How to REALLY help a mom in the trenches

I’m not just referring to new moms, although they certainly apply here. But I’m talking about the tired moms. The ones who have one, two, three, four (or more) kids whose days consist of not much more than infant/toddler communication, dirty diapers, endless amounts of laundry, non-stop food preparation, messy buns, yoga pants and not enough showers. These moms can have any number of kids, really, and they can be any combination of ages.

Most advice you find out there about how to help these moms consists of suggestions like bring them a meal, offer to pick up items at the store if they need it, schedule a play date (if you have kids of your own) and the list goes on. None of these are bad ideas….they are certainly helpful. But I want to focus more on how to help these moms on a very personal and emotional level as opposed to just a task-oriented/chore level.

I bring these suggestions from a place of being one of these moms. Things that I have either had done for me by a fellow mom/woman. Things that, frankly, I wish my fellow moms/women would do for me. Things that help me to feel human again.

  • INVITE HER TO BE AN ADULT AGAIN.
    • Being a mom turns your world upside down. Whether or not a woman was in the professional world before children came into the picture is irrelevant. Every woman with children was once a woman without children. And, trust me, she remembers life before her kids regardless of what she says. Of course, she can’t imagine her life without her children and would never change bringing them into this world. But there are certainly pieces of that past life that she misses dearly. Adult conversation. Free time. Eating a meal without being rushed. You get the idea. I think all of us women are guilty of not inviting a certain mom to participate in something because we assume she’s too busy or not interested…because “she just had a baby”, “she has 3 kids”, “her husband is out of town”, “she’s probably too tired”, etc.  I’ll be blunt, these excuses for not extending an invitation are hurtful to her. Maybe you invite her and she legitimately uses one of these excuses and can’t make it. But, trust me, the invitation meant something to her. It let her know that she’s not completely disconnected from the outside world. It made her feel loved and missed by her friends. And it solidified for her that there are friends waiting for her whenever she’s able to make it outside of her bubble. So, keep inviting her to Girl’s Night, asking her for a coffee date, talking about that movie that’s coming out soon and make plans to see it together….even if that means not seeing it opening night. Being a mom, you get sucked into that child-life where life just revolves around your kids’ needs. Moms can lose themselves here not knowing which way is up. Having friends on the other side (either friends without kids or seasoned moms with older kids) to help pull her back over from time to time is an important lifeline. She may be her kids’ mom but she’s not your mom….she’s your friend. Make sure she feels that way.

 

  • ENCOURAGE HER TO USE HER NOT-MOM-BRAIN
    • Mom brain is a very real thing. I’ve told people before that when you’ve been in the trenches for years there are parts of your brain that simply fall out of practice. For me, I notice a distinct difference in my ability to communicate with any sort of eloquence since having kids. I can struggle finding my words when I’m trying to have a conversation with an adult. This is a direct result of not having enough opportunities to utilize my not-mom brain…that part of my brain that has nothing to do with my kids. Those special skills and talents that I excelled at before I had kids lie dormant. So my advice here is related mostly to projects or tasks. If you could really use her insight on a project you’re working on, ask her. If you are looking for someone to take on a specific part of a project such as being on a committee, heading up a committee, building/creating something or collecting data (whatever her specific skill sets are), ask her. Maybe she’ll say no because her plate is too full. But let her be the one to tell you no…don’t assume that you know what her answer will be. And, any “no” you get doesn’t mean never. Ask again when another opportunity comes around. Like I said before, the invitation means something to her. It let’s her know that her skills and talents that she had long before kids are still valuable. These opportunities to dust off old skills and talents, as often as she chooses to take them, will breathe life into her.

 

