Are you one of the 80% of moms who struggle with self-care? Are you in survival mode some days, or most days? Many of us are barely surviving between home management, marriage, family commitments, and work. We ignore our friends and ourselves, and it’s hard to break out of the cycle. I am so eager to share this help for working moms feeling overwhelmed. We’ve been loving this new course called Stretched Too Thin: A 10-Day Course to Overcoming the Hustle and Thriving as a Working Mom. It was created by Jessica Turner – a full-time marketing professional in the healthcare industry, blogger, speaker and best-selling author. Jessica is also a mom of three young children.
Comic books have always been inextricably connected in my mind with the simple joys of childhood. Leafing through the pages of a comic book, it’s easy to get lost in the fantastical storyline, imagining superheroes swooping in and saving the day when all seems close to lost.
Comic books of yesteryear are places where reality stands still and fantasy can take over. Anything is possible. In adulthood we tend to lose that magic. It’s sad we get hung up on limitations and practicalities. We cease to be incredulous, overwhelmed by the day to day that threatens our ability to imagine.
Celebrities don’t usually affect me. I’m not one for autographs, oohs or aaahs. Maybe it’s because I was an actor at one point, and relate to people as ‘people’, without the cloak of fame. But Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston have always been slightly mystical to me – which makes my fascination with them more vivid in its abnormality.
I don’t know about you—but my body is definitely not the same since I gave birth. Sparing the gory details, let’s just say that some parts are not where they once were. So, for that reason (among many others), I was blown away by watching the Olympic champions competing in Rio de Janeiro this year…who also happen to be moms.
“How do they do it?” I ask myself. These moms prove that women aren’t past their prime after producing life, instead they highlight how powerful moms are by competing and excelling in the Olympic games. I figure, perhaps it’s because of how powerful we have to be every single day. I mean, let’s be real: women who can withstand childbirth can break records in any endeavour we set our minds to. We can achieve all of our goals and make our dreams come true, because we’ve already faced the greatest challenge: kids.
When I was fifteen years old I met my future husband at band camp. We were married five years later and as we approach our 20th anniversary (yes—you mommy math whizzes—that makes me 40), and I prepare to send my own kids to camp, I find myself reminiscing about that momentous summer. And being pretty freaked out about what my kids are about to do.
Looking back, it’s clear that motherhood has tamed me.
Not that I was jumping out of airplanes, or burning my bra in the good old days—but I certainly wasn’t the Pinterest-loving, laundry maiden that I am now, either. Life before kids was something entirely other.
As a dedicated mother of two, my days consist of order, routine and responsibility. I bend to the will of my children, and my entire existence is spent keeping them safe, happy and healthy. But, there was a time—before the days of yoga pants and early bedtimes—that I wasn’t quite so organized and responsible.
Before mom-hood, I was a small town girl who liked beer and football on Friday nights— fancy wasn’t really my thing. I worked in a small salon and threw darts with my friends on Sundays. We preferred hole-in-the-wall bars with mismatched carpet; I’d take denim over lace any day of the week.
You know that warm, tingly feeling you get when you’re sitting on the couch watching tv in super soft flannel pjs and you’re just starting to get tired? When you yawn and stretch before padding upstairs in fluffy slippers and you slide into bed and slip immediately into a deep sleep? Well, it’s usually not me feeling those feels. It’s usually someone I’m watching on tv as my sleep deprived brain whispers, “that person is about to have the best sleep of their life.”
But things have changed.
So you’re thinking about starting a family. And you’re trying to start a family. And trying. And trying. And you’re at the point where, if one more person tells you to “relax” so “it will just happen”, you might lose your S@#* completely.
You’re thinking about seeing a doctor, or you’ve seen one, or three. The idea of IVF has come up. Or maybe it’s come up for your sister, or your best friend. You have questions, but you have no one to ask. You’re scared it won’t work, you can’t afford it, that it’s going ‘too far’. You hate needles. You’ve begun to wonder if there’s a deeper, cosmic reason you can’t have a baby. There are countless reasons why it’s impossible to even try. And then you suddenly start to feel like you’re just done with it all.
How do you react to stressful situations? I will be the first to admit that my anxiety is clearly linked to my inability to effectively manage my emotions during stress. I am famous for catastrophizing and overreacting. Growing up, I was always known as the one who would freak out all the time. Today, I know that I just needed to develop my emotional intelligence. It doesn’t come naturally and it’s something I will continue to work on throughout my life, but if I can give my children these tools much earlier on in life, I hope that they won’t have to freak out as much as I did.
I try not to think about it, this aging business. It’s not easy. You think that the shock, after that first time you are called “Ma’am”, or when you realize the cute guy at the gym isn’t hitting on you (he’s trying to help you because you remind him of his mom) will wear off, and you won’t be quite as sensitive. You think that your skin will get thicker and you won’t notice. But you’re wrong.
One day you’re sharing feeding tips with another new mom and a year later you suddenly realize that you’re actually in a beautiful and intense friendship. Both you and your kids have so much in common, so the time you spend together is never strained—an afternoon together leaves you both feeling light with mutual understanding, your necks aching from all the nodding. And then one of you has another baby. And one of you doesn’t.
Whether you have little ones running rampant, or teenagers getting social all on their own—most moms will tell you that their household is running a busy schedule. Between carpooling and household duties, combined with working outside the home, or the never-ending battle that is being a stay-at-home-mom—coordinating a family’s activities is something that many women are balancing very, very carefully. It’s easy to forget to enjoy the journey, there’s often not enough time, but there are some easy ways to avoid succumbing to the ongoing state of ‘being busy’ and find your inner calm. Here are five simple ways to help bring the joy back to the chaos.