Just Wait

There were a lot of things I was afraid of when expecting our second baby. A lot of things.

The things I read and people I spoke with with told me to “just wait”. That life would change and never be the same.

That I’d be stretched thin. That my husband and I would pass like ships in the night. That I might lose myself.

Things I read and people I met also told me this when I was expecting my first.

And each time I anticipated the arrival of my baby with anxiety and questions. So many questions.

Then my baby arrived and every fear was put to rest. For a little while at least.

You see, what some people warn you about and say is true.

Some days will be hard, some days will be long, some nights will be longer.

There will be a day where it feels like the honeymoon phase has ended and this baby thing isn’t what you signed up for at all.

There will be a day where you lose your temper with your husband. A day where you feel lost. A day where you feel lonely. A day where you miss your freedom and thin waist. A day where you want to throw your hands up and leave.

And it’ll be hard for that day, or that week and you’ll think “they were right”. And maybe during that day or that week you’ll come across a new parent and tell them to “just wait” for what’s to come.

I was tempted to do that today. To take to my platform and complain about this week. This absolutely trying and horrible week.

But as an “experienced” parent (and I use that loosely), I know if I “just wait” we’ll eventually turn a corner. I know if I “just wait” my sick and clingy toddler will soon start giggling and playing. I know if I “just wait” I’ll grow more patient with my husband. I know if I “just wait” we’ll make it out of this parenting lull and there will be periods of beautiful things.

So, to the parents afraid of what’s to come, and to the parents meeting their match of what-is. Just wait. The clouds will break.

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I’m Going to Have My Hands Full? I Had No Idea.

This piece was originally posted on Her View From Home

That’s it. It’s time to call you out.

Yes, you. The person who feels the need to interject their commentary on strangers in the grocery store, post office and yes, even in a public bathroom.

I’ve met you before – about a year ago – when my belly was busting at the seams and my ankles were overflowing from my shoes. You were astounded by my size and convinced there wasn’t a baby, but in fact a toddler swimming around my womb. And if I recall correctly, you rubbed my belly…just to be sure. Thanks again for that 😉

Now here we are again, a year later. My belly not quite big enough to draw your attention, but my situation appealing nonetheless.

You see us – me (pregnant belly and all), my husband and my one-year-old son – and instead of smiling at our beautiful (and exhausted) young family, you share a critical piece of information we may not be able to live without:

You know, you’re going to have your hands full.  Smirk, smirk. Giggle, giggle. 

It’s cute. It’s innocent. It drives me batty (that’s not the hormones talking).

I’m not quick on my feet to come up with a witty-response to your well-meaning comment. That’s why I’m taking it here – to the internet – to rant in all my glory.

Look, I get it. We’re going to be busy and I’m terrified. But, that whole having a newborn thing? I’ve done it. I know exactly how hard it will be and exactly what to expect. I may not know how to manage a baby on the boob while keeping my toddler Picasso off my walls or change a wet diaper while my older one decides my grandmother’s antique bowl is a potty… but we’ll figure it out, just like we did the first time around.

I love when you approach me and comment on how beautiful my son is or how my pregnant glow reminds you of a Christmas display. I’m not screaming, “Stranger danger!” when you come my way. But I’m not sure what the criteria is for the other type of comments. Is it seeing a parent with one misbehaving child? A family with two, three, heck, four kids? How many kids does it take to demonstrate a mastery in the art of multi-kid-tasking? (When I figure it out, I’ll let you know).

Whatever it is, please just try to smile and nod the next time you feel a parent is downright doomed (we kind of feel that way already and it’s always the last thing we want to hear).

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Now, to the parents. I know you’ve heard this before. Hit me with your best comebacks!

Mompreneur in the Spotlight: The Oakville Parent

Friends, I’m so excited to introduce you to Carrie for this week’s Mompreneur in the Spotlight segment. Carrie, a mom of two, left her corporate job and launched The Oakville Parent in 2016. She began her business with the intention of helping moms, their families and their children find resources, services and programs in their communities, and from there, it’s continued to blossom. Check out her inspiring interview below!

Tell us who you are.

My name is Carrie and I’m happy to introduce you to The Oakville Parent!

