5 Ways to Organize Your Life as a Working Mom and Stay Ahead of the Chaos

Would you like to organize your life as a working mom and stay not only in the game but ahead of the chaos?

It seems daunting but it is possible! And wouldn’t it feel great?

Here are 5 suggestions for making it all happen.

#1 – Use a calendar and make a schedule.

The most important part of an organized life is a calendar and a schedule.

I have a client who, every Sunday night, sits down with her calendar and charts out EVERYTHING that is happening in the week ahead.

What do I mean by everything?

  • Her work schedule
  • Her kids’ schedule
  • Any appointments that her family might have
  • Time for herself
  • Time for her and her spouse
  • Time spent on social media
  • Anything else that might need to be accounted for

Once she makes her schedule, she underlines in RED those things that are priorities and cannot be moved.

As the week progresses she looks at her calendar daily to adjust it as necessary but if something must get moved, it gets moved immediately so that it doesn’t fall off her calendar and get forgotten.

She makes her calendar, she keeps it with her, she updates it regularly and makes it the blueprint of her life.

#2 – Stick to your schedule, no matter what happens at work.

The most important part of having a calendar is sticking to it. And I know, as a working mom, that can be very hard to do.

One thing I ask my clients: what is the one thing in your life that everything else revolves around? What is that one non-negotiable thing on your calendar?

Almost without exception, my clients answer WORK. They say that because they are reporting to a boss, and getting paid for it, they will sacrifice other things that might be a part of their week if work demands dictate that they do.

Is this you? Do you choose to work instead of meeting your other obligations?

If so, consider this: can you view some other things in your week, like you time or time with your spouse, as things that are as important as work and that you will not put aside for any reason.

Can you do this in spite of the fact that you aren’t getting paid and reporting to someone else?

This is the key to organizing your life as a working mom and staying ahead of the chaos. To understand that some obligations are as non-negotiable as work and that putting them to the side just can’t happen.

#3 – Plan meals ahead of time.

A HUGE part of staying organized is planning and making meals ahead of time.

I remember, when my kids were young, deciding what to make every night was the hardest part of my day. I always felt that if someone else told me what to cook, making it would be easy. It was the deciding that was hard.

I suggest making a meal plan for the whole week, including lunches, over breakfast on Sunday morning. And from that meal plan make your shopping list so that you have all of the ingredients that you need for the week.

Ideally, you then get your partner to go to the grocery store but that is negotiable!

If you plan your menus ahead of time, and do the shopping as well, you will carve out a big piece of your day, every day, to get other things done.

#4 – Get help.

It is essential for working moms to get help where they need it.

Some moms need help keeping the house clean or cooking dinner or taking the kids to appointments. So if you need it, get it! Find someone to help you clean or cook or drive.

It’s really okay to not do everything yourself.

If a babysitter or a cleaning lady is not in your budget, figure out some other way to get help. Your partner and your kids are the most obvious first choices in the help department. They can all help with the cooking and the cleaning and the chauffeuring. They may complain but they CAN do it!

You can also call on your friends to support you and you can support them as well. When my kids were young, the moms all took turns after school taking the kids to various activities. Each of us committed 1 day a week to being the driver, leaving the other 4 days after school open for work or other things.

Either way, you working moms DON’T have to do everything yourselves. Ask for help. You will be glad you did.

#5 – Build in time for you.

Believe it or not, this is the most important piece of how to organize your life as a working mom.

Everyone needs time for themselves. EVERYONE. Just because you are a working mom it doesn’t mean that you get to sacrifice your mental health for the sake of everyone else.

As a matter of fact, doing so is not good for anyone and will definitely make it difficult to stay ahead of the chaos. Remember the old adage: “A happy mom means a happy family.” It’s more true now than ever.

So make an effort every week to build some ‘you time’ into your schedule. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. A few minutes in the morning before everyone wakes up. A 20 minute walk outside at lunch time. A few minutes of social media as you wait to pick up the kids from school.

When my kids were little, 3 nights a week were nights when I took a bath. For 45 minutes I was in my bathtub with my People magazine and the door was locked and I had ‘me time’. My husband dealt with whatever had to be dealt with. That time was life changing for me. I was able to take a deep breath and then step back into my life refreshed.

I am guessing that you are eager to organize your life as a working mom. You might feel like you are constantly treading water, just keeping your head up to keep from drowning.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Get a calendar, make a schedule, stick to it, plan ahead, ask for help and take care of yourself along the way.

The chaos will always be out there…how you manage it will help you stay ahead of it.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways Untreated Depression in Parents Affects Their Children And How to Best Protect Them During Dark Times

Living with untreated depression is a horrible thing. Every day is full of hopelessness and despair. Life can seem unbearable. Imagine, then, how untreated depression in parents can affect their children.

Parenting is a 24/7 job. It’s all about modeling good behavior, paying attention, educating and loving our children. Doing these things while depressed can seem almost impossible. As a result, untreated depression can have a huge negative affect on children.

Here I will share 5 ways that untreated depression in parents affects their children and how to best protect your kids during dark times.

#1 – Depression is scary.

For a child depression in a parent is very scary. A child just cannot comprehend why their parent is acting the way that they are.

