Season 1, Episode 2
(K: blanky...I want the blankies
R: oh, you want the blankies?
Welcome to episode two of the mumboss podcast, I'm your host Rachel Maskell and today's show is all about the mum part...what it means to be a mum, at least from my perspective, and you'll hear me share my struggles and challenges, the things that bring me joy and what I love about motherhood. So let's get started shall we...
(K: what are you thinking?
R: thinking about what we are going to do today.
K: It's another one!
R: yup, coconut.
K: it's all over me
R: yup, all over you. You got your breakfast all over you. It's fine
K: yum yum yum...yum yum yum...
K: what are you doing?
R: cleaning up)
If you're wondering what you're listening to it's the start of our day. I typically take Mondays and Fridays to spend more time with Kaliana so we have to find things to entertain us through the day. Trips to the park are our main event or while we've been in Venice going to the beach has been essential.
Today we're getting ready to walk to a new park by the canals. It's a beautiful area with high end houses and water running under steep bridges. I wasn't sure what to expect there, we had only walked by there before so I was interested to see what type of families or nannies and kids that would be there during the day.
But first stop...coffee at the Cow's End...obviously coffee first.
(R: it's 11 o'clock and we're out the door. Brought your wrap just in case we want to do that...which way are we going, let me think? I want to go get a cup of coffee first because it's a Monday kind of coffee day and then we're going to walk to the park. It's 11 o'clock and the clouds haven't broke. Hopefully the sun will make an appearance today.)
So now we're at Cow's End and there are a ton of strollers just outside. Kids and nannies are streaming out of the coffee shop. I was wishing that I had stopped and taken a photo of the strollers. It reminded me of being in the upper west side and seeing about 20 strollers outside the Jewish synagogue with a man standing guard. It was the funniest thing at the time because I was also new to New York and in particular to the Upper West Side.
(R: can I get an americano with a little bit of steam milk...thank you. So apparently it is some kind of moms group and nannies at the Cow's End....no not yet, we have to wait for the green walking guy.
K: huh? swing and slides? walking dude?
R: walking dude, he's the guy that tells us it's okay to cross the street.
K: singing Baa Baa Black Sheep...beep beep...hit it
R: see a car coming so lets go around.
K: hit it?
K: hit the park
R: ah, yeah, not literally though.)
I'm not sure how far we had to walk, maybe three quarters of a mile or so. I recorded from start to finish and the whole trip took about 30 min. Lots of stopping in between and playing, getting distracted, she's really full on. And it's definitely an art to stay calm. Oh, totally forgot to mention that we don't have a stroller. We sold our old one when we left NY and I haven't bothered to get another. This makes for less stuff to travel with but it does add to the overall time and effort it takes to get anywhere.
The park ended up being pretty fun and Kaliana found a few friends. I find that I personally struggle with other moms, I don’t really fit into most groups and since we move around a lot I don’t have a strong community of moms. I have some great mommy friends back in Williamsburg but it’s not often that I get there. The little ones, however, have no agenda but their own so it’s always entertaining to see them play with each other.
(K: strawberries more, strawberries a little more
R: how do we ask for more food? How do we ask for things baby?
R: there we go, very good
K: very good, very good
R: alright, a couple more strawberries coming your way girlfriend
K: way girlfriend, way, way girlfriend)
Motherhood...it’s a crazy thing. It’s a role you never understand until you are there and then the amount of appreciation or understanding of your mother comes streaming in at you which is scary, cathartic, and eye opening. The moment you give birth you are initiated into the tribe of mothers and like it or not, it’s for life.
This is the part that scared me the most...that my life is forever changed. That it no longer is just me, that I have this being now that needs me, that is forever connected to me, that limits me and expands me and there is no way to go back. Saying yes to having a baby is not just saying yes to this cute little being that you’ll get to cuddle for a few years, it’s saying yes to a whole new level of responsibilities and depth of self.
