Juli Boyer is a veteran mom, Boot Camp Coach, Physician Assistant in Orthopedics, and Fitness Enthusiast. We asked her to share her insights on motherhood.
How many kids do you have? Ages?
Two daughters, ages 2 years 11 months and 11 months.
What do you spend your time doing (other than being a mom)?
I work full time as a Physician Assistant. I like working out, arts & crafts, and when I can find time going to the movies.
What’s the most surprising thing about becoming a mom?
How quickly and how hard you fall in love with your baby(s). The feelings are intense.
How do you encourage and support Dad’s relationship with his children?
Give him his own domain of child care to be responsible for. This gives him a chance to build confidence and feel successful and gives you a few free minutes. My husband gets the girls dressed in the morning which helps me have time to get ready.
What’s your partner’s favorite activity with the baby?
Once the baby smiled and interacted my husband was really hooked and loved her nighttime routine. He is the king of playtime.
What was the feeding/breastfeeding journey like for you and your baby?
Breastfeeding was the biggest surprise post baby for me. While I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed but didn’t have strong feelings about it. Once my baby was born, I had a variety of issues breastfeeding. I fought and fought and ended up exclusively pumping despite the stress of the process itself. I was most taken back by the emotional distress I had because I couldn’t do it in a traditional manner. I had no idea how much it meant to me until it didn’t go how I planned.
The biggest thing for me was once I was at peace with how it played out, I could finally enjoy the baby and I truly believe pumping and supplementing was better for my baby and my family than me continuing to struggle and stress.
If you work, what was it like going back, what was the biggest thing to adjust to or obstacle to overcome?
Going back to work was incredibly hard. I had lots of mommy guilt and fear of missing out on milestones. I tell myself that I am providing a good example to my girls that you can work and be a mom too. And I am giving my family a better quality of life. Breastfeeding while working was the hardest part to figure out especially with a non-traditional work schedule. I had to set specific blocks in my schedule and make it a priority otherwise my supply would suffer. Another mom told me to refrigerate the breast pump parts in between sessions instead of washing them and that was a big time saver.
Sometimes I wish I could be a stay at home mom, but I really think it is one of those things where the grass is always greener on the other side. There are pluses and minuses to both. You really have to decide what is best for your family with your partner and then be confident that it was right choice.
Now that you know what you know about motherhood, what advice would you give your pre-baby self?
“This too shall pass.” This applies to good and bad things. Each phase comes and goes so quickly. Take comfort with the bad and relish the good.
Have open communication with your partner. He/she can’t know what you are feeling if you don’t tell them. They are in this with you and the best way to be successful is to work as a team.
What do you miss most about your pre-baby life?
How quickly we can leave the house. I miss being spontaneous and flexible in my plans. I was much more efficient and could get more done in a shorter time.
Where do you find the most support?
Of course my husband because he is on the front lines with me. I cherish my mother’s and my sister’s experience and rely on them for advice. Since my babies have been born, I have connected with other mothers with children of similar ages and it is beyond comforting to hear them experiencing similar challenges and successes.
What helps you most on the challenging days?
For me, taking a few minutes to do a short exercise video boosts my mood and lowers my stress level. I think moms need to find a quick way to recharge their battery whether it is a hot bath, reading a book, cruising Facebook, whatever works for them. Because if we don’t take care of ourselves then it’s only harder to take care of our family.
What’s your favorite baby hack?
Refrigerating breast-pump parts after you pump at work
Freeme breast pumping cups allow you to pump without exposing yourself. Very convenient all the time, but especially when on the go.
Small to-go diaper bag for shorter trips out of the house, when the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink diaper bag isn't needed.
Milkies milk-saver was a blessing for a girl with low supply since it catches the letdown from the breast the baby is not feeding from.