Saturday, September 30, 2006

We got a new car!

Welcome home, Silver 2005 Honda CR-V EX! In typical fashion, I had done extensive research online and showed up at Continental Honda ultra-prepared: ready to write a check for the right price and walk if nothing worked out.

So with Edmunds' TMV prices on my top car picks (new and barely-used CR-Vs, Subaru Foresters, and the 2006/2007 Toyota RAV4) stuffed into my purse, we hit the showroom.

Our first test drive was the brand-new 2007 CR-V, which is a complete vehicle redesign. Wow, a really cool car in every way, but they're selling at sticker. So we checked out the used CR-Vs on the lot and I liked the fact that this one had very low mileage (13k) as well as premium features like sunroof, 6-CD changer, 6 speaker audio and more cup holders than occupants!

I told our saleswoman, Stephanie, that I'd be willing to buy the car for Edmunds' TMV ($20,500) a good $4000 under its "sticker" price. Naturally, we wasted at least 2 or 3 hours while she played the "let me check with my boss," and "well, if you want I can try to go over his head," game. Ultimately we settled on $20,995, and I only caved because the mileage was so low and it was a Honda Certified Used Vehicle, which means we get an extended warranty. As Josh will attest, I played pretty good hardball, standing up and saying "Thank you for your time," at least twice.

Buying a car isn't typically all that much fun, but I enjoyed knowing I was well informed and I feel pretty satisfied knowing I made a good deal.

And we couldn't have done it if my friend Gloria didn't let Z hang at her house for the 5 hours it took to get this accomplished.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Working Mommy guilt

I got home from work tonight at 8:30pm. I was helping put the finishing touches on a new business pitch, so there wasn't much I could do to get out of there any earlier, but like every working mother out there, I still felt pulled in two.

The Mommy: "Before you left for work this morning, your daughter said, 'No want Mommy go work. I want Mommy stay here wif me.'
The Marketer: "You have to work to take care of your daughter. You're the breadwinner, the provider of health, dental and vision care. Besides, you're setting a good example for her. The accomplished career woman. And one who enjoys her work!"
The Mommy: "You didn't give her a bath. You didn't read her a story. You weren't there to tuck her into bed."
The Marketer: "But you make it home in time to do all of those things 90-95 percent of the time. Tonight was the exception, not the rule."
The Mommy: "Children need your time most of all."
The Marketer: "I know. But I'm doing the best I can. At least I feel like my efforts contributed to a kick-ass pitch presentation. Not that I'll be there to see it. It's scheduled for Yom Kippur."

The new anti-Semitism

Victor Havis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, contributes a powerful editorial on how the Left is increasingly legitimizing terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

New business

I'm in the thick of a new business pitch at work, which means lots of meetings, high anxiety and the stress of trying to be new and different and creative when it seems like everything's been done before. That said, I think our team is coming up with some kickass concepts for the consumer packaged goods company that will remain nameless (Hey, I don't want to get Dooced).

What's interesting about this particular pitch is that I am both the marketer and the target audience for the product we're trying to sell: the "Gatekeeper Mom." The woman who reads labels, monitors what her kids eat and tries to avoid the big baddies: sugar, trans fats and preservatives. I probably go further than most, choosing organics when possible and avoiding processed foods as much as possible.

Anyway, this process has got me thinking about the brands I do trust. The ones that not only make it past my gate but onto our plates again and again.

Brown Cow yogurts
I'm a particularly partial to their Low Fat Yogurt with Fruit and Whole Grains. No bovine growth hormone, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial anything.

Yo Baby yogurt by Stonyfield Farms
The drinkable yogurts are perfect for on-the-go, the cereal yogurts include iron and even the regular yogurts combine great taste with organic whole milk yogurt. Z asks for them by name.

Annie's Homegrown
Mac & Cheese
While all of Annie's natural and organic macaroni and cheese products are great (I like them almost as much as Z does), the individual servings of microwavable mac & cheese let us make just the right amount of food for our toddler's appetite.

Cheerios, Grape-Nuts and Weetabix
One of these three breakfast cereals is in my bowl every single weekday morning. I like peaches and berries on top, but if they aren't in season, I'll put peanut butter on my Cheerios and Weetabix and raisins on my Grape-Nuts. Yeah, the PB sounds weird, but I've converted others. Ask Franny (if she ever gets her blog up).

