Encouragement, Handy Tools & Advice, Random Thoughts

Never lose sight of who you really are… trust in yourself

wom·an·hood
ˈwo͝omənˌho͝od/
noun
  1. the state or condition of being a woman.

What seems to be missing from the above is the mention of ‘superhuman with the ability to play multiple roles at the same time’ – don’t you think?

Somehow in the midst of being everything to everyone, we reach a point where we start to lose sight of who we really are. We allow the opinions of others affect us and we give in to the pressure of the feeling that we’re ‘not good enough’. As women, we put ourselves through numerous attempts of changing ourselves, ‘making ourselves better’ with the hope of feeling better about ourselves and accomplishing acceptance amongst others.

Throughout life, you’re surrounded by others guiding you through it all, ideally providing you with the necessary life skills to keep you strong against all the ‘bad’ outside there in the real world. Sometimes, you find yourself surrounded by people that aren’t in it for the enrichment of life, but rather for personal gain. A matter of ‘what can I get out of this relationship’? These people add even more pressure to our lives on top of what we already experience as women.

You must be sexy, you must be smart, you must be nice… things that don’t add value to life or your worth as a woman. You also have to be a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an employee – each role with sub-roles that you have to fulfill. You, as a woman have to be so many things to so many people! Are you relating to what I’m saying right now; nodding your head thinking ‘yes, she gets me?!’

I think it’s due to the fact that most woman, especially when going through the dual journey of motherhood and womanhood, find themselves in this particular situation like the one that I’ve just described. You got to deal with all this pressure, sometimes hearing that ‘you’re not good enough’. Meanwhile, all you want to do is gain acceptance for you – just that, being your true self. That in itself is being something great, isn’t it?! It completely shatters you as a woman, as a human, when your self-worth, your self-esteem gets knocked down as you get consumed by the pressure and the obsession of trying to be SuperWoman.

Wouldn’t it be the most tragic tale ever written if the treasure of a human being that you really are and the talent that you possess was buried under the mountain of opinions and expectations of others?

“You’re a bad mother. You’re a terrible wife. You’re an awful friend.” You’re just plain, no darn good if you try and do anything whatsoever that makes you happy. Sound familiar? Those thoughts have run through my mind before… “Don’t you dare do something for yourself, forget to do the washing or take your eyes of your children for one second! You better be there… all… the… time.” That’s the messaging that mothers get. Did you know that this particular message has the power, the ability to drive someone totally insane whilst she tries to be everything and do everything?!

The most important skill that you as a woman can have in protecting yourself against losing sight of who you really are and keeping your happiness is to learn to trust in yourself. Stop hating yourself for everything that you aren’t and start loving yourself for everything you already are. You have the right to be happy!

As a fellow woman, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend and so on – I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve never tried to make myself better by giving in; giving into the pressure of it all, because I have. Sometimes I still do, even if it’s just to keep the peace momentarily. We’re only human and it will happen occasionally. What I’m saying is don’t let it consume you.

Never underestimate the investment you make in yourself. You have the right to be happy in life and in yourself. It is what fuels you from the inside. Your happiness in yourself is what sets the tone for every relationship you have in this world. The more you work on it, the better life will become. Don’t lose your way, lose sight of your true self and what makes you happy.

Be wise, learn from your past mistakes, take better care of yourself and ensure that you do what makes you happy. That gives you the ability to take care of others at the capacity that is required in life as a woman and all the numerous roles that we play on a daily basis.

Surround yourself with people you can grow with and avoid the people who are only in it for personal gain. Motherhood… womanhood… it’s considered a tribe. The most important thing we must remember is that we can learn from one another and support one another.

Stay true to yourself. Trust yourself. Never lose sight of who you really are. And know, that others, your fellow tribe members and your true people will always have your back.

Much love,
Chantelle

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Encouragement, Random Thoughts

Breath & Know… that you are good enough!

