As an ambitious Mom, do you often feel like you’re spinning plates and cups all the time, trying to find the ideal balance? It’s impossible isn’t it? Yet, even on the good days when you experience some sense of ‘balance’, do you still feel burned out and craving more happiness in your life?
How do you prepare for an emotional conversation with your partner?
Do you dive into the deep end, hoping that it will all work out? I hear from so many ambitious women how their to-do lists are never-ending, work is ongoing, and they feel more and more disconnected from their partners.
Guess what? I’ve been there. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t fun.
Years ago, I was introduced to the concept of setting intentions. Note that this is not goal setting. Intention setting allows you to stay connected to your purpose and your intuition. It’s something that I infuse throughout my days because it’s a way for me to get laser-focused on how I want to experience what’s in front of me while remaining in alignment with who I want to be in the world. Sometimes there’s a misunderstanding that by setting intentions, you’re simply adding to your to-do list. Intentions are not to-do items.
Instead, you’re getting silent for a moment and getting crystal clear on how you want to feel in the upcoming experience. From there, you’re invoking an energy inside of yourself and asking the Universe to support you in receiving whatever it is that you need to receive, so you can be the person you want to be. Think about this as it relates to the three scenarios above and the different personality types you want to be in those various situations.
Another way to look at it is that you’re surrendering to the Universe and asking for help. Now, you may be thinking that sounds too woo woo. Hang in here with me!
What we know to be true is that the Universe meets us at the point of action; it’s there to support what we desire. By asking for what we want, we’re creating space for co-creation to happen. Some people call these experiences coincidences, but these are, in fact, moments when the Universe is working on our behalf.
Here are the steps to setting a powerful intention:
Activate your intuition.
State a clear intention that infuses what you want and how you want to experience it.
Detach from outcome expectations you may trap yourself into predicting once you’ve set your intention. Add the following language after your intention, “‘This something even better for my highest good.” By doing this, you’re trusting that if the experience doesn’t manifest the way in which you asked, it will turn out even better than you had imagined later because the Universe is working in accordance for your highest good.
Just one more tip: Use your words. These aren’t about getting fancy and using as many descriptive words as possible. This is about using words that resonate with you. Generally, short and simple is best!
Here are some examples for intention setting to get your mind going.
Hectic morning hour:
It’s my intention to be present, calm, and loving with myself, my children, and my partner as I begin the day.
Heading into huge presentation at work:
It’s my intention to show up fully and to deliver my message confidently and clearly, in a way that leaves others feeling inspired.
Conversation with your partner:
It’s my intention to be vulnerable and to listen with open mind and heart.
It’s my intention to help ambitious women live consciously with grace and ease. This or something even better for my highest good.
As you can see, you can frame intentions however you like and, most importantly, you want to have them handy, so you can review.
I’m encouraging each of you to try intention setting. Even if it feels a little out there. This has transformed the way in which I experience everything. From high profile work meetings, powerful coaching sessions, meaningful conversations with my husband, to heartfelt conversations with my children and girlfriends.
Here’s to intention setting and experiencing yourself fully,
Do you remember why you wanted to become a Mom? What were your ambitious before you entered that chapter?
For me, it was simple. I wanted to experience something bigger than myself. In this strange way, even though I knew it would radically change my life, I also knew it was a non-negotiable for me. You see, I had this vision of being highly involved with my children and exposing them to as many experiences as possible. At the same time, I envisioned myself continually evolving, leading, making an impact in meaningful work that fulfills me.
Your ‘Why’ may be different than mine, and that’s okay. As we get into the trenches of motherhood and experience its magnificence, it doesn’t always look the way we expected it would. Things we thought we’d never do, we end up doing. So it’s no wonder, that at times we feel disconnected from ourselves, or a particular dream. Can you relate?
Here’s what I know to be true. You can be a Mom and have space for yourself to thrive too. To feel what it looks like, give yourself permission to:
Engage in meaningful work
Spend money on yourself
Intellectually challenge yourself
Have a interest
Take risks in your career
Go on a date night
Finish your cup of tea before it gets cold
Spend a Saturday afternoon alone
Go to an art opening
Take a girls trip
Sit and read a book during the day when you can stay awake
Have a meal cooked for you
Have time to nurture your soul
Engage in purposeful and heartfelt conversations daily
I know it may not be everyday that you create space for yourself, but stretch and remember your WHY and your desires. You get to create the vision of how you want to experience being a Mom and a woman. Isn’t that incredible? Be the author of of your own story.
