BUSINESS

Copycats + Haters + Trolls… OH MY!

Guess who’s back in front of the camera?

Me!

Today we’re talking about how to deal with trolls + haters + copycats!

Click play to get this party started!

It’s true, the internet is making it easier than ever for trolls to troll + for haters to hate + for copycats (ahem ahem lazy people) to steal.

Simultaneously, there’s a big coalition happening. When you’re kind. When you act with integrity. When you apologize for any wrongdoing or misunderstanding. When you handle sticky situations with grace. When you make a genuine effort to be nice. To make amends. To over deliver. To dazzle your customers with an unexpected surprise. You become memorable. People will remember you. They will come back. And they will tell their friends about you too.

So that’s my take on trolls + haters + copycats.

How do you handle trolls + haters + copycats? Tell me in the comments.

Thank you so much for watching.

BUSINESS

Get Rid of Desktop Shame in 7 Easy Steps (BONUS Desktop Organizer)

Before

We are living in front of our computers for more hours than we’d like to admit, yet, when was the last time you really paid close attention to your desktop?

Don’t look the other way. I’m talking to you my friend.

Neglect. Denial. It’s happening. I can feel it with my mind reading superpowers.

Let’s diagnose. Nod every time one of these statements sounds oddly familiar:

  • You download stuff off the web + save it somewhere. Anywhere of your computer.
  • You install programs + apps left n’ right with the promise that maaaaaybe one day you’ll need them. In case of a zombie Apocalypse, right?
  • You drag photos from your camera roll called “IM0567” + “IM0568” + “IM0569”, never rename them and swear you’ll know where to find them later.
  • Your work folder looks something like this: “Design 1” + “The Design” + “Final Design” + “Design Last Draft” + “Approved Design” + “No Really This is The FINAL One” + “Sorry, This Time is For Real”.
  • You love buying fonts. More fonts. One can never have too many fonts.
  • And then you get more fonts because you’re not a quitter.
  • You’re serious about collecting printables. It’s not a hobby. It’s a serious sport. And you’re an Olympian athlete.

Should I keep going?

Didn’t think so.

Okay, so the result of these behaviors is a desktop flooded with icons (most of which you don’t even know what they’re for) + folders (you can only suspect what’s hidden inside) + files (with hieroglyphic names not even Dan Brown from Da Vinci Code can crack).

No wonder you’re feeling so busy busy buuuusy. No wonder you don’t have time to exercise. No wonder you can’t make Pomodoro Sauce from scratch. No wonder you didn’t get around to writing this week’s blog post. No freaking wonder. Of course! You’re still searching for that doc.

Our desktops have become the modern Bermuda Triangle. The abandoned drawer of the digital age if you will. Leash the Kraken for God’s sake!

Today I’m gonna help you get rid of desktop shame in 7 easy steps. Warm up your decluttering muscles. Put on your stretchy pants. Brew some chamomile tea. It’s time!

STEP 1: Hide what you don’t use.

Now please tuck away the avalanche of worthless icons you hardly ever use. Remover them from sight. RIGHT NOW.

Do you even know what that application is for? Yeah, I though so. Let it go!

I know you don’t play Chess. Let it go!

Unless you’re Farideh Ceaser (my super talented friend who did my Life is Messy Kitchen jingle) then you probably shouldn’t have GarageBand on your dashboard. Just saying. Let it go!

I don’t care if you’re making a living online. I don’t care if your computer is your lifeline. That’s not an excuse to treat your desktop like a dumpster.

The ultimate goal is to keep your main desktop view squeaky clean.

Think minimalism. Think freedom.

Delete from the main dock all icons you don’t use on a daily basis. Simple. Revolutionary.

Also, make sure that whenever you install a new application, you uncheck the option to create a shortcut on your desktop. Programs can be accessed through other means. There’s absolutely no need for them to all be in your line of vision + clutter up your desktop with visual noise.

STEP 2: Create categories to organize everything.

First, you need to decide how you want to group your digital collection of stuff. Consider the right taxonomy by brainstorming category options. Do you want to split your personal files from your work documents? Then create two folders + label one “Personal” +  the other “Work”.

For me, my work is an extension of my personal life, so I group things a little differently. I like to categorize my desktop by projects – “Heartmade” + “Mayi Carles Shop” + “Life is Messy” + “Life Blends” + “Olivia” + so on.

