There are so many phenomenal women out there! They all have something to share with us, a lesson to teach us and the ability to inspire us to action as they themselves have been conduits of change, growth and set up for success.
What are their tricks? What secrets have propelled them to scale their mountains?
Well, enjoy this exciting series as we bring you the interviews of women that are just like you. They live with passion and aspire to make this world a better place, not just for themselves but for others as well. They have a heart that wants to serve, to grow and unite the women in a call for action, in whatever form it may be, in whichever sphere of influence they may find themselves.
Together we are strong. Together we will make a change. Together we will make this world a better place for all our children, for every family and every woman.
We are the Motivated Mamas.
Interview with Elizabeth Bowen 5/30/18
Picture this: Two mamas, three kids, one very small study room at the Athens Clarke County Library on the second floor. Tiny room, five people with big personalities. Suffice it to say, we survived the ordeal and were able to bring this neat interview full of simple advice and easy inspiration. Forgive us for the lack of eloquence.
Olga: Motivated Mamas! I have a very industrious mama right in front of me today. She is cool, calm and collected. Strong and motivated. She may beg to differ on the cool, calm and collected part but that is how I always see her. Her two kids may be running circles around her but she never raises her voice or gets unduly upset. At times, I wish I had her patience!
You can learn more about Elizabeth Bowman on our website, as she is one of our Mama Advisors, and contact her via various social media sites. Links will be listed below.
Today is our third interview for a series of interviews called Winning Women. Take it in!
Elizabeth, let me start off by saying how much I admire you! You have the gift of never appearing as if you were in a rush but you always seem to get your stuff done. You are very much invested and a part of the Athens Mothers Center as well as an emerging entrepreneur, who makes the time to help others around her. On top of that, in every meeting that we share together, you are always so full of ideas, information and knowledge.
So my question for you is, number one, would you please share with the listeners a little bit about your story and what you are working on right now?
Elizabeth: I am the owner of Good Food For Little Hands. I have two beautiful girls and I make kid friendly, yet adventurous meals for busy moms. And I am currently working on a weekly subscription meal plan along with the already prepared meals. And I also do family meals and desserts and trying to lighten things up to add laundry services.
Olga: Well, that is awesome. Thank you, Elizabeth. I am super excited for you and your future and I hope you get lots of business! So…
What is your WHY? Why do you do what you do?
Elizabeth: As I mentioned I have my two little girls and they are my inspiration for everything. I also don’t want moms to feel powerless or overwhelmed during meal times. I am always available to answer questions. Food should be fun, not a battle!
Olga: I agree with you on that one. I am trying to spruce things up and approach it like it is a fun thing, it’s a pleasurable thing, it’s a loving thing, rather than worrying about like everything having to be perfect or like right on the dot or has to have all these vitamins and ingredients. And sometimes… you know, and I want to be healthy but sometimes I have to allow myself to have a little treat or go just a little bit wild…on the wild side that day.
So my third question for you is… What motivates you to keep going when that going gets tough?
Elizabeth: I just want to do a good job and finish what I set out to do. And that is it, really, just the motivation to finish. It is very easy to get sidetracked when you are a mom and to get busy doing a lot of other stuff. It may take a while for me to finish what I start, but I will do it!
Olga: And I believe you, because that is what I have seen! You keep going, you keep plowing ahead and that is very admirable. You know, some people start off with huge passion and then they fizzle out in like a second week. And you just keep doing and doing. I think you recognize that little bits add up, little moments, trying here… doing this…
Elizabeth: Trying working in what you are doing in between. It is what you have to do, because you HAVE to be a mom and you have to take care of your home and you have to take care of your kids, and you have to take care of your husband. And that takes up a lot of time. So you just have to fit in stuff that you want in between that.
Olga: So what you are saying is it becomes a lifestyle. Right?
Olga: So it becomes a habit. Awesome. So… What do you do to stay inspired? What inspires you?
Elizabeth: Watching my children grow and discover is amazing. And my girls, they are good eaters now. It took some time and I want that for others. It’s… Food is what really keeps everybody going. You have your big family meals where you get together and everybody eats. And it shouldn’t be stressful. And I want everybody to feel good about what they eat, and that they are feeding their kids good food, but they are also enjoying themselves.
Olga: That is awesome. That is definitely something that I want for Maya, for my children. I definitely have many, many struggles with Maya. She is still not the best eater, but I am hoping one day that she will be.
(Kids got super restless. Crying ensued. Eh, mama, life.)
So before we had that interruption, I think you said that your children inspire you. And I will confirm and say that, that is the same for me. So like, life begins with life, in my case, I noticed. It wasn’t the end of me when I had my daughter, it actually inspired me to become someone better, someone greater, so I could leave a legacy to her. Not just words, words, words, because I feel that the words are cheap. Anybody can speak words. But you need an example, you know, and then they have a strong female leading role in their life that they can follow. So that’s amazing, that’s wonderful, that you get your inspiration from your children. It will always be there, so that’s good. You don’t have to seek inspiration around every corner. (Laughing)
Now, the fifth question is… How do you balance your mom role with being involved in your community and running your business, Mommin’ Ain’t Easy: Good Food for Little Hands?
Elizabeth: You gotta make a good schedule and it is whatever you want to accomplish, you need to find a schedule for it and tweak it until it works for you. And it is ok to say no if you feel like you can’t give all of yourself… I just say no. Say that I can’t do that now, maybe I can do that at such and such a time, and then I will try to work things so that I could do that later, because the community is important to me and my business is important to me, and then my children are the MOST important to me, so their needs come before everything else. So if there is something that I want to do with them and there is something else that I need to do for some of the other things that I am involved in, I will choose the activity with my children more than anything else. So, you will have to also decide what is your priority… What matters to you more? And then, even if saying no upsets other people, that’s fine.
