Working Moms, Stop Comparing

Comparison
Some of my friends seem to have everything and do it all perfectly. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I am jealous. How can I stop these feelings?

So, your best friend is wildly successful. She is happily married, has four perfect children, an immaculate home, and makes twice your income. You can’t help but wonder what she’s done right, and what you have done wrong. How many times have you measured yourself against someone else? But, what are you really measuring?

One of my most regrettable traits was that I used to compare myself to other women on a regular basis. In my personal journey to alleviate working mother guilt, I have realized just how negative an effect these comparisons can be. My judgments have run the spectrum: I compared myself to other working mothers, stay-at-home mothers, women who are thinner, prettier, younger, and have better clothes. I have spent endless time pondering my neighbors’ decorating styles, my co-worker’s income, or my high school friend’s marital status. Why?

What I have learned over the years is that comparisons are really just glimpses of jealousy. And…. jealousy is just a reflection of one’s own insecurities.  To get past these feelings you need to examine what is causing this unwelcome emotion.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are you disappointed in yourself? Why?
  • Did you expect yourself to be more efficient, or better at juggling?
  • Why are you feeling competitive vs. celebrating the highs and lows of life with your friends and peers?
  • Do you feel you are being judged?

On the flip side, if you are the object of someone else’s envy, you should ask why you need to appear so accomplished, or if something is stopping you from showing your insecurities and faults. None of us are perfect.

Constantly comparing yourself to others is a no-win situation. The effort is time-consuming, and only results in depleting your confidence. If you look hard enough, you will always find someone who seems to do it better, quicker, or more effortlessly than you. Honor your uniqueness and remember you cannot know or understand anyone’s situation, just as no one could possibly know yours. Instead, be confident in your decision to work and keep your focus on having a happy life both at work and at home.

Working Mothers: Find Thyself!

Working Mothers: Find Thyself!

I am working full time and juggling motherhood, sometime I don’t know who I am anymore.  How do I get me back?

As a working mother with a demanding schedule that leaves me often feeling like I am burning the candle at both ends, it`s easy to downplay the importance of making time for myself and pursuing passions that are just my own. I know I am not alone in this. For many working mothers, taking time has become a strange and almost elusive idea- how do we do it and do we really need to? YES, ladies, we do.

I recently joined a program at Massage Envy, my latest attempt for some “me-time”. My membership gives me a full hour, once a month just for me. Whether it’s a facial or a massage, this is time I have set aside to really relax. To be sure that I did not lose this precious time and get caught up in other tasks (email, laundry, bills, grocery shopping, color coding my closet…), I took a precautionary measure and prepaid the whole year in advance. This way, I knew I would lose both the benefits and the financial investment unless I went. Guilt in reverse, I suppose.

Like all moms, it is easy to fall into the trap of taking care of everyone but ourselves. Making sure you are being kind to yourself is a way to ensure you will be the best mom, worker, and care taker of others. It is hard to think about, but the time will come when your children become independent, grow up, and leave home. Additionally, although we working mothers strive to love our work roles (this is sooo important), our positions will also evolve, change, and someday will likely come to a close. So, if your free time is totally devoted to your children or work, you run the risk of feeling empty or without purpose if you don’t take the time now to really foster who you are.

As a working mother, it can be challenging to meet all the demands of family, parenting, and work life. Finding a balance is a great idea, but some mothers still find it hard to find solitude or time to pursue passions and goals. Here are some tips to find time for yourself even if you have to give a little less time to your other duties.

  1. Stop on the way to or from work to take time for yourself: Make a stop on the way to or from work and take time alone. It might be a half hour of reading at the coffee shop or an hour at the gym. The important point is that you find the time to do what you enjoy without your family along for the ride.
  2. Schedule a time for others to take the kids: Schedule a time every week that your husband or another loved one cares for your children. This time can be used for exercise, shopping, going out with friends, or pursuing a hobby. Getting your family to respect this scheduled time every week may take some effort, but your mommy/non-work time is important.
  3. Help your kids entertain themselves: Find a time in your weekend when your children amuse themselves. While they are engaged or napping or watching their favorite television show, you can read a book, get caught up on your weekly t.v. series (that you never get to watch), go workout, or work on a hobby (i.e. scrapbooking). Any activity that gets you to relax and unwind while doing something you enjoy. This will help refresh your mind and body.

