When you’re not losing the baby weight

I’m wearing yoga pants again today.

Yes, I’ve bragged about wearing activewear on a daily basis since I started my own home-based marketing company before. {They are sooo comfy.}  But, if I’m being honest, today I’m wearing them because nothing else fits.

I’m having a hard time losing the baby weight.

After I had my oldest daughter, I was one of those obnoxious moms that went home in her normal clothes. I told everyone it was my reward for having such a terrible pregnancy filled with morning sickness.

When my son came two years later, I got a little overconfident. I packed a pair of my regular ol’ jeans in my hospital bag. On the day I was discharged, I had to send my husband home to get a pair of sweatpants for me to wear home, because I couldn’t get the jeans over my butt. #embarrassing

Within a month or so, I was back in my usual wardrobe, although my shirts were much fuller than before thanks to what I lovingly refer to as my “temporary boob job” from breastfeeding.

It’s been nearly three months since Audrey joined us and it’s been a real struggle for me. Even though my husband, our children’s preschool teacher, and the checkout lady at the grocery store are constantly telling me how great I look for just having had a baby, my confidence has taken a dramatic dip.

It isn’t about what the scale says {although doesn’t feel so hot either!} so much as the fact that I’m far from returning to the clothes in my closet.

So far that I’ve already invested in a new pair of jeans a size {okay two sizes} up.

A lot of photos on social media have gone viral lately of women proudly showing off their postpartum bods, which I think is sending a wonderful message. While it doesn’t help me fit back in my normal clothes any faster, I think it’s great that we’re celebrating instead of shaming stretch marks.

Here’s what else I’m celebrating to take my mind off my closet…

I’m healthy

There’s been a lot of spinach and kale coming into our house since our baby was born. Oftentimes they’re serves alongside a chocolate chip cookie {or three}, but I believe that a part of being healthy is being balanced.

I’m active

What mother of three isn’t? We ride bikes, play outside, and walk to the park every day. I’ve even been able to go for a few runs {sometimes even without the stroller!} and I am getting faster and going a little bit farther each time.

I’m strong

Audrey is one of those babies that wants to be snuggled. All the time. I’ve got a wrap and a carrier and I’ve almost always got one of them strapped to my chest with a baby inside. Add a thirty pound toddler on one hip going up and down the stairs and that’s one strong mama.

I’m amazing

The truth of the matter is that as a nursing mom I’m still very much eating for two. The calories that come and go from breastfeeding are important for me and my baby. And that’s pretty incredible regardless of my size.

Eventually the day will come when I can fit in my clothes again. Or it won’t and I’ll slowly accumulate items in my new, healthy size. Either way, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll still pick out the yoga pants.

Did you have a hard time losing the post-baby lbs? Tell me what worked for you in the comments!

“None of us are expected to be Super Mom”

Q&A with Crystal Sullivan

If you don’t start every morning by reading theSkimm to face the day armed with the world’s top news stories, you’re missing out big time.

Earlier this summer I had the amazing opportunity to travel to New York City and meet the team behind the popular e-mail newsletter. Not only was I encouraged to ask questions while at SkimmHQ, but my own opinions and interests were equally solicited.

When I shared my passion for working moms with the founders, I was introduced to Crystal Sullivan. She’s a savvy go-getter with seemingly endless energy and good ideas. Moreover, as the first working mom to join the team, she’s laying the groundwork for a healthy work/life balance at HQ.

Self-promo time. What do you do?

I am the HBIC-Revenue at theSkimm…no seriously, I am Head of Media Revenue which means that I lead our Sponsor & Partnership sales team and identify new forms of revenue. I get to work with some of the smartest and most creative people and wake up every day excited to do it.

What’s something about theSkimm HQ that most people don’t know?

Most are surprised to find that we have a mix of both men and women working at the company.  We also have 3 people at HQ that are color blind and one is a running historian {it’s real, I promise}.

Tell me about a challenge at work. What did you do to overcome it?

I have pretty strict hours with my kids’ schedules that doesn’t always allow me to stay and finish things at HQ late into the evening. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. That led to me having a never-ending workday and we all know that can lead to burnout. I decided that when I came home, my phone would go into a place that wasn’t easily accessible for 2 hours. I announced it to my family to hold me accountable and my team so they weren’t hunting me down. That allowed me to mentally download, cook dinner, spend time with my family and once that was done, I would jump back online and “finish” my day.

