Mom self-care planner

May 1st, 2016 | 1 comment

mom self care printable blog

You’ve seen the sign “No shirt no shoes no service”. Well some days you have hit your limit and the sign should say “no sleep, no patience, no sanity”. We get run down, overworked, sleep-deprived, emotional, and it all starts to snowball until you just NEED A BREAK!

Have you ever felt this way? I sure have!

It all boils down to self-care for a mom (or lack of it.) Yeah, yeah, we have heard this a million times. But what IS self-care really about? Is it just a spa-day every once in a while? Is it sitting on a meditation cushion every day? Those are all nice but how realistic is that in our BUSY lives.

Here is how I define Momma Self-Care:

Moments, hours, or days spent in solitude that recharge your energy, level your emotions, heal and fulfill your soul that will ultimately make you a better mom.

A couple key things to keep in mind:

  • The benefits of self-care happen instantly like through some deep breaths or happen over the course of hours or days like at a retreat. We need room for BOTH types in our lives to have energy for this marathon of motherhood.
  • There is nothing selfish about being in solitude. Being alone without the demands of a crying baby or having to make another meal or the pressure of a work-team is NECESSARY to regain your energy. Oh, and if being alone makes you uncomfortable, it’s time to get requited with yourself.
  • If every break from your kids includes hangin’ with girlfriends or being around people, it may be more taxing on your energy than you realize. Consider mixing it up with a long walk by yourself.
  • Recharging your energy is all about slowing down, relaxing, stopping the busy mind and taking a break.
  • We deal with a lot of emotions, we experience the gambit of emotions as a mother and finding space to process and letting go of that baggage is necessary. This can only be done when you are away from it all.
  • We all need our hearts and souls to heal. Healing from birth trauma, postpartum depression, isolation of maternity leave, fears of failure as a mom, guilt from working too much…all can be healed through time spent processing and loving ourselves enough to take a self-care day.

I’m not saying that taking some time for self-care is a good idea I’m saying it so necessary that we should think of it as part of our hygiene.

 

Mom self-care is like a beauty regime for your soul.

 

Taking time to feel better should be as ingrained into our habits as brushing our teeth. But society, our mother’s generation and frankly on a cellular level it’s so ingrained in us to perceive this as selfish and bad. So we just have to embrace and heal that part of our dark past and welcome a new way of looking at caring for ourselves.

I also believe that frequency and duration are important. I was encouraged by a Mindful Magazine study that showed the lengths of meditations that bring the optimal benefit in relation to their lifestyle and the working mothers benefited most from a quarterly one-day retreat (as opposed to daily meditation or weekly one-hour sessions, etc.) This confirmed my intuition that for busy working moms we need a plan to get the right amount of recharge time into our lives at the right time.

So I made the Momma-Care Planner. It is a great worksheet for you to brainstorm daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual ways to regain your energy. How about that THAT for hygiene!?

 

Momma-Care Planner steps:
  1. Print it out and find some alone-time. Make it special by lighting a candle or play some lovely music
  2. Write out ideas: In the Ideas section write out your favorite and NEW ways for self-care. Dream mama, don’t be afraid to write done something you have never done before.
  3. Figure out when: In the When? Section think of times when it will fit in a reoccuring day of the week, specific day or month on the calendar
  4. Bonus section: this is the really fun part, where you can image something grand. Enjoy!
  5. Schedule: Get out your paper calendar or Shared calendar ( I use a shared Google Calendar) and schedule it up. Allowing your partner to see will hold you accountable and let them know you are committed to taking care of yourself. The second page of the planner has some examples for some inspiration.

Click here to download your PLANNER

Leave a comment below with some self-care ideas you have so we all can get inspired!

Moms Making Memories Interview

April 29th, 2016 | no comments

MMM summit Elaine McGhee

What a fabulous summit and I was honored to be one of the speakers! I talked about how to juggle it all in your busy life. Being conscious of the shifts in your day:

  • Morning shift
  • Day shift
  • Night shift
  • After hours

We talk about how to be fully present in those moments and how to recharge in-between the shifts. Click the player below to listen to the entire interview!

