10 Gifts for a new mom not on her Registry

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Like many soon to be moms I had a baby shower and a registry with a bunch of items I was convinced I needed, and I did, such as; stroller, bassinet, bottles, clothes, diapers, baby nail clippers you name it… By my ninth month I was like,”I got this”. But I didn’t even think to ask for things that would enhance my experience of being a new mom and that were only for me! If I could do it all over again, I would ask for…

  1. A homemade or delivered meal.
  2. A FREE night out or two or three!
  3. A 120 minute massage from a professional licensed therapist not your husband…
  4. High quality organic third party tested essential oils to balance postpartum hormones and lack of sleep.
  5. Homeopathic pain medication you can take while breastfeeding.
  6. A nighttime infant trained nurse to help you get some rest.
  7. Verrry comfy slippers and a pedicure to go with 😉
  8. One cup or less of good quality matcha green tea or organic coffee.
  9. A super duper and reasonably priced baby photographer.
  10. Friends who show interest in your new baby and you regularly…

Number 10 is the most crucial. Trust me she will NEVER forget the extra attention and love you give her during one of the most memorable times in her life. And to the new mom! Go ahead be bold and ASK for things to make living with a newborn easier.

Good luck new mamas. The most amazing journey awaits xoxoxo.

I Needed Courage to Slay the Dragon not a Career Change

Truth be told I am not as successful in my career as I envisioned myself being at my age. In my early 20’s I was enthusiastic but I lacked clear direction and goals. I  glided along life on my fun-loving personality and get-it-done attitude, the problem was I had little focus and self-awareness and ended up in a job I wasn’t passionate about.

Over the years there have been a number of close relatives and friends that expressed their concern negatively. This was so painful to me. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me and that I was unable to succeed at anything I tried. Because I’m an Empath I let their negativity affect me.

Then in 2017 I had an opportunity to grow professionally within the company I work, but I didn’t have the skills or experience they needed for that position and another year later someone else more experienced filled it.

After many years of thinking I was incapable I started to realize criticism can be good, especially if you can turn it into something productive. In 12 Step groups they say, “take what you like and leave the rest”.  And you can apply this too. If you agree with someone’s criticism about you, don’t get upset, use it to your advantage. It took me years to understand my problem was only that I didn’t have the tools to be where I once envisioned myself.

So what did I do?

First, I found a therapist who was also a career coach. And after a year working with her I didn’t find it making much difference. I tried the techniques she offered but I didn’t feel like it was very effective.  She validated what I thought was true and untrue, which might have helped when I finally got the courage to speak candidly to my boss. And it wasn’t until I got the courage to talk to him about updating my skills and requested a mentor for additional support that something started to shift.  I set new achievable goals and took a deeper look at how I could improve in several other areas. It was difficult but not as painful as I had imagined it to be.

I was being vulnerable…it was new for me, but it worked. Admitting to myself  I was defeated helped me get the clarity I needed to move forward.  In the end it was about me being bold and going forward,  not about “successful” or “unsuccessful.”

Ultimately being happy in my career, job or whatever is about conquering the present moment confidently. Tomorrow I might change direction, but right now I have focus and direction.  I feel passionate, enlivened, clear and courageous. I “slayed a dragon”.  I’m no longer living in a past defined by other people’s opinion of me, I’m living enthusiastically in the present and what I create for myself in this moment, today.

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind” C.S. Lewis

I would love to hear your comments. Please post them below.

When parenting became problematic and how I resolved it

I woke up one Saturday morning and said to myself, OMG I’m a weekend parent.

My only daughter, at the time, was fifteen months old when we put her in full-time daycare. And shortly thereafter I found myself missing her and wanting to spend more time with her. I made a decent salary working from home and I wasn’t ready to give that up, but I did want to spend more quality time with her. So I started to think about how to find a happy middle ground.

I was born in what is sometimes considered Generation Y, the Generation between X and Millennial. I grew up in the North East with two siblings, my mom was a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) when we were young and no one worked virtually.  My father didn’t have a college degree but was able to buy a small house in an good neighborhood, whereas my husband and I are college educated, employed and struggle to find a affordable home in a good neighborhood and school district to move to that won’t leave us living paycheck to paycheck.

Some questions I struggled to answer for myself were:

  • Would I be able to get my full-time job back after reducing my hours?
  • How would I stay competitive?
  • What if I needed to work on a day I didn’t have childcare?

Furthermore, if you’ve read any articles posted by major publications about the issue of parents that staying at home vs. working full time on kids behavior and future “success” you’re probably more conflicted than ever. One article I read said children that have SAHM experience less stress and are less aggressive over the long-term than children who go to daycare and another that said, children who had working mothers hold more executive positions, all with supporting evidence and studies to back up their claims. I knew I wouldn’t find my answer searching online.

Over my 4.5 years being a parent, now with two children, living in an expensive neighborhood I’ve met a lot of moms and most moms I know do not stay at home. Here is what I heard on the street from working and SAHMs (unfortunately I’ve never met a stay at home dad).

The working moms more often than not:

  • Need the extra income
  • Generally like there careers
  • Were the breadwinners of the family
  • Had parents caring for their children 

While the stay-at-home moms more often than not:

  • Were educated outside of the U.S.
  • Part-time was not an option
  • Had cultural or societal reasons for being the primary caretaker
  • Were scared to leave them with strangers

What works for us now

Two years ago before my second child was born I was able to go from working full-time to part-time, but I wasn’t an executive making six figures and with two young children in daycare all of my earrings would be spent on childcare costs. Also our co-op apartment was paid off so we didn’t have a mortgage to worry about and the fees were manageable on my husband’s salary alone.

For now it works for us, but there are drawbacks such as the sheer exhaustion day-to-day parenting brings without reprieve. I found myself craving more sleep and alone time than ever before. In fact, although I was at home there wasn’t more “down-time” there was more time “working” as a parent. I found that motherhood is much harder than some people think it is. It’s a non-stop, action-packed messy adventure. My children on the other hand are getting outside more, enjoying unstructured free play and my undivided attention. I love my kids and am so grateful to spend time with them but I am equally grateful for having work to challenge me mentally and for time away from them.

 

Why I gave up on blogging and started again!

I started my first blog in 2016 with the intention of writing more because…well, I love to write. What I didn’t know was I had some glaring obstacles holding me back. Although I loved to write I didn’t have the habit of planning my work, putting myself and my interest’s first, committing long hours to reading and writing. And to top it off I was a first-time mom working full-time so yeah there you have it!

Since then I had another child and decided to go back to work part-time. But that didn’t give me more writing time, it gave me more time with my children and less time working and doing the things I love. Now that my oldest is almost five and both children receive some day-care during the week I have more time to renew my passion for writing and my blog.

It was only after having identified these roadblocks for myself that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to blog. And it would be one more thing to add to my list of failures or was it?

This week I decided to give it another try.

So, how will I keep myself engaged this time? Well, so far this week I listened to a webinar on how to blog, signed up for marketing and blog related e-newsletters and actually READ them! And BTW reading is something I’ve done so little of in the past five years it’s embarrassing, but it doesn’t mean I can’t start over now. My inner voice has been telling me “it’s not too late, it doesn’t have to be perfect and have fun” so, I’ll go with that.