A Mama’s Guide to Empowerment


empowermentLet’s face it, as moms, we are under a tremendous amount of pressure raising our little ones in the hopes they will be happy, healthy, and well adjusted. Some of us are stay-at-home moms (been there), while others are working moms (done that). What all of us have in common (aside from the soul-crushing mom guilt) is the way we are unabashedly and publicly criticized for every single action we do. Ladies, throw back that last sip of wine or nonalcoholic beverage of choice and follow this mama down the rabbit hole.

Use Your Words

Ever since I got pregnant with my first, I’ve been considered public property: someone to poke and prod at and offered some terrible but well-meaning advice. Listen up, people, give me some space! I can’t tell you the number of hands I’ve deftly swatted from my belly. When my husband asked very cautiously about feeling the baby, I told him, “Sure, but rub at your own risk. I might let out a big one!” I’m more of a “my body, no touching” type of gal. If you love getting the attention from strangers or family members rubbing your belly, go for it! You, do you. The point is to properly state how you feel about the belly rubs (well, anything for that matter) without feeling bad about it. Do what you always tell your toddlers to do, “Use your words!”

Save Your Drama, Mama

I will listen, and I will offer some suggestions, but when my drama radar goes off, I will immediately steer the conversation or exit abruptly. Being a sympathetic sister is one thing, but being sucked into the nonsensical meanderings of someone else’s grossly detailed mini-drama is not for me. It shouldn’t be for you either. It drains so much energy and time that could be put into other more joyful activities. Keep those friends at a distance and surround yourself with positive energy.

Different Strokes For Different Folks

Parenting is hard! There is so much information out there and so many different philosophies, from CIO to Co-Sleeping, Free Ranged Kids to Attachment Parenting, Spoon Feeding to Baby Led Weaning, Traditional Gender Roles to Non-Gender Conformity, etc. You get the gist. It’s very easy to be judgmental and very difficult to be empathetic. Last week this mother was freaking out over some checked luggage while her twins were screaming and trying to escape their stroller. My eldest and I approached and started talking to the boys, who eventually calmed them down, calming their mom down. That could’ve easily been me, and I would’ve been so happy if someone came up and tried to distract my kids. Not every solution works for every family, and every kid is different. You do what works for you. Other people can keep their comments to themselves.

Just Say No

Nancy Reagan’s War On Drugs may not have been too successful, but those three words are near and dear to my heart. I am an overachiever by nature and am often one task shy of losing my sanity. Prioritizing what is truly important and just saying “No” to ancillary tasks is key to my daily survival.

  • No, I will not bake a dozen nut-free/gluten-free/vegan cookies for tomorrow’s bake sale. They will either be store-bought or nothing at all.
  • No, I will not participate in carpools. My work schedule will not allow for an environmentally conscious form of travel.
  • No, we cannot be Facebook friends. See, “Save Your Drama, Mama.”

Just say no! It will set you free!

In conclusion, as moms, we will always be judged. The key is just not to let it get to you. In the daily struggles of trying to keep a well-balanced household (kids fed and clean), take a minute and turn off all that excess noise.

Love yourself, ladies. Treat yourselves kindly.

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Van is a recent addition (3 years) to Westchester County and lives in Pelham with her husband and two daughters. She has a 2.5 year old, going on 16 and a 6 month old, the size of a 1 year old. She spent over 10 years in advertising as a Digital PM specializing in Gamification, before dedicating almost 2 years to her children as a SAHM. Always the over-achiever, she's a babywearing, cloth diapering, gluten-free cooking, bento lunch box making, p#ssy hat crocheting, and Lego building extraordinaire. In her "free" time, she's training for some half marathon, running a book club and trying to learn how to code (C++). She enjoys a nice bourbon and hashing it out with her husband on one of their old school consoles (video game).


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