In order to live my life to the fullest, I need to make myself a priority sometimes. YOU DO TOO! Don’t forget to find and cultivate your passions and relationships that are just about you.

 

 

 

Holidays With Family ~ A Survival Guide

images-1It is easy to picture the perfect holiday. In my mind, I see snow lightly covering the ground, the smell of Christmas cookies in the air, family stopping by dressed up in warm sweaters bearing shiny gifts and lots of holiday laughter and hugs. You can almost feel the love.

This is what the holiday season looks like in the movies. This is why everyone, everywhere can’t wait for the holidays to arrive. We all have the best intentions. But it never turns out that way.

Instead, it looks like this:

~You are trying to finish your work AND shop for the 25 relatives that you will see over Christmas. You have no idea what to get any of them. That is what gift cards are for. This is also why most stores stay open until midnight.

~Once again, you have volunteered to make Grandma’s famous stuffing. It is only a 15-step recipe that no one will even eat. But it is tradition, so hop to it! Make sure you stop at 4 different specialty shops to locate all the ingredients (that no one will eat) and remember not to burn it or you will have to start all over again (and you might burst into tears…I mean, I have heard that it can happen).

~You have gained 5 pounds despite all the running around because you have been slamming Venti Starbucks Mochas every 3 hours. It is the only thing that will keep you focused and awake. And you have been adding in a little treat every time, just to keep your energy up (and you totally deserve it).

~Trying to remember where you have hidden all the presents. ALL of them. You can’t put them all in one place because the kids will find them and if you spread them out, then some will be lost until summer.

~Cleaning the house…all of it. When you have the family over, it is so important that you have all the decorations up and the house is spotless because this is totally what your house looks like all the time. You know that if it is not perfect, people are going to talk shit about you. So, skip the sleep and get to work. Don’t forget to yell at your kids to keep the house spotless and this is about the time that you start threatening to take away Christmas presents and/or call Santa. *Important* Do not throw down the Santa card too early in the game. Wait until just before Christmas or it won’t work!

~Don’t forget to get that fucking holiday card in the mail. Seriously, if you don’t get an adorable picture of your kids out to the entire world, your Mom card may be revoked. And remember that it is always your job to do this. If you don’t, people will talk shit about you.

~Holiday cheer. Its funny how once the entire family gets together, everyone over the age of 21 starts drinking. I swear every year I will drink less, but as the holiday season approaches, I am stopping at the liquor store more and more often.

~Don’t wrap and drink. Seriously, if you are drinking and wrapping presents, things can go wrong. You will give the wrong gift to the wrong kid, the paper will look terrible, or you won’t remember what gift you have wrapped for whom.

Listen, Proud Working Mom, we are friends so lets make a promise to each other. This season, lets all vow to be more realistic with our expectations. Lets buy less, sleep more, and remember the reason for the season. Maybe if we all lower our expectations and just enjoy being with family, then we can make it through the next 2 months without losing our minds.

Hahaha, just kidding. Make sure you have lots of ‘holiday cheer’ handy and buckle up, its going to be a bumpy ride!

 

You Either Have the Money or the Time

medium_7214596024

I have had the opportunity to be both a working mother and a stay at home mother to two beautiful (and challenging) boys. I have sat quietly by, listening to the “mommy wars” rage on. Moms that work outside the home work harder, moms that work inside the home work harder. I have heard it all. Most of the time it doesn’t come in declarative statements but is more of an undertone. The stay at home mom wonders, concerned, how that working mom could possibly do it all (and do it well). The working mom wonders what in the world a stay at home mom actually does all day (probably nothing).

Ladies, ladies. I have done it all and I am here to tell you that NO ONE is right.  There is no perfect situation and it has been my experience that you either have the money or the time. When I was working, I had the money to afford all the things that we needed and wanted. I didn’t stress out over a $4.00 cup of Starbucks Coffee or a lunch out with a girlfriend. When I was working, money was not a problem but I had no time. I had no time to get to the grocery store, I had no time to get the laundry done, I had no time to catch my breath. Ever.

