Work/Life Balance

Staycation Recap

August 10, 2016


I was going to write this very detailed post about our staycation and then when I started gathering images I found the shots above and changed my mind.  These 3 random pictures of Maisie being silly while Mommy tried to convince her to wear a headband perfectly sum up why our staycation was awesome.

I’ll leave the play-by-play storytelling to my Instagram account.  Yes, we went to the aquarium.  We went to the beach 8 million times and the playground too.  We had lazy mornings, big family breakfasts and even went out to eat.  We got iced coffees and took Maisie for stroller walks in the late afternoon and, in the evenings, we sat on our deck sipping beers.  Most importantly, we (the royal we…Joe, Maisie and I…UGH fine Gillies too) were together.

It was the most amazing and restorative week I can ever remember having.  It was the happiest I can ever remember being.


Pics Post | About Today

April 10, 2016

You don’t have to read too far back on this blog of mine to know that I do a good deal of belly aching about our busy life and misaligned work schedules etc etc.  In an effort to balance out the negative with some positive here are a few pictures of today.

Today was our first “chill at home” day together in months.

Literally, months.

And it was everything.

And yet it was nothing.  The little nothings that becoming huge somethings when we have long stretches where days like this don’t exist.  Joe got his hair cut.  I returned some things at Target.  All three of us did a big grocery shop in the afternoon.  In the in-betweens we blasted music, played, made meals and just enjoyed being together.

Sigh.  My heart is so full tonight.

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I think I can, I think I can. I hope I can?

February 17, 2016


I am crawling towards the weekend Andy Dufresne style, because Joe is finally off on Saturday.

It’s been almost exactly 1 month since we’ve had a mutual day off.

1 month since Maisie has gotten to spend time with BOTH of her parents.  At the same time.

Instead of exchanging tidbits and saying things like “oh yeah, she does that for me too,” we can just enjoy her together.  We can laugh when she does something funny instead of trying to catch it on video for the other.

I am thankful each and every day to have this healthy child.  But I cannot keep this blog honest without documenting how hard it has been.  How my craving for time together as a family will turn into a physical ache if too much time passes.  My Mom would (and literally did) tell me to “pull up my bootstraps.”

But the issues I am facing were never her own.

Will I ever get to be the class Mom?  Who will take her to ballet or soccer practice?  How will I have time to make sure she is eating nutritious meals for dinner?

These are the thoughts that keep me awake at night.

I know that I need to work.   I know that there are probably more working Moms than stay at home Moms on Long Island.  I know and comprehend these things in my head.

But it’s not my head that’s hurting.

It’s my heart.

Welcome to the Machine

February 10, 2016


“Is it social media?”  Love this girl.  She is my sister.

Let me tell you why I love my best friend more than a friend.  Every time life has me down and I start thinking “Why is this so hard?  Is it me?  Am I a wimp?” she will send me a string of texts messages seemingly plucked from my own subconscious to reassure me that I’m not alone.

Because being a working Mom is hard.

Like, really really hard.

On both parents.

For me, it’s the always-there feeling like I’m being spread too thin.  So thin that I can’t really be good at anything.  Most days I feel like a mediocre Mom, wife, employee, business owner, sister, daughter and friend.  Most days I don’t know how the eff I’m doing it.

But that’s the crazy thing.  Somehow, I am doing it (and so is Kaitlin).  Ever since I became a Mother and even more so since returning to work last July, I’ve been so curious about how other families work.  Here is a glimpse into the well-oiled machine of our life.


Notice how “clean the bathroom” and “scrub the stove” aren’t on that list?  No?  You will the next time you come to our house 🙂


Cross-Post | Some Bittersweet News

December 15, 2015


7 Months Old and making decisions for her Mother already…

I blogged on my business page today with a bittersweet announcement:  I am no longer going to shoot weddings.

In addition to feeling myself being spread too thin and not being willing to continue to sacrifice 10 hours away from Maisie on weekend days, there is something else fueling this decision.  Maybe it’s silly but I can’t stop thinking about it…

For the longest time, I cried behind my camera whenever one of my brides was walking down the aisle.  Every bride.  Every wedding.  Tears!  What can I say?  I’m an emotional gal.