Olga: I agree with you on that one. I definitely do. I had to learn to say no. And sometimes I have to be ok with people perceiving that maybe I am not interested in having that relationship with them anymore, but it is not as if I am not interested, it is just that it is not the season for me. I can’t. I don’t have the extra energy or it is not a priority on my list, even though for them it may be a priority to retain that relationship or retain those mutually shared interests when we work together but I had to learn that I am not bad, or a naughty person, that I am not quitting on them, that it is just not my season with them.
So…What is YOUR definition of success? And I mean YOUR definition of success.
Elizabeth: Feeling pride in what I do and that is it. Nothing else. If I am proud of it, then I have succeeded.
Olga: There you go. Easy does it! That’s a good marker. (Laughing) It’s a simple marker. It’s like, OK, I am on the right track. (More laughter) Alrightie. So we are streaming ahead because we have some very emotional children around here.
Number seven… How did you become inspired and motivated to start your business? What led you up to that point?
Elizabeth: I have a friend who was telling me how difficult it was for her to cook and prepare meals in between all of her kids’ summer activities. And I thought, oh, wouldn’t it be just really easy if there is a service where you could order your kids’ food and you could just have it in your refrigerator or your freezer and when you are ready to serve it, you just warm it up, and you are done. And you don’t have to worry about going to the grocery store. You don’t have to think about preparing anything, especially if you are busy and you have to pick up one child from his summer camp at twelve, take the kids home, feed them lunch, put down the baby, take another one to an afternoon program at like three, come home from that at like six… It was a valid question… When was she supposed to find the time to cook meals and not give them fast food or pizza every night? So, I basically started for her. I just made her food. She said, this is really good. Thank you! And I was like… I could make it a business… They have adult services, why not kids’? And then I searched online and they do have ones that are kids’ but they are the same as the adult’s except maybe the portions were a little large or just kid food, so it wasn’t getting them to try anything different. Also, the food is sent to you from who knows… like, from further away than your state while this food was prepared, maybe days ago, weeks ago. And the food that you order from me is prepared either that day or the night before. Very fresh ingredients. Either from my garden or the grocery store.
Olga: Isn’t it amazing that amazing business ideas start from doing something simple, something little, like solving a problem, and you love what you do, it’s part of your interests. And it is something that you end up being passionate about because it is kind of a part of who you are, an extension of who you are. So, I feel that people should just allow themselves to be creative, just fool around a little bit, have that creative time for you to play, and you just don’t know where that will take you. That’s wonderful.
How do you deal with the challenges of becoming an entrepreneur?
Elizabeth: I usually take a break for a week if I am having some difficulty figuring something out, and I kind of roll over the problem in my mind. Also, I never built a website before so…
Olga: I like it, by the way! I like the way it looks.
Elizabeth: Thanks. I had to put some things on hold while I had to learn how to add things I wanted to add because I don’t know… and so it is taking the time to…I do one thing and then, no, that’s not what I wanted. I wanted it to look like this… So I’ve had to take that down. And like, do something else. So, I’ve been taking a lot of…I think right now website design is my biggest challenge. (Laughing)
Olga: I can really relate to that.
Elizabeth: It is just taking some time to step away from the problem and then come back later. It gets frustrating when you have an issue and you are like, I can’t figure this out. And for me it’s just saying, you know what, let’s just put this down. We will deal with this later.
Olga: I agree, I can relate. Whenever things get a little bit annoying for me, you know it becomes stale or I am not moving ahead as fast as I want to, or it becomes a routine, I try and take a day off and do something fun. Something creative. Color. Create some oils… which now is turning into a business. It was just an exciting, creative play. I believe we all need to play, not just children. So that is what I do, so, yeah, I take a step away, and I come back fresh and refreshed.
So… How do you deal with fear or all that noise in your head that says, “You can’t do this, you aren’t good enough. You are going to fail.”
Elizabeth: I just tell it to shut up.
Olga: I love it! (Laughing)
Elizabeth: And I go on with whatever I’ve got to do.
Olga: I love that! It is so very simple!
Elizabeth: You are your own enemy, and you need to decide, are you going to continue that way or you just be like… I feel that if I fail, the only person that I am actually hurting is myself… and if I am ok with that, whatever. I am not running a company of people, that if I fail, I will not be letting down anybody by it. So just, shut up voice. Let’s just do this. If you fail… well, you tried.
Olga: You know, I used to be so afraid of failure until I allowed myself to just fail and I feel like if you are not failing enough at times, it is like you are not trying enough, you are not really living enough.
Elizabeth: You are not taking enough risks.
Olga: You are not, yes.
Elizabeth: If you do not take the risk, then you don’t know…
Olga: Exactly. And I don’t want to live with the regret. I found inside myself that the fear of regret is stronger than failure.
Elizabeth: Yeah, because you don’t want to be… the kids have grown up, have left the house and now you are like, now what? But do you want to start a business in your seventies? No, your husband is getting ready to retire, or he is retired already. You guys want to do other stuff. The kids are grown. Maybe you’ve got some grandkids on the way… You don’t want to start a business then. No, you want the other stuff. Now is the time.
Olga: Find the way to express yourself! Awesome. So, the final question… What tips or tricks would you like to share with an everyday mama that will make her life just a bit better?
Elizabeth: Well, I want to speak to the stay-at-home moms because that is basically what I am. Don’t sweat it, do what you can do. Like I said, I make a schedule for what I want to accomplish and just work on it. Right now my biggest issue is just keeping my kitchen clean! Because that is where I spend so much time, so that is where the kids like to bring all their toys, and their mess, and you turn around and you are like, I just cleaned this. I literally just swept the floor and there is a bag of crackers on the floor now. I posted on one of my pages before I came here… I went outside for ten minutes to talk to somebody who was helping me with some things and I come inside, and I had a jar of cumin on the counter that I had ready to put in the crockpot, and it is all over the TV room, the jar is completely empty. It’s all over the couch, the rug, it was all over the kids. And when I walked inside I was like, it smells like cumin in here. I set the crockpot an hour ago so I guess the smell is going… NO, it’s my kids… dumped it everywhere.
