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POST:

Successful Moms are a Little Selfish

CATEGORY:

Parents

Date:

January 19, 2020

We’re on week three of six diving into the core areas successful moms are intentional about: Their Own Dreams,Spending Time on Things That Matter,Making Space for Themselves, Investing in Their Mental and Physical Health, Parenting in Partnership, and The Way They Parent Their Kids.

This week, we’re focusing on the third core area: intentionally making space for ourselves.

Successful moms make space for their own needs. On the surface, that makes them seemingly selfish but they don’t do it out of selfishness. They do it out of necessity.

They know that if they don’t take care of themselves well, they cannot take care of anything or anyone else well. That means they take time to reconnect to the deepest parts of themselves.

How does that play out in real life?

They Throw Off Mommy Guilt

When I interviewed Lauren Smith Brody, author of The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Success After Baby, for our upcoming podcast, she had a lot to say about mommy guilt. By using the word “guilt” all the time when we talk about how we feel bad we’re away from our kids, or that we don’t have enough time to make homemade cookies for the school bake sale, we imply wrongdoing, she told me. In reality, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing a career for a woman or a man or with delegating baking to the experts at the local pastry shop. We’ve got to stop talking about mommy guilt and instead talk with less shame about the things we want to invest our time in or don’t.

They Have Deep Connections with Other People Who Support Them

This includes friends, family, and, sometimes, professionals.

The moms I know who are living their most authentic lives know their limits. They are keenly aware that they need other people – that our lives were not meant to lived as lone cowboys (or cowgirls, as the case may be). They have learned over time to let other people in their village carry the load when it comes to childcare and mental household checklists, but they also get that they’ll wither on the vine if they carry all of the emotional responsibility in their families.

They Give Themselves and Their Families a Lot of Grace

They know that being a mom is messy (literally and figuratively) and that no one does it perfectly. 

If you still think other moms have got it all together, you’re just straight wrong, Mama. We’re all human and motherhood is hard. Sometimes it’s fun and easy, but a lot of times (especially in the early years) it’s hard.

They Give Themselves the Time They Need

I loved interviewing Carla Naumburg, author of How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids, because she’s so direct as she talks about this topic. “…if you’re really honestly, absolutely convinced that you can’t move your body more or take a break from your phone for an hour every night, then you may have a lifestyle that is incompatible with not losing your sh*t with your kids,” she says.

Yes! This, this, this.

Next week, we’re going to dig deeper on this last point, because it matters so much.

Can’t wait to see you then. Missed last week’s post on spending time on things that matter? You can read it here.

Coming January 27th, 2020:

The Modern Mommy Doc Podcast

Coming March 17, 2020:

Motherhood tips and advice for modern working moms of babies and toddlers

POST:

Successful Moms Don’t Waste Their Time

CATEGORY:

Parents

Date:

January 13, 2020

For the past few weeks we’ve been talking about how to actually win at parenting without losing ourselves. Last week we talked about becoming intentional about our dreams.

This week, we’re focusing on the second core area: intentionally spending time on things that matter.

Jamie works full time at a start-up tech company. Her work requires more than a nine-to-five commitment. There are evening meetings, early morning deadlines, and fierce competition among her colleagues for the corner office.

She also has a rambunctious two-year-old daughter – the kind of toddler who tries to climb up into the refrigerator, clumsily pull the orange juice out, and attempt to pour her own beverage into an adult glass every morning; the type of little one who screams “It’s just not fair” whenever she’s told it’s time for bed.

Jamie has a strong group of friends from her high school and college years, but she doesn’t see them or talk with them as often as she’d like. She wants to get back to painting – a passion she spent hours on before her daughter arrived – but there’s never enough time.

“It’s difficult to figure out how to do it all,” she says. “The worst part is, it feels like I’m hardly ever doing what I want to do. Instead, I’m almost always doing what I have to do.”

Jamie, like most modern moms, has a hard time intentionally spending time on things that actually matter, but she doesn’t have to waste her time and energy.

Our Priorities Dictate Our Daily Agendas

Last week we talked about dreaming big. Dreaming big allows us to understand our “why”; it helps us understand where we’re going in the next month or year or even ten years. Figuring out our priorities, on the other hand, helps us to get granular about how much time we’ll give to one area or another on a daily basis.

