Being a mom is so rewarding. Being a working mom is double rewarding. I have the opportunity to flex my mental muscles when I'm among my colleagues and when I return home, I spend one-on-one time with my daughter. I teach her the importance of a balanced life and normalize the behavior of a successful working mom. Though, I couldn't do it without my tribe, the women and men who support me and my little nugget as I navigate this unknown territory. The top five relationships I lean on are:
1) The relationship with myself.
Sounds obvious, but sometimes as working #momboss we forget that we have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone else. This includes our children, our spouse and our professional team. So, I carve out time to meditate every morning. I center myself through an active devotion to bring clarity to my mind and heart. I also believe that my strength, creativity and ability come from a higher-being. My spiritual belief is the cornerstone of my life and guides me every day.
2) The relationship with my daughter.
She's my inspiration and my motivation. Before I was a mom, I was equally focused on my career but I operated from a very selfish place. I wanted to acquire more knowledge, more influence, more responsibility and yes, more money. Now, I work smarter - not harder; more efficient - not longer. Because of that, I'm more productive. I am inspired by the opportunity to serve as a great example to my daughter.
3) The relationship with my partner.
We are a team that has to lean on each other, support each other and we really are the truest form of "ride-or-die." This relationship is so important as you need that person who is interested in your day, your wellbeing and your happiness. They will be honest with you, be your mirror when you're facing challenging times of difficult decisions; they will be your advocate when you need protection; and they will cuddle with you and tell you how beautiful your mind, body and spirit are when you feel defeated. This is such an important relationship, only 3rd on paper, but equally as important as the others.
4) My other #MomBosses.
It is so important to have mothers around you who live a similar life. When I was pregnant, I was the only one within my friend-group that was a new mother. Being originally from Tennessee, most of my friends had children in their 20's and my NYC squad were like me, in their late-30's, resolved that children were not in their future. I was an anomaly. I didn't fit in anywhere. That was until I found my mommy blog and made connections from my infant-CPR class or prenatal yoga class. And, as our children have gotten older, these relationships have sustained me during the meltdowns, growth stages and milestones. It has been an enormous support to have first-time mothers to lean on when I find myself examining a (typical) rash on my daughter's leg or trying to find the most obscure hypo-allergenic sunscreen to prevent said rash.
5) My tribe.
From other mothers, to my mother and non-parenting friends, I have created a pretty wacky support team. This is my tribe. Being an only child, I was so concerned that my daughter wouldn't have a rounded-out life since she wouldn't have any cousins. Well, you pick your friends, who become your family. Isn't that a nice thought? I have a rich life full of laughter and disagreements, and play-dates and double-date nights.
It is a life...
full of diversity - from family structures to cultures to ages;
full of love,
full of insight,
full of support,
and, full of opportunity.
One of the few things I remember from grade school biology is the concept of tropism. In plain language, tropism is the reaction of a living thing, like a plant, towards a stimulus like sunlight or heat. You've likely seen this before but just didn't recognize it for what it was. If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action. The plant is bending towards the sunlight.
If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action.
In our everyday lives, we are all inundated with stimuli throughout the day. The driver in front of us that stalls at the yellow light and zooms through the red light, leaving us behind to wait. Or the customer service rep that leaves us on hold for an ungodly amount of time, only for the call to prematurely drop. There are so many examples both common and unique to our individual lives. The trouble begins when we form the habit of responding to everything — particularly negative stimuli. By doing this, our mental peace is disrupted and diverted making us slaves to whatever happens to happen. Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us. Now take that concept and multiply it by the number of things that can happen in a day, week, or month. What happens to you mentally with so many emotional pivots?
For me, the result is: Restlessness. Anxiety. Sleepness. Mindless Eating. Everything besides peace of mind.
Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us.
Earlier this year, something pretty trivial happened to me. I'm sure this has happened to you at some point in your life also. I was walking through a door and, as I always do, glanced back and held the door longer and wider than normal for the person coming behind me. My gracious gesture was met with silence — no thank you, no smile, not even a nod. I remember being so annoyed at this travesty of justice. How dare they not acknowledge me and thank me for holding the door? After all, I didn't have to do it. I know I spent the next few hours thinking about it and probably even texted a few friends so that they could join in on my rant and tell me how right I was to be upset. In hindsight, I should not have allowed this pretty petty thing to occupy my mind and heart, but I did. I let it shake my peace.
I've since taken some classes on mindfulness and what I've learned (and I'm still learning) is the art of being aware — being aware of the present and my feelings. Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy. We're all human and having emotions is part of the deal but as mindful adults, it's critically important to choose what you're going to care about and let everything else pass along. There are several tools on the market to help with this but the Headspace app has really helped me in my mindfulness journey. The lessons are guided and coupled with some pretty cute animations.
Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy.
Over the course of the next week, I'd like to challenge you to pay more attention to your reactions. How aware are you of how you allow your environment to affect you? Are you highly reactive? Do you ruminate for hours or even days on events that are insignificant in your life? If so, practicing a bit of mindfulness may be the way to go.