But since Maisie was born a funny thing has happened –  I stopped crying when the bride came down the aisle and started crying instead during the Father/Daughter dance.  A few fleeting thoughts of Joe and Maisie dancing together at her wedding someday and I’m sobbing between shutter clicks.

I won’t get too philosophical about the whole thing – but I think that right there sums it up.  I’m in a different season of life now and my passion and focus clearly got mixed up in the shuffle.

I used to shoot family sessions “on the side” of weddings.  Here’s to hoping I can make babies and young families my main focus.  I’m really excited about it and I feel like I have renewed fire and energy for my little business.


Fudging the Milestones

November 10, 2015


Why even crawl at all?  Our crazy girl is ready to RUN! (Photo courtesy of Tricia LaPonte Photography)

Confession time:  As Maisie rapidly approaches some big baby milestones I’m starting to get wayyyyyy anxious (as I tend to do) about the very real possibility that they will happen while I’m at work.

The other day her daycare summary sheet had a note that said “She’s thinking about crawling!” and it made my heart sing with pride.  I was also blindsided by an unexpected emotion…jealousy.  Being a working Mom can be so stinking complicated.  Maisie’s main minder on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays is like her surrogate Grandmother.  Judy lovesssss our girl and the feeling is mutual.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I love the level of intimacy our daycare provides.  I also really love working.  If the money fairy came to our house tomorrow and gave us millions of dollars – I honestly believe I would still work.

Things have been going so well with daycare, work and the balancing act as a whole…but there are always at least a few notes in that darn “cons” column, are there not?  Right now, the biggest, boldest item on that list is that in the next few months Maisie will crawl, walk and talk and Mommy or Daddy might not be there to see it.

I read an article once that was chock-full of advice for working Moms and one thing that really resonated was to give instructions to your daycare or nanny NOT to share any milestones that happen while you are at work.  I decided to swallow my pride, save myself from a sobbing session in the bathroom at the office and try this strategy out.

So when Maisie does decide to crawl, we will never know for sure if it’s truly for the first time.  I doubt that the uncertainty will make it any less exciting, but I guess I’ll find out sooner rather than later!

Hey Facebook, we need to talk…

October 19, 2015



I registered my Facebook profile over 10 years ago at the ripe old age of 19.  At the time, it was exclusively for college students.  Needless to say, I was instantly addicted.  I loved staying in touch with friends at other schools, stalking my ex-boyfriends at will and procrastinating doing schoolwork for hours on end.

Facebook has seen me through graduations, breakups, makeups, moves, getting engaged, getting married, finding out I was pregnant and Maisie being born.  It has been nice to share our life in real-time with far away family (and the other 378 people I ended up being “friends” with…but that’s neither here nor there).

However, there have been too many instances of Facebook causing more stress than good in my life lately.  I’ve caught myself zombie scrolling through my newsfeed instead of soaking in my baby girl, getting honked at because I’m “liking” a picture (that I don’t even really like) instead of driving after the light turns green and, worst of all, Facebook has created issues with family members on more than one occasion.

So today I am taking the first step towards breaking an addiction.  I am admitting I have a problem.

My name is Catherine and I am 100% addicted to Facebook.  I’m addicted to being on Facebook instead of spending time with my baby and husband.  I’m addicted to feeling jealous of others and comparing my life to theirs and I’m addicted to trying to project a perfect and false image of my own life.  

That’s the weirdest part about Facebook now, no?  It’s not even Facebook anymore, it’s KeepingUpWithTheJones’sBook.  And I’m so guilty of it.

Here’s an example from yesterday:

What my Facebook friends see:  An adorable photo of Maisie “helping” me make cookies.  How cozy!  Life sure is swell when you’re me.

What is actually happening:  I’m trying to survive a 12 hour day alone with a cranky and teething 5 month old.  I also have an endless to-do list (none of which is getting done because of said teething 5 month old), work in the morning and I’m getting a cold.  The house is freezing so I turn on the oven and look for anything to make.  Instant cookies from last Christmas that are about to expire?  Sure!


Here we are.  I have deactivated my Facebook account indefinitely.  I deleted the app off my phone.  My immediate emotions were relief and freedom.  Yay!  That lasted about 5 minutes before the withdrawal started.  Stay tuned for updates on this detox mission.

