All Articles Tagged "motherhood"
By Richie Holmes Grant
Since toddler boss dictates my schedule these days, I get up super early and get more done by 8:00 a.m. than I ever imagined possible. It’s not that I’ve suddenly become a morning person, but I’ve just found simple ways to make getting up and getting out much easier for me and you-know-who.
So, whether you’re trying to wrangle a grumpy toddler out of bed or trying not to burn breakfast (again), here are 10 morning hacks to help you make your mornings easier and get a jumpstart on your day:
In the evening:
2. Check the weather. Don’t get caught by surprise in the morning. There’s nothing like a last-minute wardrobe change to throw off your time.
3. Lay out your clothes. Plan out what you and the kids are going to wear (including shoes and accessories).
4. Plan out the next day. You’re more likely to get more done on your to-do list (and not forget to include items) when you know what you have to do beforehand and can plan accordingly.
5. Go to bed earlier. It sounds good in theory, I know. But how many of us really do it? Start with 30 minutes and then gradually dial back your bed time until you’re getting at least 8 hours of rest. This is much more difficult to do for new moms, but don’t worry, there is a light at the end of the tunnel (I saw mine around three months into mommyhood:-).
In the morning:
6. Wake up earlier. Aim to wake up at least an hour before everyone else in your house so that you can have some time to yourself. This is also a great time to meditate, read or work out before the madness of the day begins. While you’re up, check the traffic too to see if you need to adjust your morning route. Have you downloaded Waze yet?!
7. Drink a glass of water. Drinking 16 ounces of water right after you wake up will make you feel instantly refreshed and ready to start your day. It’s also a good way to cleanse your system and help you stay regular. With everything else you have to juggle in your life, who needs to be constipated too?
8. Make up your bed. Taking time to make up your bed sets the tone for the rest of your day. You’ll already have one accomplishment on the books and it will only get better from here.
9. Keep your alarm clock on the other side of the room. That way, you’ll be forced to get up and turn it off rather than press the snooze button until you have no more time to spare.
10. Have a place for everything and put everything in its place. Do this and you’ll always know where your phone, keys and purse are and you won’t waste time looking for them when you’re trying to get out of the house. Been there, done that. Not cool. At all.
What are your favorite morning hacks? Share them with us in the comments section!
Hey Haute Mamas! I’m Riche Holmes Grant, a modern mom + mompreneur who designs smart + stylish products that make your mommy gig easier. When I’m not busy taking orders from my toddler boss, I’m contributing to MarthaStewart.com or in the kitchen whipping up delicious baby + toddler gourmet creations in my BambiniWare Apronini. I live in the Washington, DC area with my husband and daughter. Follow our adventures on Instagram via @BambiniWare!
I recently took my six-month-old to an evening play. Upon entering the theater, the entire audience took note of my presence, me, woman with baby. (Insert Scary Orchestra Music Here: Da da da daa) Of course they were all smiles at the baby, but I could see in their eyes the ruminating process over whether or not a screaming infant would interrupt their night on the town.
At the end of the play, many of the audience members, and even some of the cast members, complimented me on how well behaved and engaged my baby was during the production. I appreciated their feedback, but it also made me think about my social life as a mom? Are most people not dating their babies? Where does society think babies and mommies and daddies belong?
A recent scientific study showed that parenthood decreases the happiness level of adults more than divorce and unemployment. But did you know that one of the major causes of unhappiness is a lack of social connection? Psychology Today reports that a lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.
Be honest, as a parent, how much did your social life improve or decrease after having children? I’d guess that most of the parents reading this article stopped interacting with other adults on a regular basis after having children. I’d also bet that most parents schedule their time around household needs i.e. bills, food, and work/school more than activities just for fun and quality time. If our happiness is connected to our social lives and our social lives decrease after parenthood, how can we be happy parents raising happy children?
There are no other options. We must date our babies.
