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Most mothers, whether they work inside or outside the home, feel like their job is never done.

“It’s true,” says Sara Emanuel, wife and mother of five children. “I constantly feel like I run myself into the ground trying to get everything done. I have to guard against living in a constant state of guilt over all of the things left on the ‘to do’ list. I know that’s not healthy, but it’s hard to turn my brain off or to think about doing something just for me because I am exhausted.”

In addition to constantly feeling like the job is never-ending, moms compare themselves while looking at Facebook or Pinterest. And, in an informal survey, an entire group of women admitted comparing what they do for their children with what other moms are doing. 

“I try not to compare myself to other women, but honestly it’s hard not to,” Emanuel says. “I catch myself comparing how I handle discipline to how another mom handled a similar situation, thinking, ‘I wish I had been that creative.’ I think if most moms were honest, we all spend a lot of time beating ourselves up for what we aren’t.”

Emanuel says she believes that women in general want to look like they have it all together.

“It makes me laugh when someone comes up to me and says, ‘You’re always so put together. How do you do it?’” Emanuel says. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘You only see me once a week. Sometimes I don’t even get to shower.’”

In reality, there are a lot of moms out there who feel alone, inadequate and like a failure.

Andrea Gyertson Nasfell can totally relate to what Emanuel is describing. So, she joined forces with director Jon Erwin to write the script for a movie. 

Moms’ Night Out is the story of a frazzled mom, Allyson (played by Sarah Drew) and her friends. They long for a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation . . . a much-needed moms’ night out. But in order to enjoy high heels and food not served in a paper bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for three hours. What could possibly go wrong?

“This movie was so encouraging to me,” Emanuel said. “My husband and I laughed out loud at so many of the scenes. We felt like they must have been stalking our family because those very things happen in our home. It felt good to know it isn’t just us.

“The craziness we experience happens in every home in America. It really made me know it’s OK if things get a little crazy. I need to give myself a break. I have continuously beat myself up over my own definition of being a ‘good mom.’ I am a good mom and what I do is important.”

If you need some reassurance as a mom, a good laugh and a moment to appreciate the beautiful mess we call “family,” Moms’ Night Out is one movie you’ll definitely want to see.

Looking for more? Check out this episode of JulieB TV on this topic!

 

When it comes to being a mom and a businesswoman, things can get kind of crazy. Some days it feels nonstop as you move from changing diapers and cleaning up messes to taking conference calls and looking over balance sheets.

Plenty of moms have felt the angst of believing they don’t measure up as a mom or businesswoman. Jennifer Fleiss, co-founder of Rent the Runway and current CEO and co-founder of Code 8, is no exception, and she definitely has some thoughts about it.

“I think we all have to cut ourselves a little slack and realize that we probably aren’t going to have a perfect balance,” says Fleiss. “No one is perfect. We all have to figure out what works in our particular circumstance, which might mean shaving off a little bit on each end.”

Fleiss confesses that she is her own toughest critic.

“As a mom, I definitely feel the tug of guilt when I miss drop-offs, reading class books, cooking for bake sales, planning birthday parties and making lunches,” Fleiss says. “However, I think my husband and I have been able to work out a system that works well for our family.”

When it came down to figuring out what worked, Fleiss understood the importance of having home, work and school nearby in order to save commute time. Additionally, both she and her husband intentionally try to only travel once a month, and syncing schedules helps them avoid being out of town at the same time.

“I think one of the most powerful things that has come out of this is empowering my husband,” Fleiss asserts. “He bears a huge amount of the responsibilities in our home, which is what keeps me sane – and he is awesome at it. Our children (6, 3 and 1) have strong relationships with both of us, which I believe is a very good thing. And, I have learned not to go behind him and rearrange the dishwasher, or get bent out of shape when something is missing from the diaper bag. In the scheme of things those aren’t worth the time and energy.”

Fleiss contends that in some strange way, being a businesswoman has made her a better mom.

“In the midst of the craziness, you learn not to sweat the small stuff,” Fleiss shares. “I don’t get as flustered as I used to, and I am more thoughtful when I respond to my family and others. I think I have learned to decipher between vitally important things that are a really big deal and those that are smaller deals which fall in the tyranny of the urgent category.”

When it comes to her best mom hacks, Fleiss offers the following:

  • Wear ear plugs at night (so your husband hears the kids wake up first).
  • Dance parties count as workouts.
  • Going for a run with your husband equals date/catch-up time as a couple.
  • Getting things organized the night before makes mornings less chaotic.
  • Have hard-boiled eggs and bananas always at the ready.
  • Choose your battles.
  • Push-ups with kids on your back is a great workout, and it’s fun for the kids.

“What I have learned about myself is that success isn’t just about business for me, it is about being able to enjoy and appreciate every aspect of my life,” Fleiss says.

Fleiss learned from her own mother that balance is the key to enjoying both worlds.

“‘Why not do both?’ was something my mother often said to me, encouraging me to go after every opportunity and find a way to fit everything into my life to create fullness and composite happiness. She also constantly reminded me to slow down, smile and enjoy life.”

For tips on parenting get our E-book “How to be a Guide for your Teen” Download Here

Looking for more? Check out this episode of JulieB TV on this topic!

As a mother, have you ever looked in the mirror and asked, “Who am I? Where did the woman I used to know go? Will I ever be known by my real name again, or will it always be _________’s mom from this point forward?” If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are in good company. Plenty of moms out there wonder the same thing.

Although being a mom is a great gift, a lot of moms struggle with losing their identity in the midst of motherhood. Let’s face it, from the time they are born, children require a lot of time, energy and brainpower. It is easy to feel like your identity is slowly fading away as you constantly focus on your family.

While many moms have resigned themselves to thinking this is just how life is, losing your identity in the name of motherhood isn’t helpful to you or your children. If your tank is running low because of all you do for your kids, more than likely your stress level is high, your fuse is short and the least little curveball can throw your entire day or week into a full-blown tailspin. You may even feel guilty about doing something for yourself  and think that it may add more stress to the already-complicated schedule.

On top of this, moms often play the comparison game. It may seem that one woman’s children behave better, she keeps a cleaner house or is better-equipped for all sorts of tasks.

If you are in the early years of parenting, moms who have been there have some words of wisdom to share with you. Here’s what they wish someone had shared with them during that stage of their lives.

  • Make sure you surround yourself with a supportive friend group that includes women your age and older.
  • Ask for what you need. Don’t assume your spouse or others know your  needs. Tell them.
  • It’s really important for your children to see who you are as a person. Consider what you really enjoy doing or are passionate about. Seek to create opportunities to engage in those pursuits. Even involving your children in those activities isn’t a bad thing.
  • Creating space to re-energize and regroup teaches your children the importance of taking care of yourself. Growing up in a family where children learn that the world does not revolve around them is healthy. 
  • In order to parent well, it is vital that you put your oxygen mask on first. You cannot give what you do not have. If you are always running on empty, it’s impossible to be the parent your kids need you to be.

In the end, you are preparing your children to leave the nest and be independent. But when the time comes for the kids to leave, many moms find themselves in an identity crisis because their entire world has revolved around being a mom. Maintaining some independence of your own and modeling care for yourself as you raise your children is crucial to your well-being and theirs. Then when the next stage comes along, you’ll be ready to take it on with confidence.

For more insight on parenting, download our E-book “4 ways to stay connected after Baby.” Download Here

Looking for more resources? Watch this episode of JulieB TV for an in-depth look on this topic!