Welcome to the official launch of TheOrganizedChaosMom!!

Welcome to TheOrganizedChaosMom!!!  I’ve been building content for a few weeks now and working on different designs of the website to see what works best and I am finally ready to share it with all of you in my official launch!  I’ve had the Instagram account, glassceilingbreakers, for almost 8 months now and I’ve seen it grow exponentially over the past few months and I’m so thankful to all of my followers!  I still want to focus on that account on a more daily basis, although it will be more geared towards general women empowerment and motivation.  As always, if there are any topics you have questions on or want to see more of let me know for future posts!!  I’m also on twitter now too at orgnzdchaosmom so follow there for more content from me on a personal level!  However, there is still an area near and dear to my heart that I felt like I needed to address and dive deeper into:  working moms!

First, a little bit about myself.  I got married when I was 29 years old and was gifted not only with a great husband but two amazing daughters as well, who were five and seven at the time.  Even though this was a second marriage for the both of us (I didn’t have any kids from my first marriage), there was still a learning curve we had to go through.  The girls had to get used to a new routine and step mom, and I had to get used to being a mother.  Motherhood is definitely one of those parts of life that in theory you think you know and are ready for it, but in reality you have no idea.  I struggled with a lot of different situations and was extra hard on myself because I didn’t want our family to fall into the stereotypical traps of blended families.  We tried very hard to have open communication between all the parents involved (their dad, their step mom – me, and their mom) and be a united front for the kids.  Parenting is hard enough, without throwing co-parenting into the mix.  On top of that, I now had to adjust to working full-time while having the girls during the week (our time was Monday through Thursdays).  I am an electrical engineer and had been in the automotive industry for about eight years at this point, so at least I had the whole working thing down (being in a male-dominated field, however, is a whole other story).

I was so busy making sure the girls adjustment went as seamlessly and smoothly as possible that I really didn’t have much time to analyze my own situation.  Every decision revolved around the girls and what would benefit them.  My husband was very good at making sure I was adjusting as well so overall we weren’t doing too bad.  There were so many situations that would come up and my husband and I would continue to be hard on ourselves.  But when I would talk to other moms who had kids around the same ages, I would find out that the issues we were having were normal and not necessarily due to their situation.  This was such a relief and we realized kids are so much more resilient than we gave them credit for.  I also realized that other parents were going through the same struggles, and other working moms had similar hardships to what I was going through as well.  The more I talked to people, the better I felt that we were doing the best we could and we tried to not be as tough on ourselves as we were.

For me, adjusting to working and taking care of kids wasn’t so bad, mainly because they were somewhat independent at those ages and could verbalize what they wanted and how they felt.  My husband and I tried to help each other out as much as possible, and we managed to get into a good routine.  It was definitely a challenge for me, though, to all of a sudden have to juggle motherhood and working full time.  Little did I know, it was nothing compared to the struggle of having my own child and working full time with three kids now.  The girls are now ten and eight years old and the newest addition to our family, our son, is 17 months old.  I took off five months for my maternity leave, and let me just say going back to work was one of the hardest and most emotional things I’ve had to do.  It’s been a learning curve for sure, and the learning never ends.

My main goal of starting glassceilingbreakers was to help motivate and empower other women because I know what it’s like to feel unappreciated in the workforce and have the odds stacked against me.  It took me a long time to adjust to being in a male-dominated field, I was also struggling with being the youngest (with large age gaps for years when I first started at 21) and sometimes even the only woman in an entire department (of about 40 engineers).  It took me a long time to learn the hard way how to make my way and have my voice be heard, and I’ve had a difficult time of defining what success means to me in my career and personal life.  I’ve been in the automotive industry for over ten years, and I’ve learned so much that I only hope to help other women get to where they want to be in life easier through my difficulties and lessons learned.

The same goes for TheOrganizedChaosMom, but with a more focused theme of working moms and the different struggles we go through on a daily basis to be the best at everything we do while trying to ease the Mom Guilt we inevitably go through.  Life with a career and kids and a husband while still trying to maintain some semblance of a social life can only be defined as organized chaos.  It’s completely chaotic and we usually have no less than five different things going on at once and even though we set impossibly high standards for ourselves, we always manage to get it done.  I’m also going to start “TheOrganizedChaosMom’s Hack of the Week” where every week I’ll share different ideas and anything that has helped make my life a little easier with kids and work.  The purpose here is so that we can all share the different techniques, products, or hacks that help us get through our weeks smoother and more efficiently.  So join me on this journey of motherhood while we pave the way for our careers and help motivate each other along the way!  Make sure to subscribe so you can stay up to date with all the latest that’s going on!

Instead of Mom-Shaming let’s Commend and Support them

Can we stop with the mom-shaming for a few minutes to think about the struggles mothers go through on a daily basis?  The other day I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook and came across a post that was something along the lines of telling mothers that give their kids a phone (or any other electronic device) while at the grocery store are part of the problem.  What problem you ask?  The social issues of being more disconnected and the next generation not learning how to be social but rather narcissistic and turning into numb-like individuals.  I won’t get into the validity or discussion of the “social issues”, but the post in general rubbed me the wrong way.  For background, this was posted by a woman who didn’t have kids and wasn’t even married.

