Want to be a supermom? Take good care of yourself!

Want to be a supermom? Take good care of yourself!

In my last blog I talked about how to assess your life to see if you are trying to be a Supermom, but burning yourself out at the same time.  

Here’s a little metaphor to help you understand why you need to take care of yourself before you can be a supermom ☺

The metaphor of the oxygen mask

Many years ago I was attending a Mothers of Preschoolers group. This particular group was a small group that was just forming.

There were only 8 or 9 of us at any given meeting, and because we had limited time and budget we shared the duties of organizing what we would do at each meeting. At one of these gatherings, a woman who has become one of my closest friends started her presentation by reading out of a book on women’s spirituality.  

The piece she read spoke about how important it is for moms to take care of themselves. The author used the metaphor of the oxygen mask on an airplane to explain her point:

Think back to the last time you took a flight.

Remember that introductory part that a flight attendant does before you take-off? The flight safety instructions?

 After demonstrating how, in the case of an emergency the oxygen masks will drop down from the ceiling above the passengers head, the flight attendants will instruct the passengers to put the oxygen masks on themselves before helping others who cannot do so themselves – even children!

Why in the world would they want you to ignore your children in order to take care of your own needs first???

Simple – Because if you pass out due to a lack of oxygen you cannot help your child.

So let’s apply this to life in general…

Are you running your children around so much that you do not have any time left to take care of yourself?

Are you working in a job that you can’t stand so that your children can have expensive lessons or go to an expensive private school when there are perfectly good public schools nearby?

Are you volunteering for every school committee, baseball board, girl scout troop, etc. because it’s important for your children to have a fulfilled life?

NEWSFLASH ☺

Your children need you to be relaxed and not exhausted more than they need you to lead their scout troop and serve as the PTA board president.  

Your children need you to feel fulfilled and peaceful more than they need those expensive lessons or that expensive sports gear. If your children see you as a happy person, they will be happy people!

So, put the oxygen mask on yourself first

What things can you cut back on to make more time for self-care?

What can you then add to your life for your own fun and relaxation?

Are you trying to buy your kids happiness instead of showing them how to achieve happiness through easy (often free) relaxation and self-nurture?

Comment below and don’t miss my vlog on Facebook at www.facebook.com/peacefullivingwellness to share how you are going to put the oxygen mask on yourself first!

Love & Light,

Jen

 

The Myth of the SuperMom

The Myth of the SuperMom

A few weeks ago, I asked my super awesome virtual assistant Alexa to hold down the fort on posting to my social media for a week while I spent time with my daughter who was in the hospital.  She replied, “no problem! I’ll keep everything going while you’re out being Supermom.”  I chuckled and groaned at the same time. I am FAR FROM A SUPERMOM!

Her comment made me think of the articles I used to read about the super successful women professionals and entrepreneurs in the Working Mother magazines some well-meaning friend would give me when my children were little.

The articles would highlight beautiful, thin, women who were corporate leaders in their industries or multimillion dollar company owners. They would show pictures of their darling, perfectly coifed children and speak glowingly of how these women would make sure to cook hot breakfasts and dinners and pack organic, wholesome lunches for their children all while working the hours that it takes to become hugely successful! Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… the articles would gush on and on about these supermoms.  

Needless to say, I would first drench myself in guilt over that fact that I just could NOT get up at 4:00 in the morning to exercise and get my “me time” in before my little darlings woke up! And of course, there would be the guilt that even though I was teaching part-time at my university job, I still COULD NOT GET EVERYTHING DONE!  

And then I would try to be like those supermoms.  

I would go full-force, teaching and commuting, cleaning, cooking, laundry, play dates, Musical Munchkins, Gymboree, Tumbletots, dance, Little League, martial arts etc. etc. etc.   And, of course, I would end-up burned out, exhausted and fighting a sense of failure because I just could not do it all.

Here’s the reality check:

Most of the real supermoms I know either have a lot of family support to help them with their kids OR they have a nanny!

