{FAMILY} Why Moms Fail Miserably At Achieving Personal Goals

I may not believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve become really good at setting personal goals for myself.

It’s just the follow-through that I haven’t yet managed to master…

When I turned 35, I shared 10 things I wanted to do before my 36th birthday. When I turned 37, I shared another list, this time 10 things I plan to do to remain youthful. My lists always seem reasonable: have fun, take time for myself, try something new – it’s not like I’m planning to change the world or anything. Yet every year when I revisit my list of goals, I’m left with feelings of regret. Feelings of failure.

This morning I received a comment on a recent blog post from a new reader (also a career mom of three), who asked if I manage to accomplish my annual birthday goals, and if so, what’s my secret to doing so. She then mentioned that when she fails to achieve her goals, she uses the same excuse: it’s because of her kids.

And there it was. An excuse I’ve used many times, and one that I think most moms use far too often.

Sorry I’m late: kids.

I don’t work out, no time: kids.

I’ve always wanted to try that, but you know: kids.

There are so many things I want to do – so many goals I want to achieve that have nothing to do with my kids, yet it seems as though my kids are always my excuse for not achieving those goals. And that’s where I’m failing myself.

Having kids shouldn’t be an excuse for not doing things, it should be an excuse for doing more – achieving more.

Because when you set goals for yourself – and actually accomplish them, it’s a great lesson for kids. It teaches them how to master the follow-through, and shows them that you can do anything if you set your mind to it – even as a busy mom.

Children shouldn’t be obstacles on your road to success, they should be motivation. Yes they can be little time suckers, but if you’re creative, they can also be conduits for success.

I challenge you to set goals, and make them happen – not despite having kids, but because you have kids.

I’m going to start by carving out time to devote to working out, because if I can find time to watch my favourite series on Netflix, I can find time to sweat it out and work on developing a healthier body. What’s your next move? Let’s make each other accountable for our goals and achieve them together – because: kids.

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{FAMILY} Take Care Of You

For that past two weeks I’ve been wholly consumed by the dizzying chaos of back to school and back to work. My days have been jam packed with onboarding new clients, attending conferences, workshops, and networking events, taxiing the kids to and from soccer practices and dance classes, catching up on neglected housework, and keeping my toddler entertained amidst it all.

All the while I have been fighting what I had assumed to be the inevitable back-to-school bug – resisting submission to my body’s cries for rest. Loading myself up with nasal spray and Tylenol so that I could get through the day without an overabundance of hack attacks and nose-honking blows.

In the back of my mind I knew that my body needed attention – that I wasn’t my full self, but I shook off those feelings and kept my focus on my kids. Making sure that their needs were being met. Making sure my work was up to par.

When I realized that I was feeling more and more physically depleted, the thought crossed my mind to pop into a clinic to make sure that I didn’t have an infectious bug – you know, so I could make sure my kids didn’t catch whatever it was that was bringing me down.

It took me 3 days to actually make that visit, and when I did, the doctor was not too pleased with me.


 

“In the back of my mind I knew that my body needed attention – that I wasn’t my full self, but I    shook off those feelings and kept my focus on my kids.”


 

I hurriedly told her that I had had a cold for about 2 weeks, and that it was likely nothing but that I had a nagging cough and aching/rattling in my chest that just wouldn’t subside, and I wanted to just double check that it wasn’t anything that I could pass on to my three kids. When she gave my chest a listen, she shook her head and said “Oh honey, you are so sick. You were definitely right to come in – you should have come in a lot sooner.”

She said that I had an abundance of fluid in my lungs – that it was definitely pneumonia, and that if I had waited much longer I would have ended up in a hospital bed. She shook her head and told me that as a mom, I should be taking better care of myself – that putting my own needs aside could be worse for my kids in the long run.

She sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics, and 2 different puffers to help settle the swelling and fluid build up in my lungs.

I left feeling a bit ashamed. I’m always writing about how important it is to take time out for yourself. Preaching about how moms need to be a bit more selfish. And there I was, being gently reprimanded by a doctor (and fellow mom) for doing exactly the opposite of that.

I’ve been told to rest, and this weekend I plan on doing just that. And while it is impossible to completely toss aside the daily responsibilities of a self-employed career mom of three kids, I’m going to do my best to take the doctor’s (and my own advice) to heart – and you should too. Take Care Of You.

take care of you quote

{FAMILY} In My Daughter’s Shoes

I have vivid memories of what it was like to be 8. I can still remember how it felt to curl my tongue into the gaps of my missing teeth. I remember suddenly feeling butterflies in the pit of my stomach while talking to a boy in my class that I had known for years, unsure of why I was having those funny feelings. I remember feeling self-conscious about my knobby knees, and I can still remember conversations that I had with my best friend.

