I have added a work at home mom listing to this blog. Many times we as moms take on part time work from home to add some additional income to the household and to give us something to focus on other than mothering our children. So I’ve begun a listing here at this site as sort of a one-stop area for anyone who is looking for a new, part or full time career. This is not an exclusive list, if you are a representative for a company but you see another representative listed that doesn’t mean you can’t be listed as well. This is a site that promotes cooperation and support, not competition. If you would like to add your business to the listing simply leave a comment with your business name, your name, website and phone number and I’ll add it to the list!
Several wonderful things have happened in my life lately! I thought I would take a few moments to share with you some of these developments!
First of all I have decided to join the Roger’s Cable First Local Stratford volunteer team as a reporter. I will also be doing some videography and editing behind the scenes and I will be helping our producer, Katia Maxwell with the blog! I’m excited about this. It’s a fun opportunity and what a way to insert myself back into the community again after six years of stay at home parenting!
I’ve also become a regular contributer for Attachment Parenting International’s website, posting to their blog twice a month! This is a fun gig. I’ve wanted to start writing about parenting issues but didn’t know if I could maintain another blog(I already have three) but I’ve been involved with the Mothering Magazine community for a long time, first as a member and now as a moderator and I’ve learned a lot about attachment parenting and I’ve had a lot of practice in real life. This is a great opportunity for me to share some insights into my vision of what attachment parenting and gentle discipline looks like in practice. You can find my parenting articles by clicking on the nice little badge in my sidebar!
More recently I received an invitation from Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge MD, Phd. to become a regular contributing member of the Wellsphere community’s Health Blogger Network. I will be a featured health blogger contributor. One of my other blogs is a wellness/weightloss/body image blog and this is the blog that will be featured on Wellsphere . I’m very excited to be a part of this network. This Wellsphere community boasts 6 million in traffic monthly. Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge’s credentials include teaching at Harvard and Stanford and he is the founder of WebMD. I’m very honoured to have been invited to be a part of this team! Again there is a lovely badge in my sidebar to click to see my work there! You can also click my blog that will be linked to that site Weighless and Weightless
The main purpose of Other Than Mother is to promote women to expand their lives beyond their mothering role. Personal Growth is a part of life. We live, we make mistakes, we are dealt difficulties and we learn and move forward and grow. Women with children have a wonderful opportunity for growth in that their lives are so entangled in the lives and needs of those who depend on them that they become very good at flexibility, decision making, living in the moment, growing, teaching, learning, forgiving, asking forgiveness, letting go and holding on tight. They learn valuable lessons within the mothering role.
Because women are biologically designed to be attached, bonded and protective of their children it often becomes a dilemma for them when they wish to do something for themselves. In fact society itself, even this more modern liberal society I live in here in Canada sets women up for the rock and the hard place once they become mothers. It says “yes you can be and do whatever you want as a woman, the doors are open, the glass ceiling has been broken” but it still contains the old ideals that women need to make the nest, keep it clean and feed the birdies while daddy plays a secondary role in this.
And the hard reality is you can’t leave the children alone and go to a meeting or attend a seminar so the time needs to be carved out. When women choose to do something to connect with themselves, to take a proactive approach in their own personal growth it is often their partners who have to step up and give their time to the children. Good. That’s how it’s supposed to be. The opportunity to be a parent is a gift. Share that gift with the person you are partnered with. The very first step we as women need to take is to tell our partners what we intend to do and then do it. I don’t ask my partner to watch his children, I let him know that I have something to do. I am very fortunate that my partner supports me in all I want to do because he knows and trusts that my priorities are the same as his and that our family benefits from a happy and fulfilled me. He knows this because he’s seen how cranky a bored and unfulfilled me can be and he likes happy me much better!
Let others care for your children. If you have a partner give him the opportunity to be the parent he or she should be and is capable of being. Allow your children the benefit of having both parents take care of them. If you don’t have a partner seek assistance from extended family and others who love your children and will give their time to you and them. If that isn’t an option then hire someone should finances allow. And finally, if those options aren’t available to you go to the library and buy books on personal growth and self reliance and read while the children play until those options become available. Playgroups got me through those times. I grew as a parent and a woman while sitting with other mothers and just being in their company and experiencing their support. Your reality now isn’t likely your reality forever and personal growth is a journey and down the road you will find that time alone that you seek.