And to you get your BONUS Time Management for Busy Moms Essentials…

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Classes moms should take

April 10th, 2016 | no comments

Classes mom should take in college ThriveMomma

I may not win any awards for this but… I know our complete pantry, fridge and freezer inventory at any given moment. It may not seem like much, but any mama who struggles to keep bread in the house past Wednesday can appreciate the immensity of that. Keeping your kitchen inventory in your head is like the mom-world equivalent of a Emmy or a Grammy.

You know what? Shoot, there SHOULD be an award for that! I’ve got a rhythm down, I know my clans eating habits and I’ve got food eating and food purchasing down to a weekly science. HOT DAMN. That’s it, I’m gonna create the “Planys” awards for all the badass moms who successfully plan and manage their homes. Accepting nominations now 🙂

The reality is that you have a child and you are expected to successfully raise a tiny human, to know how to meal plan, buy healthy on a budget and manage a household and take care of yourself at the same time.

This is on-the-job training where your fails are on display for everyone to see.

But it didn’t always come so easy for me. We were constantly running out of stuff, over buying produce and dreading the “what’s for dinner?” question. Do you struggle with the same pain? The problem is not you…it’s that we didn’t learn this stuff in college, ya’know!

Now that I’m a mom, these are the classes that I WISH they taught in college:

LISTENING TO AND TRUSTING YOURSELF: So much of the exercise of motherhood is developing your intuitive muscle. As our technology evolved, the volume on our guiding voice went way down. Our secret mom super-power is not reserved for the mom who looks like she’s got it all together (besides, she doesn’t). But it lives in all of us. Slowing down to hear the tiny voice is the real work!

Homework: keep an intuition journal and write down each time you trusted your intuition. It’s way more often than you expect and it’s tangible evidence of your genius.

TIME MANAGEMENT FOR BUSY MOMS 101: We do an ungodly amount of stuff for at least 3 human beings every day,  365 a year! On top of that we work, we maintain the social calendar, we plan birthday parties, we make time for friends, etc. Keeping all of that straight takes tools, time and, eh hem, may I suggest, TRAINING. There is a reason I created the Time Management for Busy Moms workshop. So many busy moms feel like they are behind the eight ball. Don’t feel bad if you can’t manage it all. You can’t, no one can. And no mom should manage it all, by herself.

Managing your time is all about getting your priorities aligned with how you WANT to spend your time on. And learning how to say NO, deciding what you can delegate and finding out what you can outsource.

Extra credit: write down three things that you HATE doing each week (i.e. folding laundry, paying bills, going to three grocery stores for food) and write down who you can delegate to, who you can outsource to or simply write down NO if you can stop doing it.

MEAL PLANNING aka TIME MANAGEMENT 201 If you are thinking about what you are going to make for dinner that night on your commute home…that is too late! In fact spending 30 min at the start of each week can actually save you hours of panic and frustration.

Cheat sheet: The dirty little secret about meal planning is that the first step has nothing to do with food or the kitchen. It has everything to do with your time and how much or little you have to cook. Set aside some quiet time, light a candle and make meal planning something to look forward to. Here are some of my favorite meal planning tips.

LONG TERM RELATIONSHIPS: Our society is really good at closing the deal with the wedding hoopla but, holy cow, a marriage with kids is a PHD level curriculum. A committed relationship is a daily, conscious choice to show up and be there for each other…through the good, the bad and the mundane. Evolving together is the key, yet it’s too easy to drift away.

Open book test: My hubby and I swear by the 3 ‘ations of a happy marriage. 1. Communication. 2. Vacation and 3. Fornication (with each other). You have those firing on all cylinders and you have a healthy marriage.

STOPPING THE MADNESS WITH MINDFULNESS. There are facts and then there are the “facts” we make up in our heads. We can weave some tight webs of stories, lies and torture for ourselves if we are left in a room alone to think. Mindfulness helps to break habitual thought, and have enough self-awareness to rise above our own bs. If you can rise above only 1 out of 10 times…total win.

