Have we all decided when the ‘new mom phase’ ends yet? Is it when your youngest turns 1? Your oldest turns 5? Both kids are potty trained? No clue. I still feel like a new mom… a more experienced new mom (now that I’m officially four years in), but still… a new mom (hey, my youngest is TWO). And, as fun, focused and as close to fabulous as I try to be… I have fail-days that sneak up on me.
As stupid as this is: My fail-days involve frustration with my career… and sometimes affects my mood when it comes to parenting. Shall we just say it outright: My career rocked an incredibly-lucky roll (before kids) but has now slowed down on account of several different reasons (reasons that are way too convoluted to get into in this particular post). Sure, I work here and there (you see it on my social media feeds, and every new post on this blog is in fact “work”) but it ain’t like the old days folks. And because my brain has been programmed to progress, get better and do more with each passing day…. well… let’s just say I get frustrated when I’m forced to stand still (even though I can’t remember the last time I actually stood still having two kids under the age of 4). If you’re part of my generation, I’m thinking that you’ve been programmed to progress, get better and do more with each passing day too? We all have a ‘thing’ that brings us down… they may differ, but they all require us to seek support so that we can be lifted back up…
Recently I had the fun fortune of attending ClubMomMe’s Family Fall Fest here in Southern California where I listened to – (and moderated!) – informative, frank and insightful panels concerning the day-to-day of motherhood. (You can see how much joy media personality Diane Mizota and I had learning all sort of juicy things in the pic above.) Ups, downs, in-betweens and what-the-eff-are-we-supposed-to-do questions were flying everywhere. All kinds of moms from all walks of life… so different, but so many of the same issues. Lucky for me (all of us there, actually) some of the smartest and most motivating minds in modern motherhood lent their best mom & family lifestyle tips and support for our taking. Here’s what I learned — take notice, memorize and tape onto your fridge for your own fail-days. These are keepers:
1) DON’T EXPECT YOUR CAREER TO MAKE LEAPS AND BOUNDS UNTIL YOUR YOUNGEST KID TURNS FOUR. God Bless work/lifestylist Samantha Ettus (the woman seems to say exactly what I need to hear the second I need to hear it every time I see her… I’m convinced she’s got my house bugged). Sam broke down career-frustration-for-moms in one hard-hitting, concise explanation: Until your youngest child turns four years old, you’re doing manual labor at home. Your only goal is just to keep one foot in the [career] water so you don’t take yourself out of the game before that child starts school. O.M.G. (See what I mean?!?!?) I’ve referred to new motherhood as being ‘manual labor’ many times, but I never stopped to consider that manual labor can actually take time and tireless effort 24/7… which might then, in return, push some of your larger goals aside for the time being. The big point? Motherhood has chapters: Things get easier once you accept the chapter you’re in and act accordingly. Makes you feel better, no?
2) IT’S OKAY TO CUT PEOPLE OUT OF YOUR LIFE. You can thank Garcelle Beauvais (actress and “I Am…” children’s book author) and Suzie Barston (advocate & speaker for supporting moms) for this one… In the name of keeping your wits, your confidence and a positive attitude so that you can conquer each day: It’s okay to cut negativity out of your life in order for you to succeed as a mom… even if it means creating a bit of distance between you and a longtime friend who just doesn’t get your new motherhood world. In Suzie’s words, “You wouldn’t keep a toxic friend in your life before having kids…” Good point. Makes you feel better, no? (Side note: The pic below was graciously taken by talented writer, blogger and DIY diva Michelle Villemaire. Thanks lady!)
3) FIND THE JOY IN EVERY DAY. Trust me, I KNOW how annoyingly ‘peace and love’ this sounds. But: It’s true. There is JOY in every single day… even the crappiest, most frustrating, can-I-go-to-bed-right-now-and-end-this-stupid-day days. This tip came compliments of Jamie Lynn Grumet (aka the mom who shot to fame by posting for the infamous cover of Time Magazine while nursing her then-4 year old). Remember and judge what you want about that cover, but she made sense when bringing up this ‘joy’ concept. She described how much she loved going to spas before kids, and how she figured out a way to make ‘spa-time’ at home with her kids to let her remember that pre-mom joy. Frozen grapes, ethereal music… it works for her. She giggled when she told us how her boys are now ‘spa-people.’ It made me smile, and it made me happy to listen to her. Look for the funny, seek out the silly, FIND THE JOY… because it’s there (even on the days you flip out and ditch your duties, joy is there). If you can’t find the joy, create it. Attitude is everything, and new moms can’t afford to forget that (coming from someone who just admitted to fighting bad moods). Makes you feel better, no?
And isn’t that the big key to the city these days? Feeling better – good, great and even fabulous – about what we’re doing day in and day out as moms… whether we wish we were working more, stressing less or putting our efforts into something else altogether at any given moment of a frustrating day. Find the kind of support that works for you (y’all know I’m a tough-love kinda gal… I happen to like sassy kicks in the butt), stick to it… and then give that energy back to another mom in return. It’s the only way to keep moving (until your youngest kid turns four)…
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED AND HAPPY AS A NEW MOM?