Monthly Archives

December 2017

Motherhood

The One Question Every Woman Has About Motherhood

December 27, 2017
Motherhood

In 2016, Ali Wong made headlines when her comedy special, “Baby Cobra,” aired on Netflix.

At the time the show was filmed, Wong was seven months pregnant with her first child. This was noteworthy since, as Wong herself discussed on stage, it’s quite rare to see a female comic perform while pregnant.

As Wong also deftly noted, it’s difficult to even think of a time a well-known female comic has ever been pregnant (aside from Joan Rivers, and more recently, Chelsea Peretti).

Whether you appreciate Wong’s comedic style or not, she spoke a lot of truth about what motherhood can mean for the careers of female comedians, and women in general.

But there was one line from her show that stood out to me.

As Wong segued from describing the way a woman’s life is affected immediately after giving birth to talk about how her fellow female comic friends discouraged her from having a child, she joked, “so, I don’t know what’s gonna happen to me.”

Her remark was funny with perfect comedic timing, of course, but it also carried a serious weight of truth: the uncertainty about what exactly becomes of a woman after she becomes a mother.

Motherhood

That’s the one question every woman asks herself before she becomes a mom: “What’s going to happen to me?”.

What’s going to happen to me? Who am I going to become?

Will I still like the same things?

Will I even be able to participate in the activities I enjoy?

Before you have your baby, the question looms like a great mystery, and not always in a good way. You wonder just how you’re going to manage motherhood among the myriad of other obligations in your life.

A woman can be happy, excited, and grateful for her baby and impending motherhood, but still wonder just exactly what it will mean for her as a person.

The query is one first-time moms ask themselves, but it’s also one experienced moms ponder before adding another baby to the mix.

Only then, it’s not just “what’s going to happen to me,” it’s also “what’s going to happen to my firstborn?” and “what’s going to happen to our family dynamic?”.  

You sense that your life is bound to drastically change again when you become a mother to another little human, and you know that you’re going to be challenged in ways you weren’t the first time.

Mothehood

So, if you’re asking yourself that universal question and wondering just what will happen after you have a baby, know that you are going to be OKAY.

Yes, it will be hard. Yes, it will be challenging.

If you are becoming a mother for the first time, your life is going to change, and you might not recognize yourself right away after your new addition arrives.

Sleep deprivation is the worst. Being constantly needed is draining.

You may look at the rest of the world carrying on and wonder how that’s possible when everything in your own life looks so different.

But underneath it all, you will still be you.

Only, you’ll become an even stronger version of yourself.

No, your life won’t look exactly the way it looked before you became a mom. But you can still forge your identity as a mama warrior plus.

You can be a mom plus have a career.

You can be a mom plus run marathons.

You can be a mom plus start a business, take a walk, read a book, or whatever else you enjoy.

No, it won’t always be easy, but the struggle will make you more grateful and even prouder of your accomplishments.

You will appreciate 5 minutes of solitude and a hot cup of coffee like nobody’s business.

And if you ever doubt yourself, look at the other strong mothers you know and respect. Look to the moms with kids in middle school, high school, college, and beyond.

They’ve been where you are. They survived, and they have the awe-inspiring wisdom and wicked sense of humor to show for it.

So, don’t be afraid to ask what will happen to you after you become a mom–but don’t be afraid to find out either.

Featured

5 Thoughts on My First Two Months of Blogging

December 22, 2017
2 Months of Blogging

On October 22nd, I officially launched my blog.

I’ve learned a lot in the two months since.

In this post, I’ll share my thoughts on the past two months, reflect on some of the choices I’ve made for the blog, and share what my goals are going forward.

Without further ado, I give you 5 thoughts on my first two months of blogging.

2 Months of Blogging

1. On why I started blogging.

2 months of blogging

Over the past two months, I’ve shared a bit about why I decided to start blogging on the blog and around the web.

My November 10th post, “What I Learned from my First Feature on Scary Mommy” described the first steps in my writing journey, which began in January 2016 when I was first published on Scary Mommy.