That takes some serious self-discipline! What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up at 5:00am and head to SoulCycle for the 5:45am rooster ride. My closest girlfriends {also working moms} and I all meet there-usually still yawning and wiping our eyes. We emerge happy and inspired and ready to face the day. I go home, shower and make lunches for school or camp, pack bags and pick out clothes before getting the kiddos up and ready to face their day. After drop-off at 8:30am, I head to NYC from NJ. My commute door to door is about 1 hour and 20 mins. I arrive at Skimm HQ, where I am literally greeted with the biggest smiles {this is no joke—everyone is SO happy}.

After a full day of leading, mentoring, learning, sharing & skimming I start my commute back home at 5pm. I arrive home around 6:30pm and am greeted at the door with hugs and 101 questions, as well as all of the saved up little facts about what they did all day that they have been dying to tell me. We cook dinner, shower and relax as a family before I tuck them in around 9. I’m then back on my laptop responding to emails, and finishing out my day before I finally hit the pillow at 11 telling my husband I love him and counting down the days until the weekend where I can “sort of” sleep in.

I’m exhausted for you. What keeps you sane?

SoulCycle and therapy {seriously!}. There is nothing I feel I can’t tackle after walking out of either.

super mom2

You previously worked in the world of sports. What did you learn about yourself being in a male dominated industry?

Most people automatically assumed that I was just a “sales” woman and didn’t know much about the sport itself. Totally untrue and it helped me build unbelievable relationships that led to long-term partnerships. Women are extremely successful in the sports world, because there aren’t many of us and the ones that are there are incredibly passionate.

Have your professional goals changed since becoming a mom?

Honestly, my professional goals haven’t changed, which is something I love to share with anyone that will listen. I have never felt like I sacrificed a position or desired career path as a result of becoming a mom. Additionally, I don’t let myself feel like I am letting my children down by not being with them all day, every day. I admire and respect any woman who chooses the career path of being a stay at home mom. It’s a hard job that I’m fairly certain I would not be able to handle, for so many reasons. I’ve been clear with all of my employers that while I am fully dedicated to my role, my children are my priority and I have been supported 100%. I want to pave the way for all future moms behind me…we can do both.

Finish this sentence. Before I had kids, I wish someone had told me…

…to enjoy every second of not “worrying.” It doesn’t matter where my kids are, who they are with or what they are doing, I think of them and their happiness and safety all day. I mean that in a healthy way, not a helicopter mom way. There is no carefree,”I have no other little humans to think of.” But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I also think about myself very differently. Being my healthiest physically and emotionally is important to me in general, but knowing I want to be around to see my great-great-great grandkids motivates me even more!

They say it takes a village. Who helps you with your kiddos?

My husband is my number one supporter and a very involved dad. However, because we both have demanding careers we have a live-out nanny. She has been part of our family for 6 years and our kids adore her. She literally runs our house every hour that we are not there during the week. I also have my parents who drop everything to be with their grandchildren {huge plus}. We live in a very socially active community with amazing moms and dads so everyone helps everyone with carpools and sports, etc. It’s awesome!

What’s your best piece of advice for working moms?

PLAN AHEAD. I’m terrible at this, especially with meal prep and grocery shopping. But when I actually do it, it makes a world of a difference. Also, having a network of people around you and your kids that you all feel comfortable with is so important. None of us are expected to be Super Mom…it’s ok to ask for help. Also, create a ritual for yourself either when you first get home or after the kids go to bed that you look forward to. I LOVE to shower and use fancy products. It’s a great way to treat myself after a long day.

I’m on a quest to having it all. Do you think you have it all?

I do. And it’s not perfect for everyone…but to me, it’s all I could ask for. I’m married to my best friend {we fight and annoy each other like every couple}, my kids are healthy and I really love my job and the career path I’ve chosen. I have a home, not just a house, and my family and girlfriends are a part of my foundation. I’m fortunate. And I know it and appreciate it every day.

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.

7 tips to help working moms become more efficient

Have you ever left a conversation with a friend, colleague or even someone you just met and wondered “how the heck does she do it?” As a young mom, entrepreneur, and generally energetic person, I must admit I get asked that a lot. I usually shrug it off with something like, “oh, I just like to keep busy!” But lately I’ve taken some time to think about how I should really answer the question. I think what I’m actually being asked is “how are you so efficient?” So, I’m going to let you in on my seven tips to improve your efficiency. Soon everyone will be asking you how you do it!

