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: Katie Ibarra

Happy First day of Spring and Motivation MOMday! Today I am featuring one of my oldest and best friends, Tia to sweet Westley and a fierce and fab mom – Katie Manning Ibarra. Katie was my go to mama when I was preggo, she told me all the stories no one else tells you (especially about The After Birth…), helped me maneuver through the overwhelming task that is the baby registry and continues to be a soundboard for all things mommy hood. She has an adorable daughter, Bella, who also happens to be our Goddaughter and one of Westley’s favorite people in the world. Enjoy her take on being a mama!

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family

We are The Ibarra Family: Chris, Katie and Isabella. Chris and I have been married for 5 ½ years and have a headstrong, sassy, fierce 3-year old daughter!

  1. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by

“Dear God, Please Give Me Patience”

Isabella is what we call “strong-willed.” I can’t wait to see how kick ass that will be when she is an adult. However, the path to adulthood is filled with independence and stubbornness as a child.

  1. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity 

I insist on having lunch by myself once a week: Just me, my Kindle and some food. It is absolutely refreshing to not have to do anything or speak to anyone for an hour.

 

  1. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom

When Bella says she needs to potty and then suddenly no longer has to potty once seated on the toilet. It’s tough because I don’t feel like I can call her bluff just yet. So for now, we go to the potty.

 

  1. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention 

When Bella was a baby, my best Mom Hack was Amazon Mom. Their discounts on diapers and wipes were unmatched and the subscription service just makes diapers and wipes one less thing to worry about.

My Mom Hack to a 3-year old is: Snacks and Netflix. We have a 25-30 minute drive to and from daycare from Monday to Friday. Snacks and Netflix give me a little bit of peace at the beginning of my day and at the end of my workday. If Bella is fed and entertained when we are in the car, I have a few minutes to prepare for the next step in our day.

  1. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance 

I do work full-time so Bella is in daycare during the day. During the week, we are in work/school mode. During the weekend, I do my best to plan fun activities for us to do together. I am a firm believer in family time and family vacations. But, for my own personal sanity, I have been known to play “Parent Hooky” and drop Bella off at daycare, while I spend the day at home resting and relaxing.

  1. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships 

I would say that the Captain of my Mom Squad is my own Mom. She’s the first person I call when I need parenting advice. The rest of my Mom Squad includes my friends Michelle and Catherine. They both have children older than my daughter and have already experienced all of the phases that I encounter with Bella. They are my friends, my parenting mentors and my sounding board.

Having a child changes so many aspects of your life – your friendships are no exception. I have been fortunate enough that the majority of my friendships have only grown stronger with parenthood. Girls nights out have become mommy mornings at the park or playtime at Sky Zone. Sharing the trials and tribulations of motherhood with your closest girl friends is just another way to strengthen your bond.

  1. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational

My parenting inspiration comes from my own parents. Looking back on my childhood, I have so many fond memories of adventure. My parents were spontaneous and fun. We traveled all the time – even if only to the Keys for the weekend. My father would create these challenges and my brother and I would rise to the occasion. We biked, snorkeled, fished, swam… There wasn’t much we didn’t encounter as children. I have so many great memories filled with love and laughter. My parents just had so much love to share. Not one person came into my parents’ house without becoming an immediate “adopted child.” There was always room and always food and always time. I am forever grateful to my parents for the way my brother and I were raised. I want that for Bella. I want her to travel, to experience spontaneous adventures, to be challenged, to volunteer, to have laughter, to have unconventional traditions that she will always remember, to be brave, to be open-minded, to be loving, and most of all, to be loved unconditionally.

  1. Mom-cation – Dream vacation 

I don’t know that I have one specific place in mind for a Mom-cation. I kind of want to do it all! However, I think I want our family travels to stay within the United States. Traveling abroad is great, but I think that there are hundreds of places in our own country that I want our daughter to see. I would say my top 5 are: New York City, The Grand Canyon, Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia.

  1. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you

Yep. Totally forgot to do this one!

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

Motivation MOMday Profile: Heidi Floyd

Happy Motivation MOMday! This week, I’m featuring one of my sweetest friends —  a fellow PR Pro who juggles media relations and mom hood on the daily. Hope you enjoy her mama advice.

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family

Wife to one handsome dude named Keith / Raising 3 littles in the south with the sweet tea and green grass – Grayson (4), Oliver (3), Lucy (1)

  1. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by

If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a no.

 

  1. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity

 

Coffee. In Silence.

 

  1. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom

Sanctimommies.

 

  1. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention

    GROCERY DELIVERY!!!!!!

 

  1. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance

 

Lucky to do a job I love (head operations for healthcare PR firm based in NJ), and do it from home where I stay connected to the littles. I don’t believe in work/life balance – work/life integration makes working and raising babies possible in my world.

