Maternity Leave planning interview

September 28th, 2016 | no comments

 

I’m honored to be Tina’s inaugural guest on her Third Thursday’s  Interview series. We talked maternity leave and how supporting new moms is good for business! Tina is my soul sister who is a fabulous interior designer who specializes in pump rooms and wellness spaces for corporations. How amazing is she?!

Please go over to YouTube and give her some likes!!

Empowered Summit Live interview starting Oct 3rd

September 20th, 2016 | no comments

 

I’m thrilled to be a speaker on this FREE online summit! Cathy has brought together all the right women who can Shifting the conversation from Momma Illness to Momma Wellness. The focus will be on self-care, prevention, and how new moms can take-charge of their own postpartum health!

Empowered Mama Live

In my interview we covered maternity leave planning, how to define your “new normal” as a mom and how to deal with the overwhelm of motherhood.

What you can learn from the interview series:

  • How to spot the warning signs when what you are experiencing is more than just the baby blues, and how to get the right help
  • Time management tips and preparing for the transition back to work for working moms (including ‘the pumping conversation’ with your boss)
  • How to rediscover yourself after the new mom identity crisis
  • Mindfulness tools, self-care practices, rituals, and ways to prioritize your own needs not only for yourself but also for your beautiful baby
  • Tips on how to best plan for the postpartum and experience ease in the 4th Trimester!

Learn more here! Or check out her video!

 

25 Working Mom Tips

June 26th, 2016 | no comments

The struggle is real for working moms! Lack of time, meal planning prep and the relentless giving of our time, our and energy to others. That is why this blog round-up from Thoughtful Journey Counseling of some of my most favorite mom-support experts is a keeper. I was honored to contribute a nugget about how to master the morning routine. Hope you enjoy them all!

25 Tips for Working Moms guest blog!

25 working mom tips

Is There a Better Way to Return from Maternity Leave? One Lawyer Mama Argues YES!

June 11th, 2016 | no comments

This week I’m honored to have Lori guest blog about her experience as a successful lawyer and how to do a better return to work! I had the pleasure of meeting her (over the phone) I was blown away at the depth of her knowledge and how she helps so many women gracefully return to work through her online course experience.  She is on my Resources list for a reason. Also subscribe to her newsletter for the Saturday secrets…they are super helpful. Welcome Lori!!

 

thrivemomma lawyer return to work

As a lawyer, I’ve been trained to think and write in a logical manner.  Explore options; think through arguments; marshal facts; present them in a way that makes sense.  This type of thinking suits me:  I love order.

Enter, motherhood.  A baby who cries for who-knows-on-earth what reason, or refuses to drink from any of the 15 bottles you buy him.  A house that seems to self-destruct simply by your stepping in the door.  And a schedule so unpredictable you never know when you go to sleep one night whether you’ll make it to work the next day, or if the next superbug from daycare will suddenly attack.  THIS is not logical.  THIS is an order-lover’s nightmare.

After having my first baby, I learned to go with the flow a bit better, more or less coped with my return to work, and picked up some serious prioritization skills through my parenting adventures.  Enter baby number two, though, and I just couldn’t seem to hold it together after my maternity leave ended.  1 child + 1 child felt like 85 children, no one was sleeping (ever, it seemed!), the to-dos on a daily basis weighed down my mind and my spirit, and I was a mess.

Though I worked in an office where plenty of women had gone out on and returned from maternity leave, no one seemed to be talking about how hard the experience was or what we should be doing about it.  And though there seemed to be an educational curriculum for everything about new motherhood (how to write a birth plan, how to massage your baby, how to puree baby food…), I hadn’t found any robust educational information about how to plan for and return from maternity leave without losing your mind.

Determined to fill this gap and help new moms re-frame their leave experience, I put on my logical lawyer hat and got to work reading and researching ways we can do this leave-and-return thing differently.

My mission?  Find a way for new mamas to view their maternity leave and return as a career and leadership opportunity, instead of a career impediment.

And find a way for them to feel calmer, happier, and more confident in the process.

The results of this research led me to develop a four-pronged approach to a calmer, more successful maternity leave, and to create a course called Mindful Return that brings new mamas together in an online community to work through these four prongs together:

  • Creating a Mindful Mindset for Return: Learning how to BE with my children when I’m with my children, and BE at work when I’m at work has been critical both to maintaining sanity and to feeling competent in each of these two spheres of my life.  Mindfulness is about being aware, awake, and present in your life, and starting habits like a gratitude practice (writing down 5 things I’m grateful for before bed each night) have really helped me to be more calm and present.