Olga: Oh my goodness.
Elizabeth: And it’s like that feeling of never being… done, and that’s OK.
Olga: So just accept it. That’s where you are in life right now.
Elizabeth: They won’t be always going around dumping things around my house. That’s just where we are now. Whatever you can do… you can do.
Olga: I love it. You have such wisdom. You have simple advice. It is not convoluted. It is not over-thought. People don’t have to try and understand it. It just is. I like that. Thank you!
So, that concludes that…
Elizabeth, thank you so much for being so open and taking this time out of your very busy day.
Elizabeth: Thank you for having me!
Olga: Oh, it was such a pleasure! I hope people read this interview and go onto your very pretty website to place an order of some very delicious and nutritious meals! May all of your mama dreams come true!
I hope that the readers have been inspired to follow their hearts and passions, to get creative! Who knows where doing what you love may take you! This world needs Motivated Mamas who are willing to be brave enough to follow their own authentic voice and strong enough to persevere when the going gets tough.
Ladies, if you have any more questions for Elizabeth, please check out the links below. Follow her on her Facebook page for some neat and handy tips and ideas!
Much love to you all and stay Motivated! Go after your dreams. Discover your Passions. Live life with abandon!
Interview with Jessica Groves-Chapman 9/17/17
Olga: Motivated Mamas! I have a phenomenal mama right in front of me today. She is brave. She is strong. She is motivated.
You can learn more about Jessica Groves-Chapman on our website, as she is one of our content creators, and contact her via various social media sites. Links will be listed below.
Today is our second interview for a series of interviews called Winning Women. Enjoy!
Jessica, let me start off by saying how much I admire your passion and drive in pursuing your dreams and goals, with courage and fearlessness. I’ve taken your exercise class and it was like nothing I have ever done before! Both my body and mind were challenged! On top of that, you so frequently share vulnerable bits of information just to inspire others to reach a level of strength that would make their lives better and, thriving in life, more achievable.
So, for question number one,
Would you please share with the listeners a little bit about your story and what you are working on right now?
Jessica: Thank you so much for that wonderful introduction, Olga. Well, a little bit about me, I come from a background in academia, I have a degree in psychology, a Master’s degree in kinesiology and a PhD in neuroscience, in which I emphasized my studies on exercise and its effects on the brain. So, I’ve always really been drawn to movement and how it effects our emotionality, our cognition, our learning, our memory, and it’s not really a big stretch that I got into movement from here. I got a little tired of being in a classroom, and in academia, and away from my children and took some time off to be a stay at home mom and really sink into motherhood, something that I didn’t get the chance to do when my son was young because I was in grad school. And with my husband, I began a business, Athens Movement Practice, and we really focus on authentic, functional, natural movement patterns. And training from the base up, so that you have a really good, strong base to move forward from. One of our favorite phrases is, “I move, therefore I can”, and then you have a blank and our question to you is, “What would you do if you could move better?”
Olga: Well, Jessica, thank you. That was a wonderful introduction. I… like I said before, I took your class, and my God, it really was authentic, it challenged my body, it challenged my mind. And what was interesting, I’ve moved in such a way I’ve never moved before, and it challenged me, um… my mind was… it relaxed me, even though I was doing these really challenging movements that I’ve never done before. I felt like I was getting the benefits of yoga, so that was phenomenal as well. Just had to put that in there.
What is your WHY? Why do you do what you do?
Jessica: I really like this question a lot because I can still remember how I would’ve answered this probably six months ago and I would’ve said that my why was my kids, only my kids. I thought about them and their future and I never really took time to really think about myself and what I wanted. I got a little lost in my pursuit of academic conquests, and it took me a while to come around to finding what I really wanted in life and how I wanted to define success for myself. So, now my why is really about me. I’m finding my dream, sharing my passions, sharing movements and helping others to move as well.
Olga: That is so interesting and very, very courageous that you have answered that way, because I feel that a lot of moms feel so… super embarrassed about saying that anything is about them, rather than the kids, or the family, it’s like a selfish answer. So, I think that takes a lot of courage and, you know… A happy mother brings so much to the children, brings so much to a happy family and adds a whole lot to their lifestyle and what they are exposed to, so there is nothing wrong with having a happy mother and a fulfilled mother.
So, my third question is…
What motivates you to keep going when that going gets tough? And I know it gets really tough at times. I experience that myself, so what motivates you?
Jessica: This question is a hard one for me because I think what motivates me is probably not what some people would consider positive, so… something that has always motivated me in everything is a fear of failure. That’s not to say necessarily that fear motivates me, but this idea that if I don’t try and I don’t give it my all, I KNOW I will fail. But by trying and by putting myself out there, I have a shot at not failing.
Olga: Well, I will be honest, my biggest fear, up to about, maybe a year ago or so, was fear of failure. Forget it, it wasn’t like, speaking in front of people, it wasn’t dying, it wasn’t anything else. My fear of failure, like really, um, owned me, and at times I felt too scared to try anything because I was so afraid. Oh my God, if I do this and I fail… I felt so tied to that, like my self-worth was tied to that. Um, and you know, there’s a cool quote that says that ‘Failure is 100% guaranteed if you do nothing.’ So, like you said, you know, in that vein, I thought that at least something, if I do at least something towards my goals, towards my dreams, and you know, day in and day out, things will accumulate. Just something. Even if I fail, I can honestly say I tried and I can look at myself in the mirror and respect that, that I’ve tried, that I gave it my all. And now I am in this moment in my life where I really do practice self-love, and I do everything to the best of my ability, and then I just release the outcome. So, I am proud of everything that I am doing, everything that I’ve done and it’s… regardless of the outcome. It doesn’t matter, it just, um, I think there’s a level of strength that is cultivated, a level of freedom, and also with the self-love, when we see ourselves like this, in this way, it gives us the freedom to fail, and try and try again, and fail, and it doesn’t matter if you made it or not. We are able to give the same level of respect and love to others and free them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be.
