Thoughts on Being a Working Mom, And an INSANE Giveaway: A New Mobile Office (including a Macbook Air)

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“Mom, why are you working so much?  I don’t like that you’re working all of the time” said Raines, my oldest.

I sat there, stunned by his words.  For most of his life, I had been a stay-at-home mom.  From the minute he was born, Raines was my little buddy, my partner in crime, we were never, ever apart.  We were attached, both metaphorically and (thanks to the Ergo) physically.  With Raines, I had slowed down, discovered myself and found peace.

And then Pax was born.  (I’m joking.  Ha, ha….ha)

But life is different now.  Not only have my kids changed and grown, but I’ve changed too.  There’s been this sort of natural progression of letting go and moving on.  I am no longer the only women in Raines’ life.  His teachers have become increasingly important to him, as have friends.  Our little bubble of existence – where the two of us so happily spent those first few months of his life –  has expanded.  I am still at the center, but now he is at the edges, pushing out, away from me.

I’ve heard other women, moms with more experience than I, talking about this seemingly inevitable shift.  They’ll use words like “rediscovering” themselves,  or as one friend said, “I’m just now getting myself back“.

I get it.  From the depths of my soul, I get it.  But at the same time, there’s another part of me rebelling at those words, “getting myself back,” and wanting to scream.  Because the path of rediscovery implies a loss, right?  In order to get yourself “back” or to rediscover your self, you first had to lose it.

I didn’t lose myself in motherhood; instead, I was found.   So any journey I embark on now, from this point forward, has to honor that early experience, that truth.

I am now a working mom.  Sure I work from home (with a really flexible schedule), but working nonetheless.  And while part of me thrills to put on my high heels and take the train into the city to write, or discuss collaborations in a professional, adult voice, and I think “YES, there she is!  There’s that girl I’ve been missing!”…perhaps it’s more accurate to simply say that I’m ready.  I’m not rediscovering some former self, lost among the diapers and the spitup and the 2847364 incessant questions a day from two young boys, but it’s the woman that – along the way – I grew up to be.  This woman who is ambition and drive and goals and forward-thinking…but who is also that new mom – will forever, irrevocably be that new mom.  The new mom snuggled in bed with her newborn, the light slanting into the room as she kisses a fat thigh, her heart swelling to impossible proportions.

I am all of these things.

So when Raines asks why I work so much, I pause.  I look up and see past his long limbs and crazy hair and remember that once-upon-a-time it was just him and I in the bubble; I was his whole world.  Actually, I remember it better than he does.  “I work because I want to, Baby” I say.  “I work because I love it.  We only get one chance, you know?  One life to figure out what we love to do, to make a difference.  I work because it helps me figure that out.”  We stare at each other.  He grins. “Okay” he says.  And just like that, we are back in the center of our bubble.

 

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Mobile Office Must-Haves

Soooo…..as I get more embroiled into this working-mama-world, there are a few MVP items that have made my life so. much. easier.  Especially for working on the go.

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1.  Lily Jade Diaper Bag

So the irony here is that I never used a diaper bag during those early new-baby years.  But now?  When I need to store phone chargers and kindle chargers and external hard drives and battery boosters and a zillion other cords?  POCKETS.

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Lily Jade’s diaper bags have become my go-to work bag.  Not only are they chic, but they hold my entire mobile office and are a dream for travel.

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 (wearing:  Free People sweater, J.Crew silk cami, Blank denim straight-leg jeans, Madewell sandals, Lily Jade diaper bag)

 

2.  Macbook Air

My saving grace, lugging around a mobile office, is that the Macbook Air weighs so little, yet is so powerful.  There’s really nothing to say except love, love, love this product.  For maximum portability, the 11″ Macbook Air is hard to beat.

NOTE:  Ipads are great for reading content, but if you generate content, a laptop wins, hands-down.

 

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3.  External Hard Drive

If my laptop is the cornerstone of my mobile office setup, my external hard drive is the unsung hero.  You know how your laptop eventually gets bogged down with too many pictures?  External hard drive.  Or while on vacation, you fill up a memory card and don’t have a good place to transfer the photos?  External hard drive.  Or when visiting family, someone takes a ton of pics, but you never seems to get copies?  (I mean what do you expect them to do, burn a CD?  Snort.)  External hard drive.

