Making It Work: The Best Advice From 5 Successful Working Moms

With Mother’s Day on the horizon, it’s only appropriate that we honor the women who most inspire us. And what better way to do that than to get in touch with other moms who share some of their secrets to balancing motherhood and success?

At Easy Spirit’s “Move for Moms” event today, author, wellness expert and Athleta ambassador Randi Zinn moderated a panel of four like-minded mothers at the top of their game: health coach Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, Bonne Nuit Baby founder Hadley Seward, gastroenterologist and TULA Skincare co-founder Dr. Roshini Raj and Middleberg Nutrition founder Stephanie Middleberg — all of whom offered up their best advice for mothers, whether they’re on a 9-to-5 schedule or working odd hours to make ends meet.

“We constantly evolve; we constantly change,” Zinn told FN. “Your needs, your passion, your time also changes. And any mom knows that when her child gets sick, it doesn’t matter what’s on your schedule that day — it’s gone. There is no turning back from the fact that your child is ill and needs you, so you know that your calendar is only as good as everything is normal. You have to be able to pivot and be in the moment.”

Here, FN rounds up five crucial tips from some of these successful moms.

1. Make time for yourself

For Wood-Teppenberg, her transformation from living with an eating disorder to getting healthy was spurred by movement, mindful eating and meditation. So it’s no surprise that when asked about her everyday recommendation for self-care, the former model replied, “Meditate, meditate, meditate.” Along with making time for meditation is making time for oneself, as well as evaluating just how positively an activity will impact your well-being, whether that’s practicing yoga or simply carving out enough time for a nighttime bath. “You have to take a look at your life and what you’re spending the time on,” she added.

2. Prioritize sleep

It’s not often that mothers are lucky enough to nab a full eight hours. However, Seward, who is a certified sleep consultant, testified to the importance of sleep, particularly after the birth of her son. (She then went on to complete the Family Sleep Institute’s 250-hour professional training course and founded Bonne Nuit Baby with the mission of helping families get more sleep.) “Really try to think of a few things you can do every night,” Seward said. “It doesn’t have to be complex; it could be reading a book, journaling, meditating or talking to a partner, but try to make it a habit and do it every night before you go to bed.”

3. Avoid comparisons

In today’s digital age, it’s a challenge to stay away from one’s phone — and it’s not just about the increasing amount of time that’s being spent on mobile devices, but also the inevitable comparisons made between oneself and other figures on social media that can negatively impact the way a mom views her lifestyle. “For working moms, we have so many more expectations than our mothers have,” Raj said. “Now, it’s expected that our children have every nutritious meal, this much amount of sleep, this limit of screen time and have us with them until we fall asleep. That’s the trap that we fall into, when we put that pressure on ourselves, but the reality is: That’s not doable or practical. Give yourself that room to grow and understand that you’re still a good mom.”

4. Get planning

“Most people know what’s healthy and what’s not; they just need more tools to simplify things for them, and they need a plan,” Middleberg said. “Oftentimes, I function as their cheerleader versus someone who’s going to give them a tough critique.” As the bestselling author of “The Big Book of Organic Baby Food” and founder of a NYC-based health and wellness practice, Middleberg stresses the significance of maintaining a balanced diet through a meal plan, citing Pamela Salzman’s recipes and Megan Gilmore’s Detoxinista as references to help moms create a food program that works for their children.

5. Chase fulfillment

Every person is different, and the same rings true for moms — some of whom might find happiness in building their families while others discover it in their careers. According to Zinn, there’s no right answer. “Fulfillment can come for one woman by working in a corporate position and feeling like she’s climbing the ladder. Another woman might feel real fulfillment and success when she’s home with her children. Some women find something in the middle,” Zinn said. “There’s no one way. The answer is making sure you feel fulfilled in whatever choices you’re making.”

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