We have two daughters and they are both under the age of two. We have taken them everywhere. They’ve enjoyed 13 hour road trips, six hour plane rides, 12 hour work conferences, concerts, musical productions, cheap dinners, expensive dinners, parks, playgrounds, churches, hotels, shopping malls, the grocery store, dentist’s appointments, funerals, birthday parties, museums, movie theaters, the beach, the hair salon, the barbershop, nail salons, work meetings, and the homes of relatives.
Our children are not extra terrestrial babies who do not make noise and enjoy sitting still. They are normal little people with short attention spans and little understanding of the word “no.” I believe the difference is that we make no apologies or excuses for their presence. Where we go, our children go. And I believe, this should be the norm for all families.
I don’t think that it is fair to ostracize parents and families. As parents, most of us know the horrible feeling of being alone with our newborn baby for six weeks while everyone else is at work or elsewhere. It takes a lot of mental stamina and self-confidence to overcome the social anxiety of being alone with a baby during this transition.
I remember when our oldest daughter was born in January. Before our daughter was born, I interacted with other people every single day via work, shopping or just fun. Then when our daughter was born, I was home alone every day except for an hour to the grocery store on Mondays. That was unacceptable.
When we found out that we were pregnant again, I immediately prioritized my husband being home and available to support our growing family for more than a week. This decision was the best decision we ever made. Being able to enjoy our babies together with the freedom to come and go as we pleased improved our happiness.
Dinners with friends, manicures and pedicures, shopping, the movie theater, conferences, the spa for massage therapy, church etc. Having two children has been better than one, because we prioritized still being social adults. Now, we are a social family.
Parenthood does not have to contribute to the social death of parents. Date your baby, and ignore the haters. The appropriate place for your child to be is where ever you both are happy.
Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience. She resides in Philadelphia, Pa with her Husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace. Clarissa is also an expert in impact investing. She is the Communications Associate at Impact America Fund.
by Jenna Birch
We’ve been hearing parents tell their clans of kiddos, “Y’all are gonna be the death of me” for ages, right? Chasing after two toddlers at once (and worrying about them) must take a few years off a mom’s life, right?
Apparently not. According to Live Science, research shows that moms of twins actually live longer than moms who just have one baby at a time. Women who birth two children at once are generally stronger from the start, so they tend to live longer.
“We expected the exact opposite,” researcher Shannen Robson from the University of Utah said. “We expected that since most humans have one baby at a time, having two would be really burdensome … [Twins] are an identifier of these women who are remarkable, physically exceptional people.”
Researchers also found that double-birth moms “had longer reproductive life spans, needed less time to recover between pregnancies, and had more children overall.” The study looked at the “natural fertility” of a group of women in 1800s Utah, and found that moms of twins generally had between 1.9 and 2.3 more children than single-birth mothers.
To make sure this information was totally true (since twin babies have higher mortality rates), researchers also adjusted the numbers based on the idea that mothers who lost children might have another faster. Moms of twins still came out on top.
The group who conducted the study hopes to look deeper into the reasons for these results, searching for answers that might benefit all mothers.
“By identifying them, we can then look at other aspects of what it is about them that makes them more healthy, live longer, and have babies at a faster rate than everyone else in the population,” Robson said.
The only hitch in this study? The research may not apply to all mothers with twins. The study was based on the “natural fertility” a group of women over two centuries ago, so in our IVF world, things might be a little different. But if you’re a mom who birthed twins the old-fashioned way, this research proves your hard work will be rewarded.
Reprinted from YourTango
Feeling sexy isn’t necessarily a physical thing but rather a state of mind. It really doesn’t matter what size or shape you are, as long as you fully accept who you are and how you look. That doesn’t mean that you think you’re perfect or don’t need improvement. It means that you support yourself throughout every step of your own journey including pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. Many of us forget what tremendous change our bodies had to go through in order for us to give birth. It’s indeed a miracle, a miracle to be entirely proud of. This is where I’ve found–and you’ll find–complete, unapologetic confidence.