I’m celebrating you and the vision that you hold for yourselves.
Happy Mother’s Day Mamas. May your light continue to shine brightly,
Are you a planner? It’s Sunday night, and you’re strategizing about what you will get done and by when? What about the weekend? Do find yourself making plans, filling all possible white space with dinner with friends, baseball games, family outings…you name it, you’ve planned it.
I have a confession. I’m a planner. I inherited it from my Mama. I’m quite proud of it, in fact, because it’s served me well in the efficiency department. However, when I had my big wake up call a few years ago, I realized that my scheduling was trumping my ability to be conscious. There were so many times when I missed experiencing something that was truly for my highest good, that fed my soul, that challenged me because I had everything planned out.
This past weekend, I gifted myself a weekend away with my Mama in the gorgeous city of Nashville. Remember, my Mama is a planner, and there’s still a part of me that loves a good old fashioned itinerary.
However, I sent my Mama our weekend travel plans on a doc that included a big red, “SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME” on the top. Did they ever. While in flight, a friend who lives in Nashville shared that Paul Simon was playing at the Ryman on Saturday night. The Ryman is one of those music venues I have always wanted to see — it’s an old church where the Grand Ole Opry originated (it still has the original pews!). Our issue was that we had tickets to the Opry for that same night and were so excited to see it — I planned it!
This was a dilemma for me. What if I couldn’t get tickets? What if the seats were no good? What it we didn’t end up doing either in the process? We’d talked about going to the Opry for so long! But, there was a feeling of adventure and joy at the thought of going to the Ryman to see the amazing Paul Simon!
What I’ve learned is that the richness of potential outcomes and experiences of following that feeling of joy and adventure, even if not achieved, far outweighs the comfort and stick-to-the-plan routine that we can lock ourselves into.
I’m pointing this out because this experience evoked a feeling inside of me that I think most of us can identify with it, but don’t always capitalize on.
I’ve learned to not spend a lot of time hemming and hawing in situations like this, and, instead, follow the ‘good feeling’ and the experience that I’m after.
To wrap up this example, I made a few calls and was able to move our Opry tickets and get great seats to Paul Simon.
Why am I telling you this? Because had I ignored that feeling because I was so attached to my plan, I would have missed out on an experience that fed my soul. I don’t think it’s any different in motherhood or in the Corporate world. If you’re craving to feel connected and in alignment with who you really are at your core, then you must get comfortable with agility. One must be able to to detach from ‘the plan’ and follow the good feeling, so that you can receive all that is available to you in that very moment. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you don’t stick to a plan, you can’t be efficient and do all that that you want to.
As I was travelling back home, I reviewed our itinerary and was blown away. In fact, we even added a side trip to a little town 20 minutes outside of the city that I was dying to see, but didn’t think we would have time. We probably experienced more than I could have imagined, yet there was a flow to it all. This logic applies in the workspace and in motherhood too.
These are the 3 questions I ask myself when choosing how to spend my time:
What’s my intention?
What’s my Why behind my intention?
How do I want to feel?
These questions have helped me experience what I want to in my personal, professional and home life.
I know that abandoning plans can be scary as all heck, but start with these quick questions to establish some white space in your life. It’s incredible what you can create, experience, overcome, connect, achieve and feel in doing so.
In nearly every conversation I have throughout the day, I hear the word freedom. I hear it referenced by my working Mom clients, stay-at-home Moms, and young professionals – everyone wants to experience more freedom.
This weekend, I mustered up the strength to visit our storage unit with all three boys in tow and found myself on a mission. In the past I would hem and haw over each item. But, not this time. I had a ‘take no prisoners’ attitude and loaded up our car with things that have been collecting dust since we returned from London 6 years ago. It became clear to me that I want to feel lighter and, by doing away with these last few items from a European move, I can do that.