When depressed, parents can, and do, act a variety of ways – sad, angry, tired, anxious, ambivalent, indifferent, insecure, aggressive. As a result, if those behaviors show up regularly, children can start acting anxious, insecure and aggressive themselves.

#2 – Kids blame themselves.

When my daughter was 15 I shared with her that I had just been diagnosed with depression but that I had probably suffered from it for years.

Her reaction? ‘I am so glad to know that it wasn’t my fault.’

Children are so innocent, and so self-centered, and as a result they believe that anything that happens in the world is a result of them and their actions. Because of this a child can easily internalize their parents depressed feelings and blame themselves for the behaviors.

#3 – Their parent isn’t parenting.

When a parent is suffering from untreated depression they just can’t be the parent that they usually are or want to be.

If a parent is so sad that she must take to her bed for days, or if the depression has made him particularly cranky and impatient, the child will suffer.

If her mom can’t get out of bed to make her dinner then she will have to fend for herself. If her dad is always yelling at her she will feel bad about herself and take to her room.

Parents need to be parents and it’s difficult to be so when they are suffering from untreated depression. And kids need their parents to be parents.

#4 – Their mom and dad don’t seem to like each other.

One of the biggest side effects of untreated depression is relationship instability.

When one partner is depressed the other often struggles to understand what is happening, why their partner can’t just snap out of it. This feeling of helplessness can lead to anger and frustration which in turn interferes with relationship health.

And there is nothing scarier for a child than having her parents not get along. The parental unit is what provides the foundation for a child’s growth. If that is regularly unstable the results can be devastating and permanent.

#5 – They don’t feel safe at home.

Unfortunately, when one suffers from untreated depression productivity can suffer. As a result one’s home can get dirty, meals don’t get made, laundry doesn’t get done, safety standards don’t get met.

As a result, many children of parents living with untreated depression are neglected in some way which forces them to either suffer needlessly or grow up very quickly because they have to take care of themselves from an early age.

How unfair is that?

So, how can you protect your kids during dark times?

#1 – Be honest with them.

If kids, or adults, know what is going on then they are more likely able to deal with it.

Tell your kids if you or your partner is suffering from depression. Explain to them that mommy’s sadness or daddy’s anger is the result of something that they can’t control. Ask them if they have any questions and be willing to answer them.

Being honest will allow your kids to understand, to some degree, what is going on which will alleviate some of their anxiety around the situation.

#2- Explain that it’s not their fault.

More than anything a child needs to hear from his or her parent that the behaviors they are experiencing aren’t their fault.

Understanding that their parents’ instability isn’t a result of their actions will take a considerable weight off of a child’s shoulders. And that is the very important: to not let your child blame themselves for your troubles.

#3 – Remove yourself from the situation.

If you are depressed, make every effort to not overexpose your kids to your moods. When you are depressed, if you are able, send your kids to a friend’s house or have your spouse take them out for the afternoon.

Constant exposure to a parent who is suffering from untreated depression can have a significant negative effect on kids. Even a short break from the moodiness can be therapeutic.

#4 – Get help around the house.

If meals aren’t getting made or the house isn’t getting cleaned consider getting someone in to help.

Children need to be taken care of and, if you can’t do it, let someone else. Your kids will thank you someday.

#5 – Seek professional psychiatric help.

The best way to protect your kids during dark times is to get help!

If depression goes on untreated it just gets worse. Early intervention can greatly reduce the effects of depression in a parent on a child.

See your primary care physician immediately. They will help you get treatment right away so that you can protect your kids.

Untreated depression in parents can affect children in a big way.

Kids of parents with untreated depression often suffer from low self-esteem, insecurity and anxiety and often are forced to grow up way too fast.

It is essential that you make an effort to protect your child if you or your partner suffers from untreated depression. Be honest with them, make sure their needs are taken care of and seek help as soon as possible.

They are your children. They deserve the best, whether you are depressed or not.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways To Show Your Kids You Love Them Without Using Your Words

We all love our kids. From the moment they are born we swear that we will do everything in our power to protect them and give them a good life.

Unfortunately, our lives and our lived experiences can get in the way and we don’t always do the best we can by our kids.

There are a few things that we can do, every day, that will let our kids know that we love them, even if it isn’t that obvious to them.

Here is my latest – 5 Ways To Show Your Kids You Love Them Without Using Your Words.

#1 – Listen to your kids.

When my kids were growing up they and all of their friends spent a ton of time at our house. I always thought it was because of my amazing chocolate chip cookies but I have since learned that they liked to spend time there because I actually listened to them.

Our kids have a lot to say but we often don’t listen. We are so caught up in our own lives and our own assumptions about what they are saying that we don’t actually LISTEN to the words that come out of their mouths.

Yes, a lot of nothing can come out of all of our mouths but if you aren’t truly listening you could miss that little morsel, the thing that comes out that shouldn’t be ignored.

So put down your phone and listen to your kids. Today.

#2 – Let them be kids.

Remember when we were young? Our parents used to send us out the back door after breakfast and tell us not to come home until luncheon. We used to walk to school. We used to have play dates in the afternoon. We got dirty and made messes and had a whole lot of fun.

Today’s kids are over protected and over scheduled. As a result they are stressed out little versions of their parents. And they become stressed out adults soon after.