So, my next question is…
What do you do to stay inspired? What inspires you?
Jessica: This one is actually pretty easy one for me to answer. I love inspiring stories, so one place I often follow is Humans of New York. I find those stories of humanity, you know, in their rawness, in their difficultness, you know, I really enjoy reading other’s inspiring stories. I enjoy meeting inspiring people, like you. And I’ve met lots of women, lately, um, it seems to be what’s happening in my life at the moment, that really bring forth their own stories, their own journeys and share that, authentically and openly, and I learn from that and I really enjoy seeing strength and being true to yourself, um, and that really inspires me to be true to myself, and to give myself credit for all that I have achieved so far.
Olga: That was really awesome. I will be quite frank and say that you do inspire me as well. Your level of honesty is refreshing, your tone is powerful and strong. I think you add a lot to womanhood and to the women of Athens, here. For sure. The fabric of my experience of Athens would not be complete without you. So, alright, now the fifth question is…
How do you balance your mom role with being a go-getter entrepreneur?
Jessica: The short answer? I don’t. The idea of balance is amusing as a mom because you’re constantly really just on the go, doing stuff in the moment. Um, I would like to say that I have this really amazing planner and I keep us on schedule and that is just not true. I do use the Google calendar just so we can get to doctor’s appointments, or birthday parties or to make sure we all know who is going where or when my husband is dropping off kids or when I am dropping them off or to pick up some stuff, but we still forget to pick up our CSA pickup which is at my son’s school, every Wednesday. We still have moments, ‘Oh, we ran out of milk, yesterday’… We need to go to the store. It’s… the balance really comes from a sharing between my husband and I. I could not do it all. I do a lot but I could not do it all without his assistance, and um, really kind of keeping ourselves on task, but also knowing when to tap out. There are definitely days where life is just too much. Being a mom, you know, becomes overwhelming. With being a business owner, you know, you’ve got marketing, you’ve got, meeting people. You’ve got all of this, and um, really, it’s about knowing when you need a break and when you need to go to yoga or when you need to take a nap, or when you just need a hot shower. So, my balance is remembering to take care of myself.
Olga: The way I see balance, it’s like a fine point on a see-saw. It’s really hard to be on that one little point, you know. I always feel like I am straddling, like I am going a little bit down, a little bit up, but as long as it is more or less, just a little bit up or just a little bit down, I am ok with that. I can respect that. So, there is a range for my balance because sometimes you get balance but it’s only a split second in time and it never really lasts for a long period of time, and that’s OK as long as we get closer to that point and we don’t forget about who we are and we don’t forget to value ourselves and what we bring to the table, and you know, we are as healthy as we possibly can be, which is super important. You will never reach balance if you are not healthy, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I am OK with reaching that perfection point while realizing that ultimately this may be a point you can’t reach.
So, alright, let’s move on.
What is YOUR definition of strength? I know that people have different definitions and I would love to hear yours.
Jessica: Strength is a tricky one. I could easily define fitness in that we see fitness more as a capability. Strength for us is kind of all encompassing. You will hear in the fitness industry strength being about how much you can lift, um, how many pull-ups you can do, how many pushups you can do, and really I still think it goes back to capability, but also strength of mind. To be strong you need to believe in yourself. You are only as strong as your biggest fear. You are only as strong as your self-imposed limits. And whatever it is you hope to accomplish, specifically physically, is always going to be inhibited by your strength of mind and your belief in what you can accomplish.
Olga: I feel it is also important to have an accountability partner, somebody who can see you from the outside. You can be sometimes so narrow minded and not see the big picture, who you are, what you have already accomplished, where you are going. And friends can tell you, “Oh my God, you have so much strength, the ability to handle, I’ve seen you do it before, you can do this, just stretch a little bit more.” And same goes with like a physical trainer. I’ve done things before where somebody said, OK, now you can do this, try this. And I’m like, I’ve never done it, I know I am not going to do it and they say, just give it a go, just try and try. And I will try and I’m like, God, I can’t believe I’ve done it. And that is so, so empowering. That’s when I feel super, super strong, like a Super Woman and ready to take on the World. But, if you forget your strength, you know, just ask around. Ask somebody who feels lovingly and kind towards you. Ask the right people. Don’t ask the wrong people. Ask the people that you feel you belong with them, that don’t force you to fit in. I will be posting, actually, a video about belonging and fitting in, so look out for that, my definition of that and how I see fitting in versus belonging.
So, let’s see. The next one is a doozy of a question and I would be super honored if Jessica feels comfortable enough and strong enough to answer it in whichever fashion that she can, but I would even appreciate her trying. So, I don’t know how to say it without saying it like this… Alright.
Can you tell us about your decision to become sober? What led up to that point and what changed since you’ve made that decision? I know that you’ve shared bits of your experience, you’ve brought that point out, you’ve shared on Instagram. I think it takes a lot of courage and a lot of knowing who you are, so that if people come out from a different perspective or are not so kind, you are still able to position yourself so you aren’t rocky or shaky. So, super courageous. So, let me go back, let me reiterate it. Can you tell us about your decision to become sober? What led up to that point? And what changed since you’ve made that decision?
