Workity work

Hey!  I’m alive!  Ish.

This week was crazy.  [Life is crazy]  So many emotions. 


Adjusting to working again after maternity leave is one thing.  Adjusting to a new hospital and orienting to the new unit environment is another.  And adjusting to spending the day away from my love is yet another.  All these changes require me to be flexible and cool with change, which isn’t my strong suit. 

I’m a creature of habit with a bit of OCD mixed in (what nurse doesn’t have OCD/Type A tendencies, tell me that).  Sometimes this is a good thing (like in an ICU setting), but it’s also something I have to be aware of (so that I don’t let it ruin the spontaneity of life).  Anyway.  None of this has much to do with this post, but it’s just worth noting since I’m now navigating all these new routines and schedules and re-evaluating my roles in life, as a working mom.  Trying not to freak out when things don’t go the same way they’ve been going for the past few days/weeks/months is something I have to consciously work at.  I’m sure it’s a natural and passive part of most people’s persona, but not mine.  It’s enough to have a new kiddo who is changing each and every day, but adding in moving to a new city, starting a new job, and all that jazz.  Lots of variables for a new parent!  As soon as I get in the groove, something else changes.  I like things just. so.  [Type A alert!!]  I’m getting better at adapting and just rolling with the things that are out of my control…mostly because I don’t have a choice and I can only micro-manage so much. 

Clearly, I’m a nut job.  Clearly. 

Instead of going on and on about my neuroses, how about I show off my packed up work food? 

IMG_3223 IMG_3224

For breakfast I had an AB&J bagel.  The almond butter is fresh-grind from the Co-op and the jam is raspberry (home-made by my mom).  The bagel is an Udi’s mighty bagel.  So good.

[Mom, we’re on the last jar of jam, so I need to get more next time I’m home! Remind me!!]


Snacks: carrots/celery, nuts, veggie chips, hard boiled eggs, strawberries, and a Larabar lemon pound cake ALT bar


The ALT bars are on sale at the Davis Co-op and I think the lemon pound cake is my favorite flavor.  I’m really into citrus (especially lemon right now).  May have something to do with the fact that I stare at my neighbor’s orange and lemons all day long. 

By the way, the above packed food was for a half day’s worth of eats (hence the absence of a real lunch). 


This is how you do a savory breakfast!  I made a cauli-egg stir fry before the week started, so I had it ready to go. 

On the side I chugged down some decaf.  I had the first half of the french press while pumping (I leave before P wakes up so I pump and leave the bottles for Kyle).  I take the second half of it with me to the hospital.  With almond milk and stevia. 


Lunch!  Brown rice, goat cheese, broccoli, strawberries, & TJ’s balsamic glaze.

Snacks not pictured?  Who knows where the rest of the stuff went.

One of the things I’ve realized is that I am less able to eat my meals with a fork/spoon (because I pump on my breaks) so hand-held things are preferable. 

Sandwiches and bars are much easier when it comes to multi-tasking, so until my pumping days are over, I suspect I’ll be eating fewer things with silverware.

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See?  Look at all the nut butter and jam sandos!  I only had 3 slices of Udi’s bread left, so I made 1 1/2 sandwiches.  The half was sunbutter & raspberry jam, the whole one was (the last of the) almond butter & raspberry jam. 

I ate the half in the car before work.  I ate the second one while pumping.


Bananas are another good thing to snack on while pumping.  We have a bunch at the perfect stage of brown right now (I love ‘naners with brown spots, no green ones for me thanks).


Mini Larabars are also perfect bite-lets.  I wish they sold the sample sizes.  I have no idea where these came from, but I have a few more in my bar stash.  Carrot cake is not a typical Larabar flavor for me to buy, but it’s really good!  I’m thinking it may replace cashew cookie as my fave right now.  Although the chocolate ones are pretty awesome too. 


Another day’s eats!

As you can see, breakfast was roasted potatoes (made in advance) and hard boiled eggs.

Lunch was cauli-egg stir fry.


Snacks were carrots/celery, strawberries, banana, nuts, Dagoba chocolates, chocolate coconut chew Larabar (!!!), and a Van’s cranberry almond bar that I didn’t end up eating.




Three key things that have helped ease this transition process? 

  • Food prep /meal planning
  • Having a supportive spouse and family
  • Picking the right job

I could (and should) write a whole post on how fantastic Kyle is.  I know I did a lot of prep before the work week started, but he was still amazing at executing the plan to his Type A wife’s specifications.  Super dad.  He also brought P to visit me at the hospital on my lunch break so I could nurse him in person rather than pump.  These are the perks of living and working in a small town.  I love it. 