This past week I came across a blog post written by one of my favourite local blogger mama’s, Cass from leatherjacketfoxes.com titled “The lies we believe as women” upon which I found myself reading the post that touches on a matter that myself and a dear friend were discussing earlier in the week – comparison. (If you do have a moment, be sure to head over to Cass’ blog and sniff around.) In her post, she focuses on the ‘little lies’ that we as women tend to tell ourselves.

 

For example: ‘I’m not a good mother’, ‘I’m failing my husband as a wife and life partner’, ‘I’m not attractive enough. I wish I could look more like her’ or ‘I work so hard, and yet my best is just not good enough’.

 

In the modern world that we live in today, with social media keeping us connected 24/7 to what others around us showcase as the highlight reel of their lives, it’s become easier for us (women) to swing the wrecking ball called comparison against our self-esteems. We compare our lives, our appearance, our lifestyles, our possessions, our careers with those that we seem to have the need to be ‘connected’ with. On top of that wrecking ball  I see a wicked little witch sitting and enjoying every moment as we break down our confidence, our ambition, our self-love and appreciation of what we’ve been blessed with in life. The outcomes of the comparison game in which we continuously find ourselves in leads us to believe the little lies that we tell ourselves (I used to call them my demons, quite dramatic I know, but Cass’ manner in calling them lies really changed my view on them) causing an unhealthy manner of dealing with our emotions, interaction with others around us and situations that we find ourselves in.

 

Upon the age of nearly 30 (yes, I’m turning THIRTY this year… eeeccckk!), I’ve realised over the past year or so that these little lies combined with the unfortunate personality trait of having other’s opinion influence my personal views on my own value caused many internal insecurities that kept me away from the potential that God has given me. In taking small steps like evaluating my feelings, the value of other’s opinions and rationalizing the emotional effects thereof I’ve learnt to adapt through (the only way that I can explain it) building a filter for these little lies. In return, it has spared me great heartache and given me the strength and ambition to realise the numerous blessings that I have received in my life, to work hard for my dreams by using my potential and skills, and to enjoy every moment that life throws my way. In Cass’ words: “We no longer become slaves to our lies or insecurities, instead we become free and empowered in who God has called us to be, despite our flaws.”

 

Don’t get me wrong, we’re only human and in being human we are flawed – we are not perfect. Thus, every now and again when I find myself tired, overloaded and weak in a situation where one of those horrible little lies knock on the door and say ‘hello’, I  blindingly open that door without looking at who (or what’s) knocking and get slapped in the face with the aftermath of feeling insecure. It is in those instances where the love of those close to you step in to reassure you of your worth. I would not be the woman that I am today without those in my life that I hold so dearly and it is in those moments of weakness and insecurity that they are the ones that hold me upright, dust off the insecurities and push me in the right direction.

 

There are numerous ways on how we as women can guard ourselves against these little lies, and I urge you to do so as it is on us to teach ourselves the necessary skills of protecting our self-esteem so that we may carry them over to our daughters (and sons) for them to effectively know how to deal with the challenges of self-esteem. They are growing up in a world of information overload that can cause emotional overload at the snap of your fingers.

 

Now… take a look back at the examples of little lies that I gave in this post and understand that the golden thread through each and every one of those little lies boils down to telling yourself ‘I’m not good enough’. Today, I’d like to say that the statement of ‘I’m not good enough’ cannot be further from the truth! Look in the mirror, breath and know that you are good enough! Tell yourself that each and every morning. Go the extra mile… put on a daring lip colour and take on life knowing that you are worthy of all your desires, your blessings and if you ever feel weary and weak from your insecurities I dare you to just look at the expression of your child(ren) when you look at them and you’ll see the love and appreciation there solidifying the fact that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!

 

Ps. If it makes any difference at all, know that the examples of little lies given in this post are the insecurities that I’ve dealt with for as long as I can remember. I’m by no means sharing this insight with you to obtain any affirmation but am being open and transparent with you. 

