Walking the Tightrope: 101 Ways to Manage Motherhood AND Your Sanity

Motherhood is a B#TCH
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Policies like universal childcare and paid family leave would certainly go a long way to reducing the stress levels of American mothers, but Collins wants people to look beyond what policies the country is lacking and also consider how America's history and cultural beliefs about individualism, men and women have led us here. Collins suggests that the sky-high stress levels American moms have can't be fixed with policy alone.

She's calling for lawmakers to support families and mothers, but also for America to redefine what motherhood, work and family look like. In an interview with Psychology Today, Collins said something else that we wholeheartedly agree with. She wants American mothers to understand that they are not to blame for how hard this all is. That's just not the case," she told Dr. Alison Escalante.

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We can't fix this by working more or sleeping less. But this generation of mothers can lead the way by calling for the support we need and redefining motherhood as something that works for us. Something beautiful and complicated and fulfilling, but hopefully a lot less stressful. It has been updated to reflect the most recent State of Motherhood survey results. What does it mean to be Motherly? A quick google search reveals, "of, resembling, or characteristic of a mother, especially in being caring, protective and kind.

For a new generation of women— the most educated, digitally-savvy generation in history —the time has come to redefine what Motherly means.

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Because "caring, protective and kind" doesn't begin to scratch the surface on what and who this woman is today. Motherly is running an online business from home to have more flexibility for family life. Motherly is choosing to stay at home , giving up alone time, adult time, anything time, to gain years with your children. Motherly is taking care of yourself, eating well and exercising to feel your strongest and be active with your children.

Motherly is waking before the sun rises to start work early, in order to make time for a quiet, smartphone-free evening with your family. Motherly is holding on to your core identity and being true to yourself as you evolve with motherhood. Motherly is digging deep to live up to what's demanded of you—and what you demand of yourself. You—the mom Googling how to handle your 9-month-old's sleep regression. And yet, despite our digital connectivity, so many modern mothers talk about feeling isolated and overrun by debates over what it means to "have it all.

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The same was true for me. Before having children I had an illustrious career in consulting advising senior government officials and impacting strategy as the highest level. I was confident in who I was and the value I brought to my profession. When I met someone new, they always asked what I did as my career and I was proud to share my work. While I continued to work, I found that the world no longer saw me as an accomplished professional—before anything, I was a mom. Now I was asked what my husband did as his profession, not me. I felt lost—as if I was missing a core piece of my identity and had been put in a box that just didn't fit.

Why was it that society saw the characteristics of motherhood as nurturing, loving and caring, without acknowledging that women who are mothers can also be ambitious, driven and confident? And through co-founding Motherly with Liz Tenety I've seen that beyond the fight over women and work and life, we are a new generation of women who don't want to argue but simply desire support to help us live the lives we've imagined. And so, the time has come to redefine motherhood and with it, Motherly. Being Motherly today is about recognizing that motherhood is an opportunity to nurture—not lose—one's true sense of self.

As modern women and mothers, we can be caring and powerful, protective and ambitious, kind and strong. That's Motherly. I never knew so much anger even existed in me until I became a mom. No one told me I would experience any of this—raising my voice in a tone I've never heard before and then feeling incredibly isolated and ashamed because of it. There are times when I don't even recognize myself after having yelled relentlessly at my kids. It's shameful, embarrassing and humiliating but not yelling is really hard to do sometimes.

I grew up in a home where my dad struggled with anger. He yelled often and I repeatedly told myself I never wanted to be that for my kids, and yet here we are. In the last year, I have tried to focus my response to my kids in high tense moments. I have been in therapy and have read books and used tools to help me in those fuming moments of anger. I've been inspired by Instagram and have done some noyell challenges and have prayerfully and intentionally focused on my emotional response to my kids.

Every single time we get in the car the kids fight over where they are going to sit, so I started telling them where they would be sitting before we even got out the door in hopes that it would help. In some ways it has helped, but not yesterday. We were running out the door to preschool and I said, "You are behind mommy.

Monica A. Dixon (Author of Love the Body You Were Born With)

You are the middle. You are in the back. The neighbors were staring at me. I got the other two buckled and calmly told him, "You can get in the car yourself or I will pick you up and put you in. It is your choice. I picked him up and tried to buckle him, but couldn't.