These little drives are tiny, portable, affordable, and – get this – mine is one terabyte.  In non-nerd language:  That’s A LOT of pictures.

I like the Transcend 1 TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive – Military Drop Standards  and Case Logic’s portable hard drive case.  It protects the hard drive, and keeps the cord handy.

 

4. Moleskin Notebooks

I’ve tried numerous apps on my phone to help organize my life or to record and brainstorm new ideas…and nothing works as well as notebooks.  I like Moleskin the best.  They’re nothing fancy, but they’re easy to slide into almost any bag, and they have a nerd-chic vibe I love.

 

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(wearing:  Everlane seed stitch raglan sweater, Olive & Oak shorts – sold out, Aerosole leopard pumps – sold out, similar watch)

 

The Giveaway!!

Oh, baby.  I’m excited about this one.  To celebrate hard working moms everywhere, I’m giving away one mobile office!  The mobile office consists of a Lily Jade diaper bag of your choice, stuffed with a Macbook Air laptop, an external hard drive and case, and a set of Moleskin notebooks.

That’s right.  I’m giving away a laptop.  (Because seriously:  laptops rock.)

So here’s how this works:  To enter, you have to find the giveaway graphic below on The Mom Edit’s Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, then tag two of the hardest working moms you know.  I don’t care if these Mamas are working hard 9-5 at an office, or working hard round-the-clock as a SAHM, or some combination of the two – motherhood is hard.  Sometimes it’s even grueling.  So let’s take a sec to pat each other on the back for all of the hard work we do on a daily basis.  And if you win…the two hard-working mamas that you tagged will ALSO (thanks to Lily Jade), get to choose a Lily Jade diaper bag of their choice!

 

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To summarize:

1.  Find the above graphic on The Mom Edit’s Instagram, Pinterest (the giveaway graphic will be on this board), or Facebook account, and tag two of the hardest working Mamas you know! (Make sure you’re following The Mom Edit somewhere.)

2. Come back here and enter via Rafflecopter so I don’t lose my mind trying to keep track of entries.  (And Rafflecopter has a few more ways to get additional entries by sharing the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, etc. if you are so inclined.)

 

Don’t forget to find us on Social Media and tag two hardworking Mamas!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

xo,

S

ps.  I don’t do giveaways that often, so if something is confusing, please let me know.

pps.  Anthropologie has free shipping right now with code FS150.  I have my eye on this wine-colored top. #oxbloodifyou’refancy

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About Author

Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name’s Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and denim-underwear, always.

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91 Comments

  1. Shana – I wanted to let you know that your work matters to me. I am a working mom and I get inspired by what you write about clothes, kids, marriage and life in general. You helped me figure out how to look professional in the office, be a mom and still feel like me. Your words have made me laugh, cry and feel everything in between. Thanks to Raines and Pax for sharing you with the rest of us.

  2. Shana – I honestly just popped in to enter the rafflecopter (as a new wfhm -work from home mom – is that a thing? Can it be? 😉 – without a laptop, winning this giveaway would make my life so much easier, thank you for the chance!) … But I choked up a little reading your thoughts on the work/motherhood balance. It’s just beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart. It uplifted mine.

  3. Thank you for sharing, Shana. I think you’ll never know the impact you have on so many mamas–and women! Don’t ever leave us, just keep morphing! I’m glad Raines was ok 😀

    • Thanks, Sweets. This is such a labor of love for me, too….I have no plans to quit blogging anytime soon. Thanks for the boost.

  4. This is an amazing giveaway (and I’m about to buy a new Macbook Air because I’m a working in and out of the house mom too), but mostly this is an amazing post. I totally cried reading it. It’s so refreshing to read a fellow mom’s words, a mom who loves her children and her work and herself. Thank you. I often say I’d like to be mom full time and work full time (I run a small theater company in Reading, PA), and I often feel like I’m instead struggling to do both full time jobs well with only part time. I just keep trying, and thanks to other moms like you who aren’t afraid to speak the truth and do what’s right for them, I know I’m not alone.

  5. Loved reading your thoughts on being a working/stay at home mom. I just started a business from home and often weigh working and not wanting my kids to feel like I’m giving them the shaft.
    And along with my new business venture – incredible giveaway! A portable office would be right up my alley in terms of need! LOVE it all! Thanks for doing this!

  6. Beautiful words…as always…thank you Shana..
    So glad you enjoy this because you bring so much to so many moms….
    ps…the wine top is gone! 🙁
    also a technical issue…why does the web page “slide up and down” when I am here?? make any sense?

