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.
Thanks to the talented Emily Pardy for today’s blog post! Emily is a counselor and founder of Ready Nest Counseling in Nashville, TN. Ready Nest Counseling helps couples prepare for parenthood by caring for their relational wellness as they transition through conception, pregnancy, post-partum, and infertility. Emily has written for multiple parenting publications including Thriving Family magazine and ParentLife magazine. She has her Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy from Lipscomb University and is the author of For All Maternity, a humorous memoir of her own journey into motherhood. Emily resides in Nashville, TN with her husband and three rambunctious daughters.
Parenthood comes with many paradoxes. You may have tried and tried to conceive, only to instantly sense deep doubts or dread once the pregnancy test turned positive. You can pray all evening for your screaming baby to fall asleep and then miss them desperately a mere minute after they are tucked in bed. You might plan a getaway with your spouse in an effort to escape the humdrum of domestic daily life, only to find yourself filled with worries and anxiety steering your heart back home.
There are so many thoughts expressed every day on the web, TV, podcasts, and in the news about the challenges, the pros, the cons, the benefits, and the drawbacks of being a working mom vs. a full-time, dedicated to your little one, stay-at-home mom. Emotions run super high supporting both viewpoints.
I just finished this book, Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte. It was chock full of thought-provoking discussions about motherhood and the challenges of being a mom in today’s culture. Likely, it’s due to my season of life as a mom of a two-year-old with one on the way, but I feel like I’m forever tripping over the thoughts and opinions of others about the “right way” to do things.
When I was pregnant with Maddy, maternity leave was this magical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of pregnancy. No matter how stressful work was or how many meetings I had to sit through while Maddy tried to kick her way out of my body, I knew that I was working toward guaranteed paid time off to bond with my daughter. That knowledge alone was enough to get me through some really rough patches. I knew that if I just put my head down and powered through, I’d get to a place where someone else would be handling all my work and I could just focus on learning to be a mom for months on end.
This time, though, things are different. So different, in fact, that I went through a period of time when I thought my laptop would have to be on my hospital packing list. When you own a company, work freelance, or do some combination of the two, it becomes a real challenge to figure out how you’ll schedule birth and bonding in between all the client calls, meetings, and to-do items. That cozy feeling that everything will be just fine while you’re gone is replaced by a feeling of fear that everything you’ve worked so hard to build will crumble.
Let’s be real, that’s no way to welcome a child into the world.
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.
There are just a few days left until Christmas and if you’re anything like us, you’re still scrambling to get your shopping done. If you’re running around trying to find the perfect gift for a working mom, we’ve got you covered. Here’s the great news: there are three days left to hit up Amazon Prime for something to make mom’s life a little bit easier. Here are our top go-to gifts (priced low to high) available on Prime right now, perfect for the working mommas we love.
When I became a mom, I knew that my beauty routine would go on the backburner for a while. I figured that my sense of style might change (hello Spanx, nice to meet you) and that the luxury of manis and pedis would be limited to extra special occasions. But, like many moms, I didn’t quite grasp how having children would shift my self-care world to the extent that a mere shower could feel like a vacation.
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.