Moms Make it Work: Kim from New York

Today we have Kim posting for the Moms Make it Work series. Kim is a blog reader who contacted me and asked if she could post on the series even though she doesn't have a blog of her own (yet). I gladly agreed and love getting a peek into the lives of readers who don't usually share it on the internet. We are moving through the third month of posting on this series and I feel like each poster is still contributing something different, since we all have such different situations. Enjoy Kim's post and let us know if there is anything specific you want covered in other upcoming posts. One commenter wanted to know specifically how other moms handle meals/meal planning. Anything else I should pass along to our next posters?


Renee Hall Photography

Hi! My name is Kim and I am a full time music teachin’ working mama to my husband Greg, and our two kids, Ethan (2.5) and Meredith (1). I instagram @RaisinKanes, and am excited to start a blog very soon on I hope you’ll take the time to read when I start to post! I have been a blog lurker for years and until I wrote this post, I never realized how much work goes into the wonderful posts you all create. Thank you for taking the time to write your blogs- they have helped to reassure and inspire me!

Happily Eating a Vegetable!

What is your background story? What was your career/schooling before you became a mom? And now where are you?

Ever since 3rd grade, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I had the most inspiring teacher in third grade, Mrs. Brady. Looking back, I think her way of teaching grabbed my learning style just perfectly. I went through my schooling continuing to be inspired by my teachers, and in high school I had a group of music teachers that really took me under their wing and helped me discover that music education was the right pathway for me. So, I entered music school at a state college as a bass clarinet music education major. Yes, you read right, bass clarinet. I like to stand out. Just a little, to be noticed, to be something different. There are only a few bass clarinets in a band, and I was drawn to that. I loved all that music education had to offer. It was what I was meant to do for a profession. I added on a performance degree because, well, I was young, and didn’t have anything else to do in a town that averaged around 10 degrees for the high approximately ½ of the school year.

As if I wasn’t busy enough practicing 6+ hours a day on top of my regular coursework during my freshman year, I decided to volunteer on a committee that helped out with the audition days at the college for prospective music students. The volunteers gave college tours of the music school to the students before they went and auditioned. Since I was a freshman, I was paired up with an older, much more mature, senior student for the tour. Enter, MrGregKane.

Head cut off?
Should have splurged on the other photographer!

It was January. Greg had just finished his student teaching experience so I had not come across him until this day. He stood there, in jeans, a dress shirt, and a tie, all which were probably from Structure, and probably are still in his closet, but that’s a different post for a different time (Title post- My Husband is a Walking Throwback Thursday, 7 Days a Week). Anyway, he had a travel mug in his hand, and as a freshman, I just thought that was the coolest thing. I nearly tripped over myself three times during the tour because I was so infatuated with this guy. I obviously was just some freshman girl that was nowhere near this guy’s playing field, and at the end of the tour, that was that. Until the spring semester started. After auditions that semester, I was placed in Wind Ensemble. There was only one other freshman in wind ensemble that semester and so I didn’t really know anyone in the ensemble. At the first rehearsal, I was sitting there, putting my bass together, when in walked MrGregKane. OMG. Thankfully I didn’t trip over myself this time because that would have been an expensive fall, but I knew this was some sort of sign.

We were both dating other people and Greg went on to graduate and take a teaching position downstate. The next spring, Greg invited me to “play a concert for his students,” and that was that. I worked extra hard to finish my degrees a semester early, and proceeded to move in with said boy. We dated for a few more years, and then tied the knot in 2007.

We eventually landed jobs teaching music in the same district, and completed our masters degrees, which are a requirement for NYS teachers. We built private lesson studios, and I started teaching Music Play classes for babies and their caregivers, a passion of mine. I also got involved in GIML and was nominated to serve as the Early Childhood Chair on the NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) Classroom Music Committee. We knew that we wanted to have children soon, so we started trying in 2010. After a loss at 7 weeks in September 2010, we became pregnant in December 2010 and had Ethan in August 2011. My platelet count was too low to have an epidural, so yeah, that was a day. We really like him.

