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Put on Your Cape and Fly! by Megan McGibney and Sandra Beck

 

 

Motherhood Incorporated - Mothers are Flowers in the Garden of Life

Motherhood Incorporated - Mothers are Flowers in the Garden of Life

Being a mother is perhaps the most challenging role a woman can take. Women at Motherhood Incorporated know this well. Besides taking care of your own life, you have to mold and shape the life of someone who hasn’t yet grasped life’s responsibilities. That includes the emotional and mental aspects of living.

 

Just ask Lisa D’Avanzo Weiss of Staten Island, NY.

 

“In addition to taking care of your child’s physical and emotional needs,” she says of her 2 ½ year old son Harrison. “It is a huge responsibility to help [him] develop language, a sense of safety, the ability to be resourceful, empathy, manners.”

 

Stressful as that sounds, it could also be more so when a mother has a job.

 

These days, it is very common for moms to kids of all ages to work either full or part time jobs. So that includes three responsibilities: your kids, your job and yourself. Many mothers who are able to work from home find themselves loading laundry, listening for baby Max to wake up, and preparing an online presentation all at once. Mothers who work in the office and out of the home find a different set of circumstances.

 

“I’m always ON!” laughs Evelyn Alvarez of Harlem, NY. She is a single mother to 3 year old Sen’ari and works for a non-profit organization. “When I leave work, my real job begins.

 

“There is no typical,” she says of her average day. “There is always something to be done. I try to squeeze in mama time, and mama/son time. Like today, we are doing some Black history Month stuff, then I’m doing laundry, then MAYBE going out for a drink with my girls.”

 

Having time for themselves is what most mothers ache for. Whether it is reading a book or simply listening to music, moms everywhere want to spend a little me time each day.

 

“I always take time away for myself,” says mom of three Shirley Guerrero of Staten Island, NY. “Whether its 5 minutes for myself at night once [my kids] are in bed. I do things for myself. I normally call my friends or catch up with e-mails or watch TV.”

 

But if she had the opportunity to have one day to herself, Shirley says she would spend it at a spa, or go shopping.

 

“It is very nice shopping without kids,” she laughs.

 

Recent stories in the media portray motherhood as something that consumes a woman. Meaning, it puts her life on hold until her last child turns 18.

 

But not everyone agrees.

 

“Being a mom has fulfilled my life,” says Shirley. “Its an extention of who I am rather than it consuming my life.”

 

But sometimes it can be stressful, and moms everywhere find ways to calm down.

 

“I love to read and stay up late,” says Lisa. “I also really enjoy taking relaxing baths.”

 

Lisa also enjoys doing yoga and go jogging because it clears her mind. “And for that matter, so does highway driving.”

 

Luckily, there’s always someone to turn to when it comes to the kids. For many women, it is their husband.

 

“We work very evenly,” says Stephanie Fick from Charlottesville, VA of her relationship to husband Ben.

 

But even if they aren’t married, some moms are fortunate to have their baby’s father active in the child’s life.

 

“Even though we are not together, we are a family,” says Evelyn. “It took a while to get us to this point, so I’m pretty happy about that.

 

Busy and chaotic as their lives can be, or “weird” as Stephanie jokingly puts it. These moms would not change their decisions for a minute.

 

“It’s a real learning, humbling, loving experience,” says Evelyn. “A relationship like no other.”

            And just what do these moms have to say to others in the similar positions?

 

“Remember,” says Stephanie. “They are your kids and you are their only parents. They will only be this age once. Make it fun

 

“Breathe. Dream,” Evelyn adds. “Have faith and trust in yourself, because kids are more resilient than we adults are. It’s ok to lose it sometimes, to lose your temper, to feel overwhelmed. Too many times, we try to be superhuman, and fail. It’s better to do a little superwell than to do a lot and be mediocre. BUT -if it’s in you to be super, then by all means: put on your cape and FLY!

 

by Megan McGibney and Sandra Beck

Motherhood Incorporated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Praise of Podcasts, by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck

In Praise of Podcasts by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

In Praise of Podcasts by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

In praise of podcasts  A plethora of cliches often signposts a kernel of truth. Take your pick: women are good at multitasking; there aren’t enough hours in the day; I feel torn in two. Time is tight if you’re juggling motherhood and working. Add in any vague ambitions at maintaining broader interests or world awareness – and you’re stuffed, aren’t you?   I laugh at the idea of old me, feet up, reading the newspaper. I used to enjoy settling down with a good non-ficton book to really get myself informed on an issue. My friends and I debating over black coffee and pastries – we could have been in Paris.  For me, podcasts are an amazing shortcut. Simply browse, pick the ones that interest you, and subscribe to them. That ensures that I always have the latest edition on my iPod.  I always have an ear in when I commute. I’ve been known to stay listening if I’m walking with the buggy. It gives me an hour each day out of nowhere, that very nearly meets the definition of ‘me time’, At least, I feel a little more like ‘me’ if I can make informed contributions to conversations.   Being a London fan. I’m a big fan of BBC output. However, the real joy of the podcast can be in its accessibility to the amateur broadcaster. A high rated contributor on a podcast directory can often combine reasonable ‘listenable’ production values with some sharp commentary that the mainstream networks wouldn’t dare broadcast. I think that this anarchist iconoclast edge takes me back to my student days. We all know how seductive it is to feel young again.  For Christmas, we got a radio which can be connected to an MP3 player. Now the kids are getting into podcasts too. They enjoy all the songs and jokes from their favorite characters, without needing to be glued to the TV.   I thought I was being especially clever when I put a ‘tidy up song mix’ on my iPod. The kids loved it – they twirl and dance while I’m crouched on the floor picking up the toys. Never mind.  Some interesting sites to browse:   http://www.podcastblaster.com/directory/ http://www.podanza.com/podcasts/kids/

