Many thanks to Laura Watkins for today’s post! Laura Watkins is a marketing manager who moonlights as a yoga instructor. She has developed programs for individuals with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury and has taught individuals from a wide range of demographics. She is also the former editor for the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability and a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise. Laura is passionate about helping others lead healthy, active and independent lifestyles. She is currently training for her first half-marathon since giving birth to her daughter Ava Grace.
The other day I was listening to a friend share how her life has gotten so stressful that she’s had to increase her anxiety medication so that she can focus on her demanding job. Although she is going to therapy, has hired a maid and is exercising consistently, she’s completely overwhelmed. This woman is smart and successful. She has a darling family and a beautiful home in a nice part of town, and yet she can barely get through her day without having a stress-induced meltdown.
While I try as often as possible to keep these posts generally helpful to as wide an audience as possible, sometimes I’m compelled to share from real life mom lessons I’m learning. And these days, it’s real, pregnant, working mom life lessons. Aside from myself, I can think of 6 dear friends who are in my same boat. Pregnant, working moms who in most cases are already chasing around at least one little one.
Let me start by saying, y’all this is hard. This season is exhausting and challenging in ways I never could have imagined. Having survived the first trimester of this 2nd pregnancy season, I find myself reflecting on what I’ve learned from this time. I’m making an effort to take note, both for myself, but also for others to learn from my mistakes and my experiences. Here are some takeaways.
I love setting goals. It’s probably related to my love of planning, of writing lists, and marking items off as I accomplish them. Goal setting has a special magic for me because I’ve experienced the thrill of writing down an extravagant idea—no matter how impossible it seems—and then months down the road seeing that dream become a reality. There’s nothing like it.
I’ve written about goals a few times in the past: Goal Setting in November and Work Motivation After a Long Holiday Break. It’s a topic I love to revisit, sharing what helps me stay motivated and what tricks I’m finding to keep my focus over a long stretch of working towards a big goal.
By Laura Watkins
Being a mom means that you hold your family’s world in your arms. Perhaps like me, you believe it would make more sense to have eight rather than merely two. That way you could hold the baby while you push the grocery cart, pay bills, fold laundry, pack lunches, check homework, hold Downward Facing Dog and edit your company’s marketing plan.
But alas, octopi you and I are not, so it’s essential we keep the two arms we’ve been given strong and healthy.
In this month’s wellness post, I’ve teamed up with Exercise Physiologist (and mom) Kelly Bonner to provide you with a strengthening practice that will work all the major muscles in your upper limbs. This workout can be done at home while your bitties are napping or at the gym, on the off-chance you’re able to get away for 20 minutes. All you need is two free weights—5, 8 or 10 lbs. weights work.
I’m bringing back a post from last Christmas because the message still rings true, so it bears repeating. Included are minor updates to reflect the current year…
Having a two-year-old at Christmas brings a new and unexpected perspective to the season. All the flurry and busy of this time of year is slowed and reconsidered through the eyes of my little one. He brings a simplicity to the wonders I’ve come to take for granted. I know his view on Christmas will change as he ages and so I want to capture a few lessons from this time, documenting what he’s teaching me as he experiences Christmas for the first time.
Born and raised in Southern California, Rachel Clark never thought she’d leave the Best Coast. After her husband was offered a job in Brentwood in August of 2014, they packed up their house, pup, and Rachel’s 8-month pregnant belly, and traded their beloved Long Beach, CA for East Nashville. As if a cross-country move and new baby Holden (born in September 2014) wasn’t enough, Rachel started her dream business, launching leather goods line, H. & Clark, in January of 2015 (a far cry from her background in non-profit development and management). Rachel has also spent several years as a freelance writer, in everything from grant proposals to fashion editorials. She loves to read, eat, write, and eat some more…and does some (though not enough) yoga to counteract all of the eating. We met this lovely lady just a few weeks ago and felt an instant connection! Here are her thoughts on that familiar feeling of wanderlust we all feel, and how it mingles with motherhood.
Wanderlust. It’s never been a word that I would use when describing myself. Homebody, for sure. I lived in the same 30-mile radius for the first 28 years of my life and then upturned everything. I packed up and moved across the country with my husband, dog, and 8-month pregnant belly. I launched a business when my son was 3 months old, bought a house right after he turned one, and work part time while also running the above-mentioned business, and chasing around said son, who is now 2.
It’s 9PM and Maddy has been screaming for an hour. Like hardcore, heavy-duty, throat-reddening screaming. I did everything I always do. I brushed her teeth, changed her, let her pick her own PJs, sprayed her with bedtime “sparkles” (lavender body spray), put oils on her pulse points, let her choose the nature sound she wanted to hear all night. I tucked her in with her favorite stuffed animals, one under each arm, and covered her with her favorite pink blankets. I sang her a song, told her we’d have pancakes in the morning, and left her room telling her I’d be back to check on her soon. But instead of snuggling in and saying “Be back!” like she normally does, she started to scream. And now that she can yell things like, “Mommy,” and “help me,” it’s impossible to ignore. So it’s been an hour, and she’s still red-faced and screaming and I’m having one of those moments where I feel so fully enveloped by the experience of motherhood and adulthood in general that I might crumble under the pressure. I become convinced for a moment that Jimi will come home from work and I’ll be dead and I start to wonder if anyone has ever died from being super overwhelmed.
Staying inspired is a constant challenge for any parent, professional, student, and human. Whether you’re freelancing from your couch or coding in a cubicle, it’s imperative to find ways to keep you focused on the bigger picture, be it professionally or personally.
Reading blogs is one of the best vehicles I’ve found for maintaining perspective—from following the headlines of my industry or finding something refreshing to carry me to the weekend.
For her day job, Molly Thornberg is the Director of Digital Media at WME Live Experiences, but that’s just the start of things. She’s also the mama to 4 littles, wife to Sean, and the most digitally savvy mama around. For many years I’ve enjoyed her thoughts, creativity, and digital insider knowledge on her Digital Mom Blog. We are so lucky to have Molly as our guest blogger today, she has so much great insight and wisdom to share from years of life experience. She’s living proof that a positive attitude and lots of *hustle* is good for the mind, body, and soul.
Finding a better way to blend life and work – it’s the whole reason Alee and I started Ink & Well. It wasn’t because we were so unhappy with our jobs we just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to strike out on our own.
Quite the opposite.
I actually loved the job I left to start this new venture. I liked the people, I liked the work. As crazy as this may sound, being at a job I liked when the opportunity presented itself to go out on my own was a confirmation to me that I had to leave and start this business. I wasn’t running from something, I was running towards an idea and a dream that wouldn’t seem to leave me. It was something so important that I was willing to risk walking way from a good job in the hope of finding something even better for me and my family.