Ethan is the happiest human being I’ve ever met. He is either laughing, making someone else laugh, or having a tantrum, because, right, he’s 2 ½. It took some time to get the sleeping thing down with him when he was first born, but by 4 months, we were getting things figured out and he finally slept through the night around 8 months. I owe it all to the miracle blanket, and Dr. Weissbluth’s book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” I stayed home with Ethan until he was 8 months old. That year, it was extremely warm for Western NY and we hardly had any snow or days that were below 40. It was amazing. We were outside taking walks, I didn’t have to worry about bundling him up super warm when we would go out to the store, and he didn’t even get sick. I loved every minute of being at home. I love to cook and clean (yeah, I know, that’s annoying), and loved being able to take Ethan through the journey of solid foods through cooking for him. The other thing that Ethan likes to do besides smile? Eat. Holy crap, you guys. I don’t think he’s ever been full! He will eat just about anything and ask for more. He may have gotten that trait from me, so I can completely relate to him. Husband’s biggest pet peeve about me? Having a conversation with him about the next meal we’re going to eat while we’re eating our present meal. I chalk it up to my Italian roots. Hmmm. Italian roots? With cheese?

We got baby fever when Ethan was around 11 months and we welcomed our second child, Meredith in April 2013. We really like her too. :-)

Props to my husband's photo skills!
You can follow him on flickr

Meredith was a very easy baby until she was 4 months old. She started sleeping through the night around 2 months and her morning naps would last 3 ½ hours. I’m serious. What the what?! We would put Meredith down for her nap and Ethan and I would play outside together for 2 hours. Then he would go down for his mega afternoon nap which usually lined up with another nap for her. Was this really real? How could life be so wonderfully wonderful? I felt so lucky and guilty that things were going so well for our family while I knew friends that were struggling with sleep or eating issues with their little ones. I could only take a few months off from school, including the summer, with Meredith because of seniority issues at school. So in September, when Meredith was 5 months old, I went back to school. You know what lines right up with turning 5 months old? Teeth, and a sleep regression.

The dream was over. Meredith started waking up 3-5 times a night with terrible gas pains, wanting only to nurse, and only me holding her. She also started breaking out of her swaddle blanket. She is a lonnnnggggg baby and would kick herself out of it. Sigh. Thankfully, Ethan stayed pretty par for the course, but guys, I was tired. Exhausted. Crazy? I didn’t even know how I was functioning some mornings. When Mere popped her first two teeth at the beginning of September, it all made sense why she was waking up so I was hopefully she would go back to her dreamy, sleepful ways. Right.

This continued on for 4 months. Most nights it was 3 wakeups, but there were still a few nights here and there where she would wake up 5 times a night. The teeth kept coming. 8 teeth by time she was 8 months old. And you know what she did with them? Bite me. She was so young there was no way I could figure out to get her to understand not to bite me while nursing. I turned into an exclusive pumper (aside from overnight sessions) when Mere was around 7 months. I pumped 2 times at home and two times at school. It took a lot of time. It was stressful. It was discouraging to hear my friends pump massive amounts of milk at a session when I was barely making ends meet. But I’m glad I did it. I stopped pumping at 10 months and I’m also glad I did that.

We finally let Mere cry it out about a month ago and she’s finally starting to sleep through the night again, although I’m pretty sure her molars are creeping up us on. This too shall pass. This too shall pass.

What are the best parts of your situation? What are the biggest challenges?

I think the best part of our situation is that both Greg and I have “summers off!” So I kind of still get to be a SAHM ¼ of the year…and so does my husband! It’s really pretty glorious. It is amazing to be on the same schedule as my husband. We have the same hours, breaks, and snow days (J). With this kind of schedule we are able to spend time together as a family quite often.

The hours that we teach at school line up with the kids’ schedules really nicely too. We’re out the door by 7:15 and home around 4:30. We have a 30 minute commute which is getting annoying (especially in the snow- blah!) but that’s going to change soon because we just received an offer on our home yesterday (eeeeeeeee!!!!!). Getting home at 4:30 is so nice because it gives us a few hours to spend with the kids before their bedtime.

