COOKING Zucchini, Pea and Goat Cheese Orzo
WATCHING Nothing! I enjoyed a TV free month for the first time ever
MOVING Robin Arzon’s Postpartum Core Strength Program on Peloton
PLANNING Return to work from maternity leave
REFLECTING August in Tuscany
How do you measure your own success? The definition for me has changed drastically. For ten years I defined my success on getting the job, being promoted, receiving the raise, giving the all hands presentation – everything was rooted in my career. I’d spend long nights, weekends, holidays working. And you know what? I loved it. I loved the constant grind, the feeling of launch day, the chaos of an event, the creativity poured into a group whiteboard session.
But in 2020 after having Caden, being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, transitioning back from maternity leave in an awful (yet all-too-common) way, and dealing like all of us with an uncharted journey through COVID, I began to rethink what made me happy.
So I started New Modern Mom as a creative outlet; I got a new job at a company I found intellectually stimulating; I put up boundaries in the early morning, evenings and weekends for work, trading the time I’d stress over emails for family breakfasts and singing bedtime songs.
Those elements of my life that I could control, I did. And those that I couldn’t, namely time with friends and traveling the world, were casualties out of my control from COVID that I knew would return into my life eventually. Thankfully, this summer they did, as did the arrival of my second baby. And although having a newborn and toddler complicates the pursuit of travel and time with friends, I’m proud that I’ve pushed past the anxiety and thoughts of being overwhelmed to dare to live life like I want.
Of course I’m writing this as I approach the end of my maternity leave, and I’m sure navigating two little ones, a demanding career and overscheduled social life will continue to bring on many challenges, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished thus far by pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to live the life I want. This is success in my book.
A quick intro to this series: for those of you who missed my first ‘Top of Mind’ I’ve decided to start a new series on New Modern Mom that allows me to easily share current things going on in my life. This is my second post in this series (here’s the first).
Under the Tuscan Sun
I’ve gotten so many questions about our Italy trip: how was it traveling with a newborn and toddler, how did you manage to pack everything in 2 checked bags, what restaurants would you recommend, etc. I’m working on a full blog post recapping these tips, tricks and advice, but in the meantime I wanted today’s post to focus on the quick highlights.
Highlights of our trip
- Vineyard Dinner at Querceto Winery
- 4 Course Tasting Lunch at Poggio Amoreli
- Toddler Park in Castellina in Chianti
- Truffle Hunting
- Fluffy cappuccinos accompanying homemade breakfasts at La Bruciata
- Caden got formally invited to a game of tag by another child at La Bruciata
- Epic cheese and charcuterie board from La Vineria
- Lunch with views at Osteria del Borggo
- Swimming in the infinity pool daily with Caden at Le Coppiole
The products, brands or hacks I currently cannot live without.
- Birkenstocks – The MVP of sandals for a summer trip. Whether we were hopping over to the pool, going out to dinner or exploring the city of Siena, these shoes are versatile and comfortable. Jason also lived in these Birkenstocks in Tobacco.
- Flowy dresses – I lived in flowy dresses daily. Madewell’s Lucie style dress is perfect to throw on and go about your day.
- UppaBaby Minu V2 – This stroller is amazing. If you are considering the UppaBaby Cruz, just get this one instead. I love how lightweight it is and how it can easily be used for a newborn in the UppaBaby car seat or for a toddler.
- Jenni Kayne Raffia Sun Hat Amazon Dupe – Push the rim of this sun hat down flat, and voila, it’s a Jenni Kayne dupe.
- Artipoppe Carrier – I contemplated this purchase for months. So glad I got it for our trip. I needed a carrier that was easy to put on by myself, supportive enough to wear all day exploring and stylish enough to not feel like “baby gear.” Get $50 off your purchase here.
- iPad cover – The iPad saved us at meal time, this iPad cover saved the iPad 😜
- Night light – This is a soft shell, dimmable, and small night light that you just have to flip over to turn on for middle of the night feedings.
- SnuggleMe Feeding Pillow – Hands free feeding, enough said.
- Swim vest – I had peace of mind with Caden at the pool with this thing.
- Stroller fan – Wow Italy was hot.
Food for thought
We chatted with many of the couples, families and groups of people staying at the bed and breakfasts we were at in Tuscany. People from Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Paris, Lisbon. All of them have at least 28 days of vacation a year – that’s the equivalent to almost 6 weeks of time off. And us in the US? 10 days on average. The Europeans we spoke to were not apprehensive at all about taking their time off – even those who were taking more than a week at a time – but us in the US? Well most of us feel guilty about taking just a few days.
I’ve been reflecting on this variance in attitude towards living life while being career-focused. What does it mean to ‘have it all’ and how can I structure my days, weeks and months of the year to successfully have it. As Maya Angelou put it, “success is living life and daring to live it.”
So I’ll leave you with this to ponder on: what’s your personal definition of success and what intentional changes must you make to get there?
XX have a great week,
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