Back-to-school season is in full swing, and I’m embracing it by excitedly going back to work. FINALLY. It’s been three years, guys. So today I am sharing my 10 Back to Work Tips for Moms. Working mom mantras.
(Actually, you do not have to be a mom to feel most of these mantras. We are all “mom” to something in our lives, yes?)
Summertime ’23 – toddler edition.
Ah, summertime ’23. It was a magical time. Filled with chlorine-hair pool days, white sunscreen noses and sand in all the places – toes, car seats, eyelashes — beach faceplants happen.
It was a season of melted purple popsicle fingertips and french fry and ketchup-scented kisses. Those dependable sprinkles of Disney Plus, Cars and Elsa, Trash Truck, Minnie Mouse and our new obsession with the pony segment of Fantasia.
Gymnastics, soccer, swings and slides. Baby bumps, bruises, ouchies and Band-Aids. Plenty of afternoon dance parties. Sun-tired naps. Learning the words to Shake it Off for mom’s sake, and really mastering our rendition of Into the Unknown, complete with arm choreography, costumes and backup vocals.
A few Disneyland visits in the ridiculous sweltering heat. A few dunks in the crystal blue snow-melted waters of Tahoe. Playdates with fave friends, road trips and scooter rides as far as the eye could see.
I do. I do love you, summertime. But I’m pretty fond of flirting with fall right now.
One week until it is officially fall…. September 22nd 2023 everyone.
Time to Work
Back to school season, for me, means back to work. I am scared, excited and yes, a bit anxious for this transition. Last year – actually the past three years – felt like a failure for getting back into work mode. It never came to fruition as I had envisioned. That first year of preschool was a lot. These first few years of parenting — a lot.
With school came lunch-packing, wake-up and bedtime routines, a million sicknesses and boxes of tissues. Tears and adjustments. For my kiddo – and parents!
So this year, I am letting go of too many expectations, but also going in with “let’s do this” energy. Because, energy is important. My energy this year is reminiscent of those GirlBoss days, a la 2010-ish. But sidenote, RIP “Girlboss,” I guess. Anyways.
PS. Rosalie is THREE
Ps. Did I tell you that my little child is three now! Oh my goodness. Biggest change from last year? Potty training and the level of conversation skills going on. We have a toddler rapport now. It’s like having a mini-me that exudes the sassiness and swagger of her daddy. She’s a bee-saving, stuffie-cuddling, imagination-minded little ambitious, quiet, sweet leader of all. God, I love her.
PPS. Taylor Swift Edition
Ever since my Eras Tour night, I have been an actual Swiftie. Converted!
I have been listening to Vigilate Sh*t, a la Taylor Swift, on repeat this morning to get in a mom-is-working sort of, badass-y, mood. We need a ten-minute version of Vigilante Sh*t. It’s too short. CC TayTay on that one.
Ok, let’s go…. 10 Back to Work Tips for Moms. But first…
Back to Work: Goal Setting
- Mom Time.
- Passion + Joy + Fulfillment.
Before looking at a few back to work mom mantras, I always think the first step to any project is clarifying your goals. What are your three main goals? I’ll start…
For my work, my goals are:
1 – Connection + Storytelling
Number one, is storytelling and connection via creation. To tell stories and create art and content that I am truly passionate about. Content and stories that bring value to those on the receiving end. I think stories are all about connection. To my community. Friends and followers. YOU.
2 – Work/Life Balance
Number two, to be able to balance my work time with being a mom. Being mom comes first. I want to be a mom with enough energy to play a little, be present and not feel totally dragged down by my attempt at work/life balance.
Because let’s face it the phrase “work/life balance” is ridiculous.
3 – Monetize
And number three, my goal with work is to monetize my work efforts. I am not just out here creating for the sake of fulfillment, I want to be making money while working. Nothing wrong with that, moms! and dads!
I’m going to say it. I love being artist, creator Kathy, but I miss making money, guys. And I’m really ok with feeling that way. I was so proud of the income I made in my most successful days of blogging and being a brand representative and writing cookbooks. It makes me feel proud to contribute to my family’s financial needs. So I want that piece of my life back. I am excited to be working on something BIG via my Finding Vegan brand.
They say the “Girlboss is Dead” but I don’t think that is entirely true. It just needs a name change and PR revamp.