Then, I go a little crazy with the sub-folders. For example, my “Life is Messy” folder hosts my “Life is Messy Bootcamp” + “Life is Messy Planners” + “Life is Messy Kitchen” + “Life is Messy Rainboots” sub-folders. Some of these even have baby folders inside of them, such as “Design” + “Contracts” + “Photos” + “Testimonials” + “Videos” to keep things in place. Get the picture?

Your turn. Take a look at your stuff. What’s the best way to categorize it? Create folders for each category, keeping in mind you can always create sub-folders inside master papa bear folders.

You might already have a filing system in place. Bravo! Just need to decide:

  • Which should stay?
  • Which should die (a minute of silence)?
  • How many new ones you need?
  • Which really belong inside another folder?

Now, I know this is time consuming, but it will save you soooooo much time in the long run. Trust me. Imagine finally being able to find exactly what you’re looking for quicker than Flash? Amen!

STEP 3: Sort.

Now comes the super fun part. I’ve been waiting all my life for this. Place your files into the categories you created (sarcasm alert). Can you feel my enthusiasm?

Not.

So while you’re putting yourself through this necessary misery, you might as well take this opportunity to toss out files that are out of date + you no longer need.

STEP 4: Label it right.

While you’re sorting away + quite possible cursing my name, it helps to rename files as you go. Let me give you some examples:

  • Photos can be renamed according to date (year/month/day).
  • Files within folders can be given new names according to how they related to the whole group.
  • Quotes can be titled by quote number + client name (Quote 134 – Luna Garcia).
  • Design studio files can be labeled “Draft 1” + “Draft 2” + “Final.”

Why is this important? Well, because no file system in the galaxy can survive a messy archiver. Take the extra five seconds to label your files appropriately upon creation to avoid Easter Egg hunts in the future.

Now, having said that, I understand many of us have months, if not years, of unidentified objects living inside our computers. Creepy. This is the time to do some major house-elf cleaning. Work in 15 minute intervals or sections. For example, on Monday do your “Music” folder, on Tuesday do you “Downloads” folder + on Wednesday do your “Documents” folder + so on.

And you better give yourself a treat when you’re done. This is the equivalent to landing on the moon. You deserve an Oreo Madness at the finish line.

STEP 5: Take out the trash.

As you cruise along, drag to the trash bucket anything you no longer use. And get in the habit of periodically clicking the “Empty” button + see how your computer goes from medieval turtle to turbo.

STEP 6: Back it up.

Make a back up of all your folders in an external hardware device. That’s an order. Unless you want to lose half of your honeymoon pics like I did.

Tip: I use Time Machine to back up my things. I also upload my most important files to Dropbox + iCloud cuz one can never be too careful.

STEP 7: Download this cute desktop wallpaper!

When you’re done cleaning + organizing your desktop, it’s important to make sure that things never go back to the way they were before. If you search for “Desktop Wallpapers” on Pinterest, you will find many fun solutions to keep your desktop tidy + inspiring.

Or you can download this one I’ve designed just for desktop decluttering ninja warriors, are you one?

Desktop Organizer Blog

Desktop Wallpaper

Click-Here-to-Download

 

I promise that if you give these steps a try, you’ll notice a big difference in your productivity.

And don’t forget to take a before/after screenshots. I love seen those.

After

 

As always, if you have magic spells of your own to make decluttering your desktop easier, please do spill the jelly beans in the comments below.

A clean desktop is a happy desktop. Happy organizing my friend!

And remember, your desktop is not the Kraken. Give it some love so it loves you back.

BUSINESS

A Revolutionary Concept That Will Change The Way We Live + Love + Make Babies + Parent + Adopt Puppies + Work + Build Business Empires

MSF #5

Despite your best intentions to downgrade our awesomeness with things like comparing yourself to strangers on the Internet or worrying about all the things in the world that “might” happen: You still pretty AMAZING, you know that?

And talented. Ridiculously so.

I’m actually beginning to think you’ve been here before. Past life: Walt Disney. This life: You.

Wait a minute! You don’t fantasize about this sorta’ stuff? Oh. Yeah. Me neither.

All I’m trying to say is: I know you’re smart, but I also know you’re struggling.

I know you know how-to make better choices.

