January 6: Long overdue recap


Hi Mamas.    I’ve  been silent for about two weeks.   I guess the “winter break” for the kids was also my break from this blog and other facets of my life.  I’ve really enjoyed myself and feel incredibly well rested, full, and happy.   Some of the highlights from the past two weeks:

  • Seeing Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky in their holiday performance.  All stood up on “stage” with their “classrooms” and participated.  I was so proud of them.   Big Bro was a big supporter.
  • Putting up Christmas decorations with the kids.  Likewise, taking them back down two weeks later.
  • Christmas morning with the kids squealing at the four bikes that Santa left for them.   The fact that co-parent stayed over my place the night before to participate in Christmas Eve tradition and also the next morning festivities.  He made homemade waffles and I homemade whipped cream.   It was really great for the kids.
  • Making pumpkin muffins with our pumpkins from Halloween, and then distributing them to the neighbors up and down our street.
  • This year’s photo shoot with the kids all dressed up and including Cocoa the guinea pig.
  • NOT getting holiday cards sent out this year, for the 2nd year in a row.
  • Spending New Year’s Eve over a neighbor’s house with two kids Big Bro and Red’s ages.   Us kicking back, the kids playing, and all of us celebrating East Coast and Mountain New Years eve with champagne and sparkling blueberry juice for the kids.   Getting to know them better and feeling at home in their home.
  • Random dinner invitations with other neighbors and getting to know their kids and friends so well.   Big Bro and Red becoming better friends with the kids (also twins, six years old) and Red actually saying that her new friend is her favorite friend in this neighborhood.  Seeing Red’s face light up and smile, well GLOW actually, while playing with these new friends.
  • Dancing with Twin Husky and feeling his body move and head move to the music.  He loves Shania Twain’s “Forever and For Always” and he kept asking for us to dance to it again.  It is now “our song” and he is happy with that.
  • Playing “I love you” games with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.
  • Finishing the winter garden – everything is planted including onions, yams, mint, garlic chives, brussell sprouts, kale, carrots, sweet snap peas, fava beans, oregano, string beans, garlic, shallot, and beets.
  • Learning that Cocoa the guinea pig can eat the dandelion weeds on my property.  She loves them.  And I love that they are free and gives me a reason to weed briefly on a daily basis.
  • Red riding her bike with Big Bro over to her new best friend’s house.  She got a bit scared and I had to run over to her, but it was a HUGE milestone for her in my opinion.
  • Going to Target to buy balloons so Big Bro could show us how he can blow them up by himself.
  • NO DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAYS TO GET THE KIDS BACK AND FORTH TO SCHOOL/DAYCARE!!!!
  • Watching the girls play with their dolls together and do tea parties and care for the dolls.  Watching Twin Crazy care for her Baby Alive.   Seeing their friendship with each other grow before my very eyes.
  • Big Bro receiving a HUGE Lego set from my dad and step-mom and then him staying up (way past me) to complete the ENTIRE set.   When we all woke up the entire thing was finished and he was smiling not sure if I would be upset with him or not.
  • Going to a few outside activities (museums, farm/petting zoo) but mostly just staying near home, playing with friends, enjoying cooking and our fireplace.
  • Cooking with herbs from my garden.
  • Waking up to frost on the grass and even the winter garden.  The plants are doing fine.
  • On my off-night from the kids, watching my FIRST movie from my DVR.  Underworld.  I love vampires.  I can’t believe it took me 6 months living here to actually watch T.V.
  • Going to a yoga class yesterday morning and LOVING IT.
  • Signing myself up for an oil/acrylics art class and also a class for Big Bro…. soccer.  Going shopping for his shin-guards and also my paint-brushes, paints, and other supplies.
  • Working just a little bit.  Doing what I had to do, taking some vacation time and also some “sick” time since Twin Crazy had a fever and could not go to daycare.


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To be honest, I feel a bit “out of balance” in a good way.  I am totally vacated.  I’ve really enjoyed the time with the kids and also with myself.  I’m looking forward to 2013.  It’s already shaping up to be a good one.

