New Tools in My Toolbox

These Are the Best Things I’ve Discovered to Help Me Live with More Intention, Precision and Vision in 2020.

Grandfather's Tools

 

It’s only February and I’m already exhausted in 2020.

I want more naps.  I need to cut back on my caffeine dependency.  And I needed to hire a life coach who works specifically with new moms to hep me get my life back on track after my first year in a postpartum fog.

There are certain things missing from my life that once gave me endless energy and laser sharp focus before baby.  I exercised a lot.  I was a runner, hiker, golfer, tennis player, and occasional yoga student.

Now-a-days, to maintain energy, I drink a lot of water and take supplements.  I chase after a toddler.  I consider the steps I take when grocery shopping to be an equivalent to the first mile a marathoner runs.  I take it one step at a time.  And I often break off a small piece of a 75+% dark chocolate bar stashed in my tea cup cabinet, an indulgence and medicine all wrapped into one bittersweet energy boost.

I found my life coach on one of my favorite sites – Motherly.  Her business is called Mother Nurture.   My intuition pushed me to write to MN owner, Katelyn Denning.  We each have a son born a couple weeks apart (January babes) and I just felt like this woman had the tools I needed to help me get my energy back, to help me focus and to help me get things done.

After just one session with Katelyn I already feel better!  I have hope.  I have vision.  And possibly a renewed sense of self appreciation needed to actually put my vision into action and fruition.

I’m learning all kinds of new things from a new mom lens.  I think [hope] it’s making me a better person.  I have found some short cuts and detours and little breaks of inspiration that keep me going and help me to stay focused and energized – tools that I either didn’t have or didn’t use in my toolbox until now.

I’m happy to share them here.

TIME TO USE A TIMER.
What a revelation!  My life coach gave me a few assignments to work on with the instruction to use a timer to keep me on track [and also to prevent me from not using my time wisely – getting distracted or lost in thought].  Having a timer made me accountable for my time!  Imagine that!  I now use a timer on my phone for all kinds of projects and assignments I’m working on, as well as other activities that can suck up time like using social media.  I’m saving time, reclaiming time and owning my time!

MAKE TIME FOR MEDITATION WHENEVER/WHEREVER YOU CAN.
Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness.  It’s been one of the top buzz words for over a decade.  It’s been named “word of the year” off and on since 2014.  It’s even been considered by the New York Times as having a “muddied meaning” (April 2015).  Still you find mindfulness everywhere – on coffee mugs, water bottles, probably even on shampoo bottles.  There is something to the concept of quieting the mind in this day and age of mental noise and mindlessness.  Gurus lecture about it on podcasts and Tedtalks.  It promises something healing, revitalizing, and grounding.  Personally, I have never had much success at quieting the neurotic voice in my head!  In yoga classes I would be anxiously sorting through too many to do lists, re-hashing conversations, and trying not to forget things that aren’t on my to do lists.  I would try to meditate at home but then the cat would sit on me or I’d get the giggles.  Since I now have a baby in my home, I have found myself in these woozy, subconscious, thoughtless moments that I have come to love.  I’m talking about the quiet time when I’m nursing my son.  He often dozes off and I often space out.  I think of nothing.  I’m not asleep, but I’m not awake either.  I just am.  I am quiet and happy and at peace with this sweet babe nestled into me.  I never contemplated the quieted mind that came about with nursing as anything other than checking out from sleep deprivation and new-momness.  I allowed myself to be tired and to relax into this time.  There was nothing else to be done while I was nursing.  The function of feeding my child took over.  It’s a gift.  It is the consummate lesson of letting go and being present.  Nursing, for me, is meditation.  And in emptying my mind in these moments, I am able to be more mindful when I need to come back to whatever else is going on.

FINDING EXERCISE IN THE MOST UNCOMMON PLACES.
This kind of feels like cheating, but it’s not!  I have found ways to be present with my son while simultaneously exercising some much needed self-care.   I used to work out a lot.  I don’t work out at all anymore.  I know this is just part of my transition from pre-baby self to mama self.  So I’m being gentle and kind with myself.  Instead of running, I move around the house like a rabid racoon putting stuff away, cleaning up after my toddler eats, running up and down the basement stairs to do laundry, etc.  One of my favorite new mom exercises is setting myself into yoga positions while my son plays with his favorite non-plastic toys (shout out to Melissa & Doug and Hape!).  But, yeah, he has some classic plastic ones, too.  Anyway.  Back to me.  My favorite yoga position while also playing with my lil boy is… shavasana, or corpse pose.  Yup.  It still counts.

LIGHT CANDLES.
I was never really all that into candles in my pre-baby life.  But now I light up for all kinds of mom-sense nonsense.  Doesn’t matter.  It makes me feel better.  It even helps to energize me.  I love clean, sustainable, aromatherapy candles that smell like real things – not artificial chemical toxins.  Wellness candles are my jam.  I already wrote about my “Grounded” candle a couple posts back.  I light it up every time I need to feel my feet on the ground, to feel like I am still able to walk about without falling off the face of the earth – because, let me tell you, sometimes as a new mom I feel like I could fall off at any moment and drift off into a black hole.  So burning a fresh, clean candle that has grounding properties within it really, really helps.