Then on November 27th, Literary Mama ran my piece “Chasing My Autumns” for its After Page One series.

There, I shared my motivation for starting to write again after becoming a lawyer and a mom.

In sum, I have always loved to write, and I knew I eventually wanted to do more with my writing.

When I first began submitting articles in January 2016, I wasn’t ready to be known as a writer or a blogger. This past fall, I decided I was ready to make the leap.

Part of my decision was motivated by the fact that I was working less, having changed status to “of counsel” with my firm over the summer so that I could work from home exclusively with my son.

I enjoy practicing law and I enjoy being the primary caretaker for my son, but it also felt like the right time to officially add “writer” to my résumé.

I am happy to have made the leap.

2. On social media.

2 Months of Blogging

When I created the blog, I also created accounts for the blog on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

Doing so was a little out of character for me. Besides my personal Facebook, where I’ve always kept a modest friend count, I had never really used other types of social media.

I had a Pinterest account, which I used infrequently in recent years, and I had accounts with Twitter and Instagram that I also never used.

I didn’t have anything against the social networks–I just didn’t really develop a personal need for them.

That said, I’ve enjoyed sharing and connecting across social with the blog’s accounts.

Facebook and Instagram were the easiest to get the hang of since I was most familiar with them.

Twitter was a little confounding at first, and Pinterest is still something I’m trying to master in terms of utilizing its maximum potential.

I know that Pinterest is key for many bloggers in driving traffic and income.

I’ve read about it. I’ve made pins and boards, and I spend some time each week pinning, but I haven’t made Pinterest my main priority, mostly due to time constraints.

Perhaps that will change over time. I do get a fair percentage of daily traffic from Pinterest, primarily to this post, interestingly enough.

In the meantime, I have also enjoyed connecting on the other social networks.

I definitely like exercising my sense of humor on Instagram every day.

I’ve seen some bloggers rapidly accumulate large followings on Facebook soon after launching, and that’s great!

I don’t have a massive amount of followers on any of my accounts, but they are growing steadily, and that’s good enough for me right now.

I, of course, do hope to grow a larger following over time, but it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

3. On connecting with other writers/bloggers.

2 Months of Blogging

Connecting with other writers and bloggers has been another aspect of this journey I’ve enjoyed.

Over the last two months, I’ve gradually joined writers’ groups for sites to which I contribute, and I’ve also gotten to connect with other writers and bloggers generally through social media.

While I am still getting to know these groups and individuals, I have already found much support in them, and for that I am certainly grateful!

It’s been a couple of years since I first took a stab at freelance writing, but it’s been just two months since I started identifying myself as a writer/blogger and getting to know other writers and bloggers.

While each community I’ve joined is a little different, they have all been welcoming and supportive.

If you are a new writer/blogger, connecting with others in your niche is key.

Don’t feel that you have to dive into every single group that’s out there (there are a lot of them). Not every group will be for you. Not every post or thread will be for you. But do join the ones that make sense to you, and then read, observe, contribute, share.

It’s all about helping one another.

4. On balancing it all.

This has definitely been a challenge at times!

There are only so many hours in a day.

While I am not working full-time as an attorney right now, I am still practicing, and so I must still devote time to client matters.

Additionally, I am a regular contributing writer for a couple of websites, and I also write and submit articles to other sites as well.

Throw the blog into the mix, and being home full-time with my son, and the days can sometimes feel a bit full.

I have gotten into a good groove though, and I’ve been able to continually update the blog with new content, so I see that as a win.

I’ve ranged from posting 3 to 5 times per week. I’m sure that will continue to evolve, though I do like to be consistent with post frequency.

I am also grateful for the writing opportunities I have had.

Since starting the blog, I’ve had the following pieces published on other sites:

I’m A Self-Professed ‘Neat Freak,’ But This Is Why I Learned To Change My Habits for Scary Mommy.

Watching My Toddler Grow Is Joyful and Painful for the Parent Co. December 2017 Writing Contest.

Chasing My Autumns for Literary Mama.

How To Be A Success In The Eyes Of Your Two-Year-Old for Fairygodboss.

6 Qualities Of People Who Are Confident — But Not Cocky for Fairygodboss.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: What You Need To Know for Fairygodboss.

Hostile Work Environments: How To Deal, How To Cope, And How To Get Outta There for Fairygodboss.

I don’t plan to stop contributing and submitting writing anytime soon, so I will continually work to strike the right balance amongst my various obligations.

I regularly update my Featured Writing page with new work that is published, so if you’re interested in keeping up with my musings around the web, stop by the Featured Writing page periodically!

Or better yet, subscribe to my newsletter and receive a weekly update directly from me.

5. On what’s next.

2 Months of Blogging

So, what’s next?

I plan to continue regular posts about law, motherhood, and more on the blog and around the web.

I would also like to continue featuring interviews with advocates for working parents and workplace rights since that is another passion that drives the blog.

To date, I have shared interviews with Lori Mihalich-Levin of Mindful Return and Liz Morris of the UC Hastings Center for Work Life Law.

I also enjoyed doing the book review for Back To Work After Baby by Lori Mihalich-Levin, and conducting the giveaway for the book.

I foresee other book reviews and giveaways in the future, so keep an eye out for those!

I also plan to continue brainstorming other ways to bring value to readers.

If you are a working parents or workers’ rights advocate or organization, a blogger, a writer, or other group, and would like to collaborate with me, feel free to reach out!

I can be reached at [email protected]

Thanks for reading and following along!

What has been your favorite part of the blog?

Do you have a favorite post? 

Is there something you’d like to see more of on the blog? 

Let me know here on or social media!

 

 

Motherhood

4 Questions To Ask Yourself When You Feel Like A Bad Mom

December 20, 2017
bad mom

We all enter motherhood with a certain idea of who we are as people and who we will be as moms.

We read all the books, blogs, and news articles. We join or lurk dozens of online mommy groups, devour documentaries, and become the experts of our chosen parenting style.

However, real life doesn’t always match our plans.

Once you actually become a mom, many of the beliefs you previously held about motherhood may be challenged. 

Even if your core values remain the same, you’ll likely realize that this motherhood gig is much harder than you expected and that implementing your ideals is not always as easy as writing them down.

This does not mean that you love your children any less or that you’ve somehow failed as a mom–but it is easy to still feel like a bad mom sometimes.

Anything can trigger the bad mom blues: feeling like you work too many hours or too few; thinking you don’t get out of the house with your kids for enough outside activities; feeling like they participate in too many activities; believing your family’s meals aren’t nutritious enough; worrying that you don’t spend enough time cleaning your house, or alternatively, worrying that you spend too much time cleaning your house; stressing over screen time; and on and on.

Unfortunately, scientists haven’t yet found the cure for mom guilt, but there are ways to help quiet the inner voices that make you doubt your abilities as a mom.

Below are the four questions you should ask yourself when you feel like a bad mom.

bad mom

1. Do I care about the well-being of myself and my children?

Before you start second-guessing every decision you’ve ever made as a mom, ask yourself: do I care about the well-being of myself and my children? 

Hopefully, the answer is a resounding yes. With that said, know that berating yourself does no good for you or your children.

Not everything will go according to plan in life, especially with kids. 

You can’t control how many meltdowns your toddler has at the supermarket, or how many doors your teenager will slam today, but you can control how you react to these things.

If you are patient with your children 99 out of 100 times, and you lose it 1 time out of 100, don’t beat yourself up for that 1%.

Even if you’re only averaging 70/30 or 50/50, give yourself credit for all of the times you do hold it together. Forgive yourself, and move on.

2. Did we laugh today?

Sometimes the days don’t turn out as we expect.

Maybe you or someone in your family was sick or exhausted, and everyone spent a lot of time on the couch.

Perhaps the morning commute to school and work felt too rushed and chaotic, and you left your children for the day feeling like a failure.

Or maybe you had a great day with your family, but still felt like you could have done better.

Whatever it is, at the end of the day, ask yourself: did we laugh today?