Give your kids some space and some time. Let them know what it is like to have nothing to do and time to fill. Let them bike to a friend’s house so they don’t live in fear. Let them scrape their knee and get up and keep on playing.

Being an adult is really hard. Let them be kids for as long as you can.

#3 – Be the grown up.

One thing I see more than anything in my work is parents who act like children around their children.

What do I mean by this?

I have a client whose child is very difficult. She is rude and acts out and is generally very hard to be around. Instead of understanding that her child is really struggling in the world, my client takes her child’s behavior personally. Instead of recognizing, with her adult brain, that her child is struggling and needs her support, she snaps back in the same way she was just snapped at.

All of this snapping just makes the situation worse. And her child has learned that she can’t rely on her mother to help or support her in any way.

So be the grown up. Know that your child is young and inexperienced and needs a guiding hand. The guiding hand of their parent.

#4 – Embrace your kids’ dreams.

Soon after I graduated from college my father took me shopping for job interview clothing. We bought a fabulous suit (this was the 80’s) and then went out for lunch.

Halfway through our bottle of wine, I was prattling on about the dream I had about my life. The exciting things that I would do. I was young and the world was my oyster.

What did my dad say in response to my dreams? I think you are going to have a really average life. That is what my dad said.

35 years later I still remember what he said that day. And I would be lying if what he said doesn’t reverberate in my head with every new life choice I make.

Is my life average? Perhaps by his standards but not by mine. I wish it could be by his standards too.

#5 – Make your kids the priority.

One thing that my kids know, and have always known, is that if they need me I will move heaven and earth to be there for them.

At times making them a priority has interfered with my life. I stayed home with them instead of pursuing a career so that they would always know I would be there for them. I neglected my marriage so that I could be there for them. I have walked away from men who weren’t a good fit with my kids for them.

But I know that in this scary, scary world my kids know, to their very core, that they have one person they can always rely on to be there for them. And as a result they feel safe.

What a gift that is. To always feel safe.

So there you go. 5 Ways To Show Your Kids You Love Them Without Using Your Words.

Of course you love your kids. Even the most absent parent still loves their kids. But the single most important, most formative relationship one has in one’s life is the relationship with a parent.

So let your kids know you truly love them. Listen to them, let them be kids, support them and prioritize them. If you do so you will set them up to be happy, healthy, well adjusted and fully loved grown ups. And what a gift that will be.

Oh. One more thing. Buy them a bike. Every kid needs a bike….

 

 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to Survive Your Kid Going off to College and Leaving You Behind

Your kid is going off to college. Holy s*%t.

While there were some occasions a few years back when you thought this moment couldn’t come soon enough, now that it’s here the prospect is hitting you like a ton of bricks.

Your child is leaving. That force of nature who has lived in your house for 18 years. How are you going to survive that loss?

Surviving, and even thriving, is not only possible but probable.

Here is my latest…5 Ways to Survive Your Kid Going off to College and Leaving You Behind.

#1 – Pay attention to how you are feeling.

Most likely your body is in physical pain, a result of psychological suffering at the loss of your child. And most likely the center point of that pain is your stomach. The pain is sharp and relentless and makes you feel like you are going to die.

That pain is from anxiety. Anxiety that your child won’t be able to survive without you. That you won’t be able to survive without them. That everything will be different now and how do you deal with that? That pain comes directly from your brain, from your thoughts. Frustrating, no?

There are two ways to deal with that pain.

The first is to talk back to that brain of yours. Tell it that it is being ridiculous. That your child is ready to do this and will be fine. That you have survived their being toddlers and teenagers so you can survive their leaving. And change is good. It’s not easy to talk back to your thoughts but you can do it.

The second is to remember to breathe. Big deep breaths that go down to your belly. Breath in for 3 seconds and out for 5. This kind of breathing will actually calm the stress response in your body, ease your stomach pain and help clear your head. Repeat as necessary.

#2 – Revel in their successes and opportunities.

Your child is going to COLLEGE. How huge is that?

Since they were born one of your dreams for them has been college. College opens up doors for our kids. It allows them to think deep, dream big and share it with all kinds of like-minded and other-minded people. It will clear pathways that will take them forward into the rest of their lives.

And don’t forget the role that you have played in all of this. It is because of you that they are ready to fly, to leave home and thrive. Don’t underestimate the value of this. Without you this never could have happened!

Most of all, they aren’t leaving you behind. You and everything you have taught them will stay with them throughout their college life, whispering in their ear and guiding their decisions. And don’t worry. They will come back. There is laundry to be done and home-cooked food to be eaten.

#3 – Cry. But not too much.

It’s okay that that you are feeling sad. Of course you are. And your child is feeling sad too. Leaving home leads to mixed emotions.

Tell your child that you are sad that they are leaving and that you are going to miss them. They need to know. It’s important that they see real emotion from you, emotions that they can mirror as they want.

DO NOT go on and on repeatedly about how much you will miss them. Don’t lie on their bed as they pack, sobbing. Don’t make a scene when you drop them off at the dorm. Even if you feel like bursting into tears, don’t. There is time enough for that on the car ride home.

You don’t want to burden your child with the guilt of your sadness because doing so might hamper their ability to assimilate into their new school. This is not good.

So cry… but within reason.

#4 – Plan a visit. But not tomorrow.