PODCASTS & PLAYLISTS & BLOGS, OH MY!
Okay, it’s not water, or exercise or crack cocaine.  But I really do get energized by certain media material.  I’m a non-news junkie!  I love new mom and parenting podcasts.  Right now I’m listening to Mom and Dad Are Fighting on Slate.  I listen to a lot of moms talk about mom stuff on TED Talks.  I really like the suggested list of best TED Talks for mothers on fatherly.com.  Reading various parenting blogs has been a life saver – Scary Mommy is saved as one of my top favorites.  And I listen to a bunch of different playlists on YouTube.  I just got bored with Pandora.  Right now I’m listening to a Girl Power playlist with the likes of Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Lizzo, Lady Gaga.  You know the songs.  This Girl is a Firecracker on Fire, Good as Hell, and She was Born This Way!   Whatever.  This playlist gets me fired up.

BE BOLD & LEARN NEW TRICKS.
I’m not the most tech savvy person.  But I really want to learn how to do certain things.  Sometimes I can teach myself how to use a new app and I’m stunned at the results.  Proud of myself!  I wouldn’t say I have mastered Canva – but I make some pretty cool marketing posts for Instagram, in particular, using this creative app.  I love it.  I have a TikTok account but I still don’t get it.  I set up an app to manage my nanny’s payroll – Nanny Pay Advisor – and I feel like a real boss!  I discovered Otter and now record interviews and conversations I want to save and even transcribe!  This has been a revelation!  I will showcase my Otter skills in an upcoming post about breastfeeding after six months – so stay tuned!

This is just the beginning.  I’m learning how to be a better version of me, the new me, the new mom me.  And I’m starting to feel pretty good about myself again – more energized, more clear!

I’d love to hear how other moms are getting their groove back, evolving and getting re-energized!

 

 

The New Mama Re-Set: Managing the major life transition after baby

Tired woman sleeping on the table in the kitchen at breakfast. Trying to drink morning coffee

My therapist once told me there’s a difference between failure and fear of failure.

Before baby my professional life was challenging, yet rewarding.  But now with baby in tow, being a mompreneur of a wine brand feels like I’m a failure with a capital F.  I dropped the ball on my business for the entire first half of last year.   I just couldn’t…

By the fourth quarter  I was barely getting through my company’s wine grape harvest, let alone running the business operations.  It didn’t seem right bringing a baby to a wine production facility with busy forklifts, loud machinery,  CO2 and SO2 in the mix.  It was crazy difficult for me each day I arrived at the winery with my baby.  Even with my entourage of nanny, mother, and trusty hired cellar hand I was overwhelmed and anxious.

My anxiety ran the gamut from caring for my baby; [not] caring for myself; failing my child; failing by business; experiencing an identity crisis; not caring about my work anymore; contemplating a business shut down; and feeling exhausted, depleted and incapable of the work I accomplished before I was a mother.

I knew I needed to address these feelings.  I wanted to feel like I was in control again.  I wanted to feel like I got this!  I wanted to feel motivated, inspired and excited by my
work again.  I just didn’t know how to be me anymore.

So I leaned into a bunch of books and resources.  I literally had an Amazon Prime binge and Google overdose.  But here’s what I initially found in my search for the answers to my new mama problems:

Breathe Mama Breathe:  5 Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms by Shonda Moralis, MSW, LCSW

The Empowered Mama:  How to Reclaim Your Time and Yourself While Raising a Happy, Healthy Family by Lisa Druxman, Founder of Fit4Mom

Self-Care for Moms:  150+ Real Ways to Care for Yourself While Caring for Everyone Else by Sara Robinson, MA

Warrior Goddess Training:  Become the Woman You Are Meant to Be  by Heatherash Amara

Motherly.com

Parents Magazine, especially the Special Edition “Balancing Your Life:  Family. Career. Love. You.”

It seemed like a good start.  I pride myself in being able to reframe relatively easily.  And yet I wasn’t able to shake these feelings of inadequacy, exhaustion and anxiety.  I didn’t recognize my old badass self.  She was left behind in the delivery room – hiding from a traumatic birth.  The new me was barely getting by – a doe in headlights.

Everything I learned from my research to understand my new mama self came to the conclusion that I’m a different person now.  So, now what?

On one particularly dark wintry Pacific Northwest afternoon, just after my January birthday, I ran another Google Search about finding a life coach for new moms who work.  I came across a Motherly article entitled “If I had my way, every working mom would have a life coach” by Katelyn Denning, a regular contributor.

I cried my way through the article and followed a link to Katelyn’s website:  Mother Nurture.

“Don’t just survive motherhood.  Thrive.”

I decided it was time to commit to something bigger than a mini library of self help books for new mamas.  While I appreciated the books I selected and read – and they all helped me in some way or another – I just felt that I still couldn’t…

Until I picked up the phone with a professional.

After my initial phone consultation with Katelyn I knew that I had a real support person available to me who I would pay for three months to see me through this challenge.  This meant I would be accountable for doing the work my coach assigned.

It was time to shift from this major upset to a RESET.

I agree with Katelyn.  If I had my way, every working mom would have a life coach.