Where are you craving freedom?
Freedom to express what’s on your mind and in your heart?
Freedom from overwhelm, anxiety, and sacrifice?
Freedom to experience something new?
Freedom to do what you love and get paid for it?
Freedom to change your mind?
Freedom to be spontaneous?
Freedom to do nothing!
If freedom and a life you love from the inside out is what you’re after, then the best place to start is your mindset. It’s so refreshing to know that you don’t have to be a victim of your circumstances any longer and can chose how you relate to each situation you’re in. The freedom will come in knowing you have a choice in every moment you experience.
Grab the same juicy 2-step process I use with CWM clients to experience as much freedom you’re able to receive:
What are your core values? It’s super important to pick words and phrases that you feel connected to. Do not pick words that you think you need to have on your list. Try and narrow down to five.
Display these values in front of you daily and, each time you make a decision, run them through your values. You want to discover if that choice supports your governing philosophy and how you want to experience your life OR if it constricts you.
What’s fascinating to me is that corporations do this religiously, yet as individuals I find most of us waffle when it comes to sharing our top five values. It’s no surprise that we feel out of alignment, compromised, overwhelmed, unexpressed, under-utilized, and exhausted because we’re not acting in our truth.
It’s time to start living the best version of you. I’m nudging you a bit to try this on because what’s on the other side is happiness. Calmness. Intimacy. Fulfillment. Inspiration. Love. Aliveness.
I don’t know about you, but this holiday always seems to creep up on me, and I’ve noticed that it’s the one holiday that I truly have experienced differently throughout the various stages of my life. I have to admit something, and maybe you can relate: I was caught up with this holiday for surface value. Here’s what I mean.
If you’re like me, chances are you have an idea of how you think your life should be, and it might look something like this: Great marriage. Happy, vibrant, brilliant children who love me and each other and life. Gorgeous home. Fulfilling, lucrative career. In other words, a general sense of ‘I got this,’ contentment, fulfillment.
Boy, oh boy, is it easy to be addicted to our phones, which is why I’m going to share 3 tips with you to help you break away. I find I go through phases where I’m really self aware of when I’m using my phone and other times not so much. This past week I found myself falling prey to checking my phone while standing in line at the grocery store, getting a tea at the coffee shop and even (I’m embarrassed to admit this) checking my phone while waiting at a stoplight. It hit me the other day that I was back to my old antics and struggling to be comfortable doing nothing. If given even 30 seconds, I felt a strong pull to read, text or click something on my phone. I felt less joyful than usual over the past week, and suspect my phone addiction is to blame.
Time for an intervention! Over the weekend I heard Arelene Pellicane of Growing up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World, speak, and her words hit me hard. I feel more inspired than ever to lead by example and show my children how to set phone boundaries. I’m saying YES to experiencing my life fully engaged. My children will be the lucky recipients of a Mama who’s present, balanced and full of life.
Here are three tips that I practice to help me part with my beloved phone:
1. Out of sight (out of mind) –If you’re at home, keep your phone in another room. This means charge it in another room! If you’re out with your family, keep it in your purse, or your pocket and disable the wireless. You can still use your camera.
2. Turn it off –(Gasp) I know it sounds so uncomfortable. Just try it for 15 minutes. It’s incredibly liberating. I’m experimenting with not having my phone on at all when I’m with my children.
3. Make an agreement with your significant other and support one another- I find it’s extremely difficult to quit cold turkey by yourself. Discuss guidelines with your spouse, and help each other live by them.
I know it’s incredibly easy to justify why we should be on our phones at times. I’ve been there. (It provides me flexibility. My client needs me. I have a deadline.) However, if your goal is to experience more fun and calmness, you need to take action and make decisions that will help you live that way. My hunch is that there are plenty of times when an email can wait 15 minutes or a phone call can be made an hour later. Instead you can use that time to be totally present and absorb your surroundings, which might be talking to a stranger in the coffee queue, having a conversation with your husband or sitting at a stoplight and watching the person next to you have a dance party in their car. It’s in our DNA to want more laughter and spontaneity in our life, so let’s make some space for it. Will you join me and commit to using your phone less?
