ACI Modern Moms: Laura McDermott

ACI’s Media Relations Manager and mom of little ones– Laura McDermott says, “I by no means have all the answers, and am learning on a daily basis, but I thought I could share a few lessons I’ve learned so far.”

“Create your own definition of success” was what I wrote for May’s “Modern Moms” HealthYmail, because I remember feeling bombarded with mixed messages, unsolicited advice, and pressure to be perfect at everything.  And there are all these so-called ‘milestones’ or ‘standards’ that seemed to indicate if you were a good parent or not: All-natural birth or epidural?   Are you breastfeeding?  Staying home, working full-time, working from home?  Baby sleeping through the night yet?  Have you started solids?  Going to mommy-and-me classes?  Baby talking yet? Started potty-training?  Co-sleeping, really?  But at the end of the day, every mom has to figure out what works for her and what is best for her family.  The herd is a powerful force, but thinking independently is incredibly freeing.

Best pre-baby gift: Pedicure, especially in the third trimester!  It’s hard enough to put socks on, let alone paint toes.  And every mom-to-be could use a little pampering.  

Best thing you can do for mom post-baby: Let her take a shower, and let her take a nap.  That’s all she really wants.

Wish someone had told me: Breastfeeding is so hard – but only for the first 6-8 weeks.  I struggled with an insatiable baby, and feeling like a 24/7 sleep-deprived milk machine who was failing at my only job: to feed this baby!  I remember everyone telling me about this ‘magic bonding’ that was going to happen, and all I felt was exhausted, frustrated, in pain, and overwhelmed by all the gadgets, creams, shields and gels.  Then, like a miracle, it became effortless after the first 8 weeks.  Second time around, no problems.

Wish I had done earlier: Invested in a GOOD diaper bag.  I was carrying around the freebie from the hospital for two years, struggling with leaky bottles, no room for cell phone or personal items, and constantly complaining.  Then my friend recently gave me this Babymel diaper bag, which has a compartment for everything without screaming, “I’m a diaper bag!”  Only wish I had it two years ago…

So glad I: left the 8-month old with grandma for 10 days and enjoyed a vacation with my husband.  Desperately needed the sleep, the connection, and the break – and even though we cut our 2 weeks short to be home with baby, so glad we did it.

Get sleep: Nobody wants to be the stressed, short-tempered, cranky, spaz-monster of a mom.  Sleep deprivation is the enemy, and even if ‘so much has to get done,’ or ‘there’s no time to sleep,’ – you’ll be a better mom and a better person after getting enough rest.  Remember, you’re not crazy, you’re just sleep deprived!

When in doubt: have a dance party!  When the kids are screaming, nothing is working, and I feel that breakdown starting to creep in – I turn on the music, declare dance party time, and remember how much fun it is to be a mom.  The mood is instantly lifted, and I still can’t believe it works every time.

Biggest lesson: Life has to fit baby, instead of forcing baby to fit into your life. Whenever we have plans to do something, or some vision of a perfectly executed day – it inevitably ends up a failure.

Loved this “Scary Mommy Manifesto”:

Great article for moms re-entering the workforce:

Would love hearing other moms’ favorite tips, tools of the trade and words of wisdom.  Feel free to comment, share on twitter @acispecbenefits #modernmoms, or on ACI’s Facebook page.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

About ACI Specialty Benefits

ACI Specialty Benefits ranks in the nation’s Top-Ten providers of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), corporate wellness programs, student assistance, corporate concierge, and work/life services to corporations worldwide. ACI partners with clients to Perk Up employee engagement and performance with benefit programs that improve morale, productivity and the bottom-line. With a 95% customer retention rate and over 7 million lives covered. ACI remains a privately-owned specialty benefits corporation, headquartered in San Diego. For more information, visit or call 800.932.0034.
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