  7. Carrie Brainerd on

    I love this post. When my oldest was born, I stepped off the career ladder and like you, switched to part time engineering project work. I love what I do and I love that I get to do it for just 20 hours a week on a very flexible schedule. But I know my kids don’t necessarily feel the same way (my 4.5 year old asks me every single morning if I am going to work and cries every single morning that I am..despite having only known one super wonderful nanny as her caretaker). As she approaches kinder next year, I often wonder if I made the right choice to keep on working and at the same time, so happy that I have had the wonderful opportunities I’ve had. It’s a tough balance for all moms!! Thanks for this post and the head nodding that comes with it!

  8. This post moves me to tears. The slanting light and swelling heart, well….yeah. But your response to Raines is just so….graceful and selfless and….right. Just so right. It’s not just about “raising” or “teaching” them is it? Sometimes it’s about living it right in front of them. And sometimes it’s about letting them shape the women we grow up to be. Beautifully said.

    • “Sometimes it’s about living it right in front of them” <-- Wow, Maggie. Exactly this. I think how we live speaks "louder" than what we say...but it's hard to remember that sometimes.

  9. This post pretty much described me. It hit really close to home. You summed up so much of how I feel about my babies… I work from home now and it’s a juggling act. I want my kids to see their mama doing something I’m passionate about though. So I keep moving.

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  10. Love this. And if you ever doubt it Shana- please know that who you are, and what you do makes a difference. I so appreciate all that you area up to in this world, and I bet- actually scratch that- I KNOW I am not alone in this sentiment.

    As a mom who left her work to be a full time mom to two medically involved boys- so much of our life was, as you say, a bubble. Slowly over the past couple of years I have launched my work and you nailed the feelings exactly. “I work because I love it. We only get one chance, you know? One life to figure out what we love to do, to make a difference.” That sums it up- we only have one chance, both in terms of being blessed to be a mom and all that means, as well as to do our work…

    Thank you for being you- a fantabulous fashionista, a remarkable mama, an extraordinary woman and a beautiful, sparkly being. xo

  11. You explained that perfectly. As yet another work-at-home/mobile mom, I know that working makes me a better parent because I’m fulfilled, and my daughter sees that too. Every day is a new juggling act, but I wouldn’t have it any other way

  12. I also work from home and have begun taking steps at going into the office more often because my 3 and 5 year old are at school. The balance is so difficult and your thoughts about our “selves” are so true!! Thanks for doing this incredibly generous giveaway, here’s to hoping! 🙂

  13. antonella disanto on

    Shana beautiful words,
    I appreciate so much the hard work of a mother and I know what you mean
    when I had my little son was forced to leave work and everything, it’s really difficult to deal with the various problems every day …. all alone

    is a beautifully detailed review
    I apologize if it is not written well, I used a translator
    I’m a mother Italian

  14. I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now, reading when time allows, catching up on old posts. But today, being Saturday morning, before the two soccer games we leave for in an hour, I can actually read this most current entry. What a great one, and lucky for me to be so current! You really seem to care about your readers. I love that 🙂 You’re awesome. I wanted to send you a quick Thank You for the opportunity to win such an amazing deal. – Janine.

  15. Hi!!

    I love that wine colored top; you should get it! Thanks for the giveaway! I have a quick question, Are we allowed to tag two friends PER each social media form (Pinterest, IG, and FB)? Or only one form of social media? Thanks for this!!!

  16. I appreciate you trying to spread good vibes. There is so much nastiness and gossiping that I am proud to follow someone who tries to be positive. Keep on Truckin’!

  17. Christina Carreon on

    I just found this blog today to enter the giveaway and I am so glad I found this! My husband and I are considering me staying home (I have 2 1/2 year-old & a new born, both girls) and work towards freelance graphic design & finish up college. This exactly how I feel. I’m not losing myself in working or in motherhood, its more of an empowerment. God has blessed women with such a grace to multitask and wear so many “hats”. Thank You so much for sharing this. I will definitely be following this blog. 🙂

  18. Off topic, but I wanted to share a technical glitch I am experience with your blog while viewing on both my phone and computer. As I am reading, the text will move either up or down every few seconds. I suspect this occurs as the pictures change at the top of the page. It seems to calm down after a while, but sort of annoying. I don’t know if others have commented on this.

