ve had that, my kids are 3 and 5 now so thank goodness they are passed it but so many places/restaurants etc don’t have a change table, like they don’t expect (or want?) babies to go there, like even one in a disabled toilet would do! Also getting caught out without wipes/wet ones is a killer, don’t know how many times unprepared me has done a mercy dash into a supermarket or petrol station to get some.

As for work I went back to work after a few weeks with my eldest and my second she was 6 weeks old I think when I went back, out of necessity (we have a mortgage) and I went back to doing overnight work on weekends so my other half didn’t have work the next day. I still do nights and it sucks but childcare costs big $$ these days down in Australia.

Your kids will understand that and be proud they have such a hardworking mum who does what she has to do for the family.

Sarah on

Hey Marla,

I have so enjoyed reading your posts! We’ve talked about having kids lately and I find myself referring to your blog often! Here’s the thing, I’ve been a nanny for professional families for about 8 years. So I see the other side of things. I see the struggle it is, particularly for the mothers, to leave their children in my hands. And I have to be honest… If it was me, I would stay with my kids until they got to school.

From the caretaker’s perspective, I hear the things the kids don’t say to their parents, and see firsthand the inevitable disappointment in their eyes when their mom can’t be there for some “small” thing, that happens to be extremely important to THEM. I know in this world it is so hard to simplify so that you don’t need to work. But, if within any type of reason, you have the option, stay through their formative years. Your nanny will never tell you all the times your little girl says, “I wish it was mommy that was here”.

Jamie on

Marla,

I know how hard your decision can be. I am a mother of 4 (ages 11 through 2). I stayed home for the first few years of my last son’s life, but financially I just couldn’t do it anymore. The financial burden was too high.

I will say that I do wish I was able to be a stay at home mom. I feel empty somedays. I feel like I am missing those little moments that should be shared with me and my husband vs the daycare.

Granted, my son’s daycare is great, but it’s not the same as if I were home with him. So please do what your heart tells you especially if you can afford it. You are going to be so glad you did. Only you can make that decision.

Your family is beautiful! God Bless !

Sarah on

I flippin love this blog. I love that you not only told us about splitting your jeans but then posted a picture of it. You are the best!

I had to go back to work 8 weeks after my first son was born (military mom) and it kinda sucked but it wasn’t too bad. I just recently became a stay at home mom and we are having our second son in 6 weeks and I am not going to be working and I love it. I like that now that my first is older I can do the things with him at school, like eat lunch, chaperone a field trip, help with a school party and it means more to him because he is older now.

When they are so little you miss a lot of the developmental stuff but I would rather work when they are little and be available for them when they are older. Nothing like seeing my son’s eyes light up when he sees me waiting for him in the cafeteria at school!

Lisa on

I’ve totally changed my baby in the trunk of a car too! LOL Sounds like a new mom, learning all the things that new moms learn! Enjoy every second!

Kelly on

Ok so our “work” is a lot different from Marla’s ladies. If Marla stays out of work for the next 5 years until Elliotte goes to Kindergarten she will most likely lose her career all together. Working in Hollywood is a little different than living in the “real” world.

I am sure Marla will be able to figure out a way to have a family member or nanny come on set with her, so the baby can hang out in the trailer and then Marla can see her on breaks. I think she would have to renegotiate her contract and maybe work 3 or 4 long days and then have the other days off so she can have the best of both worlds.

I am a stay at home mom and I love every single second of it, and I feel truly blessed to be able to be home with my kids. There is nothing more satisfying than being a mom. I worked for 10 years in events and this is, hands down, the best thing I have ever done.

I think that your kids will appreciate you for staying home with them AS WELL as if you work and show them that you did what was best for YOU or your family. Some girls can just not mentally be home with their kids all day long, 7 days a week. It’s a full time +++ job.

I feel like as long as you are not a mom who is working 6 or 7 days in a row, 12 hour days, totally neglecting your kids, you and your family will be fine with whatever decision you make…and I am sure Marla will have a lot more flexibility than a normal job. And I hope she does! Just be there for your kids, teach them your values and tell them you love them and everyone will be ok!

