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”

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”

Strong, Fit & Resilient. Get Motivated & Make It Happen!

I thought I was doing something wrong. When I pulled the rope…hard, it didn’t move. I leaned backwards, even with my full weight against it, the sandbag only shifted a little. Fortunately, two teammates stopped to help me. Together, we hoisted the bag into the air so I could finish.

That was 6 months ago. As a daily runner, I felt pretty invincible (ahem overconfident) prior to training for that race. I struggled with many of the serious strength activities.   Although I can run for miles, I learned, I’m not as strong as I thought I was. It also took over a week to recover from the assorted injuries. Which has prompted me to focus more on strength and flexibility, not just stamina, to become athletically well-rounded.

Cultivating Resilience

If life hasn’t followed ‘the plan’, you’ve likely earned the emotional resilience to handle most dilemmas. Making our bodies resilient…healthy and more resistant to injury or illness, is different. It’s not cumulative. To be physically fit, you’re just never done! In the mental load survey, Continue reading “Strong, Fit & Resilient. Get Motivated & Make It Happen!”

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”

Couples Win When Mom’s Mental Load Is More Fairly Balanced

#MomsSelf-Care #ShareTheInvisibleWorkLoad #MentalLoadSurveyResults“I want to SMOOSH his face!  He is a teacher and is home for the summer, but I’m the one scheduling everything – he takes the girls to the appointments, but I have to be the one to set everything up. I work 50 hours a week and come home to a messy house, no dinner, and kids who want to run to Target. The thing is: they simply don’t ask him about haircuts or shampoo or sweatpants or whatever, so I do it all.”

Disillusioned 

In most households, the planning and logistics for all things kids and household falls to Mom.  One friend aptly described the mental load, “…it’s like having one thousand tabs open in your mind. All.the.time.” This imbalance leaves many partnered Moms feeling disconnected, disrespected, frustrated or lonely in their relationships.

When asked how the mental load affects the partnership with their spouse or significant other, 80% admit Continue reading “Couples Win When Mom’s Mental Load Is More Fairly Balanced”

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”

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