I DID IT!

Ahhh!!! I did it, I planned and executed my first event FOR ME! I have planned hundreds of events in the past but never one for me...one tied to my name! I put my heart, soul, tears (obviously) and a lot of time into pulling this off! This was the first of many many events (speaking it into existence) and it was a complete success, my heart is so full.

In a society full of "social media butterflies" as I'd like to call it, it is so rare for folks to venture off and do anything on their own so I am so thankful that these women trusted me and felt comfortable enough with me to join me. A majority of the women showed up solo and were prepared to walk into a room and spend the day with 29 strangers IN A BATHING SUIT AND ROBE...that says something so major about the character of these women! 

This event was so personal to me and came to be because of every person that messaged me with: "I feel you girl",  "preach it sister", "thank you for keeping it real", "I'm so glad I'm not alone"!  I have always been an open book, I was always a talker, a sharer, an organizer of people. In HS I would never let anyone sit alone (if they didn't want to be alone, some people NEED solidarity) so if it meant bringing a chair to my table or me pulling up to her table, I wasn't okay with people feeling alone. When the freshmen joined the basketball team I made it my mission to make them feel welcomed and comfortable...it's just what I do! In those first months postpartum I was the one who felt alone in my feelings, I didn't understand what I was feeling and going through so how the hell could I expect anyone else to relate. Once I became aware of what I was feeling, I started to share my thoughts (as always) and oddly enough I got some responses that kind of made me feel like absolute shit: "you should be happy you have a baby", "a baby is life's biggest blessing", "it comes with the territory", "we all go through it you'll be fine", "a mother's job is the hardest but the most rewarding". Now I know for a fact people's intentions weren't bad but those comments hurt; I was admitting to myself and everyone yeah I'm going through it and it's scary, it hurts, and it's out of my control. But I'm thankful for the comments that hurt me because it put fire under my ass and pushed me to gather the women who said they were feeling like me in some capacity, I wanted to give us a safe place to feel our feels and know we are not alone...and I did it! 

I didn't want it to be just me and my friends, I wanted this event for those women who felt they needed it so I didn't reach out to anyone directly and I wouldn't change a thing about that approach. This wasn't done for the gram so it wasn't an invite only moms with a certain following, nope I wanted it to be full of women who were their for the experience not the likes. A group of women who would lift each other, relate to one another, and not be afraid to speak their minds! I was so scared and anxious throughout the entire planning process, like wait who the hell do I think I am hosting an event. I would see other "IG Moms" with THOUSANDS AND HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of followers hosting events, hell I had even attended some of those events; but I thought who am I?! Since I wasn't reaching out to anyone the only way people knew about it was if they followed me on IG or read my blog, I was so afraid of being in way over my head. But  on Sunday, July 14th, 2018 a group of 30 strangers met (all women, not all moms), bonded, chatted, meditated, and relaxed together. The energy was amazing and we all left full of gratitude! I've said it already but I know this event was a success not by the number of tickets sold but because the quality of those that attended and all the "thank you for putting this together, I needed it! Please do it again!!"

Planning this event really changed my life around and while I'm usually very dramatic I'm not pulling the drama card right now! I started to focus on the positive and my whole mindset began to shift and changes started taking place. I got engaged, I landed an amazing work from home opportunity, I started writing more, and more women started finding me and reaching out to me just to chat and thanking me for BEING MYSELF! It also helped me realize I had the power to remove negatives that I had control over; be it a person, an expense, etc and that has increased the positive vibes in my life and in turn my home.  

You can read an event recap HERE and find out details about our meditation coach!
You can sign up HERE to get notified of upcoming events.
Feel free to shoot me an email or comment with ideas or desires for a future event. 
 

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Working Mom

I've said it a million times "I always knew I wanted to be a mom" but it's true! Along with knowing I wanted to be a mom I KNEW I was going right back to work to keep climbing up that corporate ladder, there was NO WAY I was going to be a SAHM (yup there is an acronym for stay at home mom, check all the mommy blogs ha!). I also said that I was going to be at every single basketball game, every school play, and chaperone every field trip. Mind you this is the vision I created at around 10 years old; when I said "I'm going to do it all by myself!" (how's that vision of 10 year old me...SASS FOR DAYS!)