    • THANK YOU! It was very annoying. I re-exported the problem picture (double checking the size this time) and I *think* it’s fixed? Let me know if you are still seeing the problem.

  19. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the “Diaper Bag” I think it makes for a great stylish bag for the working mom! Thank you for this great opportunity!

  20. Shana – like so many of the others, I too connected with what you wrote. I was a SAHM, then a SAHM-grad student, then a SAHM-part-time instructor for many years, before going back full-time to work two years ago. I’m not the woman I was pre-kids, but that’s a good thing. Where I struggle is on my at-home days finding the mojo and the energy to get my work done. As a professor, I am constantly balancing one thing or another, and I am so TIRED that my off-campus days are either spent catching up on personal work, sleeping, or some combo of the two.

    On a personal note, I just has my annual “girls’ day out” – where I head to the university hospital two hours away to get my mammogram and u/s, and then splurge on swedish meatballs, chocolate cake, and organizational stuff at a nearby IKEA. My docs found another lump and we’re all hopeful it’s another benign fibroadenoma, but they want to wait & see for another six months. I’m just coming off of two major surgeries last month, recovery from depression and anorexia, balancing little kids, and caring for my dad who has advanced dementia. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with life – and then I read your posts, and I begin to feel optimistic again. Thanks for keeping me focused forward instead of looking back at what could be. You make a difference – and that is the greatest thing any of us can do with our lives.

  21. Thanks for this giveaway. Unfortunately, believe it or not, I can only tag one hard working mom. My contacts are so very limited that I just do not have the opportunity to know more. I hope I can still be considered. The one mom I do know could REALLY use these products!

  22. Not only is this the best giveaway I’ve ever seen — and everything I NEED right now — but I love the way you explained why you work to Raines. I’m currently trying to find who I am through/with my work and it has been really hard. Thanks again for your post and giveaway!

  23. Hi Shana!
    I love this giveaway! I’m just having a problem entering. When I enter my name and email, I can’t seem to scroll over to click on enter or send. The page won’t let me. Any suggestions?
    TIA
    Tracy

  24. This is a fantastic give-away! Thank you so much for acknowledging the work us mothers do every day. We all do, indeed, work very hard.

    For those of us that choose not to do Facebook, Twitter, Pinetrest, Instagram, etc. (yes, I know we are a very, very small minority – like there may be only 2 or 3 of us), is there any other way to enter?

  25. Shana,

    As a frequent reader (and not so wonderful commenter) I can honestly say that you are that mom that I wish I could share a cup of coffee with and hit up Marshall’s for some quick shopping. As a mom of an almost 2 year old who works many 55+ hour work weeksplus full time grad student, this giveaway could not have come at a better time for me. I used to blog more frequently and I hope to get back at it on a more regular schedule! Thanks for always inspiring me and motivating me to be a better dresser and more fashionable momma!

    Michelle @ MichellesDesk.com

  26. Thank you for such a great giveaway; I am amazed by how together you seem and how you make it all work and your willingness to share it. Just wanted to let you know.

  27. Wow. My daughter and cat managed to pour an entire cup of water on my computer when I wasn’t looking earlier today and just 10 minutes after the incident I saw this post- how amazing! I’m a freelancer trying to start my own mama website and WFH mama. I could really, really use a replacement MacBook Pro and backup (so this doesn’t happen again), and I love Molenskin and Lilly Jade! Thank you for this amazing post and giveaway!

  28. Awesome giveaway!

    I love your site and am always recommending it to friends. I love that I may be nowhere near you in body shape, but so much of the advice can be modified. My husband would probably thank you if he knew you. He loves that I’m getting out of my sad SAHM wardrobe of oversized tees and jeans and ponytail and working on making myself look (and therefore feel) better. It’s such a mood helper, especially when I suffer from depression. My therapist always says to focus on yourself first and it really does make a difference in how the whole family functions. So thank you! And thank you for the awesome giveaway.

  29. OMG! you are such an inspiration!! being a mother is so tough sometimes, even overwhelming! but at the same time it’s soooo rewarding and my biggest blessing! thank you so much for your kind words and the oooh-so-jaw-dropping giveaway!!!

  30. This was a great post! I just loved it. My 3 year old thinks I’m working if I am on the computer or my phone (and I work outside the home). Thank you for such an amazing giveaway.

