Born-again rookie mom: Christine Koh

by Heather Flett on February 16, 2011

in Boston,Having 2+ kids,Momoirs of a Rookie Mom,Pregnancy,Prenatal

Christine Koh lives in the Boston area with her husband and 6-year-old daughter and is expecting a second daughter in March 2011. She is a recovering academic, designer, relay runner as well as a good friend. She tweets about it all at @bostonmamas.

I asked her a few questions about her experiences and expectations as a born-again rookie mom. We define a born-again rookie as a parent whose youngest child is school-age.

Tell us what are 3 things you’re excited about trying that weren’t around when Laurel was born.

Well, the three top things I’m excited about trying were, in fact, around when Laurel was born but I didn’t take advantage of them. Hands down, the first is (successful) bottle feeding — not only to give me a little freedom but so Jon and Laurel can enjoy feeding the baby. I was woefully lazy about introducing the bottle to Laurel — we didn’t get around to it until she was 3 months old and by that time she was like, “Um, no, Mom, that’s so not happening.” I’m still not wild about pumping but hopefully this time around my liquid gold will actually get used, not just tossed down the sink after refused attempts! It’s so funny…Laurel has been saying, “Mom, don’t be lazy about the bottle this time around because I want to feed my baby sister!”

The second thing I’m excited to try is mom/baby yoga classes. I’ve become very dedicated to yoga in the last few years and I want to keep it up after the baby is born — it just feels so good to stretch everything out and I’m curious to see how it would go with a baby. I thought about trying classes with Laurel but never got around to it.

And the third thing I want to try is running with a jogging stroller. As Heather well knows, I started running about a year and a half ago and one of my most incredible experiences of 2010 was participating in a 200-mile relay with the Eat. Blog. Run. team. The team plans on regrouping in 2011 and I’m hoping I can get myself ready in time with the help of a jogging stroller. One of my girlfriends is throwing me a baby shower and I requested a recycled/secondhand shower (though I’m also welcoming fresh diapers since we’ll obviously need lots of those!) — I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone has a jogging stroller they no longer want!

Do you have any new fears or concerns?

I’ve actually found myself remarkably Zen about this pregnancy and upcoming delivery. I mean, yes, of course our lives will change a lot and there are some logistical concerns (for example, I really should look into some child care help sometime soon…), but otherwise, I’m feeling super laid back and happy about it all — both in my upcoming role as a mother of two and professionally. I think it helps that my professional life fits so much better with my role as a mom than it did when I was working on my postdoctoral fellowship while pregnant with Laurel. Back then I was surrounded by men at Harvard and MIT and there was a very clear sense that the (professional) clock was ticking and that I was screwing myself by making the choice to become a mom. It was really depressing.

What will your first outing be? Do you want to join us on our RM challenge?

OK, this is going to sound totally crazy, but when I think “outing” I think trip, and when I think trip, I think about Mom 2.0 in April! Part of me feels as if it wouldn’t be such a big deal to travel with a 4-week-old, and of course everyone else tells me I’m totally crazy. I guess I just loved the conference and people so much last year that it pains my heart to think about missing the action this year. I suppose I should keep reminding myself that it would not be the same experience with giant leaky boobs and a newborn in tow!

On a more local scope, I think your Rookie Moms challenge is wonderful; I completely agree that it helps to have outings — when Laurel was a baby I felt that I needed to get out at least once a day, even if it was a walk around the neighborhood or a visit to my parent’s house. I always felt a little deflated on the days where I hadn’t gone out and I literally could not recall a single thing I had done all day!

More specifically, given that I love cafe culture and all things crafty, your Week 1 (pretend you’re in Europe) and Week 4 (visit the fabric store) challenges totally speak to me! I was very lucky when Laurel was born in that a lot of my local girlfriends were having kids at the same time and there was no shortage of play dates. And admittedly, I also never went to mom’s groups because the concept felt too hard and a little exhausting — as in, “Ugh, what if it’s clique-y? What if I don’t connect with anyone?” However, a couple of things have happened since then… first, I’ve learned that no matter how different, a mom is a mom — we won’t all agree on how to parent but we all have a common language. And second, I’ve heard wonderful things about mom’s groups at places such as Isis Parenting. (Disclosure: I knew about them back when Laurel was a baby but only shopped there… now I do some advisory work for them and truly have deep admiration for the educational and social resources they provide for parents.) There’s an Isis less than a mile from my home — just think, I could run with the baby in a jogging stroller and meet some new moms at a mom/baby yoga class!

Do you have any questions for our readers?

I’d actually love to hear from your readers about their favorite cloth diapers. Jon and I cloth diapered Laurel for about 6 months (we used cloth when at home and disposable when out and about…we’ll probably try to do something similar this time around) but we were using old fashioned diapers (a cover, liner, and rectangular tri-fold diaper) and a service (thank you in-laws!) and we probably would have gone a lot longer if we had modern cloth diapers that were better constructed and could be laundered at home. The old fashioned ones just got so messy and became impossible to line up as Laurel got squirmier. The technology has evolved so much and I’d love to hear about favorite brands and styles.

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Christine Koh completed her Ph.D. and postdoctoral fellowship in music and brain science before hanging up her academic spurs to become a writer, editor, designer, and creative consultant. She is the founder and editor of Boston Mamas, the designer behind Posh Peacock, writes a personal blog at Pop Discourse, pens the column Minimalist Mama, and hosts the talk video show Life.Style with Christine Koh.

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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