Remember, this is fluid and depends entirely on the stage of motherhood you’re in right now. When you have a newborn, your priority is making sure you’re taken care of, making sure your baby is taken care of, and …yep, that’s about it. And it’s enough, Mama! When your baby or toddler, or even a little older, you’ll be in a completely different stage, …and with that stage will come more sleep and more brain space for bigger dreams and bigger plans. So, give yourself grace. 

I tell the story of how I developed my own priorities in my upcoming book,  The New Baby Blueprint:

My friend Christie is a business executive coach. She spends all day guiding leaders personally and professionally as they make million-dollar decisions. One night, discussing life at a bar, she took a cocktail napkin and wrote out the major categories of life—kids, spouse, work, exercise, friendships, hobbies, homemaking, travel and experiences, and appearance. For clarification, exercise to me meant releasing endorphins, stress reduction, and meditation, whereas appearance included everything that goes into looking put together (including exercise for the purpose of having a good appearance).

She wrote them in random order and then asked me to rank them in order in the left-hand column according to what I, in an ideal world, would spend the most time doing. “Rank them as a private, honest list, not based at all on what other people would think is the right way to rank them,” she said.

I called it my ideal list.

Ideal List

1. Exercise and stress reduction

2. Kids

3. Travel and experiences

4. Hobbies and sports (including writing and reading)

5. Partner

6. Friendships

7. Homemaking (tasks such as laundry and dishes)

8. Appearance

9. Work

In the next column, she asked me to rank what I thought I spent my time on.

Here is my reality list.

Reality List

1. Work

2. Homemaking

3. Kids

4. Hobbies and sports

5. Partner

6. Appearance

7. Friendships

8. Exercise and stress reduction

9. Travel and experiences

Then, she told me to compare them.

Understanding Your Priorities Will Change Your Life

That comparison was scary, Mama. I didn’t like at all how I was spending my time in the real world versus how I wanted to be spending it in my ideal world. So, I changed it. I switched it up. I decided I would spend way more of my time and energy on the top three items on my Ideal List, as opposed to the top three things on my Reality List. Why? Because joy lived at the top of the Ideal List. Stress and resentment found their unhappy home at the top of the Reality List. 

Putting Your Priorities Into Practice

To put your priorities into action, you’re going to have to get strategic. You’ll need to do three things with the majority of the tasks you feel like you have to get to, but you can’t stand doing (or that suck up way too much time and energy): either delegate them, automate them, or completely forget about them. Too much time on grocery shopping? Shop online at Amazon or Instagram. You’re the only one in your home who does any cooking or cleaning? Time to get your partner or your village involved. Spending a whole lot of effort choosing your clothes every morning and getting yourself ready for the day? Simplify your routine and get strategic about what’s in your closet. You will still spend some of your moments on things that don’t matter, but those things cannot and should not define you. If you give them less time and brain space, they won’t. 

Next week, we’ll dive into the next core area successful moms are intentional about: making space for themselves. Missed last week’s blog on being intentional about your dreams? Read it here.

Coming January 27, 2020:

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Learn More

Coming March, 17. 2020:

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POST:

Successful Moms Dream Big

CATEGORY:

Parents

Date:

January 6, 2020

Last week, we defined the six core areas successful moms are intentional about.

This week, we’re focusing on the first of those core areas: getting intentional about our dreams and our goals.

What does goal-setting have to do with winning at motherhood? Everything. It gives us purpose and direction. It helps us keep moving toward the future when the present feels like poop in our hair or sticky fingers on our clothes from those little ones we have in-tow.

Successful mamas dream big – really big. They do it for two reasons:

1) They understand the value of passionate living. They see that, while it’s important to embrace the season we’re in now and to find contentment no matter our circumstances, living just for the day-to-day can be boring and defeating. They know that their lives mean more than laundry and work commutes.

2) They want their kids to live passionately one day, too. They realize they are the most critical educators in their children’s lives. They grasp that when their children see them working toward a goal and resiliently pursuing a dream, they will be inspired to reach further someday, too.