– Mama K

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Goodbye November – Recap


I feel like I’m slacking in capturing the highlights from these four kids. There’s just too many of them that I fall behind – here’s a recap from last week

Thursday:

  • Big Bro helped Twin Husky get dressed when he started having some problems
  • Drop offs were fine for Big Bro and Red; on the way back home Twin Crazy, Twin Husky and I went food shopping. They love the “car cart”.
  • We drove around the neighborhood looking for a reservoir that should be close-by (I am still extremely fearful of earthquakes and I want to know where this reservoir is… it should be walkable from the house) and we saw some stunning decorations; one that caught our eye was this low, low tree with RED red leaves and HUGE ornaments. It was gorgeous. I’m noticing that Twin Crazy is using the word “gorgeous” a lot recently. She cracks me up.
  • We relaxed on the couch by the fire and read books; kids played with stickers
  • At night we did homework, and then the kids turned the living room into a “campsite”. Big Bro and Red were the mommy and daddy, and everyone had blankets and pillows out. They were teaching the little ones their numbers and the alphabet, and then they said it was time for night-night. They were going to pretend that dinner (that I was cooking) would actually be breakfast. They were having a ton of fun together. Twin Husky was a bit left out (as usual) but he did make his way into the group a bit. He was very particular about how he was positioning his “animals” for sleep on his blanket. Too cute.

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Friday:

  • RAIN RAIN RAIN; it was crazy wet outside. Big Bro was shuttling the kids from the house to the van with an umbrella.
  • After dropping off Red, the Twins wanted to stop by their classroom quickly to say Hi to their friends and show their teachers their bears and fluffy pillows
  • The three of us went to Home Depot for some gardening tools – a cheap rototiller and I found some pots on sale
  • Bathtime! Lunchtime! Naptime! While the kids napped, I tilled the entire garden area and broke the tool that I just bought.   It was actually a great activity.  It was only lightly raining and the sun was out – so it was really nice being outside and getting physical with my new project.
  • After picking up the kids we went to Home Depot to replace above rototiller. We looked at the HUGE holiday light decorations and the kids got a bit sidetracked.
  • We then went to buy rainboots for Red and Big Bro. We went to TWO STORES with NO LUCK. I wound up sitting with them on the floor using my phone with the Amazon app and bought them boots for our “farm”
  • On the way to the car we were surprised by Santa Clause! There was no one there! It was like he was just waiting for us and only us. At first the kids were apprehensive about sitting with him but then I announced that who-ever got a picture with Santa while SMILING would get an ice-cream/or dessert immediately afterwards. Suddenly Santa was rushed by the kids.
  • We went to Starbucks and split a bunch of rice-krispie treats and hot chocolate.

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I had a great end of the week with the kids. Fridays are not a bad night since we know we will see each other the next day. When I got home by myself, I went to work on some cedar gardening beds in my living room – this required drilling that I had never really done before and I worked until 11:30 PM.

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The rest of the weekend:

The next AM I put mole-wiring all over the garden area and then got showered and shopped at Trader Joes’ in enough time to have some friends over with their kids. We had a great time and I loved their visit. The kids had soooooooooooooo much fun that Twin Husky was even walking around saying how much fun he was having – and Red drew a picture of their family that she wants to send to them.

Last night during book time Red announced that someone in her old classroom was dead — ugggh I knew this was going to come but it took me by surprise; I didn’t know that her teachers had told her anything yet. I wound up sitting with her past bed-time for close to 2 hours, being with her while she thrashed around (and hid her face from me), sat quietly, then we talked, she asked a TON of questions, and then we drew pictures together for this child’s family. She happily went to sleep (thankfully) with smiles from ear to ear. I’m not sure if it was the talk that we had, the way her questions were answered, the drawings that she did for the family, or the time that I spent with her, but I’m just glad this kid went to sleep with a smile on her face and a gleam back in her eye. She is the one that worries me.  In fact, looking back at the pictures of her shows a girl who is a bit “off”.  I didn’t pick up on anything unusual, which bothers me a bit.

Today, Sunday was a rain downpour again in the AM. Our backyard was a river. It was exciting investigating the river with the kids. We had neighborhood kids over all day today and Red seemed to be back on track. Big Bro was having the time of his life with some boys in the neighborhood. Today they are finding worms (and getting soaked)… tomorrow….???!???!?! They were too cute.