 

  1. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships

As necessary as air. To the tribe of women who keep me grounded, honest, and upright – you have my heart, and all the gratefulness I can muster.

 

  1. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational

 

Throw kindness around like confetti.

  1. Mom-cation – Dream vacation

Machu Picchu.

 

  1. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you

Grayson — “I like that you build electronics with me. And you give me apples. Oh, and you love flowers. I will pick you all the flowers.” #winning

 

 

 

 

Motivation MOMday Profile: Jocelyne Fliger

Happy MOMday, friends! So excited to share the first Motivation MOMday profile with you guys. This week get to know my awesome friend Josie who is teaching her little girl how to be a lady boss and change the world from day one 🙂 She shares some really great advice. Enjoy!

  1. Mom 411– I am a 37-year old social worker and activist who married someone that I love and respect, Jeremy Deese. We decided we should have a child together about 7 months after meeting and it was the best decision of our respective lives. Morgyn just turned 3 and is very smart, insightful, and a bit sly at times (aren’t they all at this age though).
  2. Mommy Mantra– We must make the most of every single day because we might not get another chance to go around the sun. Keeping this in mind creates perspective when it comes to parenting my daughter and creating experiences for my family. I take Morgyn everywhere with me- to volunteer outings, traveling, to community events. I feel that she and I should experience a wide range of activities together and if you plan correctly, you can do anything.
  3. Me Time– When I get a few, very rare free moments to myself, I love to read (right now I am hooked on the Dresden Files books- can’t go wrong with a sexy wizard!) or watch any and all of the Real Housewives, with a glass of wine of course.
  4. Mom Peeve– My biggest pet peeve is when my child doesn’t listen, but I think that is pretty par for the mom course. My other pet peeve is when anyone (ahem, grandparents, ahem) gives Morgyn too much sugar. Sugar to a child is like water to a mogwai – they do not mix well!
  5. Mom Hack– I carry an extra set of her clothes in my car with me at all times. You never know when you might want to stop by the Railroad Square Park and play in the water tubes. Another must is Boogie Wipes, which are not just for noses.
  6. Mom-preneur– I have my master’s degree in social work and actually got pregnant in grad school (while working 3 jobs no less). So I am proof that if you put your mind to it, you can do it! I believe it is my purpose to help others have a better life, so I am very involved in volunteer and civic activities. My full time gig though is as the Director of Senior Volunteer Programs at Elder Care Services. I stay quite busy with that role as we have a 15 county footprint; I might be in Jefferson County one day and Bay County the next. While there is a bit of travel, if Morgyn needs me I can remote into my work computer and work from home. I am so lucky because I love what I do and have a pretty flexible schedule. My advice to keep a good balance between home, work, and extracurricular is to try to be truly present when you are with your family and that it is okay to say no to things.
  7. Mom Squad– I am so lucky because my best friend had her child four years before mine. I get to ask her about all sorts of icky and worrisome situations. I am also lucky to have a bunch of strong women in my circles that inspire and push me to make my community better for my daughter. Lastly, I admire you, Ivette, because you are a hard working mom who is smart, determined, and an expert traveler!
  8. Mom Goals– I want to make the best world that I can for my daughter (it’s that social worker drive in me). I want to promote inclusion and cultural competence in her as we have so much to learn from each other. I relish the fact that the preschool she attends has a tremendously diverse group of students (many are even international). I want her to know that even if we do not look alike, we all have something kindred in our spirits.
  9. Mom-cation– Dream vacation hands down has to be Ireland. I can see all of us enjoying the beautiful countryside and ancient wonders. I will have to see if they let kids into the Guinness factory though… 🙂
  10. My Children’s Take– “I like to go on adventures with you.”

Motivation MOMday

We all know #MotivationMonday and #MCM (Man Crush Monday) are a thing, but I’m launching a new Monday series all about mamas – Motivation MOMday. And I hope it takes off 🙂

This series is all about sharing stories, advice and insights from moms I know and love with the goal of creating a digital network of amazing and supportive moms! Each week, I will feature a different mom who will share with us her take on 10 items. To kick things off, I’ve completed my MOMday profile below.

