An Interview with Anna on Working Motherhood

The moment I came across a newspaper article on Red Land Cotton almost 2 years ago, I was enamored with the business. (Hence, why I write for RLC and love doing it!)

I just had so many questions and was very proud of an all-American made company that was based in Alabama. In some ways, I offer a unique perspective because I can speak to some of the questions customers and outsiders may have.

So...it's with this same curiosity that I approached Anna, the co-founder of Red Land Cotton, about an interview on motherhood. What is it like to juggle a new baby and a growing company (that was recently invited to the White House)? 

As usual, she was very gracious and agreed! :) Below you'll find our interview.

The Interview

What does a typical day look like for you since Katharine was born? 

Well, it's all about sleep, isn't it? Currently, Katharine is sleeping until 3 or so and then we will be back up for a morning wake up time at 7am. I get some coffee, she nurses and we have a little time to ourselves. A lot of mornings, we go on a walk around the neighborhood with our dog, Cotton. I will make phone calls or listen to a podcast. The rest of the day is a series of nursing, playing and sleeping... except I don't sleep. I work during those sleep times. Katharine has her favorite time of the day at 6:30pm when she has her bath. :) She goes down for the night around 8:00pm, and that's when I get a lot of my work done. I'll work sometimes until midnight. That whole "You've got to sleep when the baby sleeps" thing has never applied to me. It's a great idea... but it just doesn't work for me right now. 

What has been the toughest adjustment?

Balancing work and being a mother has been extremely challenging, and I don't think I have it perfectly now. I'm either feeling guilty because I'm working or feeling guilty because I'm not working. And sometimes I have to just pause and say to myself...holding your baby is the most important thing you can do right now... everything else WILL and CAN wait. When you own your own business it can be very difficult to set the work down... at the end of the day... it's on you. But the same thing goes for being a parent. You can't set that down either. I'm still working on picking both my work and my child up and carrying them throughout the day without neglecting either. 

What is something that has been surprisingly easier than you thought?

That's difficult because I feel like all of this has come with a HUGE learning curve. I guess I would say I'm surprised at how easy it is to adopt a whole new way of life and just let it take you over. 

Describe her personality at this point.

She's already fiercely independent. There have been several nights where she doesn't want to be held. She finds more comfort swaddled and placed in her crib. In fact, she's been sleeping in her crib since she was around 4-5 weeks old. She just slept better there. We had a nice bassinet right beside our bed and had every intention of her sleeping there until at least 12 weeks. But that just wasn't how she slept best. I think we will have a very interesting toddler...I expect to hear a lot of "I want to do it myself". :)

Who does Katharine look more like?

She's a combination of the best parts of my husband and myself. She has his amazing skin tone, eyelashes and hair. She has my lips and eyes. 

Will you share your birth story?

It didn't go at all as we had hoped or planned. The short story is: 
My water broke and labor never happened. I had planned on a natural birth with midwives at a stand-alone birth center. Instead, we wound up with an induction at 37 weeks at Vanderbilt Hospital (where my husband works). After laboring for over 36 hours with no progress, we were encouraged to do a C-Section. And that's how she eventually graced us with her presence. The wonderful team at Vanderbilt had even arranged to try to do skin-to-skin contact after the C-Section, but Katharine refused to breathe properly. She kept holding her breath. So they took her fairly quickly to the NICU. She stayed in there for roughly 6-8 hours, and we finally got her back that night. That was a rough period of time, and I wouldn't wish that on my worse enemy! BUT all is well that ends well as they say! We left the hospital with a tiny but HEALTHY baby girl after only 4 days. 

What's the best piece of advice you have received? 

Read the "Mom's On Call" book! I know schedules don't work for everyone and every baby. But it works for me and mine. We were wandering through the newborn wilderness until I found that!

What was the best baby gift you received?

It's not life-changing, BUT it has been awesome for us. The Hatch Rest nightlight and sound machine is the coolest! You can program it to turn on at certain times with selected sounds and colors at different volumes and brightness. For example, at 6:30pm every evening we hear the music playing upstairs and know its time for bed. That music continues through bath time and usually turns to the white noise right before it's time for me to put her down into her crib. Again, not life changing but dang convenient and cool. 

What Red Land Cotton baby sheets does Katharine have in her crib?

Katharine has our Baby Nadine white crib fitted sheet and natural crib skirt on her crib. We use the Baby Nadine quilt for tummy time and relaxing on the porch or on the grass outside. It's the perfect weight for a little added comfort and will be a great addition to her toddler bed when that time comes!

Now that you have a few months under your belt, what advice would you give a mom expecting her first child?

1. Try the schedule...stick to it... it will make your life and your babies life SO MUCH EASIER. (At least, it has for us!)
2. Try the swaddle...seriously...arms down in a snug swaddle. I found that Katharine likes to be swaddled tightly, placed in her crib and left alone. At first, I wanted to hold her while she was swaddled. Little Katharine is too independent for that and didn't like it. She LOVES her swaddle in her crib by herself, and I'm okay with that.
3. Don't spend good money on any changing pad covers. That thing needs to be able to be wiped down, disinfected and for you to move on. I had a pretty cover on mine for all of one day. NOT worth it! :)

Do you have a mantra/a phrase you repeat to yourself as you care for Katharine at this stage?

I guess it's what I said earlier, "This is the most important thing I can be doing right now." I know it may sound silly... But when I'm feeling like I haven't gotten enough done or there are several emails sitting unanswered but she wants to snuggle and rock in her rocking chair, I repeat to myself, "This is the most important thing I can be doing." And it really puts everything in perspective for me. 

To Conclude

At Red Land Cotton, we feel very blessed by Katharine's birth. It brings such joy and a great appreciation for the mothers in our lives.

To the first-time moms, mothers of many, grandmothers, aunts, moms who've experienced loss and mother figures, please know that we salute you. We thank you. We see you. 

This cotton-growing business is tough; we're not going to lie about that. Producing bedding and towels from our cotton... also tough. BUT, parenting is the TOUGHEST yet MOST REWARDING job God can give you.

Keep up the good work, y'all. Keep loving your children and those that will be yours one day. And, think of us when you need bedding for your sweet family.


6 comments

  • Congratulations Nick and Anna! Katharine is beautiful. We are so proud of what you both have accomplished since your Auburn days!! Love, Brooks & Terry Davis

    Terry Davis
  • Thank you for the lovely interview!

    Robin
  • Great story. Here’s to motherhood for you and your baby girl. Hope to meet her soon.

    Anita Bennett
  • What a Beautiful story
    I know Katherine is a very happy baby because of her amazing patents.
    Enjoy all of it! Wet love you.
    Carrie and Tim

    Carrie Newby
  • Your interview was interesting and helpful to an about to be first time grandmother (December)! My daughter in law has been given good advice— with all the choices available —to make hers, have confidence in them and not second guess herself. She laughs because as she tries to “do all the right things” she said that once the baby arrives most of that will be upended. I have sent your blog to her and my son. They enjoy hearing about other new parent experiences. Each is unique and theirs will be too. Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl. She already exhibits a mind of her own! Thanks for sharing.

    Peggy Benefield

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