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Sunday nights are harder for me since I do not see the kids until Wednesday afternoon. Twin Crazy screamed the entire way to co-parent’s. The rest of the kids were quiet. I returned home and just had to put my head down to take a breather. The weekend was more emotional than I would have liked; I’m thinking of the kids now and hoping they are OK as they go down to bed.  I’m worried about my girls.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Neighbors as support and friends


No one knows the pains of a juggling, working mom like another working, juggling mom.   And it is a bonus when you have some of these closeby and in your neighborhood.

I left a neighbor and friend in my old neighborhood, with believe it or not… FOUR kids and two of them twins.   Yes, we had quite a bit in common.  And yes, we relied on each other for support or even to decompress with each other as eight kids ran amuck.

I lucked out like you would not believe in my new neighborhood.  I have a CPA mom right next door – with two great kids.  “L” is a girl aged 8; and “Q” is a boy aged 6.   Big Bro and Q hit it off immediately when they met each other and played wall ball within the first 5 minutes of meeting.  That really broke the ice quickly.   Although “L” is a bit older, she is amazing.  She is like a little mothers helper… she is a “child whisperer” and is SOOOOOOOO good with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.   She is a natural.

And within the neighborhood are 3 other families with children in ages aligned well with my family.  I was surprised at the beginning of summer when all of them came over with cake to welcome me to the neighborhood.   I am lucky to have one of these neighbors as a General Contractor and he helped me out with my hot water heater, fence recommendations, and most recently…. fixing my lawn sprinkler system.   Last weekend another neighbor took my girls “shopping” in her daughter’s room for hand-me-down clothes.  Each of the girls had their bag and even now Red wants to wear only the “new” clothes.  We go to the local swim club as guests with these families.   The other next door neighbor (with all of the chickens) feeds my kids fresh tomatoes and blueberries straight off of her garden’s vines.   We have impromptu playmates with blow up pools in the yards and snack-time with 7+ kids.  We watched fourth of July fireworks from our front lawn as the GC neighbor lit fireworks in the street.  The kids make and sell lemonade with one another.  We get invited to last-minute birthday parties and dinner parties – unlike the “super planned in advance” events that I am used to.   The neighbors around here look out for each other and it is soooooo relaxed over here.

Just this past weekend, “Q” was home with his folks at a grown up dinner party without any friends.  So he came over to our house to play and also watch a Frosty the Snowman movie.   Today, Big Bro only wanted to play with Q.   But the rest of the kids wanted to go to the Wildlife Museum in town.   So I dropped off Big Bro at Q’s house for 2 hours while the rest of us went to the museum.   My CPA neighbor had to do some tax returns so “Q” was back over with the kids — who love playing with him — doing Legos and playing outside.

I really like the feel of this; the kids come and go.   I watch them as they walk down the street holding hands to a neighbor’s house.   It feels good for me to see them want to belong to this community… and they are flourishing here.   And the events and interactions just happen so naturally.  No planning.  It just unfolds.   And I love how everything is just unfolding for me here.  This is just the beginning.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Reuniting with friends


“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”   Albert Camus 

You can laugh with your friends in good times, and you can support each other in not-so-good times.   Sometimes you lose touch over the years and then they re-enter your life again without skipping a beat.   Reuniting with old friends is wonderful.  Knowing that your friends are there for you in tough times is priceless.   For working mothers, friendships with others helps to balance your life and you may be drawn into new friendships simply because you have so much in common with these working women.  It’s good to know that the person “gets it”.   It’s also good to reach out to friends when you need help.

Through the last year I’ve had different kinds of interactions with friends; this last year has been brutal for me.  I’ve gained new friends, reconnected with many old friends, and yes lost some friends along the way.   Now that I have more time on my hands I’ve wanted to open myself to my friends but so much is so difficult.  I’m reaching out but having discussions is tiring for me; reliving experiences sometimes too exhausing to explain.  So I have this time available to me, but I’ve also been retreating a bit.   Healing.   It’s kind of a dance with me.  I connect, then retreat.  Connect, then retreat.  But I know my friends are still there.

I reached out to some old college friends tonight after I dropped off the kids at co-parent’s, and caught up with their lives.  Everyone has their own issues.  I was reminded tonight that it is best to be happy with where you are at the moment; just take it in for all that its worth.   Thank you Lisa!   And this coming week, I have a lunch date with a friend who has honestly been my lifesaver this past year and more.

