January 31, 2020
We’re on week four of six as we dive 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 fourth core area:
Moms who take the long view on parenting understand it’s a marathon, not a sprint. They see that they have to invest in their own physical health from the very beginning of their motherhood journeys. They also know they must invest in their own mental health. Why? Because being a parent is just straight triggering. This morning my three-year-old daughter spent an hour sobbing about her afternoon dentist appointment, throwing herself on the floor and yelling, “This is unfair! You’re a mean mom!”
Yeah, that took patience to get through without completely losing it myself. It took mindfulness. It took perspective… and, I don’t know about you, but those things don’t always come naturally to me. They take persistent practice, sometimes in a therapist’s office, sometimes by taking a walk in the fresh air, and sometimes in a dark room on a bike going nowhere as I listen to Jay Z with 30 other riders. When we take care of our minds and bodies, we are less-easily triggered and can more easily respond versus react to our kids’ behaviors and needs.
They recognize the myriad of social forces making avoiding sleep deprivation and stress in the early years almost impossible. Instead of ignoring them or wishing them away, they face them
They also know the struggles of early motherhood are not their fault. They are watchful for postpartum anxiety and depression, and for the kind of toxic, chronic stress that can pile up after months and years as a parent. They seek out help or let others find resources for them when they’re too overwhelmed to do it themselves.
They learn how to take back their motherhood experience to make it what it was meant to be.
Next week, we’ll talk about the fifth area successful moms focus on: parenting in partnership. Until then, make sure you check out our most recent podcast episodes:
January 27, 2020
Mamas, I can hardly believe it. We’re crazy excited to announce that The Modern Mommy Doc Podcast is live as of this morning.
We dropped (count ’em): FIVE episodes of The Modern Mommy Doc Podcast to start things out and we can’t wait for you to listen to them. Subscribe and listen here so you never miss out on all the information, resources, and inspiration we’ll be sharing.
Dr. Whitney walks through the six core areas successful moms focus on and how to get intentional with your parenting at any stage of motherhood.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
I loved interviewing Carla Naumburg, author of How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t
Yes! This, this, this.
Can’t wait to see you then. Missed last week’s post on spending time on things that matter? You can read it here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. Exercise and stress reduction
3. Travel and experiences
4. Hobbies and sports (including writing and reading)
7. Homemaking (tasks such as laundry and dishes)
In the next column, she asked me to rank what I thought I spent my time on.
Here is my reality list.
4. Hobbies and sports
8. Exercise and stress reduction
9. Travel and experiences
Then, she told me to compare them.
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.
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.
January 6, 2020
Last week, we defined the six core areas successful moms are intentional about.
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.
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.
This doesn’t mean
I’m not going to sit here and “self-help” you with a bunch of “reach for the stars” B.S.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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