The Details of How to Make Personal Change Stick

A Book Review For Pathways to Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander

I read and listen to books about everything from bravery and acceptance to productivity and leadership. I’ve been in the slow but intentional process of self-renewal for years. Recently, I discovered Pathways to Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander. It’s the companion to one of my favorite books, The Art of Possibility that she co-authored with her husband, Benjamin Zander.

The best of cognitive science teaches that our thoughts affect our feelings. And ultimately, our happiness. Self-help can be heavy on the ‘why’ but light on the ‘how.’ It’s rare to find details about internalizing big ideas. Adopting new routines is not the same as resetting one’s internal Continue reading “The Details of How to Make Personal Change Stick”

Self-Care Is the First Thing to Go in a Crisis

Nearly 400* parents shared anonymously how the pandemic is affecting their lives. This is the first in a series of updates with results.

“With the lack of childcare, I have no time to work or take care of our apartment. I earn a lot less than my husband and work for myself in an industry that has slowed down, so I have taken on the vast majority of the extra childcare and schooling. With only one kid and a small apartment with no yard, this feels like a full-time job! I love parts of it but would enjoy it more if I got breaks. The timeline is overwhelming.”

“My son is 3 and he DESPERATELY misses school and doing things with us. Both my husband and I work full time and cannot take shifts. We feel like terrible parents and terrible employees. For 14 hours a day. Every day. There is no break, nothing to look forward to, no sanity.”

We’re responding to epic change while doing more of everything. There’s more housework, childcare and involvement in activities for our kids. And more required to stabilize our work, families and communities. When the pandemic disrupted life, we didn’t know how long it would last. So, we eliminated self-care to make space for the added responsibilities. Unfortunately, COVID19 is just one of many threats to our wellbeing.

Establishing habits that support our mental and physical health can take years! In this crisis, it’s hard to even think about self-care but it’s critical to manage the stress that also harms our health. Most (61%) surveyed Moms report doing ‘terribly’ or ‘not as well as usual’ caring for themselves.

The Pressure is Unforgiving

When asked ‘what’s been the hardest?’ in this pandemic the list of concerns is long and varied. Moms worry about everything from their own Continue reading “Self-Care Is the First Thing to Go in a Crisis”

It’s Okay to Let Go of the Old Normal and Build Something Better

Takeaways from ‘The Working Mom’s Playbook to Quarantine’ Panel Discussion

We learned how to compartmentalize work for sanity, presence and productivity but the separation is part of what makes it hard. Hiding the messiness of child-rearing from work and the appetite of work from our families, was tiring.

Now we’re trying to work, find work or start businesses during a pandemic and cultural revolution. Samantha Skey moderated a thoughtful discussion during last month’s BlogHer event with Super Mamas Karolina Kurkova, Eve Rodsky and Dara Tresseder.

They shared what they’ve embraced amidst the chaos and the need to change our systems at home. Now is a tumultuous yet perfect time to reexamine everything we’re doing. Remember, most of us were not emotionally or physically well before COVID19.
Continue reading “It’s Okay to Let Go of the Old Normal and Build Something Better”

The Hidden Heroes of This Pandemic

Moms are heroic. Yes, you are a hero.

We set up the meal chains, sewing circles and food drives. We do the essential or remote work and make it look seamless, even though we juggle. Struggle. Zooming kids, looming deadlines and grocery-bingo fade in and out of days without edges. We manage our fears and just keep on soothing. We remain available and reliable to the people in our lives. Being at home has always meant being busy.

The next great act for Moms may just be learning to self-care ‘in place.’

Together, Forward

You may have found your footing emotionally, financially or professionally before the pandemic. Or you were about to unravel and needed a serious reset.

Continue reading “The Hidden Heroes of This Pandemic”

How to Manage the Increased Mental Load Under Quarantine

I gave my son the same math homework twice, started my daughter’s Zoom call late and forgot to pull chicken from the freezer. That was yesterday. Because it hasn’t felt holiday-like, I forgot to buy jelly beans. Between debates about ‘carrying the one’ with my oldest and playing musical-rooms for video calls, I’ve been working at half-speed. When I spoke with my attorney, a mother of 3, to apologize for ignoring her emails, I admitted to fighting mental fog. She agreed and said, “I feel like I did when my kids were babies!” Exactly.

The mental load for Moms, from the to-do list in our heads, isn’t new. It starts when our kids are in diapers but it’s increased with COVID19. Big time. We’re relearning how to work, live and parent all at once, which strains our cognitive capacity. When the routines dissolve, school’s at home and housework multiplies, what are our options? Although we have to approach it differently, we can lighten the mental load during this surreal time.