What if Passionate Feels Too Far-Fetched for My Life?

This doesn’t mean sucessful mamas all have crazy visions of being famous rockstars (though, if that’s you, Mama, go for it. I mean, why not?). It means they have visions of what life could look like for them if they had the time and resources to design it more intentionally. It means they have something they want for their lives (a small business concept they can’t shake, a vision of amazing relationships with their families, a dream of financial freedom, an idea they have to make other people’s lives better).

I’m not going to sit here and “self-help” you with a bunch of “reach for the stars” B.S.

Life is Real

There are barriers for each and every one of us to even thinking about the thing we actually want for our lives, much less to go out and grab it. I know that. You know that. And you know the things I’m talking about: things like a mountain of bills or sleep deprivation or a tantruming toddler. Or sexism. Or racism. Or generational poverty.

Still, I’m convinced that it’s not enough to settle for lives that are overwhelming, disappointing, and exhausting. Motherhood was meant to be better than that. We don’t have to all be famous rockstars, but we can rock our lives, despite the chaos that fills them, by living them with purpose.

Understanding where we’re going and why we’re going there is the foundation on which we determine our priorities.

It helps us decide where to place our efforts and how to spend our time day by day. That’s why we have to be crystal clear about the dreams that matter most to us – so clear in fact that we write them down and own them. 

It can be daunting to lay claim to our hopes and dreams for one reason: we’re afraid someone else won’t agree or won’t approve. Think about it, though, Mama. It would be crazy for you to let someone else’s opinions decide how your life is going to ultimately turn out, right?

I have a list of 10-year dreams I go back to day after day as I think about how I want to live my life (to give full credit, I developed these based on Rachel Hollis’ method she describes in Girl, Stop Apologizing).

Here are my 10-year dreams:

  1. I live completely debt-free
  2. I am in the best health of my life —physical and mental
  3. I am a New York Times best-selling author
  4. I work for myself as a speaker, blogger, and businesswoman 
  5. I travel the world extensively
  6. I am an exceptional wife and have a thriving marriage
  7. I have deep connections with my kids and amazing relationships with each of them
  8. I own a home with a view onto open water.
  9. I have close relationships with a community that I love and support and who loves and supports me. 
  10. I give my best talents compassionately and generously to inspire other women to have social-emotional wellness for their families and financial freedom. 

A Little Too Big, You Say?

Some of these may seem totally reasonable to you, maybe even too small. Some of these may seem way too big. Guess what? I DON’T CARE. They’re my dreams. Guess what else? You ALSO SHOULDN’T CARE if, when you write out what you’re hoping and dreaming above all odds for, someone else laughs or comments negatively about them. Why? Because they’re your dreams. No one else should get to tell you what’s silly or too ambitious for your life because it’s your life.

Once you’ve hammered out your dreams, it’s time to focus on your priorities. That’s where we’re headed next week. Join me!

Missed last week’s blog on how to win at parenting without losing yourself and why it matters so much? You can read it here.

Coming January 27th, 2020:

The Modern Mommy Doc Podcast

Coming March 17, 2020:

The New Baby Blueprint
Tips and advice for moms of toddlers and babies for successful parenting

POST:

How to Actually Be a Good Mom (Despite What the World Says)

CATEGORY:

Parents

Date:

January 3, 2020

A few weeks ago, I published a blog that sums up the way most moms I know feel about the pressures they face and the overwhelming mandate that is Modern Motherhood. It specifically addressed working mom stressors, but it applies to stay-at-home moms, working moms, and “somewhere-in-between moms” alike. 

You can read the whole thing here,but here’s how it ended:

If having it all means missing out on what matters, I’m out. If leaning in means sacrificing joy and contentment, I quit. If working so hard to achieve perfect balance means I never make it to my top priorities, I just can’t abide. I’m tired of performing. 

Here’s the deal, Mama. I’m not willing to lose myself, my authentic relationships with my children, my love for my partner, or my sanity for some version of happiness someone else defines …and neither should you. It’s time to learn how to truly win at parenting without losing ourselves.

How Do We Win at Parenting Without Losing Ourselves?