However I also retreated from some friends this weekend.   A birthday party for a friend’s son – the kids went with co-parent and I just couldn’t muster the energy to go.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to see couples who are starting families – it makes me think of myself at those stages – so hopeful.   Sorry Romina for missing this – I know it meant a lot to you.  Honestly the kids HAD A BLAST and I heard all about the pony and petting zoo.  The Dora pinata is proudly displayed in the “girls room”.

I also canceled on old friends from my NYC days – for good reason, I believe.   I was to meet them with all of the kids at her house but start early since I would have to leave early.  But my heart wasn’t in it.  The kids woke up with me this morning and they were having so much fun with each other and the chickens and just playing and being.   I was doing lots of laundry and the kids were keeping busy on their own.  And then it was 10 AM.  The time when I say that it’s appropriate to go to the next door neighbor’s house to see if they want to play.  The family next door was on vacation the past two weeks and the kids had not seen them during that time.  When the neighborhood kids came over, that is when the magic started.   Laughter.  Running.  Hugging.  Talking about “Cocoa”.  Playing ball.   Tickling.   And I just stayed back and watched it and laughed.   So, my heart just wasn’t into taking the kids away from their new friends and getting on yet another highway.  Big Bro is the worst now with the highways and he doesn’t want to go anywhere anymore.  I just wanted to stay at home with them and hear them laugh.  And see them run.   And see their happiness for each other since the neighbors are just as excited to see us as new neighbors now.

So I canceled on my friend.  So that the children could have fun and cultivate their own new friendships.  And it didn’t matter a bit to my friend.  I talked to her.  She completely grounded me.  “Of course don’t feel bad – you are doing exactly what you should be doing right now….”

So we stayed.  And the kids laughed.  And played.  And scared the guinea pig.  And ran.  And ate.  And fell down.  And kicked balls.  And hugged.  And giggled.   And made MORE lemonaide and tried to sell it to the neighborhood together (they each made $1.25 for their efforts today).

Two of my closest friends, friends who know EVERYTHING that has been going on in my life over the years, I made at work.   So there is the biggest benefit I suppose for being a working mother.   Being around other women who can relate to you like some people cannot.  They know the challenges, the struggles, the tensions.   And through this you can form the strongest of friendships.

So this is a big “thank you” to my friends.  Some closeby, some far away.   But still there.  And those that continuously reach out to me to check in and see how things are going.   And offer to help where they can.  And to listen if I have the energy to talk about things.  This means a lot to me.   

Hopefully you will agree that a big part of staying sane and staying grounded is keeping those friendships alive; supporting one another; and giving those big hugs to your friends whom you have not seen in a long time.

Have a great week everybody

– Mama K  

 

Staying Sane: Life & Love Not 2 Be Taken 4 Granted


I’m settling in from a solo weekend where I pampered myself beyond belief. I tore myself out of this empty house and took a road-trip to a B&B spa. By myself. You don’t have to be lonely when you are alone. I indulged in massage, pool side relaxation, hydration baths, the sound of jazz, and talking about life with locals whom I just met.

Take Herbie for instance – a jazz musician who is known by all in this town. I met him during lunch on Saturday afternoon and he was getting ready for his music performance later that day. We sat next to each other at the counter, eating our lunches, and just started telling each other our stories. He told me of friends he had through his life….his family… his deceased wife… how he had to raise a 9 year old daughter by himself… how his sister helped him through that time… the decisions he made through life and the friends that he made and how his life, and life in general, just takes these twists and turns. And how when you look back you have these pockets of your life and you can see the decisions you make along the way and how they have impacted you and the people you love around you.

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I always enjoy speaking with older people like Herbie who have many years on me and who have stories to tell and who are still living life… He is known in his town. He still plays piano and does performances. He gets dressed up all of the time in a suit. He lives each day.

So – for working mothers. Days, weeks, months go by so quickly. We know this. Our lives are busy and each hour is precious. And we see this as our kids grow up too fast. I am going to try and be better to stop and notice and recognize that life and love should not be taken for granted. Through the craziness and mayhem and juggling, I am going to make the time – maybe first thing in the morning – to really think about this. Maybe write it down on a piece of paper and tape it on my mirror. Will you join me?

Thanks for listening –
– Mama K

Staying Sane: Friendship


Our lives can be so hectic between kids, work, and issues big and small all around us — pausing and connecting with friends has kept me sane this weekend. And also seeing the budding friendships between my kids.