I moved from Toronto about 5 years ago with my husband and eldest daughter. Not knowing too much about this lovely community on the lake, we quickly settled into our life here and have grown to love Oakville.  We recently added a 2nd daughter to our family and I began The Oakville Parent in late 2016.

In my previous “Corporate Life” I worked in digital media sales working with a number of national brands in Toronto and Montreal. I always knew I wanted to start a business, something I could build from the ground up and shape myself. The Oakville Parent is very much a passion project.

What inspired you to start The Oakville Parent?

I love writing and I wanted to create an online space local moms and families could visit that would inform, inspire and connect them with local resources and lifestyle content.

The Oakville Parent is less than a year old and still very much in its development stage. What I started out with, content and goal-wise has changed over the last several months as I learn what resonates with the community I’ve built.

Tell us about your business.

What began as an Instagram feed documenting my travels around Oakville with my eldest daughter grew into an online destination for families and business owners to discover, connect and experience local. I love the creative side of the business, building the website, writing content, developing its social footprint; I enjoy working with other business owners and often encourage guest writers to come on board.

What has the response been from the community?

I’m a big supporter of collaborating and working to lift others. When I first launched, I quickly
learnt who my supporters were and those who immediately labeled my brand as competition, however misplaced that may have been. Over the last several months with traffic to the website and followers continuing to grow I’ve discovered that what I’m offering both businesses and the community is something unique which is what I’m really striving to accomplish.

How do you manage your time effectively (both with your kids and with your work)?

With a lot of help. My oldest is in school full time while my youngest attends preschool a few mornings a week. Family helps fill in the gaps and thank God for nap time!

What’s the most difficult thing about growing your brand?

Time. When I worked in the corporate world, time felt more on my side. I was in an office full time where my whole day was devoted to my work. Now, with two young children I need to balance work with family needs.

What would you say is The Oakville Parent’s biggest achievement?

Offering unique, customizable solutions for local companies to connect with the community that follows The Oakville Parent.

In my opinion the traditional banner ad, the button ad, simply posting a company’s upcoming sale on your Facebook page, is an uninspiring promotional tactic. You need to dig deeper and help a company/brand tell their story – one of the main reasons I launched my “People of Oakville” series was to provide for a platform in which business owners could share their message in a more meaningful way.

What role has social media played in growing your brand? What other marketing tactics do you use?

To date, it’s been everything. Instagram is personally my favourite social platform and I think that’s reflected in my following and engagement. What I love most about social media is learning about new companies and discovering like-minded individuals and of course, all the beautiful images I scroll through. I also use email marketing and cross promote with many industry experts and guest contributors to grow my reach and brand awareness.

What tips would you give to moms wanting to leave their corporate job to launch their empire?

Plan ahead and ensure everyone in your corner (e.g. partner) is on side.  Work out a reasonable start-up budget for what you’re willing to put into the business to get you going and choose your marketing expenditures wisely. Good luck Mamas!

Mompreneur in the Spotlight: Oakville Family Birth

Last week Grown Up Glamour kicked off an exciting new series focused on celebrating mompreneurs. The series, targeted at moms wanting to leave the corporate world and begin their own business, is intended to empower mothers as they navigate the world of mother-hustling. Entrepreneurship comes with highs and lows, and when you give up everything to start your own business while also raising your family, those highs and lows are even more intense.   We want moms to understand that mother-hustling isn’t a “get rich quick” opportunity but it is an opportunity to create balance in their life – and turn their passion into something to be proud of.

This week we sat down with Jaklyn Andrews from Oakville Family Birth. Not only is Jaklyn a dear friend of mine and an incredible human, but she’s also a kind, compassionate and supportive doula who has helped many women (and parents) in their parenting journey.

Read more below for the inspiration behind Jaklyn’s career change – and how she keeps it all together while building her empire.

Tell us who you are.

I’m Jaklyn! I’m a doula and childbirth educator and I own Oakville Family Birth. I’m also a lucky wife and mama (two kids and a dog, the suburban dream!).

What inspired you to start your business?