What bothered me the most was the instant mom-shaming and judging of a mother who was just minding her own business trying to get essential grocery shopping done.  The comments went on to further judge all mothers who turn to electronic devices as a means to keep their kids occupied.  They even went as far as to site links to articles about limiting screen time for children and the dangers/harms of allowing your children too much screen time.  Most of the negative comments were from non-mothers.  One woman was explaining that the reason mothers give their children the electronics is to avoid tantrums and melt-downs in public because of the embarrassment.  She was even gracious enough to go on to further explain that instead of turning to the easy choice of just shutting the child up to in turn allow them to have their tantrums and not worry about the embarrassment because no one is going to judge a mom for her child throwing a tantrum.  How nice of her to allow the mother this comfort, I thought.  It was pretty much at that point I had to join in the discussion (typically I avoid commenting but really, I couldn’t hold back on this topic and the judgements of these women without children of their own).

I pointed out that tantrums are often more than just screaming and crying.  Often, they include the children throwing themselves onto the floor and kicking and thrashing about.  They might even start picking stuff up and throwing them.  The level of the tantrum depends on the child.  So simply allowing a child to throw a tantrum in an uncontrolled and unfamiliar environment isn’t about embarrassment but rather about the safety of the child at that point.  So if giving a child their phone to watch videos while the mother gets done what she needs to, what’s the harm?  Further, who are you to judge her or shame her?  I’m sure the mother of that child knows way better than anyone what’s in her child’s best interest.  Other mothers also joined the conversation (even more upset than I was).  They went on to say that we can’t judge a mother based on a five minute snippet of their life we glimpse at a grocery store.  How do we know what kind of day she had?  How do we know the circumstances surrounding her life?  How do we know that because this mother occupies her child non-stop on electronic devices all day long?  But most importantly, how is it any of your business to judge her?!

The original poster went on to explain that she didn’t necessarily mean to judge but rather discuss the lasting effects of screen time and allowing children free reign on electronic devices.  To which all the mothers replied, those are two separate statements and the original statement was extremely judgmental as opposed to a generic statement to the state of society.  Even though she kept to her judgements using the age-old excuse of “Well how did our mothers do it?”  At this point, I pointed out that we can’t raise our kids the same way we were raised because times change and we must change with them if we want to keep up and more importantly keep our children competitive and not fall behind.  Even schools are incorporating electronic devices into their curriculums because that’s where technology and society in general is headed.  Every generation uses the resources available to them to help raise their children and move forward.  So I see nothing wrong with using electronic devices to both entertain and teach children when appropriate.

The underlying issue, however, is that other women had no problem undermining and criticizing other women.  This is a bigger issue of women not supporting women.  If I see another mom with an unruly child and she hands him/her a tablet or her phone, I will smile and cheer her on for avoiding an unnecessary meltdown and a bigger headache for the mom.  Mother’s go through enough self-imposed guilt and shaming without the addition of strangers and so-called friends comments and judgements.  Women and especially mothers need the support of their friends to help get through the day.  It really is true, it takes a village to raise kids.  Women tend to “suffer in silence” for so many reasons.  One of which is the judgements of society and the fear that either no one will reach out to help or they will instantly criticize you.  Mothers and women feel alone because of this.  So let’s try to be more encouraging and help build them up instead of tearing them down.  When you see a mom struggling, ask if you can help.  If a child is throwing a tantrum, don’t just stand around giving dirty looks see if you can help in any way or just keep moving and give her an encouraging look and smile.  We are all in this together, women should always stay united and mothers should stick together.  With all that being said, never let anyone make you feel less of a mother or a woman for how you choose to raise your children.  You are enough and I’m sure already working as hard as you can so keep it up and don’t listen to anyone criticizing or judging you because at the end of the day, they have no effect on you or your life.  Mommy’s, you got this!

The joys of the “mom effect”

When I’m alone with my 16 month old son, I can NEVER get anything done.  My husband comes home from work and the dishes are still in the sink, the laundry hasn’t been folded, and let’s not even mention my whole showering (or lack of) situation.  My son is always all over the place and it’s a full time job just making sure he doesn’t nose dive off the couch or keeping him overall injury-free.  Add on to that whenever I step out of the family room (even in an open concept house where he can see me at ALL times) he has a complete meltdown.  Not only do I need to be in the family room with him inside the confines of the safety-gate, but I also need to be on the floor.  All.  Day.  Long.  This, combined with carrying a squirmy toddler around, is why I have back problems.  Even when he’s quietly playing by himself, the second I stand up he drops everything and runs arms raised whining and crying for me to pick him up.  So again, I’m stuck in the family room until the golden nap time or bed time.  This is what I lovingly call, the “mom effect”.