Jessica: I actually chose to be sober for health reasons, initially. I was having some problems going back on birth control. I was taking Depo Provera and I decided to stop the shots, and I knew that coming off the shots could be difficult. As a neuroscientist who had studied addiction and used it as a learning model for my research, I also knew that alcohol consumption can affect estrogen levels for females and so, in trying to help my body adjust to new hormones, I decided to abstain from caffeine and alcohol, during the, kind of, detoxification process. And… No problem dropping caffeine. I was fine drinking decaf coffee, but within a day of saying, out loud, that I wasn’t going to be drinking, I found myself in an emotional roller coaster, that I was unprepared for. I began to have thoughts of ‘How am I going to make it through after a long day, how am I going to relax? How am I going to be able to deal with being a mom after a really horrific crying spell?’ All kinds of questions that to most people may seem very odd, but for me it was a shining light on the fact that I had developed a relationship with alcohol that was unhealthy. I have extensive education in this area, particularly in psychology, neuroscience, and again, like I said, addiction was a model that I used. I didn’t even like it as a model when I was in grad school, funnily enough. And so, I reached out to a friend of mine who had mentioned that they had gone through this, and I said, what do I do? This feels wrong and they suggested that I contact my therapist, who is a recovering alcoholic. And so, I went and talked to my therapist, who said, you know you don’t have to wear the badge if you want to, but I believe you, I believe what you are saying. And he recommended that I go to a meeting, an AA meeting. And it was really there that I came to terms with kind of what I was going through. I am 75 days sober as of today and I’ve had no relapses. That’s not to say that every day is easy. It is definitely not. There are definitely days that I go, Oh my God, how am I going to do this today? And instead of it, initially going to… I will go for a walk or I will go for a run. Sometimes… (interruption) So, as I was saying, sometimes those thoughts creep back in, I’m like, no I’d rather have a beer, or how nice a beer would taste or how just… You know the creeping thoughts though… they began to diminish. I didn’t have to go through a physiological detox, so that was nice, but what people often misunderstand is that there is no real difference between physiological and psychological, in that your brain controls your psychology. It controls how you think and feel, and your neurochemistry takes a lot longer to heal than the rest of your physiology. So, I’ve also had to cope with the learning curve. I’ve learned that alcohol was a quick and easy way to relax. A quick and easy way to take the edge off a really hard, stressful time, so now my brain still likes to tell me sometimes, “You can’t go through this stressful time without this.” But I have a great network and a great support system. It’s getting me through that. And what has changed for me, really, the biggest thing that I didn’t even know, was that I was dampening my emotions. I was not feeling the totality of joy, of fear, of sadness. I was getting a dampened version. And really that’s what happens when you take a depressant drug. It dampens your system. It disinhibits you, um, and these can have lasting effects, past that night of drinking, it can carry forward. And so, really feeling those feelings, one hundred percent for the first time in a long time, is… That’s the real journey and that’s the real day to day endeavor of just relearning how to be human without my assistant.
Olga: Oh, wow, that was an incredible, very thought out answer. Very well put. Very well said. And it makes me think and kind of laugh inside about… You know we have these pictures of moms with a wine glass, you know… like a huge glass of wine, like a, yes, I made it through the day-let me have a glass of wine! And honestly, how many of us moms would be willing to forgo that choice of, you know, having an easy release and sometimes I would say, that probably, numbing their feelings of stress and inadequacy, feeling not enough in the position where they are or longing for fulfillment. Or something that we would take as a normal, our experience of motherhood, like a daily crutch almost, and nobody would say anything if they just looked and would not classify it as an addiction. But even now, and I don’t drink a lot, but for me the thought of like, ok, no more wine, no more alcohol, it’s like, can I do that? It makes me wonder. And I just want to say a little bit about… like you were talking about numbing feelings, um, when we numb ourselves, and I read about this phenomenon as well, when we numb ourselves to, say, bad feelings, bad emotions, memories, when we don’t want to process. It doesn’t go just one way. It always goes both ways. You numb down your ability to receive joy and experience joy and happiness, so, having that courage to explore your feelings to the full capacity, or to the full extent of those feelings of what you can handle, even negative. Go through that process, because it will set you up and set you free to experience on the other side, the extent of joy, happiness and freedom that you can possibly have. Thank you so much for sharing that. That was lovely. Loved it.
So, I must ask… Why did you decide to share this story with the public?
Jessica: One word. Stigma. With mental health there is a stigma still prevalent. We shame people for taking medication or needing assistance. We shame people for choosing not to take medication. However you flip the coin. And when it comes to seeking mental health, we’ve really been pushing for people to seek help, to seek assistance, take care of yourself if you are depressed, if you have anxiety, whatever the case may be. When it comes to addiction, um, on any level, there is still that stigma that it is a moral failing, that it is a choice to become addicted. Consuming alcohol is a choice initially, it is well supported by our society, social drinking is a choice, it is fine, but if you can’t handle it or if you do develop a problem, that is somehow your failing. And I feel that that stigma needs to be eradicated, that this can happen to anyone. Anyone. And yes, some of us may be genetically more predisposed to it, but at the end of the day, if you consume enough of any drug, you can develop a problem with it. Your body can become addicted to it. Your brain can become addicted to it. You can retrain your brain to not know how function without that substance. This is not a moral failing. This is a reaction to a drug, and we really need to pay more attention, especially during the current opioid epidemic in our country and elsewhere, to how we treat that. This isn’t a crime. This is something that people are suffering with and we need to treat them as humans who have a disease, who are seeking a cure or seeking relief from that illness, not as people who are choosing to make all of these questionable decisions or behaving in certain ways. It becomes a point where it is no longer a choice, and like fitness has no image, addiction has no image. And, you know, not a lot of people think, oh a mom of two young kids could have a problem with alcohol, but you would be really surprised how many people out there, how many famous people out there, how many regular, everyday people you pass on the street have either had a problem or currently have a problem with some form of substance. And I really want to draw attention to that and say, hey, it’s not shameful, you know. It’s something that you can work through. It’s something you can seek help for and you shouldn’t be ashamed of that, you should just know that you are not alone.