This is a journey. Whether you are new to the journey or whether you have the experience of moving back into yourself after the struggle, we are all women seeking growth opportunities and the key word here is “personal” and you have your challenges and they are as individual and wonderful as you are!
Mommy Burnout is a common phenomenon these days. Mothers often, in an effort to be all things to all people, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day for long periods of time, experience a crash. This is a feeling of being trapped, of having no escape, of having despair and it leads to resentment of their situation, their families, and their lives. It can become a downward spiral into a form of depression. With a proactive approach, however, it can be avoided. With the support of a spouse, family, friends and others around you, mothers can avoid this burnout. Here are ten ways to set yourself up for success as a mother and avoiding mommy burnout!
1. Ask for help. In today’s industrialized society, women are often left to fend for themselves when they become mothers. Long gone are the days of the community of women that surrounded a new mother gathered round to pitch in and help. Now women get a stream of visitors rather than a stream of helpers when baby comes. I hear story after story of women who were expected to take care of guests shortly after giving birth. When you become a mother, ask for help from people. Assign jobs to them; give them something to do, let them take care of you. Carry on this tradition the entire time your children are with you, it will serve you well. And when your children are older and life becomes a little less hectic, remember the things that helped you the most as a mother and do that for another mother when she needs it.
2. Exercise. Regular activity is like insurance. Mothering is one of the most demanding jobs on the planet and strength and endurance are highly important. Walking is the easiest and most versatile way to get exercise, sturdy shoes, a baby carrier, stroller, older kids on bikes or if you can arrange it, a walk alone, while kids stay with grandma or dad or a neighbour is ideal. If you want to combine this with some social time invite your spouse or a friend along but make sure the walking is the priority.
3. Eat well. It’s well worth the effort to prepare and eat a garden variety salad everyday. Salads take a while to eat so you get to sit for a few minutes, a luxury most mothers appreciate. Throw two fruits into your day as well and keep sweets and junk food out of the house. You are setting a good example for your children and giving yourself nutrition at the same time.
4. Lower your standards. You do not need to polish the door knobs. You do not need to dust everyday and you do not need to have everything perfect all the time. If something has to give let it be the housekeeping. A perfectly tidy and clean home is nice to have but if you don’t enjoy keeping it that way, let it go a little. Set your home up so that it’s simple to care for, get rid of clutter instead of dealing with it daily and get your family involved in the day to day maintenance of the home. Kids are happy to help if you do it as a group job instead of a chore they have to do themselves. An evening tidy, everybody in the kitchen after dinner with a specific purpose instead of just mom, goes a long way to feeling less like a servant and more like team leader of the family!
5. Nourish your relationship with your partner. If you have a partner, and you love this partner, or even more importantly you like this partner, make time to spend time with him or her. Sometimes this feels like more giving to a mother who has given everything all day long, however if you look at it as something you do for yourself, then it becomes fulfilling and part of taking care of yourself. Often a woman’s libido takes a hit after her children come and if this has happened to you, look into ways to get it back. A fulfilling sexual life can be a gift and is highly effective at preventing burnout! Having fun, being a woman, instead of a mother, will work wonders for your attitude and ability to avoid burnout. If you are single, it’s ok to date and spend time with other people who might become partners. Give yourself permission to be happy.
6. Learn to say no. First of all you need to learn that it’s ok to say no and secondary to that you need to learn how to do so. Once you’ve accepted that it is ok, and it is, then saying so simply requires practice. “I’m overextended right now” is often true. Women often make the mistake of saying yes when it’s not in their best interest to do so. Saying no doesn’t make you selfish, it simply frees you to be good at the things you need to do for your family. You don’t have to say no to everything, just to the things that you really can’t or don’t want to or don’t have time to do. It’s about balance. And once you’ve said no, let go of the guilt. It serves no one, not you and not your family.
