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 survey 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?”

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”

Resist Holiday Excess!  3 Smart Strategies to Embrace Holiday Minimalism

#MomsMinimizing #PureFamilyJoy #KeepTheLoveReduceTheStuff

“Last Christmas my daughter received so many presents she was actually tired of opening them. We became worried that in subsequent years she’d begin to expect so much.”  Stephanie explained she and her husband agreed to reduce the number of gifts for their children this year to four presents each.  “For our oldest, we’ll give her something she needs, something she wants, something to read, and something to do.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie and her youngest a couple of months ago.  A self-described incremental minimalist, she started a blog about simplifying life as a means of enjoying it more.  While working to curb holiday excess in her own home, she realized others are likely trying to do the same and began a ‘Holiday Challenge’ for Moms to share practical ways to minimize during holiday season.

Stuff-overload is a common parenting frustration.  From that first time traveling overnight with a baby to realizing your living space is mostly a playroom, Continue reading “Resist Holiday Excess!  3 Smart Strategies to Embrace Holiday Minimalism”

Beyond Burnout. How The Mental Load Affects Moms & What You Can Do About It!

#MomsWeighIn #MomsSelf-Care #TameTheInvisibleWorkLoad

Postcards From The Isle of Overwhelm  

98% of the Moms surveyed* feel stress from carrying the mental load, the always-on invisible to-do list that results from the ‘everything household and kids’ oversight handled by Mom in most families.

When asked ‘how do you know you’ve reached a point of burnout?’ the effects are felt everywhere – from a perpetually bad mood, impatience with children and loved ones, to hives and headaches.

  • 22% can tell by their change in mood
  • 21% of Moms notice changes in behavior
  • 7% experience physical changes as a result of mental load stress
  • And half (50%) experience some combination of all three.

“I leave my phone in the fridge. I know I ate lunch- but I forgot what I ate. Wait…did I really eat lunch? I find myself more short-tempered…yelling and frustrated. I’m typically very objective and non-emotional. Essentially, I’m pulled away from the core of who I am.” Continue reading “Beyond Burnout. How The Mental Load Affects Moms & What You Can Do About It!”

How Is the Mental Load Affecting Your Life? Share Your Thoughts!

#MomsHierarchySurvey #MomsWeighIn #DealingWithStress

I looked over at the baby monitor, noticing the increased brightness from the row of blue lights. Crossing the kitchen, to listen closely, I could hear my daughter stirring ever so slightly.   The sharp ‘hiss’ of the oatmeal volcano streaming over the saucepan’s edge interrupted my thoughts….

“Sh*t!” I dashed to lower the heat on the stove while rapidly stirring the offending bubble dome back into submission. Continue reading “How Is the Mental Load Affecting Your Life? Share Your Thoughts!”

Don’t Give Everything Up! Reclaim Self-Care With New Habits

#MomsGrowthHacks #MomsSelfCare #MomsPersonalDevelopment

Are You Happy?

At a company outing a few years ago, a pregnant colleague asked me about motherhood. “What’s it really like? Are you happy? Everyone talks about being so tired…”

“Yes, I’m happy,” I answered and meant it. “It’s amazing…” I added, perhaps a little too quickly because she looked at me expectantly, sensing hesitation in my voice. “…but it’s hard.” I admitted.

I couldn’t bring myself to share everything I felt. Although I take pride in my candor, who wants to stress out a woman grappling with pre-baby worries? It’s such a vulnerable yet beautifully hopeful time.

I didn’t want to explain how much self-sacrifice is involved in motherhood. By self-sacrifice, I don’t mean Continue reading “Don’t Give Everything Up! Reclaim Self-Care With New Habits”

4 Things You Need For Work/Life Integration from Mom’s Who Hustle

Notes From Attending ‘Moms Who Hustle’ A Practical Work/Life Discussion hosted by General Assembly Boston May 19th.

After rushing in to grab a front row seat, I took a few deep breaths to center myself just as the moderator began introductions.   A surprisingly diverse group looked expectantly at the panelists.

I later learned the eclectic mix of Moms, Pre-moms, Grandmothers and Dads braved the rainy commute and early start, eager to discuss the Mom work-life juggle, for different reasons.

Women feel more empowered (and compelled) than ever to hustle and Moms are no exception.

The artful choreography, to reduce clashes between the work and life schedules, becomes its own demanding project.  Last month, on the sidelines of my son’s soccer match, I watched a Mom spend the better part of an hour crouched over her computer color coding and reconciling activities  Continue reading “4 Things You Need For Work/Life Integration from Mom’s Who Hustle”

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