A Badass Approach to Motherhood

Okay, I’m going to come right out and say it: I have a bone to pick with traditional mommy blogs.

*gasp*

Not personally, of course! I believe in mothers supporting each other and not adding to the “mom guilt” that rears its ugly head on its own. I just can’t hop on the bandwagon that motherhood should be one giant train wreck that we can never master or escape from and that it will be that way until our kids are grown and gone.

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SERIOUSLY?! Talk about depressing and off-putting— especially for women who are motivated, ambitious, high-earners, goal-setters, and let’s just call it like it is: winners.

“Oh no she didn’t...”
Oh yes, I did.

When I fell pregnant with twins, I wanted to read about the journey I was about to begin from other mothers who had “been there, done that,” so to speak. What I came across in almost every post I read, however, only discouraged me and made me anxious of what was to come when I officially became a mother.

To save you some time, let me break down my months of skimming countless mommy blogs into a few key points:

It’s hard— harder than the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Period. Nothing else noteworthy will be accomplished while tackling motherhood (read: 18+ years of perpetual failures and discouragement.)

It will change you. Unfortunately, not for the better. It will change your body, your sleep habits, your grooming habits, your marriage, your work schedule, etc. IT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING and you have to learn to accept that.

You will cry. A lot. Probably a couple times a week (at least in the beginning.) You will cry happy tears and sad tears. Triumphant tears and failure tears. You will cry tears from feeling numb and tears from feeling crazy. Clearly— lots of opportunities for crying.

You will never have a clean house (or car, for that matter) ever again. Laundry? Never-ending nor finished. Dishes? Stacking up.. Clutter? Everywhere. Toys? Trip hazards as far as the eye can see.

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 Do I think these statements apply to motherhood? Yes— but, only to a small, limited extent. I do not believe we have to permanently live in the struggle that naturally comes with becoming a parent, especially for the first time; we do not have to feel like we are stuck in this never-ending loop of chaos and that there isn’t an alternate path to take in this motherhood journey.

While there will be moments that we feel defeated and not in control, there are things we can choose to do to stay on course, regain control, and bring ourselves back to a mindset of gratitude and happiness. Is motherhood hard? HELL YEAH! But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we have to let it break us down into a shell of person that we barely recognize.

Why can’t we approach motherhood with a winner’s mentality and badass attitude? I mean— MOMS ARE BADASSES! Who else can juggle managing a household, taking care of babies, working (full or part time,) attending PTA meetings, chauffeuring kids to practices and recitals, homeschooling, and the countless other roles we fill each and every day?

I am sick and tired of every mommy blog telling me that I can’t be productive and feel accomplished at the end of the day while being a mother.

When raising kids knocks us down hard we should be able to pick ourselves back up and move forward stronger, better, and more confident. We shouldn’t have to suffer in the struggle or feel like that is the only way we can fit in and be a part of the sisterhood that is motherhood.

I can’t tell you how many times I have felt the need to share my daily struggles and hide my triumphs in order to feel like I could relate to fellow moms.

Reality check: being a “hot mess” mom is old news.  Being the mom that has her shit together and is killing it, THAT is the type of mom that we should all strive to be— that is the type of mom we are all capable of being.

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 No matter who you are, what your background or upbringing is, what parenting views you have, etc. you can be a badass mother. Period. Now trust me, I’m not trying to promote competition between mothers (see earlier comment on moms encouraging each other and being the ultimate 'hype squad') but I am encouraging healthy competition with yourself.

I encourage you to be a better mother.
I encourage you to be a better wife.
I encourage you to be a better business owner.
I encourage you to be a better employee.
I encourage you to be a better SAHM.
I encourage you to be a better “mom friend.”
I encourage you to be better, period.

“Well that sounds like you’re telling me that I’m not ‘good enough’ as I am...”
No, not at all.

Am I trying to encourage moms to be "perfect?" HELL NO. Perfection isn’t real. There are days that we will struggle and won’t accomplish everything we set out to do but the goal is to learn, grow from our #momfails, and move on.