Even the media’s most recent darling supermom, Sheryl Sandberg of Lean In fame, admitted in interviews (after women criticized her) that she had an incredible support system in her family; in particular, her husband would often put her career ahead of his and take on the primary caretaking of the kids.  

As I’ve aged, and my kids have grown, I have met many different types of moms.

I have friends who are solidly stay-at-home moms and happy to do so. I have met moms who are type-A super career women and happy to be so. And I have met a lot of moms who are doing the best they can, but feel very unsatisfied with themselves and their lives because they just don’t feel like they measure up to the dichotomy of mothering standards our society has prescribed for women.

If we choose stay-at-home motherhood then we are not pursuing our full potential. If we choose a fulltime career, we are not giving enough of ourselves to our children. Either way, we’re letting somebody down!

“The Mommy Wars”

This phenomenon was even deemed by some savvy media writer: “The Mommy Wars.”

Through both the media and social clubs women would bash each other for their choices. I read an article by a supposed Third Wave Feminist bashing other women who were giving up their careers to stay at home with their kids.

She did not have enough perspective to see that her career as a freelance writer, her mothering of a single child, and her nearby family who not only offered to watch her child whenever she asked but also for free, is not the reality of most working moms!  

On the other side of the coin were the moms at a Mother’s of Preschoolers (MOPS) group I joined who would look at me with horror on their faces and ask in an aghast voice, “you work? You commute to work?”  

Their idea of a career was to sell any number of crafting or skincare products to their friends. But, even that career had its limits if it in any way interfered with little Jenny or Jeffrey’s schedule! Their “me time” consisted of the one morning a week they spent at MOPS or the play dates they would organize for their kiddos where they could at least chat with other moms.  

Some women must work to support their children

What is lost in these bitch-sessions, oh, I mean discussions (besides the important qualities of empathy and compassion for others’ choices) is the realization that some moms do not have a choice! Some moms must work in order to pay the bills. Of course, there are the single moms who must work simply to support their children. But, in this day-and-age, it is also very difficult to support a family on one income. Many households must have both parents working.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, “to raise a child born in 2013 to the age of 18, it will cost a middle income couple just over $245,000.”

Multiply that by the number of children a couple has. Add on to that expenses not directly associated with child-rearing, but there nonetheless. And then add on student loans that many educated couples are paying. There is a lot of money going out the door!

Some women want to work

The six months I spent at home after my daughter was born was one of the most special AND most difficult times of my life!

I enjoyed spending time with my two small children. I enjoyed the Musical Munchkins groups. I enjoyed the weekly mommy & me yoga classes we attended! But, there was also something just missing.

I did not figure it out until my first day back on the university campus. I felt like I was vibrant again! I felt a  renewed sense of purpose!

Not all mothers need this sense of professional identity and purpose. But, many do.  I have coached several women whose stress comes from the loss of their professional identity and their inner need to feel a sense of purpose from their careers.  And this is OKAY! It is okay for mothers to feel fulfilled not only by their children but also by their jobs and the time they spend away from their children.

Some women want to stay at home

I have a friend who recently posted on Facebook about how happy she is that she just quit her job and is going back to her old job of being a full-time wife and mother.  She is feeling so relieved. Her job was thankless and was running her into the ground.

I have other friends who were happily employed, but when their children were born found joy and fulfillment in staying home with them.

I even know three women who adopted babies when their biological children were grown because they loved mothering so much. One of these women went all the way to Uganda to adopt two orphans!

These women are fortunate enough that they are financially in a situation where their family is not dependent on an income from them.

Just because they chose fulltime mothering over professional fulfillment, it does not mean that they in any way are less fulfilled than career women. Nor does it mean that they are, in the words of one interesting white male, “not contributing much to society.”

How to find your truth

Most people do have a tendency to look outward for approval. I challenge you to look inward. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I overwhelmed by trying to do it all?
  • Do I feel a sense of emptiness or a lack of fulfillment?
  • Am I more aware of what others think of me or what I know to be best for myself?

What do I do to take care of myself?  Do others always come before me?