Your kids won’t remember every little moment, event, or argument the way parents do, but they will remember the laughter.

3. Why do I think I’m doing a bad job?

This is a big one. When you’re feeling like a bad mom, ask yourself why.

Why do you feel this way? Are you assuming someone else’s expectations of you? Are you adopting them as your own?

Who said every day of parenthood had to be a Carnival Cruise?

Are you comparing yourself to another mom you know? If so, remember that comparison is the thief of joy.

Give yourself the love and patience you strive to show your kids. Don’t beat yourself up if the day, week, or month didn’t go according to plan.

As mothers, we exert so much mental, physical, and emotional energy caring for our families. 

Keep trying to be the best mom you can be, but be kind to yourself as well. 

Give yourself permission to make mistakes and to move on from them.

4. Am I human?

Finally, when you start thinking you’re a bad mom, ask yourself: am I human?

If the answer is yes, then congratulations–you’re not perfect.

You are as human as you were before you became a mom.

Even though it now feels like you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders as a mother, you shouldn’t actually believe you’re omnipotent or invincible.

You’re human. You’re not perfect and you never will be. All you can be is thoughtful, determined, and loving.

And that’s all your children need.

Do you feel like a bad mom sometimes?

Let me know your tips for fighting the bad mom blues here or on social media!

 

 

Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup: Watching Our Children Grow

December 17, 2017
children grow

Each week I share my favorite pieces from around the web along with noteworthy news items relevant to readers.

This week’s Roundup is all about the little ones–our kids–from preemies to the all grown-up kind. Scroll down for the full Roundup!

In Case You Missed It: Each week I’ll link back to my own blog posts from the previous week. You can find them filed below under ICYMI.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to all who read my Back to Work After Baby book review and entered the giveaway. The winner has been notified.

Even if you did not win, be sure to visit Mindful Return for your daily dose of working mama inspiration, and consider picking up a copy of Back To Work After Baby!

Thanks for reading!

The Roundup

children grow

Children

What They Don’t Tell You About Enjoying Every Moment With Your Kids by Kathy Radigan for HuffPost Parents.

Why You Should Read: This piece beautifully captures the passage of time with young children. The days can be so exhausting that you may at times wish the time away. But, at the same time, the moments with our young children are sacred and beautiful and of course pass much too quickly.

My favorite line: “What people didn’t tell me was that as the years go by, the harder, scarier days get fuzzier, and the sweeter days grow dearer. I cherish my memories of the amazing, crazy, messy and even awful days of raising my kids when they were younger. And I look forward to making more as they continue to grow.”

Are you Returning to Work with a Baby in the NICU? by Amialya (Mia) Durairaj for Mindful Return.

Why You Should Read: This guest post for Mindful Return gives great advice to preemie parents who are struggling to balance career and the NICU.

A snippet from the piece: “Set Boundaries at Work . . . On my first day back, I wrote an email to my coworkers requesting that they kindly refrain from asking about my twins’ status so that I could focus on my job. And guess what? Everyone took the hint. It helped me retain some semblance of professionalism during a rough time.” Read and share with a NICU parent you know!

Watching My Toddler Grow Is Joyful and Painful written by me for Parent Co.

Why You Should Read: This piece is a finalist in Parent Co.’s December Writing Contest. The contest theme is “growth” and my article details the bittersweetness of watching our babies grow and become more independent seemingly overnight. It’s joyful. It’s painful. And it all happens so fast. I hope you’ll give it a read!

How To Be A Success In The Eyes Of Your Two-Year-Old written by me for Fairygodboss.

Why You Should Read: Yes, I have included myself twice in this Roundup! Both articles went live this week, and I am proud of them because in each, I drew inspiration from my favorite little muse–my two-and-a-half year old son! As every mom knows, parenting a 2-year-old can be a challenge. But, for all the challenges, there is so much good, and there’s actually a lot our little people can teach us about life. 

Tip #8 from the article – Treat Yourself: “Two-year-olds don’t think twice about partaking in the foods and activities they enjoy. They haven’t been conditioned to feel guilty about occasional indulgences.

