Love Your Life, Momma

Personal growth is inherent in our business philosophy, so much so, that it’s become second nature to me. If there is something that I need to get better at, I simply need to study it, and GO. No wallowing. No complaining. Just recognize your lack, without judgement, and simply grow.

So, of course upon becoming a Momma and incorporating work back into my life, I began to scour the literature and mommy blogs for inspiration and tips on doing the working momma thing. Even more preferable is the entrepreneurial/leadership momma thing. Not only did I find very little on the topic, what I did find was your typical momma gripers. I read one blog that listed this woman’s Perceptions  and Reality of a work-from-home mom. Her so-called perceptions were that Work-at-home-moms (WAHMs) had time freedom and whimsy but (HER) Reality was that working from home was challenging and stressful. But upon reading this, I kept thinking, isn’t she looking at the glass half empty??

Since being pregnant, I have regularly processed the notion of “Having it All,” a common phrase used to describe a working mother. Over and over again, I go back to how silly it is. Because before children, I didn’t have it all. I didn’t have my child, I didn’t always go where I wanted to go or do what I wanted to do. There were conflicts in my schedule or I had bigger goals that were more important than immediate pleasure. But it was always a choice. My choice. And it is no different now. I made a really big choice to be a parent and take full on the responsibilities that come with it. In Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean Inshe claims that the phrase is simply insulting, because you would never ask a man if he “has it all” when referring to work and family. There’s probably even less literature and support for men on the topic. Hmmm…

So here’s the deal: Is being a parent hard? Sure. You literally have to relearn how to do everything you’ve spent most of your life perfecting (perfecting, for my fellow perfectionists). Is it worth it?? A thousand times YES! You wanted the kid, right? But isn’t life hard? Or allow me to re-language that…, doesn’t life present challenges everyday? Yes! And it’s your choice to get better, to change your outlook, and to become more.

While my journey through motherhood has been short, while I only have one child, and I am far from an expert, I do know that motherhood is no different than any other life situation. It does not excuse excuses, it does not limit our opportunity, and it certainly is not a platform for pity. It’s one of the greatest opportunities we are given. And if you also have the opportunity to work or build a business or be a leader in your community, you are only further blessed.

So here is MY REALITY, My Momma Vitamins for the Soul, Life Lessons of a Working/Work from Home/ Entrepreneurial Mom (WWHEM):

  1.  Everyday I get to wake up and see my little girl smile and laugh as she’s excited to start the day. Nothing can take that joy from me.
  2. There are some days that I am so tired and my body aches and I might even cry (ok, I’ll probably cry at some point), and in that moment I have a choice. 1) Cry in self-pitty, or 2) Turn on some personal development, have an extra dark tea (a little extra caffeine in the breastmilk is better than a lotta extra stress… in my humble opinion), cry to get it out, and get better.
  3. Sacrifices come with great rewards. When a baby starts crying while I’m having a meeting or trying to get work done in my home office (or even better, the situation that happened at this very sentence is my husband bringing her to me to eat and instead she wants to play and laugh…), again, I have a choice… Time-wasting Baby –OR– Feel eternally grateful to have the opportunity to have her with me! To see her laughs, to satisfy her needs, and to watch her grow. While it might feel a little hectic going from one thing to the next or shuffling baby and clients, in my opinion it’s better than working full-time and dropping off at day-care (complete and total love for any momma working full-time and taking their child to outside care… this is just my scenario).
  4. Be OK with your new reality. Who cares that it’s taken me 3 months to read Lean In, or that I need a pedicure like nobody’s business. I’ve been giving love to a new human. I probably won’t get everything crossed off my list. And further, my list will probably become shorter than it used to be. It’s ok. Prioritize, don’t quit, and celebrate your accomplishments.
  5. Don’t sacrifice your health. Put your oxygen mask on first! Make healthy meals a priority, get your workouts in, ask for help when you need a break. And when you take that time out for you, enjoy it mindfully and lusciously!
  6. Be present. Or at least the very best you can be. When you’re working, focus on work. When you’re with the babe, focus on the babe. I’ll admit, there is a small portion of my brain that is always on the babe. But rather than let that portion be guilt-ridden, I let it be filled with gratitude. Rather than beat myself up for being distracted, I marvel at the fact that there is a piece of me operating outside of my body; it only makes sense that a piece of my brain follows.
  7. Be selective with the company you keep. It’s not just for you now, it’s for your child. Steer clear from the negative. And steer clear from the ‘woe is me’ mommy dialogue. It’s disempowering for women. Find company that will empathize, but build you up and make you stronger.
  8. Be OK with failure. It’s how you know you are on the path to success.
  9. And like Jim Rohn says, “If you don’t like how things are, change it. You’re not a tree.”
  10. And if nothing else… Choose to Love Your Life, Momma.

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The Lost Luxuries of Motherhood

10 weeks in and they are not lying when they say that parenting is one of the hardest jobs ever. But it’s hard in a way that I never thought of and probably one that I can’t even explain all that well. I think what has been the hardest part for me is that I have had to literally relearn how to do my entire life. Things such as eating or carrying a conversation. And don’t even get me started on something like Time Management!

There are so many luxuries of my past life that are simply non-existent in my current state of motherhood. Some may return. Others can stay gone. 