Happy Mother’s Day to all of our magificent moms in the Conscious Working Mama community. Today we honor you, we thank you and we celebrate you. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart—as I always say, it’s harder than running a marathon—and yet, it really is the most rewarding role we play. However your day unfolds, it’s my wish that you allow yourself to truly enjoy and receive all of the gratitude that’s about to come your way. Let today be a day where you don’t require yourself to give and give and give, and instead, allow yourself to receive as much appreciation and joy as you can possibly handle. If you need some ideas, it could be as simple as:
Lay in bed an extra 10 minutes (consider it a science experiment)
Make time for a cup of tea/coffee in the morning and sit down while you drink it
Let your family know that you’re going to take 30 minutes of alone time and spend it however you like
Instead of thinking you have to wait an entire year to be granted permission to appreciate all of the wonderful things that you do and how you show up for your children and for yourself, why not adopt the attitude that every day is Mother’s day because you’re exceptional and are worth honoring every day. I love how Maya Angelou put it:
Open your eyes to the beauty around you,
Open your mind to the wonders of life,
Open your heart to those who love you,
and always be true to yourself.
We might think that being a mother is about giving to our children, but let’s remember the origin of where it all starts. Nurturing and celebrating ourselves is what births our capacity to be creative, to be kind, to be inspiring, to be compassionate, to be purposeful, to be loving and to experience all of our unique gifts that we have to offer the world. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to make it a point to compliment myself daily about how phenomenal I am as a mom, because I know deep down inside that the most important validation comes from within. Will you join me?
I’m thinking about you today and appreciating you, and come tomorrow morning, I’m going to be doing the exact same thing!
I’m thinking about each of you from the mountains, where I’m spending spring break with my family. My husband and I decided a while back that we really wanted to take the boys skiing for a week. This was something that I personally felt very strongly about because skiing is a passion of mine, and it’s something that our boys really enjoy learning. I love the idea of us doing a sport together as a family.
As a working Mom, you probably can relate to what a big deal this is since it means taking a week off from work, as well as factoring in all of the expenses. Prior to leaving, I had set a very clear intention for our trip: experiencing every moment, feeling engaged and present and not being attached to an outcome. A big part of my intention was to allow myself to really ‘be’ in the mountains, not be tied to my laptop and holding coaching sessions.
I have to admit something. It hasn’t been easy. The first couple of days, I found myself not working at all. Then, all the sudden, anxiety would sneak in, and I’d start to wonder, “what am I missing? What should I be doing?” These thoughts didn’t feel good and they were an obstacle to fully participating with my family the way I wanted to and had envisioned.
Tell me, do you give yourself permission to truly take time for yourself? How do you turn off your work? I mean really turn it off to the point where you’re not envisioning your inbox filling up.
I found myself answering this question repeatedly the other day:
“What’s the worst thing that will happen if I don’t answer emails, take client calls, or prepare for my upcoming launch?” Once I cut through the sarcasm, I realized absolutely nothing would happen. There was no need for me to dramatize the situation.
Then I answered this question:
“What will I gain from surrendering to exactly where I am and just allow myself to enjoy the down time?”
Wow, did my inner voice have something to say about that! She went on and on and on…. It became very clear that the pros outweighed the cons. Now that our trip is almost over, I’m feeling rested, inspired, and reconnected to my family. I’m so thankful for this week away and most importantly giving myself permission to truly enjoy it.
Tell me about you. Do you gift yourself holidays and, most importantly, how do you experience them?
I hear from so many working Moms that their daily routines can feel mundane and lack fun. For me, I use to try and DO more to create ‘fun’ for my kids. Only, the more I did, the less FUN I felt. My funneth, runneth empty.
Until recently, I was experiencing Groundhog Day at the breakfast table. We were going through the motions, and it just lacked fun. It lacked light-heartedness. I experimented with something to switch it up; make the routine feel fresh while hitting all of the marks we needed to hit each morning to get everyone out of the door on time.
Here’s a strategy, my modern, working moms who aspire to raise your consciousness and experience more fun during routine moments that can otherwise feel mundane.