Olga: So, I am a big proponent of opening up and talking about your shame. I feel it is so important for us to talk about, you know, the shame that we carry, because once we open up and share it either with a friend or with the public, it no longer owns us, you know. It is not hidden in some dark corner, and it can manipulate us and manipulate our movements throughout the day. When we bring it out in the open, we know what the enemy is, we know how to fight it, you know it is there. We can see it, we can have a strategy. Often times, when we hide things inside us, if it is unpleasant, we stick it in so deep within our psyche, within who we are. We think we hid it, but it will always be there, being so nasty, it will pop out in any unfortunate moment. So, I feel it is important to practice shame resilience, to recognize when shame is occurring. ‘Oh, it is happening to me right now.’ Go and talk about it. Set it free immediately. Be open. Don’t let it own you. YOU own that moment. YOU own that shame. And there is freedom in sharing a story that brought you shame because you recognize many others have that same story. And when many people come together with the same idea or experience, and it’s all there in the open, that’s when true work can begin, true healing can begin, and the people will recognize it and be able to work with it to help everybody else. And when we hide things inside, there will be no change. And if someone is brave enough that pops out occasionally, and talks about the shame, people just bring that person down because they don’t want to deal with it. So, I think as a society moving forward, we need to learn to love ourselves and when we love ourselves, that’s the only way to learn to love others. We need to learn to forgive ourselves, that way we can forgive others. We need to learn to be shame resilient so that we can allow others to be shame resilient. So, that is so awesome. I’m glad that you spoke out. You’ve been such a brave voice for many. I am super excited to see where this interview goes and how other people will be changed by it because you have such a… I mean, looking back over the things we talked about, I am stuttering my words because these things are so profound, you know? Very, very profound.
So, ladies and gentlemen, we have two more questions. Jessica, how do you deal with fear or all that noise in your head that says, “You can’t do this, you aren’t good enough. No one will listen to you. Your voice isn’t important enough.”
Jessica: Well, I’ve been listening to that one for probably twenty years and it wasn’t until recently, actually, seventy-five days ago, that I’ve realized that I am pretty much strong enough to do anything that I wanted to do and not fear, and that voice in my head only has the power that I give it. And so, I often will find myself reminding myself of things. When I completed a marathon… I was at the end of the marathon, in pain, because I had an injury, and I basically had a 5K left, so 3.1 miles left to my marathon and I’m like, I’m not gonna make it. I’m not gonna make it. And you know what I thought? I survived labor twice and pushed out babies into this world, if I had to crawl to that finish line for three miles, I was going to do it. So, really, I just kind of remind myself of the things that I have endured, and how hard they are and how hard they were, how impossible they seemed in the moment and then, on the other side, you’re like, I don’t get what the deal was. I did it. And remind myself of how far I’ve come and letting that voice be louder than the one that says you can’t do this. And as far as the one that says that no one will listen to you, I don’t really care if thousands of people ever hear my voice, but if there is one person out there who needed to hear my story, or my journey, to help them get through theirs, then that’s all that would matter to me.
Olga: Wow, I love the confidence in your voice. You should be on the radio. You definitely should be. I think that thousands of people should hear your voice. Totally love it. Oh my God. Oh, I love being surrounded by amazing women. Makes me a much better person. As far as your answer goes, love it all. I also remind myself of how far I’ve come. I remind myself of moments where I felt stuck and then I persevered, you know… So, if I feel like I am about to fail here, I’m not going to move forward, or I feel negative about my experience, I pop out all of those moments of being successful, of hitting the mark and then, I’m like, ok, you know, I can celebrate myself. And that makes me feel so much better and then I get more energy coming through from that experience and I am able to move forward. So, for the final question, what tips or tricks would you like to share with an everyday mama that will make her life just a bit better?
Jessica: My first tip, I am going to give straight from my therapist, he ended every session with a reminder to breathe. And I think that this is something that everyone, mothers, fathers, everyone, forgets in this fast-paced society. And so, our latest breathing technique, the 4-7-8, you can look it up, we didn’t make this up, we’re using it. Breathe in through your nose for 4, hold for 7, breathe out through your mouth for 8, is a really great reset, for your mind, for your parasympathetic nervous system, and just a great way to get your diaphragm working again and to just be in the moment. And so, breathing would be my biggest tip to anyone. And then also, for the everyday mama to remember to take care of YOU, however that looks. If that’s a long bubble bath, if that’s a walk in the park by yourself, if that’s a weekend away, whatever self-care looks like. Don’t feel guilty about needing to take care of yourself. You used to take care of yourself. So, go back to that and remember that it is ok to take care of you. And then, my final tip would be to let go. Let go of the dirty dishes. Let go of the laundry. Let go of all the things in your head saying that it has to be done today. And give yourself like one to three tasks that you can accomplish each day and anything else you accomplish beyond that just makes you a Super Woman. That would be my tips.
Olga: God, I love it. No joke. This is for real. I was doing this technique on the way here to the playground, in the car. I felt like I was… The day was going so fast for me. I felt, like, emotionally and spiritually, I wasn’t there. My body was far ahead, and I was lagging behind. So, I swear, I am telling you… I did it and it helped me. It centered me, and I suggest you do that. Definitely! Take her up on the 4-7-8 technique. Really awesome. Thank you, Jessica. I love… loved it!
Jessica, thank you so much for being so brazenly honest. It takes a very strong person to admit and share their vulnerabilities. You are one of the strongest, most phenomenal women I know. I admire your authenticity and kind heart. Because you have opened up yourself to be the true expression of your inner self, most beautiful self, the world is a much better place.
I hope that the listeners have been inspired to take it up a notch in the authenticity department, to share their vulnerabilities and strengths within their spheres of influence. The planet is so desperate for all the Motivated Mamas to stand up and take up their post.
Ladies, if you have any more questions for Jessica, please check out the links below. Join her group if you need encouragement, inspiration and an example of a woman who knows she’s going places. It’s all a matter of time, not if.
