Having It All OR All In Your Head

Bottom line…you can have it all, but not at the same time. Working mom means you’re always working and you’re always a mom, but how you manage the madness and prioritize is how you achieve having it all.

You can’t give 100 percent and slice and dice it a million ways. Instead you look at your (virtual) pie and make room for the things that fit, the things that matter and the givens.

There are 168 hours in a week. If you work, then a minimum of 40 hours is spent at work (not counting random late night emails, travel, client crisis, special projects, etc.) What you do with the remaining 128 hours is up to you.

There are always things that will suffer or take a back seat from dishes and friendships to social events and sleep. There is only so much room for it all…having it all also means having less of it all.

One thing is certain, parenting is never ending (hardest but most rewarding work you’ll ever do IMO), but the daily “hard time” commitment is getting kids ready in the morning, daycare drop off, pick up, bath time, dinner, play/fun time and bed time. It’s never enough time during the week, so for me weekends are mostly dedicated to my family. I always have room and time to spend with my hubby and son. Never gets old or boring 🙂

Working out keeps me sane, but fitting it in always looks like a jig saw puzzle. I literally squeeze it in when I can. Luckily I have an awesome partner who trades daycare pick up, bathing and dinner duties with me so I can get my sweat on. I return the favor a couple of times a week.

But in order to work on my fitness, I work it in at all times. Monday and Wednesday circuit training immediately after work, Tuesday PT during lunch with one of my fave girlfriends, Saturday morning Body Sculpt at 8:30am, randomly in my garage or even doing squats and planks while catching up on TV😂😂

To “have it all” means to integrate it all, make the puzzle pieces work and embrace the madness.

In my world it translates to maximizing lunch hour by getting a manicure or catching up with girlfriends (HH post work is hard to fit in…something’s gotta give.)

It’s working faster and smarter and moving the To Do list to tomorrow when the day is done.

It’s folding clothes and doing laundry, while watching my new obsession A Handmaid’s Tale on HULU or redefining date night with a yummy meal and glass of wine with the hubby once the rug rat is asleep.

It’s being much more of a scheduler in the love department than a free agent.

It means sometimes reading or writing in bed (current situation), while the rest of the house sleeps or getting up early to get stuff done around the house before the day really starts.

It’s choosing the 6am flight and 3:30am wake up call to spend one less night away from home during a work trip.

It’s less sleep and more love. Less complete control and more letting go.

It’s less about perfect and more about embracing the real and living in the moment.

One day we’ll have a teenager and then a college kid and then a full
fledged adult (scary writing that) and we will be empty nesters with all the time in the world.

But for now I want to cherish every crazy moment from work deadlines to toddler tantrums and embrace life for what it is — chaotic and beautiful all at once.

As everyone will remind you (ad nauseam) when you’re a parent of a young child…it all goes by way too fast.

The days are long, but the years are short. So I’m determined to savor every moment and have it all.

XO,

Ivette

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Tips for Working Mamas on the Road

I’m sitting on a plane. This is my 23rd flight of the year and I’ve logged in 22,700+ sky miles. While I love my job and traveling for it, I’m a mom too and there is always some level of guilt associated with being away from my son and husband. I especially feel bad because my husband doesn’t ever travel for work, so he’s always playing single dad, while I’m jet setting.

I know I’m not alone in the juggle and hustle of being a working mom, so I wanted to share some tips on how I parent from afar and stay connected with my family.

  1. FaceTime, Not Just Phone Time

Thank you, sweet baby technology. What would working parents who travel do without you? But seriously. We are so incredibly lucky to live in a time where a video phone call is possible. I can’t imagine traveling as much as I do and not being able to FaceTime with Westley. A FaceTime call is so much more special and it makes me feel like I’m part of his evening routine. I can hear about his day, make silly faces and see him in his PJs before he goes to sleep. He gets to see my face and I get to see his and give the screen kisses. It’s my No. 1 way to stay connected and close to Westley. I also get to see Sam, which is a bonus J

  1. Pics on Pics

This may just be me, but I LOVE a photo. A photo of Westley is worth its weight in gold. I already have thousands of photos of him in my phone (current photo roll count 6,762 and at least 5,000 feature W), which I scroll through on the regular while traveling. During my travels, Sam keeps me pretty up to date with all of Westley’s adventures with action shots, videos, etc. One of my favorite pictures I’ve ever received (a series really) was W eating my baked ziti, stuffing his face with a big ole smile and literally licking the plate. It brought me so much joy to witness him enjoying a meal I made especially for them to have while I was away. So a steady stream of photos and visual updates is a must to keep this working mama happy.

  1. Wake Up Call

No matter the time zone, I always start every day with a morning call with Sam to hear all about how Westley did the night before, his morning, etc. We time it so I call Sam right as he is leaving daycare and on his way to work for a full report. Some times it’s a very early morning, but to me it is the very best way to kick off my day.

