1) Being a mother does not define me. I am Brenda first
Experts at the Gallup research group did a study and revealed that one of the elements that contributes the most to happiness and wellbeing is having purpose which means ‘How people occupy their time each day and whether it is fulfilling.
 
Whether you’re a stay at home mom, corporate executive, janitor, musician, you name it – if you do not find joy in how you’re occupying your time each day then that alone will kill you. Nothing will ever be perfect but the more you strive to do more of what fulfills you, the happier you’ll be. 
 
Some people love to call me selfish and judge me for how I occupy my time each day and while I’d love to stick the middle finger out at them I just smile – hey, we’re all entitled to our own thoughts and opinions right? If I was to lose my identity of who I am as a career oriented, ambitious, go-getter type of woman, as Brenda, then I would go crazy and probably become depressed, anxious and unhappy which would then cause my kids to become depressed, anxious and unhappy. No bueno.
 
My advice to you is first, get to know yourself. Get help. It’s okay to check in with a therapist, a life coach, to journal, to cry, to get mad and scream because you feel like you don’t have your $h*t together.  
 
I struggled with finding my personal balance after having my first baby and then after the second but I took advantage of the EAP program at work and found my awesome therapist and now friend, Elisabeth Caetano and also hired my awesome life coach and now friend, Kathy Nelson.  I’m completely okay with the fact that being a mother is a strong and large part of who I am but it certainly does not define me – all of me. 
 
This little girl has taught me so much about loving myself and really paying attention to all of my thoughts, emotions, feelings and especially, desire. 
 
 
2.) Honor every single desire, thought, emotion and feeling 
What I love most about my kids is also what sometimes stresses me out the most – tantrums. I’ve learned and continue to learn that this is how they express themselves because they don’t know how else to express emotions, feelings and thoughts. And one day it just dawned on me… geez, I also don’t know how to express some of my own emotions, feelings, thoughts and desires and I’m a grown woman – it’s really hard! Now imagine a child who is learning all of this for the very first time. Crazy, huh? 
 
But kids are relentless in trying to express themselves. And the more that they teach me how to value patience, compassion and communication, the more that I’ve learned about them as the amazing human beings that they are. 
 
This has taught me to never discount my own desires, thoughts, emotions and feelings but rather to be relentless in my virtue to understand where they are coming from, what they are trying to tell me, why I’m experiencing them and to be aware. It’s taught me to check in with myself regularly.  And that alone has been my path to enlightenment, awakening and happiness.  I know, I know, I’m getting “woo woo” on you but it’s so true. 
 
My advice to you – every single desire, thought, emotion and feeling you experience on a daily basis is trying to tell you something. PAY ATTENTION. Be loving, compassionate, kind and patient with yourself. 
 
He is and will always be my first love. 
 
 
3.) Don’t just ask, demand what I want
Sofia, my 1 year old, is great at this and I absolutely love it.  She learned the meaning of “no” early on and expresses it by nodding her head. When she wants something she points to it, babbles and will tell you “no” until she gets what she wants and doesn’t settle for anything else. I think it’s completely adorable.
 
Of course as adults we can’t always get what we want instantly but what I’ve learned from Sofia is that I also need to not settle. I need to honor what it is that I truly want and demand from myself that I get it and communicate to others effectively what I want. This has made it so easy for me to wean out all of the clutter in my life that had been weighing me down and just taking up space.
 
My advice to you – ask yourself “What do I want?”  Do you even know? Start there.  
 
My beautiful family!!
 
 
4.) Stop trying to control everything
Oh boy. Being a super type A, perfectionist and Dominant (DISC) type I love to have control over everything. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had kids. 
 
They’ve really taught me to embrace “letting go” and let God and let husband.  I’m going to admit, it’s hard but the more that I practice the easier it gets and the happier I am. 
 
I’ve learned that the house will never stay clean. The kids will make messes with their food and you will never know what will trigger one kid and not the other on a daily or even hourly basis.
 
The more I let go the more I realize that everything is okay and the more I embrace being present. It’s also really helped me realize just how amazing my husband is with the kids, the household and just how amazing he is at taking care of things. It’s all pretty amazing. 
 
