Hey mommas! I’m so honored to share my first video interview with you. Please ignore the messy hair and lack of makeup, but I didn’t have much time to get ready. Four-year olds don’t give a shit about their mom’s appointments and mine decided to move at a sloth-like pace that morning before school. At least I was able to shower so that was a win! I think the lesson the here is that it’s better to show up as you are and accept yourself as you are. Plus, pretending to always be so put together is just way too much effort. And I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted enough as it is. I just don’t have the energy for that.
Anyway, on to the interview. I had the honor of talking to mompreneur Bree Whitlock, founder of The Easy Breezy Way, about achieving balance as a mom and entrepreneur.
I’m not sure balance even exists. Are you? How do you achieve balance as a mom? Let me know in the comments!
“The greatest tragedy of the family is the unlived lives of the parents.” –C.G. Jung
I’m putting a different spin on this year’s Mother’s Day themed post. For Mother’s day, I’m discussing what I will NOT be doing for my child, what’s NOT my job, and why.
I know many of you are gasping just from reading the title of this article, but if you would put the pitchforks down for just a minute, I can explain.
I love my child. I love him so much it can be overwhelming, even scary at times. So much it keeps me up at night as my mind races with all the “what ifs,” hopes for his happiness, and prayers I’m not screwing him up. So much that I want him to always be successful and have whatever he needs and wants.
But as I reflect on my son turning 4 this past month, I’ve realized he can’t just have everything handed to him, and certainly not by me. That’s not my job as his mother. My job as his mom is to love him unconditionally, make sure he feels safe, that he belongs, and provide him with the coaching and tools he needs to learn to advocate for himself and what he needs so he can create his own path to happiness and success.
Stigma sucks. Stigma is the reason so many moms don’t talk about postpartum depression. The reason they struggle in silence. The reason they don’t ask for help and get the treatment they need to get better. The reason they would rather pretend life is perfect. The reason they take their own lives. Did you know that of the hundreds of thousands of women who suffer from a postpartum mood disorder, only 15 percent of them get treated? How heartbreaking and outrageous is that?
1 in 7 women who give birth each year experience symptoms resulting from a postpartum mood disorder. That’s close to 1 million women annually having some form of mental illness after the birth of their babies and close to 850,000 women not receiving the help they need to get better. That’s way TOO MANY women. Postpartum Progresss, Inc. reports that more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses in a year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers disease, lupus, and epilepsy. I bet people with these illnesses usually admit they are sick and seek professional care.
I’m probably going to get some slack for writing this article, but I want to discuss a parenting phenomenon I’ve observed too often lately. Why is it so much easier for dads to hire help and make their lives easier when watching their children? Why don’t they appear to feel guilty about this? And why do we, as moms judge and criticize them for it?
I know lots of moms, that when they make plans with friends for an afternoon or evening, their husbands often call a nanny, babysitter, or family member to come over and help with the kids. And when mom hears this, she responds with anger and frustration, complaining that she doesn’t understand why her husband can’t handle taking care of all the children alone, something she does every single day of the week.
I want to first differentiate between the men who are literally never alone with their children and refuse to be, forcing their wives to never be able to take a trip, attend a special event, or a night off with the girls unless they arrange for their own child care. I’m not talking about these men. That topic deserves its own post. I’m referring to the average hands-on, involved dad who likes an extra set of hand with his kids when mom isn’t home. Why shouldn’t these dads ask for help if they believe it will make their afternoon or evening easier?
My son turned four this past weekend. For his first birthday, I went big. As a mom who sucks at crafting, I found my inspiration on Pinterest and paid people on Etsy to execute my vision of Mason’s little man birthday bash complete with bowties, mustaches, musical entertainment, photo booth, and of course, signature cocktails served in mason jars.
Everyone knows a child’s first birthday party is actually for the parents to celebrate surviving the first year of parenthood, where they have successfully kept the tiny human they are now responsible for alive. They have figured out how to fit showers into their daily routines, become accustomed to regularly getting spit up on, peed on, shit on, caught throw up with their bare hands, and if they’re lucky, the accomplished the amazing and life-changing task of getting their child to sleep through the night.
I didn’t stop celebrating myself after Mason’s first birthday. Why should I? I never take any attention away from him. I don’t get presents. It’s his birthday. His party. But there are little things I do each year for me too, because his parties always serve as a reminder of the first one, where I can remember stopping to think that “Wow. I’m a mom–Mason’s mom, and I got this whole motherhood thing.”
Every year, my college best friends and I get together for a girls’ weekend. We kiss our kids and husbands goodbye, some of us leave written schedules and directions, and spend at least one night together away in a hotel, usually in New York City. New York City is the most convenient location for the four of us moms who all have young kids and are spread out among the East Coast. One night is usually more realistic for all parties involved because you know–husbands–motherhood–kids–life.
I look forward to this weekend every year. As it approaches, I start counting the minutes. The excitement builds. The number of group texts increases. What are we wearing? How many Soul Cycle classes are we taking? Who is booking the spa treatments? Where are we going for dinner? Definitely somewhere we can dress up in the clothes we own but never have any place to wear them to.
