Pumping at Work

by Rachel on November 4, 2015

Pumping at Work

I thought I was going to hate it. I still worked from home during Parker’s first year, so “pumping at work” meant walking from my home studio to my kitchen. 

This time around, I was completely dreading having to remember my pump and parts every day, haul everything back and forth, and then set up shop in my studio between clients. 

It took a few days to get the routine down, but once I did, something completely unexpected happened: I started looking forward to my pumping break. 

It’s only 15 minutes, and I have to hurry through the prep and cleanup, but the time spent actually pumping gives me a chance to relax my brain for a few minutes. My afternoons and evenings are otherwise nonstop with back to back students, clients and groups, so it’s nice to be able to check my email, scroll through Facebook, and have a snack.

I’m lucky in that I was able to structure my days so that I only have to pump once; I would probably enjoy it much less if I had to pump multiple times throughout the day. And ask me in May how I feel about pumping at work…I’m pretty sure I’ll be over it at that point. 

Two months in, though, I’m happy to have this tiny bit of downtime in my day. As long as I have a lock on my door and a fridge for storage, I’ll keep on keeping on. 


{Real Talk} This is Hard

by Rachel on October 26, 2015

Parker in the Fall

For a while there, it seemed almost too easy, too good to be true. I had a newborn who slept amazingly, which meant I was getting enough sleep to keep up with both her and my toddler during the day and still wake up before the sun to get some work done.

I was nailing the whole business-owning, working mom of 2 thing…until I wasn’t. Mia stopped sleeping through the night about a month ago, and right around the same time, life seemed to amp up to a speed that I just haven’t been able to keep up with so far.

There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, my house is never clean enough, my to-do list is way too long, I’m always tired, and I feel like everything I do is only half done.

People constantly ask me how I “do it all” and from now on, I’m going to share this blog post with them. Because I know as moms we’ve all been at this point, and I’m clearly no exception.

Mia in the Fall

This is just a short season in my life, and I’m sure in a year I’ll look back at these photos and wish for squishy little baby cuddles again. But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard, and that it’s rainbows and butterflies every day.

I love my kids and I love my work, I just don’t love constantly feeling pulled between the two. And though I’m thankful to have a successful business, it’s hard not to resent an inbox full of emails when I just want to enjoy the weekend with my family.

Parker and Mia Reading Books

I’ve interviewed 40+ fellow music therapists — many of whom are also business owners and ALL of whom are moms — for my podcast, so by now I know there is no magic formula for balancing life and work. And that piece of knowledge does make me feel a tiny bit better, but it still doesn’t make life any easier.

I’m not writing this to complain; I suppose the reason I’m writing this is to make you feel better, especially if you were one of the people that thought I had it all together. And you know what? Admitting that I don’t is amazingly cathartic.


Fall is for Pumpkins and Coffee

by Rachel on October 20, 2015

Pumpkin patch

Parker is ob-sessed with all things Halloween. He carries around his pumpkin bucket and practices his trick-or-treat technique on a daily basis. His favorite show right now is the Halloween episode of Little Einsteins on Netflix. He talks nonstop about pumpkins, witches and ghosts.

It’s super cute how excited he is, even though I’m not a fan of Halloween. I can’t wait to take him out in his Olaf costume when it’s finally time to trick-or-treat for real. And then we’ll pack up all the Halloween stuff and move on to Frosty around the clock (he’s already made his appearance quite a few times so far this fall).

Parker at the Apple Barn

But for now, pumpkins. And more importantly, coffee. Mia is in the middle of a seemingly never-ending growth spurt, which means she has been waking up at least two times every night to eat. I get up at 5 am every day to do all the work I don’t have time for during normal-people hours, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for quality sleep.

So coffee it is. One cup in the morning while I pump and work on the computer, and another right before I go to work in the afternoon. At this point in Parker’s infancy I was drinking 3 per day, so I feel pretty good about limiting myself to 2.

Mia at the Apple Barn

Fall is also for working on lots of projects, continuing to grow my business, getting ready to attend the national music therapy conference, and trying not to get too overwhelmed by all of the above. All of it is good, it’s just a lot — which is pretty much the status quo of my life.


Tales from the “Potty Train”

by Rachel on September 10, 2015

Potty Training a 2-Year-Old

Truth: I dreaded potty training long before I even had kids. I am a total germaphobe, so the thought of taking my tiny child into a public restroom completely grossed me out.

Fast forward a few years to this week, where I found myself sitting Parker on a toilet in the women’s restroom at Busch Stadium. Was it gross? Yes. Did I cry a little inside when he insisted on flushing himself? Undoubtedly. But did I survive? Here I am writing this blog post.

The real truth is, potty training has been surprisingly easy. Parker was excited to wear his Olaf underwear, and pretty much understood the concept of staying dry and using the “potty train” (he is going through a total choo-choo phase right now, so his misunderstanding of the phrase has worked to our advantage) from day one.

We didn’t use any special method or books; what worked for Parker was spending a full 3 days at home with the potty in the living room as a constant reminder to use it.

There have been some accidents on occasion, but after a few weeks of training, I’m thrilled to say that I only have one child in diapers now. Funny, my spending at Target hasn’t decreased as significantly as I thought it would…

Having a potty-trained child is still a lot of work, between the nonstop reminders, incessant trips to the bathroom, and tush-wiping duty. And the thought of all the public restroom adventures in my future kind of makes my skin crawl, but I’ll get over it. Maybe.


This is My Self-Care

September 4, 2015

 Every week, I ask my podcast guests about their self-care practices. That is, what they do to nurture their spirits and recharge their batteries.  Some do yoga, others grow gardens…the list goes on. And then there are some who admit that this is an area where they fall short. I get it; I’m not good […]

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The Longest Shortest Time

August 25, 2015

You know that feeling you get when you look in your closet and are overwhelmed with so many choices that you just can’t make a decision, and end up in yoga pants and a t-shirt? (I used to know this feeling, back when I wasn’t dealing with a postpartum body and the clothes in my […]

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World Breastfeeding Week

August 5, 2015

This is the 3rd consecutive year I’ve celebrated World Breastfeeding Week by — wait for it — breastfeeding. We’ve attended the annual World Breastfeeding Week Zoo Walk, hosted by the West Central Illinois Breastfeeding Taskforce, each year since 2012, when I started providing musical entertainment during the event. In 2013, I was just a couple […]

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The Best Stage Yet

August 4, 2015

The other day, I took Parker and Mia over to my friend Crystal’s house for a playdate. She has four kids ranging from under 1 to 10 years old, so I pretty much consider her a seasoned expert on parenting. We were talking about how the time goes by so quickly, and she said something […]

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A Day in the Life With Two

July 12, 2015

I hate to admit it, but I dreaded those first few days at home alone with both Parker and Mia. Aside from the fact that I was still healing and exhausted from waking up several times a night, I had no idea how in the world to take care of two kids — both in […]

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Mia’s Newborn Photos

July 10, 2015

At just 5 days old, Mia was the perfect model for her newborn photo shoot — she slept the entire time! Our photographer, Tara Long, took advantage of her sleepiness by using lots of different fun props and even taking the shoot outside. I couldn’t believe that despite all the outfit and prop changes, Mia […]

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