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He screamed and kicked and fought. I could feel my anxiety creeping in and wanted it all to stop. Why is it this hard to get in the car? For me, I have had to practice deep breathing and even removing myself in these moments of irrational tantrums. My son was angry and continued to kick and scream, as I tried to get him buckled. I finally told him, "I'm going to hold your legs down until you calm your body down because you're hurting me when you kick and I need to get you buckled. This was at least 10 minutes in and I somehow managed to stay calm the entire time.

The old me would have responded so much differently. There would have been yelling and lots of tears from him and me; and probably a panic attack too because, for me, anxiety and fear go hand in hand. Someone told me once: "Motherhood is molding us into incredible human beings. It's not just us who are molding our children. And sometimes ALL the ugly needs to come out so we can confront what needs to change. It's okay.

Forgive yourself, apologize to them, tell them you love them, and next time try better and do better. Sometimes we have to walk through hard seasons as moms so we can really grow and change. I feel like this is that season for me. No one talks about mom anger , the rage and all the feelings that accompany it. There is so much shame and guilt in being a mom who is working on her emotional response to her kids in high tense moments. However, we often find strength in the valley.

We learn and grow and become better people because of our struggles and how we choose to overcome them. I have been in the valley of mom anger for a while, but there is such a huge reward in seeing how I am changing and growing. I am becoming a mom who can emotionally respond to her kids without yelling, and I am proud of that. Do I still struggle? Yes, but I am overcoming one day a time. Before giving birth 15 weeks ago, I knew breastfeeding would be challenging, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer amount of time, stamina and dedication that it takes to feed my son.

Lijana Wallenda prepares for high-wire walk

After a few painful weeks of trial and error on both our parts, I eventually came to cherish this intense bonding experience. As my mat leave dwindled to an end and it came time to leave my cozy little cocoon of newborn bliss, I had to start pumping so that my husband and other loved ones could help care for my son while I transitioned back to work.

When I unpacked the box to my hospital-grade pump and set it up for the first time, I found myself completely overwhelmed once again, just like I was with breastfeeding at the hospital. The process of being confined to an area by cords with bottles dangling from my breasts and the loud drilling of the machine felt so foreign to me—in fact, it was downright archaic. My baby would start wailing in the next room and I had to disconnect everything, careful not to spill a single drop, only to start over again.

My breaking point came when I was watching The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu and the main character, June Osborne aka Offred , was being held as a prisoner in a room to pump breast milk, which was collected and brought to her daughter in the nursery. The irony was not lost on me.

I knew there had to be a better way. That's when I decided to try Willow, the first wireless, all-in-one smart breast pump that works quietly inside your bra. The innovative design allows you to pump from anywhere, even while lying dow n! Thanks to its one-way valve, milk can only go in, not out, so you can easily bend over or hold your baby without worrying about spillage.

It's so compact that you can tote it in your diaper bag without needing a separate one just for pumping. Willow syncs to a mobile app that tracks your milk production in real time and stores the history of past pumping sessions. My husband, who has been incredibly supportive throughout my feeding journey, placed the order one day when I wasn't looking.

He reasoned that nourishing our son was difficult enough, and it was worth trying to see if it would make my life that much easier. During my pregnancy, I was unaware that you can pay for Willow with an FSA or HSA account, and it also may be fully or partially covered by your insurance company. You can learn more about coverage here. The first time that I left the house with my Willow on, I felt utterly victorious.

Not chained to my sad little chair at home. When I reached my aunt's house for a get-together, I specifically didn't say anything to my relatives to see if they would notice. I held my breath but no one seemed to pick up on the sound though to be fair, it was noisy with all of the happy chatter going on. Sure, I looked a little like a Fembot from Austin Powers but an exaggerated bustline was a small price to pay for freedom.

It took a few tries to get the hang of using Willow from start to finish, but here's how it works:. I don't apologize or feel guilty for needing some downtime. I know I require it for my own well-being. LS: Chaos! You can't have kids and not feel off-kilter a good part of the time.

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Being a working mom is like juggling balls in the air simultaneously. I do try and get in an hour of exercise at least three to four times a week after I drop my daughter off at school. I send a few texts to my close friends to say good morning and fire off a few work emails in the back of Ubers.

I might have a business lunch, a work meeting or two. LS: I hope to start writing the follow up book in this series very soon. Every day is a new adventure, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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