Child care is another discussion that deserves a more detailed post, but suffice it to say, my family has been wonderful in offering up their babysitting services.

As far as picking the right job goes, I lucked out that I found the perfect fit for me both in the location of the hospital as well as the position.  For now, it’s rough because I’m new and on day shift, but soon enough I’ll be on night shifts and everything will fall into place.  Then I won’t have to miss days with this guy.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that I live super close to the hospital and the staff is awesome. 

Even though I did cry a bit (and there will probably be more tears to come) the first week+, I also feel really happy at the end of my shifts.  I’m proud of the work I do and I’m excited to come home to my family.  It’s a win win if you look at it the right way.  But it’s definitely a balance, because I don’t want to spread myself too thin. 


I mean, look at this face!  I don’t wanna miss anything! 

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Comments (37)

  1. Sophie

    As a fellow type A-er I completely get the hating change! It looks like it has come in handy for your food prepping though! It sounds like you are managing things so amazingly. I don’t have any children but I can only imagine how hard it must be to leave your gorgeous little boy!

  2. Lori

    Look at that cheeky monkey – love love love.

    You are doing an AMAZING job, you are doing absolutely every thing right, don’t doubt or change a thing.

    I read this post so fast, fast like it sounded like it was written – you are awesome, doing a great job, and hey, the food bit isn’t so bad either ;). You go girl.

    Lori xx

  3. Lee

    I’m the same way as a creature of habit. I don’t do well with change. At all.

    And..they actually do sell those sample Larabars at the Kroger near my house. I wonder if they got a random shipment of them or something. They were in one of those bargain bin areas. They were 50 cents.

  4. Abby

    As someone with OCD, I can’t imagine dealing with all of those changes at once. But you are lucky to have such great resources to help you out. While the changes might be a bit jarring, they’re all awesome blessings–family, food, work, etc.–and it’s great that you can realize that.

    As for food, have you had the PB&J Larabar? PB cookies was my favorite until I found that one. As for sample sizes, I can’t imagine how small those must be, seeing as Larabars are smallish themselves!

  5. Sarah

    I’ve been wondering if your co-workers know who you are yet in terms of meals and snack packing etc.? I can just imagine if you came in new with all your amazing and healthy snacks perfectly prepped for the week! I would be like, “Who is this woman? And why does she have it so together?” I can’t wait for them to realize they are working with none other than THE Hungry Hungry Hippie. Good for you for having insight into what’s especially challenging for you and rolling with it as best you can. All challenges really are our greatest learning experiences (blah).

  6. Katherine

    Thank you for this post! I am about 12 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I’m already dreading/afraid of how going back to work after is going to be. It’s comforting to see that even though of course it is tricky, it can be done while not sacrificing too much in any one area of life.

  7. erin

    that picture of p though…melt

  8. Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl

    You are one busy woman, but I think that all of your food prep/planning seems to be helping a lot! I do pretty well when it comes to meal planning, but my food prep on the weekends could use some SERIOUS work!

  9. Erika

    They sell the smaller size Larabars at Target. I think they come in Apple Pie, Cherry and Cashew cookie.
    Best of luck to you as you begin your new venture of being a working mom. P is a lucky little man to have you as his mama!

  10. k

    I remember reading a study that showed that working mothers were able to interact better with their children, like the mothers were more responsive, etc. I think it’s because if they’re cooped up in the house all day they start to go a little nuts and become dull, listless creatures. As you say it is a win win for kid+parent that the parent is able to have a purpose outside that responsibility. Of course that’s my interpretation but the message of the study is that it’s good all around. That’s really great your job allows the right hours for your situation 🙂

  11. denise
  12. loohoo

    They sell mini larabars at target, walmart and on amazon.

  13. Ttrockwood

    As above, they do make minis- i find them when i’m at target in cali but honest the regular sized from TJ’s are a better deal at 99cents ea

    You have had more major life changes in the last year than most people have in five years! It is a LOT to deal with. Your work meals all look amazing, and i am also a big snack packer to get thru long days.
    I am so glad you have kyle and your family nearby as support thru everything- that is one adorable kiddo!!

  14. Kathleen

    How is your gut feeling these days?