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 My whole point is that we are capable of far more than we think. We need to start giving ourselves more credit for everything we accomplish and start owning our 'badass badge of motherhood.' I am done reading all the other mommy blogs that tell me that it’s okay to let everything go, including myself, once I enter parenthood. I think motherhood is the perfect opportunity to open our eyes, rise to the occasion, and prove to ourselves just how awesome we are.

I am only five months into this gig of being a first-time mom to twins but I’ve already learned that living up to and owning my role as a ‘badass twin mama’ is far more enjoyable than living life below my potential— not only as a mother, but as a wife, a friend, and business owner.

“Wait..doesn’t that make this another mommy blog that you were just saying you have a problem with?”
Eh, I guess you could say that.

I have a much different focus, however: encouraging women to rise above the chaos that fills motherhood and THRIVE.

I am here to share my journey about being a mom while juggling all the other challenges life throws my way. Working part-time managing our family business, getting back into shape and eating right, growing this blog, raising my babies to be strong, independent people and the list goes on…

I grew up playing competitive softball and earning straight A’s through grade school and college; I am no stranger to pushing through when times get tough, knowing the “sweet spot” is on the other side of the hill if I just keep going.

 I have unintentionally carried this mindset into my parenting style, giving me the boost needed to end most days feeling like I knocked it out of the park. I know I’m not the only mama capable of killing it (no matter how many children you have!) and I want to encourage other moms to stop holding themselves back and start living up to their title of “badass—” because that’s exactly what we are as mothers.

If you’re tired of living in the chaos that surrounds you, I encourage you subscribe to this blog and join me in taking the steps toward a motherhood experience filled with more happiness, gratitude, well-deserved wine, and accomplishment. We are capable of so much more and I want to see all of us, including myself, do better.

XOXO

Erica, one badass twin mama

 

P.S. This blog isn't for you if you aren't a fan of curse words or reality because, let's be honest: shit is about to get real (about motherhood) and I'm not going to hold anything back.

Not All Mothers Are Created Equal

Some women are naturally better at being a mother.

It’s well known that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Regularly evaluating our abilities—through discussion and self-reflection—creates the opportunity for us to learn, grow, and improve.

Unfortunately, it’s become taboo to evaluate one group of people’s skills and abilities: mothers. It’s as if constructive criticism and encouraging personal development are not allowed in the same conversation as anything related to being a mom. Without this key growth tool, most women never take advantage of opportunity to reflect on their maternal performance and make changes that will help them improve.

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The truth of the matter is, not many women want to honestly discuss how they are handling motherhood because it’s a sensitive subject for those who are struggling more than they’d like to admit.

I mean, look around: The vast majority of ‘mommy blogs’ on the internet celebrate all of the missteps and fails that a lot of moms typically go through and place these issues on a pedestal. Instead of using them as lessons and opportunities to grow, they focus on convincing others that it is the way that it is and to embrace it.

You’re trying to tell me that perpetually struggling the entire time I’m raising my kids is inevitable? This mama ain't buying into that bullshit and I urge you to do the same. That’s why I’m flipping the script on motherhood—encouraging other moms to self-reflect in order to grow, rise above, and do better.

Don’t get me wrong; there is no shame in struggling. There IS shame, however, in knowing that you are, and not doing a damn thing about it.

Mommin’ is a collection of skills and abilities that you use every day to fulfill your role as a mother. This role requires you to multi-task, manage, supervise, console, clean, budget, cook, schedule, coach, counsel, listen, delegate, discipline, nurture, lift, teach, chauffeur, plan, motivate, love, work, and the list continues. Some women naturally fall into their responsibilities as a mom, while others “struggle with the juggle,” so to speak.

Does that make one mother more valuable than the next? Absolutely not. No person is inherently more valuable than another, regardless of their strengths. It simply makes every mother different, traveling a different journey that is all her own.

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 If you feel like you’re drowning and can’t keep your head above water tackling all of the responsibilities of being a mom, I want you to take a step back and think about the reasons why. I may not know you, but I do know this:

It’s not because you’re incapable.
It’s not because you’re a bad person.
It’s not because you’re not good enough.

It’s likely because these skills don’t come as easy to you and you don’t have the right mindset. There is good news though! Even if you haven’t fulfilled your position thus far as you would’ve liked to—whether you have a 5-month old or a 5-year old + more—you can start working towards a happier, empowered motherhood experience today because it all starts with you.