Let's fast forward a few years to the adult Jacqueline (still sassy); all my mom goals and dreams remained the same except for the fact that I fell in love so I wasn't going to produce a child alone and that I had become a slave to the corporate world. Through my experience in the corporate world it started to dawn on me that I might not be able to obtain the balance that I desired; this realization became more apparent once we actually started to try having a baby. However; instead of throwing that dream out the window I came up with a plan, I would bust my butt even harder and climb up that ladder even quicker so that I was in a position of "power" and make myself "irreplaceable" so that the company needed me and would allow me to be flexible come baby time. HA! While I was working around the clock and devoting all my time to work I miscarried and after that miscarriage I only took one day off...the day it happened; I also struggled with getting pregnant after that (I struggled prior the miscarriage as well).  In the decade of working in Corporate America I never once figured out work life balance, partially my fault I should have MADE IT HAPPENED; but honestly it was the culture I was in...nobody had that balance...work was life! If that was the case for me as an individual I could not even imagine how I would be able to make it work the way I WANTED with a child. I told myself I would just put my foot down, I would care more about my days off, and utilize them without guilt if I had a child...I was going to have a child, work full time, and be fully present in the way I dreamt of! 

Fast forward to today...I am currently a SAHM! During my pregnancy we had to sit down and figure out what was best for us as individuals, a couple, partners, parents, and a family; the decision we came up with was that I would stay at home for the first year. Once I became pregnant my mindset shifted a bit, like they say never say never because you never know until you are actually in that situation. We quickly realized that childcare is VERY expensive as was commuting to work. Then, there was the time factor...working for 8 hours a day plus the additional 60-90 minutes it would take two times a day commuting...it was A LOT to think about.  Suddenly, I uttered the words I NEVER thought I would say (dramatic much? ha!) "What if I stay home FOR A LITTLE WHILE"...Jack seemed VERY shocked, did those words really come out of the mouth of his workaholic girlfriend? Yes, I said it! I realized that I wanted to be home at least for a little while and be there for as many first as I could and spend that quality time with my baby; I also realized I was very fortunate to have the ability to do so and it might not last forever.  Granted, sacrifices and adjustments had to be made in order to make that possible; we would be going from a dual income household to a single income but we were okay with that and make the adjustments needed to make it happen to setup the best lifestyle for us as a family.

While this felt like the right decision for us I naturally still had some reservations:

  • MONEY
    • This was scary as hell but once we considered all things such as my commuting cost and sitter cost (DUDE SO EXPENSIVE) a nice chunk of change would be going towards child care essentially. So we realized that if we budgeted we could make it work; perhaps not a life of glamour and maybe less "pretty things" but having the ability to stay home with our princess would be worth it for us. It forced us really embrace the simple lifestyle we strived for and to minimize which I have to say is such a liberating movement, we got rid of so much SHIT and THINGS! It also pushed us to work harder to make JS Home Automation (our company) succeed and it would push me to work on things I love but never had the time for. 
  • ME A SAHM?!?
    • I spent my entire life saying I was going right back to work, I would NEVER stay at home...talk about self doubt, I set myself up. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to do it; there was no damn manual out there, no HOW TO guide, and what if those damn "mom instincts" that folks told me about didn't kick in. There was also the part of me that feared losing a part of me,I worked so damn hard on...Jacqueline the "worker", the corporate ladder climber, the Director of Sales and just like that I was going to leave all that behind to just be Jacqueline the Mom. NOW READ CAREFULLY AND DON'T START WITH THE JUDGEMENT (which you should really work on if you're "judgey" because it's simply NOT COOL) I knew being a mother was going to be the best damn job I ever had, the most rewarding, and certainly the most challenging yet rewarding...I'm not denying that or losing sight of that. But I worked really damn hard to get where I was in my career and it was a part of who I was, so yes that took and is still taking some getting used to but nothing will ever replace this invaluable experience of staying home with our sweet sweet girl. 

Staying at home with Kennedy has been by far the best experience of my life; working and busting my ass in a whole new way, still problem solving and making important decisions except the outcome now isn't closing a huge sale it's taking steps to raising a decent human being. My job daily other than keeping her alive is to ensure that she grows up to be kind, strong, empathetic, love hard, forgive, and just an overall good person. I used to be the queen of multi-tasking now I'm nearly 5 months into motherhood and I still haven't figured out how to walk the dog and Kennedy at the same time when I'm alone (insert face palm emoji).

Reminder: whatever YOU decide to do is the right decision. Be it a: full time SAHM, part time job and staying with the baby half of the week, a full time mom with a baby in daycare, a SAHM with a full time nanny...whatever it is, it's perfect and no matter which lifestyle you choose we are ALL WORKING MOMS...shit! Nobody is in your shoes or living your life, so as always I sign off with a DO YOU BOO BOO! 

