This past few months life has been increasingly complex. We are currently undergoing (yet) another lock-down here in Greece, amidst the global pandemic. It’s been a while since the last time we’ve been out of the house as a family. Remote work and Parenting have been a balancing act. We are living off that awkward moment of realization that this year’s best value-for-money purchases have been the toddler swing and slide for the back yard, and a stationary bicycle for the parents!
Trying to figure out ways to turn this potentially gloomy feeling around, and make remote life a sustainable way of being, I have crafted a new daily regime that incorporates uncontested room for self-care. Use that bike. Get a good night’s sleep. Eat well. Be mindful of my energy. Be purposeful in my actions, and continuously explore my options on purpose. It’s pretty clear to me that we are in this global mess for the long haul, and the need to be deliberate in how we support ourselves is a must.
This is why I have started to get my professional hands dirty advocating for ideas such as the emotional toll of the lock-down on the workforce and are now working on ways to support people as they struggle to remain productive. Fully analogous to that dreaded feeling of loneliness new mothers lacking in a rigid support system get to experience those first weeks after they give birth, this state of prolonged social isolation is taking its toll on self-sustainability. We are increasingly melancholic (they even have a name for this nowadays: it’s the “COVID19 Blues”), and most of us pretty much burned-out already.
Exploring where we stand this with my peers, I see more and more people willing to open up about this. And I have come to grow into some sort of voice for anti-fragility in the workplace and at home: facilitating the conversation around holistic well-being in a struggling ecosystem. Meanwhile, my continuous conversations with working parents show that we are all in this together: we are having it tough and could use all the support we can get.
This is why I found it (more than) fitting to welcome on-board this month’s How She Does It column a truly amazing resilient Mother: Christine Michael Carter, the #1 Global Voice for Working Moms. A Mom who gets it: she prioritizes self-sustainability and understands the transferable dynamic of the skills parents develop at home to the workplace!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
As a writer, I’m knowledgeable about all things working mom and black consumer, and write for global publications on these demographics. As a consultant, I provide a fresh and impartial perspective on the pros and cons of a company’s brand and can therefore suggest and implement effective branding solutions that transform organizations. As a speaker, I provide a unique perspective to workshops, webinars, podcasts, panels, university discussions and global conferences.
I’m passionate about all my projects and am proud to be called the “voice of millennial moms” because I want to show moms showing they can have a career and be a mother. I’m a single mom to a nine-year-old daughter named Maya and a five-year-old son named West, and we live in Baltimore, Maryland.
Stemming from your personal experience, what is the toughest part of being a Mom, and how do you manage it?
The toughest part of being a mom is realizing the importance of self-care, and then executing it. It truly is not a selfish act and makes you a more present mother. I must schedule time for myself every day.
When I scheduled self-care time once a month, I found myself exhausted and disinterested in the activity by the time it came back around each month. Interestingly enough, long solo car drives have become another form of self-care for me- I’m able to decompress, be alone with my thoughts and imagine. I come up with the BEST ideas when I’m in the car by myself.
Who is (are) your go-to person(s) when you need support as a Mother? What type of support are you mostly in need of?
When I need support as a mother, I usually turn to my family and friends. Though the most support I need these days is emotional (don’t we all :)), they’re always willing to pick up and drop off children or watch kids for a few hours while I work or write an article.
It is critical to have a good support system. The support system shouldn’t just be good, but should be customized to the mom. As I mentioned, I am a single mom. My aunt is an excellent mother to her children so I knew she would be great for a support system for me. My aunt has managed to customize the care of my children to fit my lifestyle. For example, knowing I’m health-conscious my aunt gives my kids healthy snacks. She does that because she wants to support me, and the support she gives me bleeds over into my professional life.
What’s the No1 Skill (or Ability, or Knowledge) you have found handy in your role as a Mom?
Motherhood shows leadership ability. For your personal brand, it validates your patience and problem solving skills. You ARE willing to take on new opportunities. You ARE willing to assess the situation and look at all possible solutions. That is motherhood on a daily basis!
We are constantly approached by these little people, who are our internal stakeholders. We have to think of all of the possible outcomes to please these stakeholders and set them up for success. The skills you acquire as a mother are undoubtedly transferable!
What advice do you have for a new Mom?
Right now everyone is mentally suffering due to COVID-19. But perhaps no other woman is suffering more than new moms. My advice to them is that you are worthy of our feelings. It is possible to have good feelings like empathy, gratitude and joy at the same time you’re having heavier feelings like sadness, loneliness or grief. That’s how humans work. For example: on any given day, I feel frustrated, exhausted, anxious, stressed and agitated with my family. On that same day, I may also feel true joy, peace, gratitude, relief, and deep love towards my family. Don’t beat yourself up over your emotions and do not keep them bottled inside. Seek comfort in your tribe, family and even therapists for dealing with this unprecedented normal.