T h e S T R E A M :
THE NOT-SO-PERFECT BALANCE
Amy Seeman | To Wit, To Woo
By: Amy Seeman | Photos: Carly Milbrath
I think this goes without saying, but parenting is hard work. It takes a level of patience that I wasn't born with. The kind of deep unconditional love that allows you to experience heaven and hell at the same time. An acceptance that you won’t always get it right, you just hope you get it a little more right than the next person because you live in a constant state of comparison. A never-ending struggle over how to spend your time because everything you choose is at the expense of something else – and you aren’t fully able to give 100% of yourself to anything. It's mentally and physically exhausting and it has the ability to break you.
I often get asked how I ‘do it all.’ And the answer is, I don’t. I feel like I’m barely meeting expectations 90% of the time in most aspects of my life. That’s really kind of sad when you stop and think about it, and yet I can guarantee I’m not the only mother that feels that way.
I have the great fortune of learning from a phenomenal female leader who has mastered the art of simplifying complex issues. Instead of listing out a million goals for the year, she has me focus on one thing I want to stop doing, start doing, and continue doing. Applying this same logic to my personal life has helped silence the negative mind talk so that I can spend my time focused on things that fuel me.
Here are three tips that have helped me navigate the ‘do it all’ trap that consumes our social media feeds and conversations as working moms:
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS:
This one has hit me hard since starting this blog. It’s a saturated market full of beautiful people outfitted in the latest trends gifted from top retailers, and photographed in Pinterest-worthy settings. And then there’s me with my poor lighting and 90’s Jacuzzi tub in the background, struggling to keep up with my goal of one new post a week in addition to managing all of my social feeds - which is a full-time job in itself. I constantly feel like I don’t stack up. And I do the same thing at work. I have really good ideas but somewhere along the way I lost the confidence to speak up until I’ve vetted them through at least 2-3 other people to get their nod of approval first. It’s unproductive. As a mother, I’ll watch the way others respond to their children when they are melting down, or observe a teaching moment, and the first thing that pops into my head is: “I’m a bad mom because I didn’t think to do it that way.” It’s got to stop. All of it.
START UNPLUGGING MORE:
This one is a bit of a catch-22. Blogging is built on being visible on social media, but social media plays a big role in why I keep comparing myself to others. It's also a major distraction from my own family sitting right in front of me. The other day I was trying to get my 2 –year-old’s attention and without even breaking stride my 4-year-old said, "I know why he doesn't come when you call him. He doesn't want to go to you when you are busy on your phone or computer." BAM. I was instantly in tears. It hit me so hard. My husband doesn’t fully empathize because he’s not on social - and he would agree that I’m focused on my phone too often. So I'm working on it. The key is to find balance. I can do things like scheduling posts ahead of time, or having unplugged hours in the evening while the boys are awake. I need to put down the phone and live in the moment. Because it goes by so quickly.
CONTINUE BEING AUTHENTIC:
I started my blog because I wanted to break the mold of the typical mommy blogger ‘perfect life’ reality. I share stories of the not-so-glamourous aspects of parenting to evoke laughter and create a sense of connection with my readers. I show various looks on how you can style one article of clothing 5-7 ways to inspire women to look differently at their existing wardrobe knowing that, like me, most don’t have endless funds for shopping. I’m opening the doors for scrutiny by exposing my life in a very real way, and that can be scary. There have been many times where I will be writing and stop and think, “do I want to go there?” and if it’s something that has been weighing heavily on my heart, I always do. What I’ve found is that every time I’ve had those moments of pause, those are the posts that get the most feedback from my readers. I have been moved to tears reading the emails and comments I receive from my community who share that the every day moments of kids screaming are a refreshing dose of reality. Authenticity is what allows you to truly connect with others and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do just that, so I will continue!
AMY SEEMAN | TO WIT, TO WOO
Mom and Fashion Blogger Amy Seeman is a people leader by day, and led by little people by night. She is breaking the mom blog concept by sharing the not-so-glamorous side of parenting through her witty storytelling at To Wit, To Woo. The only advice you'll find her handing out is on how to create more looks from the clothes in your closet. Catch up with the happenings of motherhood on Instagram @mamaseeman, or her monthly fashion segment on Twin Cities Live.
Catch up with more stories and advice from Amy on her blog To Wit, To Woo.