 

 

  • Turning Leave into Leadership: I’ve grown frustrated with workplace cultures that seem to encourage us to apologize for taking time away (to do a normal human thing like have a baby), or somehow make us feel less committed, less competent, and/or guilty for being back (sometimes all at the same time).  As working mamas, we are *powerhouses* of leadership skills.  We’ve learned to prioritize like nobody’s business, anticipate (reasonable and unreasonable) client demands, roll with the unknown, and problem-solve on the fly.  One key to getting my own head in a better place about leave and return was learning how to identify and tout these skills and believe in my own ability to be a leader.

 

  • Staying in Community: This is the biggie, mamas.  Sitting alone on my kitchen floor wondering how I was going to get everything done wasn’t a smart or healthy way to approach my own sense of overwhelm.  I’ve since learned the immense power of relying on both in-person and online communities for all aspects of life, but especially for massive life changes like bringing a baby into the world.  Committing to connecting with friends and colleagues convinced me that the power of “me too” is a life- and sanity-saver.

When I set out to fill this returning-to-work educational void, I had a strong hunch my four-part approach would work for others, given how much it had transformed my own thoughts about going back to work.  Now I don’t just have a hunch, though, I have evidence – every lawyer’s dream! – that this approach truly makes new working mamas’ lives better.  By being in community with others going through this transition at the same time, I’ve watched new mamas gain the confidence to ask for the type of schedule they want.  Spend more time during their leave enjoying their babies instead of worrying about their return.  And I have felt the power of giving a common language to mamas’ concerns.

So to conclude, my argument is YES, mamas.  You CAN do this maternity leave and return thing in a calm and empowered way.  You don’t have to just survive this period, but there are things you can learn that will help you thrive in the process.

I rest my case.

lori minful return

Lori Mihalich-Levin is the founder of Mindful Return and the creator of the Mindful Return Course, which helps women plan for and make the transition back to work after maternity leave. She runs the 4-week, online course every two to three monhts, and women from all over the world have joined the supportive Mindful Return community to reduce their stress in the maternity leave and return period. Lori is also a Partner in the Health Care practice group at an international law firm called Dentons and is also mama to two beautiful red-headed little boys.

Mother’s Day Gifts Working Moms Really Deserve

May 8th, 2016 | 2 comments

Happy Mother’s day! You deserve a day of pampering, filled love, appreciation and joy! In honor of you I’ve gathered some of my favorite women to share some of their gifts that you really deserve. While most of them fit into a gift-wrapped box they are gifts you can give yourself every day of the year.

I hope you are inspired by these these self-care tips, practical advice and divine goddess wisdom. Happy Mother’s Day to you mama! Enjoy your day and take a little time to nourish your soul,Cheers!

mothers day gifts we deserve ThriveMomma

 

Gift of Support

Busy career women need a strong partner. Not just to open that jar of spaghetti sauce but a true ally in the day-to-day raising of children, managing the home and in support of their careers.  Emily of Women, Work and Life mentions ways how men can support women in their career and it’s a beautiful thing!

Men Take Note: What women really want for mothers day

 

Gift of time

So not all gifts come in a Tiffany box, but giving yourself the gift of time and freedom from stress is almost more valuable. Monica at Redefining Mom never holds back and her five tips on how to manage your busy mom life are the best. So go ahead and give yourself the gift of sanity.

5 Practical Time Management Tips for Working Moms

 

Gift of Recognition

And don’t forget the other working moms at your work. They deserve a little props for all the work they do too. Lori of Mindful Return gives some great suggestions on how you can recognize and appreciate other working moms you work with!

Celebrate your mother colleagues this Mother’s Day

 

Gift of Love

When we give love we get so much more in return. Courtney’s moving love-note to her cutie daughter Madeline is a great reminder of why we endure this motherhood thing, after all. It’ll make you wanna hug your little cutie a little bit more.

Celebrating my daughter on Mother’s Day

 

Gift of Peace

Life is stressful. Sometimes stress is thrown at you like when your child has a 102 degree fever or when your business goes through a reorganization and you don’t know what’s gonna happen to your job. Whatever life challenges us with, the key to finding PEACE among the chaos is about how we DEAL in the moment that counts. My Mother’s Day Momtra (mantra for moms) is a simple tool to help you relax IN THE MOMENT!

Mothers Day Momtra

 

Enjoy your special day today Mama! You deserve it!

What gifts are you looking forward to getting today? Leave comment below!

 

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…

Sign up for your 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!

mmm-summit-graphic2-768x320

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!

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!!