How to be a Happier Parent? Embrace Self-Care!

Gratitude for our families doesn’t mean we’re always happy. Moms routinely give up self-care (yes including sleep) for the perceived greater good. We break so many promises to ourselves, that the excuses sound hollow, even inside our minds.  The consuming baby years, soon give way to demanding school-and-sport logistics. Finding free time feels like trying to breathe underwater. We grow distant from the passions that shaped our personalities. Over time, we forget how to have fun without our kids.

Most of us dwell in the land of never-done, a purgatory filled with managing email, picking up toys and cleaning the counters for the fifth time. It’s not surprising when, in most families, Moms are still responsible for all-things-children-and-household. Although it’s tempting to try to outsmart the to-do list, there’s a better way! I had the pleasure of speaking with KJ Dell’Antonia, Author and former Editor of the New York Times’ parenting blog, The Motherlode.

After writing about parenting, while raising four children of her own, she’s distilled practical wisdom about ‘How to Be a Happier Parent’ in her new book. Spoiler alert, carving out your happy is Continue reading “How to be a Happier Parent? Embrace Self-Care!”

Can Mindfulness & Modeling With Our Kids Overcome Impatience?

Regain Presence Despite Mental Load Overwhelm

After conducting an anonymous tressurvey with 225 Moms, to gauge how the ‘mental load’ from carrying the always-on to-do list, affects everything from careers to health and family relationships, 79% shared they experience increased anger, worry and distraction with their kids.

“…Throughout dinner and bedtime, I feel like I’m pushing my kids off, like ‘I’ll look at your picture…after I finish unloading the dishwasher,’ or ‘As soon as I’m done making your sandwich, I’ll be right there.’  All they want is my attention but I just don’t have it to give unless I want to do two hours of chores after they go to bed, which I don’t!  I try to get it all done before they go to bed…(after) I can take a shower, then sit down and rest.”

Mom Is A Utility

We preach the value of attentiveness and focus to our children. Yet unmade beds and unread messages vie for our mindshare. Constantly. In most families, Mom-energy powers everything from hugs to planning playdates…leaving little space for the trial, error or antics of childhood.

“They view me as regularly stressed… There’s really no full down time between what I need to do and the kids’ schedules.”

“I have less patience when I’m overburdened, which leads to being short tempered…and less engaged with them. I feel like I can’t stop and play Legos® or help with a craft because I have TOO MUCH TO DO!!!” Continue reading “Can Mindfulness & Modeling With Our Kids Overcome Impatience?”

Yes! You Can Work to Be Ambitious and Happy at The Same Time

Ambition is a bit restless. We can feel blessed with the life we have, yet still crave more…security, impact or flexibility. The quest to improve is part of our culture. And for some of us, our very souls. Managing this feeling, however, is tricky. It’s hard to be ambitious and satisfied at the same time. Making it all happen, with the beyond busy Mom-schedule, also requires thoughtful strategy.

Some of us are wired or groomed for ambition, whereas others, adopt it by necessity. Moms are increasingly responsible for co, primary or sole breadwinning at home. In parallel, women are embracing entrepreneurship, in record numbers, as a path to greater autonomy and financial freedom. Last month, I attended Pepperlane’s conference, a day of celebrating and supporting Mom business owners. One of the (many) highlights was Nataly Kogan’s keynote. She shared her powerful story of rising professionally, nearly crashing from stress and ultimately, learning to become happier and more present.

 Beware of “I’ll be Happy When…”

Nataly admitted to the crowded room, “When I spoke at TedX Boston, (what appeared to be) one of the happiest days on the outside, was one of the darkest days of my life.” Continue reading “Yes! You Can Work to Be Ambitious and Happy at The Same Time”

Embrace The Mind-Body Connection And Boost Resiliency

We’re forced to adapt. Our kids develop new routines, needs, rapport, schedules and activities. We’re dealing with new bodies, sleep schedules, org structures, hormones, rules with our spouses…new everything. Often. Ridiculously so.

If you’re blessed with healthy children, their developmental changes are expected and (mostly) joyful. Our own career, physical and environmental changes, maybe not so much. On difficult days, it’s hard to know where the anchor is.

The ‘anchor’ can quickly become ‘the work.’ For a while. It’s easier to pick up toys at the end of the night, or email, than self-reflection or a new pursuit. It can be soothingly productive to enter a messy kitchen and emerge from a spotless one. It’s hard to ask the big unsettling questions when we’re Continue reading “Embrace The Mind-Body Connection And Boost Resiliency”

Lessons Learned from Super Moms on The Entrepreneur’s Journey

Staying Positive Through Failure, Sharing Work With Your Kids & Prioritizing Self-Care

While the leadership gender gap remains wide, about 10% of Executives at US companies are women, enterprising Moms increasingly skip the wait and promote themselves straight to the top by leading their own businesses.

Friday, I was delighted to join the Pepperlane Connect Conference, to moderate a breakout session. Pepperlane, a services platform and community for Mom-owned businesses, is based on a powerful concept…that Moms can help each other succeed.

The event opened to an exuberant crowd of over 100 Mom entrepreneurs, at all stages of their business journey – from exploring a new idea, to running an established operation and looking to scale. The energy was palpable. Pepperlane’s founder, Sharon Kan and host for the day’s festivities ended her passionate plea for Moms to live in possibility with an open dance session. My kind of event… Continue reading “Lessons Learned from Super Moms on The Entrepreneur’s Journey”

When Do You Keep Your Boundaries?

I reconnected with a friend and team-mate at the gym recently while running on neighboring treadmills. She had just returned from a work trip and shared she felt “happy to run” after a two-day absence.  Why the absence I asked?  She stayed with her in-laws and enjoyed the family visit, but missed the opportunity to workout.

That sparked a fascinating discussion about our bodies and our willingness to ‘cross’ boundaries we set for ourselves, mostly to adhere to other people’s expectations of us or comfort.

Moms often feel at the whim of everyone else’s claims to our bodies, time, attention, and energy. Why are we so willing to give up the precious little control we do have?

Where are your personal boundaries?

  • When do you stop pleasing and start protecting?
  • What are those times when to be ‘polite’ you have that piece of cake, cancel that workout, take that Friday meeting when you work Monday -Thursday …?
  • Why fill time with draining people or tasks when time is so limited?
  • When is it hard to make the best choices for ourselves? When is it easy?  What are your rules for this and why?

I would love your help putting context around how boundary setting (or lack thereof) is shaping our day to day lives.

Please take the survey, it will take less than 10 minutes of your time.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Ask for More! The Roadmap to Equal Partnership At Home

#MomsSelf-Care #ShareTheInvisibleWorkLoad #StrongCouplesBuildStrongFamilies

In most families, household and childcare logistics fall to Mom. The complexity of scheduling everything, from doctors appointments to play dates, is more laborious than you think. Stress, from juggling impossible schedules and the always-on mental to-do list, becomes oppressive. By the time we realize it’s unsustainable, we’re exhausted and desperate for relief.

Eventually, the epiphany that one person needn’t ‘own’ all of the kid and household planning in a two-adult family, brings hope. Until then, trying to renegotiate with our spouse, kicks off an unexpectedly draining and emotional chess match. Love for our kids is unconditional, but the spousal bond is different. We trust and commit with strings. We expect mutual support of our dreams and well-being.

“Even mothers who work for pay are still doing twice the amount of housework and child care as fathers,” Continue reading “Ask for More! The Roadmap to Equal Partnership At Home”

Overwhelmed? How To Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time!

Book Review and Conversation with Author Brigid Schulte

#MomsSelf-Care #WhysBehindMentalLoad #TriumphOverStress 

Choose Differently

We lined up for questions. ‘Why do I feel guilty about not baking the cupcakes’ and ‘How can I make time for myself when work expects email replies 24/7?’ There were over 200 women in that room, seeking ‘Life Hacks for Life Zen.’  Brigid Schulte, best-selling Author and Journalist, was a voice of reason onstage amidst growing panic that achieving ‘life Zen’ as a busy Mom was akin to catching a unicorn. By the tail. She eloquently shared her story of change, from stressed-out Mom, to enjoying greater balance.  She said we could “buy into what society wants for us or choose to live differently.” Noted. I was so impressed that I introduced myself to her.

Before we spoke again a few weeks ago, I devoured her book,  ‘Overwhelmed: How To Work, Love and Play When No One Has The Time’.  How can Moms ease the relentless pressure? With a steady rise in ‘girl power’ messaging everywhere from the arts to business, why are we (still) trapped by a punishing schedule of obligations?

Frenetic Families

“I was unaware of the pressures Continue reading “Overwhelmed? How To Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time!”

Rewrite The Rules! Lighten Your Mental Load, Drop Mom Guilt & Live Your Values

#MomsSelf-Care #MomsLivingWithIntention #ResistMentalLoad

A Conversation With Tiffany Dufu, Author of Drop The Ball

“I am in tears and I am overwhelmed. I need help to get out of this place.”

Most moms experience despair at some point on the journey, however, few discuss it. It’s part of the unspoken pact we have with society. There’s so much to celebrate, that most conversation centers on the joy. We don’t talk about feeling fractured or how a lack of self-care leaves us eerily distanced from our identities.

When Tiffany Dufu realized the burden to control all things household was unsustainable without living with a heavy dose of resentment, she knew for the sake of her family and her marriage something needed to change. In her book, Drop the Ball, she artfully tells the story of moving from overwhelm to a more focused, fulfilled life by doing two major things. Continue reading “Rewrite The Rules! Lighten Your Mental Load, Drop Mom Guilt & Live Your Values”

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