Becoming a mom has without a doubt been the best thing I have ever achieved (and am still working to achieve everyday). I say “achieved” because it is something that has taken a lot of effort, courage and patience. Without even considering the additional challenges that come with parenthood, like the ones that can come along with getting pregnant, not to mention LABOR; just being a parent that you are proud to be is an extraordinary challenge and achievement.
Before I had a baby, I never really understood why everyone said raising children is the hardest job in the world. When I thought of something being “hard” I would think of something extremely physical or that required hours of studying, practicing, or learning about in order to achieve. While parenting does present some physical and mental challenges, I think the thing that makes it the hardest job in the world (which I now agree with) is that it is constant. You never get to walk away from it. Balancing the life you used to live before kids and your life now with kids can be tricky. Worrying about your kiddos every day hoping they are well fed with the BEST food, praying they don’t get sick, making sure they are learning and growing and happy while also trying to make sure you still get some quality time with your spouse and friends and family….it’s a lot. And for the working moms, that is a whole other ball game. It is just a lot to coordinate and balance and it is hard not to feel guilty when you are not able to meet one of the aforementioned challenges and expectations (and you can never meet them ALL at the same time). So, how does the majority of the adult population manage to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat? We experience a love that is so beyond anything we could have imagined and it creates a superhuman beast inside. We also get great tips and tricks from our friends and family that help along the way.
Below are some of the main obstacles I have come across and what has helped me approach them mama-beast style..
You see me I be work, work, work, work, work:
Working mamas! Just stop and give yourself hug or high five or take a shot…whatever you are into. Whether you are working because your family needs you to or because you just weren’t willing to walk away from it all, working with kiddos at home is a curve ball in this crazy parenting game. The MOM GUILT is a real thing! Are you being a “bad” mom for not spending every waking second with your angels? Are you a bad employee for prioritizing your child over your project deadline? Is the childcare option you chose safe, affordable, environmentally stimulating? The guilt goes on. No matter the reason why you have chosen to work, be proud. Be proud that you are providing yourself a creative outlet that makes you the best mom when you are home. Be proud that you are able to provide for your family. Be proud that you are crushing life from every angle (or at least tell yourself you are). While the internal pep talks and bottles of red wine are helpful, a strategic approach is also necessary. Here are some things that have helped me navigate the last year as a working mom.
Speak up at work! Good companies are willing to work with moms. Ask for a flexible schedule or to work from home a couple of days. I work from home 2 days a week and it makes a world of difference. Being able to spend your lunch hour or breaks with your child or avoiding the time wasted driving to and from work, really helps to balance out your week. Talking with your boss and letting him/her know that you are committed to your role and the company, but would be your best self if you had a nice work-life balance. This is not something to be afraid of. It just shows that you have priorities, you know what you need and are not willing to settle for anything less.
Be organized: This is a Type A’s dream! If you are going to go back to work I would highly recommend keeping some sort of schedule. You may not need to be as militant as I am, but if your child knows what to expect and you set aside time to prepare for each day, it sets you and your kiddo up for success. My husband and I go into work pretty early, so we have to drop our daughter off at Mrs. Cyndi’s around 7am. This mean she has to be up by 6am. Knowing this is our weekly schedule, we always make sure Madison is up by 6 everyday regardless of whether or not she is going to Mrs. Cyndi’s that day. This consistency lets her know what to expect. It makes getting her ready in the morning and dropping her off a breeze. No tantrums, no confusion, it is just routine. The night before I make sure our dinner is prepared for the next evening and all of our lunches are packed and her outfit is laid out. Again, this makes sure the mornings go seamlessly and I can go to work knowing everyone is happy, well fed and that we will be able to eat dinner together that night. This may sound challenging or like I said, militant, but I promise being organized and having a plan of attack will make going to work a much better experience for all involved.
Voice Expectations: There is a lot that goes into choosing the right child care for your family. There is nothing more nerve racking than trusting your child with another person. I have found that being very clear on my expectations, writing out my daughters schedule and sharing all my daughters’ likes and dislikes not only eased my fears, but also helped set the foundation for the type of care we are willing to accept. This probably makes me sound like a nut job, but that is a title I am ok with if it means my child is well taken care of. Also, apps like Brightwheel where you can see your child’s day to day activities and even pictures and videos is a working moms dream! If your child care provider doesn’t use an app like this, ask them to at least send text updates throughout the day.
Was that Booger Green?!?!