Colleges and universities have it all figured out. Usually by October, when everyone is missing each other, A LOT, there are parent weekends scheduled. This is a weekend where the kids get to share their new home with you and you get to buy them things. Fun times are had by all.

So plan to do this (and make hotel reservations well ahead of time as they tend to fill up). Planning will make you happy.

DO NOT plan to visit your child before that. Don’t stop by to do their laundry or help with their homework or just because you miss them. It’s like summer camp – they need to go cold turkey from their parents to really settle in. You being around will prevent that from happening.

#5 – Take a good look at the rest of your life.

Even if this child is not your last to leave home now is the time where your life will start to change.

You have spent the past 18 years devoting yourself to your children and running your household. You have given so much of yourself, happily, but now it’s time to start taking care of you.

Take a good hard look at the choices you have made that have brought you to where you are today. Take a good hard look at where you want to be in the next half of your life. Take a good hard look at what is important to you.

This is it. This is your time. You have age and you have wisdom and now it’s time to start at least laying the groundwork to living the life that you have always wanted.

So there you go – 5 Ways to Survive Your Kid Going off to College and Leaving You Behind.

The next few weeks will be tough but you, and your child, will get through it. It’s also a magical time, a time for your child to enter his or her world and for you to begin to grow in yours.

Embrace it. It only happens once.

Need any more ideas about how to survive and thrive? Contact me and I can help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Reasons that Divorce Can Make You Happier – Even If It’s Hard to Believe

I remember I would wake up in the morning, looking forward to my day, and then would roll over and see the still warm, empty space next to me in bed. My stomach would sink. My husband had gone to the gym and I was glad because that meant I wouldn’t have to see him.

As the day progressed we talked occasionally on the phone, mostly about bills and the kids’ schedules and whether he would make it home in time for dinner. Communications about the running of our family business. We were good at that.

I remember every night seeing his car drive in the driveway and thinking “Ok. This is it. Tonight I am going to give him a hug and be happy to see him.” And he would walk in the door and go right to the stack of mail and rifle through it, something he knew I hated. There would be a perfunctory kiss, he would get a drink, or two, and we would spend the rest of the night operating in parallel, dealing with homework and bedtime.

My husband and I never fought but we were desperately unhappy. 18 years of a thousand little cuts, of unresolved conflicts, of the contempt of the familiar, had wrought serious damage.

And even though we were barely existing in the same space I really believed that somehow we would find our way back to each other. We had shared dreams for the future after all and how could we let those go?

One day he told me he wanted a divorce. He didn’t want to work on our marriage. He was done.

I was devastated.

What followed was one long year of divorce proceedings. It was horrible. And then it was all over. 18 years of marriage. Done.

In spite of all of that, or perhaps because of it, here I am, 5 years later, living a life that is happier than I ever could have imagined. Yes, it is different from the one that I thought I would be living with my husband but it is most notably different because I am happy. Truly happy.

Here is my latest blog – 5 Reasons that Divorce Can Make You Happier.

#1 – Your kids will thrive

The first thing that my son said to me when he learned we were separating was “Good. Because I hate coming home. There is always so much tension.” And this was true. Now, when he comes home, either to me or to his dad’s, his home is cleared of the anger that used to cloud it.

My kids also now have a much better relationship with their dad. Before the divorce I came between them. They spent more time with me and saw how unhappy I was and they distanced themselves from him. Now they see their dad separately from me and it has made them all closer. Which is a gift.

Because I talk to them more openly than I did before, and I have a good understanding of what went wrong with my marriage, my kids have a much clearer picture of what it takes to make a relationship to work. That is a something that I wish I had had when entering into my marriage.

My kids are doing great. In more ways than one. And that to me is the most important thing.

#2 – No more “thousand little cuts”

You know what I am talking about. Every day there was some kind of slight, big or small. The mail that was rifled through, the 3rd drink, the coming home late again, the snapping. We were constantly at each other, not overtly, but in ways that caused pain. We had unresolved issues and tons of resentment.  We struggled to stay calm in each others presence. We lived in the same house but were always lonely.

Now my days are filled with a happiness and contentment that I haven’t known in a long time. I wake up in the morning without that sinking feeling in my stomach. I spend my days working and being with the kids and living my life without the constant dread of that next little thing coming that would cause me pain.

This has made me a better person and a better mother. And have I mentioned? Happier.

3 – New friendships    

One of the most wonderful parts of my single life is the number of new friendships that I have developed.

When we are married we tend to insulate ourselves from the rest of the world because of our relationships. We might have friends who are other couples but really our primary relationship is with our spouse.

Now I have many, many friends, of all different stripes, who make my life fuller every day. And they say that the number one cause of sustained happiness is good friendships. How lucky am I?

#4 – Being your own person

For years I identified myself as someone’s wife. Yes, I was a successful mom, realtor and life coach but every decision that I made about my life was made in consideration of my relationship with my spouse.

Now I live life the way I want to. Yes, I have my obligations to my kids and my job and the US Treasury Department but I get to live in a way that makes my heart sing.

I recently moved from Vermont to New York City, have a thriving life coaching business and volunteer extensively with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. All things that I love.

The life that I am leading makes me happy every day.

