Meghan Birch is no stranger to a busy schedule. A full-time, freelance Costumer in the bustling Vancouver film and television scene, she also found time to turn her passion for the textile arts into a business—Woodland Wovens.
A mother of two, and one on the way, Meghan is a “Motherly” soul. Her care for children, and the planet, is evident in her work with Woodland Wovens. Through it she fosters a spirit and whimsy and fantasy, with her heirloom quality play tents made from natural fibers and eco-friendly materials.
Meghan seems like she’s got it all together, so we wanted to know: What happens when thing go a little ... awry? When your well-made plans and “perfect” balance are thrown out of alignment, how do you get through the day?
Plagued with morning (read: all day) sickness as she makes her way through her first trimester, a transfer to a brand new show, and family drama, Meghan had to find out just what kind of pluck she was made of, and discovered some excellent coping mechanisms along the way.
Here’s the 6 tips she shared with Motherly about how to handle times of max stress—
Tip 1: Put yourself in “time out”
Sometimes you just need to get away. Get a partner/friend/family member/neighbor to watch the kid(s) for about 30 mins. My husband and I have a system; when one of us gets super overwhelmed we say, “I need a break!”. Go out for a drive/walk, blast some music, don't think about a thing and come back ready to tackle life! Sometimes an adult timeout is all you need, and if that includes ice cream all the better.
Tip 2: Treat yo’self
As a mom it's really easy to lose your identity. All of a sudden you’re someone's “mama” and your priorities change. You put your kids wants and needs before your own and you can get lost in the process.
Don't forget about yourself.
Get your nails done, get your hair did, go ahead and buy that expensive makeup that makes your skin look flawless! If that's not your thing then just get a cake and eat the whole thing while watching reruns of Friends. I won't judge. Whatever floats your boat and makes you feel special.
Tip 3: Accomplish something
I’m not talking about getting your Masters in astrophysics or running a marathon! This can be as simple as answering all your emails, organizing your finances or even cleaning your bathroom.
Set a small goal for yourself and see it through from start to finish. For me, I feel like a superstar if I can get the laundry put away.
Focus on what you can get done, not what you can't.
Tip 4: Just Say No
I have to admit, as a “yes” person I have the most trouble with this one. “Can you come to this event?”, “Can you get this done by next week?”, “Can you pick this up for me?”. I've learned that the world won't end if I just say no and mostly people are very understanding when you tell them you simply don't have the time. You know your limits better than anyone else.
Tip 5: Exercise
This is my number one best way to combat stress, anger, fatigue and all-around yuckiness. It doesn't have to be an hours long thing but it should make you sweat! Lift some weights, go for a run, take a spinning class. It releases endorphins, makes you healthier, and is a great thing to do for yourself and your body. Work it out.
Tip 6: Ask for Help
It takes a village. There's no shame in throwing your hands up and just asking for help.
If you find yourself without family or friends close by there are lots of mom groups and community outreach programs. If you feel like you're flailing need to talk to someone don't be afraid to contact a counselor or therapist. Most can be claimed with health benefits or have flexible rates and can work within your budget.
A non-judgmental ear can sometimes make all the difference and give you some clarity.
If you are anxious, depressed, or feel like things are just “too much,” please, ask for help. Ask a friend, a family member, or a health professional. You are not alone, and how you feel is important to us. Remember, you are part of a sisterhood of mothers now. You are never alone.
More Motherly insight from Meghan—
How do you make your mornings run smoothly?
The mornings I work compared to the mornings I don’t look VERY different! Work mornings are anything but smooth. I have to be out the door by 7 so I try to have everything laid out and ready to go. These mornings usually consist of getting half asleep kids dressed, shoving a banana in their hands and leaving in a whirlwind. The days I have off aren't rushed but with two kids under four and another on the way they're anything but mellow. Other than a slow coffee drip, my "smooth morning tip" is to try and get out of the house asap, leave the mess and just go! I find I'm more productive and alive on the mornings I get out quickly compared to the ones where we just hang out all morning.
The lifehack or tip that has changed my life. . .
This is an easy one, two words: "grocery delivery.”
What superpower have you discovered as a mom?
I'd love to say something like motherhood has given me superhuman strength and compassion for others, and while this is true I've been most amazed by this newly found superpower of getting less sleep but somehow doing more. Also, my multitasking abilities are next level now which comes in handy in my job.
This quote inspires me. . .
"You can't have a rainbow without a little rain" —Dolly Parton. Actually ANY quote by Dolly could be my favorite.
To me Motherly means…
To me, “Motherly” means community. Mothers, women and families coming together to support and give each other strength.
Haley Campbell is the founder of Beluga Baby and creator of the ultimate bamboo baby carrier. She is a regular contributor to Motherly and is an avid advocate for entrepreneurs, and for the new generation of mothers making the world their own.