You don't have to wait until "someday" to feel better

You don't have to wait until "someday" to feel better

“Some day was the carrot I dangled... don't buy into the myth that your past dictates your future....” - Rachel Hollis.

I’m here to tell you, mama. You do NOT have to wait until someday to feel better than you do right now. Today I share my story about how I felt before starting FYM. I wish wishing my days away …but I was missing a vital piece. Read on to learn how you can stop wishing for ‘someday’ too!

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Fighting depression and finding purpose as a mom

Fighting depression and finding purpose as a mom

“The opposite of depression is purpose.” I first heard these words months after starting my blog. The impetus for starting FYM was that I needed an outlet to talk about my feelings of isolation and anxiety and I knew other moms felt that way too. As the months went by and I created podcast episodes and blog posts, I heard this quote and realized that that’s exactly what FYM was doing for me. It had provided me a purpose. It provided me an opportunity to do more than wallow and to take that overwhelm and put that energy toward supporting you.

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How to Support a Loved One Experiencing Pregnancy Loss

How to Support a Loved One Experiencing Pregnancy Loss

Pregnancy loss is still such a taboo topic. I share my story of loss, including my fourth pregnancy early this summer. I also share three concrete DOS and DONTs for supporting someone who is in a season of loss right now. Most of us don’t want to process our emotions alone. Pregnancy loss can be so isolating and these tips are meant to help you reach out and support a mom trying to heal.

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Mom Bod and Self Care Realness

Mom Bod and Self Care Realness

Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and think, “Wait.. that can’t be what I look like?” Oh boy, did I have a moment like that this weekend! I’ve known in the back of my mind that my self care has been anything but on point lately but this pic really lit a fire under me! This isn’t about hating on myself and it’s not about a diet. I’m spending the next month committing to acts of self care so that B doesn’t look back on pics of his exhausted, coffee-fueled mom. I hope you’ll follow along as I share my month with you!

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The Importance of Mom-spiration

The Importance of Mom-spiration

We are constantly being bombarded with images and stories about the way motherhood ‘should’ be. I learned long before becoming a mom, long before social media even, that what I consumed had a direct impact on how I felt about myself. I made a conscious decision to control what images I let in and in return my self-talk is noticable more positive! This and other forms of mom-spiration have been so important in my journey to being the best mom I can be!

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Toddler Time & My Attitude of Gratitude

Toddler Time & My Attitude of Gratitude

I’m no stranger to the many musings out there on toddler life. But experiencing them firsthand has be one of the biggest challenges of my life! I’m finding that one of the only ways we’ve survived this long is hunkering down and really working on our attitude of gratitude. Of course dealing with a blow out or tantrum isn’t anyone’s idea of a good day but we’re learning to at least not wish the days away and to try and savor these moments before they’re gone.

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Learning to Mom

My supervisor in my most recent K-12 role gives great advice. I spent only one year as a coordinator at a large, urban charter school under her guidance. It was a trying year. I was responsible for a small team of teachers and a caseload of over 300 students (only a third of the school's total population). On paper, the role was exactly what I had been working towards and wanted. But in reality, I struggled. A lot. I struggled to keep up with the demands of completing reports and coaching teachers. I struggled with managing testing and maintaining files in our revolving door, open enrollment building. I didn't think I'd waltz in and know what was what every day as a newbie. But I hadn't counted on the challenge being quite this big.

Throw into the mix that I also had just become a mom only 5 weeks before interviewing for this job and the mommy wars were killing me.  I was losing it. 

Enter my Vice Principal with her strategic way and wisdom. She always has a plan, a reason for doing what she's doing. I've never met someone so quick on her feet. The first time I confided in her that I was drowning she replied with a phrase she's repeated several times since then: "If you're uncomfortable, you're growing." 

I should be ten feet tall from all the growing I've experienced in the last year!

But isn't that true? In my job, in life, in my marriage, this year has had so many butterfly-in-the-stomach, "Am I doing this right?", "Who put me in charge?" moments. My husband and I have reflected on this so many times so far in our son's life. Each phase we make it through we nervously laugh at how we just couldn't see the light at the tunnel a few days or weeks ago. It was uncomfortable but we made it. And certainly grew from it.

With each little growth spurt as parents, we grow slightly more into our own as mom and dad. Sometimes we're knocked back down a peg (or two) but if I keep this expression in mind, I'm able to see our transformation into newer versions of ourselves each time. 

How do you feel you've grown since becoming a parent? Comment below or head over to my IG account (@findingyourmomtra) and share your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you!

4 Strategies for Surviving the Mommy Judgement Zone

I know you. I know that you are exhausted by the constant back and forth on the mommy forums about who's doing it better / right / or my personal favorite, who has had to sacrifice more. Dear sanctimommies, step away from the keyboard! 

Guess what? I kinda think we're all rockin it. But it took me a while to gain confidence in my personal brand of momming and a lot of that had to do with learning how to handle all that judgement. 

Lucky for you, I put together 4 strategies for making it out of the judgement zone in one piece! Whether you're stuck in a convo with your MIL or you've just been sucked down the rabbit hole of reading a comment section on Scary Mommy (dear lord, never read the comment section if you value your sanity!), these strategies will keep you from imploding. Check 'em out below ! 

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Emotionally Processing My C-Section

I'll be honest with you. I had my entire birth story typed in this little gray box. I wasn't ready to share it yet. The reason why I even started to write the story down was that it came to my attention that April is C-Section Awareness month. And as you may have guessed, our birth ended in a caesarean. I'm still in the process of coming to terms with this ending to our labor and delivery tale. Physically, I feel pretty much back to normal. Emotionally, it has taken a bigger toll than I ever anticipated. 

