Accepting the Slow-down of Mama-hood

When I first became a mama, there was a good 5-6-month period, where I couldn’t for the life of me, wrap my head around slowing down. It wasn’t just about being physically and energetically unable. It was about having to redirect the attention normally put towards my business and myself, to my infant son. It’s not that I hadn’t been prepared to be a mom. I read the books and googled my life away for 9-months. I had wanted a baby for God’s sake! Nonetheless, all of that couldn’t have prepared me for the reality that a child would not fit into my plans, my lifestyle or my agenda. 

After a year of adjusting and learning to let go, I feel freer and more successful than I have since before my son was born. The funny thing about this success is, it’s still a 80/20 ratio- where my son’s needs and desires are the winning 80% and mine are obviously the latter. It’s been a wrestling match with pre-baby and post-baby me, but I’ve learned to cherish the slow down and I even enjoy it.

If you’re struggling with the slow-down of mama-hood, keep reading. Below are three mental modifications and tricks I’ve learned that have helped along the way as I raise my son.

  • Embrace ‘phases’ and understand that nothing is forever. 

A necessary modification to my mind frame after having a baby was shifting my ‘now or never’ attitude to an ‘it can happen later’ attitude. During the first year of motherhood, I was unable to pick up as much work as I had done the year before. Rather than understanding this as a phase of ‘slow down’, I saw it instead as my business failing and blamed being a mom. I was worried and angry. Now, I look at it from a long-term point of view and remind myself that everything happens in seasons. At some point as both you and your baby grow, your phases will change to work better for your current life situation. Now that my son is over a year old, I know that I’ll be able to gradually get back into the ‘building phase’. I see now that adopting a ‘nothing is forever’ mind frame would have lessened the unnecessary guilt and grief. Give yourself enough compassion to call out each phase that you’re in and know that your phases are not forever. 

  •  Try to find a community, work and hobbies that support your new lifestyle as a mom, but also allow for various versions of yourself.

Going back into the world as a mom can be daunting. For some, the work world is not as pro-mom as it should be. You’re showing up to this world as multiple versions of yourself. You are a mom, a professional, a colleague, a mentor, a friend, a boss, etc. Being able to step into each of the roles separately is a skill and requires boundaries. However, as many working moms will attest, the role of mother is a harder one to separate completely than the rest. Finding clients, workplaces and communities that are flexible and understanding of your multiple roles, creates a safer and more authentic life. A few examples of combining roles are; finding gyms with in-facility babysitting programs. Finding workplace options that promote flex schedules and going to local breweries and vineyards with kid friendly accommodations. 

  • Accept Defeat and do ‘the new’ you, just as great as you did ‘the old’ you. 

Finally and probably most importantly, just admit sweet defeat. You birthed a very incapable and incredible little human. Part of the gift of motherhood is that you get to be responsible for this baby’s sense of love and development through your attention and time. When you realize this, the game changes. I recognized how blessed I was that I had been able to conceive my little man and birth a healthy little boy. As I settled into the new me, defeat morphed into appreciation. Try to take the pressure off of yourself as best you know how and enjoy your small wins and little bits of progress. You’ll be surprised at how successful this new version of you can be.   

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3 Tips For The Busy Mom

I am a busy mom. I work full time, I single parent two young children on a week on/off basis. I manage our household, I have important relationships that I care about and need to show up for – all while striving to maintain my health as a top priority in my life. I hold my health at the top of my to-do list every week, because I know that if I am not at my best, then it trickles down throughout my life in a negative way. My parenting suffers, my work suffers, and my mental health suffers – and we all know that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Full disclosure though: some weeks I am a hot mess. I am by no means perfect, but I have definitely learned the hard way how important my health is and how different I feel on the weeks where I have all of my ducks in a row. I have spent a lot of time fine-tuning what works for me and have had a lot of questions on how I manage it all. I have developed a great routine for myself and have found such a good groove for myself. Changes don’t happen overnight, and in an effort to not overwhelm you, here are my top 3 tips for thriving as a busy mom!

1. Meal Prep – 100%, without a doubt, absolutely non-negotiable. If you are going to do ANYTHING, start in the kitchen. I’ve been meal prepping for years now, so I have it down to an art. But it doesn’t have to be complicated for you. The top 3 things to have in your fridge prepped are protein, fruit and veggies. I usually hard-boil eggs, cook chicken in the crockpot and shred it, and pick a few veggies and fruit to have cut up and in containers for the week.  Everything else is gravy. If you have this all ready to go, you’re less likely to hit the drive-thru or go rummaging through the pantry trying to find something for yourself to eat. If you feel that you don’t have time to exercise, at the very least having healthy options to grab when you’re busy will be a game changer for you and give your body the fuel that it needs.

2. Sleep – Sleep is one of those things that we put on the back burner, but it is one of the most important aspects of thriving as a mother. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not running as well as you could be. Sleep affects your mood, your energy levels, your stress management, your work ethic… and the list goes on. If you’re not getting enough sleep you are not 100% you, and the rest of the world is missing out. Although I am not one to always follow the rules I set for myself, I try to make it a habit to be in bed by 9pm, and up for my alarm at 5am. That gives me plenty of downtime and sleep and I know that when I follow this routine, I always feel incredible the following day. Below are some tips that will help set you up for a great night of sleep:

– Put your phone on airplane mode at 8pm.

– Enjoy a warm tea/lemon water and a book to settle your mind.

– Keep a notebook beside your bed to write down any thoughts that might keep you up at night.

– Pack lunches/bags the night before so that you’re prepared for the next morning.

 

3. Grace – The thing is, I know we’d all really love to do it all. We’d love to be the perfect friend, perfect housewife, perfect partner and perfect mother. In an ideal world, everything would be meal prepped and your diet would be on point, you’d get all of your exercise and sleep in, everything would be organized and handled, and everyone would be happy and you’d just be killing it at motherhood. But life is busy and messy, and some weeks we just can’t do it all. Some weeks, everything runs smoothly and some weeks one or two or ten balls drop. That’s just how life goes and we can’t be perfect 100% of the time. It’s important to go easy on yourself and remember that life happens. Give yourself some grace and forgive yourself if all you do is just survive some days.

All the love, mamas!

Amy xo


 

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Amy is a single mother to two girls, living in a small town located on the lakeshores of Lake Huron in Ontario. She loves writing, traveling and maintaining a healthy, all- natural lifestyle. You can read more about her here!