UPDATE (as always it takes me forever to finish a post, so when I started the above was my reality, here is an update)

Opportunity knocked and I did have a little itch to work a bit. I am now doing contract work from home for some awesome baby and mama companies; using the skill set I've built over the years yet still at home with my little mama. I have her on a schedule but I know need to work on one for myself because if I though being a SAHM was hard adding work to the mix is even trickier. I feel so blessed though to have the opportunity to make my "dream world" come true!

And a reminder in case the update made you forget: DO YOU BOO BOO! 

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Flying Solo With Bebe

This is a campaign in collaboration with Ergobaby and #WeAllGrow Latina Network.

The first time we flew with Kennedy I was a bit anxious because I had no idea what to expect and I did not want to bother anyone on the plane (people pleaser problems) but I was flying with Jack so I knew I would have the support. Even with two of us I still felt overwhelmed from having to get on the shuttle with the baby (her stroller, car seat, and our bags), going through security with her (her stroller, car seat, our bags), and boarding the full flight...I was flustered for sure! Let's just say I was glad Jack was with us for that first trip because I would have been a HOT MESS alone; but I did learn from that trip and used my new knowledge to make my solo trip with Kennedy a success. Here's what worked for me to make flying solo a breeze:

1. RELAX. My anxiety was two-fold: I was worried about being all over the place trying to get through the airport, security, and settled in my seat. The other part of me was worried about people getting annoyed if she were to cry on the plane. Remember babies cry, shit happens, babies feed off our energy, and if someone doesn't want to deal with a baby on a plane they should have flown private.

2. CHECK EVERYTHING IN. I paid the extra $25 to check my bag in, it was worth my peace of mind. In addition to checking my bag in I checked in Kennedy's stroller and car seat at check in opposed to gate check. Baby gear such as strollers and car seats are free of charge which is nice; I also removed the car seat adapters to avoid them breaking, I didn't use a bag/cover for her gear but they do sell them. I did not even bring a personal bag for myself.

3. WEAR YOUR BABY. This is key! Wearing Kennedy is one of my favorite things; it allows extra snuggles and gives me free hands when walking. I have tried pretty much every carrier type (I'm obsessed) and without a doubt the Ergobaby is my go to (I have the Omni 360). Of all my carriers it is the most secure, comfortable, and easiest to put on which is super important when traveling and more so when flying solo. If you aren't an avid baby carrier user I suggest practicing before your trip; Ergobaby's website has video demos that are quick and easy...you do not want to have to learn at the airport. Like I mentioned, I did not even bring a personal bag for myself so I put everything I needed in the pockets of the Ergobaby carrier. 

4. DIAPER BAG. My diaper bag was my ONLY bag with me so I had to make sure it was fully and properly loaded. Here's what I had: swaddle/blanket, diapers, wipes, Sophie the Giraffe, two pacifiers, a book, travel changing mat, hand sanitizer, pacifier wipes, bib, burp cloth, bottle with water in it already, formula powder already portioned out and ready to pour, a change of clothes for Kennedy, and an extra shirt for me. I double and triple checked that my diaper bag was fully stocked before leaving for my flight. Also, I use a backpack diaper bag because it's so much more secure than a shoulder diaper bag in my opinion. 

5. DO NOT WAKE A SLEEPING BABY. Kennedy has been on three planes at this point and each time has been sleeping when boarding the plane (thanks carrier). I DO NOT wake her while on the plane even if she sleeps through her feeding time (on land home girl magically wakes up at feeding time always ha), I let her behind sleep...something about being in the carrier plus the noise of the airplane keeps her snoozing. When she does start to wake up I prep her bottle and once she is fully awake I feed her. After the feeding I burp her then eventually go and change her (I don't wait for the tears to come, I beat her to it). When I go to the bathroom I just bring the diaper, wipes, and changing mat (super important because airplane bathrooms are GROSS!). SIDE NOTE: I change her diaper at the airport once we get to the gate, not right before boarding but once we are at the gate so I have a few minutes to get her back to sleep. Once we are back at the seat it's usually turn up time and she wants to observe everything around her until nap time. Like her diaper, I like to beat her to her nap on the plane instead of waiting for the tired cry; which in Kennedy's cry is BEYOND DRAMATIC, TOO DRAMATIC FOR ME (says the drama queen lol). 