1. Take a deep breathe; the kind that allows you to exhale out loud. Let your body completely relax (this should take 3 seconds max!)
2. What is it you NEED in order to experience fun, laughter, lightness, and silliness? This is a state of being, not something that should require you to DO more.
3. Welcome whatever comes forward. For me, the the first thing that came to mind was ‘dance party.’
I went with it! I put on music for my boys and, while they sat at the breakfast table, I danced. And, danced. And, danced. I did this as I made lunches and wiped up the seemingly never-ending spills. They sat with their jaws open, all the while, giggling in unison. They had no idea that their Mama had grown up dancing tap, ballet, and jazz. I could (can!) drop into numerous routines at any given moment.
All of the sudden, our morning breakfast routine, was full of energy, light, and FUN. An internal shift happened inside of me. I was open to receiving more fun in my life and, as a result, so were my boys. They enjoyed an otherwise routine breakfast morning in a new way; a fresh and fun way. I could have kept dancing all morning and, in a way, I did. So did they.
I was reminded that it’s necessary for us working women to infuse joy in our lives, and that it’s really a state of being, not a state of doing more. We don’t need to work harder to create ‘lightness’ in our lives. I was able tap into my intuition (ha! see what I did there?). By being open to receiving what need came through and embracing it, my boys and I had a lot more fun during what had become groundhogs day breakfast routine.
I recently sat down for lunch with one of my dear working Mom friends who I very much admire. We were talking about parenting our boys. She said to me, “I haven’t used my screaming mimi voice in 30 days.” I had never heard that phrase, but knew exactly what she was talking about. The moment she said that, I consciously thought, “That’s impressive; I used my mimi voice just 3 hours ago.”
Do you know the voice I’m talking about? It’s the one that comes out when you feel like your kids aren’t listening to you. Or, when you’re in a rush, exhausted, or stressed. As a working Mom, there are a thousand scenarios that can push our buttons to trigger us to become screaming mimi’s. The experience I have after I’m screaming mimi, generally, consists of guilt and shame. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it happens. Can you relate? It takes work to not be a screaming, mimi regardless of how much we love our children.
I’ve been aware of my screaming, mimi voice for a while and have learned what triggers it. It’s not a behavior I want to pass down to my children. I’ve also learned that it has very little to do with my boys. Of course, it would be wonderful if my house of 3 boys would listen more or do what they’re asked, but ultimately the boys behavior is just a symptom of the real issue. The root cause is my lack of self care. As a working Mom, I’ve under-estimated the importance of taking care of my well being – not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Not to mention fun. Am I making time for me to experience any ‘fun?’
We all know self care is important, but be honest, are you making time for it? Are you making it easy for you to incorporate it into your daily routine. Think about it this way: what’s one thing you could do across each of the below categories to support you in taking care of yourself first, so you can feel rested, rejuvenated, inspired, patient, and available to show up as your best self in your career and in motherhood?
Physically – Eg: , is there a class you’re dying to take? Mentally – Eg: Read an inspirational quote each day on Pinterest. Spiritually – Eg: Pay it forward. One random act of kindness will open up your heart. Emotionally – Eg: Write one thing that you’re thankful for each day in journal. For Joy – What’s the one thing you’ve been dying to do that will bring you joy?
I promise you by increasing your self care, you will decrease your screaming, mimi voice and, not only will your children thank you, but you will feel a greater sense of love and appreciation towards yourself.
Recently, I’ve had a surplus of good friends move – most of them back abroad or to NYC. This week, a very dear friend is moving to Connecticut, and I have to share something so amazing that she did that helped increase my capacity to receive.
My friend, Sarah Snow, set the intention to connect all of her favorite women with one another prior to leaving, knowing that because we were special to her, that we’d find common threads with each other and additional friendships would be born.
To initiate this, she hosted an evening for all of us to share our favorite things. We were instructed to select a favorite thing of ours and bring five of them, wrapped and ready to shre why that item was meaningful in our lives.
We each wrote our name on five pieces of paper and dropped them into a bowl. The person presenting their favorite thing would draw five names to receive that specific gift. I left with beautiful a gratitude journal, an incredible pasta sauce, luxurious hand cream, and heavenly organic tea.