One of the biggest challenges for me right now is daycare. We have a wonderful in-home daycare provider who has many years of experience. The kids love it there. There’s a new theme each week with crafts, snacks that are related to what they’re learning about, field trips, and toys that are constantly changing so there’s always something new. This causes me to second guess the type of parent I’m being. They learn so much at daycare and I think to myself, “I don’t think I would have thought to teach them that,” or “Am I doing enough at home to help my children develop at the rate they should?”

Then there’s the side of me that gets all “mama bear” when it comes to sleeping and eating. I’m a sleep nazi and I get really ticked when something or someone messes with my kids’ sleep schedules. Meredith doesn’t get the best naps at daycare because all of the other kids are on 1 nap and she’s still on 2. So while she’s napping in one room, there are 4 other kids playing and it results in a short nap. And then she’s overtired for her 2nd nap, so that’s short. So she’s exhausted by time we’re on our 30 minute drive home which usually results in a cat nap in the car, which creates a weird “when is bedtime now?” kinda thing, which usually results in an overtired child, which usually results in a child who wakes up at night. See? I’m way too crazy about this and need to relax a little bit, but I know she would be soooooo much happier if she was able to get the rest she needed at the right times of day. I just keep trying to tell myself that in a few months she’ll be down to one nap and things will be much better.

Is this how you expected it to be pre-kids?

I guess I had a more fantasized version of what it would be like with kids. Oh, the innocence. My parents were young when they had my sister and I and my mom stayed home with us. I envisioned the same thing for Greg and I, having kids as soon as we got married and being able to stay home with them, but our lifestyle and career paths took us down a road that would have us wait to have children for a few years. Looking back at the young, newly married me, I’m so glad that we waited. I needed those years to thrive at my position at school and learn who I was as a person.

Is this your ideal situation? If not, what is?

A friend of mine shared something the other that really sunk in for me; A job pays the bills, but a career makes you happy. Teaching music is not a job to me. I usually will refer to my job as going to school, not work. Teaching is something that makes me happy and I don’t think I would stop teaching 100%. If it were a perfect world, I’d teach part-time at school, teach early childhood music classes year round (I only teach in the summer now), and be home with the kids the rest of the time. I feel very fortunate to be teaching in a great district with colleagues that are more than just the people I teach with, and love that I get to teach with my husband.

Do you see yourself making a career change in the next 5-10 years, or is this current set up staying put for the long haul?

With the climate of public school education lately, who knows if they’ll even be music in schools in 10 years…isn’t that a frightening thought?! By returning to work when I did after having Meredith, it keeps my employment very secure. However, if my husband and I both lose our jobs, we’re going to open a restaurant. Anytime one of us makes something that’s pretty tasty, we say, “add it to the menu!” I can bake up some mean treats, but when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I fail every.time. I’m sure that will be a blog post in the future.

Tips on how you make this work for you?

PLAN AHEAD. I have learned to become very proactive and try my best to stay one stead ahead of everything. I develop routines for everything, which is super annoying, especially if you’re my husband and try to help out by putting the dishes in the dishwasher, yet those dishes were supposed to be hand washed in 30 minutes after I finished cutting the fruit and why did you put the sponge facedown on the drying rack, OMG?! (Poor guy). I do have a little bit of a hard time letting go of control (you’ve noticed, haven’t you? I controlled you to think that way).

We are quickly outgrowing our house and with two musicians comes many instruments, music equipment, and many, many, many, pieces of music (don’t worry, we have spaces for soccer balls and baseball bats too). Our house can throw up in a matter of minutes and it makes me crazy. I stay calm by telling myself that “everything has a place,” and to “just keep moving.” I could stand there and stress out about the fact that there is stuff everything and this place looks like a pigsty, or I could take a deep breath, and know that at one point my house was clean, and it will be clean again. At our house we have the “midday cleanup” (nap time) and we clean again after the kids go to bed. I clean things in the same order (how did someone marry me?) and on those days when I stand there and tell myself that it seems like it will never be clean (I call this nap paralysis), I “just keep moving” and tell myself that even completing the smallest task is still better than not completing a task at all. There will be knick knacks or clothes lying around which would probably be just fine sitting there for another day but then it will bother me. “Everything has a place” and so I put it away. The house is clean and I feel good and when mama’s happy- everyone’s happy.