Much love to you all and stay Motivated! Go after your dreams. Discover your Passions. Live life with abandon!
Please enjoy Jessica’s social media sites and have a look at her website to learn more!
Interview with Nikki Reeves 8/17/17
Picture this: Two mamas at the beach, with three children between them, snacks and screams, whining and sounds of delight. Splashes of water and wasp stings. Other children hither and thither.
Us, the two mamas, Nikki and Olga, attempting to start, never mind… finish, the interview below, one pause at a time. Trying to stay focused and on point without losing sight of our little munchkins and without losing our mind.
So, ladies, cut us some slack and enjoy the wisdom below! We are all in this together: Mommyhood!
Olga: Motivated Mamas! I have an incredible lady right in front of me today. I won’t be sharing her bio but will focus instead on a set of questions that I hope will be of great interest to you.
You can learn more about Nikki Reeves on our website, as she is one of our content creators, and contact her via various social media sites. Links will be listed below.
Today is our first interview for a series of interviews called Winning Women. Enjoy!
Nikki, let me start off by saying how much I admire your courage in sharing your story and putting yourself out there in order to make this world just a little bit better.
So my first question for you will be:
Would you please share with the listeners a little bit about your story and what you are working on right now?
Nikki: Well, basically, I have postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD. And I am really doing well. I’m actually… I would say I’m a survivor. And now I am focusing on really helping other moms so they don’t have to struggle like I did. You know, and that’s through awareness, education, my Facebook groups, which are below. So I’m just focusing on that and next week, I actually got a scholarship to go to PSI, and it’s a training for moms and I will learn all about how to help them the best way. I will learn definite research, you know, definite things that I can apply, even not professionally, to my friends that are moms, which so many of us struggle with things that we shouldn’t. So I am really excited about next week.
Olga: Fantastic, fantastic! So, can you share with us…
What is your WHY? Why do you do what you do?
Nikki: I shouldn’t have had to struggle. You know, and I feel like if I would’ve had one person sharing the stuff that I have, then I wouldn’t had the struggle that I did, for years and years, and I don’t want anyone to have to live like that, or think that motherhood has to be this hard, because it doesn’t.
Olga: Honestly, I wasn’t aware of postpartum depression, myself, for the longest time. And just sometimes some women would come out and speak out and share their secret and I was thinking, what is this thing, what is it? Why is no one talking about it? I know so many pregnant women, ladies that had children, but nobody speaks about it. So I am so glad that somebody is giving a voice and educating the public and I’ve learned so much from Nikki. I’ve learned so much from women within her group and it is phenomenal. Phenomenal. Thank you, Nikki.
Alright, so, onto the next question!
What motivates you to keep going when that going gets tough?
Nikki: I guess, it’s just what I am good at, you know. I think that that helps my confidence and just focusing on educating and what I’m good at, and working with people and communicating. And so I just keep… try to stay motivated through that and just not focus on myself and my problems, and really just give to others.
Olga: Awesome. So your sense of compassion is your motivating factor.
Nikki: Definitely. Absolutely.
Olga: Lovely. Lovely. Thank you. So…
What do you do to stay inspired? What inspires you?
Nikki: I have a great Bible study that I really, really love. You know, it’s a quick one that I can do within five minutes. I mean, there is no excuse for five minutes to do. And it just totally turns my perspective around. It’s called Jesus Calling and I think it’s by Sarah Young and I would highly recommend it because that just can totally turn my day around when I wake up just feeling, you know, negative or defeated or, you know, whatever… if I need some energy… it just really helps pick me up.
Olga: I can totally vouch for that. Every morning I tend to have my worship time. I tend to do a bit of reading. Something that will, you know… reading that motivates me, that encourages me, that builds me up, or adds to my skill set. So I totally, totally love that. I feel like those are the moments, or the tools that we have that will fill us up, and from that overflow, that abundance will be added to everybody else. Thank you, Nikki.
So here is a biggie and I know this will be of great interest to all the mamas out there.
How do you balance your mom role with the Maternal Mental Health activist role?
Nikki: That is a great question. Sometimes it is a struggle when they are especially needy, or sick, especially. But, just you know, when we are having just a down day, when we aren’t going anywhere, I just try to multi-task the best I can! You know… I will bring down a new toy from the closet or we will get out play dough, or some kind of art, craft, that I can kind of monitor while I am working on the computer and, you know, that’s really working for me. And again, that’s not every day, but you just gotta get it done when you can and it can be discouraging because it feels like you only have a minute here and there but it adds up! I think Olga said that before and it really does! I’m surprised at how much I can get done.
Olga: Awesome. I definitely agree with that as well. And I am sure I will be saying I agree, I agree, because I do agree with a lot of things that these Winning Women have to offer. I strongly believe that minutes will add up and over time you will see an effect. It’s not about one day you have so much, you know, quantity output and then for a week you are silent. You know? If you do it day in, day out. Little bit by little bit… You will be surprised at the chunks you will be cutting off! You will be surprised at the impact you are creating and the change, the difference you will see in yourself, and your abilities. So, awesome.
Onto the next question!
What is YOUR definition of success? … cuz everyone has their own definition…The world has their definition-riches, or etc. What is YOUR definition?
Nikki: My version of success is just implementing self-care. It’s something that I never realized was a priority, and I always thought was selfish in the past, but it really isn’t. You cannot give your vision, your dreams, your passion, unless you are taking care of yourself. And society has such a messed up version of, you know, mothers and they just have to be selfless, and you do, in a way, but at the same time you have to take time to destress and have your mental capacity to…to … focus on them when you are with them and to just do your best in everything you do, through sleeping well, eating well, exercising. So, definitely, self-care, something I am a huge promoter of.
