As we enter a new year there is pressure for resolutions, changes, improvements or somehow stating to the world that you are dissatisfied with your current state. I’ve never been disciplined enough to keep a resolution top of mind for 365 days straight…who does, really?!
So, instead, this year I’m gonna roll with a theme because it’s more of an intention. And intentions are not so restrictive, limiting or have so much pressure attached. I’ve got enough pressure in my life, thank you very much!
This year for me it’s, FLOW. Ahhhhhh, I even relax just saying it. I don’t mean roll over and take all the crap that rolls your way this year. No. It’s not about inaction. This is coming from a place of intentional action. I interpret FLOW as a willingness to not judge the present and just go with it, pivot, embrace, fight, dance with it, ect. Because, after all…
Being in the flow probably feels a bit foreign for a “go-getter”, for a professional woman climbing the corporate ladder or a mom who’s just trying to figure out why her baby is crying so much!
This state of being is not an American value. Could it be perceived as lazy, bad mom, not career-oriented? So don’t feel bad if FLOW feels weird. We were not raised like this, this behavior is not rewarded in sports, taught in school or promoted at work.
But I argue that it’s the strongest place that a working mother can operate from!
Flow cuts out worry, anxiety, not-enoughness, or keeping-up-with-the-Jones syndrome.
Flow frees you to accept and then in turn, like the situation you are in.
Flow expands possibilities
Flow says “I’m okay”, “I’m a good mom right now”, and “I’m enough.”
Flow strengthens resilience
Flow doesn’t judge
Flow helps conserve your energy
Flow frees you up to experience life
How do you stay in the flow?
Keepfaith that everything will all work out. Trust that life is working FOR YOU not against you.
Haveawareness of yourself in each moment
Don’t judge yourself or your circumstances
Allow and don’t label it as good or bad
Ground and center yourself so you have a clear head
Protect your energy and keep going!
I’ll keep my #flow2017 vibe alive on Instagram and I hope inspire you to to keep your intentions going all year long too.
Leave a comment below about how the word FLOW feels for you?
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!
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:
Print it out and find some alone-time. Make it special by lighting a candle or play some lovely music
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.
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
Bonus section: this is the really fun part, where you can image something grand. Enjoy!
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.
Leave a comment below with some self-care ideas you have so we all can get inspired!
Looking for a deep connection with like-minded moms? Need more support running your family and your busy life? The Work-Life Contentment Circle virtual support community is starting soon! Visit here to learn more and register today.
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 201If 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:
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?
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!
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 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?
So next time you find yourself overwhelmed ask yourself if your thoughts, feelings and actions are speaking the same language.
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.
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!!!
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.
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 ebookInstantThrive: The essential guide to a balanced life after maternity leave
It’s Momtra week! What is a Momtra? Something to inspire, remind, uplift and support us in our mom-journey. Today is all about the process we go through as mothers…it’s not perfect but we are still magnificent women!!!!
Go easy on yourself if your kid throws a tantrum in aisle 3, you have a Pinterest fail or you are just plain ‘ole exhausted. The goal is to learn and find peace of mind. 💙💚💛