  1. Digital Daycare

Westley has a phenomenal group of teachers at his daycare and my little charmer has definitely stolen their hearts. I’ve always made it a point to get to know all of his teachers because let’s be honest, he spends more time with them during the week than he spends at home. I feel very confident leaving him at daycare because the team there truly cares about the kids. So much so, that when they know I travel, they are more cognizant of Westley’s behavior, if he is spending longer hours there or coming in earlier because of my husband’s work schedule, their main priority is keeping W happy…and they succeed. I also keep in touch with his teachers via Facebook Messenger – they send me updates and photos. It’s awesome and makes me feel more connected.

  1. Just Say No

Once becoming a mom, I have set certain rules up for myself to keep my travel in check. Sometimes I fail miserably and have back-to-back travel, but for the most part I try and stay away no more than three nights in a row and try and avoid trips that stack up. I’ve also learned to say no more than I did before having a child. Sometimes a trip is not feasible and will be an issue for my family, so in that case I have to say no. Luckily, I have a great work family with a lot of moms who get it and clients who also are mindful of my work life balance attempt.

  1. Digital Detox

I rarely travel on weekends, so weekends for me are all about family. There is honestly nothing else and no one else I’d rather be with than Sam and Westley. So part of my being present is disconnecting from emails on weekends (I check once a day for a quick skim to ensure no client crisis have occurred). I also try and put my phone away as much as possible, although I still use it for photos and to check social media because it’s something I enjoy. Being present and not spending time checking email makes my weekends feel more free and 100 percent focused on my little family.

As my good friend Heidi Floyd put it, it’s all about the work life integration. And at the end of the day, it’s about making it work for you and your family – whatever that may look like. Would love to hear from you with any other tips!

XO,

Ivette

Motivation MOMday Profile: Wendy Kerr

Today I’m featuring one of my work mom squad members – Wendy Kerr. She is an all around bad ass who kills it on the job, but always makes family her top priority. Her sweet daughter Chlo-$ is one of the cutest and sassiest 7-year olds I know. Hope you enjoy reading about this awesome mama.

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family – My family is my life and includes my daughter 7 year old Chloe Sophia, my husband, Rob our kitty, Calvin and our newest edition, Sequin our 6 month old Teacup Yorkie. Since we struggled with infertility for so long to welcome our little girl after 3 IVF attempts and 4 years of treatments, I never take anything regarding her for granted and try to enjoy every stage of her life to the fullest.
  2. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by – Work hard but family is always first, life is too short to not enjoy every minute with your little one as time is not our friend…
  3. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity  Love a great run or a spa treatment because me time is so hard to come by…
  4. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom – Competition between other moms, I do what I want to do for my daughter not to impress anyone else and not for social media, I just love that Chloe knows she is always the most important part of my day.
  5. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention – I just started using a new app called Chore Monster, it helps to assign chores to Chloe and keep her motivated with an built in incentive system.
  6. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance – Refer to #2, I’m on point always while at work but I know how to separate from my home life to be fully engaged with my family
  7. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships – My work moms, my school moms my faraway moms are always good for advice and much needed laughs to get through this mom life…
  8. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational – My main goal right now is to focus on as much family time as we can squeeze in, my husband works crazy hours and travels a lot so time for the 3 of us is definitely my priority…
  9. Mom-cation – Dream vacation – Always somewhere tropical on a beach with a good book and watching my little one soak it all in…
  10. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you – My mommy is sweet and takes me to nice places and dresses up with me and gives me the funnest parties. I love her the most.

If you’re interested in being featured in an upcoming profile, please email me at ivette.faulkner@gmail.com.

 

The Law of the Modern Jungle

When we were kids, we were in a huge rush to grow up, thinking adulthood was where we wanted to be. And now that we’re here, it doesn’t involve nearly as many jet skis and margaritas as I was hoping it would. It’s cold in these streets, but here’s my top 5 list of pointers for making it work:

  1. Be mindful of how you occur in social media.

Going viral isn’t always a good thing. It can sometimes mean this or it can mean blowing up your life with a stupid tweet. Just ask Justine Sacco.  Accidents can happen, but the consequences of making bad choices- especially after a few cocktails- can linger.

  1. Talk to your children about how they interact in the digital world.

It’s not just a matter of cyber safety, which is still a real issue. Your children’s conduct online can affect your entire family in more ways than one.

  1. Watch your side hustle.

Look at your own social media feed.  What would a stranger see?  Is it all MLM sales pitches?  Are all of your “friends” just contacts for skin care, essential oils, and body wraps? Is your side hustle kosher with your day job?  Many employers have secondary employment rules.  Did you clear that up front?  If not, you could be subject to disciplinary action. Stories like thisthis, and this are embarrassing and could negatively affect your reputation, if not your career.

  1. Whether it’s personal or not, it’s all personal.

Declaring an account to be “personal” doesn’t immunize you from the consequences of your content. A County Councilman in Maryland ran his mouth off on Facebook.  He then had to learn a hard lesson about boundaries in public.  Then he had to issue a very public apology.