  • JOIN HER IN THE TRENCHES
    • No, I’m not telling you that you need to go have kids of your own to connect with her. And if you do have kids of your own, I’m not telling you that you have to suffer with her through a challenging season. What I AM saying is don’t become disconnected just because the challenges you face may differ. Make the effort to help when and where you can. These can be small things. Or big things. I’m remembering a time last year, after my third was born, where I was lamenting on social media that all 3 of my kids were sick in some way (fevers, diarrhea, puking, the works). This meant we were on house arrest (something that drives me completely mad). After seeing my post, a friend of mine texted me that she was at Starbucks and to tell her what I wanted. Then she drove it over to my house. She had kids of her own that stayed in the car while she and I stood outside for about five minutes while we chatted (my kids were napping inside). It was small and only took a few minutes but gosh it felt good. You see, it wasn’t about the drink (although that was a delicious by product), it was about a friend empathizing with the challenge I was facing and joining me there, even for just a few minutes. Maybe you have a mom friend who is in a funk or that you just haven’t seen in a while. In my experience, the mommy blues come and go. You know she usually makes a grocery store run every Saturday morning. Meet her there. Walk and talk with her. Maybe she has her kids with her or maybe she doesn’t. It doesn’t matter. You’re there for her. Ultimately, in these circumstances, it’s not always about trying to pull her outside and, instead, meeting her inside. Moms love an excuse to come outside and will embrace them when they are physically and mentally capable. But they aren’t always able to do that. So go to her. Wherever she’s at. Literally and figuratively.

 

I realize that this appears that I’m placing all the burden on you to maintain your friendship with your mom friend in the trenches. I don’t mean it to come across that way. Friendship, after all, is a two-way street. What I’m trying to get at is don’t let her failure to make her wishes/desires known become a reason for you to not reach out to her. Wouldn’t you hate to get 15 years down the road and find out that that friend you once had was really going through a rough time back then and to think maybe a simple extended hand could have helped her? I’ll come to the defense of us moms in the trenches: our minds are rarely on ourselves and our own well-being. We’ll have glimpses of it here and there, sure. But, by and large, our heads just aren’t there. We can barely see ourselves most days. A friend that can help pull us back into view from time to time is a God-send. Be THAT friend.

Some day our loads will be a bit lighter and we’ll be able to pay it forward. Personally, I’m counting down the days 😉

Until next time mommas!

~ Erica

The Waiting Game

First and foremost, YES, I am still pregnant. 6 days from my due date and time is moving at a snail’s pace. But…I digress…

I’ve decided to try and find the joy in these last few days of Little Man being an only child. As exhausting as it is getting out and about, I’m trying to do special things with him daily: mommy and son dates, if you will 🙂 Plus, the more I can walk around and let gravity do it’s thing, the better!

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I took him to the aquarium for his first visit earlier this week. He wasn’t too enamored with anything in particular. I mainly just let him wander around at his own leisure and I followed closely behind. He was, albeit briefly, interested in the sharks OR it was simply the fact that I set his snack bowl on the tank ledge so that he’d have to walk over there to grab it. Regardless, I was certain to snap a picture.

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We may be excited to welcome Baby Girl to the family but this Little Man will always be the one who made me a momma.

Here’s to the next chapter….

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Double the Fun!

Where have I been, you might be wondering? Well I’ve been busy doing the bare minimum in terms of productivity on all fronts: domestic, business, wife-ing, mothering, etc.

So, why no blogging? Well that’s because I’ve been sick as a dog with baby number two!! That’s right. We are expecting again 🙂

We are thrilled!! But I did not experience this sickness and crummy feeling in the first trimester with Little Man so it’s really slowed me down these past several weeks. As I’m about to enter my 14th week, I’m really hoping that the 2nd trimester brings good sleep and a good appetite and that the sickness subsides. Here’s hoping…

Here’s our fun pregnancy announcement that we shared on social media earlier this week…

Photo Credit: Andrea Murphy Photography
Photo Credit: Andrea Murphy Photography

Now the truth behind this photo:

We were taking family photos and throwing in some 12 month pictures of Little Man at the same time. And when we found out we were expecting again then we had to do some sort of fun announcement so I made this cute little sign. We got him all posed and content and then he reached for a nearby acorn on the ground. Of course, it went straight into his mouth when The Husband rushed in and clawed it out!! Then, this face!! Snap, snap, click, click. It was perfect! LOL

So, that’s where I’m at right now. Hoping to feel better soon so I can start feeling like I’m a contributing member to this society again.

Until next time Mommas! 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

When the Balance is Off

I had a near mompreneur breakdown on Saturday! Erica Weddings had 3 weddings this past weekend. My particular wedding was one of the most difficult weddings I had had in quite some time. For no reason really other than it was just a lot of details to manage. Plus, it was a Nigerian wedding which I had never done before so there was some added pressure and stress in that regard since there were so many elements that were completely new to me. On that note, I had spent many, many hours in the days leading up to the wedding working to prepare. More than I usually do.