My oldest daughter is now 8, and I can’t believe that I’m the parent of an 8 year old. Now that she’s at an age that I can remember, parenting somehow feels a bit different to me. My daughter is developing her own personality, experiencing feelings and emotions that I can remember feeling, and I feel more confident as a mother – because I once walked in my daughter’s shoes.

Sure her experiences as an 8-year-old are different than mine were, but I’m hoping that I can help her to navigate through the confusing, exciting, overwhelming, challenging waters as she transitions from child to tween.

mother daughter

The challenge though, is that as she matures, I feel as though my status as “mom” in her eyes is maturing as well. I feel like I’m slowly moving from mom-with-an-enthusiastic-exclamation-mark, to mom-with-a-sarcastic-eye-roll, and I know that it’ll only get more difficult as she moves towards her teen years.

I can still remember suddenly feeling a tinge of embarrassment when my mom kissed me goodbye in front of my friends at school. I can remember rolling my eyes when my mom interrupted my friends and I during a play date, and I can remember crying in my pillow, convinced that my mom was ruining my life because I couldn’t watch TV until my homework was complete.

But I also remember feeling confused about my feelings towards my mom. I remember feeling guilty when I pulled away as she leaned in to give me a kiss, or rolled my eyes, not completely understanding why I was suddenly being so mean to the woman who I looked up to the most. I was suddenly annoyed by my hero – my best friend, and I didn’t understand why.

I’m learning that it’s important to give my daughter the space that she needs to mature. I need to be more conscious of how I speak to her and act around her in the presence of her friends, and most importantly, I’m realizing that it’s more important now than ever to establish a trusting relationship with her that goes beyond the because-I-told-you-so status of mom.

I’m doing my best to teach her that it’s alright to be honest with me about her feelings, even if it means that mine might get hurt. I hope that I’m doing it right, and that I don’t forget that I was once in her shoes, and that my mother was once in mine.

5 Things I Hate About Breastfeeding

Nursing is a way to connect and bond with your baby – to nurture her and to provide her with the nutrients she needs while instilling in her a sense of comfort and security. Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing, I get it.

But I’m going to be honest with you, it’s not all shits and giggles (not for me anyways). In fact, there are some things that I loathe about my lovely lady lumps becoming milking teats for my ravenous baby.

1) Becoming “The Hunchback of Nursing Dame”.

I used to have the dainty posture of a ballerina. Yes, my many years of hunching over a computer keyboard may have contributed to my slightly-curved stature, but breastfeeding has advanced my stance to a full-on hunchback. It is simply impossible for me to bring breast to mouth without curving my back into the shape of a semicircle.

2) Hearing “Mommy Cloey’s crying, she needs you to milk her!” from my kids – on an hourly basis.

For some reason people who are holding, in close proximity to, or even aware of the presence of a nursing baby, feel the need to educate the mother on when that baby is hungry.

With the first squawk or crank of the neck it’s “ohhh she’s hungry..” or in the case of my kids, “she needs mommy to milk her.” Well guess what world: mommy cows always know when their calves need to be milked. The reality is, we either: a) have just fed baby and know it’s more likely a soiled diaper or a desire to be held in a new position, b) we are avoiding nursing because we don’t feel comfortable doing so in public (see #3 below), or c) we are trying to set a feeding schedule for our cluster-feeding offspring.

breastfeeding

3) Fear of showing my breast-ginas to the world.

I’m not an exhibitionist. In fact, I’m quite the opposite. I still change in the private stalls at public pools, I feel awkward in tops with plunging necklines, and I even keep my bikini top on at topless beaches. Prude? No. Modest? Maybe.

I’m almost as uncomfortable with flashing my nips as I would be if I were flashing my va-jay-jay in a public place. I will go out of my way to hide my areolas from the world my friends.

4) Wearing a wardrobe based on boob accessibility.

I’ve finally pumped out that little life that has occupied my body for 9 months, I’ve lost most of the baby weight, and I’m finally ready to leave the confines of my home. Too bad I can’t wear anything because I’m nursing!

Maternity clothes no longer fit – the chest and belly fabric has been stretched thin, deforming every top and dress in my closet. I can’t wear my pre-baby clothes either because most of them don’t provide access to the boob. So I’m restricted to t-shirts and stretch pants. Sexy.

5) Wishing for an epic latch.

I don’t care what anyone else says, nursing hurts. I’m on my third baby and this fact has not changed. In the beginning, when baby has first arrived and is ravenously searching for her first sip of mommy’s nectar, it effing HURTS. Like curl-your-toes, squish-your-eyes-tightly-shut, clench-your-fists hurts. And while that initial pain eventually subsides, the fear of a bad latch will haunt you.  For me, the feeling of having a baby feed off my sensitive lady bits never feels soothing or enjoyable. I wince every time she opens her mouth and eagerly approaches my milk bag.

But despite all of the discomfort, I can say this: breastfeeding is worth it when your baby releases her suction, relaxes her clenched fists, and falls into a lovely milk coma like this:

breastfeeding