Being a mom makes you sexier because:
You feel like you can conquer the world
After seeing the capability of my own body, will and my strength, I am certain that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. I know that I walk differently and talk differently. I’ve evolved as a woman. I am now a mother. “I can do it” is my daily affirmation. Nothing can bring me down because I’ve endured nine months of physical exhaustion to bring a new life into this world. If that isn’t sexy, then I don’t know what is. Now, you need to understand what that means. Some people might get intimidated by a woman who holds her head up high (I’m not talking about arrogance), but knowing who you are and what you’re capable of makes you feel so good about yourself and shines a very energetic vibe onto those you encounter. Constantly remind yourself of all the obstacles you’ve overcome, all the great things you’ve achieved.
You have ambition and motivation
Having children changes your whole outlook on life. For many it also triggers the will of achieving more than what they’ve had before. Wanting to do better and providing only the best for your child becomes a top priority. Who doesn’t love a woman who’s focused on her goals, knows what she wants and is willing to work hard for it? That goes for men and women. I love seeing how motivated my husband is to start his own business, thinking of our future children and next generation. Working as a team and having each others back is even better as it balances out your hustle which you’d now share with your partner. And nothing is better than coming home to an appreciative partner and to reward each other for the hard work.
You are super caring
Women, especially mothers, are known to have a more caring trait to them. You get used to it by always checking on your kids, cleaning up, cooking, making sure they’re fed and so on… I’m going to break this one down in two. First, men love to be cared for. I think everyone does. Knowing that the person you like is concerned about your wants and needs makes them more attractive to you. Secondly, men tend to subconsciously fall in love with women who behave similar to their mothers.
Now, don’t get me wrong and start pampering him left and right but I’m saying that the carling, affectionate, loving trait of a mother is a beautiful thing that everyone needs to appreciate.
And never let the lack of appreciation make you doubt yourself. Know what you bring to the table.
You have physical sex appeal
I know this is one of the touchiest topic for most moms. Nonetheless, let’s face it; our bodies go through immense change to prepare for childbirth and it isn’t always easy to get back to the pre-baby body we’ve had or to workout at all. We’re back and forth between cooking, feeding, cleaning etc. all while trying to take care of ourselves. It’s very important to take a break when you need it and face one challenge at a time. Even with my stretchmark’s and wobbly tummy, I feel wonderful. The biggest mistake you could do now is to compare yourself to others. It’s a violation of self. Accept yourself, you’re beautiful. You’ve brought life into this world; there is nothing more amazing. When I say that I feel wonderful, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t want my body to look any other way. That would be a lie. But I love it now, I’ll love it later and whatever else I’ll go through – this is me and I refuse not to accept and love myself whole fully. I believe that self-love is the most important love; how else would you know what to give another person if you can’t even feel those emotions for your self?
by Erinn Bucklan, Daily Worth
Time Is on My Side
I’m proud I got pregnant at 40. Yes I was the oldest mom in the playground when my son was a toddler and now I’m the oldest one at school pickups. But I’m okay with that.
In fact, according to new U.S. Center for Health Statistics data, I’m on trend. There are more than nine times as many births by women over 35 (when our childbearing abilities start to decline) today than there were four decades ago.
Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. In contrast, a very young mother raised me. She was 18 when I was born and is one of the youngest grandmas I’ve yet to meet.
Sure, it was hard at first to alter the adult life I’d worked so hard to create for myself to make room for the full-on life-changing force of that eight-pound newborn. But making this change midlife was the best decision I ever made. Here are four surprising realizations.
I’m Happier Than Ever Before
There’s a lot of media banter back and forth over who’s happier: the childless by choice or the people who procreate. But I’ll add another dimension to the discussion: I think having a kid midlife has actually made me a happier parent than if I had started earlier.