Whenever I try to explain this to my husband, he never understands.  I always get the same response, “He never acts like this with me so I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  I never believe this because how can my son be so attached to me but so laid back with his dad?  I come home from work to find the kitchen cleaned, laundry folded and put away, and dinner is being prepped.  I walk in the door and question how he gets everything done.  His answer?  “We had such a good day today!  He sat in the family room and played while I got all my work done.”  To which I always say, “I don’t believe it.”  When I’m at work and our son is alone with his dad (we work alternative shifts so it’s always one or the other staying with him while the other is at work), he takes three hour naps, I get videos throughout the day of him being this cuddly adorable toddler.  When I’m with him?  I’m lucky to get an hour and a half, maybe two hour nap.  So by the time I’m done cleaning up and getting his lunch and dinner prepared I don’t have time for anything else.

My husband and I got into this standstill.  He never believed how our son was such a menace when he was at work, and I never believed how well behaved he was when I was at work.  Until one day I decided to shower while all the kids were still awake (as opposed to waiting until everyone was asleep so I could shower in peace).  That day I had a long day at work, then came home and made dinner and just needed a break to be able to finish out the evening.  So I told my husband, “I’m going to shower.  I’ll be down in an hour.”  To which he totally understood my code for “I need an hour alone or it’s not going to be pretty.”  Him being the trooper that he is replied (smartly) “Take your time.”  So as I was sitting on my bed unwinding (really, I was checking social media mindlessly), the same toddler who was just whining for my attention had gone silent.  I stood at the top of the stairs and I heard him laughing and playing.  So after I finished my shower I went downstairs hopeful that it would be a semi-quiet evening.  Only to have that hope quickly squashed.  The second my son saw me he dropped everything, ran up to the gate, and threw his arms up and stood on his tippy-toes for me to pick him up.  My husband stopped and looked at him, then looked at me and laughed and said it’s only me he acts like that around.  And sure enough, I had my proof.  To which I replied, “Why me?!”

At least now we have an understanding.  And if I’m being honest, it really makes it easier for me to go to work leaving my son at home.  I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not because I get away from his whining and crying for a little (although that definitely does help).  When I’m at work, the last thing I want to be worrying about is if my son and husband are having a rough day without me, and if my son is miserable and missing me.  So in a way, I’m glad they have the relationship they do.  I feel more at ease and relieved knowing that they’re at home playing and I don’t have to stress about what’s going on at home while I’m at work.  Now, if I could get some more quiet time and less whiny time I’d be even more relieved!

**Note:  my son is really not that whiny of a child.  I just compare the behavior between mommy-time and daddy-time and it makes me jealous.  But seriously, I can’t be the only one experiencing the “mom-effect”!  I would love to hear from you and your “mom effect” stories!

Weekends are for Yoga Pants

And leggings.  And no makeup and messy hair.  Working moms spend their week in professional attire and most likely heels and it’s an unwritten rule that their weekends are spent surrounded by the most comfortable things they can find.  I know I do.  And I’m all about efficiency so if I happen to fall asleep in my yoga pants, it’s one less thing for me to do in the morning.

Before I had kids, I spent my weekends dressing up and going out with friends and staying up late.  Now that I have kids, I’m still staying up late but for a whole different reason.  I need some “me” time.  So I struggle between the constant need to get rest and wanting to stay up to catch up on my T.V. shows.  I never used to watch TV before kids.  I was “too busy” before.  With what you ask?  I have no idea.  Dinner with friends?  Vacations?  I can’t really remember much pre-kids.  That’s thanks to the brain cells sucked out of me during pregnancy, and the overall general loss of focus on anything other than keeping the kids alive and getting my work done.  So now, unless I absolutely have to go somewhere, I not only choose to stay in and be comfy but I love it.

During the week it’s always go-go-go.  I am always rushing to get the girls ready for school while getting ready myself, dropping them off and getting to work late (still carrying my Starbucks because who functions well without their coffee?), then getting my work done and rushing to leave so I can pick the girls up and get them home only to work at a whole new job there.  Getting the toddler taken care of and making sure he doesn’t dive off the couch head first (this is a full time job in itself, he has so sense of self preservation and this shaves years off my life I’m sure), making dinner for all of us, getting homework done, then it’s time for showers and bedtime.  By the time 9pm rolls around I’m completely exhausted but refuse to go to sleep because I need at least an hour or two to myself.  And this is all with an extremely supportive and helpful husband who stays home with our toddler while I’m work (I work part-time during the week, and he works weekends) and we usually divide-and-conquer the rest.  I give major credit to all the parents who have to do all these things on their own.  They deserve an award.  Or unlimited free Starbucks for life.

By the end of the week I can barely remember what day it is let alone think about planning outfits for the weekend.  So yoga pants it is!  When I do have to go out, I have a whole selection of just-as-comfy leggings.  I bought a whole new wardrobe for post-pregnancy of comfy leggings and tunics/long sweaters.  Because regular pants post C-section is not fun.  And then you get so used to them it’s really hard to go back.  So even though my weekends are still pretty packed chasing after a 15-month old, I still like to get a small “break” from the chaos that is the week.  There’s no better way to “relax” when you know you really won’t be doing much relaxing other than putting on some super comfy yoga pants and be ready to tackle the weekend.