#5 – A life full of hope

When I was married I was so lonely and sad that I never had any hope for the future. When you are living a life mired in unhappiness any positive thoughts for the future are impossible.

Now I know that the sky is the limit. I can have all of the personal success that I want as long as I am willing to go for it. I have my own business, of which I am proud, my kids are turning into amazing adults and I have a man who I love deeply with whom I hope to spend the rest of my life.

I have been through a lot but all of it makes me who I am today. And I love who I am today…

So there you go, my 5 Reason that Divorce Can Make You Happier.

Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt today. Her lawyer stated that she “did it for the health of her family.” A reporter declared “Love is Dead.”

I would say that love is not dead but very much alive.  Angelina, recognizing that her marriage could not be salvaged, made the difficult decision to get out of it, for her own health and the health of her family. So that they all could have the chance to be happy again. It is the end of something that wasn’t working and the beginning of something that will. A true act of love.

I am not saying you should just walk out on your marriage but I do encourage you to consider the bigger picture…your happiness and the happiness of those around you. As I have said before, if you are living a life that makes your heart sing those you love will be better for it.

I am living proof that it happens. The photo at the top of this blog is me!

Are you living with a difficult relationship? Contact me and I can help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Reasons Every Woman Needs to Vote – Even if the Options Are Not So Appealing

The 2016 presidential election is one great big mess. Americans have the choice to vote for one of the two least popular candidates in modern history. Not good.

I have spoken with many women how have said that they just aren’t going to vote. I always respond “But you have to!”

According to exit polls, 53 percent of people who voted in the 2012 election were women. In most states there are more women than men registered to vote and there is a much higher turnout rate for women at the polls.

These numbers mean power. And it’s time for women to wield that power. Here it is, my latest… 

5 Reasons Every Woman Needs to Vote.

 

#1 – To honor the women who came before.

The battle for a woman’s right to vote started in the early 1800s with Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott, among others, working hard to establish women’s equality with men.

For almost 100 years women fought for that equality, part of which was the right to vote. They were humiliated and discriminated against, the subject of derision and sometimes violence for their efforts. They didn’t give up. Even when they were imprisoned and forced to hunger strike these women fought on.

It wasn’t until 1920 that the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was passed by the US government. Even so, many states didn’t ratify the amendment for years. Mississippi didn’t do so until 1984, 60 years later and only 32 years ago.

32 years ago women in Mississippi could not vote.

Don’t take the right to vote for granted. It was hard fought for and we women need to exercise our right proudly.

#2 – To honor the women we are now.

There is much being said these days about the persistent lack of equality for women in the world. Women make less money on the dollar than men in the workplace. Women who are ambitious are labeled “bitches.” Women are discriminated against for getting pregnant or for having to take care of children. Women are subjected to emotional and physical abuse at the hands of bosses and husbands.

It is time for this to end. And it will only end if we women take a stand.

In her book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg talks about how women are held back but also how we hold ourselves back. She makes the argument that women need to advocate more for themselves, to believe themselves equal to men, to not allow discrimination to hold them back from anything

She says that it is up to us to change our stars. No one else will do it for us.

Voting is one way for us to do this, to “Lean In.”  We have the right to vote. We have the right to have a say in the politics of our nation. We have the right to use our voices, the voices we often only whisper with, to bring about real change.

#3 – Because every vote counts.

I know it doesn’t seem that way. Presidents have been elected in spite of the fact that they didn’t win the popular vote. But your vote matters, particularly in your home state.

Each state has a different number of electoral votes and that number is based on the total of all of it’s representatives in Congress, both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. A candidate needs 270 of those electoral votes to win the presidency.

In most states for a candidate to win that state, and it’s corresponding electoral votes, he or she must receive the majority of it’s popular vote. This is where your vote counts. Your vote will contribute towards a candidate winning, or losing, a state which will in turn determine the outcome of the presidential campaign.

If you don’t cast your vote your candidate could lose your state and, maybe, ultimately, the presidency.

#4 – Because important women’s issues are now at stake.

Right now, more than ever, there are important women’s issues at stake and the next president could have a huge hand in which direction those women’s issues go.

At issue right now is:
*A woman’s right to access Planned Parenthood
*Paid family leave
*Income equality
*Minimum wage increases
*Debt free education

The outcome of all of these issues will have a huge impact on our lives and the lives of our daughters and granddaughters. We can’t just sit back and think that “everyone else” will take care of this. We need to exercise our right to make a real difference. By voting.

#5 – To set a good example for our children.

I remember in 1976 my mother taking me with her to vote. It was the year that Jimmy Carter was running against Gerald Ford. This was not a campaign that had electrified the nation.

I remember driving to the voting booth and my mother telling me about my great-grandmother (and namesake) who fought for the right to vote and how her lawyer husband fought alongside her (and got her out of jail when she was imprisoned). She impressed upon me the importance of voting out of respect for our grandmothers and those who fought alongside them.

I went into the voting booth with her and watched her cast her vote. And we got “I VOTED” stickers afterwards, which was huge.

Our children increasingly take the right to vote for granted and they are increasingly disillusioned by modern politics. It is important for us to teach them, to demonstrate for them, how important this fundamental American right is.

And how by doing so they can make a real difference in the world.

So there you go…5 Reasons Every Woman Needs to Vote.

