Contributed by Dana Lin
Four years ago, I was on a mission. After my divorce, I was determined to make it on my own as a single mother. I was doing it for a while -- landing a stable job with full benefits, working things out with the Ex so that we were amicable co-parents, and I even started producing a web series because I had always wanted to be a screenwriter.
Over time, the long hours at work bled into bringing work home at night and weekends. I had little time for my children, and definitely no time for writing. It began to take its toll.
It got worse when a new boss took over at work. He yelled at the top of his lungs at everyone. Being his assistant, I got the brunt of it. Whenever the boss screamed, bullied, or harassed me or others, I would smile and ignore it. I tolerated it because if I missed one day of work, ends wouldn’t be met. By doing this over an eight month period, I developed stomach ulcers, migraines, and a jaw problem -- I was so stressed-out, I’d grind my teeth during sleep and damaged my back molars.
One day, my boss wanted me to lie for him. When I refused, he sent me home, without pay, and threatened to fire me if I couldn’t take orders. When I walked out of the office and got into my car, I cried...and had a nervous breakdown. I was forced on medical leave after that.
I now had no income, my health was spiraling downward, I hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep in eight months, and my kids needed new shoes. I had to sell my mother’s jewelry to make rent the next month.
Desperate to go back to work, I tried everything -- doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, my dentist gave me a mouth guard to help me from grinding my teeth, and a friend even gave me a tarot reading.
Nothing really helped.
It was April of last year, that I found a meditation group in Santa Monica. When I arrived, I was greeted by a college kid who introduced himself as the meditation coach. Inside my head I thought -- how can this guy teach me anything? But I was there, and it was free -- which was in my budget -- so I stayed.
During the meditation session he said a bunch of stuff I can’t remember now, but a phrase stuck with me: “Remember to have compassion on yourself.” Upon hearing that, my shoulders relaxed, and I was able to breathe deeply and feel the anxiety begin to release.
That night, I slept a full ten hours of sleep! I woke somewhat refreshed and...hopeful. The headaches and stomach ulcers were still there, but there were signs of relief.
Clinging to this glimmer of hope, I contacted that meditation coach and asked if he could teach me how to meditate. And if there was any slim chance he would do this without compensation. There was no way I could pay. But if I didn’t get relief, I was doomed. Who would raise my kids then?
By some miracle, he accepted. He said that he had once received aid and felt this was his chance to ‘pay it forward’. For the next six weeks, he patiently taught me how to breathe again...as if my body had never been born with this ability to begin with.
It was during this period when I learned how to truly breathe, that I slowly released the stress, the pain, the pressure, and began to become aware of where I was at in life, what insecurities held me back, and figure out what I wanted to do.
I discovered that I didn’t have to work in a fearful, abusive environment. What I wanted to do with my life was to tell stories. From that point on, it’s been one crazy journey. With the continued support of my meditation coach and my daily meditation practice, and the full support of my family, I now have two screenplays in development, and a book coming out next year. Talk about miracles!
I hope my story has inspired you to take a breath and to take time for yourself -- who knows what can unfold when you allow it?
DANA LIN is now living her dreams as a writer and speaker, and has just joined her meditation coach (who isn’t really a young college kid after all) at ZenLifeServices.com to create stress-reduction programs in the workforce. You can read more on her website CrazyZenMom.comRead More
There’s so much to write in this post, I don’t even know where to start. So I’ll start at the beginning:
I’M NOW A REGULAR PERSONALITY ON HALLMARK CHANNEL’S EMMY-NOMINATED “HOME AND FAMILY” MORNING SHOW!
To say that I’m elated is a massive understatement. The new season just launched this week and I’ve been waaaaiiiiiiittttting for it since last March! Like a toddler decked out in a Snow White dress on her birthday. I’ve been sooooooo excited. I wished for it all summer. It happened.
Snow White had a phonecall.
But with good and wonderful things always comes balance. I even scoff at the word: BALANCE. Many a mom I know will tell you there’s no such thing. There’s juggling. There’s dodging. There’s coordinating. There are lots of deep breaths. Sometimes, you can’t think… you just have to GO. This weekend – the weekend before my very first day at this current dream-come-true job of mine – I had to just GO. So I did. (Now that I think about it, these things seem to happen to me late September.)
In a nutshell: It was my LadyP’s birthday. The big family royal court party was planned for the weekend (more on that in another post). I had swords, crowns and big plans involving big yellow-and-blue dresses (yes, Snow White to be exact). Meanwhile, my 18-month old LilMiss got a freak fever of 104 Friday afternoon. I noticed she was acting weird as I pushed them around in the humongous cart at Costco. That night, I cancelled my plans to stay home and cold-compress, administer Tylenol and ultimately cry with her as she was more miserable than I’d ever seen her. I let the older sister (soon-to-be birthday girl) watch marathons of Tinkerbell to keep her occupied. Keep going, I thought. (It’s what moms do.) After whipping up a quick batch of sort-of-homemade hot-pink frosty cookies (despite my Home and Family assignment to make HOMEMADE cookies for National Cookie Day… if you watched this Tuesday’s show you know what I’m talking about) and one Saturday night trip to the ER to make sure my LilMiss didn’t have some spontaneous disease (now with a temperature of 105), one cancelled toddler birthday party (thanks to the 105 temp) and a plate of hot-pink frosty cookies that just looked like a hot mess to me, I realized: I was officially in the Working Mothers Club. I’d spent the last few years willing and working towards this to happen, and it did. Finally. And, like I’ve said, with all good and wonderful things comes challenge. It’s part of the game. It’s part of life. Just keep going, I thought. (This is what they invented coffee for, right?)
I finally gave myself some therapy at 3am Monday morning (Sunday night, the night before my first day on set) when both my girls woke up in the middle of the night and I caught myself slipping into what all working-moms experience: Near-Burnout. (On account of the totally-planned-then-cancelled party, the fever-and-accompanying-screaming, the cookie-planning and show-prep… and technically I hadn’t even begun working yet.)
Unedited & unfabulous: What I look like at 3am. (Yes, she had fruit because she asked and I didn’t feel like dealing with it.)
I had cancelled the princess party, my cookie-assignment was not my best work, my baby was screaming and burning hot. But you know what? Life goes on. (This too, shall pass.) Sure, I was tempted to continuously feel sad about having to cancel LadyP’s birthday, I was tempted to fret about the not-really-that-homemade-cookies (that were supposed to be homemade) and I was tempted to worry about the horrific undereye circles that’d be blatantly-offensive on national television the next day. GET OVER IT. I’m not the first working mom in the world…. and I’m not the last. This. Is. What. We. Do. I’ve never tolerated guilt, and I wasn’t going to start now. It’s the week of Momfair, after all… if nothing else, my experience was absolutely appropriate. Game on.
Luckily, I had the foresight to decorate our kitchen in pink streamers and princess napkins (a surprise for my birthday girl), I put Hubby on-task for monitoring LilMiss’ Tylenol and Motrin doses and I started to look at my florescent pre-mixed frosted sugar cookie bars with a sense of accomplishment rather than disgust. I wanted to return to the workforce… so I’M GONNA WORK IT. Fight. Or. Flight. It was my choice. I chose to think about one saying that seems to get me through mommy challenges like this: Women Rule. Moms rule. Reminding myself of this gives me strength when I need it.
Moms rule. The gorgeous blonde is Sofie Uliano of GorgeouslyGreen.com.
And guess what: LilMiss is on the mend, Snow White had a lovely birthday-day and I got a free pink T-shirt for running through tires on television (if ya watched the show, you’re with me… and you also saw how mom and healthy beauty advocate Sofie Uliano of GorgeouslyGreen can rock a football).
Here’s to the working moms and pre-made cookies everywhere. This too, shall pass. I promise.
HOW DO YOU GET OVERCOME BEING OVERWHELMED?
- See more at: http://thefabmom.com/2013/09/30/filosophy-working-moms-sick-babies-pre-mixed-birthday-cookies/#sthash.hWCJSKrk.dpuf
My career involves mentoring, inspiring and empowering women. Sometimes I get asked where I find my own motivation, how do I stay positive and how do I manage running a start-up company while being a divorced mom of three girls. Here is part of the answer to that question:
I have my own support system that includes coaches, family and friends. I find that girl friends are SO important. Having founded a Social Selling company, II talk to other folks in the Direct Sales owners circle. We share ideas and discuss potential pitfalls. I even pick up the phone and call direct competitors. I feel that we are collectively better when the industry is strong.
I exercise often. Cardio and walks help clear my head. If you friend me on Facebook, you will see the regular replay of my Spotify BootyShake playlist that keeps me moving! I do weights to feel strong and I get regular massages to relieve stress. I spend each morning reading for a few minutes before I wake the girls, sometimes business books and sometimes pleasure (right now I am reading Night Circus -fun- and Multipliers - biz).
Sometimes I forget to feed the dogs and I try not to become too annoyed when the kids ask for more pets. I try to keep First Things First and I prioritize. My daughters help a lot. I cannot say enough about how wonderful these three little ladies are. They love me unconditionally and treat me well.
I have a growing team of women around the country, the Winnie & Kat Independent Stylists, who believe in my crazy dream. These women are out there promoting the company, creating their own businesses and sharing the opportunity. They each work the business in their own way and they help me to grow as a leader and as a person.
I need to make difficult decisions sometimes and sometimes I get lonely, but that’s ok. I find that being in my 40’s, I am able to ease up on myself and it helps that I am not a perfectionist. I look at life this way: We’re here, so let’s make the most of it. Follow your dreams and take risks. Ask for help when you need it. Take big leaps because, outside of your comfort zone, that’s where you’ll find the magic.*
*The magic part is borrowed from Independent Stylist, Meredith Carpenter. I love it!Diane Prince Johnston Founder and CEO Winnie & Kat 310.924.0171 Successes through Dresses http://www.linkedin.com/in/dianeprincejohnston http://www.facebook.com/winnieandkatsocialselling Read More
Originally appeared on Forbes.com
Work and family life don’t need to conflict; they need to coexist. It is time to stop glamorizing the alternative and talk about the big bonuses of keeping up your career after you have a child. Here are 8 great reasons to stay in the workforce after having a baby: 1. You will Enjoy a Happier Marriage Studies show that couples in which both spouses work have greater marital satisfaction. Your marriage will be more likely to thrive if you have something to focus on outside of the home and your spouse will feel less financial pressure if you bring home some of the bacon. 2. You Will Remain Financially Independent As Leslie Bennetts described in her book “The Feminine Mistake,” in more than half of traditional marriages, the male spouse will either die prematurely, lose his job or leave his wife. When this happens to a stay at home mom, there is no safety net and the entire family’s financial stability is jeopardized. Further, many women report losing financial power in their home when they leave the workforce. You never want to be pitching your spouse on a purchase. 3. You Will Raise Stronger Kids We are now aware of the deep dangers of overparenting, also known as helicopter parenting. When you stay at home, you are far more inclined to over-parent because parenting becomes your sole focus. As expert Michele Borba explains,“If we keep hovering we will rob our kids of self-reliance.” 4. You Will Secure Future Earnings A woman who leave the workforce for just three years after having kids give up 37% of her future earnings according to a study done by Sylvia Ann Hewlett. This puts your family’s financial health at risk. 5. You Will Gain Personal Fulfillment Getting personal satisfaction from something other than your children is critical to being a great parent and a happy one. As France’s most famous parenting authority Pamela Druckerman explains, “The reigning view in France is that if a child is a woman’s only goal, everyone suffers, including the child.” 6. You Will Bring Worldliness to Your Home When you stay home, your world shrinks because you are surrounded by women like you; moms of the same age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status typically cluster together. By keeping up your career, you will be a more active participant in the world and expand the perspectives you bring into your home. As former stay at home mom Lisa Heffernan explains “In the workplace my contacts and friends included both genders and people of every description, and I was better for it.” 7. You Will Serve As A Role Model There are two ways you have a greater good impact as a working mom. Firstly, the future generation of young women need working mom role models for support, inspiration and mentorship. And then of course, there is the role modeling that goes on in your own home. A Harvard educated mom who returned to life as an entrepreneur after seven years at home tells this story: When she explained to her kids that she would be starting a company, they asked how that could be since, “Daddies start businesses and mommies stay home.” She sprinted to the office and hasn’t looked back. 8. You Will be Happier A recent study showed that stay at home moms suffer from significantly greater levels of depression by age 40 than working moms. It is hard to raise a happy child if you are an unhappy mom. As the old adage goes, when mom isn’t happy, nobody is. Samantha Ettus is the leading lifestyle and parenting expert for working women. She is the founder of Working Moms Lifestyle, a bestselling author and speaker. Connect with her at @samanthaettus.Read More