I know you know how-to make more money.

I know you know how-t0 rise above the mess + change the world.

We both got access to more information + more books + more websites + more apps + more scientific research than ever before. We know the how-tos, yet… we keep hitting brick ways… keep falling… keep feeling overwhelmed by all the “incompletes” in our live.

Why is that so? Why do we still feel so inadequate? I’ll tell you why. Because we don’t talk about the stuff that gets in the way. That’s why. We don’t. We don’t talk about what keeps us eating Doritos until we’re sick + numb.

Don’t get me wrong. I would love to skip over the cacophony bits… the embarrasing stories… the poo in the middle, but life doesn’t work like TiVo.

Instead of fast-forwarding over our lives crappy commercials, today I want to invite you to practice a revolutionary concept called: ASKING FOR HELP!

Here’s how it works: Anytime you’re full of anxiety + self-doubt seek out a friend who deserves to hear your story + have an honest conversation.

Is that simple.

Sure, you can drink wine. Or limoncello.

I promise you, it will change the way you live + love + make babies + parent + adopt puppies + work + build business empires.

Cuz, sometimes all we need is a little reminder that:

  • No, it’s not just us.
  • Crap is universal.
  • We all have it.
  • Yes, and we’re all afraid to talk about it.
  • The more we hide it the more control it has over our lives.

Let’s heal. Together! Because sometimes all it takes to start a revolution is a small army of confidants.

 

BUSINESS

Is Blogging Dying? This Is What I Think!

MAY_2302

With the rise of new social media platforms like SnapChat + Periscope, adding to the already exciting parade of options (like Facebook + Twitter + Instagram + Pinterest to name just a few), it’s no surprise people are questioning the power of blogging. Is it really necessary? Is it worth the hard work? Is micro-content enough or is a main HQ still important?

Do you want to know what I think? Do you? Do you?

Well I’ve thought long n’ hard about this one + I’ve come to the following realization: The internet is basically one BIG High School cafeteria. 

MAY_2306

MAY_2311

There’s the nerds table + the mean girls table + the artsy kids table + the football team table + the book club table… and all the drama in-between. And every table has its unwritten instruction manual with rules of what you can + cannot do.

Instagram, for example, let’s you share pictures but the only active link allowed is the one on the bio page. Twitter let’s you share no more than 140 characters at a time. If you wanna hang out at their cafeteria table, you gotta obey their social code.

In a way these platforms are basically saying, “Sure, you are welcome to seat with us, but we get to call the shots.”

Maybe it’s agreeing to let the Periscope gang remove your videos in 24 hours. Perhaps it’s agreeing to let the Facebook folks use anything you post in their own advertising or charge you to interact with the audience you’ve built and fostered. Oh! And have you heard the news about Instagram’s new curated feeds?

And think about it. There are no guarantees. The luncheon dynamics can change. Anytime. People might get tired or disillusioned + decide to eat at the bus instead. Or the gym benches. This happened to MySpace. Closed shop. Forever. Gone. In the middle of the game. You can’t sit with them anymore, because they are no longer there.

MAY_2294

MAY_2279

I get the pro’s of sitting with others. I do. Eating your sandwich (or empanada) in good company is nice, especially if you’re the new kid in school who doesn’t know anybody + nobody knows you. Picking a table is not only a smart option, it’s survival. It can help you gain traction + popularity, or at the very least, be heard by a few who will listen. Your cafeteria entourage can even help you rise from oblivion into stardom. Think of all those YouTubers who became famous overnight. The platform helped them do that.

Now this idea of becoming a celebrity is so appealing, so tempting that people often forget about the drawbacks of picking a table at the cafeteria.

The downside for me is so obvious thou. It’s not your table. Your cute lil’ touchie might be sitting there, but it’s not your table. It’s not. You don’t own it. You don’t make the terms + conditions. You can get kicked out anytime without a 30 day notice. You + your meal + all your fans. Out! And the honey badger doesn’t care. The honey badger doesn’t give a damn if you were counting on that revenue stream or marketing outlet.

People somehow miss this important piece of the puzzle. Why? Consider why you tell yourself blogging isn’t worth it? Ask yourself why you convince yourself to stop trying?