  31. So I love the giveaway, and I want this bag badly 😉 BUT I’m so happy that I found your blog while entering it!! You’re inspirational and funny and this article made me smile and tear up a little. Yes I’m in a little bubble with my little boy and I found myself in motherhood. I miss work sometimes, but most of the time I feel so blessed to have that time with my little buddy! <3

  32. Thank you so much for writing this! I agree whole heatedly that you don’t lose yourself in being a Mom but you find yourself! A new and improved self! I love being a Mom! There are times when I have those days where everything seems to go wrong but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. As a Mom you are yourself plus one or two or three etc., but you are still yourself. Yourself has just evolved into somethinggreater and who doesn’t want that!

  33. Yes, this. I have so many friends who are just chomping at the bit for their kids to grow up so they can “be themselves again” but I am soaking in my 3 year old and 7 month old because I feel they have made me who I am – I’ve expanded, grown into myself. I love your blog and your writing and your style tips – I even ordered my husband one of the t-shirts you featured this summer!

  34. I am in awe of the parallels in our lives right now…
    I hadn’t yet read your latest post on working moms when I just clicked on your blog from my brand spanking new Macbook Air (I went with the 13″) which I bought yesterday along with a 1TB hard drive to backup my life. I remain in AWE of you and yet honestly clicked on your blog today to kind of (quietly) say goodbye to your blog since I just haven’t had much reading time lately, ya know? Because I just returned to work, too. I am also hearing my darling sweet child say she doesn’t want me to work – even though she is now in school and stretching forward and away just beautifully and naturally. It breaks my heart to hear her tell me not to work although I also know this transition will be good for both of us. I didn’t lose myself via motherhood either – I’m now just starting to learn how to blend the new parts, many of which I **found** when my heart was born outside of my body. Motherhood – I just never knew. So today I came onto your blog and there it is. Our parallel lives. I am so grateful because this post reminded me how much I LOVE your blog and how timely it remains for me right now. I am so grateful. So – I’ve got you, and you’ve got me. 🙂 Now I’m off to read about Lily Jade because Mama’s been looking for a new bag to lug everything around in while looking good. 🙂

    • Chez! There you are. Thank you for leaving this lovely comment. And no guilt – drop in when you can, and when you can’t? I’m still here for the next time. So much luck to you. xoxoxo

  35. I am leaving another comment because I keep dreaming about having a brand new Macbook! I am actually a business student and full time SAHM. However, I am a lunchroom-mom on Tuesdays ; ) This kind of giveaway is unheard of on the internets. Hope I win f’x’ <3

  36. I’m an older working mom. It doesn’t get much easier as the kids get older. I feel sorry for the younger generation just starting out. Thanks for the awesome giveaway. If I win I would also like my nieces Lisa Pickel & Megan McKay to win too. Love your boys now! They will be grown before you know it.

  37. I love this. I’ve always worked, and I have four kids. I love your answer. My kids ask the same question, and it never felt right to say “because I have to” or whatever… I have my new answer now 🙂 Thanks!

  38. margherita sciortino on

    thanks for the chance ….my life is very hard i have 2 children 3 and 6 years old and i work…. i’m only for they <3

  39. Yes! The “woman you grew up to be”. That is so empowering and encompasses mothering, working, expressing ourselves and so much more. Being a working mom isn’t easy, some days don’t seem to be worth it & others feel just right. It’s all a journey, that’s for sure. Thanks for this post & this blog – I found you via this awesome giveaway a few weeks ago on Lily Jade’s page and this is the first blog that has really resonated with the mama I am. Thanks, again!

  40. Best giveaway ever!! With our second on the way it’ll be a huge help! Thanks for an amazing opportunity! Your post really hit the nail on the head! Being a working mommy isn’t easy….

  41. Shana even though I’m grandma material your reflections arw heartfelt ! I have a young friend who is having her fifth child Christmas. Eve, going back to school for physical therapy assistant and all before her 30th birthday next May. I would love to be able to see her w this gift. She deserves it. Plus i get to be “Grandma” to her babies..,as w my other friend who has one so far. Joy should be shared <3. Thank you for your blog.

  42. wonderful give away! love the blog, but can’t figure out how to register with Rafflecopter 🙁 I am newly divorced – single work at home mom with twins…can you point me in the right direction? A little sweet winnings would be SO incredible right now for me!

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