Becoming a mother, of course 😉

I always knew I would hire a doula for birth support but I never imagined the kind of journey it would take me on. My first birth experience was really challenging, the opposite of what we were hoping for, and the support our doula provided truly changed my life. I knew in that instant that I was meant to do this. At the time I had a great career in public health research and I knew absolutely nothing about business…it was very confusing, to be honest. I couldn’t turn it off though, the passion I’d discovered. It took over a year of exploring options and finally heading back to work after maternity leave (that was rough!) to eventually make the jump.

Tell us about your business.

There are a lot of misconceptions around doula work, so I’ll start with the very basics: a doula is kind of like a best friend who knows a lot about pregnancy, birth, recovery and baby care. We support families throughout the perinatal period as they prepare for and welcome their babies. Doulas listen, guide, teach, coach, and help expectant parents and young families. It’s physical, emotional, mental, and also practical support. A doula’s job is to make life easier for their clients through all the highs and lows of pregnancy, birth, and parenting.

I created Oakville Family Birth to support all kinds of families, all kinds of births, and all kinds of parenting choices. That’s my bottom line…I’m passionate about providing truly non-judgmental support. As my business grows, I plan to bring on other doulas and other birth and parenting professionals who share that passion.

What are the skills a mompreneur must have in order to be successful?

The first thing that comes to mind is organizational skills. Having systems in place to keep you, your business and your family on track can be the difference between success and failure.

Next is discipline. You will have to make sacrifices for the greater goal. You’ll have say no to some fun stuff and slug through some not fun stuff to get to the other side.

Finally, confidence. Yes, confidence is a skill! At the risk of sounding dramatic, google it… it changed my life.

How do you manage your time effectively (both with your kids and with your work)?

I’ll let you know as soon as I figure that out! I’m half-kidding.

I use a combination of part-time daycare, back up child care, friends and family and a little bit of Netflix (#sorrynotsorry) to get everything done. I also work for a few hours every night after bedtime. My husband is the main reason our household is still running but lately we’ve been considering outsourcing some of that.

I’ve become pretty good at time blocking. I have specific times for working when I hustle hard and tune out everything else. The same goes for family time: I try to be “all-in” when I’m with my little crew so that everyone’s love tank stays full.

Being on-call for births requires a few extra layers of organization. Any given day, our bags are packed and we’re ready to get where we need to go so that I can be with my clients when they need me. My kids are amazing and go with the flow, for the most part.

What’s the most difficult thing about growing your empire? What’s the best?

The highs and lows can be difficult. If you’re going to do this, you’re going to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. On your toughest days, you might regret the whole thing and wish you could go back to your old life (your pre-entrepreneur life and possibly even your pre-baby life!). What I’ve found helpful is to celebrate every little win – every website visitor, every inquiry, every client. Stay humble but hungry, as they say.

The best for me is calling all the shots. I can take on more or less at any given time, depending on what’s happening in the other parts of my life. I spend more time with my kids than I would have if I stayed on the path I was going down. Also I LOVE my job, so there’s that.

What role has social media played in growing your brand? What other marketing tactics do you use?

Social media has played a huge part in growing my brand from the beginning. Although my target market is local (Halton/Hamilton/Peel), I use social to share broader messages of encouragement, realness and self-love for young parents and parents-to-be.

I also make it a priority to be out in the community, forming genuine relationships and helping out other small businesses.

What tips would you give to moms wanting to leave their corporate job to launch their empire?

Believe in yourself! From the bottom of my heart, I know you can do it. You have something unique to offer that no one else can duplicate so trust that there is room for you in the market, get out there and show people who you are. Anyone can do this if they’re willing to work hard enough.

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Follow along with Jaklyn and Oakville Family Birth 

Website: www.oakvillefamilybirth.com

Social Media Pages:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/oakvillefamilybirth

Facebook: www.facebook.com/oakvillefamilybirth

Contact Information: hello@oakvillefamilybirth.com / (289) 813-4363

Are you a mompreneur with an inspiring story? Contact us to be featured. 

Why I’m Okay with Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom

I decided I wanted to be a mom when I was five. It was around that time I also decided I wanted to change the world…and become famous. Looking back, it appears I wanted to become some sort of hybrid between June Cleaver and Oprah Winfrey. Daytime television can be pretty influential. With that in mind, I should probably limit my son’s exposure to Paw Patrol. Though if he decides he wants to grow up to be a crime-fighting dog, I promise to always support him.