7. Sleep. This is a big one. Exercise, nutrition, stress reduction, all of the above will often encourage good sleep. Babies who frequently nurse often interfere with our sleep. Everybody in the family needs good quality sleep, learn to nurse lying down, learn to sleep sitting up, both of these help mothers get more sleep when babies are little. Hire babysitters and take naps. Hand baby to daddy and take a nap. Drop kids at grandmas and take a nap. Do whatever you need to do to get the sleep you need. Sleep deprivation will lead to mommy burnout more than just about anything else. Do whatever you need to do to get you some.
8. Enjoy the mundane. There will always be chores, there will always be work, enjoy them. Let your children see a mother who vacuums while dancing to rock music, who sings while gardening, who smiles while cleaning up a spill. Some days it’s easier than others, so start practicing on the good days and consciously work at it on the bad days. Instil joy into the mundane and see how it changes things for your family and for yourself!
9. Let go of guilt and worry. Just let them go. They add nothing to your quality of life, nothing to your family and when you find a worrisome thought in your head, change to something positive! Write in a journal, meditate, listen music, do whatever it takes to spend less time in wasted worry and guilt and fill yourself up with optimism and joy. The change will do you nothing but good!
10 Schedule regular and fulfilling activities for yourself. This is the most important thing you can do to avoid mothering burnout. This should be something you love to do, maybe take a course on something you always wanted to learn, work on a hobby you love, read a book, listen to a lecture, whatever your passion is, whatever your bliss may be, schedule one hour per week to do this. Hire a babysitter, leave your husband at home with the kids and just go do it. It should be child free and it should be off site. When babies are new, they can often go for a couple of hours without mommy, if you can’t leave them for long, bring them with you in a carrier and let them nurse while you do your thing or have someone take them for a walk nearby while you do your thing. Whatever you have to do to make it work, take that time. Often knowing you will have that few hours to do the thing you love will get you through the tough times, just like the weekend coming up gets one through the work week.
Mommy burnout can be avoided by knowing your children come first and doing that by making sure that the person they need the most, you, is the priority. No child wants a sick mother, if you do not take care of your needs you cannot effectively take care of theirs. The human soul is a vessel and you cannot give of yourself if your soul is empty. Spend some time filling it up, you will have more to give your children and will stay the strong and happy team leader your family needs!
When I started planning the first event for my Other Than Mother initiative, the movie screening of The Shift, I was so excited. I was talking to a friend of mine online and she said, having much experience in organising such events for mothers, you will have 10-12 people interested, you will have 5 that will be definite, several moms will have last minute child care issues, 1 will get sick and someone will show up that you hadn’t expected. But the ones that show up will be the cream of the crop. My friend(you know who you are) was exactly right, down to a cancellation due to a migraine and a cancellation for childcare.
We had 7 attendees including me. With such a small group I thought I would give a brief bio of each of them because they have such wonderful lives and experiences to share. Truly the cream of the crop!
Let’s start with the surprise guest. Her name is Colleen. She is visiting Canada from Australia for a year. She came to spend that time with her dad and brought along her three children. She is obviously, from the brief conversations we had, highly intelligent and well-versed in the ideas of Dr. Wayne Dyer and other personal growth gurus. Please send me your email Colleen, I forgot to get it last night but I think you will read this at some point! I would love to get to know you better and have you at some of our future events before you go back home!
Then there was my sister, Marie. Marie has three daughters, my wonderful neices Megan, Michelle and Abigail. I have been so fortunate to have her and the two younger girls as my house guests this past week. Marie graduated from University with a degree in recreational phys-ed and also has a photography diploma and a business diploma from further studies over the years. Most recently she applied to become an RCMP officer! How brave, at 41, to even try such a venture but with the support of her family she is making a huge shift. She will do the physical fitness test in August. If she is accepted she will begin a rigourous 26 week training in Regina, Saskatchewan. Her kids will miss her but what an inspiration for her daughters! I’m very proud of her.