Reflect on your answers to those questions.  What do your first-reaction answers tell you? When you look deeper, what does your intuition tell you?

Are there others voices that are influencing your feelings?  Are there any ideas that come to you telling you how you could add more fulfillment, but reduce overwhelm?

Here is an exercise you can try:   

Write out a list of what you do from when you get up to when you go to bed.

In other words, a day in your life.

Take a look at how many things you are doing that are not self-nurturing. How many things are you doing that are not fulfilling?  

Of course, we all have to do many of those things as responsible adults, but are there things on that list that you just do not have to do?

For example, could you arrange a carpool to soccer so that you don’t have to go to every practice? Can you limit your volunteering for extra things at work or at your children’s school?

Are you spending time on social media that you could be spending reading or listening to something more fulfilling? Are you venting on social media instead of in a journal or to a coach or therapist or friend (being that sharing time with others is essential to stress-relief)?

And finally, is your quest to fulfill all of your roles in life – including SUPERMOM – taking away from your peaceful living?

This is only the beginning of what could & should be an amazing brainstorming session about how moms can be Supermom by taking care of themselves! Let’s get this brainstorming session going!!!  Post your comments below and/ or on www.facebook.com/peacefullivingwellness!

 

With Gratitude & Compassion, 

Jen

Resilience and the healing power of music.

Resilience and the healing power of music.

It’s been a tough couple of months. My peaceful living has really been put to the test. I’ve had to make sure that I take extra-special care of myself in order to stay strong under the pressure of stressful times!

In recent Vlogs & Blogs I talked about how to stay strong in the face of bullying and how to bounce back after a particularly hectic time.

Both of those topics underlay this week’s topic of resiliency.

For today, I want to just give a little lead-up to Wednesday’s “Wellness Wednesday” Facebook Live VLOG by talking about MUSIC!

So when my going gets tough & I need to build my resiliency, I turn on some empowerment music and dance and sing!

Here are my Top 20 “Girl Power” songs! (in no particular order, I love them all!)

My Most Recent Favs:

1. Taylor Swift – Shake it Off!
2. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger
3. Kelly Clarkson – Whole Lotta Woman
4. Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass
5. Meghan Trainor – Better When I’m Dancing
6. Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire

The Classics:

7. Helen Reddy – I am Woman
8. Gloria Gaynor – I will Survive

The Country Girls:

9. Dixie Chicks – Wide Open Spaces
10. Dixie Chicks – Not Ready To Make Nice
11. Kaycee Musgraves – Follow Your Arrow
12. Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

All Time Favs:

13. Christina Aguilera – Beautiful
14. Katy Perry – Firework
15. P!nk – So What!
16. P!nk – F***ing Perfect
17. Demi Lovato – Confident
18. Beyonce – Run The World (Girls)
19. David Guetta & Sia – Titanium
20. Sheryl Crow – Winding Road

What are your FAV pick-me- up & make me STRONG songs? Let’s keep adding to the play list!

Hugs,
Jen

Food Safety: Tips for Healthy Living

Food Safety: Tips for Healthy Living

IS FOOD SAFETY STRESSING YOU OUT? #TroubleWithChicken

food safety

I’m contaminated???

Okay, normally I write about things that are stressing you out and how to deal with them. But my guess is that food safety is not something that is high on everyone’s list of stressors. Again, contrary to what I normally do, this time I’m going to tell you that food safety is something you actually should be a little stressed about. But not to fear… I am also going to give some tips about how to hopefully alleviate that stress! Food safety IS NOT something we should need to be stressed about in this country! (more…)

Moving and Changing: Look Forward Reduce Anxiety

Moving and Changing: Look Forward Reduce Anxiety

MOVING AND CHANGING: HOW LOOKING FORWARD REDUCES ANXIETY

 

Normally I recommend staying in the present moment to relieve anxiety: you know, one-day-at-a-time and all that. And I do truly believe in most circumstances it is an excellent way to avoid stress. Under some circumstances, however, looking forward can actually be more of an anxiety reducer. (more…)

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