Melissa on

Oh Marla, you remind me of…me!

My daughter turned 3 months old on April 20. We have been going through the same challenges at nearly the same time. Poopy explosions, pumping only (she can’t latch on), clothes not fitting well…it’s all part of the game. You seem to have it all together–your daughter looks healthy and happy; congrats!

I would say, if you can stay home, do it. I went back to work last week and have cried EVERY SINGLE MORNING! If there was any way that we could afford for me to stay home, I would. I beg my husband to look for a new job so I can stay home, but he already works two–I have to face that we are a two (three) income family. It sucks, but my daughters (I have a 7 year old, too) will see that women can work and contribute to society and still have a family too. Like I said, I WOULD DO ANYTHING TO STAY HOME, but I can’t. :( So…we make it work.

I do everything I possibly can the night before (school lunch made, clothes ironed, coffee maker set up, etc.) and we get up…early…I have never been more exhausted, but it’s amazing how you can live on 4 hours sleep for weeks on end if need be.

Again, if you can stay home, do it; you will never get this time back. If you can’t, know that your daughter will be fine. We stay home more for us than for them. Children will thrive as long as they’re loved…

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you the best! :)

Whitney on

I give you so much credit for how you are handling her feeding routine! I am exclusively breastfeeding but I am returning to work and have tried over and over to get my baby to take the bottle and it is not going well. I think pumping is difficult and the fact that you have had to incorporate breastfeeding, pumping and supplementing is amazing. It is a great deal harder to stick it out when its difficult and what youre doing is wonderful!

E on

21 years and four children later I am still trying to find the balance. I think for most of us it is an evergreen process. When I am working I do my best to be there either in the mornings to make breakfast and take them to school or in the afternoons to pick them up. It just gives me those few extra minutes of time where we can talk, very similar to sitting down at the table every night for dinner. The things they will tell you around the dinner table without even being asked are amazing. It is as if they can’t help themselves and just start spilling the beans. Trust your instincts, you know what works best for you and Elliotte…then go with that.

Andrea on

Congratulations on your new baby…how exciting!!

My kids are now 10 and 7. I quit my job after my maternity leave was up (6 weeks) I just couldn’t go back to work then. My husband grew up with a stay at home mom, so I think he was hoping this was the decision I would come to, but he let me make the choice. The past 10 years financially have been slim…we have a very strict budget that we adhere to and it doesn’t allow for eating out, going to the movies or any of that fun stuff, but I have always said that being with my kids is more important than any of that!

Now that my kids are older, I have decided that going back to work is something that I would like to try and I have also decided to go back to school to become an RN. Now, I work 24 hours a week while the kids are at school and am just taking one class at a time. It will take a while to get the schooling all finished, but I am exhilarated at the opportunity to think about myself again.

I don’t regret for a moment staying home, and honestly it has made getting back into the workforce more enjoyable because they actually notice how happy I am and we all enjoy doing our homework together.

Trust your instincts they will never steer you wrong!

Christina on

Ever since I read your first blog I have became such a huge fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love how down to earth you seem. Your baby is sooooo adorable!!! I always look forward to reading your blog!

Sarah on

I returned to work part time two weeks ago. My daughter is 8.5 months. Leaving her at daycare was the hardest thing in the world. Luckily my mom watches her one day and she does daycare two days.

I think returning to work was the best thing for me. All I wanted to do was stay at home with my peanut but I had lost contact with adult things. My husband gets home late so it was just me and baby all day. Now that I work 28 hours a week, I feel like I am a better mommy.

I still hate taking my baby to daycare but picking her up at the end of the day is amazing! Plus now our days together are so fulfilling and I make the most of every moment. Good luck with whatever decision you make.

Oh and I have changed my fair share of pooped diapers in the car. We once had to strip baby down in a Target bathroom and bathe her in the sink…yeah, it was that much poop!

