Motherhood is a beautiful and life-changing experience, but it can also be pretty EXHAUSTING! There are times when you feel completely zapped of energy or simply overwhelmed. The good news is that it’s totally normal to feel that way. The great news is that there are small things that you can do every day to stay a bit more energized, positive and calm.
In this fun interview, blogger and awesome Mom, Katerina, shares her best tips on staying recharged, focused and happy, so that you can fully enjoy all the great perks that Motherhood has to offer!
A full-time Mummy with a full-time job AND a successful blog, Katerina juggles all her varied roles effortlessly and with a smile on her face. How does she do it? Find out below.
Q. Thanks so much for talking to us. Firstly, how has life changed after becoming a Mom?
Ans. Thank you so much for having me! The main change in my life was my priorities - once my baby was born, my main focus shifted from career and travel to taking care of this tiny human being. I realized that I would spend the rest of my life making her happy – and that would make me most happy too. Life also became extremely hectic and erratic with changing baby schedules due to sleeping and feeding times. So, finding the right rhythm and routine was the key for me, to balance my family, my career and my interests.
Q. Motherhood is often described as ‘the greatest thing and the hardest thing’. Do you think that’s accurate?
Ans. Absolutely – it is the greatest thing, because it made me a much better human being. I became more empathetic to others, more patient and caring. I learnt to put aside my own interests and needs and still feel good while doing it. And ofcourse it is the hardest thing too – so many responsibilities and so much to learn, every single day.
Q. Personally, what are your greatest challenges as a Mom, and how do you tackle them?
Ans. For me, it is finding the balance to allocate enough time to all the things I am passionate about – development of my baby, reading and researching, sharing my findings online which often means writing long blog posts and taking videos of our games and activities.
I tackle this by making schedules for everything. I have blocks of time allocated each week to work on different development areas for baby Shannon. I make sure I spend time with her outdoors in the morning, do some problem-solving games like puzzles with her in the evening, and always follow our reading routine at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Q. What are some habits you follow daily to stay positive and energized?
Ans. I have a strong belief that if mommy is happy, everyone in the house is happy too - baby, husband, parents-in-law, helpers, and hey, even our pets! I feel most happy and energized when I wake up very early. It gives me time for a morning walk with Shannon, some exercise, yoga or a run, contrast cold shower, strong coffee and healthy breakfast.When I am winning the morning, the whole day goes smoothly.
I also have some other “secret weapons” - some I learnt, and some I developed myself. For example, I created my own meditative-like exercises that help me get focused and refreshed in approximately 5 minutes. I shared these exercises with my friends who then inspired me to make a structured program around healthy mindful routine. This program has been running for several months now. It’s called “Recharge for Moms”, and has received amazing reviews from participating moms (and also from their happy husbands!) 😊
Q. How did your family and others around you react to your condition? Did you feel supported by those close to you?
Ans. I chose whom to share my feelings with very wisely. Because getting dissentient reactions was the last thing I wanted. It was my mom, husband and my best friend, and all three gave me just the right kind of support I needed.
Q. Can you give us a quick run-through of your daily routine?
Ans. I wake up at 6 AM, most days even without the alarm, and try to get in some quick yoga stretches/warmup on the terrace while baby Shannon is still asleep. She wakes up at 6:30 AM (most days, if I’m lucky ), and we quickly go outside before it gets too hot. I strongly believe that babies need at least 3 hours of outdoor time,so we go for a long walk to our garden and children’s playground, where she climbs, swings, slides and plays in the sandbox. We head home around 8-8:30 to grab breakfast, after which I head to work at 9 AM. This is a recent change - after Shannon was born, I was working only from 11 AM till 5 PM. Nowadays I spend more time in the office. Shannon stays with our trusted nanny and goes to a 2-hour toddler development program twice a week. We also invite her friends for play dates, so she has something interesting to do every day.
I come home from the office at 7 PM and all my focus between 7 and 9 is only on my baby. She wouldn’t allow me otherwise 😊. We play with toys and puzzles, or paint together. We recently allowed her 20-30 minutes of screen time every day to watch nursery rhymes. After dinner together with my husband, we head to the bedroom with 3-4 children’s books. We started this routine when she was 14 months old, and now she loves and expects it. We cuddle under the blanket and flip through our favourites. I tell her the story or read the rhymes, and she points to her favorite characters. Around 9-9:30 PM, she is usually calm and sleepy enough, so I get the last 30-60 minutes of the day to myself to spend time with my husband, or finish my blogging and writing. I prefer to go to sleep before 11 PM, but of course some days I stay up late to finish a blog post or launch another wave of my “Recharge” program.
Q. How do you juggle your career and motherhood successfully? What’s your advice to other Moms working to find a balance?
Ans. I practice single-tasking (and teach it during my recharge program too). Juggling too many things at the same time leaves you frustrated and nervous, and tasks don’t get done either. When I am at home, I focus completely on my baby; when she sleeps, I focus fully on my blogging; and when I am in the office, I focus completely on my main job. So single-tasking is the key for me. Also, try and de-stress and take on Mummyhood with some swag and a smile, without overthinking too much.
Q. Do you manage to get a fair bit of ‘me-time’? If so, what do you like to do during your free time?
Ans. My biggest challenge right now is that I don’t have any time free for reading.When I have “me-time”, it’s always taken up by my blog and other work. There’s no time to read new and interesting books, so my “wish list” is becoming very long. I hope as baby grows older and spends more time reading and painting herself, I will get more time to relax and read.
Q. Can you share your one important mantra for staying ‘recharged’ for all the awesome Mummies reading this?
Ans. Take care of yourself, no cutting corners here. When Mama is happy, everyone is happy. It means, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your husband, nanny or your parents, and find some time to take that bubble bath or do some yoga in the morning.The trick is to find activities which make you feel happy and healthy quickly (tip – watching TV shows late at night when you should have been sleeping might be not the right way to recharge. It will only leave you more tired in the morning). As a part of my program, I help each mom introspect and create a list of healthy activities based own schedule and preferences, to quickly but fully recharge.
Read more about Katerina’s latest program ‘Recharge for Moms’ and her ideas on early childhood development at her blog www.myoneupbaby.com