MAY_2282

I’ll tell you why. Because:

  • It’s more convenient to blame someone else. Your Kickstarter campaign failed miserably? It’s easier to say, “Kickstarter doesn’t work” than to say, “I was not able to recruit enough supporters to fund my project.” Thin line. Easier to complain + dismiss + procrastinate than to assume responsibility.
  • It’s less work. Sure, posting a pretty picture of your breakfast with a cute caption is easier than putting together a thoughtful + valuable post about morning routines. Whereas the first option is cheaper + faster, the later is much harder + scarier + more time-consuming. So our monkey brain encourages the easier + seemingly better option.

People's Quotes 3

Social media is easy + fun + gives you instant gratification. In the animal world that works just fine. If you are a monkey, for example, who spends all day doing nothing but eating bananas, you’re a huge success. But unfortunately for us humans, we have a big ass brain that allows us to recall the past + make decisions in the present + transform the future. Being a homo sapiens is a hard gig. So is blogging.

Blogging comes with a huge deficit because it takes planning + effort + momentum + guts. It might seem less pleasant than scrolling social media all day, but epic things happen when you don’t let your monkey brain take the stirring wheel.

MAY_2284

I’m not lobbying for a riot at the school cafeteria. I’m not an anti-social media billboard. All I’m saying is that it’s dangerous to solely exist + build buzz in someone else’s ground. That’s all.

Anyone… any place… any thing  that makes you check off a terms and conditions box to hang out with them shouldn’t be your number one hang out, much less your business strategy.

People's Quotes 1

And there’s no excuse. These days, the internet let’s you build your own site in minutes, affordably.

I set up a basic blog on WordPress. Got my own mailing list up n’ running. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because this way, I get to keep my power + my work + my voice intact. But more importantly, there are no Illuminati censoring my content + editing my ideas + gatekeeping my gigs. It’s MY intellectual properly. MY audience. And the best part? I get to call the shots. Heartmade, this blog, is not a democracy. I decide who plays + who doesn’t. What? You’re a troll who spams the comment box with links to fake Kate Spade bags? Expelled! You’re too cool to be nice to my virtual family? Fired!

Quote - Simba

Sure I still hang out with my friends at the cafeteria. My besties over at the Instagram table are so much fun to be around. And don’t even get me started on my Pinterest gals. They are the bomb. But I always make sure to come back home, to my HQ + give clear directions with links or call to actions to where people can find me if they want to know more.

People's Quotes

The charm of the High School cafeteria is obvious. It’s entertaining. But if you want to make sure you always have a safe space to eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich + an open mic to share your brilliant ideas with the world, you’ve got to build your own playground. An online headquarters for your content that Google can easily find. A place where you can try out your coolest tricks + make meaningful stuff. Make it a friendly place for people to come visit. Often. Let them wear their paint stained pajamas if they wish. Bring your heart, your humanity, your value.

People's Quotes 5

The reality is this: You only get out what you put in.

I’m not here to endorse hype-y fantasies around being your own girl boss, like working 4-hour weeks while dipping your feet in warm sand. That sh*t ain’t real. I repeat: that sh*t ain’t real.

Wanna make a living online? Put in what you want to get out. Simple as that. And I’m not talking about busy busy busy work – the kind where you pull all-nighters + skip breakfast + cancel lunch dates with your girlfriends to browse Pinterest and call it research. I’m talking about committing to the act of creating + sitting down to write when you don’t feel like it + hitting publish in spite of being afraid.

MAY_2296

Not everyone is willing to do it. But then again, you are not everybody.

This lil’ blog is still the heartbeat of my business. Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that blogging isn’t for lazy people. Trying to keep up the pace of posting regularly + creating original content (not just echoing what the entire blog galaxy has already said) can wear out anyone who’s not built for this. Those of you who have blogs know exactly what I mean.