You may think I am dramatizing this part but I can tell you that no one talks about how significant the change is that happens when you become a mum. We discuss the joys of our little ones, the changes, the challenges of sleepless nights, the overwhelming love...yadda yadda yadda...but rarely do we acknowledge the changes that have to take place within us as women and the struggle to not lose a sense of self and to not feel resentment that we have lost our freedom. No matter how incredible and loving our partners are, the bulk of the responsibility initially falls on the shoulders of the women. For some reason this is the divine plan of the Universe...which I am still trying to figure out what that is about…
(R: the craziest thing about being a mom is you have this new being you're meant to take care of. You have to look after it, make sure it's fed, cleaned, fed, and cleaned again. And you teach it proper manners and give it the space to learn and all these things are new to us, being a teacher of them, we just never had to do this before and that is a new feeling...and an exhausting one.)
The other hardest thing about being a mom is just being able to take care of ourselves. I had a bit of a breakdown recently…
(R: It's April 13th I think. Geeze time flies...um...today has been one of those days where I don't feel good. I have this cold or this allergies, I have no idea, but runny nose and stuffy nose and sore throat and tired and achy body. This little bug has been migrating around in my body for months and I am tired. And it's the kind of day I just want to cry and disappear and to have to have the energy to take care of Kali and be there for her when all I want to do is just sleep and have somebody take care of me. This is one of the hardest things of being a mom you don't have anybody else to take care of you anymore, you can't even take care of yourself. I know tomorrow will be fine and that's the blessing of it all. You know, life is going on, things keep moving and I'll be fine, but sometimes days like this I just...sigh, just got to cry...just got to cry.)
Every time I listen back to that it makes me cry again. But it’s not only sickness that can make things hard. Sometimes it’s just hard and sometimes the decisions I make put us in ridiculous situations that probably would've been easier if I chose a different path.
(R: Having another one of those moments of just feeling, sigh, feeling like why the hell am I a mom? Remind me again. I just walked with Kaliana...um...I think on the iPhone it said like 0.2 miles, so not far, a couple blocks, but we went to the grocery store and I bought about $200 worth of groceries which is probably a week's worth of food, a little extra. But I always feel like I am the one that never has enough food for Kali when we're out. I always forget and I can't tell if she is overeating or undereating sometimes. She's just like, for 30 min , 40 min, maybe just repeatedly, "I want strawberry, I want banana, I want strawberry, I want banana." And then I had to walk home with like 10 bags of groceries and her through MacDougal street. Which is not the best for a two year old to be walking around at 9 o'clock at night without me holding on to her. What was I thinking? And these are the things that...I don't know...I don't know.)
But there you go...retrospect is gold.
As parents we facilitate the way our children experience the world. From the way they explore their environment to how safe or otherwise they feel in their surroundings. The way my pediatrician has explained it to me before is that our children are like plants they just need to be watered and given sunshine to grow. Too often we hover over them or limit the way they can engage or experience the world. And this is challenging too...what is the balance of parenting. How do we give them space while protecting them? These ongoing questions are often what create an energetic drain on my brain.
(R: remember we're on the canals, hold my hand
R: yeah, big truck. I saw you going down the slide head first.
K: 1, 5 cars
R: yup, wheee, runnnn
K: mommy....up daddy?
R: yes, we're going to meet up with dad.
K: cuddle with daddy?
R: cuddle with daddy? Yeah, you can have a cuddle with daddy. We're going to eat lunch. You hungry?
K: yeah. Cuddle with me? Cuddle with Kali...I love a daddy.
R: I know you do, he loves you too honey.
K: stop cars, stop cars
R: well we're sort of on the road so...
No, she does not stop talking from the moment she wakes up till the moment she is in bed. We walked another 20 min to lunch and she didn’t stop. The only time she isn’t chatting away or singing is when she is watching Elmo, even then she sings along or claps her hands. I think she is going to be a musician but who knows at this stage.
Lunch is another big event of the day. She loves to eat and will eat pretty much whatever we give her. She’s gotten a little bit pickier as she has gotten older but overall is easy when it comes to what to feed her.
R: if you're going to watch Elmo, you're sitting in your own seat.
K: own seat? sit down in own seat. sit.
R: grilled vegetable with chicken
J: that's what I want too
K: and for her avocado, beans and rice)
K; hearts, hearts...1, 2, 3, 4, 5...1, 2, 3, 4, 5, hearts!
