5 Questions: SPPR Moms

In honor of Mother’s Day, we wanted to take a moment this week to celebrate our amazing SPPR Mamas. Being a working Mom means juggling morning meetings with midnight feedings and our Founder + Owner Dyan Dolfi-Offutt and Administrative Contractor, Jennie Palluzzi do it with grace and style. Today they get real about navigating the transition back from maternity leave and how to take care of yourself as well as your little one.

Dyan Dolfi-Offutt: SPPR Founder + Owner

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Dyan & 13-month-old Ryder

How has becoming a Mom affected how you work?

In so many ways but the biggest shifts have been 1) quality vs. the quantity of hours: as a working Mom, I must be very intentional and focused with my hours in the office. I’ve learned the times of day that are the most productive and give myself grace if I need to take a break to reset 2) my newly complicated relationship with inefficiency: I’m more of a stickler for setting a desired outcome and hard stop for meetings now. Over the last 6 months, I’ve put processes in place to be more intentional with my time. and 3) embracing delegation-  my team has stepped up and grown tremendously over the last year. It took me years to get here but delegation is vital to keep things moving.

Lastly, having Ryder put my career into perspective. SPPR was my first baby and at times, I had an unhealthy attachment to my work. I do my best to approach setbacks and change with patience now. It’s so refreshing!

True Life: How hard was it going back to work? Do you have any advice to give other Mom’s transitioning back into their careers?

I’m leaning into the “truth” of the prompt because my guess is more working mother’s experience the extreme stress of going back to work but want to downplay for various reasons. Babies are still very dependent on their mothers at 3 months and most aren’t sleeping through the night. Getting up for night feedings and then functioning during the day was brutal. And it physically hurt leaving him all day at first because we had spent every waking minute together. Also, socially I was out of practice talking or thinking of anything that wasn’t baby so interacting with my team and clients was challenging. I suffered from a tremendous amount of insecurity for months post-maternity leave.

The good news is you slowly start to get your groove back each day. My advice for the transition is to lower your expectations, take it day by day, and give yourself space to work out the complicated emotions that come with adding the pace of work back into your new normal. I promise it gets easier and the rewards of having a work family and home family makes the chaos of it all worth it.

What are your top 3 brands that have carried you throughout motherhood so far?

Burt’s Bee’s – these One-Piece Bodysuits were my go-to for over six months. We had super cute/trendy clothes too but when you’re sleep deprived and getting spit up on regularly, these are a lifesaver. Fawn Design Diaper Bag – I get asked about my diaper bag often from moms and non-moms – it’s stylish and functional. I’ve even gifted the mini option to family members. Get Moore Sleep – I found Maggie on Instagram while researching sleep training. Her tips and guides taught me so much about sleep cycles, wake windows, nap transitions, etc.  Guiding Ryder to be an independent sleeper was hard work, but it paid off big. My husband and I got our evenings back and Ryder was happier because he was on a consistent nap and nighttime schedule.

Myth Buster: What is the weirdest parenting trick you’ve tried and did it work?

Being silly. Ryder loves when I do funny voices while changing this diaper or when he’s having a tantrum. The other day, he was NOT having it when I tried to change his  diaper. I pulled a very bad impression of Luminar from Beauty and the Beast out of thin air. At first he looked at me like I was crazy but then started to laugh. Then I laughed which made him laugh louder. The end game was a clean bottom and fresh diaper. Mom magic!

What’s your favorite memory that you’ve shared with your little one so far?

Everyday there is a new memory you want to savor and take a mental picture of (or 50 pictures and videos a day with your iPhone #guilty). Growing up, music was very important to me and I love sharing my love of music with Ryder. If you watched the Billboard Music Awards and you were a teen of the 90s like me, Paula Abdul’s performance was EVERYTHING. The next day, I played her biggest hit Straight Up for Ryder and embarrassingly tried to mimic her dance routine. Ryder was absolutely memorized. He scooted and grooved alongside me and every time I did a hair flip (mandatory diva dance move!) he hysterically laughed. The kind of laugh that could bring world peace it was so pure and joyous. My goal is to continue to provide and foster an environment for him to play, laugh, learn and be super goofy.