Science backs me up. Research shows that when you start a family between 35 and 49 you tend to feel happier than if you had kids between 18 and 35. It appears that waiting until after you’ve finished your education and established your career is linked to a more satisfying experience in the parenthood department.
I’m More Financially Stable
This one probably isn’t a surprise. Being older, I’ve had the luxury of time to establish myself in my career and personal lives without the responsibility of raising a child, so of course I have the stuff (from savings to home equity) to make parenting less stressful.
On the other hand, kids cost money! The bare-bones cost of raising one child to age 18 in the Northeast is around $282,480, according to theU.S. Department of Agriculture.
So I’m not one for a spontaneous trip to Hawaii anymore — but a strong credit report looks a lot better than a tan. Tempted to swap that Paris vacation for a purse filled with pacifiers? You can calculate your personal estimated cost of raising a kid here.
It Could Lead to Longevity
Knowing that I’m responsible for raising a child way into my fifties has made me extremely conscious of my health choices. As a result, I eat cleaner, exercise harder, and keep better health habits than ever before.
Just as other people my age may start to slow down on their self-care because we begin to feel how much more effort it takes to watch what we eat or run that extra mile with stiffer knees, I’m reinvigorated. I have to stay strong just to keep up with a fast-moving five-year-old.
Research supports this: Boston University School of Medicine found that women who start having children later are twice as likely to live to their nineties than those who begin families in their twenties.
“Of course this does not mean women should wait to have children at older ages in order to improve their own chances of living longer,” said researcher Thomas Perls, MD, MPH. “The natural ability to have a child at an older age likely indicates that a woman’s reproductive system is aging slowly, and therefore so is the rest of her body.”
I’m a Calmer Person
Here’s where motherhood has changed my personality. I may not have clinical studies to back me up, but I think any reader in a similar situation can agree. You learn viscerally how to not sweat the small stuff after you birth a whole person out of your body.
I’m not candy-coating parenthood: There are countless nerve-wracking moments you sign up for once you get pregnant. (When people say they “grow as a person” after having kids, I actually think it means they’re growing a tougher skin!) And over time, as you confront more and more gut-wrenching moments, from, say, a fetus’s dropping heartbeat when you’re in labor to that young child’s first visit to the pediatric ER, you learn to get really chill about everyday disappointments. Long line at Starbucks? Train delays? Ha! No worries.
This article originally appeared on Daily Worth.
Sheryl was driving home late one evening last April when she fell asleep at the wheel. No she wasn’t drunk. But she was tired. So tired, in fact, that she was supposed to be on vacation. The first one in years. But she postponed it because when you’re a commercial actress and you book a mega job, you take it. Especially, when you need the money. So despite the fact that she crashed into a parked car and just about totaled her own, and had a huge laceration on her forehead, she refused to go to the hospital.
“All I could think about was my job, and I still went the next morning even though my head was the size of Shrek,” says Sheryl.
They obviously replaced her. It was then that she went to the hospital and discovered that she had six herniated disks in the back and neck and a small fracture in the neck. It was the cut on her forehead, however, that caused her the most anxiety because what would happen to her modeling career if she was left with a scar? “It was very traumatic,” she says. “The first two weeks I cried every day because I was always finding something else wrong with me. But after that, I had an epiphany.”
More on that later…
Stacie’s headaches began last July and remained almost two weeks. She thought they were no big deal until she collapsed to the floor and had to be rushed to the hospital by a friend. Turns out, she had a ruptured brain aneurysm that left her unconscious for days. She also suffered two strokes. “People usually die straight from this or end up in a nursing home,” she says. And while things could have been a lot worse, life has changed in many ways. Once a very athletic person who worked out regularly, she can’t run anymore. Her left eye, which was shut for three months after the accident, is now open, but she must wear glasses. She’s often dizzy and sometimes struggles to remember things. “The other day, I couldn’t remember something from my childhood. The memory was just gone.” She also can’t drive anymore and needs help taking care of her two kids.
