Last year was amazing and awesome, but 2019 was also one of the busiest years on record for us. At the start of the year, my kiddos were in kindergarten and preschool, with drop off at 8:20am and 9:00am, respectively. During my two solo hours (Caleb needed to be picked up by 11:03am precisely or he was sent to the office to wait for all of the other “tardy” parents), I would rush to the studio at oranj fitness to facilitate a mom group, teach a CPR class, or attend a fitness class. This was our Monday, Wednesday, and Friday routine. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I worked as an IBD RN (Inflammatory Bowel Disease Registered Nurse) at a private infusion clinic case managing patients. During those days our nanny was in charge of drop off and pick up and I just had to worry about getting myself to the office.
In the evenings I would facilitate education sessions or do sleep consults with families. I also work the occasional casual shift at our local hospital as a shift supervisor and in NICU. Caleb tried martial arts and kids yoga. Jay, my husband, participated in Tuesday night shooting at the local gun club and had a Monday night golf team through his work. On Saturday mornings, the kids had swimming lessons and I often had a Mama Coach related event at some point throughout the weekend – prenatal class, sleep seminar, CPR workshop or a trade show.
On top of the day-to-day family scheduling, us mamas are always thinking about food. Are my kids eating enough and receiving a balanced diet for breakfast, lunch, and supper? Is this even possible when all they want to eat is cheese, peanut butter, and carbs?! What should I make for supper? Do I even have the energy after working all day to make supper? Enter my Skip the Dishes app! If I do feel like cooking, I’m often left figuring out what to make the entire family which is easier said than done. I’m always trying to take a mental picture of what’s inside my pantry and fridge while also trying to remember when my last grocery shop was. Will I need to stop at Safeway on my way home? Did I eat at all today or have I literally survived on coffee?!
Alllllll the coffee please. Is two pots a day too much or just enough??
Then there are all the appointments: yearly eye exams, dental check ups, baby/child doctor visits, immunization appointments, and the list goes on and on. Let’s not forget my own appointments – everything from massage and chiropractic to acupuncture and pelvic floor physio (literally every woman should make this a priority) all need to be taken into consideration. Did I mention I need regular lab work to check on my thyroid? Oh yes, postpartum I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease. Did you know, in the first six months after delivery approximately four to seven percent of women experience a thyroid gland malfunction [Merck Manual]. Lucky me.
Being a small business owner. Running the home. Everyday, I try to live up to my idea of what a successful wife, mother, friend, daughter, and sister look like. I’m not going to lie – some days are completely overwhelming and I think adulting is really, really hard!
I know I’m not the only mama trying to do it all, be it all, have it all, and enjoy everything at the same time. Here are a few things I’ve learned to help me choose joy, stay present, and live in the moment.
- It’s okay to say, NO. I’m not sure if this is a female trait or just something I struggle with personally, but I want to help everyone all of the time and so it’s very hard for me to say no to anyone. On top of that, I try to prioritize everything important to my business as well as the personal part of my life, while trying to please others. It gets exhausting. One of the best things I did was hire a marketing / branding expert (Andrea Holscher Consulting). She sat me down, looked at all of the things I was doing, and helped me narrow my focus to a few key areas as well as set specific goals. I joke now that my business has a distinct line in the sand from before and after our time working together.
- Embrace your Girl Gang. My husband is my best friend and life partner and I adore him dearly. But, this past year I realized how important it was for me to surround myself with amazing women that you can do life with – the good, the bad and the ugly! Women who support you when you’re at your lowest moments, and celebrate you when you’re at your highest. Those who champion you and all of your crazy goals and ideas, and jump on board for the ride. I highly suggest finding your tribe, keeping them close, and loving them hard. Your life will be infinitely better for it.
- Forgive Yourself. As a mother (and let’s be honest, as a wife), there are moments when I bump into the people surrounding me. Sometimes I handle this with poise and consider myself to be channeling my inner Mary Poppins (practically perfect in every way!). Other times, I lose my temper, fall completely to pieces, and stomp around like one of my toddlers after I’ve made them the wrong meal for supper. Our Mama Coach founder, Carrie Bruno preaches this all the time: give yourself some grace. It is something I try to enforce everyday. I may not always act as my ideal self, however, it’s important to keep setting goals, always apologize, and know that you will have a future moment to make a different decision – one that aligns with the person you are striving to become.
- Pick your Battles. Parenting can feel very lonely, difficult, and challenging at times. I’ve had to change so much since becoming a mama for the first time 6+ years ago. To know me is to love my OCD-like tendencies, as well as my controlling type A personality (Brene Brown has a lot to say on this subject as a former perfectionist and overachiever!). But kids have their own personalities and desires, and oftentimes the more you try to control every little thing the more you run into struggle and defiance. Make a choice about the qualities you are hoping to instil in your little people like kindness, manners, respect, trust, and compassion. Offer your kids as much choice as you can, empower them to make good decisions, and be a positive role model in their life. The most impactful thing you can do is lead by example and show them the kind of person you hope they will become.
- Prioritize Yourself. In every one of my mom groups, I ask this one question, “What are you doing for self care?”. To be honest, the answer is often “nothing”. Becoming a mother is truly the most amazing thing I’ve done in my life. It’s also been the most challenging to figure out. Who am I now that I have a baby? Give yourself permission to explore that question – you are a mother and you are an amazing woman – how can the two co-exist? Sign up for that yoga class at oranj. Join a running club. Hire a babysitter so you can go swim laps at the pool on your own. Start a book club. Fill your cup in whatever way you need to, and I promise it will make you an even better mother.
- Ask for Help. I don’t think we were meant to do this mom thing on our own. I often wish we all still lived together in caves with our extended friends and family supporting us on this journey (Has anyone read “The Red Tent” or thought about modern co-housing?). The culture we have today in North America is very isolating for mothers. We often have partners that work out of town with no family close by, and in some cases, no support network. The rates of postpartum anxiety and depression are on the rise. What we need is to surround ourselves with like-minded people who help the days go by faster and help us know we are not alone.
As a mother, our to-do lists are never ending, yet we can change our perspective of them. We can choose not to sweat the small stuff, to embrace the joy, to schedule more playdates, and focus on the fun! For myself, I’m focusing on self care and that means integrating and prioritizing fitness and health in 2020, and I hope to see you all beside me on the mat at oranj! I’d be delighted if you’d share this blog with an amazing mama in your world.
Until next time, I’m Jenny The Mama Coach.