Welcome to episode 012, I’m your host, Lisa Druxman and I’m hoping to give you some motivation and inspiration today. This is an emergency episode. I had another episode planned but that is just going to have to wait for a week because we have an epidemic on our hands. And what’s going rampant is overwhelm. I’m seeing it with my clients. I’m seeing it with my friends. Every mom is rushing, running late, stressed, overwhelmed. Now, I’ve talked about life balance in past episodes. And I’ve talked about the power in the words yes and no. So what else can I say to help? Well, I’m going to talk about your village. Why you need one and how to create one. They say it takes a village, so let’s see if that may help you.
Motherhood is by far the hardest job in the entire world. Dads, I’m sure it’s your hardest role too. Fatherhood that is. Being a parent is truly one of the most overwhelming yet wonderful things we ever take on. Let’s face it. Taking care of ourselves alone wasn’t super easy. And now we have to take care of one, two or more kids. There are nearly 40 million moms with kids under 18 in the United States. With so many moms, why do we often feel so lonely?
In many cultures, children are raised by extended families. A few years ago, I took a cab ride and me and the cabbie got to talking. He said (I’ll spare you the accent) “You Americans make things so hard on yourselves. You both go to work and then spend all of your money on childcare and have no time to spend on your family or yourself. My parents and my adult siblings live with us. My brother and I work full time and my wife works part time. My parents help take care of the kids and the house. We have plenty of time for our spouses, our kids and we have extra money because we aren’t supporting ourselves on one family’s income.”
Wow, mama and Kimi, come move in with me. Ha! We know that really won’t work. Most of you are probably cringing at the idea of giving up your privacy or living with your mother in law! But he does have a point. How can we start creating a village so that we don’t do everything on our own?
It takes a village is a Nigerian proverb. The basic meaning is that child upbringing is a communal effort. The responsibility for raising a child is shared with the extended family. Everyone in the family participates especially the older children, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and even cousins. It is not unusual for African children to stay for long periods with their grandparents or aunts or uncles. Even the wider community gets involved such as neighbors and friends. Children are considered a blessing from God for the whole community.
There are 7 families on my block taking kids to the elementary school. Seriously, 7 moms are struggling to get their kids to school every single day. Why aren’t we all taking a day and taking the group to school together? Why do we feel like we have to do everything on our own?
Moms need a village. Social media is not enough. We need a place to shed our tears and our fears, ask our questions and share our succeses. We need a place to speak honestly and candidly. But how do you find that place? Let’s face it. I started Stroller Strides 13 years ago because I myself needed a playgroup, a place to connect to other moms.
So, I have a challenge for you to start creating these much needed villages.
If online is what you need, there are tons of resources. Check out circleofmoms.com, clubmome and there’s a new one called Mommeetmom.com which is like a match making service for moms. There are groups for pregnant moms, working moms, stay at home moms and more. You are not alone! That’s why we created Our Village playgroup which is offered at our classes nationwide. You do not even have to be a FIT4MOM client. Most of our locations offer playgroups, moms nights out and more! Go to fit4mom.com to find the location nearest you!
Be that village to someone else. This might sound crazy because you are already overwhelmed. And now I’m asking you to do more. But this is how we support one another. Reach out and offer to help a mom. Don’t take no for an answer. Moms are martyrs and they will say no thank you. Don’t take no for an answer. Just go out and help. When they ask how to repay you, ask them to pay it forward and be a village to another mom. We can create a ripple effect.
Here are 10 ideas for how you can be a village to another mom…
Watch their kid(s)
Run an errand for them while you are out
Take their kids to school
Bring in their trash cans
Bring another mom your favorite books or children’s clothes once you don’t need them.
Bring a meal by their house
Take her for a walk. Sometimes moms just need to connect.
Give her a date night. I know this is saying watch her kids again but it’s different to give her some time with her spouse vs getting something done for herself. If the kids are old enough, have them sleep over.
Leave her an inspirational card letting her know she’s doing a great job!
Invite her over with kids to just hang out.