But if you think Stacie is spending her time feeling sorry for herself, think again. Like Sheryl, she’s got other things on her mind.
For Sheryl, the accident, and coming close to death, made her realize that she needed to deal with her life. That meant, getting out of a toxic relationship, which became most apparent when the guy wasn’t there for her following the accident. It also meant getting rid of friends too.
“There was no one I could really count on. I mean those who are there when you feel like you can’t deal with your life.”
She was also able to put her career into perspective. “I used to stress over the fact that I’m getting older (Sheryl is 47 years old) and will have to change careers. Now I realize I can only do what I can do. No more no less. I take my time with things. I’m working on my clothing business Indigostyle Vintage.” It also changed her relationship with her 17-year-old son. “Before I used to feel like I had to make things happen. Be mother and father. Now I’m more honest. As parents we try so much to protect them but sometimes they have to see you as human. He knows that I’ve been very successful in my career, but now I’m starting over. I’m figuring it out.”
For Stacie, the accident has shown her that she’s not in control. “I’m more patient now because I know there’s a higher being driving my life.” She also feels a renewed sense of purpose. “I want to start a non-for profit to bring awareness to brain aneurysms. Millions of people have them, but don’t know it because they don’t all rupture. Mine had been growing for 20 years.” She says that people should get tested for it. Post accident has also brought her closer to her two girls. “I value every second I have with my daughters. Even more now. I want them to be happy.”
Sheryl also adds that she learned to put herself first and listen to her gut. “When I’m tired, I sleep, when I am not in the mood I say no, and when it doesn’t feel right I make adjustments.” She says it makes her life more full and keeps her really engaged versus getting in a rut and just going through the motions.
How many of you can relate? Have you ever had a near-death experience?
Meet Raven Grant and her four-month-old daughters. Their photo recently went viral on social media, and instead of commending this young mom for her ambition, many made assumptions about her life and criticized her for her choices.
According to Grant’s mom, Renae Richey, she’s a college student who is studying to be registered nurse. The now popular photo was snapped by Grant’s fiancé after he arrived home from work one evening and discovered her engrossed in her studies while caring for their babies.
Somewhere in the midst of all of the negativity spewed by commenters, and Grant’s relatives and friends defending her against critics, something beautiful happened: single moms began to encourage one another by sharing stories about the sacrifices they have made to provide a better life for their children.
It was hard I went to school big and pregnant has a c section and was back at school a week later. My legs were swollen and I hurt walking but I was determined to graduate. She will make it.
-J’Lah Davis Williams
Yes, it can be done! I wouldn’t recommend doing it, but if it happens don’t quit! I dropped out when I got pregnant went back the next year & finished.
-Jordan Sinclaire Nuerenberg
Oh, I know about this all to well I was pregnant with twins while going to school so I know the struggle. Stay strong and God has the rest.
I’m a mother of 4 & I’m 32 years old with a Master’s degree. (Children ages: 13, 12, 7, & 3 months) I found out that I was pregnant with my oldest the day before high school graduation. I entered college a year later pregnant with my 2nd child, & received my Bachelors May of 2006. When my 3rd child was 3 years old, I began Graduate school. I received my Masters degree in July of 2013. The point I’m trying to make is KEEP GOD FIRST, NEVER GIVE UP & NEVER ALLOW ANYTHING STOP YOU FROM ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS!!!! GOD BLESS!!!!! #TheyAreMyMotivation
I was definitely in the same boat! But believe me you can do it! Working a job and going to class while raising your baby! Don’t give up! You can reach success!! You’ll be like my son and I too thrilled to even take a normal photo! Haha!
We’re loving how these women came together to encourage one another.