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

Working Mom Stress Relief – by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

This is what I wish my dinner looked like!

This is what I wish my dinner looked like!

by Sandra Beck

So last night as usual I was throwing together a meal at 5:30 while two hungry kids fought over the remote control.  All I could hear was, “Sponge Bob!”  and then, “No, I want Elmo!”  “Noooooo! Sponge Bob!”

The noise was good though, it means that though struggling, they were not bleeding, unconcious or sticking their fingers into sockets!  I was reading my blackberry, waiting for a contract to come through that would make the rest of my month bearable financially, when I saw a rubber mallet left by my dad who had been by to fix something.

I looked at the unappetizing chicken breast. I was going to use this metal pokey thing (a meat mallet) that was given to me as a gift by a wonderful chef friend of mine. It was silver and shiny, but it poked holes in the plastic bag when I pounded the meat flat. For some reason these days, my older son will not eat meat that is “too thick” and with all I have on my plate right now trying to figure that one out will have to wait. Actually, I put it up to – This phase too shall pass.”

Eyeing my dad’s rubber mallet, I washed it off and rubbed it with a swipe of chlorox. I started pounding away at the meat.   Checking the Blackberry, no contract yet, I pounded harder.   Flipping through the mail and seeing no promised check from a client that is 52 days late, back to the meat. Pound! Pound! Pound!

Wow! This feels good! Over to the frozen corn bag I went. Pound! Pound! Pound! Ooops! The bag split open shooting frozen corn kernels all over. I called over my dogs who ate up the mess on the floor.  The kids heard the commotion and ran in after the dogs.

“What are you doing, mom?” my son asked looking at me as if I had lost my mind (as if thin meat is sane.)

“I’m cooking,” I replied, feeling very zen.

“Isn’t that grandpa’s hammer?”  he asked. “I didn’t know you use hammers to cook, cool!”

I didn’t want to tell him our friend the chef uses a blowtorch on his creme brulee less my son burn the house down. I felt loads better.  Who would think that after the end of a stressful day as a working mom that grandpa’s hammer is now my favorite kitchen tool.  Just for fun I broke up some ice chunks last night as well.

The contract didn’t arrive until today. I am still waiting for the check. But the next time I am in need of some stress relief while multitasking- working and feeding my kids – all I can say is Look out Chicken!

The Fairy Godmothers, By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck

 Flora is a favorite icon at Motherhood Incorporated for her strong leadership in Sleeping Beauty along with her partners Fauna and Merryweather who demonstrat Altruism and Honor.

Flora is a favorite icon at Motherhood Incorporated for her strong leadership in Sleeping Beauty along with her partners Fauna and Merryweather who demonstrat Altruism and Honor.

Recently my sons and I watched Sleeping Beauty which features the three fairy godmothers. When my sons were born, they were baptized in my family tradition and given their Auntie Jill  Beck as their Catholic Godmother. In the spirit of Hillary Clinton and the famous African proverb it takes a village to raise a child, I always felt that to have one godmother put all the pressure on one woman.

So when both Max and Zach were born, they were assigned Fairy Godmothers. Beverly Allen-Ananins, Maura McAniff Johnson and Lou Paget filled the bill perfectly. So I printed up a form on the internet, wrote down their names and it was official. Both Max and Zach had three very wonderful and fantastic fairy godmothers.

Fast forward five years and Sleeping Beauty. The three Fairy Godmothers (Flora, Fauna and Merryweather) come on the screen.  Max looks at me when Flora, Fauna and Merryweather dance around and sing and he askes if that’s Auntie Bev, Auntie Maura and Auntie Lou.

I thought about it. And I studied the three Godmothers in the film.

 Flora: Flora is always dressed in red. The leader of the group, she helps Fauna and Merryweather make the right decisions. (All I could think was that’s Lou!)

Fauna: A sweet and gentle fairy, Fauna dresses in green. Always eager to help, she only uses magic to help others. (Yes, this is Maura!)

Merryweather: A spirited fairy dressed in blue, Merryweather wants to change the way things are for the better. (And, yes, that’s Bev!)