So I guess the reason why most moms are overwhelmed is that we are all trying to be super mom. We seem to think that we need to do everything, and on our own. Simplify. Your child does not need to be in ten million sports and after school activities. They need some down time and so do you. Say no way more than you say yes. If you say yes, take something off your plate. If you need more coaching in these areas, go back to my past podcasts because we go in to this in depth. And finally, realize that you are not alone. Find your village. Be a village and get the support you need. If you have other ideas on how to find a village or be a village, please do share on our website. I will also put links to the moms clubs in our show notes at www.fit4mom.com/podcast.
Ok, lt’s time to take your questions.
This first question is from Jessica Simms. She says: Hi! I'm only on episode 3 so far but loving it! My question is about feeling 'good enough'. It's hard to juggle everything mom related let alone focusing on what keeps fueling me (both literally and figuratively) combined with being a perfectionist. What do you do to feel good enough? What I mean is, how do you give yourself props for all that you DO do and not beat yourself up for what you DIDN'T do?
Hi Jessica, thanks so much for your question and for your kind words. I mentioned earlier on this podcast that you can do anything. But you can’t do everything. Moms need to give themselves credit for how much they do in every single day. When your head hits the pillow at night, I don’t want you to think about what you didn’t get to. I want you to realize that you were everything from a driver to a teacher, a nurse to a cook, an errand runner to a maid. Each day is different but each day is filled. I remember just weeks after Jacob was born, attempting to make a nice dinner for Jason. This was the first time in my adult life that I wasn’t working and I felt like since I was at home all day that the least I could do was make my husband a nice dinner. Ugh. It was a disaster. The house was a mess and I could barely get the food out. I was so disappointed. But a friend reminded me that at this stage, I should just focus on survival. I had a brand new baby and I just needed to focus on how to get through the day with him. I will have plenty of times in the future to make a nice dinner. Jessica, I don’t know what season of your life you are in, but I’m pretty darned sure that you aren’t sitting on the couch all day watching soap operas. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you did do. Also, go back to episode 1 where I have a download for the Most Important Things. At the start of every day, I want you to write down what are the 3 most important things you need to get done. Be realistic that you can get them done on that day. Commit to just those three things. Everything else is icing on the cake! Do that and I promise you will feel great about your day!
This next question is from Emily Christie. She wrote: “Working through decision making. Whether it's a business decision or choosing a preschool, how do you make big decisions less formidable?”
Thanks Emily for submitting a question. My mom taught me how to do this. I remember contemplating moving in with a boyfriend (not Jason) while I was in college. Instead of just telling me not to do it, she told me to write in one column all of the positives about the decision and in the other all of the negatives. When you break down all of the pros and cons and you’re honest, your decision becomes very clear. I do a couple of other things as well though. I think of each side of the decision and I tap in to my energy. I really mean it. How would you feel if you made this decision? If it brings you energy, then you should move towards it. And lastly, I look at the decision in comparison to the other things I want to get done. I decide if this is the right time to make this thing happen. These techniques work for me and I hope that they help you.
Ok, our final question comes from Johanna Gilchrest from FIT4MOM Seattle Washington. “Lisa, I grew up cooking and baking in the kitchen with my family. I have so many fond, happy memories centered around the kitchen. By tradition, I love being in my own kitchen and have already started involving my 3 year old. Instead of completely avoiding ever making unhealthy foods, what are ways I can balance health and baking?
Johanna, I wholeheartedly agree that the kitchen is a wonderful place to build happy memories. I have involved my kids in the kitchen since they were wee toddlers. What makes the memory is being with mom and helping her. It is not about making unhealthy food. My kids have helped me make breakfasts, lunches and dinners. there are so many healthy baking recipes that you can do with your kids. I am going to put some in my show notes for you.
I’ll link to a recipe for oatmeal raising pecan cookies by my friend Sophia at Veggies Don’t Bite
Chocolate Chip Banana bread from my friend Mareya at Eat Cleaner
And of course, I hope you subscribe to our fit4mom blog as we release new recipes every Tuesday!