In 1996, Willie Knighten, the oldest son of Laverne Knighten, was issued a life sentence in connection with a drive-by murder in Toledo, Ohio. For any mom this would be devastating news, but what made it even worse was the she knew deep in her heart that her son was innocent. Her first reaction was to blame herself, perhaps if she and her husband hadn’t both worked full-time time jobs she could have stayed home and things might have turned out different. Or maybe she should have been stricter when she realized that he was going astray. Eventually, she was able to see that she had a choice in how she was going to deal with his life sentence and it was a series of choices that kept her sane throughout the 13 years he served in prison, leading to the day he was released.
The first choice that 50-something year-old Laverne made following the sentencing of her son was deciding to end the pity party that had been going full-blast since the moment he was convicted. It was a co-worker at the factory where she worked, who was relentless in getting Laverne to see that blaming herself for what happened was ultimately going to destroy her. She says, “In time, I was able to accept what happened and let God take care of the things that I could not change. I knew that Willie didn’t kill that man, but I had to look at some of the things that he did do. I knew that he was running the streets and doing drugs, so I realized that it could be much worse. At least in prison, I wouldn’t have to worry about a phone call in the middle of the night telling me that I would have to go identify my son.”
Now that Laverne had accepted the situation for what it was, she was able to take the next step. She became ‘Little Willie’s’ biggest supporter, along with her husband of 47 years, Pastor Willie Knighten, and tons of church members and friends. They wrote letters to the judge, signed petitions and showed up to one of Little Willie’s hearings via chartered bus, determined to do whatever it would take to free Willie.
Laverne and her crew were no joke.
But still, the years passed, each one packed with holidays, special moments, and the two toddlers that Willie left behind growing up fast. What does that do to a mother’s faith? For Laverne, the passing years brought with it the opportunity to make another choice.
“I told myself that God may not always be there right when you want him, but he’s always on time. I believed everyday that went by, we were getting closer to the time when he’d be coming home.”
About six years into Willie’s sentence, Laverne received an unexpected phone call from the mother of the man Willie was convicted of murdering. She told Laverne that she didn’t believe that her son had killed her son and it had been weighing heavily on her mind. She was sorry, and wanted to arrange a meeting with the judge.
For Laverne this looked like a turning point. Was it the answer to her prayers? With a mix of anticipation and excitement they met with the judge, armed with information that the victim’s mom had never presented before. However, things didn’t go quite as planned. The judge had doubts. Why hadn’t she presented this information earlier? For now, Willie would remain behind bars. Laverne was devastated again. But again she had a choice to make.
So she dug her heels in deeper, throwing even more love and support behind Willie, making sure that she and her husband were there for every single visit, whether he was at a facility right in Toledo or moved to a prison a few hours away. It was during those visits that she became aware that many of the inmates didn’t have the support that she was giving Little Willie. In fact, Willie told her that some inmates were committing suicide from being abandoned by friends and family. LaVerne wasn’t having any of that, and became a surrogate mother to some of Willie’s friends.
“My husband and I sent packages and little things to the inmates that didn’t have anyone. Sometimes we sent money. One of his friend’s mom had died was while he was locked up, so I adopted him as my son. If you got a loving heart you know that God is going to bless you regardless. It seemed like every time we reached out to them God blessed us more.”
Lifted by his mom’s unwavering support, Willie joined in on the fight, writing letters to the judge, re-proclaiming his innocence, presenting him with new evidence whenever there was a change to the story, which by that time, was happening with greater frequency. More witnesses began coming forward, changing their testimonies, at one point the judge ordered Willie to take a polygraph (lie detector) test, which he passed three times. Even though polygraph tests results aren’t admissible in court, they did however, place doubt in the judge’s mind. Had he unfairly convicted Willie?
Twelve years into Willie’s life sentence, the judge was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before dying, he wrote a heartfelt letter to the Ohio Parole Board stating that he believed he was wrong in convicting Willie of murder, and in good conscious he could not leave this earth without informing them. Shortly after he died, and sure enough the Governor of Ohio granted Willie Executive Clemency. After serving almost 13 years, Willie was free.