Edy's Slow Churned Light Ice Cream
It really doesn't taste lower in fat or calories. Even Josh agrees. I love this stuff even though my agency pitched it a while ago and didn't win the business.

Trader Joe's anything
'Nough said.

The newest addition to my list of favorites, Vruit is a fruit and vegetable juice drink available in smallist shelf-stable cartons. Our family physician recommended it. We mix it with water for Z when she demands "juz."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I'm knitting again

Originally uploaded by marketingmommy.

I finally completed a throw made exclusively of leftover yarn. Now I've started a yellow and green striped cardigan for Z.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What you do with liquids is your business

I was reading on that the TSA has relaxed rules regarding liquids allowed through security. According to the article, "up to 4 ounces of a few items were permitted in carry-on bags: eye drops, saline solution, nonprescription medicine and personal lubricants." Um, I don't know if I want to sit next to the guy who keeps his "personal lubricant" handy at all times.

Parenting tip!

It's gonna be loud! on Vimeo

Once in a great while I figure out some little trick that makes me feel like a really smart parent. And this one is so easy every mom and dad deserves to hear about it. When Z starts whining/demanding something "right now" or refuses to do something I've requested, like sit down for dinner or head upstairs for a nap or bedtime, I simply break out the "moo cow" egg timer and set it for 1 or 2 minutes. I tell Z that when the cow goes "bzzzt," it will be time for X. She stops whatever she's doing to watch the cow, occasionally saying "It's gonna go 'bzzt' -- It's gonna be LOUD!"

And when the timer goes off, Z happily complies with my requests. How long will this work? I have no idea. But I like it!

Monday, September 25, 2006

O! for Omaha

Just one week after we returned from Omaha, the Chicago Tribune honored my favorite Nebraska city with a feature story on the front page of the Travel section.


Z has a clever little tic Josh has dubbed the "Jedi Head Nod." When she wants to get her way, she'll phrase a statement as a question (complete with rising inflection), lock eyes with us and nod her head. Requests commonly associated with the Jedi Head Nod include, "Go to the playground, Mommy?" "Play Play-Doh wif Mommy?" and "Go downstairs, have breakfast wif Mommy?"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A New Year

5767 is off to a good start. We attended Rosh Hashanah services at Oak Park Temple (which we joined about a year ago) on Saturday morning, and once again our rabbi gave an amazing sermon. So moving that the Temple President was reduced to tears, saying "I'm 63 years old, and I've waited my whole life to hear that sermon."

It was on the subject of the Rosh Hashanah Torah portion--the Bible story in which Abraham brings his son Isaac to the top of the mountain and prepares to sacrifice him to G-d. Only in Rabbi Gerson's interpretation, G-d was actually testing Abraham's ability to act ethically rather than on blind faith. He pointed out that Abraham tells Isaac G-d will provide a lamb when G-d actually provides a ram (a lamb's father) for the sacrifice. He goes on to emphasize that in today's world too many men--Muslims, Christians and Jews--are acting on blind faith, justifying horrible acts in the name of G-d, when they should really be acting ethically.

Another point of the sermon reinforced the Reform Jewish belief that the Bible is not infallible, but that it reflects the incomplete understanding of the people of its time. He says there are parts of the Bible (like those that state that gays should be stoned) that need to be measured against the more ethical whole of the book and put aside. I'm sure I'm not doing his sermon justice, but that was the jist of it. And, yes, I have New Year's resolutions, but I'm not going to print them here.

The rest of the weekend was relaxing and enjoyable. I babysat for Gloria's daughter L on Saturday night, and the two girls got to play together again on Sunday at the park. (Click here for more pictures.)

Josh and I decided we're ready to bite the bullet and buy a new car, so keep an eye on this page for updates. It's going to be a Toyota RAV4, a Honda CR-V or (less likely) a Subaru Forester or Outback. Brand-spanking new or just a couple of years old. We can't wait!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Speaking of High School

Stephen Colbert's shares his Sound Advice for high school students.


I'm reading The Overchievers, Alexandra Robbins' take on driven high school kids, and every time I pick up the book I'm reminded me of Z's teenage babysitter.

The high school senior comes over to our house laden with 3 or 4 bags worth of textbooks (including an AP Art text that must have weighed 15 pounds), her cell phone, a graphing calculator and a laptop. I can't keep track of all of her extra-curriculars, but I know that in addition to whatever she's involved with at OPRF, she works with disabled kids and volunteers with her youth group. Her summer involved travel to Europe, building houses for the needy and camping in the woods for science credit.