The modern “girlboss” is now a woman who is in control of her career, and has ambitions bigger than herself. Simple.
10 Back to Work Tips for Moms
#1 Are You a Maker or Master?
One thing I loved about summertime was being able to close my eyes and think random thoughts. Next to a napping toddler.
Once I start working, my mind gets so focused on the actual project that I don’t have time to… think. And one thing I realized about myself this summer — because we never stop learning about ourselves — is that I am a maker before I am a master.
What does that mean? Well, I could do an entire book on this theory, but looking back on my life, I realized that I hold the skill and gift of being a maker. Creating. Actually putting one foot in front of the other and making something my own and crafting something new. Making something from scratch – brand new.
One example of this is recipes. Some people love to re-create recipes from books and master their faves. I much prefer to create new recipes and play and experiment. Another example is art. Some people love to learn a technique and master it. I much prefer to create my own stories, songs, art pieces no matter how imperfect. And actually tell stories through them.
Some people I love are masters. They want to learn from someone else and master something. Yes, I strive to make something the best I can, but being a “maker” is a gift. And it may make me a bit less focused on one path in life, but that’s all part of it.
I am a storyteller and a soul-sharer. I want to create and share something new
What are you? A Maker or a Master?
As you move into this next season of your life – what are you? A master or a maker? Finding out may actually help you feel more confidant in your skills and stop comparing yourself to the “other” type of person.
Masters may feel like they never make their skills their own or create anything new. While makers may feel like they are never ‘good enough’ or as perfect as masters.
Anyways. This realization really helped me this summer! Instead of wallowing in perfection, I am excited to make and share and tell stories.
#2 Do Scary Stuff – Challenge Yourself
I recently watched an interview with Hugh Jackman, he said:
“The more scared I am, the more courage I find and the more rewarding the whole thing becomes, whether it is a success or not.”
He goes on to say, “My relationship with risk is that, if I’m too comfortable, I’m probably doing pretty average stuff.”
I love this quote so much! That no matter how successful a project is, if you are challenging yourself – it is worth it! The full video clip here.
#3 Never Think You are a “Nerd” — Embrace Your Passions, All of Them
This is a nod to GaryVee. He always advises to literally call yourself out in public for your downfalls and vulnerabilities – your weaknesses. Or even your “nerdy” qualities. Btw, I love anything “nerdy.”
I think the modern word for nerdy is probably “niche.” Yes?
And I will say to extend that to your quirks and “nerdy” passions. They are literally what make you who you are! No matter how fringe or silly they may seem to one person, I promise they will be the things that people remember about you – and the things that closely bond you with others.
Embrace those weird things.
No one is boring. Some people are just more scared to share their unique quirks with others.
And by “share” I don’t mean you have to start a blog or podcast and share them – just sharing them with the people in your life will help you find you people.
And anyone who loves you, will love your quirks and “nerdy” “niche” side.
I think the key about embracing differences around others is to not push your believes and passions on others. You can share that you are passionate about certain things without acting like others need to be interested in them too.
Own your own passions and learn to love spending time with yourself and your “nerdy” passions. And eventually, you will find someone else who is as niche as you.
Continuing my Back to Work Tips for Moms…
#4 Find a Community
And that leads me to the next mantra. Find your niche community. Take your unique passions and interests and find a community that also thinks those things are cool! This way you have an outlet to be as excited as possible about the things you nerd out on.
#5 Tell Your story – Always
Ok, so this may only be for the “makers” of the bunch. But I am a believer in sharing your life and your story with others. Maybe you prefer to sit back and master skills and listen to others get vulnerable, well that’s fine too, but know that your story is so important to why you are a “master!”
So even if you find it uncomfortable to share yourself, make a point to build your story in your own head. Know where you came from and how your incredible skillset came to be in this world!
#6 People Are Connecting More Online These Days —- And That’s OK!
So we all know that people are more lonely than ever. But people are only lonely when they don’t have the skills and resources to make connections. And the truth is, we are all busy these days. It doesn’t take much to connect with someone.
One solid interaction with someone can last a lifetime. Truly.
And don’t discount the communication via your phone! In the past, people have looked down on tech connections and friends. But I think that has really changed.
As a busy mom, I find that in-person interactions are actually pretty surface-deep.