I have had more conversations than I can count with friends and family about my feelings toward our birth story. Like you, I've grown tired of hearing how I should be grateful for our health. As if grieving over losing the opportunity for a life experience I've dreamed of for many years in any way negates my overwhelming gratitude for my little boy. Honestly, only one thought has brought me any real comfort or ability to move on. 

"The way you deliver your baby has no bearing on how well you will parent them."

Our birth story was a 24 hour saga in a 330 day journey so far. There have been and will be so many more segments of 24 hours in which I will need to show up for my son that will be infinitely more important. 

I can still think about the details of that day, plan for (hopefully) a future sibling's birth. I can allow myself to grieve or feel angry until I don't anymore, someday. But I can't let those few hours cast a dark cloud over the beautiful gift of motherhood that I have. I can't let those emotions overshadow the gratitude, happiness, laughter, and love that I feel each moment I get to spend with this little boy. And those big, happy emotions are helping me in my journey to becoming the mom he needs each day regardless of how he got here. 

 

5 Things about Me!

Hi there! Slowly but surely I feel like I'm sharing bits and pieces of my story. Opening up to you and hoping that you'll find parts that inspire you or just make you feel, "Hey, I'm not alone after all". Motherhood can be so isolating sometimes. We find ourselves combing the interwebs searching for a voice that brings us some comfort, some commiseration, and some humor in all of this craziness. I hope that the FYM Blog and Podcast is becoming that place for you and I hope you know that knowing you are out there, somewhere, at some time reading this makes this mom's heart feel so full. 

On that note, I'd love to take the time in this post to share with you some fun facts about me to just help you get to know the person who is sending her words and thoughts out into the airwaves for you to receive! So without further adieu, here are 5 things about ME, Karen Liebner, the voice behind Finding Your Momtra.

1. I received my first real life paycheck in 2nd grade. No, my parents weren't using me for child labor! I was actually in a local production of South Pacific. I couldn't have felt cooler if I tried. I was enamored with the grown up actresses and got to play Nintendo in between scenes. We were running several shows a week on weeknights, Saturday nights, and a Sunday matinee. I was a regular old workin' girl and had no time for second grade nonsense. (Still got straight As though ;) )

2. In the 2009-2010 school year, I taught Special Education on the Big Island of Hawaii. As fate would have it, I learned I had been hired just before going on my first date with my husband who I had known for four years already. So we spent every minute of the next 6 months together and prepared for a long year (or more) apart. Days before I left, he was laid off from his job. I showed up at his door with a six pack and an offer, "Move to Hawaii with me." And the rest is kind of history. 

3. I love to travel and have visited 11 countries. My most adventurous trips to date are probably when we backpacked in Thailand and Cambodia for our honeymoon or when I camped on the beach in San Blas, Panama on a trip with one of my girlfriends. 

4. I hate running.. but I've done quite a bit of it. As a way to impress my then, new boyfriend / now husband, I started going on an evening jog with him several nights a week. He is way faster than me and I never like doing it but it was a great way to bond with him, get some exercise, and be outside. Since then I've completed two half marathons, a ten miler, and a Tough Mudder and I'm doing the Broad Street Run again in a few weeks!

5. I have a Doctorate in Higher Education that I earned in 2016. By far one of the hardest things I've ever done. I wanted to give up so many times. The one thought that helped me stick it out was being able to tell my future children about that accomplishment. My dissertation was a qualitative study of Chinese International students' experiences with academic advising at a U.S. institution. Say that three times fast. 

Well, there you have it. A few tidbits about yours truly. I'm enjoying so much showing up for you on IG, Pinterest, your inbox, and iTunes! I hope you continue to tune in. Please send me a note any time if there's something you'd like to read about or if you'd be interested in collaborating with me in someway! 

The Myth of Multi-tasking

"You can multi-task but you can't multi-attend"

I recently learned this phrase at a professional development workshop I attended. At first, I defiantly thought, "No. I can multitask. You just must not being doing it right." But then I listened and gave it some more thought. 

And really, I think it is true. How many times am I half heartedly spoon-feeding B dinner while simultaneously answering a work email? Half the time he swerves and I'm not paying enough attention and it ends up on his forehead. When we get that taken care of, I return my gaze to my email only to have to re-read to remember where I left off or how I was going to reply. Neither of these tasks is getting my full attention, which they deserve. 

Me and B, multitaskin' 

Me and B, multitaskin' 

 

To be honest, this phrase lingered in the back of my head for a while. I referenced it at work a few times but hadn't thought too much about how it applied to my home life. 

Then the idea of 'presence' kept coming up. A major pain point for me was that I felt I had SO much on my plate, nonnegotiables, things that (I thought) no one else could do. And because of this, I couldn't be as present as I wanted to be in my son's life. This is when these words started to make sense. 

Not only would I feel more present if I ignored the work email during dinner but I'd also be able to devote my full attention to any messages once dinner was over or the baby was asleep. Both tasks would also probably take less time if I completed each of them independently as compared to how long things drag out when I try to accomplish them simultaneously. Win-win. 

We are so suckered in by all of the immediacy around us that it makes us think we must also do, respond, participate now ...if not sooner. I think it's time we all learn to close a few tabs in our brains once in a while and really attend to the moment.