Mid-term test: Try mindfully doing a simple task. Brush your teeth mindfully. When a thought enters your mind focus back on the bristles on your gums. You will pleasantly be surprised how even that sliver of time can relax your busy mind. You could also try mindfully eating as well.

FUN: HOW TO BE AN ADULT WITHOUT HAVING TO GROW UP. Having a mortgage, raising the next generation and increasing shareholder value is a tremendous responsibility! What do taxes and breastfeeding babies have in common? They suck the life out of you. Remembering to always have fun and to not take life so seriously is the key to happiness!

Extra credit: Who you surround yourself with is key. Reach out to some local moms and make some new mom-friends!

REDEFINING YOURSELF AND SELF-CARE: This should be a pre-requisite for all majors. Motherhood changes you. It changes our biology, your physiology, your priorities and whoever you were in the past. We need to learn how to reinvent ourselves from the inside out with dignity, with support and with a hot-ass pair of skinny jeans (because skinny jeans solve a lot of problems).

Final exam: Look at yourself in the mirror. No REALLY look at yourself in the mirror, the way that you lovingly gaze in amazement at your beautiful child. Say “I love you” to yourself in the mirror. Keep saying it until you mean it. Keep saying it until you FEEL it. Now YOU can feel the love that you give out to world all day long.

Ok, ok. Now that I’m a mom I realized that there ARE classes in college that I SHOULD have taken:

  • Child development
  • Child psychology
  • Finance
  • Bowling (I’m a terrible bowler)

Are you going to do your homework, Missy!? Now that you are a mom, leave a comment below the classes do you wish you would have taking in college?

Workin Mama online class ThriveMomma BabyTalkCo

Speaking of classes. I”m very excited to share with you very soon that two of my most popular workshops: Return to Work After Maternity Leave and Time Management for Busy Moms will soon be online classes later this year!

Moms Making Memories online summit

March 26th, 2016 | no comments

I’m honored to be one of the 21 amazing women who will be interviewed for the Moms Making Memories free online summit!

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Elizabeth gathered premier  experts on health, wellness, mom-life, parenting experts and more so that you can have some sanity in your busy life!

I’ll be talking about how:

1.  How I birthed ThriveMomma for one of the most traumatic times in my life…going back to work after maternity leave
2.  How can busy moms incorporate mindfulness and balance into their busy schedules
3.  What the heck time management and what little things can you do today to get organzied
4.  Some of my favorite work/life balance tactics
5.  Return to the workplace after maternity leave tips and tricks
Each interview is an easy 20 min and they are delivered to your inbox daily.
After the interview you can download my Time Management for Busy Moms Essentials guide + a BONUS!

Sign up for the summit

and I know you will enjoy them all!

Cheers!

Time Management for Busy Moms Essentials

March 26th, 2016 | no comments

I’m so thrilled you attending the Moms Making Memories online summit and I hope you enjoyed all the time management advice from my interview!

Click here to get your free gift + Bonus!

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Click here to get your Time Management for Busy Moms Essentials sent to your inbox!

Time Management for Busy Moms Essentials:
A quick guide to helping you rock your busy mom-life! You will receive:
  • Easy/healthy recipes
  • Recommended app list
  • How to use Evernote to stay organized
  • Bonus call with me!

Maternity leave policy database from Listyourleave.com

March 13th, 2016 | no comments

Thank you List Your Leave for this guest post on a topic that so dear to my heart. We vote with our resumes ladies! This is a real thing you can do affect real change in this country!

Get Smart on Leave and Help Other Working Moms through ListYourLeave.com

What if you could find out a company’s family leave policy before interviewing? What if you knew what other companies in your industry or area offered before going into a discussion about an upcoming leave? What if companies knew their employees were informed on leave policies?  List Your Leave is helping to change the way companies and employees view, talk about, and manage family leave.

List Your Leave

List Your Leave was created with one important purpose: creating transparency around parental leave policies.