And what did it mean to his mother?
“It meant a new beginning for the whole family, and more importantly for Willie, as I was able to share with him what I learned during those 13 years. He could be anything that he wanted to be; it’s all a matter of choice. ”
This month marks the six-year anniversary that Willie was released from prison. As of today, he is an anti-gang activist who mentors at-risk youth, he sits on the board of directors for the Reentry Coalition of Northwest Ohio, and serves as a member of the African American Leadership Caucus (AALC). To hear more about his story, check out his Toledo TedX Talk.
Erickka Sy Savané is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in multiple publications. Check out her daily column, Pop Mom Daily, right here on Madamenoire or visit her blog The Brew. Before Erickka began writing she was a model/actress/MTV VJ. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Jersey City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
By Donloyn LeDuff Gadson
You don’t look like you have eight kids!
You look good for having eight kids!
What do they mean? What does eight kids look like? For that matter, what does one, two or three children look like? I’ve been on the receiving end of these statements long before I became the wrangler of a large brood.
What’s even more perplexing? These statements always come from other women, not men. Have we been programmed to think that becoming a mother means looking and feeling rundown and worthless? What happened to those old Enjoli perfume commercials where the wife/mother/career-woman seductively croons about her ability to “bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never ever let him forget he’s the man?”
So, what exactly does being a mother look like? We all come in a vast array of sizes, shapes, hues, personalities and fashion tastes. But society seems to suggest we must be old-looking and frumpy, donned in matronly attire with no pep in our steps. How is it they have recruited other women to convey this bizarre message?
Whenever someone seems shocked that I am a mother who is half-way pulled together, it raises the same response within me.
I’m a mother, I’m not dead!
Ladies, motherhood does not have to mean the death of the woman or the end of your sexy! In fact, if you ask me, as mothers, we are most deserving of it.
So how do we keep it sexy, sassy and lively as a mother? How does the woman and the mom happily coexist? Answer…By creating a life that supports our goals and lists you among the priorities in five key areas: Family, Health and Wellness, Relationships, Career and Social Life.
Let me preface this by saying, juggling motherhood and womanhood is not easy. Adjustments, sacrifices and compromises have to be made. That being said, there’s always a way, and you don’t have to bend to the point of breaking.
Scroll through to learn how to manage in each key area.
You may be the mom, but family is a team. Don’t be duped into thinking you have to do everything alone. We all have a network, whether you realize it or not. We have spouses, significant others, friends, family, childcare providers, etc. Divide the responsibilities in order to free up more time to enjoy your family. By creating more enjoyable opportunities with your family, you are setting not only their happiness as a priority, but yours as well. Thus, the more fulfilled you will feel in that area.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
You have to set your health and wellness as a priority. If you are not at your best emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually, then how can you give your best? Proper diet, exercise, sleep patterns, water intake and relaxation are critical. And by relaxation, I mean trips to the spa, walks in the park, quiet time at the bookstore or a café, whatever promotes emotional, mental and spiritual wellness.
Unfortunately, most moms find it extremely difficult to carve out time for this area. So, this is where your creativity is needed. Perhaps going bike riding with the kids on a sunny afternoon. This will satisfy quality family time while simultaneously meeting your health and wellness needs.
Ladies, how many times have you complained about your significant other trying to “get a little bit?” I have so many girlfriends who do this. I don’t get it. Sex is not just for my husband; it’s for me, too! And what woman doesn’t want to feel desired by her partner?
Use his advances to boost your esteem. Let it remind you that you are a beautiful, desirable woman. And then allow yourself to enjoy the intimacy. Not only will it keep your relationship healthy, but also it can provide the opportunity to relax, release stress and get in a little exercise. See, two areas in one!