  1. Blow-drying my hair. Oh how I have spent hours applying product, drying, straightening, curling, and spraying my hair. I like to do my hair. My hair is my thing. Not so much right now. A blowout (not even a good blowout) is now a weekly luxury and boy do I feel glamorous when it’s done!
  2. Taking my health for granted. I have been fortunate to be quite healthy and in a healthy weight my whole life. So I got comfortable and complacent. Then pregnancy took over my body and did things that I wasn’t psyched about it doing. And now it’s starting to readjust. BUT, it’s given me a glimpse of a tired, stressed, and overweight body, and I AM SIMPLY NOT HAVING IT! I need to be around a LONG time and I need to keep up with her. So sayonara “good enough.”
  3. Watching a movie. Like a whole movie. Start to finish. I take that back. I did watch one movie from start to finish since L has arrived… but it took about 3 1/2 hours to get through the 90 minute film. 
  4. Eating. Well, more like meal prepping. Thank God for shakes and crockpots. If it couldn’t be done one-handed, it might not happen. 
  5. Giving a S#*&. Yikes. That sounds harsh. Especially from a health and business coach. Let me set this straight. I care A LOT, maybe even more than before, if YOU care. But I simply don’t have the time to care more than you do. And I definitely don’t have the luxury to care about things that simply don’t matter.
  6. Blogging. Scratch that. Lazy computer time in general. Sometimes, I truly miss thee. Wasting countless hours in an email/ Facebook/pinterest rotating trap. If it can’t be done easily on the iPhone, it probably doesn’t happen that often. It sucks to have to be more intentional with my time. 
  7. Sleep. I don’t think that one needs any further description. 
  8. Taking my time at achieving my expired, time-stamped goals. You see, I have someone watching me now. And many of those said, time-stamped goals are for her. Oh the lost luxury of not living up to my potential. Buh-bye.
  9. Sitting down. Dancing, bouncing, swaying, walking, squatting are my new ways of doing things. Probably why I can’t get a lot of computer time in. But at least it keeps me active. 
  10. Being selfish. When you get married, you definitely take into account the thoughts and feelings of someone else, but it’s nothing like being a parent. There is no decision that I can make without thoroughly taking into consideration the many variables that will impact her. This includes me-time, which I take deliberately now. 

And while some of the things of my past life I do miss… like a luxurious 8 hours of sleep… there is absolutely nothing better than getting smiled at by your precious baby and knowing that you are the most important person in her world. And, as in my conversations with her, I don’t take that job lightly. Everyday I will mess up. And everyday I will get better.

Thank you L for making me better. 

Body After Baby and Why I am Getting in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE

If you have read any of my recent posts, you may already be familiar that I have not been one of those women who have adored pregnancy. I wanted to be. Really I did. I thought I would be. And I have my moments, like when she is moving around, that I think this is pretty, freakin cool. I’m grateful for the opportunity to bond and connect with her before she arrives. But at the end of the day, you could say, I’m Over Being Pregnant.

I have been a long time advocate and professional in women’s health. I am all about empowering women through health and wellness. How we portray that can be tricky. When you slam pictures up on the internet, it can easily be taken two ways: motivating for some and self-depricating for others, usually more of the latter, especially if we don’t know where or how to start. Approaching health and fitness for women has to be done with care and precaution. I never want to alienate anyone… especially a new mom. We are going through enough as it is.

However, I will be quite clear: I don’t buy into women’s (or anyone’s) excuses to be overweight. Yes, genetics plays a role in our size. No, we do not all need to be a size 6 or smaller. However, embracing obesity (defined by the CDC as 30 lbs overweight or more) is unacceptable to me. When you embrace obesity, you are actually hurting yourself, your culture, and your gender. The health problems associated with obesity are insurmountable and this is the first generation where parents are predicted to outlive their children. NO THANK YOU!! When we embrace being overweight, we excuse ourselves from changing and that’s the message that we pass on to our children.

I don’t always vocalize this opinion loudly, because while obesity runs in my family (and I have lost family members to obesity), I, myself have never been obese. Even when I was carrying my extra weight, I was still in a healthy BMI and weight. So, I am fully aware that my statement above may seem like I lack empathy, but it lacks no more empathy than if I were to be ok with the other side of my family getting away with alcoholism because they are Irish.

For me, pregnancy has been very eye opening as to what carrying extra weight is like. While, I know I am growing a baby (which is awesome), it is still extra weight on my body. At my last weigh-in I had gained 29 lbs in 7 months and I weigh more than I ever have. That’s a lot of new weight for my body to adjust to. So, it’s no wonder that I have been tired, stiff, achy joints and muscles, back pain, hip pain, and S L O W. I actually have to contemplate things like how to get off of the couch, how to tie my shoes, or climb a few flights of stairs.

So here is why I have decided that I vow to get into the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE: Because I refuse to live my life that way. I refuse for my daughter to grow up with a mom that can’t run and play with her. I have taken advantage of my health many times. As a child, I was small, weak and unathletic. It didn’t bother me because I was skinny. Then in college, I started to work out. I felt stronger. I was no longer the weakling and I liked it. Working out empowered me. Then I became very comfortable with a maintenance level. Maybe we call it complacency, or maybe we just call it a shift in priorities at the time. My health and weight were good. I worked out. I was content. But now, after a glimpse of a life that is slower, more lethargic, heavier, I don’t want to take advantage of my opportunity to be in my best shape possible. I want to be the best me, not just for me, but for my daughter; for my family.

The life that I envision for my family is active! It includes Sunday hikes with the dogs, surfing and adventure sports, walking through cities as we explore, running and chasing each other at the park, Family 5Ks, lots of lessons in nutrition and cooking healthy foods together, and endurance through the days.

So if my body changes after this awesome baby or the next one through stretch marks or sagging boobs, so be it. But I refuse to excuse the baby weight and let it slow me down. Because the extra weight that we carry isn’t just in our bodies, it’s in our minds. And I have way too many other important things to worry about than my own self-guilt or body image. It’s just not worth it.

Let’s Document the Journey… Stay tuned…

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