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

October 13, 2015

BABY BOOM, Kristina/Michelle Kennedy, Diane Keaton, 1987

Joe and I are constantly hustling in 5 different directions, passing the baby back and forth while we (I) try not to have a stress-induced breakdown at every turn.  Lately, there hasn’t been much time to stop and enjoy this life we are working so hard to afford and maintain.

A few weeks ago I posted about being so excited to take Maisie to a pumpkin patch but unfortunately there hasn’t been a day (or even half a day!) that we have been able to go.  Last night we looked at the calendar for the rest of the month and it was clear – it’s just not going to happen this year.  A small disappointment in the grand scheme of things, I know, but to me it feels significant.  I will admit that I tend to over dramatize but, C’MON, what is the point of any of it – the schedule juggling, the planning, the stress of it all – if we can’t even take our baby girl to pick out her first pumpkin?

Anyway, with horrible montages of rush hour traffic and the insane price of living on Long Island in my mind, I keep daydreaming about moving to the middle of nowhere and sloowwwwinnggg things down.  I could run my business part time while Joe wears plaid everyday and becomes the town handyman…pick up truck mandatory.  Of course it’s easy to romanticize and not think about the friends and family we would be forced to leave behind – but the truth of the matter is when it comes to our daily grind – we are on our own anyway.  Why not be on our own in a place where we can afford to take a deep breath and spend time together as a family?

I’m 87% sure it’s just a fleeting feeling.  But if it’s not – I’d love suggestions!  Have you relocated your family somewhere completely different in search of a lifestyle adjustment?  Tell me everything!

The Framework of my Frazzled Mind | Life as a Working Mom

October 1, 2015


Monday – I have a brain!  It works and everything!  There isn’t any baby vomit on my clothes!  My daughter is seeing me as an intelligent, educated and productive member of society.  ROLE MODEL STATUS!

Tuesday – I miss the baby, but I love working and seeing other grown up human beings so much.  I wonder how she’s doing?

Wednesday – This day is dragging and the commute is absolutely KILLING me.  I love working but I don’t think I’m spending enough quality time with Maisie.  I hope she’s okay.

Thursday – I miss my baby so much it hurts.  It’s hard to look at the pictures Joe is sending from home.  Does she even know I’m her Mom???

Friday – MY BABY!!!! So excited to snuggle this girl all day while I work from home.  Maybe I’ll look at the finances again – if we get rid of one of the cars and sell everything we own maybe just maybe we can afford for me to stay home with her.

Saturday – Jeez she is getting heavy.  My arms hurt.  My back hurts.  I just noticed I haven’t shaved my legs in almost a month.  Love these days together though.  I love my little family.

Sunday – UGHHHH it’s only 11 am!?  9 more hours until Joe gets home from work.  Should I throw Maisie in the carseat and drive to Floral Park?  Maybe one of my friends is around and can meet me somewhere halfway?  Can’t wait to go to work tomorrow.  I’M A HORRIBLE MOTHER – what Mother wants a break from her own baby?




A friend asked me recently how things are going with work & Maisie being at daycare a few days a week.  The only response I could muster was…”it’s complicated.”  SO complicated!  My feelings literally depend on the day of the week.  Can any other working Moms relate?


September 16, 2015


I’m feeling very overwhelmed and exhausted this week.  Last night my Mom called me as I was editing photos (after working all day, picking up Maisie from daycare and then getting her to bed while Joe worked a closing shift) and I lost my marbles, which typically happens about half of the time I talk to my Mom.  Poor Jan.  I will get mine someday…if Maisie has inherited even 5% of my flair for the overdramatic, I will get mine.

Anyway, I woke up today resolved to turn my frown upside down.  What has always helped me to chill the ‘eff out in moments of panic or when things just seem impossible is to simplify everything down to the only things that really matter:  Do I have a healthy, beautiful baby girl?  A husband that loves me even when I don’t deserve it?  Is there a roof over my head?  Are the bills being paid?  Is everyone I love healthy and safe?  YES? THEN EVERYTHING IS FINE.

Just gotta keep swimming.

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