Saturday

I woke up to Big Bro and Red laughing. They decided to swap bodies from Star Wars’ R2-D2 and C-3P0 and were cracking up. Big Bro and Red went with me to the library and they were buddies picking out books together. Later that day, I took all four of them visit a friend who goes back several lifetimes ago in my life — I used to work with her during my 2nd job out of school, when in NYC. She is one of those kind of people you never forget. You don’t know quite what to make of her when you first meet her – if you can even understand her (she is Scottish) – but within minutes you realize what a special and genuine person she is. Smart, funny, quick on her feet. She is a keeper. Despite not seeing her for just under 20 years, when she moved out West last year we met up and it felt like time did not go by – except we brought all of these little humans into the world.

Well, the kids and I went to her home to visit with her family and for the first time I met her 12 year old daughter (towering over me) and reunited with her husband and son. We also met their dog, rabbit, and guinea pig. The kids had a great time and I had a great time for other reasons. I felt at home even having been at their place for the very first time. For being around people where I share a common past; being with people who are easy going and welcoming and where I know I can create future laughs with. This felt good to me. It felt right. And I felt good road-tripping with the four kiddos who were so well behaved and so enraptured by the animals.

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Sunday

In the morning I met Red and Big Bro resting quietly on the couch; then they erupted with feet fights and giggles. A great way to start my day. Big Bro got hurt when Red accidently stepped on his hair – and Twin Crazy sat with me and caressed his head to console him. Friendship. So sweet. They are empathetic at such a young age. I love it.

A shared the day with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, along with one of my closest friends here, whom I also work with. We shared our first day of work together, almost 8 years ago. Since then, we have laughed and participated in bachlorette parties, weddings, pregnancies, back to work blues… you name it. I confided in her and one other person 100% through all of 2011. She cried with me in my office through the year. She understands me and believes in me.

We spent the day with her picnicing, going to playgrounds, and feeding ducks. Twin Crazy fell in love with my friend’s son, or at least scored her first boyfriend. The connection between the twins was sweet and endearing – again we received lots of looks. At night I had a quiet evening with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. Bathtime was quiet, and they enjoyed each other.

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*****

So thank you to all of my friends from the weekend and also everyone who have been reaching out to me. It means a lot. I am O.K. I am strong enough to rebuild. But I ache for my children – so put your thoughts there. And thank you to my friends near and far, and those that I have not seen in awhile, those whom I’ve had for a very long time and those whom I’ve met just recently.

And thank you to the children who show me every day what it means to be a friend – laughing, taking care of each other, sometimes being frustrated but in the end always being there.

So in staying sane don’t forget who your friends are in the midst of your busy lives. You may reach out to someone when they need you the most!

Have a good week everyone –
– Mama K

Staying Sane: Take a break, feel strong, and revel in the NOW


I had a weekend alone. No kids. Hubby took them to his home town for the long weekend and it did not make sense for me to go, and I would not have wanted to go anyway.

This gave me an opportunity to go through an entire weekend ALONE. This is the first time I’ve had time like this to myself in probably in 8+ years – pre-kids, pre-marriage, pre-dating. It was nice. It was quiet. But overall, I feel at peace. Right now I have MY music playing on an iPod, and I’m in MY room, with my heating blanket on – so very comfy and warm. Yes, I miss my children. But I know they are in good hands and enjoying themselves. So no worries there. But I do miss the interaction, talking with them, hugging them, and having them make me laugh. But strangely, I do not feel alone. I think its because I know they are coming back to me. This separation with my children is not forever. It is a break. And I could use a break right now.

So what did I do this weekend?

  • I went to a cirque-de-soliel show about Michael Jackson (thanks Karin!!) and sat in complete wonder about his amazing talent. I was more enthralled by the music and the editing / streaming of his songs than the show itself. I miss him. I miss his antics. I miss his personality. I’m saddened that someone who was larger than life is no longer with us.
  • On the same night, me and Karin went to a favorite diner at 12 midnight. I got home at 1 AM and crawled into a warm, cozy bed.
  • I woke up late on Saturday morning….

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  • and then met a friend (thanks Julie!!) for a massage…..

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  • and then had flower tea….