I can’t wait for the reminiscing, the laughter, the catching up, the deep conversations, the getting ready all together in the same room like it was during college, and the staying up late and sleeping in (if you count 8:30 am as sleeping in). While we’re on the subject of sleeping, I can’t wait to not have to wake up to anyone asking me for anything. To not have to fight with anyone about what’s for lunch. To not have to enter into any negotiations or diffuse any meltdowns. To not have to share my ice cream! And to enjoy a glass of wine without interruption! Go to the bathroom alone! And most importantly, to not feel guilty about any of it!
There is so much I wish I could tell you before you go into labor on that first night of Passover, March 25, 2016. Yes, you will go into labor during the first night of Seder while sitting at a table with 30 of your closest Jewish family members. Papa will be asking, “Why is this night different from all other nights,” and it most definitely is as you simultaneously death grip squeeze your sister’s hand under the table, time your contractions on your iPhone, text a close mom friend who informs you to “call the fucking doctor,” and realize that not only do your contractions not conform to the 5 minutes apart pattern you learned about in birth class, but nothing about labor and delivery is anything like you’ve seen on television or in the movies.
I regret to inform you that you won’t sneeze and gracefully pop a tiny human out of your vagina like Brooklyn Decker in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. You also won’t look pretty, perfect, and polished like Brooklyn Decker during and after the delivery of your baby. Swollen, stoned, and sleep-deprived is more like it.
Let’s start there. Labor is unpredictable and doesn’t always go according to plan. In fact, the word plan really has no business being in the same sentence as the words birth and baby. Your baby is going to do what he wants. He gives zero fucks about your plans, not while he is in your belly and not when he comes out. He doesn’t care that you want his bris to be after Passover so guests can enjoy their lox and cream cheese on bagels rather than matzo. It won’t matter to him that the best mohel in town might be on vacation (although he should because…it’s his penis getting snipped). And he really doesn’t give a shit that you want to do everything in your power to avoid a C-section and have him the old-fashioned way.
I recently attended a Design Your Life (DYL) Weekend with Handel Group in New York City. I went in thinking how easy it would be for me, that I would rock it, make it my bitch, if you will. I mean, I’m pretty evolved, aren’t I? I’ve battled and overcome a year of postpartum depression. As a result, I’ve found my identity, purpose, and a level of authenticity many people lack. I decided I was going to become a writer so I did– and in under a year I have started a blog, grown a fairly decent-sized Facebook Community, been published on over ten online publications, and did a guest spot on my first radio show. I make time for self-care, self-growth, and I read tons of self-help books. According to Jen Sincero, I’m a bad-ass bitch!
And on that first day, I still felt pretty bad-ass. I was already familiar with some of Handel Group’s method from attending Campowerment retreats where one of the experts is a Handel coach. I knew about the three voices in my head that prevent me from designing the life I dream of. The weather report that tells me I can’t lose the weight because it’s just too hard to do around the holidays because you know, latkes and donuts. The brat who convinces me I would rather go back to sleep after I drop my son off at preschool over going to a coffee shop to get my daily writing finished. And the chicken who is just too scared to want to do anything at all because what if the end result is failure or rejection?
And then day two happened and yeah, not so bad-ass anymore. I showed up still feeling pretty confident and in just under an hour’s time, I was knocked off my self-imposed pedestal. Did you know that each and every one of your personality traits comes from one of your parents? Even if you think there is no possible way a particular trait was inherited from your mom or dad, in some way or another, it was. I always believed that I was nothing like my parents, especially after how they conducted themselves during their long, dragged out, nasty divorce. That my own marriage has everything to do with my parents since I most likely chose my husband because he provides everything I never got from their relationship. That I couldn’t possibly be like my “avoid anything emotional and hard” father and my “it couldn’t possibly be me” mother. They say we all turn into our mothers eventually. I found that out when my cmy coach suggested I was playing the “innocent victim” card.
Me: “Omg that is how I literally feel all weekend, every weekend. Well most weekends…”
Friend: “So then it’s more like TGIFM!”
Me: “Yes! Thank God Its Fucking Monday! I’m definitely going to blog about this.”
Before kids, Friday couldn’t come soon enough. Do you remember when you thought Friday was right around the corner and then realized, “Fuck, it’s only Tuesday!” The worst. I sometimes get envious when I see childless friends post funny TGIF memes on their Instagram and Facebook feeds. Because as a stay at home mom, Friday just means it’s one day closer to two whole days of my little one being home all day long and I have to make an effort to keep him busy all day long. And you all know the formula–the longer the child is home equals the more meltdowns to be had.
I can’t believe it’s already been a year. I know it’s been a year because tomorrow I will find myself back at Chuck E. Cheese, exactly where I was one year ago on New Year’s Day, when I launched this blog and posted it’s first post. Oh, good old Chuck E. Cheese, where a kid can be a kid…or really where the dreams of parents go to die or at least be overtaken by every nasty germ living on this planet, cold, soggy pizza, and useless, plastic prizes that your kids will cry over because they don’t have enough tickets to buy them. You can clearly guess my feelings about Chuck E. Cheese, but now, I’m getting off topic…
2016 was a big year for me. So much has happened since I decided to launch this blog on January 1st—things that I could have never anticipated happening in just a year’s time of declaring myself to be a writer. But rather than write a long, boring blog about this year’s accomplishments and next year’s resolutions that I probably won’t keep, I’m going to list what I’m grateful for from this past year and what I’m looking forward to most in the year to come.