My advice to you – practice letting go by leaving the kids more often with your spouse and let your spouse do things their way. 😃 Also, next time the house is a mess, just ignore it and see what happens. 
Mr. Sillas – the man whom I get to share this incredible journey with. <3
 
5.) Be happy right now
Have you ever noticed how kids are just joyful and naturally happy (for the most part)?  They really don’t need fancy toys.  As a matter of fact they’re typically happier with something as simple as a cardboard box. My kids are so happy and live in the moment. 
 
Before I used to think well maybe when I lose 10lbs I’ll be happy or maybe when I get that big promotion I’ll be happy or maybe when…. 
 
I’ve learned to just be happy right now, right where I’m at and what helps me be happy is to practice being grateful. For example, when both kids decide to throw a tantrum in the car while in traffic, it used to stress me out but now I think “I’m actually incredibly grateful that I have a car, that my kids are safe and that they are healthy enough to be able to express that something is bothering them.” And sometimes I even cry with them.  The last time I did that, my 4 year old stopped crying and was shocked, he asked “mommy, why are you crying?” I said, “because I wanted to cry with you.”  Well, that was end of the tantrum.  Haha.
 
My advice to you – practice being happy and being grateful for every single day.  Things may not always be perfect in your mind but believe it or not they are perfect for where you are at this current stage of your life and you actually do have the ability to change things. Maybe not instantly but you can start with your mindset. 
 
My favorite people call me “Mom.” I love having conversations with them. 
 
 
 
6.) Love, laugh and play
At the end of the day, this is what it all comes down to. Those moments when I hug my kids, hear their laugh and just play with them fill my heart and soul with so much joy. Just thinking about it brings a huge smile to my face. My kids have really taught me to embrace more of this. It’s not always about work, work, work. And even though my work actually does bring me a lot of joy I also need to check out from that and not allow it to consume my life. 
 
It all comes back to really knowing yourself and honoring the current stage of life that you’re in. For me, personally, I’ve learned to take it one day at a time. I’ve learned to compartmentalize parts of my life that complete me so that I get enough of it all.  And loving, laughing and playing is a daily necessity. 
 
My advice to you – love, laugh and play as much as you can every single day. The good thing about kids is that this is always welcome. <3
 
Love, Laugh, Play
  
 
And here are some bonus lessons and funny things about my experience in being a mom. 
 
Wait, I’m expected to be a wife too?
I think the first few years of motherhood are the hardest only because it takes time for you to get to know yourself (again) and actually like yourself first before you can even convince your spouse to get to know you and like you again too. Haha.  
 
Let’s be honest… here, I know personally – I have not fully liked who I was the first 1-2 years after having each kid.  I think our spouses also need to be better prepared for this phase as well. If I were to write the training manual for spouses it would go something like this: be self sufficient until I get my sh** together, be patient, tell me I’m a goddess and hire me a housekeeper – oh yeah, and don’t touch me. 😃 I’m being totally facetious here but it’s hard learning to manage all those roles we play. Which is why quite honestly, I chose to be different.
 
If I’m expected to be a mom, wife, and career woman then my spouse needs to do the same. Most spouses are willing to do that but what I’ve learned is that I was the one that had the problem.  I had a hard time “letting go.” Sound familiar?  You know, when you ask your spouse to change the baby’s diaper and then you’re just there looking over their shoulder making sure they “do it right.”  Let it go. I’ve learned that in order to be a wife while being all these other roles, I had to allow my spouse to do the same. 😉 There you go, honey – you’re welcome. It’s the only way.
 
My nina HERMOSA!!!!! I love her so much!
 
Can everyone just shut up!
Don’t tell me you’ve never had that moment when your spouse is telling you all about an exciting project at work he’s working on, the toddler is asking for more food, the baby is about to throw the plate of food on the floor as she’s crying and all of a sudden you just want to say it “shut up!”  Or maybe not exactly in those terms but man, everyone just wants mom.  I’m actually laughing as I type this but in the moment all you wish for is silence.  
 