The first step is to cut the crap and acknowledge that you are struggling; I’m not talking about in a light-hearted joke during coffee or an Instagram post about your 5-foot-high pile of laundry with the hashtag #momlife.

Stop making excuses why you keep fighting with your partner;
Why the household chores never get done,
Why your children suffer from a lack of discipline,
And why your body is in the worst condition its ever been.

After finally being honest with yourself, you need to write down all of your strengths and weaknesses on a piece of paper. Better yet, you need to get a journal and use this list as the first page of a new perspective and fresh plan. Make no mistake, you cannot compare your list to anyone else’s. Every single woman will do a great job at some things as a mother, and not-so-great at others—remember, not all mothers are created equal.

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 After you’ve made your list, it’s time to hold yourself accountable. Talk to your partner and get together with fellow moms; lay it all out on the table everything you are having a difficult time with. Openly admitting your weaknesses, instead of hiding them and pretending they don’t bother you, is the only way you will no longer be held back by them. You must also give permission to your loved ones and close friends to tell you like it is when they see that you’re struggling with something. Just as you need involvement from your loved ones to be held accountable, it’s just as important for you to be a positive supporter of other mamas’ journeys as well. Together, great things happen; the same principle applies to personal growth and development, especially as a mom.

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 If you don’t feel like you have anyone you can openly trust and depend on (I certainly hope you can trust your partner, but that’s for a different blog, different day) to help you climb out of your current position, I want you to reach out to me. Yes, me. I want to hear your stories, your obstacles, your struggles, and your wins. I want you to know that no matter what, you have at least one person here that will encourage you on your journey to be better—even when society is trying to tempt you to be satisfied with less.

It’s about damn time we change the conversation from celebrating our “never-ending problems,” accepting that they are normal, to acknowledging that the struggle does not have to be inevitable. We can be so much more, do so much more, and suffer so much less—we just need to get out of our way and let those who are close to us offer constructive criticism and encouragement when we need it.

Hiding behind humorous posts on social media ends now.
Saying passive-aggressive comments to our partners ends now.
Pretending that we are happy with how everything is going ends now.

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You may not be the same mama as the next but your family deserves your best. You may not be as much of a natural as some other women, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a badass mom. While it may be your initial reaction, don’t be envious of others doing better than you (right now.) Befriend them. Go out for coffee—or even better, wine—and ask for their guidance and support. I can assure you that they will ask for the same in return in the areas they struggle with. No matter how much a badass mom is killing it, she will always have room for growth and improvement.

The journey to our “best self” is hard, but it never ends; if it did, we might as well be dead.

Who Run The World? Not Today's Girls if We Keep Doing THIS

I’m going try to keep this short and sweet—just like those Caramel deLites (or Samoas, depending where you are) that get me every damn time.

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I had to run into the store yesterday for a couple groceries on our way home from San Diego and there they were on my way out: sweet, innocent girl scouts eyeing me as I exited the door.

No sooner than getting within ten feet of their table, out came the question, “Would you like to buy some cookies?” I stopped in my tracks and I saw that devilish purple box on the table; I knew I was going to do it, even though I knew damn well I didn’t need them. Before I officially agreed to buy a box (which I already had done so in my head,) I took a minute to ask one of the sweet girls what their sales goal was and her response was not quite what I expected.

She immediately looked to her mother standing behind the table and asked, “Mom, what’s our goal?” My eyes shot right to her, I saw the brief hesitation of being caught off-guard, and then the quick reply of 5,000 boxes. I looked right back to the little girl and I playfully shook my finger and replied, “If you want to be a boss babe one day, YOU have to know what your goals are.” She looked at me in total confusion while the other girl (and their mothers) smiled nervously—but didn’t say anything. The girl stood quietly, without another word, waiting anxiously to see if I was going to pull out the five bucks to complete the deal.

I reached in my purse, then wallet, pulled out the money, and handed it over for my purple box fix. No other words shared other than a quiet thanks from the girls, shy smiles from the moms, and they moved on to their next victim coming out the door facing the same decision as me.