    I had the worst idea of chopping 2 large garlic cloves on my salad since I read garlic helps heal SIBO which is what my dr. thinks I have. I got the worst headache, felt nausea and terrible for the rest of the day and feel awful now too. I also ate 4 so delicious fudge bars made with cocoa and erthythritol. I have been taking probiotic twice a day, peppermint oil before meals, eating fermented foods and drinking kombucha daily. I think these things are making it worse. Ugghh just had two eggs this morning to keep things plain for my gut and had a few bites of plain coconut kefir with blueberries sweetened with stevia. The kefir has inulin so I am not sure it is advisable.

    Baby P looks so cute, I could eat those cheeks up. So glad to hear your job is going well and you have the support of your husband and family.

  15. Karen

    Congratulations on completing your first week back at work, pumping, and meal planning. In the winter when it seems appealing to run the oven more, I found things like zucchini muffins to be awesome pumping-friendly snacks. We are approaching 3.5 years of daycare for our house and are going to mark the occasion by switching both my kids from their respective places to two new places at pretty much the same time. Major upheaval but will be a good change.

    I used to be a super control-freak, maybe not quite OCD, but over four years I have eased back on that gradually, in many, but not all aspects of life, and I have to say it has been incredibly liberating. I was so anxious when my first was born about what was going to happen when she started school (FIVE YEARS IN THE FUTURE!). Now I am better about deciding how much energy I will devote to anxiety about the future. I indulge myself in some panic, and then usually someone has poured the dog’s water bowl on their head or taken a flying leap off some stairs so I must return to practical matters.

  16. Elise (Post author)

    that one is ok, but it has cherries – im not into the cherry flavored laras.
    the minis are like half a normal larabar.

  17. Elise (Post author)

    ha! youre hilarious! im not exactly a celeb but no they dont know about the blog or anything. 🙂
    btw i totally agree about knowing yourself and treating it like a place for learning.

  18. Elise (Post author)

    dont worry katherine – whatever you want to do, you can do! i think my feelings change daily so you dont have to have it all sorted out yet. congrats on your pregnancy!!!!

  19. Elise (Post author)

    thanks for the heads up erika – i dont really like the cherry or apple pie flavors, but ill look into it bc i do like cashew cookie.
    ph and your comment about p being lucky that im his mom – made. my. life. seriously i hope he feels that way. 🙂

  20. Elise (Post author)

    ive been doing well! keeping things pretty low in the grain department (low for me at least) and steering clear of my fodmaps red flags and yellow flags. i havent had wheat or gluten for lots of days. i try to be higher in protein but its hard w a veg diet. im eating a lot of fat and i feel really good that way. havent started the hcl yet.

    btw have you seen this post:

    i plan to continue on the low grain/carb plan for as long as i can and add in the hcl bitters in a few weeks, followed by good bacteria a week after (kefir, kombucha, kimchi, etc).

    im thinking the bacteria die off is already under way. i still have dark chocolate almost once a day, but i do try to keep my sugars low now. its hard and i miss the days of sweet granola or toast topped in nut butters, maple syrup, bananas, and the likes but i figure if i can really get my gut healed i can eat like that again later without issues…fingers crossed.

  21. Elise (Post author)

    thanks karen! youre so right. its great advice and im sure it will eventually come to me…by choice or not – ha!

  22. Elise (Post author)

    i agree. the price for minis seems silly. i could just as easily make them by halving regular ones too…

  23. Elise (Post author)

    that totally makes sense to me! i can already see how that would be true given how much i want to be 100% devoted to him when im home.

  24. Abby

    Oddly I don’t like the cherry larabar at all, which is why I’m so surprised that I like the PB &J so much.

  25. ChilledOnions

    congratulation on going back to work and all the best. frankly, i dont know how mothers do it:) i struggle to look after just myself so hats off to you:)

  26. Shawnna

    I can only imagine how tricky it is to adjust to all the changes, but you sound like you will be finding your groove soon 🙂 I have several friends who used a hands-free pumping bra with great results. I am pretty sure that one friend just did a DIY version by cutting a slit in a sports bra.