 

Lots of love, Chantelle

xxx

Encouragement

A letter to you, the working mom

I felt to write this letter to myself as a reminder that all I do as a mother, wife, employee, daughter, sister and individual does not go unnoticed. I stopped at all I do as a mother in your average working day as we might sit here forever if I had to write for all aspects of my life. Thought to share it with you in the hopes that you realise that you’re not alone in the daily struggle of balancing life and the little things that we think is major seem quite insignificant compared to the small gestures our loves ones show us on a daily basis.

This letter is to you, the working mom. The one that leaves behind a piece of your heart at home everyday to support your family, to set an example of responsibility for your children and to achieve success in your career. Never forgetting the sacrifices of leaving your loved ones behind as you kiss them goodbye every morning.

This is for you, the one with her feet in both worlds. Never feeling quite 100% present in either of them. Hoping that you could get through at least half of your never-ending to-do list before its bedtime. Or even better, not needing any sleep then you’d get it all done! 

To you, waking up at all hours of the night to make sure everyone is having a peaceful night with extra blankets just in case it gets cold. To you, the one that decides to quickly do a load of washing whilst everyone’s asleep and climbs back into bed – just as the little one wakes up. You, the one who doesn’t want to wake the rest of the house, so you get out of bed again and tend to your little one’s needs. To you, the mom who sits with her child to get them back to sleep all over again except this time you can’t fall asleep yourself. 

This is to you, the one who can shower, get dressed and do your hair/makeup in 5.4 minutes right before your liftclub arrives. To you, the mom who can do all this in 5.4 minutes while also getting making sure you’ve freshly ironed clothing for all or quickly folding up the laundry from your early laundry session. You, the mom that can even keep a toddler happy by practising your 12pm presentation while channeling the energy levels and voice of Mickey Mouse. 

This is to you, the mom who walks a fine line between hurrying your slow-paced child and losing your patience because of the fact that everything…takes…so…bladdy…long. To you, the one who smiles big when that slow-paced child shows you her crayon drawing, even though you know you’re already 15 minutes behind schedule. You, the mom who gets all the necessary bags packed and the lunches made and everyone loaded in the car and buckled up, and as they’re about to head out of the driveway you realize you forgot to pack in diapers for potty training classes. 

This is to you, the mom who runs back inside the house, grabs the diapers, stuffs it in the school bag and turns around to get back to the car – as you hear her say: ‘pee-pee mama’. To you, the mom that sits the child on the potty, and waits. You, the mom who waits and waits and waits even though nothing happens. 

This is to you, the mom who does it all, reacts only with a heavy sigh, and repeats the entire ridiculous process all over again.  To you, the one who always puts the school bag on the passenger seat – the only one that knows why it must be placed on that exact seat.

This letter is to you, the mom who stops at school for drop off, hands over a sad toddler with arms reaching for you and disappointment on her little face. To you, the mom who puts on a brave face even though your throat is tight from sadness in leaving your little one in this state. 

This is to you, the mom who turns around and goes to give your little one a proper hug goodbye. To you, the one who lets go second as she noticed breakfast being served in her classroom. You, the mom who glances down at her clothing and notices a few smudges of this morning’s quick yogurt on her pants and blouse. 

This is to you, the mom who opts for the bathroom before going into the office, trying to get out the stains – no such luck. To you, the one who gets one with work, but still wondering how your little angel’s day is going and if she’s missing you as much as you are missing her? To you, the one who delivers that 12pm presentation and rocks it even with a few smudges and stains on your clothes. 

This is to you, the mom who turns down drinks with your co-workers. To you, the one who knows it would take too long and you have too much to do and you just can’t stay later because being a mom doesn’t make allowances at daycare for you to have drinks with friends for fun. You, the mom who hears the details from friends laughing at something together as they return from drinks, and you put your headphones on because you wish you were laughing too

This is to you, the one who gets everything done that needs to be done and still leaves with just enough time to get home to prepare supper. To you, the one who inches your way through traffic and cranks up the radio when ‘Groovin’ from UB40 comes on. You, the one who quickly greets her lift club and hurries inside because you can’t stand to wait any longer. 

