Building a Mommy Support System
Making a support system is a good idea for busy moms as this can help them a lot. One of your best resources and support systems are other mothers. Find a local support group on the web or create one with your friends and/or co-workers who can share tips with and/or ask for help and ideas. Find daycares/providers that will assist with homework.
They say that raising children takes a village. Do you have a support system in place to help you with your daughters?
Great question! I created a support system that allowed me to work from home, particularly while the kids were young. I traded babysitting with other moms. I had grandma take the kids when I had a meeting scheduled. It takes planning, networking, and getting to know people in your community. It’s a conscious choice!
Trust Your Next Step: Creating the Confidence to Cut Fresh Tracks – the bookFresh Tracks with Kelly Robbins – the podcast
Were you running any of your businesses while pregnant with your kids? If so, how did you handle taking a maternity leave (or not)? I am pregnant with my 2nd right now and struggling to figure out how to keep my business up and running while also balancing being a new mom (again). I launched my business during my maternity leave with my first, so I haven’t had to deal with this yet!
Great question – It is difficult to balance this. I quit my corporate job when my third daughter was born, so no, I wasn’t self-employed when I was pregnant I had a corporate job for all three.
This was a challenge for me too! I was a copywriter and did interviews and I could not have a screaming baby in the background while interviewing a doctor. I did trades with other moms. They may go shopping or run errands while I watched their kids. I worked while they watched mine!
I am also an early morning person. I would get up to feed the baby at a miserably early hour and stay up and write. It does take discipline for sure and giving yourself permission to take naps and do things that are nontraditional.
When your husband gets home you can ask him to help for a bit while you catch up on things and, if you have a family, enroll grandma or grandpa to play with the kids once or twice a week.
Best of luck to you! You can do it with planning and patience.
Single mothers are still facing on-going challenges which can make running a household tough. They are responsible for paying all the day-to-day expenses and don’t have the luxury of a second income if times get tough. Being a single mother is a great reason to become a savvy shopper.
What are some of the parenting challenges that you face as a single parent that other parents might not? How do you deal with them?
One of the biggest parenting challenges I faced as a single mom was not getting time off. Most divorced parents split their kids every other week and they have a break. As much as they may miss their kids they still have those days to themselves to ground and get their heads on straight before the kids come back. And married couples have each other to provide nights out or breaks as needed.
How did I deal with challenges? I could have dealt with it better, to be honest. There were several years I just stayed home and worked and was a mom. And I was pretty ok with that. I don’t think it was healthy, but it was what I did. Once I realized how much better I felt and was with the kids when I had friends and started to rebuild a social life everything got better – including my parenting! I do talk about taking care of yourself and balancing life in my new book.
Time Management Tips for Moms
When you are a working mom, the concept of “managing” your time seems to be completely foreign, you might feel like you are the slave of other people’s schedule.
It doesn’t have to be so, read a few tips that will help you get back some control.
How do you manage time, especially while being a mother?
Time management and organization are key. I plan out my day the night before, and try to have a to-do list created in advance. I can wake up to check a few emails and potentially knock a few items off the list before getting my kids out the door. Without a commute, I am sitting down working earlier than I would normally. Being home has allowed for little distractions, so I am more efficient with my time.
Having kids come home at a certain time requires my full attention elsewhere. I generally am offline for two hours during dinner and bedtime, and then pick up at night what is critical for today and assign the rest for tomorrow. It’s important to take a minute for yourself just as you would at work during the day. Lunch break, walk around the block or anything to keep yourself moving.
What are the unique difficulties being a woman in business? Do you think the situation has been improving over the past decade?
Being a woman in business, in general, has its challenges because there always tends to be stereotypes. If you are a mother, are you going to be fully here mentally and physically? If you are not a mother, does that make it harder for women to work for you? Getting people to understand that just because you have other priorities doesn’t make you less of a hard worker. If someone is committing to do a job, trust them before making assumptions.
Over the past decade, there has been a major improvement in the workplace. Personally, I have been fortunate to have some amazing male bosses that were very supportive of my personal career growth and family life. I have also been at the other end of it as well which just drove me to be a better manager for my team. Women that support each other help bring everyone up. If we could lose the competition between women in the workplace, and help each other be successful I think we will continue to see positive change.