 

Many people don’t realize how important leave policies and corporate culture are – until they are personally faced with a need for family leave and the reality upon their return to work. Leave policies have real effects on maternal and child health as well as wages, promotions and job satisfaction. Yet a company’s leave policy is rarely discussed at a job interview, negotiating table or even among co-workers before an employee needs to take a leave. Most people discuss vacation time, retirement benefits, and of course salary and wages when taking a job – so why is maternity or paternity leave any different? Why are we expected to take a vacation but not have a family?

List Your Leave can help you plan for an upcoming leave by giving you the information you need to understand your benefits. And you can use List Your Leave to help other moms by adding an anonymous review on how your company handled your leave and return.

listyourleave enter to win

Review your company for a chance to win $100!

Take 30 seconds to search for your company and add a review OR add your company if it doesn’t exist for current and former employers. Again, all data is anonymous and there is space for comments and ratings on overall company culture.

The more you know the better prepared you can be before you need to take a leave. And the more transparency there is around company leave policies, the smarter we can all be on leave!!

 

9 questions working moms should ask themselves

February 28th, 2016 | no comments

9 questions for working moms ThriveMomma

9 months pregnant I heard a friend say “parenting: the best thing you will ever do and the hardest thing you ever do.” And especially for a busy working mom we have an extra layer of added pressure, demands on our time and fatigued minds due working for 8+ hours a day.

We can’t afford to waste time gossiping, worrying or spreading ourselves thinner than and we should. As I have been exploring the topic of mom-energy in my own life and meeting and BBFing mom energy expert and working mom expert on the topic (more on that later) I’ve come to realize that

Protecting my mama-energy is my # 1 job

Does this come naturally to me? No. I love to help people (viola, ThriveMomma was born), I love to share my talents, and to be a mama and spread the love. But my PB&J has been scheemered too thin, too many times. Illness, tiredness, resentfulness, dullness, agitation, dissatisfaction. Any of these sound familiar? I’ve experience them all. And they all stem from me not PROTECTING my time, my energy, and being out of  alignment with my higher good.

I’ve got a few tips on how to deal with a few of the trickiest spots mamas get into: overwhelm, frustration and feeling stuck:

Overwhelm

Overwhelm is all about too many thoughts clouding your progress forward.

Mom-stress, mommy-angst, mama-frustration…stem from a place within. Your toddler with a tude is the CAUSE and your rage is the result.  But often your involuntary negative reaction to the 3′ tall catalyst boils down to what you are THINKING, FEELING, and DOING and if out of alignment.

Your thought is “I just want a peaceful evening, and he is talking back again!” You are feeling like a failure, sad, exhausted, confused, etc. You don’t use the gentle patenting technique that you read about online. 

Wanting one thing, feeling and doing another leads to so much internal strife! And adds to the already tense situation. So, ask yourself, are my thoughts, feelings and actions in alignment? Is that direction positive?

 

Working mom questions 1 ThriveMomma

So next time you find yourself overwhelmed ask yourself if your thoughts, feelings and actions are speaking the same language.

Frustration

One of the first skills I work on with my clients who return to work is: Learning to say no, delegating and outsourcing. Saying no to things is not weakness,  it’s power! At the begining of each week, write down, what should I stop doing, what should I start doing and what do I need help with. The question about stopping is particularly helpful. Women are notoriously bad at saying no. Practicing it every week will make you stronger when it comes to big things.

working mom questions 3 ThriveMomma

Indecision

Indecision is actually a decision. Damn it! But procrastinating or getting too caught up in a decision process you have actually consciously or not decided to remain stuck. So a series of questions to ask yourself in the moment are: What do I have to do? What do I want to do? What was I born to do?  The first two questions help you decide whether you are obligated to do it, like grocery shopping, diaper changes and coffee IV drip. The final question is about sometimes you are compelled to do something. You were born to be an incredible mom. You were born to share your gifts with the world. Keep these questions handy when you are feeling pulled in multiple directions and follow your heart!!!

 

working mom questions 2 ThriveMomma

As busy working mothers we have mastered the art of multi-tasking. Whether it be face-timing a client while breastfeeding while sitting on the toilet (true story) we are able to accomplish so much in a day. Most Saturday mornings I’ve got each out worked out of where we need to be, what to eat, and how much free time I get all before 6:50am.