  27. Jessica

    How’s it going being back to work…pumping and all? My son is 14 weeks and I have 3 more weeks then back to work! I’m nervous about finding a new routine for our changed schedule. I also don’t like change; ) I’ve been thinking easy lunches way to go because of pumping too. Was thinking salad in a wrao …but that may be soggyville

  28. Elise (Post author)

    im hardly qualified to give my “advice” as im still very new at it and definitely dont have it down…

  29. Karen

    Jessica – I’ve pumped for two kiddos (done with the second kid’s pumping but still nursing him at 17 months) and you can do it! No one ever looks back fondly on their pumping experience, but it just is what it is – the price of doing business. ok, I’m out of cliches. Try to get in touch with a mom IRL or an online network that is supportive of your breastfeeding/pumping goals. Make sure your son’s caregiver is on board with your desire to keep your son breastfed. Enjoy your last three weeks, but don’t view them as “your last perfect, idyllic three weeks before life crashes down” that is too much pressure. When you return to work, try to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the road ahead, set small goals for yourself like completing your first day, then your first week. Find something to do during pumping that you look forward to, like shopping online for awesome shoes (because it will be difficult to spend leisurely hours perusing the shoe rack from now on so online shopping is great!). Being a parent is hard no matter what course you follow, but being a working-pumping mom is a unique commitment. Take everything one week at a time. The less negative energy you accumulate, the more positive energy you will have for yourself and your family. Congratulate yourself and your partner on your hard work and enjoy something fun each week, even if it’s just ice cream and your fave TV show.

    Sorry to jump in, but the comment showed up in my subscription and I can’t help myself!

  30. Jessica


    Thank you so much for jumping in! I really appreciate your kind advice and that you took the time to share all of that:) I think as a new mama it is so amazing when someone else gives you a little hug (virtual or in real life) and tells you that you can do it, and doing your best is enough.

    I think you are right about setting small goals and not letting it get overwhelming. I really appreciate about not looking as these three weeks as the countdown to terror. I think it’s important to take it as it comes and enjoy each moment. Thanks again! You helped brighten my day:)

  31. Jessica

    I hope it gets easier 🙂

  32. Elise (Post author)

    thanks so much for taking the time to share karen! its sooooo awesome hearing supportive mom to mom pep talks. it helps remind me about why im committed to pumping and inspires me to keep up a positive attitude even though its not my fave thing to do…

  33. Heather

    I think someone may have mentioned this, but use a hands free pumping bra! My baby is 6 months old and I work full time (with Alene), so I’m pumping. I just strap the hands free bra over my regular bra when it’s time to pump, and hook up. I can work, eat lunch, read a book, whatever, while I pump. It’s been a lifesaver!! You can get them on Amazon. I don’t remember how much it cost (I bought it in January since I had to start pumping almost right away), but it’s been well worth whatever it cost.

  34. Elise (Post author)

    thanks heather! i did get one after other recommended it. im not totally in love with it, but i may come around…i didnt realize it could be worn over a regular bra though. how would that work? im definitely willing to give it a shot because right now im doing one side then the other and its sooo time consuming. i really appreciate your tips!!!

  35. Karen

    Oh lordy girl! No, no put that pumping bra to work. Or think of it more as a “keep your flanges in place” device rather than a bra, which it is definitely not. I used the Easy Expressions one, but Medela makes one too. I work in an office and with it I was able to work right through my pumping session, or read or surf the web if I wanted. The EE one has a zipper down the front so I put my flanges through the holes. I use a regular bra instead of nursing bras so I would yank up my shirt and the bra, wrap the hands free bra around my back like a corset, put the flanges in place, zip the bra up, and go to town. Then do the whole thing in reverse when you’re done, taking care not to spill any milk (and resettle your bra and shirt to the right location before heading back to work!). There’s probably a video on YouTube or the bra websites that shows someone doing this. So I didn’t have to go to the empty office where I pumped anymore than I needed to, I did my last pumping session of the day while driving home from work in the car. I can only recall one time when someone seemed to notice what I was doing, people are generally not peering into cars next to them. The ultimate hands free driving experience!! Haha!

    Sorry if that was TMI, but that is the nitty gritty behind how to make use of a hands free bra. 🙂

  36. Heather

    Yes! Exactly what Karen said. I do use a nursing bra, so I unhook both sides, pull those pieces out of the way and then wrap the hands free bra around my back. I usually zip it up in the front, and then insert the flanges so I get them lined up right, but I could see putting the flanges in first. I use the Easy Expression bra too, and I’ve had no problem.

    I’ve also driven while pumping…I just using my nursing cover to cover everything up…makes me feel a little more comfortable while I’m sitting in traffic on the 405.

  37. Elise (Post author)

    you guys are AWESOME! thanks so much for the info 🙂
    i got the EE bra too so I will definitely give it a try. maybe ill work my way up to driving…
    oh and its never TMI.

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