Then there is Deb. Deb is a dear friend and the former editor of a community newspaper. That’s where we met, back when I was manager of another department at the same newspaper. We spent many weekends together travelling to Great Big Sea concerts and making complete fools of ourselves and laughing incessantly. Deb now has a grand daughter who is the same age as my youngest daughter so we’ve got other more important games to play now. Deb went back to school when her daughter was young to study journallism. She is a brilliant and funny writer however after being “downsized” with a decent severance she decided to take a bit of a sabatical. As a result of that she studied meditation at the local Dharma centre and became a student of Buddhism. She now works at the Waterloo Regional Dharma Centre organising retreats and events. She is so happy in her work and it allows her the freedom to visit her granddaughter in Toronto frequently!
Roxanne is a friend of mine from here. Originally from Toronto, she and her husband moved to Kitchener for ten years before finally realising their dream of owning a farm. They bought a farm just outside of Tavistock where I live and they have one daughter, Hannah. Her interests lie in organic farming, sustainable living, natural food and green lifestyle choices. She will likely grow organic crops on her property down the road but right now her focus is on her very young daughter. She has a quiet intelligence and peaceful essence. We see each other weekly at our playgroups with the kids and I always look forward to it.
Darleen is my yoga teacher. She is trained in Aruveda and Yoga and several of us here in town invited her to come teach us some basic yoga. She is so warm and such a gentle, patient teacher, after half a dozen sessions we were all able to perform some basic yoga, enough to do a flow or routine for certain occasions, I regularly do sun salutations in the morning or other poses to aid in posture and flexibility. I love how she teaches authentically incorporating the meditative/spiritual aspects of the practice. Yoga is addictive. You feel better when you do it so you can’t stop once you learn. She has two children who blessed us with their presence about halfway through the movie. They were incredibly well behaved. Darleen’s child care option fell through but knowing how much she wanted to come, and knowing how quiet her children could be, they were welcomed as well.
Dr. Tanya Chambers is a chiropractor who owns the facility we used for our screening. She has two small children and her husband, also a chiropractor, works with her at the Stratford Wellness & Chiropractic Centre. The centre hosts a variety of events, for the community and Tanya is a well known presence around the city for her involvement in community events. She was completely generous in her time and allowed me to use the space free of charge, a gift I will be forever grateful for. Her husband currently is sporting a fractured arm so she is covering for him as he heals, taking care of his patients as well as her own. I’m in awe of her ability to do so with such calm and acceptance.
After the movie we chatted about as we ate some refreshements and socialised. I believe everyone enjoyed the move greatly, I know I did. It was actually the first time I had sat through it in its entirety uninterrupted. Tanya asked to borrow it which is exactly what we’re supposed to do. Pass it on. I consider that a success right there.
On the way home my sister and I had a long talk about it. The theme of spirituality that runs through the movie, the thread of hope and peace that runs through the characters as they make the shift from a life of ambition of strife and struggle for excess to a life of acceptance and peace seemed to speak to all of us equally but for different reasons.
I was reading a blog the other day that my friend writes and she had been speaking with a Cherokee Chief who put it this way. “Spirituality is God speaking to man, Religion is man speaking to God”. How very profound and how very true. They are not mutually exclusive however the first is much easier for man because we simple need to be quiet, sit and allow, no rules, no regulations, no struggle.
So with greatest gratitude to the universe, wise Cherokee chiefs, my friends, and Dr. Wayne Dyer I say
It seems official now. The press has contacted me several times about my press release and an announcement will be made in the local paper about the movie screening as well as the Other Than Mother initiative. The editor, a woman, seemed interested in where the money for the tickets would be going. As I had to purchase the movie and will be providing refreshments I believe $5 to be a nominal fee. I definitely am not doing this for profit! I do hope that I will reap the benefits of discussing personal growth of mothers in a different manner, with a wealth of ideas for the book I’ve been working on.