It is crazy to me that this question has become part of my weekly vocabulary. Always wondering if your kids are sick or worrying they are going to be around someone who is sick is just part of the job description. I have learned to accept the fact that they are going to get sick, a lot, and that they are going to be ok. However, I do find comfort in knowing I am doing what I can to keep illness at bay with these simple tricks.
Love love love my oils. For those who know me know that anytime I can avoid western medicine I am on board. I believe in the amazing power of medicine, but I do truly believe it is over used and can be as harmful as it is helpful if abused. With that mindset, I like to try and find natural ways to help me and my family stay as healthy as possible, and oils do the trick! Word to the wise- Brand matters! Not all oils are created equal. If they are not 100% pure then they cannot be trusted. For this reason, I like to stick with a very reputable brand, Doterra, even though it is a little pricier than others you may find in your local store.
A lot of oils are completely safe for you to use during pregnancy, while nursing and even to directly use on your kiddos. There are soooo many amazing oils that can be used for almost any ailment, but below are some of my favorites that I use all the time with my daughter.
Doterra On-Guard- Hello immune system! This oil is great to diffuse in the house or put directly on the bottom of your children’s feet. It helps boost the immune system and even helps fight off an existing illness.
Lavender- Oh the many many uses for this amazing oil. I mix this with some coconut oil and give my daughter a massage before bed. It is extremely relaxing and calming and makes for a great night sleep. This can also be used to help clear clogged tear ducts (mix with coconut oil and rub on the cheeks, around the eye sockets, and on the bridge of the nose. Avoid the eye itself!) It is great for ear aches (put a drop on a piece of cotton ball and place right at the edge of the ear opening). It is also soothing for many scratches and burns (mix with coconut oil before applying).
Oregano- This oil has very strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Studies have shown it to be even more powerful than antibiotics in many cases. This oil has a strong burning sensation and should never be directly applied to you or child’s skin without mixing with a carrier oil (coconut oil). I like to mix a drop with coconut oil and rub on the bottom of my daughters feet whenever she is sick.
Doterra Breathe: This oil is amazing when you or your kiddos have a stuffed nose or feel nauseated. When my daughter was younger (less than a year old) I would diffuse this while she nursed if she was stuffy. Now, I like to diffuse it in her room while she sleeps if she has a cold.
Unless you have been living under a rock for your entire life, you probably have heard that nutrition plays a big part in our overall health. However, what I have found is that a lot of people let that concept go in one ear and out the other because proper nutrition requires some lifestyle changes that most are unwilling to adopt. To keep this segment from turning into a lecture, I am going to leave it at this. Making poor eating choices for yourself is one thing, but your children really don’t know any better and you have all the power to set them up for success later in life. Making healthy meals, staying away from processed foods and trying to go all organic is time consuming and does cost more, but it is worth it because the alternative is actually making your child sick. Nutrition is a passion of mine and something I take seriously in my family. If you have any questions or are looking for suggestions on changes to make, recipe ideas or just general guidelines, I would love to chat with you!
Who Me? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!
With kids, family, a household, friends and possibly a job that all depend on you, who has time to focus on themselves? This is the crux of it all! Again, the MOM GUILT comes out anytime we take time for ourselves. And even if there is no guilt, just the sheer coordination of all the schedules and trying to find someone to look after them while you are away is a challenge (dad has a life too….sometimes more of a life :insert eye roll:). However, I like to approach this as a non-negotiable. Regardless of how tricky it can be, your time to yourself is a must! Your goal as a mom is simple and that is to be the best mom you can be which requires you to be the best version of yourself. How can you be the best you if you are never rewarding yourself for the hard work you have done? Or are always tired? Or are cranky because it is all a thankless job? Reward yourself. I like to sneak away to my ClassPass classes at least a couple times a week. I love to go to dinner with my girlfriends or on dates with JUST my husband. Massages….ahhhh the magical powers of a massage. Whatever it may be, get out, enjoy life and all it has to offer; including the children free experiences. It is hard not to get caught up in the day to day grind, but it is so important to take a step back, live in the moment and treat yo self!
Becoming a mom has taught me so much and has brought out qualities I never knew I had. The experience has been so humbling and has made me approach others more empathetically. It has made me kinder (all though I am still a ball buster) and most importantly it has made me a bit less stubborn. I have realized that it is ok to look to others for wisdom. It really does take a village to raise a kid and I am thankful to all my family, friends and other bloggers who have helped me navigate my way through the most exciting time of my life.
Let us know what you have learned and your go to tips and tricks!