The dream of being June and Oprah were always an attainable goal. I grew up in a time where women were encouraged to never settle for less, where our futures were bright and (almost) equal. So, for six years I tackled life as Oprah. I completed two post-secondary degrees, engulfed myself in my career and made it a priority to give back to my community. It was during this time I met my husband, a wonderful man who shares my same ambition and values in life, especially when it comes to family. We welcomed our first child a little over a year ago, and that’s when I finally got to experience myself as June.

For awhile, Oprah and June struggled to find balance. Mothering instantly found a tender place in me, yet part of me yearned to be valued outside the four walls of my home. Then the time came for me to leave my sweet boy and return back to the workforce. And while I had every intention of being Oprah and June in unison, my new perspective on life made the transition even harder than I imagined.

For six long weeks I tried to fake it till I made it. Everyone said my son would adjust to daycare – and he did. They said I would find my groove and learn simple ways to make it work – and like Stella, I got my groove back. They also said it would get easier, but it never got easier for me. Actually, those six weeks were some of the hardest weeks of my life.

Those six weeks helped my husband and I define the upbringing we really want for our children. We had endless conversations about what’s truly important to us and what lifestyle we really want to live. Those conversations led to the very significant decision that I would leave my job and become a stay-at-home-mom. A decision that came after much thought and planning on how we would make it work relying on only one income and my freelance work. A decision that came with weeks of analysis and budgeting, and years ahead of sacrifice. With that being said, at the end of the day this decision wasn’t based on numbers (though it was a huge deciding factor), it came down to lifestyle and my feeling of accomplishment.

When making this decision I really struggled with finding the answer to three questions:

Does being home with my family mean I’m not accomplishing my dreams?

Does it make me a lesser person because I couldn’t handle life as a working-mom?

Should I feel worthless because I seek a future with my family and it goes against everything I’ve worked so hard for?

In taking time to soak in this big decision, I’ve realized the answer is no. I’m not saying I won’t go on to be Oprah one day (#RememberMyName), or that I won’t continue to work hard to pursue my dreams as a writer. What I’m saying is that I’m going to be proud of  being true to myself, proud to seek a path that makes my family and I truly happy.

At some point all mothers face this cross-road in parenting. We come up for air and realize there will always be something in our life that has to be sacrificed. We must redefine who we are—all with less sleep, clarity and the greatest responsibility that we have ever had to assume. At the  very same time we’re constantly questioning if we could be doing it better. We hold guilt over snapping too easily, not engaging the way we think we should, having unwashed dishes in the sink and unfolded laundry in the dryer.

It was living moments like this every single day for six weeks that made my husband and I consider what we really needed versus wanted in our life. If vacations can wait, if cars can be driven into the ground and if I take a crash course in extreme couponing we can each place ourselves in the role we truly want – and for me, that role is mom.

 

 

 

Mompreneurs in the Spotlight: Love Powered Co.

Grown Up Glamour is beginning a new series on our blog where we interview an inspiring mompreneur who turned her passion into an empire. The series, targeted at moms wanting to leave the corporate world and begin their own business, is intended to empower mothers as they navigate the world of mother-hustling. Entrepreneurship comes with highs and lows, and when you give up everything to start your own business while also raising your family, those highs and lows are even more intense.   We want moms to understand that mother-hustling isn’t a “get rich quick” opportunity but it is an opportunity to create balance in their life – and turn their passion into something to be proud of.

This week we sat down to chat with Anna Lozano and Lindy Sood. These inspiring mothers and business-women recently launched Loved Powered Co., a parent-led, self-worth movement powering the next generation of mindful leaders. Together, they have created 22 beautiful affirmation cards (which are more than affirmation cards) destined to affirm greatness in your littles and you.

Read more below for the inspiration behind this amazing product – and how they keep it all together while building their empire.

  1. Anna and Lindy we’re so glad to have you join us in this new series. Tell our readers who you are.

Our names are Anna Lozano and Lindy Sood and we would like to welcome you to the Love Powered movement.