Marla on

From one Marla to another :) Congrats on your baby girl! I chuckled thinking about our public poops when I read about yours. Our first was when I was out to lunch with a couple girlfriends (for the first time after baby) and my son who was 3mo at the time, decided to make the loudest fart possible and explode up the back of his diaper. He was sitting in my lap, and of course, I was wearing a cream colored dress….since that day I have always thrown an extra top or something in my diaper bag…just in case. :)

About the work thing – I’m a registered nurse and when my 12 weeks of maternity leave were up, I just wasn’t ready. As you said, this time is fleeting and precious & I didn’t want to miss a moment. So my babe is now 5mo old and I have yet to want to go back to work. I think I will eventually, cuz I did love my job – but I’m not a fan of daycare, so it won’t be soon. Do what your mommy-heart tells you is the right thing for YOU and Elliotte….it makes no difference what anyone else says or does, because at the end of the day, you need to feel good about YOUR decision.

Props to you for breast-feeding! Once you get the hang of it, it’s the best…and the bonding/quiet time is priceless.

Sounds like you’re really enjoying the moment – keep doing it! The last 5mo of my life have been the best/most challenging/most rewarding EVER. It’s truly a gift from God. :)

Kaylen on

None of us know what we’re doing! And I think every one of us moms would have changed our baby in the trunk and felt like we were doing it all wrong.

But I think the secret is to remember – you’re doing it right! I mean, your kid isn’t walking around with a poop explosion in their pants, they’re happy and healthy and well taken care of….that’s doing it right. And having a sense of humor IS the best way to deal with it!

Your baby is beautiful and your blog is hilarious, so please keep writing and remember that none of us know what we’re doing!

Jen on

Marla, I have honestly never kept up on something so regularly as I do your blog, I find it cute and funny and most of all HONEST… what a relief to see!

I have a 5 yr old son and I have a daughter on the way (due at the beginning of July, it doesnt seem soon enough!) And I work full time as a salon manager and stlyist. When I had my son I was so scared of missing anything I luckily enough didnt have to work for the first 6 months he was born. As I have now moved into a career vs a job I will have my 6 to 8 weeks off and have to jump right back into working.

Here is what I will tell you and maybe it will help…as my son got older and I started missing a few things here and there (I was with a friend having her daughter when he smiled for the first time, my day to sleep in was the first time he tasted something sour ect) I realized that there may be plenty I miss the first of but I am mom and will always have that lucky opportunity to see it again on top of the fact that he needed interaction with other people not just for their benefit of playing with an adorable baby but for his and mine too.

Being a mom doesn’t mean that you have to be there for everything and do everything it means that you make the right choices for them and you and do the best you can. :) I will tell you it worked out well for me so far I have a handsome young man who uses his manners loves school and learning, isn’t shy, very hilarious and cleans up after himself.

BTW your daughter is such a beauty and it only gets better and better.

PS I went from 115 to 209 with my son… look in the mirror and KNOW you are beautiful!

Colleen on

Welcome to Momville! Your daughter looks so sweet. The body thing is a no brainer – I gained 60-65 lbs w/each of my nearly 10 lb babes. Even though I’m 5’11″, it was a shocker for sure. Plus I split the sides of 3 maternity tops – like I didn’t feel huge enough, right???? However, my children were healthy, robust and both slept through the night by 2wks of age. They are now 5’11 and 6’3″ and I wouldn’t change a thing!

On staying home vs working – ugh. I was either in school or working with the exception of 1 year after #2. Our daughter was 8 by then and I had amassed a major “If I was a stay at home Mom…..” list. Being rather compulsive, I plowed through the list in rapid fashion – making pillows, cooking, going to the park, volunteering daily at school, etc. So much so, that my daughter started asking when I was going back to work! She missed her after school friends at the Y and our family routine of sharing one’s day at dinner. 3/4 of us had been together and already knew the scoop! I accepted a high paying 3 wk stint to audit and bolster a friend’s company and that turned into 3 yrs! My Mom cared for my little one which was awesome, but I missed being there to watch him awake from his morning nap more than anything since I didn’t prep myself for returning to a full time gig.

Now that I’ve run the mommy gauntlet and am a grandmother, my perspective is very different. Although it may seem most important to be home when they are little – and I can’t say it’s not – I believe the most important yrs to be a stay at home mom if at all possible are tween to teen without question.