Jennie Palluzzi- Administrative Contractor

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Jennie & 19-month-old Evie

How has becoming a Mom affect how you work?

How hasn’t it? Hah! I have always been a go-getter who can’t sit still; I’ve managed a food blog since 2009, so I always had “work” after work. Becoming a mom meant I had to equal parts rally and step back – I had to work on self care (sleeping/eating/exercising enough) but also had to push through the exhaustion for the first year to find a way to coexist with the fact that this little person needs my attention and could at any moment need me fully. You can’t hit the snooze button on a one and a half year old.

My ability to “push through” is balanced with the fact that at 3 am Evie might wake me up. So I try to stop working by 9 pm and give myself an hour to unwind before bed. I try to be in bed by 10:30. I’ve also gotten better at really working when I’m “on the clock” and walking away even when there’s more to be done – because there’s always more to be done. I don’t save lives in my work, so I recognize that I need to take my work seriously, but not let every “fire drill” rule my life.

True Life: How hard was it going back to work? Do you have any advice to give other Mom’s transitioning back into their careers?

When I made a decision at the end of my maternity leave to not go back to my job, I was worried about what was ahead and if I could craft a job that really worked for me. I started slow; at 3 months, I worked part time with a client I had worked with in the past who told me to call her when I was ready to get back at it. Then, I signed my first retainer client at 5 months when another friend-turned-client saw my value. Slowly I built a client list, and after 17 months, I’m at a full-time capacity and Evie has transitioned into full-time daycare.

As for advice, it’s never one-size-fits-all. I thought I wanted to be a stay-at-home parent, as I’d been a nanny/babysitter since I was 11; turns out, it wasn’t for me. Let yourself breathe, let yourself change your mind, and try to put yourself first. If you’re not taking care of you, you can’t take care of anyone else. Talk to other moms you know, your partner if you have one, and other moms in your industry, and try to check in with yourself about your career. Don’t judge yourself by others; what works for one doesn’t always work for another.

What are your top 3 brands that have carried you throughout motherhood so far?

Primary Clothing – their stuff is so cute and non-gendered and I love it all. I definitely love buying clothes for Evie more than I ever enjoyed buying them for myself! Burts Bees Baby – their baby products are great for Evie’s sensitive skin, from their sheets to their diaper rash cream and shampoo/soap combo. Third, all of Evie’s favorite toys are from Melissa & Doug – they are mostly primary colors, gender neutral, and encourage lots of imaginative play. Evie’s current favorite thing is to pretend to clean, so we got her a broom/cleaning kit from M&D – now if she’d just learn to vacuum!

Myth Buster: What is the weirdest parenting trick you’ve tried and did it work?

I don’t even know how this happened, but it works for us: whenever I want to take something from Evie (turn off the TV, a book she’s likely to rip, a breakable coaster she’s gotten her hands on) I just say, “OK it’s time for XYZ to leave! Say bye XYZ!” and it usually works. Yesterday I told her that her learning tower (basically a baby step stool) had to go down for a nap, and she said “Bye tower!” whereas if I just took it from her she’d have a major meltdown. It’s working for now, so I don’t question it!

What’s your favorite memory that you’ve shared with your little one so far?

My current favorite memory (ask me again tomorrow) is this little moment we shared when she had just turned 19 months. She had lost a puzzle piece, and we couldn’t find it. I asked her to go into her room to see if it was in there, and she went and looked for a couple of minutes. Finally, she came back empty handed but with a HUGE smile on her face. She handed me an imaginary puzzle piece and said, “Here go!” I just thought, wow, your brain is learning at such a break-neck speed. What a cool moment. You’ve literally imagined the problem away. Kids are freaking incredible.

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