This thoughtful gathering wasn’t about giving; it was about receiving. While I was initially caught up with the giving process –did I get the right thing? Will others like it? — I realized that it was more about learning to receive the other women’s gifts and personal anecdotes. Being able to take it in, see what they saw, and connect with them through an appreciation of their gift. While the gifts were lovely, I experienced meaningful conversations, authentic connections, and the birth of friendships.
How do you receive joy in your life? Are you available or is there something standing in the way?
I want to hear from you. Post your comments below. I promise, if you’re thinking it, one of our amazing, Conscious women is also feeling it. Connect with your tribe here! For me, being a Conscious Working Mama is lifestyle. A way a life. Join me.
For all my ambitious working Moms out there who are doing a mile-a-minute with both feet on the gas pedal, please hit pause and watch this Ted talk today ‘My Year of Saying Yes to Everything,’ by Shonda Rhimes.
I’m proud to say I’ve watched this upteenth times because the message is just that good. For those of you who don’t know, Shonda Rhimes spent last year doing a social experiment saying YES to everything, allowing her to push boundaries and fears.
What was most valuable to her is what resonated the most with me. The idea that ‘Work doesn’t work without play.’
When I reflect on my own professional experiences, I can absolutely draw a correlation between the years that I spent head down, chasing, running, scrambling to close the next deal, only to feel disconnected, exhausted, lost and unfulfilled on the inside. The joy had been sucked out my professional life and was seeping into other areas of my life. My a-ha moment came when I had three very active, enthusiastic boys, five years old and under, staring me down every night and begging me to play?
It hit me. The message became clear.
Shonda Rhimes is spot on when she says, “It’s not really about playing with the kids. It’s about finding your joy. Give yourself 15 minutes a day and figure it out. Play in that arena.”
I like to think of our children as spiritual guides, sent here to remind us how to connect to ourself, so we can live our lives Consciously. Awake. Engaged. At the highest version of ourselves. My little boys had done just that.
Here are three things I do to weave JOY and PLAY into my life daily.
I go for a 15 minute walk, and I always find one or more of my children want to join.
I have playlists lock and loaded on my phone and put them on at least once a day – dance parties (solo or w/ children)
I sit on the ground. I find play happens on the ground. Either wrestling, make-believe, conversation….it all happens on the ground.
I couldn’t agree more with Shonda Rhimes, the more I give myself permission to play, the more I feel like myself, which is the ultimate goal, isn’t it? To live and experience the truth of who we’re here to become with grace and ease.
I’m ready to experience some more Ommm. Are you? My days start early. My oldest son wakes up at 5:30am, followed by my 2nd son, and my little Gus Gus rounds out the hour with all systems firing by 6:30am. Every light is on in the house, the volume is a 10, and there’s a lot of excitement with a bit of the grumpies mixed in. And, two mornings a week, I coach clients starting at 7:30, so the start of those days can feel extra frenetic. While, I have a system that allows me to squeeze in a shower, make three lunches, and breakfast for all, this morning I found myself stressed out!
Though the manic mornings end at 8am when they’re all off at school (and there are mornings when I hear myself let out a huge sigh), the stress can easily stay with me.
Can you relate? We’ve all had that experience of being pulled by our clients’ schedules, motherhood, wifely duties, and our own ambition. As a result, are you left feeling manic and depleted, and tell yourself something needs to give….but what?! This conversation can take you down a deep rabbit hole if you’re not careful.
I’m going to share 3 simple tools to help you take the lead and experience more Ommm…
Ask yourself this question, “What do I want to experience right now?” Get crystal clear on those feelings.
Simplify. Slowing down may feel like too big of a step, so start with a baby step. What can you simplify in your life? What can you delegate at work, where can you ask for help, and what can you rearrange to better serve you.
Commit to one action that brings you JOY – here are just a few small ways in this past week that have reduced my stress and brought me joy:
Listen to an inspiring book — I can’t say enough amazing things about Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, “Big Magic”. A must-read for all of us craving more creative expression in our lives. I love Audible.com because I can listen while I drive or clean house.