  1. Mom 411 – (Tell us a little about you and your family) I have a sweet, fun, funny, energetic goofball of a 2-year old named Westley. He absolutely turned our life upside down in the best of ways. My husband, Sam, and I have been married for 5 1/2 years and we also have a fur baby, Lucille Ball, a Boston Terrier who will be seven this year. Family is my top priority and my favorite way to spend time.
  2. Mommy Mantra – (Words you live by) Parenting is an art, not a science. Do what works for your family and don’t worry about what others think. Only you know what is best for your family and your child.
  3. Me Time – (Favorite escape, activity) Now that I’m in my 30s, taking care of my skin has become a top priority. Topping my list of favorite escapes is a spa day including a relaxing massage and a face altering facial 🙂 While a spa day isn’t in the works every month, I do indulge and have budgeted for manicures every two weeks. Something about having my nails done makes me feel like I can conquer the world 😉
  4. Mom Peeve – (Biggest pet peeve as a mom) Moms who judge other moms or make you feel guilty for your choices. We’re all doing our best, so let’s support each other, not put each other down. Rant over.
  5. Mom Hack – (Necessity is the mother of invention) Y’all don’t judge…but when I need to get things done around the house, my ultimate hack is courtesy of a little red monster named Elmo and a fabulous show called Sesame Street. Westley loves to watch and he also learns a ton (all the parts of his face for starters), while I can get laundry and chores done around the house. Their message about kindness makes me feel better about this choice.
  6. Mom-preneur – (Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance) As much as I love being a mom, I equally love my career. I firmly believe working makes me a better mom and allows me to use my talents outside of raising our little guy. I work in public relations and absolutely love being creative everyday and working with clients from pens, tires and gyms to hotels, websites and restaurants. While balancing work and life isn’t always perfect, I try my best to give 110% at work and not think about home and then put work away at home and give 110% to my family. Being present is something I strive for every day. It’s a work in progress.
  7. Mom Squad – (Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships) I’m beyond lucky because I have such an amazing squad of moms! From my work moms who know the struggle of our industry to my daycare mom squad and our sweet kiddos who have been together since they were 3 months old to my “friends who are family” mom squad of Tias, Tatas and Ninas (my kid has a lot of aunts – not by blood, but by choice), there is no shortage of moms, advice and “mom juice” aka wine in my life. I adore each of my mom squad members and am always looking to grow the squad with new moms 🙂
  8. Mom Goals – (Aspirational, inspirational) With the Oscars last night, I’m reminded of Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech in 2014. He talks about wanting something to chase and that chase being his hero. He chases himself and looks forward to the man he will become with each decade that passes. This struck a chord with me because I love the idea of chasing yourself, a better self and growing and being your own biggest competition and aspiration. When I think of a mom goal, I want it to be about me chasing myself and hopefully becoming a better mom every day, every week, every year and eventually being around to see, love and spoil my grandchildren.
  9. Mom-cation – (Dream vacation) For me, a fabulous family vacation is what I love. I’m a total Type A maniac, so I LOVE planning trips way in advance and savoring the wait. Case in point, our summer family vacation in July to Maine has been planned since November. I can’t wait to take Westley on his first flight (Delta woot!) and spend a week on the beach in Maine eating way too much lobster and wearing way too many nautical stripes 🙂 Other dream vacations include a Disney Cruise (in 2018) and going on a South African safari once W is old enough to appreciate it.
  10. My Children’s Take – (Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you) Like any proper 2-year old, when I asked W how he would describe me, he didn’t quite give me three words…instead he looked at me and grabbed my face and said “mama” with a big ole smile. I’ll take it!

If you’re interested in being a part of this series, please email me at ivette.faulkner@gmail.com.

XO,

Ivette

 

 

 

Mom Hacks: Dinner Edition

I’m launching a new series for #Tip Tuesday that will be all about Mom Hacks — basically the things I’ve discovered, actively use and love to make life as a working mom easier. The inaugural edition focuses on one of my favorite things…food 🙂

Like every other “millennial mom” I love a good app…especially one that makes my life more convenient. While I am not a huge fan of feeding my son “fast food,” I consider Chick-fil-A to be in a category all its own. Sure it’s more expensive, but the service, quality of the food and healthy options for kids and adults lands CFA at the top of my drive thru choices.

Just when I thought they couldn’t get any better, Chick-fil-A launched an app that I swear was designed for working mamas like me. There are a ton of features, including freebies and treats you earn, but the piece de resistance is ordering, paying and curbside pick up all from the app. It’s such a seamless experience and you can avoid the drive thru or having to get out of your vehicle. I have my favorite orders saved on the app from Westley’s 6-piece grilled chicken nugget meal to our family go to. It’s so easy, I can order on the app as I’m leaving daycare and select “curbside” — by the time I pull up to the light near the CFA, I select “I’m here” and my order is made fresh, I park in the curbside dedicated spot and a team member walks my order out to me. No line, no taking an active tiddler out of the car seat, in and out in 5 minutes.  All delivered with a friendly smile and a “my pleasure.”

Would love to hear from you on any mom hacks you know and love or other #TipTuesday topics I can cover 🙂

Happy Hacking!

Ivette