This is not the Stone Ages. You can have a successful career and still be a wonderful mother. This area will require you to build your network with trusted adults to fill-in the gaps when you’re not there. This may include childcare providers, grandparents, afterschool caregivers, coaches and even other parents who may be willing to share in carpool or homework duty.
With smart planning and prioritizing, you can do this.
You’re a mom now. Should you be letting it all hang out every weekend in “da club?” No. But you can still enjoy wonderful time with friends. And all of your friends don’t have to be mothers. Remember, you are still the woman you always were with likes and interests that are completely separate from your role as mom. Nurture that side of yourself. Your children will thank you for it.
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My toddler likes to eat crayons, blow spaghetti out her nose, and yell at the top of her lungs when something is funny. Funny enough, something is always funny to her. I love to read books, write for extended periods of time, and sing song lyrics that express my temperament. I work; she does not. I have chores; she has never heard the word. I have a husband and her infant sister to care for while she is still trying to figure out potty training. We are worlds apart in age and understanding, but we both have the same common goal: to enjoy spending time with those we love. I guess the question is: “How do you play with your child?”
I remember the old school saying, “children are to be seen and not heard.” I don’t remember that being the rule in my house. I can imagine myself talking to the doctor on the way out.
“Hey Doc, you think you could move that flab of skin from over my eye? I’d like to check the scenery before I get my shoulders out.”
I have been, reading, writing, and talking for as long as I can remember. I have others hobbies like swimming, biking, dancing, and performing, but these are still way above grade for my 21-month-old.
She can barely sit still for reading one book. If she was not strapped in for mealtime, I’m quite sure she would try to eat, talk and walk. She can’t play Scrabble, she rips up the coloring book after five minutes of engagement, and she is not really interested in TV. For many reasons, that last one puts a smile on my face. Family-friendly television programming has changed drastically over the last decade or so.
Our days are pretty set. My husband and I both work from home, so we take turns supervising activity time. Mornings, we all have breakfast together. Then someone covers clean up and activity time while the other works. Lunch we’re all together again, and then it is naptime for the kids and focus time for the adults. The afternoon is usually spent outdoors running errands and/or park time. Evenings host dinner, bath, bedtime, and adult quiet time.
This is a really nice schedule when all parties cooperate!
I’ve heard about the terrible two’s, but no ones told me what to do about them?
My good friend, the teacher, mentioned pudding paint and sand boxes.
All this sounds quite messy to me. It also sounds no different from what happens during each mealtime where the food, prepared to eat, gets smeared all over her body, clothes, the dog, and her high chair tray.
Now, we do have special moments like when we watch Janet Jackson or Beyoncé concerts together. We morph into our own girl’s group and the living room becomes our stage. The Hubs and/or lil sis shift into front row VIP fans. These are good times! This holds her attention for at least 30 – 45 minutes, but then she is back running from room-to-room scattering toys all about. I’m also not sure if she should be learning the cadences to “Crazy in Love” just yet.
The park, the playground, Target if I do not have a long shopping list, these are all places where she can run wild and express herself. Target even has little mini shopping carts now for the kids to feel included. She does pretty well pushing it through the aisles without hitting other shoppers.
The only thing is that when it’s time to expedite the trip and knock all the items off the household list, she has to be bribed out of having a tantrum and getting back into the big cart.
Our best times, excluding nap time, are real field trip days. Like this past summer, we went to several kids’ museums, the zoo, the beach almost once a week, and the city playgrounds with carousels and other toddler friendly activities. We also attended several family gatherings where she entertained herself with humans her age.
It’s hard to entertain a toddler, but maybe we are not supposed to entertain them at all. Maybe, if I stop taking everything so seriously as the adult in the relationship, I’ll see the humor in her coming of age awkwardness. Then, quite possibly, she’ll entertain me.
We’d love to hear the ways you play with your child.
Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience. She resides in Philadelphia, Pa with her Husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace. Clarissa is also an expert in impact investing. She is the Communications Associate at Impact America Fund.