Olga: That was awesome, Nikki. Totally awesome. I had to work on myself as well, to get over the shame of saying, hey, I need a bit of help here. Or, I need a time out. I just want to drink a cup of tea or just look at my magazine, you know, for a second here. Just…anything. Take a bath, do my nails, you know? And that’s ok. Sometime you need that time. So yes, self-care is huge. Whenever I do that, I feel I come back a much more balanced person, much happier person, healthier person. And in essence, you know, after that, I give more then what I’ve done up to that point. So, thank you.
So, the seventh question… we have ten today… The seventh question is…
If one of our mamas decides to get out of her comfort zone and speak out about her story, experience or issues close to her heart, where should she start?
Nikki: I think a good start would be the blog. I started with a blog on wordpress and it is just a little more anonymous, you know, a little more in your comfort zone, and then once you get a little more comfortable with that you will need to push yourself, you know. You can do Facebook live videos to share your story. That’s really a great way. If that’s not in your comfort zone, you can talk to people about talking at a school, maybe speaking to students, you know… just sharing your story. There is so much power in that and so many people can learn from your journey.
Olga: Yeah! Yes. You know, don’t overthink this question, Where do you start? Just start somewhere and in the process of doing something, in the process of starting something, more resources will become available to you, more ideas will come flooding your way. And just like… unbottling your spirit, unbottling your soul, and then it will just come. Just start anywhere and you will see it, things will be happening, you will find other ways of making an impact. So, just do it! You know, just do it today. Do it right now in whichever way you can.
So, ladies. We are almost done here. So here is a kicker…
How do you deal with fear or all that noise in your head that says, “You can’t do this, you aren’t good enough. No one will listen to you. Your voice isn’t important enough.”
Nikki: I’ve always been a very competitive person, a very stubborn person, so I kind of used that quality to beat this anxiety. I am NOT going to let this win. You know. So when it starts really testing me and I start really getting into my head, I just get truly determined, I’m like, no, it’s not going to be a bad day. I am not going to let this win. And I just do my best to learn from it. That’s really been working for me.
Olga: So I will share a little bit about… something personal about me. A few months ago I had a really hard time sleeping, I had sleep anxiety and I’ve overcome that. I’ve dealt with some issues in my head, had some epiphanies… I just went after what’s really important in my life and I am sleeping so much better right now. So much better, but whenever I feel like a little bit of anxiety is creeping in just slightly, I recognize it. Then, I do this visualization that helps me tremendously, super simple, but for me it was super effective. And what I do is, like whenever I feel a little bit of anxiety come in, I imagine myself, like, in my brain, it’s like a house, you know… So I walk around my house and I’m closing all the doors, all the windows. I’m locking up and I am saying, I’m not letting this in. I am safe inside and I am not letting these bad thoughts come in into my house. So, find whatever works for you. Find whatever works for you that will help you not dwell on the negative things. Just think positive.
Another thing that I do which is super silly but it works. It’s like, say you are having a bad day and you aren’t feeling right, feeling gloomy. Go have a look in the mirror and start smiling at yourself. OK? Just keep smiling and smiling. You will feel silly, but trust me, you are going to start cracking, you know, you will start laughing, and you will get that boost that can have the potential to set your day right. So, find what works for you.
So the next to the last question is…
How do you feel about statements that everyday mamas make that go like this, “ I don’t have enough time. I am too busy to make an impact.” Did you have similar thoughts? How did you overcome them?
Nikki: Well, I’ve said this before, time really does add up. And It can be very overwhelming at first and it did for me too, but if you can make a list and start with one thing at a time, that is definitely what I would recommend. Small things at a time. Definitely when they are napping, utilize that. Yeah, that’s definitely what I would recommend.
Olga: And another note I want to add… sometimes we think we are taking away from our children, but… what I do with my daughter is that every single day I focus on having a very intentional activity. She’s not just around me doing whatever, in and out, but we are doing an intentional activity where we look at each other, we are engaged, we are connecting and our eyes meet, you know. So, whenever I take the time out for myself, I know that I’ve had a very intentional time. It helps with the guilt part and it helps to know that, hey I’ve done that, I’ve really focused on my daughter here. And think about it this way… You are not really taking things away from your children when you take some time out for a few minutes here and there, you are building a legacy. A legacy of courage and power, and strength, a legacy that they will inherit, they will see what you do, in fact you create it. And honestly you will be leading by example, not just words. So, don’t think about it like, no, it’s a chore, it’s taking away from you, or it’s a negative thing. It’s an add-on. It’s a bonus. You will be the example. You are creating a legacy. And you know, your children will be proud of you. So, take the time. Every little bit adds up. I mean, day in and day out… Imagine over the years… the impact you will create and it’s something that your children will always have of you, for them to remember and grow from.
So, here is the final question.
What tips or tricks would you like to share with an everyday mama that will make her life just a bit better?
Nikki: Baby wearing, really, really helped me. I felt just so trapped, you know, by my kids. Like, I couldn’t get anything done and that’s very overwhelming when you just continue to get behind on everything. Me time. Cleaning. It all just snowballed.
Olga: And knowing that they are right next to you, right there safe and sound…
Nikki: You can get more done. I can definitely get more accomplished when I am wearing them and just able to multi-task. They aren’t grabbing at everything. And again, that self-care. That really has been just such a blessing in making me feel more complete, 100% when I am a mom, when I am fully rested, when I am taking care of myself. I just wish I had been doing this all along.
Olga: Nikki, thank you so much for your honesty and your courageous replies. I hope that the listeners will be inspired to stand up and stand out, grab their dreams, discover their passions and be influencers of change, just like you are.
Ladies, if you have any more questions for Nikki, please check out the links below. Join her group if you need Maternal Mental Health Support. She’s incredibly helpful, nonjudgmental and completely awesome.
Much love to you all and stay Motivated! Go after your dreams. Discover your Passions. Live life with abandon!