Most of my close relationships actually nurture themselves via texta and social media. I see it happening with teens too.
We are all so busy in our daily lives that in-person interactions tend to be brief, dry and to the point. It is rare to get a lazy day or chatting and connecting.
But the real space we seem to have to connect may be those two hours before bed when you are curled up staring at your phone, chatting and interacting with people online.
Moms especially, don’t really get to let down their guard and relax into a social setting until their kids go to sleep. It’s hard to connect when you are acting as childcare.
So yeah, try to make connections in person, but don’t be afraid to let those connections bloom via your phone.
#7 Don’t Get Sad – Get Even // Revenge
Swifties will know this line. Itis a lyric from Vigilante Sh*t. One of my current fave Taylor swift songs. And I love the meaning so much right now.
I have been in the past, someone who can wallow in my feelings. Letting sadness or anxiety take over my precious time. I don’t do that anymore. Well, very rarely. And my life is so much happier this way!
TS says, don’t get sad. Get even. Don’t wallow in your emotions too long – get out there and fix things you are sad about!
Emotions are natural and normal and having big feelings for kids and adults is a healthy thing, but sometimes – especially in today’s world – it can be easy to obsess in that sad space. To ruminate on those feelings of despair. Well, if this is where you are, you may need a therapist. I certainly did for a few years!
On the flip side, you may be able to pull yourself out of the sad place just by your own mindset change.
So I want to be clear that if you are in a place of sadness that you cannot shake, you may need to seek professional help. Depression and anxiety are real! And stem from all sorts of root causes – emotional, situational, and even physical. Please go get some help if you are “sad” and cannot shake it.
Otherwise, I absolutely love this message of taking a minute for your sadness and emotions and moving on. Taking action. Getting even or getting “revenge” on what made you sad — in the nicest way possible of course. Ha!
#8 Move Your Body – Stand Up!
I know, it’s annoying to hear because it’s hard to do, but get moving! Get exercise. Move. Find something to do during the day that gets your blood flowing and endorphins pumping. Staring at a screen all day was awful for my brain, mood and body.
It’s a challenge for me, trust me. But I always feel better when I work out during the work week.
#9 It’s All About the Energy You Bring
Life is all about the energy you bring. If you set up the energy to do something instead of expecting it to not work out – you are more likely to succeed – IMO.
Example that is very nerdy…. er, “niche.”
I really wanted to go see Taylor Swift. But how do you do that when the concert is sold out and crazy expensive? Well, I just felt this energy of, I can go tonight. I’m just going to go…. I got dressed. Ready to go. It was already seven thirty. The concert had “started” at six thirty. Well, I waited until the last possible moment to get there before she took the stage just after eight-fifteen. And I snagged a very cheap, in comparison, ticket just off the floor.
I went alone and had the best night out.
And I made it happen because I just wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I wanted to go. I was going to find a way.
And lastly in my Back to Work Tips for Moms….
#10 How Can You Modernize?
When going back to work, it’s so easy to go back to how you did it before. Just start doing it as you know how. And if you love that – great! But if it feels off, or you don’t love your work anymore, what then?
What if you took a leap of faith and switched things up?
It’s challenging to learn new skills and mediums of communicating. But if you want to stay current – it is a must.
For me, it is a question of actually asking myself: “Am I doing this backward?” “I am creating, but is it reaching people?” That is really a question for all artists. Let’s say you are a painter. You paint something and wait ten years to get into a prestigious gallery. Not very effective at getting your art into the eyes of people ASAP. How can you modernize your medium?
That is something I am working on right now. How can my work get to the people in the most efficient and impactful way? To be continued, I guess….
Ok! Those are my ten things about going back to work. I hope they inspired some thoughts in your own life!
Peace out, summer!
Oh wait there, one more, bonus Back to Work Tip for Moms..
#11 Laugh a Lot (bonus)
Oh hey there, thanks for scrolling even more, ha!
Laughter is the secret to life. I’m pretty confidant of that.
Something magical happens when you are authentically laughing. Your problems go away for that moment in time. And the more you feel that lightweight feeling, the better. So find ways to laugh. And make laughing a daily habit.
OK, you found my secret to life. What’s yours? Tell me in the comments! Or on social media. I think it is different for everyone, actually.