Pay it forward. Striking up a conversation with a stranger and show your true essence (put that phone down). It will fill your heart just as much as theirs (Starbucks or grocery store que)
Look at old photos! Keep a few old photos around that hold special memories. Amazing how you can connect to them in a heartbeat.
Do an art project. We made Halloween costumes this week, and if I get super honest, I think I enjoy as much, if not more, than the children.
Discover new music. We all have a few culture vulture friends. Find out what they’re listening to and plug in.
Pin your travel desires! I search travel photos weekly because it keeps me connected to future travel explorations! You can get inspired by my travel board HERE:
Through all my years of working in the corporate world, being a Mom to three boys, being a Coach to working Moms, and doing loads of volunteer work, I’ve realized one very important lesson: The more connected I am to myself, the less stressed I am. It’s really that simple.
Imagine how much more relaxed, connected and awake you’d feel…Don’t just do it. Be it.
As a working Mama, are you pushing yourself at all hours of the day? I recently asked a dear, working Mom friend of mine to email her daily schedule because I wanted to see how she organizes her day. She gave me permission to share my thoughts because we thought you could relate, and we thought it could be healing for all the working Moms out there striving for perfection, living in self-doubt, dwelling in comparison and feeling like you’re simply not enough (been there).
After I scanned her schedule, sure enough, it’s just what I suspected: She’s up at some crazy hour like 4:30 (which makes my head hurt to think about) and in bed around 11pm. That’s after she’s put in one more hour of checking emails. By the time I finished reading her schedule, I was exhausted. Mind you, from my perspective, she has a very successful career, she’s an incredible Mom, wife, and friend. She even says she’s happy going at this pace.
I asked her her about her weekends. How does she spend her time? Immediately, she launched into how she had a ton of work, wants to take a yoga class (not enough time), spend quality time with her children, but how every weekend feels jammed packed. What I observed from this conversation, and many more I’ve had with working Moms, is this misconception that if they don’t ‘work’ on the weekend, they’re not doing it right. I’ve heard every rationale such as ‘I left early one day, so I need to make up the time’ or ‘if I want to make partner, I have to put in these extra hours.’
Who can relate? Do you go into self-doubt if you don’t push yourself to work those extra hours on the weekend, attend every Saturday Soccer game or birthday party, so you can get Mom of The Year award? Not to mention the after effects of pushing ourselves from 4:30am to 11pm at night. We can’t act surprised when we feel disconnected from ourselves or our partners. We reek of exhaustion, resentment, and ‘Am I good enough’ syndrome?
Imagine, just this weekend, you entered a social experiment. Just for fun. Your goal is to strive for sufficiency, so you can experience confidence, relaxed and connected in meaningful, purposeful ways. Below is what I’d love for you to try. Have fun and observe how you feel after.
Strive for efficiency, not perfection, this weekend. What can you do at 90% instead of 100%. This might mean delegating some of your responsibilities. It might mean saying no to a Soccer game and staying home and resting.
Stay on your own yoga mat. When you feel yourself starting to compare yourself to others, move into gratitude immediately. Wish them well and then remind yourself of one thing or experience for which you’re thankful.
Embrace the Mess! Try entering into the weekend with intentions instead of expectations. There’s a big distinction there. Intention is something you’re aiming to experience or do. Expectation is a strong belief that something will happen. Unless you have a crystal ball, there really is no way to predict the future.
Trust there is a new way to experience the weekend as a working Mom. You can absolutely show up on Monday and still be considered wildly successful and powerful and not have opened up your laptop at all. You can still be considered for that big promotion, even though you chose to consciously not send emails all Sunday afternoon.
As a social experiment, be a part of the Conscious Working Mama movement in rebuilding the archetype of a working Mom where we allow ourselves to feel whole inside, so we can truly experience self-confidence, self-trust, and the almighty feeling enough. Take ownership. Sit in the driver’s seat. Imagine what can happen when we give ourselves permission to play a little? Or maybe a lot….
I have a confession (which will not come as a surprise to my husband): I have a hard time saying NO to things, especially during the Holiday season. Some might refer to this as an over-commitment problem, but I prefer view it as a habit of saying YES. There’s just so much I want to do, experience I want to take in, and so much to be a part of in this amazing world we live in.