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  • and then played with her children and had dinner at their house. I’ve known Julie’s husband since I was 11 years old. It feels good to get back to my roots. To talk and feel understood, completely understood. No uphill battles. No negotiation for position. It was just an enjoyable night with children’s laughs and easy conversation. I missed my kids and their daughter reminded me too much of Twin Crazy. So that part was hard, but I’m looking forward to spending more time with them and their family. Being around like-people make it easier for me to heal and find the anger to move forward. I got home with enough time to get some personal things done.
  • Sunday morning I again woke up late….

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  • I quickly got up and got out of the house. Big coffee, big bagel and cream cheese. And I worked all day at Starbucks. I feel good. I feel strong. And angry.
  • I called it a day and then bought some eyeglasses. I have not replaced my pair of glasses in over 2 years – so I am long overdue for a pair. It will be good to see things clearly again. Lifting the fuzziness – seeing into the distance and knowing where I am going. I’m aching for clarity.

So now I sit – I thought the kids were coming home today but it was a misunderstanding. It is about that time that I go to sleep. Tomorrow morning will be a deathly-quiet morning.

I am not in mourning. That happened during 2011. I no longer ache for what could have been. That is over now. All of those possibilities and dreams that I thought were in reach are completely off of the table now. I cannot influence any of that anymore, and that is OK. I will not look into the past and feel depleted any longer. I will look into the future and feel strong. Yes, I am scared for the unknown and for the decisions that others will place upon my life. But I will fight for what I believe is best for my family, as always. And I will focus on my children’s feelings and their experience of loss – which will be extremely difficult but I will be there for them.

I’ve had my rest, I’ve had my time to myself. And it was wonderful. And I am thankful for my friends who have reached out to me from all over the place. And even friends that I did not expect to hear from — telling me that they understand me. It means so much after being through so long of a period where I felt like I was not being listened to and not understood at all.

So, enough of that and let’s appreciate the NOW and keep optimistic and strong for the future.

Thanks for listening –
– Mama K

Staying Sane: How well do you meet your “Hierarchy of Needs”?


I had a post already written to send out this evening, but something inside me felt that I needed to talk about the “Hierarchy of Needs” that was developed by Abraham Maslow.   I’m feeling particularly out of balance this evening – after having a VERY hard weekend where I was probably doing a bit too much self reflection.

First, let’s refresh ourselves on the hierarchy of needs:

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Source: Nursing Crib

“A need is something that is essential to the emotional and psychological health and survival of humans. All people strive to meet basic needs at any given time and individual’s need may be met, partially met, or unmet. A person whose needs may be considered to be healthy and a person with one or more unmet needs is at increased risk of illness or health alterations in one or more of the human dimensions.

Maslow’s framework of basic needs is based on the theory that something is a basic need if:  its absence results in illness, its presence prevents or signals health, meeting an unmet need restores health.”

Source: Nursing Crib

Let’s talk about each level and the potential implications to working mothers.

I.    PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS

These needs are physical and essentially without them the continuation of human existence ceases.   Physiological needs such as food, water, oxygen, sleep, and bodily functions must be met for life to continue.

Implications to Working Mothers:

I know from personal experience that sleep becomes a challenge.  Hours get stretched so you may not have a choice but to cut into your sleeping hours to keep all the balls in the air.   Some working mothers are NEW moms – returning from maternity leave.   In many cases, these women are still being woken up by their babies in the middle of the night.  However, this likely gets better over time.

Sex is an interesting topic.   And one that is so written about that I probably don’t need to spend much time on this.   An exhausted mommy who is also working simply is exhausted.   And yes, this impacts sex with their partners.  Full stop.  Enough said.

II.   SAFETY NEEDS

Safety is both physiological and psychological.  How safe is your physical environment?   How safe do you feel psychologically?   Do you have people you can rely upon?  People that you trust?   People that you feel close to?

 Implications to Working Mothers:

I think that this is an area that can become very problematic for working mothers.   You may not be on your “A” game at work (which may be very new to them) and may feel that your job is less secure than it was in the past.    Being responsible for not only yourself but also for the new little beings that you’ve helped to enter into the world can also be a VERY powerful feeling and weight on your shoulders.   You may also be faced with the struggle over working for money to keep the family safe — and may feel like you are working now because you HAVE to for the economic interests of the family — even if this is not what you would choose to do if you had unlimited resources.