We are moms, entrepreneurs, friends, and soul sisters who realized that together, we have a powerful message to share with the world. Months ago, we started talking about what is lacking in the marketplace when it comes to personal growth products for families. We searched high and low for the perfect tool we could use in our homes, but what we were looking for just didn’t exist. So, we created it, and we are now making it available to you and your family.

Our mission is to create a self-worth movement, powering the next generation of mindful leaders. A better tomorrow starts with our children, and that means we need to do the work now, healing ourselves in the process.

This is so much bigger than a product, it’s a global movement creating a better tomorrow. Welcome home, to our Love Powered family.

What inspired you to start your business?

Together, we have an electric energy between us. We have complimentary strengths. We knew we wanted to build a business together, but we didn’t know just what. We wanted to create something special, something that would impact millions of families in a positive way. Separately but simultaneously we were both very involved in a self-discovery and self-improvement journey.  When we had children, stating positive I AM affirmations (a ritual that literally helped to transform both of our lives), became even more important in our home.  We saw a need (guided personal development tools parents can do with their children), and we decided to fill it. From a spark of inspiration, to birthing Love Powered Co. nine months later, we are mom’s on a mission to make tomorrow a better place.

Tell us about your business.

Love Powered Co. is a soul fuel company, powering the next generation of mindful leaders!

Love Powered Littles is our first product – Not your typical affirmation cards….we go deeper.  22 POWERS to affirm the greatness within your littles (and YOU!)

Our mission is to power our littles with positive self-talk, confidence, self-love & self-worth. Our recipe is simple: Affirmation. Connection. Repeat.

What are the skills a mompreneur must have in order to be successful?

Self-motivation – no one else is going to do it for you.

Passion – motivation can only go so far. You need a deep, intrinsic drive to keep you going on the hard days.

Self-awareness – you need to know who you are, know your strengths (and exploit them!), know your weaknesses (to surround yourself with others who can fill the gap), and realize how to bring your unique talents into your business.

Time management – with kids, businesses, investments, activities, etc, you need to know how to prioritize your time in the most effective and efficient way.

How do you manage your time effectively (both with your kids and with your work)?

We have set up some non-negotiable barriers to ensure presence & connection with our kids is 100% paramount when we are with them. Between the hours of 3:30-8:30, we shut it off. We don’t answer. We put down the phone. After 8:30pm, we pick it back up again and finish off our day.  We created an ‘Unplugged Sundays’ movement within our community and we hold each other accountable to this.

We also surround ourselves with a support posse. On the times when we can’t unplug, we ensure our kids are taken care of (grandparents, friends, nanny).

What’s the most difficult thing about growing your empire? What’s the best?

Difficulty always leads to growth, so we welcome the challenges that come our way. There have been hiccups – when we have thought something was going to go one way and it pivoted…but we are learning every single moment, and that is a huge gift.

The best? Creating something from scratch. Having a nudge/spark of creativity and growing it. Seeing something go from an image in your mind to a physical product in our hands. It’s invigorating!

What role has social media played in growing your brand? What other marketing tactics do you use?

Social media has been a major piece of our pre-launch and launch campaign. We posted a pre-launch video that had 17,000 views & 90 shares within 2 weeks. We are mainly focused on growing our FB community, page & instagram following at the moment. All of our growth has been organic and from our on mompreneur hustling skills!

What tips would you give to moms wanting to leave their corporate job to launch their empire?

Do it. There will never be a perfect time. The world needs more women entrepreneurs. The world needs more you. What is life, if you don’t bite the bullet, pull the trigger and just go for it?!

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Follow along with Anna, Lindy and Love Powered Co. and be sure to check out them out on Kickstarter!

lovepoweredco.com (coming soon).

Kickstarter  http://bit.ly/2eR8w2e

Instagram: @lovepoweredco

Facebook: @lovepoweredco

Twitter @lovepoweredco

Are you a mompreneur with an inspiring story? Contact us to be featured. 

 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Series: Anxiety & Worry

A few weeks ago I shared a post on mental health (postpartum depression) and the lack of resources available to mothers. I want to begin by thanking all of the women who reached out to me (both publicly and privately) to share their mental health story. I’m touched by your honesty and inspired by your strength. I’m also saddened to hear how many of you have fallen through the cracks of our health care system. As we wait for our government to take the steps to make mental health a priority in our country, many of us continue to suffer in silence, restricted by access to resources and finances. As mothers, we can do our best to support our tribe.