R: there are at least 5 hearts on your shirt
R: yeah, you think about what story you want to start with
K: hmmm I read Wild Things
R: Wild Things? ok.. everybody is in for the cuddle
K mama coming in for the cuddle
R: I'm coming in for the cuddle too.Where the Wild Things Are...
K: I love this book
R: THis one yeah?
R: not this one?
R: Stella? Really? Alright, give me just a minute. Stella's Adventures in the Incredible BioTerrain...)
(R reads portion of story)
Could you tell what the title of that book was? Stella's Adventures in the Incredible BioTerrain by Jan Condon
, it's one of her favorites. Cracks me up but it's a pretty good story.
After story time is nap time aka mama time, which as every mama knows, is coveted time. Which for me is the time when I can finally open my computer and catch up!
(K: daddy you comin?
J: uh huh
K: I comin', I comin' I see on the pencil! You mommy, you comin'?
R: uh huh
K: we a jacket?
R: grabbin your jacket
K: grab my little jacket?)
As difficult as it sometimes is, it’s amazing to have this little being beside me growing up, absorbing everything around her, and I get to introduce her to the world. I am her personal life curator…
(K: oh look, look look, LOOOOOK!
R: what's that?
K: oh look, look!
R: what do you see?
K: one...look, what is that?
R: that is a kite
I think that’s also part of the reason why I love traveling with her. Even at this young age she is exposed to so many new sights, sounds, smells, and from that she has the foundation that life and the world is vast and full of possibilities. That dullness only exists if we entertain the idea and even then it’s just a figment of our imagination.
But all of this in itself is a full time job. Just think of all those lifestyle brands whose entire business models are built on sharing with their audience the best ways to live, what to buy, what to wear, what to eat and how to do all of it effortlessly. Isn’t that just a fancy extension of parenting? Sure, it’s debatable but certainly an interesting twist to how you may thought of motherhood and lifestyle brands.
(K: singing doe a dear)
The thing is I’m not just a mum, I’m a founder of a company, an all female digital design studio called Lettuce Design. I love my team and my clients but the challenge is figuring out how to balance it all. How to still feel like a professional and that I am adding value to my client’s lives and businesses when they hear Kaliana in the background demanding my attention. Here’s me processing this recently...
(R: just finished with a good half day's worth of work and now exploring our new hood, walking down to the beach. It's kinda nice, very close to the water which is great. And just thinking about what it takes to, to do this, to work, to be a full time mom and to travel and one of the things that I think is important to do or skill set is to switch hats quickly and easily. Which I definitely think is more of a female trait, which is great that I am a female, but there is a lot of being able to transition quickly and have multiple things in my head at one time. Can I listen to a client and be present for that client and while also being aware of what is happening with Kaliana and be ready to assist her if needed and not lose a beat with the client and then being able to go straight from client work to full on mommy mode or to be present for my husband. I think that's the most exhausting pieces about all of this, the switching of hats because you're just running multiple identities at once....alright so here we are...this is beautiful.)
But part of my passion with Lettuce is creating a team of female freelancers and shifting the model of what it means to work and be a mum. It certainly comes with challenges but the freedom to create and support each other to do our best work is the direction I think all businesses need to go.
Till next week then...the boss part. What is it really like balancing all the roles and what does it mean to be a boss anyway?
Thanks for listening and I’d love to hear from you? If you like this show please subscribe on itunes, rate and give feedback, share with your friends and other #mumbosses around the world. We’re a growing tribe and we need to know that there’s others like us out there. Sending you all good vibes and high fives…
(K: good job mama
R: thanks baby!)
Okay, before we totally wrap it up here I just have to say that tomorrow is Kaliana's second birthday and today she did two things that felt so grown up...first she put herself down for a nap. I don't mean she passed out, I mean she literally got her horsey and her binky and laid down on the little couch for a nap. I about died when I walked in and saw it. The second big girl step...she wanted to sleep in the little bed again. Awesome. I love progress.
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About this episode
This episode was recorded in Venice Beach and New York. Special shout out goes to Jan Condon for Stella's Adventures in the Incredible BioTerrian.
Our logo was designed by Lydia Reynolds. Check out her work at www.lydiareynolds.com
– An all female digital studio that creates custom design and strategy for people, brands, and events.