The book was started nearly a year ago and came to a stand still in November when I wrote a novel. I’ve found it difficult to piece together what I’m trying to say in the book. I want it to be a quick, informative read about what makes it difficult for women with children to fulfill their own needs, how often we search for meaning at the girls night out at the bar(which I have no objection to if you need a fun night out) or a massage or just time away from our children. Making the assumption though, that for most women this doesn’t fulfill them in anyway, just provides a break, is somewhat arrogant I suppose but I do trust that women have larger roles to fulful beyond mother. Maybe larger isn’t the correct phrase either. What I’m thinking is that we have something else to offer that leads us away from the martyr trap of motherhood into the well-rounded woman who happens to be a wonderful, fantastic mother and role model to her children.
As part of the initiative I am also hoping to give something to the fathers. A chance to be all they can be as caretakers as well. I believe men have a lot more to give as nurturers than they have ever been given credit for. I think the opportunity to have the time to prove themselves able is imperative to the health of the entire family and of benefit to the mother.
I’m also hoping that when women return home after the movie, they will have found a way to not be upset at their husbands if the house is not as clean and tidy as when they left it or if the house is tidier, not to feel inadequate. Remember we all have our own strengths and weaknesses to deal with and allowing our partners, male or female to be flawed is very important to personal growth.
I am very much looking forward to the event and hope to sell some more tickets. So far I’ve only had one iquiry. My posters aren’t up yet so maybe that will help. I go tomorrow to 9 places around town to post. And the papers come out on Wednesday and Thursday with my notices in them. I’ll keep you posted!
The Shift is a new movie starring Dr. Wayne Dyer along with award winning actress Portia De Rossi and directed by Michael Goojian. Beautiful Asilomar, California is the backdrop for this movie, a collection of several different storylines interwoven by the narration of Dr. Wayne Dyer as he teaches about life, love, happiness and peace.
I chose this as my first Other Than Mother event because I felt it would be a great spring board to launch women into the journey to personal growth and discovery. The story line of one particular character in the film exactly mirrors the dilemma faced by many women who have become mothers and lost who they really are as people.
The goal of Other Than Mother is to help women discover what it is that they love to do and try to do it. Many women try to find their escape in superficial care taking, a manicure, a massage, a spa day, a shopping day but this type of event often has its place but it is only a temporary escape.
Fitting in time for the passion of your life, whatever it is, a career, a hobby, sailing, running, writing, drawing is of utmost importance to the health of the woman and the family unit.
I liken the mother of the family to the rudder of a boat. She keeps everybody on course. But if she’s not cared for, damaged, bent the boat will not steer in the right direction.
So the first step is identifying the passion. The first seminar after the movie will be on that exact topic. The speakers will be women who have found what they are passionate about and are doing it with family support and cooperation.
We, as mothers, are all things to all people. But within this truth we often forget we must be all things to ourselves. As mothers we often get bogged down in the day to day tasks of caring for our children, our lives are wrapped up emotionally and physically as well as spiritually within this most important role, that is at the same time, our most undervalued role. As so much pollen on the wind we often find that in placing our hearts and our lives at the beck and call of these beautiful creatures we lose the sense of ourselves we were born with. We lose our zest, our joy for things that are completely ours to love. We forget to laugh and jump and play for ourselves, and wind up a player in the games of other people.
It’s not all our fault. We’ve been trained to and biology determines that our instincts adhere us to our children for the protection of the species. But the human animal is blessed with a conscious mind and the desire to fulfill our own destiny is strong and often in conflict with our lives leaving us empty at the end of the day.
Carving out time for our own personal joy and growth is imperative to our self-actualization as a human being. We have to let go of the idea that we are in this alone and reach out to other women to connect and learn and grow, beyond our parenting roles.
Other Than Mother is my initiative to get women doing just that. My goal is to have women all over the world organise events that explore this idea so that other women will be motivated and given the opportunity to express their own growth and development outside of their mothering roles.
The very first event for Other Than Mother takes place on June 5th, 2009 in Stratford Ontario. It is the movie screening of The Shift, a new film starring Dr. Wayne Dyer, that explores personal growth and a shift away from doing into being who you authentically are. Several of the storylines are particularly relevant for women. There will be discussion, social time after the movie.
A series of such events will allow mothers to remove themselves physically from their mothering roles. As these events unfold they will be talked about and reported on here in this space.