THAT was the moment; the moment that I screwed up and I did wrong by this little girl.

You might be wondering why I say that I screwed up and I didn’t do the right thing; I bought the box of cookies, isn’t that the point? Getting to 5,000 boxes by their deadline, right? In one respect, yes that IS the point: capturing the sale. But the bigger picture is being missed completely by everyone involved: the girls, their parents, and the consumer.

We are letting our girls down, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. The opportunity of selling cookies during this season has great potential to instill positive values and work ethic in these little girls, but it is creating much bigger issues that will follow them throughout life.

Rather than teach this girl scout a very important lesson, I reinforced the self-defeating belief that you will succeed in life simply by showing up. I gave her the money for the cookies even though she most certainly didn’t earn my patronage. I let my guilt (and sweet addiction) cloud my judgement and take away the opportunity for her to grow through failure, an experience that we protect our daughters from every day.

I should have kept my money, politely declined, and explained to her exactly why.

I should have told her that in order to run a business, we must invest ourselves and put our hearts and minds into it. We must set goals that are lofty and push us to our limits, yet attainable, and work towards them day after day in order to make progress. I should have made it clear that she did not know her P’s and Q’s, and that lost me as a potential customer. I should have scolded her mother for answering for her (well-meaning and all!) because she enabled her daughter to believe that showing up is enough.

Showing up is NOT ENOUGH; life does not award participation trophies for simply being there. Life rewards those who put in the work and who are passionate about their goals. Life pays favor to the people who hustle—not the uneducated, not the timid, and especially not those who expect success to fall into their lap.

If you think that is too harsh, then you are part of the problem! Everything that our children experience impacts them when they become adults, for better or for worse. It’s our job to guide them in a direction that will equip them with the tools and abilities necessary to navigate the obstacles of life. 

I made a mistake supporting this little girl’s actions and I wish I could go back and re-do that moment to make an impact that would benefit her future self. I’m aware, however, that my poor decision is just the tip of the iceberg that is sinking our daughters’ chances of growing into strong, successful women. Parents, the people vested MOST in seeing their children do well in life, are unknowingly doing more harm than good with the “help” they provide.

It’s more common than ever for mothers to take to social media on their personal accounts, make a post to their 600+ “friends” that their daughter is selling cookies and ask anyone interested to send them a message of how many boxes they want. Meanwhile, their daughters sit by idly, watching their total number of boxes sold go up while they haven’t done a single thing themselves.

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What are we teaching our daughters by taking away their opportunity to learn social and business skills by doing it for them? Getting them to their goal faster? No. We are setting them up for failure as an adult and we wonder why women are not as successful in business as men. We are the reason that women are not compensated the same as men for their equal contribution and abilities. We are the reason women do not climb the career ladder as quickly. We are holding back our daughters from the opportunities to learn the skills necessary to become future CEOs and leaders of organizations.

Edit: I’m not saying that ALL gender inequalities in the business world are due to us not teaching these values to girls starting at a young age. I simply am pointing out that we don’t encourage our girls to become fearless, business-minded women (like we might their male counterparts) and it shows once they enter the workforce.

It’s time to start teaching our daughters and young girls that this world is not simply going to hand them a successful, happy life; that their achievements will be dependent upon their effort, knowledge, and determination. AND MOST OF ALL, it’s time to stop doing the damn job for them, even if that means their goal needs to scale back to 500, 300, or even 100 boxes.

Failure is tough to experience but it is the greatest gift we can give our kids if we want them to be happy. It is our job to teach them that failure is not something to be ashamed of, but something to grow from and it is a necessary part of life.

Next time I walk out of the store, and those sweet little girl scouts ask me the infamous question, I’m going to make sure they earn my business and you should do the same. If they don’t—if they are still learning about the process and what it takes to be a successful “business woman”—I won’t buy a box; I will let them know exactly why so they can use it as a lesson and improve for the next potential customer.

To every mother guilty of “just trying to help,” please stop selling for your daughter; help them develop a plan and guide them to the opportunities where they can take the initiative to close the deal on their own.

It’s time to start setting up the girls of today to truly run the world when they become the women of tomorrow.

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