Every American has the right to vote and that right shouldn’t be ignored or dismissed or taken for granted. Without it our country would be a different place.

And we women, we have the power to change things. In so many ways. Voting is one of them. So get out and vote this year.

Let’s change the world!

Looking for more ideas about how to change your world? Contact me and let’s make it happen!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to Survive Your Child Going off to College – Even if the Prospect Seems Unbearable

Your kid is going off to college. Holy s*%t.

While there were some occasions a few years back when you thought this moment couldn’t come soon enough, now that it’s here the prospect is hitting you like a ton of bricks.

Your child is leaving. That force of nature who has lived in your house for 18 years. How are you going to survive that loss?

Surviving, and even thriving, is not only possible but probable. Here is my latest…

5 Ways to Survive Your Child Going off to College – Even if the Prospect Seems Unbearable

 

#1 – Pay attention to how you are feeling.

Most likely your body is in physical pain, a result of psychological suffering at the loss of your child. And most likely the center point of that pain is your stomach. The pain is sharp and relentless and makes you feel like you are going to die.

That pain is from anxiety. Anxiety that your child won’t be able to survive without you. That you won’t be able to survive without them. That everything will be different now and how do you deal with that? That pain comes directly from your brain, from your thoughts. Frustrating, no?

There are two ways to deal with that pain.

The first is to talk back to that brain of yours. Tell it that it is being ridiculous. That your child is ready to do this and will be fine. That you have survived their being toddlers and teenagers so you can survive their leaving. And change is good. It’s not easy to talk back to your thoughts but you can do it.

The second is to remember to breathe. Big deep breaths that go down to your belly. Breath in for 3 seconds and out for 5. This kind of breathing will actually calm the stress response in your body, ease your stomach pain and help clear your head. Repeat as necessary.

#2 – Revel in their successes and opportunities.

Your child is going to COLLEGE. How huge is that?

Since they were born one of your dreams for them has been college. College opens up doors for our kids. It allows them to think deep, dream big and share it with all kinds of like-minded and other-minded people. It will clear pathways that will take them forward into the rest of their lives.

And don’t forget the role that you have played in all of this. It is because of you that they are ready to fly, to leave home and thrive. Don’t underestimate the value of this. Without you this never could have happened!

#3 – Cry. But not too much.

It’s okay that that you are feeling sad. Of course you are. And your child is feeling sad too. Leaving home leads to mixed emotions.

Tell your child that you are sad that they are leaving and that you are going to miss them. They need to know. It’s important that they see real emotion from you, emotions that they can mirror as they want.

DON’T go on and on repeatedly about how much you will miss them. Don’t lie on their bed as they pack, sobbing. Don’t make a scene when you drop them off at the dorm. Even if you feel like bursting into tears, don’t. There is time enough for that on the car ride home.

You don’t want to burden your child with the guilt of your sadness because doing so might hamper their ability to assimilate into their new school. This is not good.

So cry… but within reason.

#4 – Plan a visit. But not tomorrow.

Colleges and universities have it all figured out. Usually by October, when everyone is missing each other A LOT, there are parent weekends scheduled. This is a weekend where the kids get to share their new home with you and you get to buy them things. Fun times are had by all.

So plan to do this (and make hotel reservations well ahead of time as they tend to fill up). Planning will make you happy.

DO NOT plan to visit your child before that. Don’t stop by to do their laundry or help with their homework or just because you miss them. It’s like summer camp – they need to go cold turkey from their parents to really settle in. You being around will prevent that from happening.

#5 – Take a good look at the rest of your life.

Even if this child is not your last to leave home now is the time where your life will start to change.

You have spent the past 18 years devoting yourself to your children and running your household. You have given so much of yourself, happily, but now it’s time to start taking care of you.

Take a good hard look at the choices you have made that have brought you to where you are today. Take a good hard look at where you want to be in the next half of your life. Take a good hard look at what is important to you.

This is it. This is your time. You have age and you have wisdom and now it’s time to start at least laying the groundwork to living the life that you have always wanted.

So there you go – 5 Ways to Survive Your Child Going off to College – Even if the Prospect Seems Unbearable..

The next few weeks will be tough but you, and your child, will get through it. It’s also a magical time, a time for your child to enter his or her world and for you to begin to grow in yours.

Embrace it. It only happens once.

Need any more ideas about how to survive and thrive? Contact me and I can help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to Stay Calm in the Middle of Chaos – Even if Losing It Seems Inevitable

Ok. It’s bedtime. You know the drill. Homework is being wrapped up, teeth are being brushed, the next day’s school clothes are being chosen, lost books are being retrieved, that last text message is being sent.

And everybody is calmly taking care of their business as you supervise from your easy chair, right? NOT!

Bedtime is chaos. Getting off to school is chaos. Doing homework and making dinner is chaos. Your life is chaos.

Sometimes it’s hard to stay patient in the middle of it all.

There are ways to manage the chaos without breaking down and screaming, something that might make you feel better in the moment but is rarely a good motivator. And something you always regret.

Here are my ideas for 5 Ways for Moms to Stay Calm in the Middle of Chaos – Even if Losing It Seems Inevitable. I will use bedtime as an example to work from.

#1 – Stay aware.