There on the screen in full 1959 technicolor are the kid’s Three Fairy Godmothers in animation. The represent the spirit in which I chose them strength, altruism  and honor. Without realizing it, I chose three of the most important skills I want my son’s to have in these three powerful women.

Max then asked me if his Fairy Godmothers have wings…and I said yes, and they help him to fly.  At 5 he doesn’t understand the concept of love, support and friendship and how that makes us fly – but his mom sure does.  Because the three friends I have chosen as my sons’ fairy godmothers help me to fly.

So next time you watch Sleeping Beauty, stop for a minute when the Fairy Godmothers come on the screen and see who they are in your life.  Maybe you want to assign some Fairy Godmothers! It’s fun and its a fun way to celebrate the powerful and wonderful women in your life with your children.

www.sandrabeck.com

Getting More Quality Time with your Family, By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck

motherhood incorporatedRecently I was trying to plan my year, and then I started laughing. I was struggling to plan my week, much less month or even year.  One thing became clear was that this year I was going to make more time for my family. They need it. I need it.  But the million dollar question was where was I supposed to pull this time from.

I realized that I was doing to much and that I didn’t have to be super mom. Was it terrible for me to ask my son to bring his cereal bowl to the sink. Could I really ask my 2 and 5 year old to pick up the toys with me. The answer was a resounding yes!  It is perfectly fine to ask your spouse and your children to help. As a working mom, I am finding that it means working at home means I can get more done at home and get more stressed. So ask for help, and don’t be shy.

I also realized that I had way to much volunteer work on my plate.  Cooking, attending meetings, changing the world one frosted cupcake at a time is exhausting. I scaled back this year to one charity event at my house and one charity organization a month.  If I don’t go to each meeting, the world and the charity won’t fall apart.  I decided that I would volunteer at activites where I could spend time with my kids volunteering – and if they don’t want the kids at the event I will volunteer somewhere else. Multitasking with this stuff is a must and it teaches your kids to be helpful also.

 I am struggling with leaving work at work – especially because I work in my home. It is all too easy to pop into the office for a few hours when I should be resting, relaxing with my family or just chilling in front of the tv. Moms need downtime too.

So what if your bed isn’t made. I am not asking anyone to live in squalor, but lately I just flip the covers over with a quick tug and if there are lumps -so be it. I sat down and read my child a story instead of tuning the perfect bed. Its just going to get mussed anyway – especially since after reading we wrestled on the bed.

I realized that I had to look at my time as precious – like a banker, or lawyer or doctor – just because I work at home doesnt mean I have to do all the chore – and chores I don’t like to do or don’t want to do can wait or go to the babysitter for extra hours. Hiring the kid down the block to do some of the things I don’t like to do or don’t have time to do is sanity not extravagence. And, it leaves me less tired and with more time to spend with my kids – which is what life is all about!

www.sandrabeck.com

Fear and The New Year by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by sandra beck

One of the most common comments I get from mother’s working from home is “aren’t you afraid?”

The answer is yes. Constantly. But to use the title of a very powerful book by Susan Jeffers – You need to feel the fear and do it anyway.  It is really easy to sit back and be afraid. When you are afraid you don’t have to act. When you are afraid you don’t have to try. You don’t need to do much but hide.

However, the costs of hiding are high. The longer you hide at home, the harder it is to get out.  I have talked to women from all over the US and Canada that have the same issues. Once you go home to raise your kids, its really hard to do anything else. Mostly because you feel you can’t because you are not employed by some “company.” A lot of times we get confidence from the company we work for or the title we hold.

The thought of running your own company scared the heck out of most moms, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Recntly, I watched the holiday specials with my kids and there was a song in one of the claymation Christmas videos. It’s message was simple. Put one foot in front of the other – and soon you’ll be walking out the door!

This is good advice to any mom who is thinking about working from home, who is working from home or who is considering a change in her work environment. We all know as mother’s that baby’s learn to walk by crawling, cruising and toddling. Yes, some stages take longer than others and every child is different. Well the same goes for us.

If you want to make this new year better by changing what you are doing – simply put one foot in front of the other.  And fear, yes that will be with you ever step of the way but use that energy to motivate you, not defeat you.

www.sandrabeck.com

New Year's Resolution by Sandra Beck

I was reading in Body and Soul Magazine this month and they had a poll.  If there was one goal I could accomplish this year what would it be:

A non-surprising 51% said they wanted to lose weight.

24% said they wanted to save money.

14% wanted to learn a new skill

11% wanted to spend more time with friends and family.

I thought about all that for a moment.  I too would like to lose weight.  But that would knock out the second category of saving money. If I lost weight I want to spend more money on new clothes. As for the new skill, I wouldn’t have to because I would be so cute in my skinny body and new clothes.  Spending time with family and friends would be a natch because I would feel so good in my skinny clothes.

So overall, the survey to me was a bust. I am still eating holiday leftovers on January 8 so that kind of blows the whole survey for me!