What would you advice any teen mom or mom-to-be?
Stop seeing yourself as a teen mom. You’re just a mom with a lot of opportunity and time. Hyperfocus, ditch all the BS and put one foot in front of the other. Push all negativity and negative people out. Ditch all the losers. Ditch just about everyone around you not doing better or with bad bad habits.
How are your kids taking your lifestyle? Do you think they will blame you for the divorces or for working too much at some point? How do you work on your relationship with them?
I am very honest with my eldest and she loves her new life and my husband adopted her just before High School. We talked in depth recently and for all my concerns about the lack of money, she said she never felt poor. Awe. My daughter actually cried when I told her I was going to go back to work and get a normal job. Working in my own business, the rule is be all the way there at home in evenings and weekends. I work during the day and after they go to bed. But I always make time to get them when they are sick, having a school event or off for a holiday. I can not stress this enough, hire a VA executive assistant to handle as much as possible. Hire a maid. Hire a lawn mower dude. As you make more, hire it all away so you have freedom with your kids, for vacations and those sick days. Maid = Marriage Saver! I hate cleaning.
How do you manage your time between being an artist, manager, mother, and wife all at the same time
It’s definitely not easy! I’m lucky that my work as an artist and media/pr manager kind of bleed into one another. I’m able to do artsy things at work, and my experience with media/pr helps me to promote myself as my own brand outside of work. My son goes to daycare during the day throughout the week, so I try to make the most of my time with him and my husband when I have it. I try really hard to disconnect from work during the couple of hours I get with them each night (sometimes I’m better at it than others), and we always do some kind of family activity together on the weekends – even if it’s just going out to the mall to walk around and window shop.
Are there any exercises you can recommend to moms who would like to work out with their kids?
Absolutely! There are a tonne of bodyweight only exercises that are great and can be done with your kids or with your kids around! Squats, lunges, burpees, jumping jacks, push-ups, and so on! You don’t need fancy equipment to get a good workout in!! Also, you can totally look for classes that allow kids to attend (I offer 4 classes a week that kids are welcome to come along to), which also is a great way to find community as well!!
What are some of the best time management tips you can share with busy mom?
Make time for the things that are truly important. Scheduling gym dates, coffee dates, meal planning etc into your schedule is as important as scheduling in the kids hockey practices and regular doctor checkups 😉 be intentional about how you spend your time, if you don’t “have time” to do the things that are important, figure out what you’re going to give up spending time on. There is always a trade-off. Let go of the things you don’t have to do, aren’t serving you, are not helping you reach your goals! Then you’ll have more time to do the things you need to do!
Was it difficult to transition from being a career woman to a parent who has to balance career and family life?
Transitioning from being a career woman to a parent was definitely very challenging! I don’t think any parent is fully prepared for how tough it can be! There are so many emotions that parents feel, emotions that people don’t necessarily like talking about. First, there is the constant worry about your children’s welfare, especially when you aren’t home. Then there is the feeling of stress that you can’t leave your own home without planning and preparing for your absence, and it’s not always easy finding good help. Adding to that is the sleep deprivation that comes with parenting young kids. When I was working I would feel guilty that I wasn’t home, and when I was at home I would feel guilty that I wasn’t working. It is definitely not easy for anyone, myself included!
Which among the ten tips on your book would you say is the number one parenting tip you can share?
I would say the number one parenting tip I can share is Tip #10, “Remember, underneath it all is someone who wants to grow up and be just like you.” Being aware of the fact that everything you say and do, in addition to every gesture you make, is being watched, absorbed and stored within your child and will remain there for the rest of his or her life, is so important. So many times we want the best for our children, yet forget to give them our best. As the saying goes, “children don’t do what you say, they do what you do” is absolutely true. Showing them our best means holding your tongue when you feel like lashing out, it means being respectful to your children and spouse, even if you don’t want to be. It means examining yourself, your thoughts and beliefs, your conscious and unconscious patterns in order for your kids to emulate the best of who you are. You are their hero. You are the first love of their lives, and what you do or don’t do will affect them always. For better or worse, it will affect their jobs, their marriages, their self-esteem, their futures. Parents are a child’s first mirror. Through you they learn about who they are, seeing themselves in your eyes. Through you, they learn love, tolerance, acceptance, patience and most importantly, their value in this world.