When I was home with my kids, I had lots of time. It was great to be home and not be rushing around like a crazy person all the time. I loved being able to actually go to the mall with my infant and look in all the stores (when he was cooperating). But I felt that I didn’t have the money to actually buy anything. During my time at home, I was constantly worried about where the money was going to come from to pay for that day at the museum. Admission plus lunch with my now two kids was expensive and the daily tally started adding up in my head. I had all this time to play dress up but was constantly worried about money.

IMG_2213

You either have the money or the time. My point is that there are different stresses that come with different choices. Whether you chose to work outside the home or work inside the home, both scenarios come with positives and negatives. Sacrifices will be made to achieve your goal. So lets not waste any more energy talking about the “mommy wars” and instead, use your energy to look inward and determine if what you are doing right now is good for you.  Is it better for you and your family to stay home right now? Is it better for you and your family to work right now? Get serious about answering these questions and do what works best for you.

If you are lucky, you are one of the women that have either the money or the time because there are many women that, despite their efforts, don’t have either.

 

13 Gifts You Should NEVER Give a Working Mother for Christmas!

In an effort to shamelessly capitalize on our earlier post, 13 Things You Should Never Say to a Working Mother!, I have come up with a fun little holiday DON’T list. Feel free to print it out and give it to my husband (or your husband).
large_6647259111

It is that time of year again. I have just recovered from last Christmas and here we are again. Buying presents, getting holiday cards out, arranging for all the various holiday parties at home, work, and school. It is exhausting. Like most busy working mothers, all of the things I want for Christmas are not available in stores. Health for my family, a few precious moments alone without anyone else around, and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. My wish list is simple. Yet my sweet husband is still asking, what do you want for Christmas? After 13 years of marriage, I would think the answer is obvious. I don’t want to give him all the answers (he still has to do some of the work) but I am willing to narrow it down.  

Here is a list of the 13 gifts you should NEVER give a working mother:

  1. Any form of weight loss equipment. I know that I have said that I want a treadmill but I don’t actually want it at Christmas. This will be a reminder of how much weight I have gained over the holidays and will not be received well.
  2. No books, supplements, or anything relating to losing weight. Seriously, I have warned you. If you buy me a weight loss supplement because it will help me “get healthy”, I will kick your ass!
  3. Cleaning stuff. Yes, the advertising is very good for new gadgets like Roomba (battery operated vacuum cleaner) and it would make my life easier but if you really want to help make cleaning the house easier, pick up the vacuum and get to work!
  4. Electronics. I know that is what YOU want for Christmas, so buy it for YOU. Don’t buy it and put my name on it because chances are I don’t know how to work it and don’t have the time to figure it out.
  5. More errands. Your heart is in the right place but if you really don’t know what to get me, don’t get me anything. I don’t want a bunch of stuff with the receipts so that I can then go on an always unpleasant ‘return-spree’. In other words, don’t give me the gift of more errands. 
  6. Pets. More specifically, don’t buy me anything that is breathing and can poop. With two boys and a dog, I am all set!
  7. Clothes. Seriously, don’t. You don’t know my size and if you buy me some cute outfit in a size 4, I am going to get Hulk-angry. I am not a size 4 and if I want to buy some new clothes, I would like to go to the mall (without the kids) and shop! 
  8. Crafts. Have we just met? I have no interest in learning to knit, paint or cook. In fact, just skip Michael’s all together.
  9. Athletic gear. I know this is related to several of the items above, but wanted to be crystal clear. Don’t buy this for me. This combines #1,#2, AND #7. Remember, Hulk-angry!   
  10. Some assembly requiredThis is self-explanatory. Anything that says this on the box or in the 35 page instruction manual is not for me.
  11. Lingerie. Really, you didn’t know this?  Now, if you wanted to combine it with a weekend at a fabulous hotel without kids and you did all the arranging and packing, I am suddenly interested.
  12. Coupon booksYes, you DO know what I am talking about. I don’t want you to scribble out a bunch of coupons on construction paper on Christmas Eve for “free babysitting” or “Mommy’s night out”. You are my husband, these kids are yours, too! 
  13. FlowersBecause then you would have nothing to give me for Mother’s Day.

I know, I know, then what do you want for Christmas? Everyone is asking. As I mentioned above, the things I truly want are intangible. But if you are still looking, I would note that booze, jewelry, and chocolate are always welcome (and are not on the list).

Happy Holidays fellow Proud Working Mom!

photo credit: tranchis via photopin cc

1 2 3 33

x