This is to you, the one who missed those dainty fingers wrapped around your face and that little voice saying ‘ hello, mama’. To you, for when she looks into your eyes and shines a bright smile just for you. You, for when your heart feels complete.

This is to you, the mom who tidies up the house with a two year old on your hip, makes dinner while your partner runs little ones bath, then feeds the child and almost forgets to feed yourself. To you, the one who baths and plays, gets her little princess dressed and tucks her into bed. You, the one who tucks her into bed again… and again… and again…. and again! 

This is to you, the one who finally collapses on the couch with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee for that last bit of energy to do another tidy-up before bedtime. To you, the mom who quickly catches up on her email, who sees a few mails from your boss.. and your boss’s boss. This is to you who opens up the emails adding the to-do’s to your already long list of to-do’s for tomorrow in your mind whilst gulping the last bit of wine. You that crafts a polite and witty reply and pushes send as you close your screen and head to bed. 

This is to you, The Working Mom. 

Your child(ren) may not see everything you do. Maybe not even your partner. But I see….you. 

This is to you, mom. For doing all of the above and more! For getting up at 5am the next morning to do it all over again. 

Chantelle
xxx

Encouragement

3 ways your kids benefit from a working mom

I remember the week prior to going back to work. I was completely stressed out, beyond exhausted and emotionally drained – not the best space to be in when you have to be in top form for work! When mamas of newborn babies return to work there’s always an element of worry about your little one’s future.

According to a few studies made in the US, back-to-work stress has been found to be an unnecessary event that mother’s put themselves through as children with working mothers greatly benefit from their mom’s go-getting ambition. The next generation of kids with working mamas will shift the thinking gender inequality in the workforce, earning a higher income and achieving more success as they climb the career ladder.

There are mainly three benefits that your kids will have if you’re a working mom:

Your little superhero will close the Gender Gap

It has been found that men raised by working moms are more likely to help their other halves with the daily chores around the house and with the kids. This means that both parents will have enough time to explore their careers, spend time with the family and ultimately diminish the gap in gender inequality.

In our home we split household chores and tasks relating to our daughter. It was never set in stone or anything, but we’re partners in everything that we do – that includes helping one another out when you see your partner needs an extra hand or when extra family time is needed.

Your little princess could be the next Boss Lady

Ever wondered what your little girl will be when she’s all grown up? If you’re a working mom, chances are good that she’ll be a natural leader and possibly the next Boss Lady, earning a higher salary than that of her peers. That means she’ll be an independent woman, no matter what industry or career path she decides to follow. Now who doesn’t want that type of assurance?

I’m a perfect example of this. My mom has been a working lady since she was only 16 years old. Almost 40 years later and she’s still working and enjoying herself while doing it. At first I couldn’t understand why she was always working and I hardly got to see her in the day, but today I fully understand and am entirely grateful to her as she provided me with so many opportunities that she never had. This equipped me with the skills and knowledge to succeed in my career path and following her drive and ambition now pushes me to succeed in anything that I set my mind to. Thanks Mom! 🙂

The balancing act will be restored to 50/50 at home

Normally, male adults with working moms have working wives too. This means a two wage-earning family that provides a positive influence on the children with a brighter future, whereby both parents equally contribute both financially and emotionally at home. This sets a great balance at home for the entire family whereby everyone pulls the advantage.

Again, our home falls into this category and even though its not always that simple and easy to manage, it definitely does make life easier when two salaries are available to contribute to the family needs. It also teaches our daughter structure, discipline and responsibility when she knows that both her parents are contributing towards our family, society and country’s future.

So instead of feeling guilty when going back to work or judging another mother for making this decision, lets support one another to achieve our personal goals whilst still being the best parent that we can be.