I hope these teens learn that where you go to college isn't the be all and end all to life. Hell, there's your career, your family, and name-brand graduate or professional school if you really want to impress people.

I went to infamously nerdy (and highly-ranked) University of Chicago, which the Walt Whitman students Robbins profiles dismiss as a "safety," but I don't think the name of my college has had much of an impact on my career path. (Aside from the occasional, "Oh, you must be really smart.")

What's most interesting The Overachievers is that Robbins cautions against the media hype and government reactionism surrounding America's "failing students." She says that by emulating the more highly-ranked Japanese school system, we'll produce excellent test-takers with zero passion for learning and little ability to retain knowledge past the test date. Oh, and teen suicides will skyrocket!

All this makes me feel bad for my sitter since--as she's pointed out--her generation is huge. More echo boomers trying to squeeze into the same number of college classroom seats means she's up against a lot stiffer competition than I was. I can only hope that Z won't be part of a generational crush since I want her to enjoy her childhood and teenage years. And not spend them padding her resume.
Besides, state school is fine by us.

In a side note, I also read Robbins' Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities, a dishy page-turner compared to The Overachievers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The ABCs

Z knows I can record videos with the still camera, and she loves to check out the results as soon as I've taped her. Here she makes it to the letter G before her curiosity overcomes her.

From the mouth of a babe, part 4

When Z and I arrived at daycare this morning, I talked with Adriana about her pregnancy (she's due around Xmas) and we reminded Z that her Adriana has a new baby in her tummy. Z told "Ajana" to "pull shirt up," so she could inspect/pat her stomach.

Then, Z pulled up her own shirt and said, "I've got a baby in 'ere. A baby!"

"Is it a boy or a girl?" I asked.

"It's...It's a baby!" she replied, rubbing her tiny toddler potbelly.

In the aisles

Since so much of what is sold in regular supermarkets is so remarkably uninspiring, I found this article in the NY Times particularly intriguing. The author challenged himself to find the best-tasting non-gourmet, non-organic food sold in regular supermarkets. In our quest for good food, Josh and I have found ourselves cherry-picking grocery items from a variety of stores. We shop Trader Joe's for pasta, cheese, canned goods, cereal, dairy, snacks, chicken, frozen fish and wine. Produce, deli items and fresh meat come from the somewhat chaotic but infinitely affordable Caputo's, and Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck) and Jewel suffice for last-minute runs.

I recently read that Jewel and Dominick's, the two grocery chains that dominate the Chicago market, rank near the bottom nationally in terms of value, service and freshness. I find myself wishing for a SuperValu, Harris Teeter or the new Sunflower Market, which just opened in Chicago (but isn't at all convenient to Oak Park).

What about you? How many stores do you shop? Do you seek out organic or natural items? Avoid processed foods?

Golden Smog

Josh and I splurged on a babysitter last night so that I could join him at the Golden Smog show at the Vic. I don't go to many concerts anymore ($40 for the sitter, hello?), so I'm glad this was the one I opted to see. Not only did they play all my favorite songs (well, except for "Pecan Pie"), they covered the Jayhawks (many of the bandmembers are from the Jayhawks), Eric Clapton and others. And Chicago's favorite alt-country superstar Jeff Tweedy was there! Josh was reviewing the show for the Trib, so even with the sitter we came out ahead. Check out his take on the show here.

Speaking of babysitting, Z didn't cry at all when we left her with Julia last night. Usually she puts up a 2-5 minute fuss when Mommy and Daddy leave, but she was happy to be handed off with the promise of "mac cheese" and "playing Little People."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Crazy cousins

Z goes bananas with her cousins in Omaha. This went on for at least an hour.

Crazy Cousins on Vimeo

Oh Omaha!

Josh, Z and I had a wonderful time in Omaha. Why Omaha? Because that's where my maternal grandmother lives, as well as an aunt and uncle, my first cousin Ann and her family. Grandma Lorraine was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, and her diagnosis prompted our visit, but she seemed to be in great shape, if a bit frail.

Z loved--LOVED--her weekend, particularly everything involving Ann's children Lindsay and Robbie, 7 and 5 respectively. Lindsay in particular doted on Z, and she imitated the big kids' every move, learning how to "be a hummingbird," among other things.

Another highlight of our stay was "Nebraska's #1 attraction," the Henry Doorly Zoo. We only scratched the surface of their many attractions, seeing the Desert Dome (the world's largest indoor desert!), the Aquarium and the Jungle. We bought tickets for the 3-D IMAX movie about underwater life, but mere seconds after the credits started rolling, Z cried, "I'm scared! This is too scary! Wanna go bye-bye!" We let Josh stay, and he said it was fantastic, but definitely not for little kids. (So much for the wisdom of the ticket seller.)
Check out a few more photos from our trip here.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


We're in Omaha for a long weekend, and we got a real taste of Nebraska living last night. Around 9pm the tornado warning system went off and the weather reporters began describing "wall clouds" within a couple of miles of my aunt and uncle's house. We woke up Z and took her down into the basement as instructed. Oblivious to the danger, she hopped, skipped and jumped around in front of the weather map (occasionally pointing to the screen and saying, "We're here!" No damage was done nearby, but apparently a funnel cloud touched down about 6 miles away.

The craziest thing was how eerie it was outside. No rain, no audible thunder. Just complete quiet, thick, motionless air and a dull orange sky.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Said my Pilates instructer last night during our beginner class: "Pilates is a fitness program of farts and cramps." Funny, I thought the brochure said flat abs and correct posture.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Translating Z

What she said: "Where's my skeeze-this?"
What she meant: "Where's the turkey baster you gave me as a 'new bath toy' in order to convince me to take a bath?"

What she said: "More windy! Daddy windy and Mommy windy!"
What she meant: "I want Mommy and Daddy to huff and puff and blow cold air all over my wet torso while I stand in the bath. I like having goosebumps."

What she said: "Want butter. Right here. On a plate. With cackers. And knife."
What she meant: "Please put a glob of peanut butter on a plate in front of me. I want a knife and crackers since you put them out anyway, but I plan to eat all the peanut butter straight up. Like Mommy. And Nanny. Crackers will be removed from the plate, dotted with peanut butter and placed on the table."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

From the mouth of a babe, part 3

"I don't want soup! I don't want it!" Z repeated, over and over as we spooned out tonight's dinner, African peanut soup and fried plantains. She continued with her "I don't want it!" tirade between spoonfuls and forkfuls of soup, at one point saying, "I don't want it. I want...more, Mommy." She put away two (baby-sized) bowls of soup. And one bite of plantain.

I felt like going out of ice cream, so I said to Josh as I was packing up the leftovers, "Maybe we could go to the Brown Cow for i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m."

Z jumped in with, "I wanna go to the Brown Cow. I wanna go to the Brown Cow an' get ice cream." (That girl has a memory! We haven't been there in over a month!) This was repeated, ad nauseum, and with escalating whininess until I snapped, "Z! We're going to get ice cream. So stop whining and use your big girl voice. "

As we approached our favorite ice cream parlor (and the setting of my baby shower), Z said, "Z riding in the car. Z stopped whining."

"That's right. You're using a nice voice. You're a big girl," I replied.

"I'm a big baby," Z responded.

Josh had a dish of their new flavor, Mountain Berry, which was amazing. And Z and I shared a bowl of Vanilla Cupcake. But she quickly lost interest and headed off to their play area, which includes a toy cash register. A toy cash register (our daycare provider has two) may very well qualify as the most wanted toy for Z's second birthday (Grandmas and Grandpa, are you reading this?)

Truth In Advertising

This spoof of the world of marketing is really, really offensive. But, in spite of the crude language and depressing overtones (oh, to be so self-loathing!), it has its wow-I've-been-there moments. I'll admit it, I laughed.

I'm always hestitant to complain about any aspect of my career since I'm lucky enough to be paid decent money to be creative. Plus, I've had the pleasure of working with some great teams, both at my agency and at various clients. But those "just make my logo bigger" assistant brand managers, this movie is dedicated to you.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mom Friends

Friday night, as I mentioned in a previous post, was Moms' Night Out. Six of us left our kids with their dads and hit New Rebozo for a pitcher of margaritas and their "Oh my God!" tamales, burritos, enchiladas and guacamole.

I'm trying to come up with a good word for this group of women. They're the moms from Z's playgroup, sure, but they mean more to me than that. Should I call them my "mom friends?" It sure sounds dorky, but we're friends because we're moms. Or at least that's why we became friends originally; before Z was born, I didn't know a single one of these wonderful women. Now I don't know what I'd do without them.

So let me tell you a little bit about this lively bunch. We range in age from barely 30 to almost 40, and we hail from all over: New York City, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, the Midwest and more. Two of us are marketers, two are social workers, one's a computer consultant, and one's a stay-at-home mom who's done both marketing and therapy. Three of us are Jewish, but one who isn't is sending her daughter to Jewish preschool. Unless someone's hiding her political beliefs (not likely), we range from just left of center to far out in left field. Our children (two boys and six girls) range from 2 1/2 years down to 1 month old, with another boy due in November.

Naturally, we talk about our kids a lot, but the conversation isn't all sippy cups, time-outs and poop. There's also our jobs, our husbands, our houses, our mothers-in-law (not mine) and Our Dumb President.

If you're reading, girls, thank you keeping me sane. And making me laugh.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Block Party

Today was our annual block party, and Z got right into the thick of things. I'm going to have a hard time keeping her from running into the street after today's excitement (a pancake breakfast, flag-making, bounce house, scooters, a cake walk, a raffle, pot-luck dinner, music and more). The festivities culminated with the "World's Largest Ice Cream Sundae" (Oak Park's largest, anyway). It consisted of 12 gallon-sized "scoops" of ice cream and assorted bottles of topping piled into a baby swimming pool. As soon as photos were snapped of the monstrosity, everyone on the block proceeded to scoop themselves a share.
A newspaper photographer came to get a group shot of all the kids eating ice cream on the curb. As the remains softened into a runny mess, Z and another little one year old located stray spoons and helped themselves. I wish I'd brought my camera, as it was quite a gluttonous sight.
We came home, washed off the day's stickiess and I tucked Z into bed. She asked for a story about her friend L, and after I listed L's parents, dog and favorite things, I ended the story with "L likes to play with Z. They play Play-Doh and draw pictures together."
And from the dark, Z piped up, "And they like to share babies."

Friday, September 08, 2006

New option for toddlers on planes

We're traveling by air next weekend as we've done over a dozen times since Z was born, and I'm not looking forward to shlepping the car seat onto the plane. Z's Evenflo Triumph 5 weighs in at a hefty 19lbs. That's why I was excited to hear that the FAA just approved a new airplane harness for toddlers that attaches directly to the plane's lap belt. I likely won't be buying one since it costs about $80--as much as a new car seat--but the manufacturer says they're hoping the device will be available for rent soon.

What we have purchased is the Pac Back, a compact backpack that makes carrying the car seat a reasonably comfortable (and hands-free!) experience. Each time we've traveled, another parent has stopped us and asked us where we found it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sleepless in the suburbs

Last night was not pretty. Usually I fall asleep the second before my head hits the pillow, but yesterday I was tossing and turning until about midnight, when I finally fell into a really vivid dream involving co-workers, Josh's old bandmates and an elaborate office dining hall where all the food on the menu was free.

Then, at 1am, all hell broke loose. Z awakened with a scream and the next two hours brought back memories of newbornhood. You know, the wee hours when the moment after the crying ceases you find yourself holding your breath, unable to relax because your worried it will just start up again. Josh and I took turns going to her and settling her down, only to have the wailing resume within 10 minutes. On my visits, she was weirdly talkative, speaking clearly but not making a lot of sense. ("My cheeks! Oh, now they're better. My feet are better too. Mommy read a story in the crib. My new diaper is fresh and clean. Daddy's having lunch downstairs. Mommy's hair.")

I don't know if it was night terrors or the same restlessness that was afflicting me, but she eventually whimpered herself to sleep. She caught up on missed sleep by waking up late (and much happier) this morning.

Oh, Josh called me on the train this morning to report the following conversation between Z and himself:
"What are you thinking about, Daddy?"
"I'm thinking about driving. Are you thinking, Z?"
"What are you thinking about?"
"I'm thinking about Mommy!"

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What I'm looking forward to

There's not much to report today, but I've got a busy couple of days coming up. Tomorrow night I'm getting together with coworkers, clients (former and current) and my colleagues at our partner agencies for a few cocktails at Sushi Samba. It will be the first time we've gathered since the news hit that our client would be cutting their marketing budget. And it will probably be the last time we'll all be in one place.
On Friday night I'm going out with the other moms in Z's playgroup for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, and Saturday is our annual block party as well as my first day of Pilates, which I'm taking through the park district program.
As if that wasn't enough excitement, Sunday morning we're hosting the first meeting of my Temple's newest chavurah (and my first chavurah as an adult--my family was in one when I was a teenager). I hope we can keep the living room clean until then!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Retail therapy

After a self-imposed spending freeze, I finally gathered up all of the coupons I'd been saving and hit the mall. And as ridiculous as it may sound, my new clothes make me so happy! I got new underwear from Victoria's Secret using coupons for two free pairs of panties and $10 off a bra. I bought two pairs of shoes from DSW with help from a $25 Reward Your Style gift certificate, and I went absolutely nuts at Ann Taylor Loft, scoring two tops, one skirt, one pair of pants and a tunic-length cardigan for $175. Everything was on sale, in coordinating colors (black and tan), and further discounted with my "20% off any purchase over $150 coupon." And the store was running a promotion that awarded me with three $25 discount cards that can be used starting mid-month.
Josh and Z benefited from my spending spree too. I got Josh a pair of khakis featuring stain-resistant, wrinkle-resistant nanotechnology from Target and Z got two new outfits, a pair of shoes and a lion Halloween costume from Target and The Children's Place (using 15% off coupons all the way!). I tried encouraging her to go for the ladybug, witch or fairy outfits since the lion costume resembles one her friend wore last year, but she insisted, "I wanna be a lion. I wanna say 'roar!'"
All in all, a great haul. I'm sure I'll feel the pinch when my credit card bill comes, but I think a periodic spending storm is probably smarter in the long run than leaking cash on little things all season long.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Not a born architecture critic

Today Z pointed to a cement multi-level parking garage near Oak Brook Shopping Center and said, "Look at dat beautiful house!"

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The perfect party

A social worker by trade, my friend Gloria is the Martha Stewart of children's parties. Her celebration of her daughter's 2nd birthday was the cutest kid's birthday party I've ever attended. The bugs-in-the-garden theme was extended from the invites to the cake to the sand table stocked with plastic bugs and silk flowers. There were stations for customizing your own straw cup with crayons, creating a leafy crown with stickers, and adding a segment to a paper "memory caterpillar" of warm wishes for the birthday girl.
Z had a blast, although I think she was a little disappointed to find her best bud too preoccupied to want to play just with her. Fortunately there were plenty of little babies to adore. And she does love babies. Check out all of my photos from the event.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pleased to meet you

Before her nap today, Z picked up two stuffed animals--one in each hand--and said:
"Hi, I'm Elmo."
"Hi, I'm Teddy."
"Hi Elmo."
"Hi Teddy."

Friday, September 01, 2006

The pump room

The NY Times has a great article on the inequities facing new moms returning to work and trying to continue to breastfeed. While it is low on actual statistics, I tend to believe the article's anecdotal evidence that white collar, highly paid workers are more likely to find it possible to pump at work than waitresses, casino employees and Starbucks baristas.
My experience lands somewhat in between the tales of lactation rooms outfitted with plush lounges, internet connections and company-financed breast pumps and the horror stories of huddling in the bathroom at a restaurant or warehouse only to be ridiculed by uncaring co-workers.

I work for a marketing agency where moms were furnished with a private room within the women's bathroom. It was something I advocated for since the work space was being built out while I was on maternity leave and none of the glassed-in new offices would offer any privacy. The room is spartan, furnished with a chair, table and sink, but eventually the three of us pumping at the time managed to get management to provide us with a lock for the door and a sign that indicated the room's purpose (it was being commandeered as a dressing room, coat room and smoking lounge). We shouldered our own pumps and disguised our milk bags and bottles inside insulated lunch bags in the office fridge. I had to block off time on my calendar to ensure I wouldn't miss one of my twice-daily pumping sessions, but it worked out pretty well for me. My colleagues were understanding--although there were plenty of times I walked out of the office with my Ameda tote only to be asked where I was headed ("You've got a meeting at the client?" "Er, no...just off to milk myself...").

When my daughter was 9 months old, the pace at work intensified and I felt it would be OK for met to quit pumping and supplement with formula, nursing just in the morning and at night until her first birthday.

I'm really glad I was able to breastfeed my daughter for a year, even though I returned to work after 3 months of maternity leave. I felt connected to her and I liked knowing I was able to provide her with all of the emotional and physical health benefits of breastmilk. It saddens me that our society (private industry and government) doesn't show a greater commitment to women and children when there is so much evidence demonstrating the benefits of breastfeeding.

My heart, melted

Z reacted to my surprise reappearance this morning by saying, "I'm happy Mommy's back."