  1. Make good choices when it comes to textual intercourse.

Just because a photo of an intimate nature is locked in your password protected phone doesn’t mean it’s safe.   You may remember this story of the massive phone hacking which resulted in hundreds of celebrities’ nude photos being leaked on the internet.  The perpetrator in that case was caught, but it took two years to bring him to justice. Shared iCloud accounts are a new frontier in catching cheating spouses, handing divorce lawyers all the ammunition they need to take to court (including one iconic couple for those of us of a certain generation). Whether you’re married or single, it’s worth bearing in mind that 1) hacking happens and 2) you lose control over these photos once you send them to someone else.   Remember the “Cookie’s cookies” incident on a recent episode of “Empire?”  We can’t all bounce back as easily as she did.

Alexis Lambert is an attorney, endurance athlete, and curator of funny things on the internet. Her hobbies include power vinyasa yoga, SoulCycle, PureBarre, and GoRuck.  Her fantasy girl squad would include Morticia Adams, Ouiser Boudreaux, Emily Gilmore and RuPaul.

Working Mama Debut

So excited to report that we made it through the first week of daycare + work with flying colors. Angel baby was happy as a clam and literally smiling and laughing with his teacher five minutes into his first day of daycare.

Leaving a happy baby with strangers is a much easier feat than leaving a crying baby who is scared and uncomfortable. Luckily W is so social and loves all people. 😉

I was able to pick up where I left off at work and was welcomed with framed pictures of my little one, new business cards (promoted to VP in Dec. WOOT!) and an Orchid (hoping not to kill it with my less than green thumb). These little gestures meant so much to me. The great thing about my job is that 1. I LOVE it and 2. it’s so fast paced and exciting that I rarely have time to contemplate or dread anything. This makes 5:30pm arrive rather quickly.

The hubby sent pics of Mister Man every afternoon and I spent a few hours after work hanging out with W, which made every evening so special. I’ve also changed my schedule to wake up at 6am and work out, so I can spend my evenings with the family.

Overall the transition went surprisingly well. Just a new routine we’re now getting used to. And so the adventure continues.

Making the Most of Maternity Leave

WBeach

With 3 weeks left of my maternity leave, I’m taking in every moment and enjoying this precious time with my baby boy who is almost 10 weeks (YIKES…they really do grow up so fast). He will never ever again be this small and I will never have this much time to spend with him.

In the spirit of living in the present and making the most of every day, we ventured to the beach today for a mini Spring Break as the older kids are currently on break from school. My dear friend Jill invited us out to a beach house and after sunscreen, baby sunglasses, rash guard and hat, W was ready to hit the beach. (My half Cuban son definitely DOES NOT take after his mommy…he is 100% pale…) It was a ton of fun he won’t remember and I’ll never forget. 😉

Lucky to live in Florida and enjoy this fabulous weather. Cheers to many more beach trips. Next time with daddy and our sweet Boston Terrier, Lucille Ball.

For next few weeks, I am trying to plan a daily activity from lunch with friends to walks in the park before it’s back to the grind. My goal is to be described as one of my friends’ described another woman today during our waterside chat — “She is a bad ass. A career woman who has her shit together and really balances work and family.” Here’s hoping that I come close to being described that way moving forward. It’s gonna be quite the ride…

XoXo,

Ivette

What Social Media Means to Me

In honor of social media day, I decided to write a quick post about what social media means to me. I was always on the Facebook bandwagon and have had an account since it premiered in 2004, but in the last year or so I’ve really gotten into social media – learning more about it and participating in more platforms.

I resisted Twitter for a long time and now I can’t imagine not being able to tweet. I have to thank Deirdre Breakenridge who was a speaker at our local FPRA chapter meeting and really got me thinking about Twitter. I decided to look into it and gave it a try. I have met so many interesting PR professionals through Twitter, made connections with people in my own community, made great friends (shout out to Niki Pocock!) and have learned so much from 140 character postings.

A lot of people who are not fans of social media argue that these types of platforms make it easy for people to disconnect with reality, staying away from connecting with people in the “real world.” But I must say, Twitter, LinkedIn, Brazen Careerist, Foursquare, Facebook – all of these sites have allowed me to connect with a much larger network than would have been possible without them. Even locally, I have met so many people through Twitter and then turned that into lunch meetings, face to face conversations, new business and new friendships. If anyone thinks social media is not powerful…think again!

Starting this blog also has been an amazing experience. I love being able to share my thoughts and ideas with a global audience and connect with other people through my posts. My blog and Twitter lead me to find Brazen Careerist a career focused social networking site that connects professionals and allows us to discuss countless topics. It’s amazing what you can discover and who you can meet through social media.

For me, social media has been a new education and a place for me to share information and insights with others. It has given me an online voice and has helped build my personal brand. I’m excited to see what new networks and ideas emerge in the coming months or year…I love that it’s so fast and transformative that you can’t keep up. Social media keeps you on your toes and for that I’m grateful.

So what does social media mean to you?