III.    LOVE & BELONGING NEEDS

The security gained from love and belonging enhances the feeling of safety. Our feeling of structure and security is reinforced when we know where we stand in relation to others, and who we are to them. We all need mutually meaningful relationships with other people.

 Implications to Working Mothers:

This could be another area in flux with working mothers.   The time that you devoted to cultivating friendships may become less frequent.   Some working mothers have the benefit of family close-by that they can rely on, but I know A LOT of families (like ourselves for instance) where extended family is far, far away — if this is you, you may feel like you are cheating yourself, your children, and your extended family the experiences of growing with your growing family.   Extended periods of time between visits can be painful.   The extra effort required may feel too un-natural.

And then there’s the topic of sex again.   Yes, the relationship you had with your husband will forever be different with the entrance of children.   However I think this is an evolution.   In the near term things are very strained but I think eventually couples can begin to accept their new relationships with each other — change, and evolve with it.    At least I hope this is the case.

IV.     SELF – ESTEEM NEEDS

This boils down to the feeling that you are valued by others.  People who are important to you tell you that you are important and valued.   However this feeling comes from within… “it is related to the assessments of our own adequacy, our performance and our capacity in the various arenas of lives, both personal and professional and that others hold one in high regard.”  Source: Nursing Crib

 Implications to Working Mothers:

This is an area where working mothers may have the “leg-up” on other women.   But I do think that it takes time to get there.   The smile on your child’s face, the squeal of your baby when he/she sees you and so on you can probably feel immediately.   But when re-entering the workforce (after maternity leave, after being a SAHM) you may not feel like you are on your “A” game, or may feel like you have two left feet.   It may take time to honestly FEEL that approval and support from your co-workers and superiors.   But when you get it, you feel on top of the world.   Yes, the feeling like you can have it all — the children, the family, and a feeling of purpose at work where you are doing well — leads to feeling of euphoria.   You become un-stoppable.

I have found in personal experience that these feelings do come, but they often do not stay.   It’s more of a roller-coaster for me, I have my up days, and also my down days when I feel like I can’t do anything right.    But I do think that this is an area where the Working Mother can derive a tremendous amount of fulfillment.

V.  SELF – ACTUALIZATION NEEDS

I’m finding it difficult to write about this one because it is still evasive to me.    Sometimes I feel like I lost the “me” to everyone else.   And I desperately want to find the “me” again – although I know deep in my heart that woman I was before marriage and kids is far, far away – I see glimpses of her every now and then, but they are fleeting.

“The need to reach one’s potential through development of one’s unique capabilities.  The process of self – actualization is on that continues throughout life. The following are qualities that indicate achievement of one’s potential:

• Acceptance of self and others as they are

• Focus of interest on problems outside of self

• Ability to be objective

• Feelings of happiness and affection for others

• Respect for all persons

• Ability to discriminate between good and evil

• Creativity as a guideline for solving problems and carrying out interests”

 Implications to Working Mothers:

I think you need to have the time to focus on self-caring of yourself for this need to be met.    And for working mothers this is difficult.   Again, time is a valuable resource that seems to be stretched in all directions except for yourself.   It is encouraging to at least know that this need is viewed as one that continues over time – gets cultivated, changes, is in motion.    So, maybe recognize that you will be able to get there once the dust settles.   Or try to devote pieces of your week for self-reflection and objectivity.

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So why did I feel the need to post on this subject?   I feel like many of the above needs are in flux for working mothers.   But I do hope that it gets easier over time.   It also helps to explain the feelings of inadequacy, fear, and tension that you may be feeling when trying to juggle the needs of your children, the needs of your work, the needs of your partner, and the needs of yourself.
So tips for staying sane?   Maybe the first part is just recognizing that these needs are normal and apply to everyone.   They are fundamental to happiness and health.    So if you feel out of balance, extremely unhappy, or just feeling lost — try to isolate the basic need that may be unmet or partially met, and then try to take control and take action to make that situation better for yourself.    This is easier said than done, I know.
In my case, I have seriously unmet needs in terms of safety as well as love and belonging.   I also think this is true with self-actualization, but I do not expect those needs to be met at this particular point in my life.   I’ve recognized these imbalances and am trying to drive change but it has been a LONG process that has NOT been easy — and I still have a LONG way to go; but enough about me.
Hopefully this post will resonate with someone and help in some small way.   YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for listening –
– Mama K

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