 
Anxiety, cheese, McFlurry, sex, chocolate, deadlines, tantrums… can I just run away?
I stress out, especially when I’m anywhere outside of my home, when I’m with both kids and they’re running around everywhere or not sitting still at the table. I just want to get out of there as fast as I can.
 
Usually when I have to travel for work (even if it’s just a day trip) I begin to stress on my way home because I know that we’re “out of the routine.”  I’m usually exhausted at that point so rather than go home, I sometimes avoid it and instead go through a McDonald’s drive thru and fill the void with an Oreo McFlurry! I’ve realized that usually what I really want is intimacy or a nap but instead, because I’m feeling anxious due to outside factors (tantrums, deadlines, messes) I’ll fill that void with food! Has this ever happened to you?  The best thing you can do is to be aware of what you’re feeling and go from there. 
 
Am I a horrible mother?
Ah, this thought goes through my head on a daily basis. You know, when you’re scrolling through your news feed and the kid is about to fall off the couch and you immediately go on a panic mode and rush to their side.  It happens to all of us. I’m not a horrible mother and neither are you. We’re all just human trying to do the best that we can. 
 
What’s wrong with me? I didn’t have the warm and fuzzy feeling right away.
When I had my first baby I don’t remember having those incredible feelings of “I’m so in love” like most moms say they experience when they have their babies. I knew that I loved my child and that I was excited but I was also very in the moment.  
 
To be honest my baby slept a lot and breast feeding was painful the first month but the love, warm and fuzzy feeling was something that grew over time and continues to grow the more that I get to know my son.
 
And once I had my second child it was at that moment that I felt the incredible warm and fuzzy feeling instantly but it was because my first son helped me understand what an incredible journey and feeling it would grow to be. I don’t know if that makes any sense.  But I used to think that I was weird because I would compare my experience to other mom’s experiences.  
 
Why didn’t anyone tell me this would happen after kid 2?
You think you have it all down because baby number one was a breeze and you got through it.  But it’s not true! I actually experienced more guilt after baby #2 because I felt like I was favoring my first baby more.  It’s so weird but so different. And you can’t help it because you’ve known the first child for a longer time and the new baby, well, you’re still getting to know them, bonding with them and learning all about them.  
 
And then you feel guilty because you don’t get to spend as much alone time with the second baby because you’re always with both of them. It’s so funny.  I’ve learned the importance of spending alone time with each and that’s been very helpful. And let’s not even get into how it changes the dynamics of the marriage. Ha!
 
My best advice is to be very patient with yourself especially those first 2 years after having baby #2, ask for what you need and communicate with your spouse as much as possible. Embrace letting go and accepting help. Make time for yourself so you can make time for others.  Oh, and please, get back to enjoying sex when you’re ready. There are actually a lot more benefits than you think, my book will have a whole chapter about sex and will focus on the male and female brain differences and the many benefits of a loving, committed, and fulfilling sex life.  
 
 
The whirlwind of emotions, empowerment, courage and F*ck that $**t attitude that comes with these little blessings. 
I feel like I’ve gone through HUGE transformations after each child that have empowered me like never before.  After having my first baby I buckled up and stayed committed to my career and found a balance between all of it.  It wasn’t easy but I pushed through.
 
After having my second baby it happened again! I buckled up and up leveled my business – yes, despite having a career, husband and now two kids.  Plus, I also had the courage to cut my hair so short, pixie!  Biggest transformation of my life.  These little blessings are just that in so many ways. They make you stretch and grow in ways that you never could have imagined. 
 
Two words – love myself
If I don’t love myself how can I ever teach my kids to love themselves?  I’m so proud that my son who is now 4 will name himself when you ask him to list the people that he loves. Isn’t that incredible?  Have you thought about the people you love?  Are you on that list?  If not, why not?
 
 
Why I wouldn’t change a single thing!
I love being a mother so much, it honestly completes me. It’s not easy but it’s so worth it.  I know that motherhood isn’t for everybody and that’s okay. As long as you stay true to yourself in every stage of life is all that matters.  It’s okay to change your mind and it’s okay to be selfish and it’s okay to want it all – but be ready to work for it!
 
 
 
 
 
Love, health and happiness always,
Brenda
 
 
 
 
 

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