7 things you need to remember before you start maternity leave

January 31st, 2016 | no comments

 

7 things to remember before maternity leave ThriveMomma

Spit up, tear stained cheeks, and hungry beyond belief….oh, and my baby was there too.

To say that I was a mess going back to work after maternity leave is an understatement. I didn’t prepare my baby, my boss or myself to face the reality of my new normal.

Part of the reason I started ThriveMomma was create the right info and emotional support for career women that simply didn’t exist. I’ve written at length about what you need to do, how you can prepare and who you need to be in order to (survive then) thrive at being a working mom.

This week’s blog is a super quick way to remember all the areas you need to focus on before starting maternity leave.

 

Paperwork.  Talk to your HR, principal’s office, etc. They will likely give you instructions and have you sign insurance and leave paperwork.

Person. Create a plan with your boss about how your replacements roles/tasks and transition when you return.

Access. Beware of “baby brain” affecting your return. Write down your computer password on a sticky note. If you have card keys, door key, or any other way you use to enter your work…put them in an envelope in your closet or nightstand with the words “Bring to work.”

Attitude. Take a moment before you leave your work on your last day before maternity leave and silently acknowledge that you will return and be a great employee but that you will fundamentally be changed (for good!). Your baby will rock your world (for the better) and taking a minute to silently close the Pre-baby chapter on your life and compassionately be open to the unknown of the post-baby chapter will be helpful. Your employer will be fine, you will survive!

List. Write a list of daily/weekly tasks that you do, any long term projects that you will need to get updated on when you return, etc. Write them down and put that piece of paper in an accessible drawer at yoru work.

Timing. Schedule a time to talk to your boss about your return about two weeks before your return.

Reminders.  Set a reminder for other tasks to do during maternity leave like: call employer to notify change in status for insurance, starting to pump and freeze milk approximately one month after baby is born (sooner or later depending on what your lactation consultant recommends), start to look for childcare, etc.

My passion is helping mamas through this transition from full-time baby bonding to full/part time working! Once the casseroles stop arriving after baby’s arrival, our society leaves us hangin’ when we are THE most vulnerable and alone. So as my exciting partnership with BabyTalk Co ramps up (Coming soon !) I’m offering a discount on my ebook InstantThrive: The essential guide to a balanced life after maternity leave

Preview it here!

InstantThrive ebook ThriveMomma Elaine McGhee

 

Hugs and cheers,

Elaine

New years intention not a resolution

January 16th, 2016 | no comments

Before you get swept away in the hoopla of new years resolution consider making an INTENTION instead.

New year intention ThriveMomma Elaine McGhee

As I look back at 2015 with all it’s highs and lows I realize that I didn’t stick to my ESP resolution. More energy, sleep and play. I have a busy, big, beautiful life and I didn’t stick to being aware of my energy, I sure as well went to bed too late and had my share of fun but not on the daily.

I fell short on my goals because I didn’t leave room for life to happen. For example, my daughter refused to sleep through the night for 5 months = tired mama. I also didn’t make time in my schedule for play. Let’s get those date nights on the Google Calendar, honey! So, that’s why this year I’m ditching the resolution and going for a New Years Intention instead!

Words matter and the choice of words determine how we behave. For example, I’m OVER the use of “bullets” in Powerpoint slide. Or the brainstorm room at work is called the “war room”.  Are we in a war at work? (Might feel like it sometimes). Even the word resolution feels bad. And being so resolute in our attempt to better ourselves, well it actually sets us up for failure…here’s why. 

An intention leaves room for error, falling off the wagon or the inevitable delays that only a projectile vomiting in a restaurant child can cause. I will never think of a Danish Bakery the same again! (Yes, we were on a wonderful, surprisingly stress-free family vacation until my youngest proceeds to spew blue frosted cookie shrapnel ALL over me, and my new UGG boots. Some mom-survival mode kicked in and my mom and I immediately rushed to the bathroom, she bought me and my daughter some clothes at the store across the street and we were back in our seats before the coffee cooled! Grandmas rule!)