Chantelle
xxx

Encouragement

5 ways to balance motherhood and ambition

A mom’s work is never done. Fact. After a long day at the office, your second shift starts at home where loved ones look forward to a good homecooked meal and some quality time with the family. The same can be said for you, but before you know it you’re rushing through a neverending list of to-do’s at home resulting in another exhausting day.

I can’t help but to think about the movie ‘I don’t know how she does it’ starring Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP). She plays an ambitious mother and wife struggling to find the perfect balancing act for both work and family. If you haven’t watched it yet, I’m sure you’d be able to relate to her character.

Finding time to do it all is one of the most difficult tasks for any working mom as time management becomes critical in getting everything that needs to be done ticked off on your ever-growing to-do list. In the movie, SJP’s character finds herself laying awake at night making up her to-do lists.

If you can relate to this, then I’d encourage you to try the following 5 ways that you can balance motherhood and your ambition to succeed at work, more effectively:

1. Be efficient with your time

Try to be as efficient as possible – meaning don’t feel that you have to do everything by yourself and try to find alternative ways to do your tasks that would save you time

– Limit any distractions that may lead you down the path of procrastination (a habit that I still tend to struggle with every now and again).

– Make use of alternative ways to do traditional tasks that are time consuming.

  • Shop online.
    In today’s fast-paced world the World Wide Web has expanded to such an extend that busy moms are now able to purchase their groceries, clothing and many other items (like, wine!) online as it is quick, easy and a super time saver through using direct delivery. My personal favourites are Takealot.com and Faithful-to-nature.co.za.

  • Simplify your chores.
    Keep chores easy and simple by using straight-forward, easy-to-use tools and methods. For example, keep the cooking simple by making one meal for the entire family. Even better, make one pot meals to reduce the amount of washing up thereafter. Cook enough of a dish for you to store a few in the freezer that can be used when time is limited and you cannot cook a hearty meal for your family. It’s the easiest way to keep them eating healthily without breaking the bank.

2. Be realistic

Let’s face it. You have children, a husband and you have a full-time job. Your house is bound to be a mess at some point during the week. Be realistic in the fact that it is inevitable for your children will play and mess anywhere. Stop fussing about having a perfectly clean home and manage the cleanliness by teaching the children to clean up after they’ve played.

Also think about being realistic about your daily routine. Do you really need to spend 30 minutes doing your makeup? Stick to the basics with a touch of style (like a pretty pink lip or bold eyeliner) and save the glamorous looks for formal functions.

3. Priorize

We get home, prepare dinner, do the laundry all the while we’d prefer to rather enjoy some quality time with our children and hubby. Resolve this problem by prioritizeing your tasks at home. Only do the essential tasks while your children are still awake and do the rest after they’ve fallen asleep. This will allow you to enjoy quality time with them doing fun, stimulating activities and most importantly investing in your bond and relationship with them.

4. Delegate where possible

Too much to do for a normal 24-hour day? Delegate some of your tasks to people within your network (Dad, Grandma, Sister. Or at work, a co-worker) that you know they’d be able to complete successfully. You’ll feel less pressured and will be more focused on the work and tasks at hand that you need to complete in the short term.

5. Change your work schedule

Working from the office and yet you’re not getting things done in a productive manner? Shake up your work schedule by changing it to work at its optimum capacity. This means that if you work better in a quite place with no interuptions, try working from home while everyone is at daycare or work. Or better yet, try the library (the perfect place for when you need to do some writing!). Make early mornings work for your by going to work earlier as it will enable you to leave earlier or try to work half days.

This is by far the best way to balance the pressures of motherhood and work ambition, however you do need an understanding employer, work in the right type of industry and exercise great dicipline. Still, it’s worth considering as it gives you a lot more flexibility.

Personally, these methods allow me to get everything done (including some light exercise), to enjoy some quality time with the family and a few minutes to work on my blog. By utilising them, you’ll be sure to rock the ‘supermom’ style in no time!

SHARE on Facebook: How do you balance motherhood and work?

Chantelle
xxx