Why we Can’t Concentrate

In most families, Moms remember the haircuts, permission slips and camp deadlines. This invisible choreography is at the heart of overdo and never-done. We tend to forget our brains have limits and it helps to understand what they are. I spoke with Dr. April Seifert, Psychologist and Co-founder of Peak Mind and she explained, “Any time we’ve got way too much on our mind that we’re trying Continue reading “How to Manage the Increased Mental Load Under Quarantine”

Do You Know How Motherhood Helps Your Career?

That’s Right. There’s Upside to the Work/Life Juggle!

“I didn’t realize it would be psychologically painful. It surprised me, how it would all feel, going back to work when my child was 2 months old,” Said Dr. Yael Schonbrun, Clinical Psychologist, Author and Co-host of the Psychologists Off the Clock podcast. 

The hard parts of working Motherhood are felt immediately. Within hours of returning to work, we fight to compartmentalize. We think about what our kids and our jobs need. All. Day. Long. Even if it were possible, just trying to quiet that inner dialogue, feels disloyal. As if we’re trying to make Motherhood’s messy emotions smaller. Less demanding. Work, once a refuge, begins to fragment us.

What about the sunny side? We rarely think about the Continue reading “Do You Know How Motherhood Helps Your Career?”

What Happens in Your Marriage When You Try to Set Personal Boundaries?

Coupled Moms who try to set limits get different reactions. However most experience extremes. They are either, rewarded with stronger connection or penalized with passive aggression, from their partners.

How does setting boundaries with your partner affect the relationship? Nearly 200 coupled Moms responded to this question anonymously. The results? Like everything-married-life, it’s complicated. Positive outcomes only slightly outpace negative ones for surveyed Moms. Trying to protect time and energy by renegotiating expectations with your spouse, gets tricky.

“It’s hard to ask for time for myself. When I do ask, even after a full day at work and taking care of the house and kids, I feel like my partner isn’t supportive. Even if he’s not doing anything productive himself. It makes me resentful.”

One surveyed Mom’s response

Did you understand how marriage would change after kids? Right. Few people do. Hours of togetherness become little scraps of Continue reading “What Happens in Your Marriage When You Try to Set Personal Boundaries?”

Yes, You Absolutely Can Raise Your Self-Care Bar

“I believe Mothers standing up for themselves is the highest form of self-care. Higher than any massage or relaxing sound machine,” Said Katherine Goldstein, an award-winning journalist and Founder of The Double Shift podcast. She added, “…Getting in touch with your anger, with your experience, is a powerful form of self-care. Forcing yourself to accept unfair treatment, unequal relationships and bad workplaces is what’s really causing people to feel like ‘I need self-care, I’m so stressed.’ If you have a partner, tell him he has to do some f*cking housework okay?” I laughed in agreement. Katherine said, “I know it’s easier said than done. It’s easier to recommend a Continue reading “Yes, You Absolutely Can Raise Your Self-Care Bar”

It’s Time for Moms and Dads to Have an Open Conversation

Share housework, childcare and the mental load with your partner!

Me: Visibly surprised to see my son on screen after calling to FaceTime with my husband. “Hi honey. You’re still up? Where’s your sister?”

Son: Moves the camera over an inch. “She’s right here.” My daughter, who doesn’t look up, is eating popcorn while staring intently at her iPad.

Me: “I actually called to talk to Daddy, can you put him on please?”

Husband: “Hey…”

Me: Hi. “Sooooo…. do you know what time it is?”

Husband: “It’s late, yes, I’m sorry.”

I ended the call frustrated. When traveling for work, I still micromanage from afar. Whether it’s homework, or bedtime, the routines fall apart if I’m away. I fret and we fight. I called earlier and spoke with the kids. This call, the after-bedtime-call, was to catch up with my husband.

My seat neighbor on the train looked at me, before he said, “If it makes you feel any better, we have that exact conversation in my family.” I smiled. Yes I  Continue reading “It’s Time for Moms and Dads to Have an Open Conversation”

Can Self-Care Be Your Secret to Professional Success?

How do you transition from intrapreneur to entrepreneur, with your boss’ blessing, then sell and expand your company? With a disciplined approach to self-care and smart systems at home. Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, entrepreneur and Supermom, has built an extraordinary career while nurturing her creative soul.

Ambitious Moms face a dilemma. The rules for growth at work change just when requirements at home increase. Solutions to outsmart the wage and achievement gaps elude most women. Why? Work infrastructure doesn’t really favor working Moms. To succeed, despite this, requires mental energy and creativity. Resources most Moms lack. What if self-care, dismissed by most to save time, is the Continue reading “Can Self-Care Be Your Secret to Professional Success?”

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