I remember talking to a friend with a six month old right before I was due with Hudson, and she asked how I was feeling. I was beyond ready. I had taken weeks of birth classes, prepped my birth plan, packed my hospital bag, installed the car seat, and organized our birth announcement list. (Huddy decided to arrive fashionably late eleven days later, but that’s a story for a different time). The point is… I felt soo prepared, but I was talking to someone who had just lived through her own birth experience just a few months ahead of me so I asked her what she wished she knew before she had given birth. She described her entire labor, and my jaw was on the floor by the end. There was so much I didn’t know…. The bloody show, after birth pains while breastfeeding, mucus plugs, your first post birth poop. Why had no one explained all of this to me before?!?! This eye opening, real talk conversation was exactly what I needed and wanted to feel really prepared for my first delivery and beyond. Don’t get me wrong, I love writers and influencers who celebrate motherhood and all of its joys, but I love mamas who don’t shy away from the grueling, exhausting, and gross realities that come with it. And when it comes to real talk, no one does it better than Caitlin Murray, the mom behind the BigTimeAdulting instagram handle. After following her for years it was such a pleasure to sit down and chat, and now I’m just an even bigger fan.
Watch + Listen to the whole conversation:
Caitlin’s world got turned upside down when her son got sick just before Christmas. Something in her gut said it wasn’t just a normal fever; that something might be really wrong with Callum. Following his cancer diagnosis, Caitlin started a small blog to share updates on their battle with cancer with family and friends. Eventually she realized that the blog served two purposes, yes, it kept others up to speed, but it also proved to be a much needed outlet for Caitlin on a personal level. That blog was the start of BigTimeAdulting, and soon she added the Instagram profile that’s become a must-follow for 70,000+ moms who laugh and cry right along with her. Her #momdance videos have reached millions, and although we may come for the comedy, we stay for the real talk. How does Caitlin do it all? Putting one foot in front of the other and affirming that she is doing the best she can – both for herself and for her kids.
Did you always know that you wanted to have three kids?
I did. Yeah, I nearly killed myself having the third child. It was such a tough transition from 2 to 3. But now that it’s happened and its done, I’m so delighted that we went for it. It was a big decision for us too, particularly everything that we’ve already been through with my son- to have a baby while he was still in treatment was a bit of an unknown factor. We weren’t quite out of the woods with him yet and we didn’t know if it was going to be too much to handle. But in the end we went for it and I’m just really grateful that we did it and that we went for it when we did because I was getting older. He was born when I was on the cusp of turning 37 which is not crazy- certainly women are having babies into their forties now- but I felt that my body was feeling pretty beat up.
You mentioned how your son was in treatment. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
My son was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, just about a month after his third birthday in December of 2016. It was definitely something that really turned our world upside down that I never would have expected or imagined in my wildest dreams- probably more like worst nightmares, but we’ve been so blessed. He has responded really well to his treatments throughout. But it’s a really long road. It’s a three-year treatment protocol which was one of the biggest shocks to me. Three years was as long as he had been alive at that point. He finished treatment in March of this year. He finished his just a little over three years of treatment and he’s doing great. His immune system has been continuing to bounce back but he gets monthly blood work so we’re able to see how he’s recovering and he’s each time we go. It’s been fantastic just to see him over these last few months that he’s been chemo free just see the differences that that’s made in his everyday life. It’s this giant weight lifted off of our family.
How do you juggle it all? And how do you take care of yourself?
We’re all busy. I think people just make space for what they have to make space for in their lives. I think when you’re handed a challenge, it’ s not like I would have been somebody who would have said. ‘Oh like I would be a good person for that. I could handle that well.’ You just have to step into a role at some point. We had no choice. It was just what we were faced with. I wouldn’t say that I always did handle it amazingly. I went through periods of being super upset and super anxious about the whole thing. But I think I knew at the end of the day it was one foot in front of the other. I had the mindset of, ‘Let’s get this done and every day is a step closer to him being done with this.’
What advice would you give to your pre-mom self?
It’s hard to say because I just don’t think I would have listened. Nobody wants advice like that. I would say- shut out the other bullshit and don’t listen to what people have to tell you. Just figure it out for yourself. Let your heart be your guide. You are the person who knows your child best- not anybody else. Take it a day at a time and follow your heart. I think at the end of the day, we all have these stresses about what it looks like to be a really good mom and there’s so much pressure from a social media aspect and it’s all such bullshit to be honest.You know, it’s just we’re all just doing our best. You’re the best mom for your kid- not somebody else or not the way somebody else does it. It doesn’t matter what somebody else is doing- You do you.
Co-founder & COO
Bridget is mom to two little boys, Hudson and Brooks, and a champion of working moms everywhere. NeighborSchools itself was borne out of Bridget’s challenge to find high-quality yet affordable child care, and the realization that so many parents struggle with these same issues every day.