Bedtime, is chaotic, jam-packed, and exhausting. Every night. It’s just the nature of the beast. If you go into it remembering that it is chaotic, jam-packed and exhausting then you will have a better chance of managing it without losing it.

Before it begins, take a minute for yourself (or more if you have it). Take a deep breath. Have a cup of tea. Whatever it will take to get your calm on, go for it.

If you enter into a situation already stressed out, having just finished a work call or throwing the dishes in the dishwasher, chances are that you will break much quicker than if you go in calm.

#2 – Ask for help!

There are usually two grown ups in the house at bedtime. Don’t try to do it all yourself. It’s something that us moms try to do. Everything. And it usually doesn’t end well.

Divide and conquer. Each of you take a child. Or one person manage teeth brushing while the other helps pack up homework. Define your tasks clearly so that everyone knows their job and sticks to it.

And don’t let the kids play you off each other. Remember that you are a team and that you are bigger than those little people who are trying to run all over you.

#3 – Declare if you are escalating.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to keep my feelings of frustration bottled up, allowing them to slowly build until I erupt with loud, ugly words. My kids then look at me like I am crazy because they had no idea how the night was getting to me.

Let your kids know if you start to escalate. I use a 10 point scale: 1 being calm and 10 being at the edge. “Hey kids,” I say, “Mom is at a 5. Can we please calm down and get into bed.”

This lets the kids know that your frustration is mounting so that perhaps they can tweak their behaviors to prevent the eruption of Mt. Mom.

#4 – Take a deep breath.

Next time you drive by an 18-wheeler on the highway notice what you are doing. Chances are you are holding your breath. And gripping the steering wheel very tightly. It’s tension filled, those few seconds you inch past them. And your body reacts.

Next time you drive by an 18-wheeler take a deep breath. You will immediately feel yourself relaxing, your hands unclenching. You will get by that truck without missing a beat.

Take the above action and apply it to chaotic times. Take a deep breath. Repeat as necessary. It is sure to calm you down.

#5 – Visualize what is next.

One of the best ways to get through a chaotic situation is to visualize the prize at the end of the chaos. Bedtime is no exception.

When the bedtime routine is over good things wait for you on the other side. Time with your spouse. Another episode of “House of Cards.” A bath. Looking in on your beautiful sleeping children. YOUR BED.

As you feel your frustration growing, picture what is on the other side. And know that if you stay calm the chaos will probably subside quicker and you will get to your prize.

So there you are: 5 Ways to Stay Calm in the Middle of Chaos – Even if Losing It Seems Inevitable.

Our lives are chaotic, jam-packed and crazy. And chances are they aren’t going to change until your kids go off to college and you are left alone in an empty house (but that is a whole ‘nother topic).

The best way to get through the chaos with your hair and sanity intact is to learn to manage it. And you can do it. Think of all of the chaotic things you have survived already. This is just one more. You CAN DO IT.

Looking for more coping tips to get through your crazy life? I can help. Contact me now and we can get your started down the path to living the life of your dreams.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to Protect Your Kids During This Crazy Presidential Campaign – Even If It Seems There Is No Escaping It

The presidential race of 2016 is like none other. The people are demanding change and with change comes lots of messiness. In this case the messiness involves lots of lying, suspicion, bigotry and name calling.

Many of us adults are completely obsessed with the whole thing, constantly checking the news and reading and re-reading what the candidates are saying. This is okay because we are adults but having the kids too involved with the messiness can be damaging.

I am here to tell you that there are ways to limit the negative effects that a difficult campaign can have on kids.

So here are my 5 Ways to Protect Your Kids During This Crazy Presidential Campaign.

#1 – Protect your younger kids from the anger and the hatred.

One of the most distinctive things about this election is the amount of anger that is flying around all over the place. Americans are angry and the candidates are responding with anger of their own, some of it targeting other Americans.

With younger kids it is important that you limit their exposure to the vitriol. Young kids are sponges and will absorb any information they are exposed too, some of it good, a lot of it damaging.

So turn off the TV when the kids are in the room. Don’t play videos of the candidates speaking where the kids can overhear. Don’t leave magazines and newspapers with explosive headlines lying around.

It’s summertime. Leave the media behind and get your kids outside.

#2 – Talk about the campaign with your older kids.

Your older kids will be exposed to many, many different perspectives on this election because of social media. Not everything they read will be accurate. Not everything they read will be true. Not everything they read will be aligned with the values that you have tried to teach them over the years.

Talk about the election with your kids. Let them ask questions and make an effort to answer them thoughtfully, to clarify what they may or may not have heard. And share with them your perspective on what is being said, trying to be as non-partisan as possible.

#3 – Don’t expect your kids to toe the party line with you.

You know what I am talking about. You see little kids attending rallies with their parents, wearing the candidates T-shirts. They stand with their parents and mimic everything their parents say, even if they have no idea what their words mean.

Keep your kids out of your politics until they are old enough to decide for themselves what they want and believe. Keep your children innocent for just a little bit longer because they will have plenty of time to suffer through this themselves when they are older.

#4 – Use this election as an opportunity to educate.

One of the greatest things about America is that it was born from a revolutionary spirit. America objected to how it was being treated by the British and it revolted and prevailed. As a result, a new nation was born, one based on liberty and equality.