The comments came rolling in and the most common one was, “Well then how do we do it?” It’s one thing to say “no” to the world’s ridiculous mandates, but it’s quite another thing to say “yes” to something better. Saying “yes” starts with deciding what kind of mothers and people we want to be. It starts by asking ourselves the big questions – questions like, where am I headed? What do I want my life to look like in five to ten years? How about thirty?

What kind of adults do I hope my kids will become – strong, confident contributors who give, heal, and inspire or individuals who look successful on the outside but are stressed out and fragile on the inside? How do I want my relationship to be like with my kids once they’re grown? How about my partner? 

Most importantly, how do I want my relationship with myself to look? Will I be tied to the pressures the world would love to put on me? OR, will I be living according to what matters to me

When you look to the future, I bet you hope you’ll be living in a way that makes you joyful and fulfilled, but guess what? How your life (and your kids’ lives) look in five, ten, twenty years depends on what you do right now, Mama. It depends on what you do today.

No pressure, right? 

In truth, when you choose the way you live and the way you parent, instead of just letting it happen haphazardly, there will be way less pressure. In fact, the opposite will be true. You’ll have the freedom you crave. 

So, you decide.

Will you parent in a way that makes your kids resilient? Are you going to be joyful and content, able to weather the storms of life yourself? Life is marching on day after day – we can’t stop it – but we can DECIDE to live and parent with intention.

Successful moms don’t let external pressures pile on. Instead, they’re highly intentional about these six core areas:

  • Their Own Dreams
  • Spending Time on Things That Matter
  • Making Space for Themselves 
  • Investing in Their Mental and Physical Health
  • Parenting in Partnership
  • The Way They Parent Their Kids

Breaking It Down

Over the next six weeks, we’re going to walk through each and every one of these. It doesn’t matter if you have a newborn, a toddler, or an elementary-aged kid — the same principles apply.

Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself

Every day, you get to choose the kind of mother you’ll be and the kind of life you’ll live. It’s your turn to set your intentions. I’m with you, Mama. I know freedom and joy are just waiting to be uncovered as you learn to win at parenting without losing yourself. 

Listen to More on the Podcast – Coming January 27th, 2020

Read More in the Book – Coming March 17th, 2020

modern mommy doc how to win at parenting without losing yourself

POST:

How to Be a Good Working Mom (According to the World)

CATEGORY:

Parents

Date:

December 16, 2019

The World Keeps Telling Me:

You can have it all. You just have to do a few things.

Lean in at work. Lean in so hard you think you can’t lean in any further. Then lean in some more. Make sure your colleagues can count on you. It’s not enough to be a part of the team— make sure you have a front seat at the proverbial work table. Fight for equal pay by showing them you deserve it. Don’t let them see your weaknesses or your insecurities. You’ve got to “man up.” Take the lead. Speak up in meetings and take charge in your decision-making. Take every opportunity they give you. If you feel like you’re about to break, you’re doing it right.

This is especially important when you have a newborn. If you choose to breastfeed, you’re going to need to pump at work. Every day. Every three hours. If that seems like a lot, don’t worry, there are laws to protect this special time—I’m sure your employer will follow them to a “t” without any pushback. The time may not feel special because, instead of having a tiny infant suckling at your nipples, two giant cones attached to a suction machine will be milking you like a cow at a corporate dairy farm. Enjoy your free time while you’re pumping, though. Or, better yet, get some work done— you don’t want to fall behind your male partners. 

When it comes to comes to free time, it’s so important to take full advantage of it. Every spare moment you have is a chance to get something else done, to make a check mark on your to-do list. If you’re organized and focused enough, this shouldn’t be an issue. Make sure you keep up to date on all the new apps designed specifically to make balancing your work and home life the most efficient possible. You might need to get up an hour earlier than everyone else in your family every day, including weekends, to make your hard work pay off. 

Speaking of sleep, you really need it. Don’t skimp. Take care of yourself by getting to bed at a reasonable hour each night. Never mind the laundry piling up, the dishes in the sink, or the 30-minute Netflix comedy special you’ve been waiting all day to enjoy. They can wait. Sleep matters most. Unless your kid wakes up and needs you. You don’t want them to develop a separation anxiety issue. After all, you are a working mom—you need to spend as much time with your child as possible—even if it means you show up to work a little haggard. 