After school programs, tax breaks and the like evaporate by the time your child is 12. You have to develop a hybrid model of getting them from school and maintaining supervision until you can be there. Ironically, it’s considered negligence to have your minor child unattended – ridiculous! At this stage, they are struggling with social and self esteem challenges every step of the way. The hormonal roller coaster for boys and girls takes them from insecure childlike behavior to raging mini-dictator status in an instant. Don’t get me started on the amount of homework/projects they get assigned. Most importantly, whether surrounded by friends or not, they can get lonely and as a result sad. They may make bad choices or seek attention from others that may not be in their best interest. Although I worked full time, I volunteered at school – incl PTA President, Scouts, sporting programs and the like to maintain a presence, set an example and be there. It amazed my how many kids were forlorn and would light up when adults were on the scene to laugh with and learn from – I suspect their parents didn’t know. We wanted our place to be the house teens would gravitate to and it was in many ways for many years. It touched me how many kids commented that we knew more about them and their lives than their own parents. They equated this to caring which wasn’t really true, but it was their teen perspective.

Still, my teens came home to a dark, empty house after school and both suffered in minor ways. They understood the need for the income, but as adults both expressed how they wished it could have been different.

Meagan on

A good friend told me that you’re okay with returning to work if you feel comfortable with the childcare.

I’m very lucky that I only work 4 days a week and that my mother-in-law has him one day per week. And I love my daycare provider (so much so that a friend of mine is also using her)!

Yes, I absolutely wish I could stay home with him; it isn’t always financially feasible (and this is with 2 incomes), and definitely isn’t in my situation. But, if you’re comfortable with your decision going back to work or staying home will be what you’re meant to do. You find balance, and life continues the way it is supposed to.

BTW, your daughter is beautiful!

momant on

Canada gives new mom’s 1 year of maternity leave before returning to work…so I don’t see the need to rush back if you can afford not too either.

Kayla on

It was the hardest day of my life when I left my daughter and went back to work. She was 9 months, and my mother offered to watch her so a stranger wouldn’t have to. I would have been a mess if it wasn’t for my mother. Knowing that my daughter is in her hands makes me able to function at work.

That said, I try to make as much time for my daughter when I’m not working. But I’m also going to school, so it’s definitely a juggling act. I don’t know how, but I manage. It’s just what I do. It’s just what we do as moms: we manage.

Natalie on

You know, it never gets easier to leave your kids. My oldest daughter didn’t spend the night with anyone until she was 5 and I realized that she was going to start Kindergarten soon so I better get used to her not being around!

I’ve also been a stay at home mom since she was born (and now have two others) and I can’t imagine leaving them to go to work. It just breaks my heart. I wish I had better advice, but I don’t think it’s easier at any specific age.

shalay on

I only got through half of these comments, so forgive me if I echo someone else’s sentiments.

Honestly? Women are amazing and we know in our gut what’s best for our families. If you don’t feel ready to return to work or even THINK about work, then listen to that feeling and do what feels right. Eventually you might start to crave getting back into the groove of things outside of the house, with other adults in a professional setting. And if/when that feeling hits, do what feels right.

Every family is different and what works for some people doesn’t work for others. So just listen to your instinct, talk to your husband, and do what feels right in your heart. And whether you decide to go back to work in 6 months or be a stay at home mom for the next 10 years, don’t feel guilty! Just know that you’re doing the absolute best thing for you and your family.

kath on

Two kids and a full time job later, here’s my take: we are all eternally trying to find balance. That challenge will never resolve. It’s a day-to-day thing. I’ve seen some advice here to stay home with your kids-but that doesn’t eliminate the balance problem either. Whether you have a job or not, you still could have a marriage, a house to keep, and your own needs to attend to. It does get easier, but give yourself space because you’re not going to wake up one morning and have everything all figured out.

Jenn on

Funny blog! I love how real you are about what it’s like to be a new mom. I’m not a mom yet, but as far as the working mom vs. stay at home mom issue, I just think your daughter will love you no matter what you decide.

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