America is going through such a revolution now. The people are protesting against the status quo, the way that our government is using it’s power to achieve stasis instead of growth. Our country is drowning in the mess of partisan politics and people have had enough.

Talk to your kids about all of this, how great America is and can be and how we need to recognize our failures and celebrate our victories and move forward together in a positive way.

#5 – Get yourself away from it all.

I know plenty of people who are so preoccupied with the election that it is taking over their lives. They are obsessed with what they read and see and spend countless hours arguing with anyone who wants to argue about what the candidates are bringing to the table.

This makes people very, very crabby. And this crabbiness can spill over into your relationships with your kids.

So get away from it regularly. Binge watch your favorite show, read a book, take your kids for ice cream. Give yourself a break from it all. Take a deep breath and smell the roses.

Set a good example.

So there you go: 5 Ways to Protect Your Kids During This Crazy Presidential Campaign.

We have 5 months left in this campaign. A lot of negative things are going to be said. A lot of name calling will be done. A lot of promises will be made that might not be kept.

Negativity, name calling and lying are all things that we have taught our kids not to do. It is essential that we, as the grown ups, limit their exposure and educate our children so that they can grow up to be the reasonable, thoughtful people we want them to be!

Has this blog made you pause and go hmmm? I have lots more to share, things that will help you live the life of your dreams. Contact me now and see how.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways for Moms to Enjoy Their Summer – Even if the Next 2 Months Loom Dark and Scary

Summertime. The weather is warmer, the grass is growing, the flowers are blooming. It’s a time for everyone to get outside, to smell the fresh air, to enjoy life after the past 7 months of school and cold weather.

And yet, the prospect of summer fills many moms with a sense of dread. What exactly to do with your wonderful, but usually in school, kids all day every day.

I am here to tell you that not only can you survive the summer but you can truly enjoy it!

So here you go: 5 Ways for Moms to Enjoy Their Summer – Even if the Next 2 Months Loom Dark and Scary.

# 1 – Schedule SOME time for your kids to go to camp.

Summertime should include some summer camp. It can be any kind of summer camp – a science camp at the local elementary school, an art camp at the Y, a week away at a camp on a lake in Maine. Whatever is the right kind of camp for your kid.

Modern day children have so much scheduled time that the sudden onslaught of free time when school gets out can be overwhelming. So schedule them some camp.

The key word here is SOME camp. It is essential that kids have down time for proper development. They need to have time to entertain themselves, to be dreamy or adventurous or whatever makes their hearts sing.

So schedule them SOME camp but also schedule them some free time. One of my clients has her kids go to camp every other week in June and July and then leaves much of August free for downtime and family activity.

#2 – Let yourself off the hook.

You have a TON to do. A TON. Every day is packed with chores and errands and work and having the kids under foot all summer makes those things difficult to accomplish.

So let yourself off the hook. Choose some chores and errands that can be let go a bit this summer. Like keeping the house super clean or super involved family dinners. Tidy up when you have some down time and get the kids to help. For dinners use your grill! Grill some meat or fish, make a salad, pop some vegies in the steamer and you are done.

Of course there are some things that can’t be put off. Schedule some time every day, or every other day, to get these things done. Choose a time that you know will work for you: first thing in the morning when everyone is slow to rise, after lunch when people are lazing, after dinner when the kids are running around outside with the neighbors. Pick a time and put it on your calendar and get those things done!

And don’t forget that your kids can HELP with these things. Your child can do the dishes or the laundry or clean their rooms. And the kids can go on errands with you and learn a thing or two about how the world works. Don’t be afraid to get your kids working. It’s good for them.

#3 – Embrace playing.

Remember summertime when you were a kid? Our parents didn’t schedule us at all…we were sent outside in the morning and told to come back for lunch and not a moment earlier. And remember how much fun you had?

So it’s summer! Do some things with your kids that you love to do. Go to the beach, hike in the woods, take out the canoe, go to the park, climb a tree. Get dirty and sweaty. Play!

#4 – Do something that you like to do.

As I have said in earlier blogs it is essential for your mental health that you do something for you as often as you can. Putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own is exhausting and life sucking. Yes, hopefully you will let things go this summer and play with your kids but still you will be very tired at the end of every day.

So schedule something that you love to do. Take a yoga class, volunteer at the local hospital, go on a date with your partner. Whatever it is that takes you out of your life as a mother and reminds you about the woman that you are.

#5 – Eat a lot of ice cream.

Come on! It’s summer. And if there was ever a time to eat ice cream this is it.

Keep a box of popsicles in the freezer, all different flavors. Make a regular trip to the local ice cream spot and try a different flavor each time. Maybe even have a sundae.

There is a television ad about a room full of children who are bouncing off the walls, having a great time. In the next scene there is silence…because everyone is eating ice cream. Ice cream is one of those foods that makes everyone happy. So indulge.

So there you go. 5 Ways for Moms to Enjoy Their Summer.

These tips work for both stay at home and working mothers. Working mothers have the extra challenge of keeping the kids occupied during their work day but by applying some of the principles above you too can enjoy your summer and not let it go by without stopping to smell the roses.

And how that you have read my blog, GO OUTSIDE and start enjoying your summer.

Need more ideas about living the life of your dreams? Contact me now and we can get started!

 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!