Appearance. Super important. Sorry, you may be modern but the world will still judge you on one thing first as a woman: your looks. So, make sure you look polished at all times and you wear Spanx if you haven’t gotten back to your pre-baby body by three months postpartum. Though you really should be able to fit in all your pre-pregnancy outfits by then. If not people WILL talk. Even your friends. 

Oh yeah, friends. You’re going to need them. Never mind that you’ve forgotten how to hold a conversation about anything other than baby spit up. This is THE TIME to connect with other moms and, if you don’t do it in the next few years, everyone will already be all buddy buddy with each other and you’ll miss out. In fact, it could seriously affect your child’s networking opportunities as they look into employment options down the road. 

By the way, you’d better start looking into ways to prep your toddler for college admission now. These days, it’s very competitive. You’re going to want to sign your child up for piano (or violin) lessons as soon as they become available — the younger the better! Sports are an absolute must, too. Maybe your kid will get a scholarship if he’s better than everyone else on the team. How else are you going to pay for his education?  Don’t push too hard on the athletics, though. Your child could grow up to resent you and hate you if you over-stress him or if you don’t challenge him enough. There’s only a small margin for error either way. 

If you can, volunteer whenever possible. Who cares that you’re working?! You have a whole hour at lunch available—that’s the perfect time to drive across town to participate in this month’s Halloween, Valentine’s, May Day or Just Because It’s Tuesday Celebration at the elementary school. This is YOUR CHILD we’re talking about, after all. You can never get this once-in-a-lifetime memory back again.

Memories! Pay special attention to making every Christmas morning and the Easter Basket as memorable as possible. After all, Susie’s mom down the street is at home every day making milk and cookies. You (please remember or I will need to remind you again) are not. This is the least you can do for your poor kid—she’s missing out on so many other bonding moments with you. Search Pinterest for hours until you find the best handmade rainbow unicorn birthday cake recipe to serve at your sweet angel’s celebration — the one that requires buying a special pan for $59 even though you have eighty pans in your pantry. This should be easy for you. You are a woman, right? Baking should come naturally to you, as should folding underwear and interior decorating. 

Which reminds me, you need to keep a spotless house. Make sure it’s perfectly organized and clean. What if someone comes over? Of course it may take five hours to scrub from top to bottom but what else could you possibly be spending your time on that you can’t make more of an effort in this area?

Don’t forget to spend time on yourself, though. You don’t want a major illness, do you? Better make it every year to the doctor for a Pap smear and a skin check. Also, work in exercise seven days a week, make your own farm-fresh, five-course meals, drink 8 glasses of water a day, and go to therapy. Go even if it’s not covered by insurance. Some things must be put to the top of your list! Don’t go into debt over it, though. That will really mess you up. 

Oh, couples care! This is critical. Get a babysitter! But go out after your kids go to sleep so you don’t steal time away from them to make it happen. They need you! You’ve been gone all day and they miss you, remember? So what if you’re too tired at 9 pm to hit the town? Your marriage depends on this! Sometimes you have to push yourself to your limits to make time for what matters. Stay sexy. Resentment is unattractive. Who cares if you’re doing way more than half of the work to make your family’s life run? That’s just the way it is. There are even studies to prove it. You can do anything for 18 short years. Suck it up.

Above all else, stay balanced and happy and content. After all, this is the life you always dreamed of. You’re just going to need to work a little harder to make it a reality.

What I Say Back

If having it all means missing out on what matters, I’m out. If leaning in means sacrificing joy and contentment, I quit. If working so hard to achieve perfect balance means I never make it to my top priorities, I just can’t abide. I’m tired of performing.

Mama, I’m not willing to lose myself, my authentic relationships with my children, my love for my partner or my sanity for some version of happiness someone else defines…and neither should you. It’s time to learn how to truly win at parenting without losing ourselves.


Know a mom-to-be or a new mom who could use some help caring for herself while she cares for her little one?

Grab the book! Out March 17, 2020.

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