6. SEAT SELECTION. I'm torn here...I personally am I window seat kind of gal because I knock out on every flight, well prior to Miss Kennedy Kay. The window is cool because you are kind of in  your own bubble; you can have the baby look out the window when they're up and you have a place to rest your head and elbow. However; the aisle gives you the freedom and easy access to get up whenever you want without bothering anyone (see that's just the people pleaser talking) and it also gives you some extra leg room. 

That's all I've got for now, if I think of anything else I will update this post. Feel free to email me with any questions. Don't let a baby stop you from traveling! Let them see the world...especially since they're free before two (woot woot)!

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Postpartum Self Care

I know I have only been a mom for all of 2 minutes (145440 to be exact) but I have some words of wisdom or encouragement for all the other mommas out there: MAKE TIME FOR YOU! Dude, I cannot stress how crucial this is for YOU and your well being. After I gave birth to Kennedy my OB gave me the "Murphy Laws" (his name was Dr. Murphy, get it!): 1. Don't try to figure it out! 2. Ask for help & accept help! 3. Go on dates! (even if it's 15 minutes at a coffee shop) 4. Make time for you!

He really put an emphasis on the fourth law; he said this would be imperative in helping me recover. When he said it I had no clue what he meant but man oh man do I get it now. I have said it a million times the hormones involved in pregnancy and beyond are wacky AF and if you don't take care of yourself you really can go crazy (mental health is so important especially now raising a child). I don’t remember ever hearing much if anything about postpartum life in terms of ME! I heard about taking care of a baby and sleepless nights (which I don’t even experience) but nothing about taking care of me. I wish postpartum self care was at the forefront of more motherhood conversations, it’s so freaking important. I don’t know if it is mom guilt, the fear of outside judgement, or feeling “alone” in our thoughts/feelings; they all make sense but we need to stop. First of all it's OKAY! Pregnancy is no freaking joke; take a second to reflect on what you did...YOU GREW A HUMAN BEING, that is a legit super power! Then, you went through labor regardless if it was a "quick" two hours or a terrifying 38 hours; whether you pushed out a human being vaginally with no drugs or had a scheduled c section with your nails and hair did...you carried and delivered a child...GIRLFRIEND YOU WENT THROUGH SOME ISH! Embrace and own everything that comes after; the tears, the mood swings, the highs the lows, the "what the F am I supposed to do", the "I am a bad ass woman", "I am a goddess", the "I am a effing boss" the "I'm fucking exhausted and am four seconds away from my third meltdown of the week"....OWN IT and TALK IT OUT! 

We have got to take care of ourselves and each other ladies; I really hate how much mom bashing and shaming goes on. Whether it’s postpartum depression or just feeling overwhelmed...it’s okay and it’s okay to take care of yourself! Nobody said it was going to be easy and nobody said you have to be perfect! Use your village, your support system is everything...let people help! Your village not only plays a crucial role in the development of your little one but it helps big time with your recovery; it gives you the opportunity to catch your breath and take a "time out". Taking the time to take care of you does not mean you love your child any less; a few hours of "you" time is not bad parenting...again how can you care for someone else if you're not taking care of yourself.  I love getting my nails done and for no reason other than it's something that makes me feel good, it gives me "me time", and it brings me a sense of "normalcy".  Of course as a mom there are times where I just don't feel up for it but my circle (Jack, mom, sister, besties) will give me that extra push and I have yet to regret one manicure! Outside of me time "us" time is also very important! Before Kennedy there was Jack & Jacqueline and one day our little girl will turn 13 and no longer think her parents are cool and avoid us at all costs (if she's anything like me) and one day she will even move out and it will be back to just the two of us. Now this by no means we EVER EVER stop being her parents, or stop loving her and caring for her, we will never stop doing our part to ensure her growth, happiness, and well being (see that mom guilt almost got me, I started to over explain); it just means that we will also never stop caring for each other as partners and lovers...even if that means Netflix and Chill while grandma babysits for the night. Speaking of grandma babysitting sessions (be it for a night or just a few hours) those are a must for a completely selfless reason...they need alone time to bond! That goes for grandmas, aunties, and anyone who loves our little girl; when we join our friends and family we kiss Kennedy goodbye and let anyone and everyone hold her again not because we don't love her but we want her to experience the love everyone around us wants to shower her with...lucky us we get to go home with her and smother her with all of our love. So embrace your village for your sake, their sake, and the sake of your little one!

Your moment(s) of weakness do not take away from your being a STRONG AF woman and mother! And remember you HAVE to take care of you if you're going to raise a little one; showing them self love and respect is a great life lesson!