New years intention ThriveMomma
A resolution feels too rigid, absolute, and even a bit dark. Whereas, an intention is a daily choice to stick with the workout plan, to not eat that snickerdoodle, or to wake up 10 min early to meditate. 

Resolutions are:

  • terminal, focused on the end result
  • desperately holding onto (for dear life) a specific outcome
  • a bit harsh and dark

Intentions are:

  • directional, about the journey
  • allow for letting go of a specific outcome in favor of general goodness
  • optimistic and supportive

Even saying those two words out loud FEELS different. If wanted to go on a date with one of those words it would be intentions, for SURE. But even beyond the sound and meaning of the words. Making a commitment to yourself at the start of the year IS a beautiful act of self-care that should be celebrated!

I’ve been feeling a strong desire to set an intention this year so here it goes:

“My intention is for health and vitality. To live, love, parent and work form my highest good. Also to manifest (and let go of the outcome) beyond my wildest dreams. To step fully into my own greatness so I can be in-the-moment as a kick-ass woman, wife, mom, sister, daughter, soul sister and friend!” BAM!

And the hardest part about intentions is LETTING GO! Allowing the goodness in your life to unfold in divine timing. More on THAT in upcoming blogs!

Reply back with your INTENTIONS for 2016 and we can celebrate together!

And if you are a Southern Cali women and your intention is to finally get organized and smoothly running your household, join us for the:

Thriving as a Busy Mom workshop series✨ starting this month!

Spaces still available, Click here to reserve your spot.

Preparing baby for your return to work

December 4th, 2015 | no comments

What other time in your life can you describe as magical and insane other than maternity leave? As a new mom 5 years ago I just couldn’t believe how ROCKED to the core I felt. I had gone through a profound change of my identity, change in energy from lack of sleep, physical change (stretch marks galore) and the list went on. Everything has turned upside down since my baby girl crash-landed in our lives. But yet in those moments when breastfeeding was actually going well or my darling was innocently napping, that chaotic time known as full time baby bonding was indeed magically wonderful.

Preparing baby for maternity leave return ThriveMomma

But when I returned to work and made all the classic mistakes that new moms make I found myself crying in my cubical the second day back at work. And during my ugly cry on the 15 North I realized that there needs to be a resource for moms to go off maternity leave and help them gracefully transition to the working mom lifestyle.

From my “HOT MESS” era, as I call it, I researched, collaborated with Lactation Consultants, Doulas, lawyers and more to get a Return-To-Work game plan for moms! I like to call it the “The B’s of Preparing to going back to work after Maternity Leave.”

The first B is Baby. How do set up your lovely baby for success when you inevitably need to leave them with a competent childcare provider?  Here are the top things you need to prepare while still on leave for your baby to thrive!

  1. If baby is a healthy weight and breastfeeding is established, pump one side in the morning at approximately one month post birth. Freeze and label expressed milk with date and ounces. Be sure to follow these milk storage guidelines.
  2. Understand your budget with your partner and start to explore childcare options that is the right fit for your family.
  3. Introduce a pacifier after one month of age. There are pros and cons. If you feel it’s right for your child this will help to know when and how to introduce it.
  4. Practice being away. This is the hardest emotionally but think of it as a skill that you and baby need to learn. Baby will learn that mommy always comes back. You will learn that a bit of time a way is actually good for your emotional and physical wellbeing. And hey, you might get a pedicure out of the deal.
  5. Introduce a bottle one time a day to baby about one month before going back. These are some great tips on how to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby.
  6. Practice childcare one week before returning to work to gradually increase the time apart from baby and also to get back physically comfortable with the surroundings and care providers. Here is a good guidelines for what to pack and what not to pack for daycare.
  7. Rally your tribe of supportive mom friends who will allow you to cry laugh, complain or rejoice when you head back to work. You need to prepare your mind and your heart for the transition and a supportive network will help you get there.

Next up is how to ask your boss about a pump room without cringing and other ways you need to prepare your boss for your return from maternity leave.