Toddlers treat themselves like it’s their job. A two-year-old doesn’t apologize for having a milkshake at lunch. He doesn’t question the fact that you take him to spend two hours playing inside a bouncy castle.

Live like a two-year-old and relish your occasional indulgences. Enjoy the facial. Don’t worry about how the fort is holding up while you’re away. Have the birthday cake without complaining about how you ‘shouldn’t.’ Just own it.” I hope you’ll give it a read!

Last call for one more child by Daisy Alpert Florin for Motherwell.

Why You Should Read: Like Kathy Radigan’s piece, this article also discusses how quickly our children grow and what happens when they are older, but it does so from a different angle, asking: what do you do when your kids are grown, but you want more? How do you know when you’re done having children for good?

From the post: “What surprises me is that the very thing I craved for so long when the children were small and seemingly always underfoot—space and time away from them—is exactly what frightens me now. In the mornings, when my kids are at school, I vacillate between being thrilled at having the whole house to myself and terrified of being alone.” Give it a read!

ICYMI

What I Learned From a Postpartum Trip to Washington

10 Tips For a Happier First Day Back From Maternity Leave

Watching My Toddler Grow is Joyful and Painful

Did you come across an interesting piece about work, life, or motherhood this week? Feel free to share in the comments or on social media. My links are at the top right of the page.

Motherhood

Watching My Toddler Grow is Joyful and Painful

December 15, 2017
Toddler Grow

I was unloading some groceries from the car the other day when my toddler grabbed a bag and said, “I got it, mama.”

In an instant, my heart stopped and melted, and I basically had to take a moment to re-boot before I thanked him and watched him carry the bag into the house.

It’s not the first time he’s said or done such a thing. Lately, it’s been happening more and more.

The other day, he helped hold my jacket closed when it was windy outside and I forgot to zip up. I picked him up to cross a busy parking lot and, as he noticed my jacket flailing in the wind, he pulled it tight and said, “I got it, mama.”

He’ll be 3 in a few months, and it seems like every day he’s older than the day before. That’s how growing works, obviously, but it’s more than that.

Each day he increasingly shows us just how mature, astute, and observant he is becoming.

From the way he happily throws away his own trash after a meal to how he knows when it’s time to feed the cat, we can see that he’s developing into a helpful, responsible little boy.

It’s clear that he’s paying attention to the little world that surrounds him, and that is all at once a wonderful and a heart-breaking thing.

Because the world is not always a kind place.

“I got it, mama.”

Any mother who has watched her child grow up and away from the close, steady protection of her loving arms knows what it’s like to confront the realization that her baby will one day face this world without her.

It’s daunting and scary, especially when your child is young, and you have no idea what to expect next.

My little guy is my first and so all his firsts are my firsts as well.

I stare into his round little face and observe his doe eyes and button nose, and I can’t imagine him ever facing the pain and struggle that being human entails.

I want to keep him safe and protected forever. I want him to grow, of course, but I want to be able to always be there to guide him, help him, and shield him from the world’s harm.

This is impossible, of course.

And with each new skill he learns, he shows me that he is comfortable growing up and away from me.

“I got it, mama.”

It’s easier to process the more common joys and the challenges of being a parent.

Your child does something silly, and you laugh.

They do something exasperating, and you take a deep breath and try to react in a way that won’t leave them scarred and resentful for life.

But when they do something that is so simple, but also so heart-rending–like showing that they want to take care of and help you–the appropriate reaction is more difficult to reach.

Because the act evokes a feeling so deep that it’s unfamiliar. It’s beautiful and it’s painful.

It’s watching your baby grow up before your eyes.

It’s realizing how incredibly self-aware they are.

It’s hoping you’ve been a good example.

It’s wanting so badly to protect them.

And it’s knowing that no matter how big they get or how independent they become, they will always be locked safely in your heart in a way they could never possibly begin to understand.

“I got it, mama.”

This piece is being featured as a finalist in the Parent Co. Writing Contest for December.

You can find my post HERE.