I finally met my match recently with the amount of YES I had agreed to. For the past 7 years, I have been heavily involved in a volunteer group that is very near to my heart. I had spent easily 10+ hours a week dedicated to this group and was carrying a lot of responsibilities (organizing meetings, calls, project managing a major annual event). Things in my life started to take a turn; I was experiencing a major bandwidth issue and was starting to experience anxiety over how I was going to get everything done.
Here was my issue: I had said YES, and just the thought of backing out gave me a near panic attack. My inner critic was saying things like, ”You gave your word. People are counting on your. How can you let them down? You’re going to disappoint everyone!”
I knew in my heart that I needed to create space in my life to grow and, while it didn’t mean that I was completely stepping away from my volunteer group, I needed to pass the baton. I needed to have the conversation. Woah, scary! This got me thinking: how do you back out of commitments gracefully, so that you feel good about your decision?
Here’s what works for me:
1. Set a clear intention for how you want the conversation to go. How do you want to experience the conversation?
2. Have the conversation from a neutral place; ensure that you are internally 100% resolved to the decision you’ve made. Some things I consider: What doors does this decision open for me? What doors does this open up for others?
3. Always have the tough conversation in person or over the phone. Email should be a last resort. And, text is absolute no no.
4. Honesty is the best policy; keep your respect in tact and doors open.
5. Show Gratitude – There’s always an opportunity to show appreciation. This can be in the form of finding your replacement, writing a note, or making a call.
Warning: you might experience mixed emotions when you back out of a commitment gracefully, especially if it’s something that’s been a part of your life regularly. That is OK. Rest assured, that is natural, and I encourage you to take note of how you’re relating to those feelings.
I attended the big annual concert for my volunteer group this week and noticed I felt a bit of sadness (missing my tribe), distance (because I hadn’t been a part of the day-to-day), joy (incredibly proud of what they accomplished) and most of all gratitude for the amazing experiences they’ve all brought to my life. I allowed myself to sit in those feelings and actually experience them, albeit some of them uncomfortable, which is a pattern change for me. To my surprise, the next morning I was left with pure gratitude and joy for this amazing group of volunteers and all the life lessons I’ve learned from them.
Maybe it’s time to take inventory of your commitments and ask yourself, are there any commitments that are not serving you for your highest good? If there are, now you have some tips on how to back out gracefully.
When I was 7 months pregnant with my 3rd son, I decided I wanted more out of my life. I was feeling very stagnant. On a bit of a whim, I applied and was accepted to the University of Santa Monica. Two years later, I’m on the tail-end of receiving my Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. The reason I’m telling you this is because, up until two years ago, I had no idea what it meant to live a ‘conscious’ life, let alone a ‘Conscious Working Mama’ life. I was 98% focused on satisfying my ego, until finally, I arrived at a place where I realized that that is an unattainable goal. Regardless of how idealistic my life might have seemed, I felt that something was always missing, and my light was dim. I was ready for a change, and I knew it had to happen inwardly, no more chasing outwardly experiences to drive happiness and fulfillment.
Fast forward two years and, for the first time, I feel awake — I feel conscious. I’m evolving on every level: spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Interestingly enough, my day-to-day routine hasn’t changed much, but, when I reflect inwardly, there are 3 practices that I now incorporate everyday that support and honor me as a Conscious Working Mama. They include:
Acknowledging and embracing that, as long as I’m alive, school is in session, and life truly is about learning.
If something is upsetting me, it has nothing to do with anyone else. Since I’m the only person who has dominion over how I choose to react, it’s up to me to explore the judgment that sits beneath my initial upset.
Assuming that every person I come in contact with is a loving, compassionate soul. This has completely changed my reactions to potentially upsetting situations.
Being a Conscious Working Mama has no end. It is the longest days, shortest years; its an ongoing exploration. I invite you to wake up your consciousness’ and examine all areas of your life with this question in mind, ‘Where can I make small changes to experience more joy and meaning in my life, regardless of how many hours I work and how many children I’m raising?’ Keep checking back with CWM for easy tools and processes to help get you started.