Going in to Saturday I was already operating on a Little Man deficit – i.e. I had spent more time away from him over the previous 2 days than I had spent with him. So, about mid- Saturday, it hit me! I missed him like crazy and I knew I wouldn’t see him until Sunday morning. I texted The Husband and told him that I missed Little Man so much that I thought I could cry.

It’s moments like those that make me question my entire working mom status. Was the 16 hours on my feet (without eating and barely drinking anything, mind you), away from my husband and child, worth it? I got caught up in that for a bit but was forced to move on as the wedding moved on.

I don’t think those moments will ever stop coming. They are bound to hit me from time to time. And I keep reminding myself that this particular wedding was an exception to the rule. I don’t typically have to work 16 hours on a Saturday for my usual clientele.

So, Sunday and Monday was all about catching up on my rest and catching up on time with Little Man. We did our usual routine of a Sunday afternoon nap together. It’s pretty much the only time he’ll get somewhat snuggly with me and I just love it!

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And, as far as Monday, I did something I haven’t done in a very long time: I didn’t do a shred of work ALL DAY LONG!!! It meant a bigger to-do list for today but it was worth it.

It all comes back to that work vs. personal life balance that I’ve talked about before. I had let the temporary “imbalance” get to me. It takes a constant conscious effort to make it all work.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Sing-a-Long Time

My head is currently about to explode. For many reasons really. But primarily because A) I’m working feverishly to finish up my timeline for my very large wedding this weekend while ensuring that the TWO additional weddings we have going on this weekend are taken care of by my staff and B) because Little Man is currently sitting in his playpen next to me in my office and has all three of his musical toys playing at once. Yes, I’m simultaneously listening to the ABC’s sung by a stuffed dog, a Mozart classical piece playing on a music box and a song about squares being sung by a stuffed lion.

I mean, I love that my kid loves music. But, please son!

I wish I had more time for a thoughtful blog post this week but it’s just not in the cards right now.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Mompreneur Tale: Volume 1

There’s nothing quite like your 9 month old son getting his first bloody nose by launching himself into the edge of your desk while you’re on a phone call with a client.

Here’s the scene….

I answer a phone call from my bride for this weekend. Side Note: I rarely answer phone calls while my son is awake…this story just proves why…but exceptions are made when the bride calling is getting married in 48 hours.

While she and I are talking on speakerphone I hear a big thump and I turn to see Little Man face planted into the bottom lip/edge of my desk. As expected, I had about 2 seconds of eery silence as I waited for the ear piercing cry that was about to ensue. I tried to reach my mute button on my phone in time but I failed.

As a mom and a business owner you suffer with that mental tug of war between being heartbroken that your child is hurt but also embarrassment that a client was caught in the cross hairs to be a witness. So, I rushed to get her off the phone by telling her I’d call her back in a few minutes. She heard the crying. I’m certain she understood. But still, the businesswoman in me hates that I had to do that.

As I picked Little Man up, I notice his nose is bleeding. This must have been some fall, I tell ya!

Five minutes later, Little Man is hardly phased. But GOD FORBID I try to clean the dried blood from his face. Good grief kid!!

I called my bride back within a few minutes while Little Man sat on my lap with his paci in his mouth, still sniffling from the remnant tears. Life goes on, right?

Anyway, that’s my textbook Mompreneur moment of the day. What a crazy life we lead!

And now the kid doesn’t want to be anywhere except on my lap which makes writing blog posts very hard as he’s constantly reaching for the keyboard.

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P.S. I’m anticipating many more tales like this to come. Look for Volume 2 to be posted sooner rather than later.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

When It Rains, It Pours

I could say I mean this literally considering the amount of rain and bad weather Oklahoma has gotten recently. But, for the sake of this blog post, I’m talking figuratively.

Where shall I begin?

…my business email is only functioning at about 50% right now

…my outdoor wedding this weekend is having to be restructured due to recent and impending rain (pair this with the email issue and you might catch a glimpse of my current state of frustration!!)

Shall I go on?

…I am struggling with a head cold

…which I have now passed on to Little Man

…to make matters worse, Little Man is teething

…therefore, Little Man is sleeping minimally

Can somebody please pass me an adult beverage laced with Nyquil? Nevermind, I’m breastfeeding. Sigh.

That is all, my friends. That. Is. All.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma