Management and Motherhood: How One Made Me Better At the Other

Written by Nicole Coon on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

Working mom

I’ve struggled with being a working mom for years. That ongoing debate of staying home or working, and which was better for my kids. Then one day it hit me: What I am learning through my career in management is actually making me a better mother for my kids! How, you may ask? Well, let me tell you. Here are the top five things I learned while being a manager that have made me a better mother.

Show Excitement!!

When managing a team, it is crucial that they know what you are passionate about. I like to show my passion in the form of a “Woo hoo!” At work, it is used to cheer on a step taken in the right direction or a sales goal met.

Now, translate that into being a mom.

My kids know I get excited about small things: That’s what brings joy into our life. They will hear a “Woo hoo!” from me when they go pee in the potty, or do a summersault, or count to ten for the first time. It gets them excited about what they are accomplishing and keeps them motivated to keep learning new things.

A Little Recognition Goes a Long Way

Anyone and everyone needs to feel valued for what they do. As a manager, I am the key deliverer of that meaningful recognition. It is my job to keep my team engaged and coming to work ready to give 100%.  I’ve asked hundreds of people that I work with for their opinions, and the most meaningful recognition to them is personal, one on one, and specific.  

What does that mean as a mom?

Well, that to keep my kids doing the actions that I want them to, I be sure to take the time to overly recognize them for it. For example, manners are super important to me. So, when one of my boys says please or thank you, or chews with his mouth closed, I ensure that I am giving a lot of praise for this behavior. Recognition enforces behaviors, so that is how I get my kids to continue to do more of the behaviors that I want them to do. Another great behavior to reinforce with some recognition is sharing.

Work on Your Own Personal Growth and You Will Be Better for Your “Team”

I’m fortunate enough to work in a place that spends a lot of time and energy on my own growth and development as a leader. I’ve discussed in detail what I’m great at and what I need to work on to be even better. They have invested the time in me, which is making me a better manager and, in turn, makes their business run more smoothly.

Well, as a mother, this principle is just as important.

It is important that you invest in yourself as a mom! Take the time to explore a hobby, or take a class, or exercise, or even take a spa day. This investment in yourself, while initially make seem selfish or impossible due to time restraints, is worth the sacrifice. Do you think there weren’t a million other things I could have been doing at work to run the business when I was taking the time out to work on my own development? Of course there were, but I had to prioritize it because I knew in the long run it would pay off. And as a mother, it’s the same principle. Taking the time out to expand your brain and give yourself more self-confidence will payoff ten fold for your family. Plus, you might even make your kids proud.

Keep Your Stress to Yourself

Everyone has stress in his or her life, and most people have stress in their jobs. But, as a manager, if I show my stress to my team, then not only does it increase their level of stress, but they also begin to lose the faith in me to lead them through the challenging time. I should point out that I’m by no means perfect and I had to learn this though a lot of trial and error: It is crucial to keep your stress away from your team. Now, I have a venting partner at work that I tell my frustrations to, which releases my stress before I go in front of my team. That way, to them I remain positive, and they remain eager and willing to follow my lead.

The same principle applies at home.

Your children don’t need to know about or feel every stress that you go through as an adult in this world. You don’t need to burden them with those worries. When I pick my kids up from daycare, they want a happy mom to play with. I can give them that! It will keep them happy too. We all know kids feel your stress when you allow yourself to show it, so do everything you can to not show it.

While It’s Easier to Do It Yourself, It’s Much More Worthwhile to Teach Them to Do It for Themselves

It’s crunch time at work, and deadlines are approaching. You have a team around you, but you have to make sure it’s done on time and it’s done right, so you just do it yourself. In the short term, this feels like the better option. But then the next week, a similar project is due, and you have nobody on your team to help you, yet again. If you would have taken the time to teach your team how to accomplish the project the previous week, rather than do it yourself, this week you would have been able to delegate it out and free up your time to do something else.

We’ve all heard the quote, ” Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I live by this quote as a manager. Not a day goes by that I don’t teach someone on my team a new piece of information or a new, more efficient way of doing things.

The same thing applies as a mom.

While it’s much easier to just do the dishes by yourself instead of dealing with two kids around you, spilling water and making messes everywhere, in the long term, it will free up your time and teach them a valuable life skill. How nice will it be when you can say, “Hey, can you please do the dishes?” to your child and they can go and do it all on their own. It is awesome! My four year old does all the laundry in the house (he asks to do it!). It is so nice to be able to take that off my list of chores! Not to mention, you are making them a much more independent child. I call that a win-win.

Being a mother is the most rewarding job out there, but I’m so thankful for my secondary job for showing me several ways to be an even better mom. At the end of the day, whether you are managing a team of one hundred or a family of four, the same basic principles apply.

Top 5 Must-have Baby Registry Items

Written by Rachel Morrow on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

baby registry

If there is one thing every pregnant woman looks forward to, it’s creating a baby registry. I mean, it’s one of the few times in your life where you are expected to tell people what you want them to buy you. Who doesn’t love that? However, when you walk into Babies”R”Us to complete your baby registry, you are handed a scanner and set loose in a store that has more baby items than even the Royal Baby needs. To say it can be overwhelming is the understatement of the year. Don’t worry; I’m here to help.

After two kids, and way more trial and error than I would care to admit, these are the baby products that should not be left off of any baby registry. Because they are necessary? No. In all honesty, all a baby really needs is clothes, food, diapers, and a safe place to sleep. But these products will make your life way easier, and they are tried and tested and backed by me.

Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer

After you have had to get your baby to stay still for a full minute so you could get an accurate temperature from his armpit, you will understand why this little tool is such a gem. There is a reason they use it in hospitals: it’s easy and accurate, and you don’t even have to wake your sleeping baby to use it. You simply place it on your baby’s forehead, press a button, and slide it across his head. That’s it. And it gives you an accurate temp every time.

HALO SleepSack Swaddle

Swaddling a baby with a blanket is an ancient art form that has been perfected and passed on from generation to generation. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the memo. Luckily, I didn’t have to because I was told about the SleepSack from the very beginning. It is so easy to use, and is super safe for the baby because he can’t break free from it as easily. They come in so many adorable fabrics, too, so you don’t even have to sacrifice your baby’s suave style.

Baby Buddy Baby’s 1st Toothbrush

If your baby ends up being anything like mine, getting him to open his mouth to let you brush his teeth will be a struggle. Well, this genius invention lets your baby brush his own teeth. It is very soft silicone, has a perfect baby-sized handle, and has three sides of bristles to massage your baby’s gums and teeth. And he thinks he is just playing with a toy.

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes

Are there a lot of light-up, musical toys for babies? Yes! Do they all work at calming a baby? No. I don’t know why, but this baby MP3 player is nothing short of a miracle worker. I keep it in my diaper bag for those “emergency” situations where you can’t get the baby to stop crying and you have no idea what’s wrong. It has worked every single time. No lie. For both kids, too. An added bonus: It plays classical music, which they say can make your kid good at math.

Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion Spray

Once again, there are a million different diaper rash creams out there. Heck, in our book (that was written before I discovered this product) we even recommend a few budget-friendly options, but this one keeps the stuff off of your hands and out of your fingernails. All you have to do is spray it on your baby’s bum: No harm, no foul. Oh, and did I mention it uses all-natural ingredients? That’s what I call a win-win situation.

Note: I have not received any reimbursement from any of the manufacturer’s of these products. They really are what I recommend to (and buy for) my own friends. Read our Disclosure and Disclaimer

What are your must-have items for your baby registry?

What You Need to Know Before Becoming a Mom of Two

Written by Rachel Morrow on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

Mom of Two

When I was pregnant with my second child, I picked the brains of all of the moms of two that I knew. How different is it having two kids instead of one? What is it like? Yadda, yadda, yadda. Well, now that I am a mom of two, and have had two for 8 months, I can tell you exactly what it’s like. It’s not any harder; in fact, some parts are easier because you have been there done that. But it is nonstop. And by nonstop I mean downright exhausting. Right when you get one kid happy, the next one needs something. And so it continues. All. Day. Long.

Forget About Naps

Do you remember those good ol’ days where you could take naps when your baby was napping? Yeah, not gonna happen. Get it out of your mind. Even if you are lucky enough to get both kids asleep at the same time (like I did once), you will have so much catch-up to do (shower, anyone?), that you just can’t justify to your brain that you should spend the time sleeping.

Never Leave the Room

Something else you could do with the first kid was put them down somewhere safe and leave the room to, oh, I don’t know, go to the bathroom. Well, as a mom of two, those days are gone, too. Why? Because if you put the baby in his bouncy chair or in his jumper, the toddler is sure to wreak havoc. While she loves him and only means the best, that doesn’t necessarily mean she is going be gentle about it.

Be Prepared to Laugh a Lot

Above all, I have learned that being a mom of two means twice as many smiles, twice as much laughter, and twice as much joy. The work may be nonstop, but you can’t even fathom the joy of it. Watching the older one nurture and dote on the younger one. Watching the younger one stare at the older one with eyes of complete admiration. And holding one kid on each leg as you are enveloped in unconditional love. Those are the moments that make it all worth it.

If you are a mom of two, what was the biggest change for you?

Gift Ideas for Every Mom in Your Life

Written by Rachel Morrow on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

mother's day gift

Mother’s Day is like sharing your birthday with 85 million other people. Fun, huh? On one hand, it’s all about you, but on the other, you still have to worry about all of the other moms in your life. Don’t get me wrong, you absolutely deserve to be pampered and spoiled. You work hard every single day of the year and this is your one day off (if you are lucky). But it is also about all of the other moms that you know. They deserve acknowledgment and spoils too. Here’s a quick cheat sheet to help you pick out the perfect gift for all the moms in your life. 

Your Own Mom

At this point in your life, your Mom knows how busy you are. She knows that you spend your days chasing your kids around, and she respects that. However, that doesn’t get you a bye on Mother’s Day. In fact, you sure as heck better remember your mom. Luckily, your mom is easy to please. She probably just wants some extra quality time with you and your kiddos. You can easily suffice her with a nice meal out or even a special trip to go see her.

Your Mother-in-Law

Whether you like her or not, you better not forget your mom-in-law on Mother’s Day. After all, she did give birth to your spouse, so you can at least be grateful for that. (For the record, I love my mother-in-law.) Just like with your mom, your mom-in-law will probably love some quality time with your family. If that is not possible, maybe send her a coffee mug with your kids’ pictures on it so she can start every day off with a smile.

Your Sister

If you have a sister that is also a mom, it is a good idea to acknowledge all of her hard work, too. Sisters are simple. You can send her some flowers with a nice card, or you can volunteer to babysit for a weekend in the future so she can get some much needed time off. 

Your Friends

With your mom friends, you don’t need to do anything fancy; simply acknowledging them on Mother’s Day can go a long way. For some extra kudos, give her a gift certificate for a manicure and offer to watch the kids as she gets it.

Your Pregnant Friend

Just because your pregnant friend doesn’t have a tangible child yet doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve to be honored on Mother’s Day. In fact, she will be so flattered that you thought of her you will score some bonus points. For the mom-to-be, why not get her something that will actually help her once her bundle of joy arrives: a free ebook packed full of 101 tricks that take the guesswork out of parenting. Not Your Ordinary Parenting Book: Newborn Edition will make you look like a hero because it will offer your friend practical tips that can’t be found in traditional parenting books. The best news is that on Thursday, May 9, 2013 (mark your calendar!), it will be a free ebook for you to download straight from Amazon (there’s a “Give as a Gift” button).

Now that you have all of the other moms in your life covered, it is time to make the day all about you. So lay back, relax, and enjoy all of the attention. Because tomorrow, it will be back to being about everybody else.

Maternity Jeans or Muffin Top: A Postpartum Tale

Written by Rachel Morrow on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

maternity jeansI have a confession. I am still wearing maternity jeans. Am I pregnant? Nope, and I haven’t been for six months. Yet, every day when I get dressed I go through the same dilemma. First, I pull my “fat jeans” out of the closest from my pre-pregnancy days. I slide one leg into them and they seem like they will actually fit. I get the other leg in too. Success! Then it comes time to button them. When I hear the clap of the snap I feel a sense of pride. “They finally fit! I did it!” And then I look in the mirror.

 There it sits. The muffin top to rival all muffin tops. Yes, I am finally wearing non-maternity jeans, but is the pride felt worth looking like a baked goodie as I go throughout my day? Unfortunately, I reach the same conclusion every day. No. So, alas, I slip off my “regular” jeans and put back on the full panel maternity jeans that are getting much more wear than they bargained for. At least with the maternity jeans I have a somewhat smooth silhouette since there is no waistband tightly squeezing my core. Plus, maternity jeans are very forgiving. They stretch in a way no other jeans stretch, and I love them for it.

 If you are still pregnant, don’t let this scare you. I know plenty of women that are able to quickly fit back into their pre-pregnancy jeans in no time at all. I am just not one of them. It is partially my fault. I didn’t start exercising until about a month ago and I hardly watched what I ate. Now I am on the right track and maybe, just maybe, I will be out of my maternity jeans by the time my son is one year old.

 Now I have a favor to ask: When you see me around town, just pretend you don’t know this little secret and be super impressed with how svelte my midsection looks. Thank you.

 I want to know: What do you think is worse, wearing maternity jeans several months postpartum or having a muffin top? 

 

Photo courtesy of Zen Cupcakes

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