Now I know that sounds borderline cuckoo and you’re thinking, “why can’t this girl just relax?” and I’ve tried experimenting with letting go a little, but it’s just not me. And I think that’s what this series for. I respect and envy some of the lifestyles that you moms live out there and at the same time I feel like telling my story might make another mom feel okay for wanting to obsessively clean her house all the time. I’m learning it’s important to be the person you want to be for yourself and your family, and see that you carry out those expectations.

As far as dealing with all of the baby drama and sleep issues, my mantra since Ethan was a newborn was “this too shall pass.” Meredith won’t always wake up multiple times at night (she won’t right?), Ethan won’t always use a pacifier for sleeping, I don’t always have to change two kids’ diapers and buckle two kids in carseats...this too shall pass. And while I’m waiting for those moments to pass, I’m telling myself at the same time to stop and notice what good we have in our children and how the cuddles won’t last forever.

How do you handle mommy guilt that comes with each role?

When I’m at school I’m a music teacher, and when I’m at home I’m a mom. My kids at school mean a ton to me. When I’m there I give them everything that I’ve got and I strive everyday to not only help them reach their musical potential, but to provide them with the tools they need to flourish as outstanding citizens of the community and the world around them. I use the time that I have at school everyday to do as much work as I can to accomplish this goal. Whatever I don’t accomplish that day, will have to wait until the next day when I’m back in “teacher mode.”

The same is true for being a mom. When I’m with my kids, I give them everything I’ve got. Sure, there are times (too many lately) where my kids are playing and I’m on my phone catching up on Facebook or Pinterest, but I try to tell myself that I may regret this later on and I’ll have time to myself after they go to bed.


Advice for new moms struggling with returning to work outside of the home? Or struggling to decide if staying home is the right choice?

Try to make the best out of the situation you’re in. When I was forced to go back to work earlier than I wanted to, I tried to think of the positives. What would I look forward to by going back to work? There were adults! I would be able to eat lunch without sharing with my toddler! Bathrooms have doors? With the money I’m making by going back to work I can buy things! By lunchtime I would tell myself that I would be picking up my kids before I knew it.

Whatever choice you make, it will be the right one.

A special thanks to Julia for hosting this guest blogging series!


  1. Dr. Weissbluth's book was huge for me, too. We also had the drive home induced sleep problem and would put her right to bed when I got home at 6 pm. Any sleep after 4 or 5 pm would mean disaster if woken up and then having to do bedtime after that... Good luck with your home sale!

  2. I like you! Working, nursing/pumping, let-the-babies-cry-it-out, slightly-cuckoo mama - I think we'd be pals. ;) You have really cute kids - love their names! Meredith is on my girls' name list, but hubs isn't wild about it. Clearly I have better taste than he does.

    Will totally read your blog once you start it! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I had to laugh at the "sleep nazi" piece. I am the SAME way. I think people think I'm crazy. But I had 6 months of maternity leave and I worked freaking hard to get Zoe to take good naps and go to bed at 7:30pm for the night. I don't want anyone messing that up! Since I was off during the long, Michigan, winter months, that was the one thing I knew I could work on since we could rarely get outside. Then she went to daycare and her normal naps were 30 minutes. What?! I love the place she's at, but it was frusterating to say the least. Fortunately, in talking to other mom friends, it's definitely the norm (but didn't make me feel much better). Thankfully, we've since moved past that phase and her daycare naps are much better now that she's down to one nap a day.

  4. Great post! I love your, "this too shall pass" mantra. My neighbor always says, "she won't be doing this when I send her off to college," I think with much the same intent.

  5. I totally remember that nap phase with both kids at daycare where they weren't on 1 nap yet - so hard!!! Both kids were SO cranky after daycare then and it sucked. Ugh! Thankfully both of mine were basically forced to 1 nap very early so it was a short phase, but does NOT feel short when you're in it!

  6. Awesome post! You are a great writer and hysterical, plus your kids are so cute! Please blog so I can read it all the time. Good luck with selling your house and hopefully it warms up for us soon!

  7. Can't wait for your blog! I haven't a musically inclined bone in my body aside from the love of listening. I am in awe of all those that can play. Loved reading!


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