1. Multitask

Multitasking, in my opinion, is a bit of an art. You have to know which activities to clump together so that you don’t sacrifice quality. For example, scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed during family time or catching up on important work emails while watching last night’s Bachelor Pad is a no-no.

My favorite example is my morning routine. I am an early to bed and early to rise kind of gal, but not too early. My alarm goes off at 6 a.m., which gives me a happy balance of clocking enough Zs while successfully getting our 1 and 3 year olds out of the house by 7:15. Here’s a play by play of how we do it:

6:00AM – Alarm goes off – NO snooze! Hit the shower…most days.

6:10AM – This is where it gets good. I read the news (I prefer theSkimm), while doing my hair and makeup, while nursing or pumping. My husband is all ready for the day and heading downstairs to make breakfast for the family…smell the bacon, eggs and coffee!

6:30AM – Divide and conquer! My husband gets one child up and dressed and I tackle the other one.

6:45AM – We all sit down and eat breakfast as a family.

7:00AM – Shoes on (kept in the laundry room), teeth brushed (a set of toothbrushes in the downstairs bathroom), and an impromptu dance party in the kitchen.

7:15AM – Load up and head out.

I’m particularly proud of that 6:10 window. Feeding another human and learning about world events while primping really gets me excited to take on the day.

2. Ask for help

Notice how earlier I said, “this is how we do it.” That’s because I don’t even pretend like mornings run this smoothly when my husband is traveling for work. One way to master efficiency is to know when to ask for help. Early on in our marriage, I told my husband it would really help both of us make it to work on time if he made breakfast. We woke up at the same time each day, but I took about 20 minutes longer to get ready than he did. About the same amount of time it takes to cook the full breakfast we’re both accustomed to. He totally got it and was willing to step up in the morning, something that became even more important when we added two toddlers to the routine.

Bottom line: if someone else can do something better or quicker than you can, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

3. Plan Ahead

Let’s go back to the morning routine again. Did you notice how I didn’t mention packing lunches or getting bags together? It’s because I do it all the night before. I’ve found it’s quickest to pack lunches either while making dinner or putting away any leftovers since you’re already in and out of the fridge and handling Tupperware. I lay out my kids’ outfits before bedtime. Heck, I still lay out my clothes. By planning ahead whenever you can, you eliminate unpleasant surprises (where is that library book?) and create the illusion of more time (dance party, anyone?).

4. Get Organized

I know this looks a little bit different for everyone. I’m a bit of a self proclaimed neat freak myself, and while I won’t project my tidy ways on you, I do urge you to get organized at home and at work if you want to improve your efficiency. The reality is, if you know where things are you will get to them faster. Keep your home and your office cleared of clutter. Pick up the toys on the floor before you go to bed; I promise you’ll feel better about it when you come downstairs the next morning! If this isn’t your strong suit, please refer to tip #2 and have someone help you file those papers.

5. Prioritize

I am a list-maker. Give me a post-it, some stationary, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s clean and I can write on it. Who doesn’t like to draw a giant check mark next to a completed task? Other than that fleeting sense of achievement, lists help you visualize the things you need to get done. I suggest separating work things from family things from errands or shopping lists since prerogatives change from a Monday to a Saturday.

When it comes to your business, make a list at the end of each work day for the following day. Write each task in the order they’ll need to be accomplished and then when it comes time to work on them, do not bounce around! Tackle them one by one and watch your efficiency improve and your to-dos decrease.

For my family and home, I have a giant to-do that includes long term projects like finally painting the outside of the house or getting around to our family photo album.

Make one list or ten, either way be sure to commit to getting things done and don’t procrastinate!

6. Move

Remember how you weren’t supposed to Facebook stalk or watch your guilty pleasure television shows while working or family time? You know the perfect time to do these things? While exercising! Not only will you benefit from shutting off your responsibilities for a bit, but you’ll have the added perk of those endorphins. So sneak away from the kiddos already to get in some quality me-time and get fit while you Netflix.

7. Slow down

This is really important to remember, especially for working moms.  While I pride myself in being incredibly efficient both in my business and at running my household, I sometimes have to remind myself to stop and smell the roses. Women are so incredibly hard on themselves and parents who work outside of the home are constantly on the go. So join me after the alarm sounds at 6 a.m. tomorrow in taking a deep breath and counting your blessings before tackling that to-do list.