Motherhood is a unique community. It’s a community where women can feel safe to share their feelings, while others can lend an ear or a shoulder to show compassion and understanding. It’s a community that has left cookies on my porch time and time again over the last year. While I’m not a therapist and unable to provide specialized help to you, I want to extend my community and help in any way I can.

Through my husband’s insurance I’ve been lucky to have access to therapy which has introduced me to some cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) tools. These tools that can help those with anxiety develop the skills and strategies to live a fuller and happier life. While these tools are most effective when used in conjunction to therapy, I’d like to provide you with worksheets to help you find some happiness.

For those who aren’t familiar with CBT, it’s a process which aims to challenge the negative thought patterns one may have about themselves or the world around them. This is done by learning to identify and question one’s own thoughts, while challenging negative emotions and behaviours. CBT often uses ‘activities’ to help in the development of tools that can be used in life – a typical course of CBT can take months to allow patients to:

  • Identify distortions in their thinking
  • See thoughts as ideas about what is going on, rather than as facts
  • Stand back from their thinking to consider situations from different viewpoints

With the CBT introduction above, you can begin exploring worksheets and activities to take control of any negative outlook that may hold you back from being happy. To help my community in this journey, I’ve decided to write weekly entries geared towards self-directed CBT. Below you’ll find the first entry in this series that seeks to help you understand and manage your anxieties and worries. These weekly entries will alternate between the introduction of new topics and the review of my ability to use the tools. CBT isn’t magic, it’s a journey – that’s why I think it’s important to talk about how these tools are used in real life every other week.

Week 1: Anxiety & Worry

 

 

We can thank evolution for anxiety and worry. Thousands of years ago, when humans lived in an ‘Immediate Return Environment‘ (when actions deliver immediate results), stress and anxiety were useful emotions because they helped us take action in the face of immediate problems.

For example: A lion appears across the plain > you feel stressed > you run away > your stress is relieved.

This is how your brain evolved to use worry, anxiety, and stress. Anxiety was an emotion that helped protect humans in an Immediate Return Environment. It was built for solving short-term, acute problems.

Today, we as a society have much more chronic stress brought on by problems that can’t be solved right nowWill I get that promotion? Will I repair my broken relationship? Do I have enough money to pay the bills each month? Our threats seem to never subside and our anxiety continues to rise.

Some exercises exist to help manage these anxious feelings. Below is an example of an activity that can help transform your anxieties from crippling to productive.

How to participate:

Set aside 15 minutes a day dedicated to worrying – this sounds easy right? I know lots of people (myself included) that spend wayyy more than 15 minutes a day worrying. The key to this exercise is to focus only 15 minutes a day to worrying – no more. Each time a worry or anxiety comes into your mind outside of that time period, write it down in the table below, acknowledge it exists, and tell your mind you will worry about it later.

Worry, I know you’re there, but right now I’m focused on playing with my son. We’ll deal with this later. 

I know this sort of mantra might sound silly but as with the mastery of all things, repetition really does work wonders; mantras also help to focus your energy away from potential anxieties.

During your worry time, fill out the rest of the below table and evaluate the situation that brought on your worry and the thoughts associated with it. Come up with some ways to make your worry productive to realize some value from the situation – you were worried for a reason right?

Situation

(describe the time and event that brought on the worry)

Worry

(what were you worried about)

Physiology

(specify how your physical body felt: tense, high BP, lower back pain, etc.)

Thoughts

(write down the thoughts which were present)

Productive Goal

(what can you do moving forward to manage this worry)

Woke up to a messy kitchen, don’t feel like I have enough time to manage my household. Worried about not having enough time. Tense. Feeling stretched too thin. Feeling unorganized and chaotic. Dedicate time each night after the kids are asleep to do a quick clean. Organize and purge on weekends.

That’s it for this week. Next week we’ll find out how I did managing this new tool and then we’ll follow-up with a new activity that aims directly at our own notions of self-worth.

Good luck and remember your community is there to help, you don’t have to do this alone!