MAY_2332

So if you’re pondering: “Oh! boy, but I’m already too busy running a shop + updating my about page + doing the laundry + perfecting my skills + inventing my new product line + preparing for a craft show + invoicing, do I really need to have a blog?” Here’s why I think you should give it your best try:

  1. Blogging helps you build strong relationships with clients. Through your blog you let your personality + charisma + passion shine. This helps your customers relate + connect with you on a deep human level. And a customer that has empathy is a customer that connects with you + trusts you + befriends you. This is a rare + beautiful thing.
  2. Blogging lets you show you’re a pro. It’s an opportunity to showcase your abilities + skills in a non-braggy kinda way. If you make the best brownies in town, give your clients an inside pick into how you prepare the dough + how you cut the brownies + how you package them the way you do, without giving away all your secrets of course. It will show customers that you sure know an awful lot about brownies + chocolatey things + baking without burning things in the kitchen + etc. And people love to buy from shops that they feel confident about.
  3. Blogging helps you document your creative life. I love looking at my blog archives to see where my mind + heart were at 5 weeks ago, 3 months ago, 7 years ago. This time last year I know I was a lot more afraid. I dunno when I changed, or how, but I know at some point between then + now I built wings + set myself free. It’s like having my own little time machine to travel back in time + navigate through my creative stages + access my virtual diary. Helps me learn + grow, ya’ know?
  4. Blogging lets you share updates with your fans. You just released an awesome new collection? You’re having your annual Everything Must Go sale? You were featured in US News? Sure, social media let’s you shout the news through the roof tops, but these channels go by so fast, that important information typically falls through the cracks. Your launch can be easily missed. Your TV appearance missed. And that’s just sad. Blogging gives you both a space to inform your clients about all the wonderful things that are happening, and most importantly it lets you archive them so they never go by unnoticed.
  5. Blogging connects you with the indie community. When you blog, you become part of a cult of artist + designers + crafters + freelancers that get it without much explanation. When people ask me, how to do advertise your products, they’re shocked to know I don’t do ads. I don’t buy followers or run promoted posts. I let my customers do the talking. They are my brands true ambassadors, and in my humble opinion, the best kind of marketing there is.
  6. Blogging gives you VIP access to Google. Blogs are built for search engines. They are indexed faster + more frequently than your shop is. They also have this cool optimization feature that reads your keywords like “business tips” + “planners” + “mess”, and connects potential fans to your site via those tags. This brings targeted traffic from people who are searching for exactly what you have to offer. Pretty neat right?
  7. Blogging is so freaking awesome. When you get in the habit of blogging + write about the things you are truly care about, everything just clicks. It stops being hard. Blogging flows. And you become hooked. Our career choice as creators + innovators can sometimes be a solitary path, but blogging lets connect with readers all over the globe + start a conversation with people with similar interests + get instant feedback. All the sudden you realize, “I’m not alone in this”. It’s a comforting + uplifting + energizing feeling.

MAY_2327

Yes, blogging is more difficult + requires work, because teaching + inspiring + launching is hard. But, it’s also how we get to do what we love for a living using this amazing tool called the internet.

People's Quotes 2

People's Quotes 6

So the next time someone asks, “Is blogging dying? Are blogs a thing of the past?” Will they not survive another month? You can tell them what I think. I’ll be sitting at the messy table by the corner with my vintage typewriter if anyone asks.

MAY_2345

MAY_2364

MAY_2372

MAY_2377

MAY_2350

What do YOU think? Are blogs dying? Are they becoming diluted in a sea of social media-ness? Drop your insight in the comment box. The best discussion always happens there.

 

*This post is sponsored by Kate Spade NY. All content + ideas + words are my own.

Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú

BUSINESS · LIFESTYLE · PERSONAL

Juggling Life As Girl Boss and New Mommy (Plus My Top 20 Comeback Tips)

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 4

The other day I was talking to my friend Farideh about the challenge of being a new mom + an entrepreneur. She shared with me this quote, which pretty much sums it up: You want to work like you never had children and you want to be a mom like you don’t have a business.

Every mom/entrepreneur in the room is shaking her head up + down right now. I know it.

For months I’ve been dreading this day. The day I had to pick up my slack + get back to the office. The day I had to become both a girl boss AND a mom, like, AT THE SAME TIME. I mean, cuz I know how to do the girl boss thing on it’s own. Even mastered the mommy thing during maternity leave. But! BOTH. Damn it!!!

For months I’ve been dreading this day. The day I had to embody the challenge of wanting to work like I didn’t have a baby to love + wanting to be a mom like I didn’t have a creative empire to run.

It’s the whispers that affect me the most, ya’ know? The little voices inside my head that tell me what I could or should be doing. The gremlins that lure me out of gratitude + happiness. The mental script that teases me into comparing myself with strangers on the Internet. Those moms that are making homemade play dough + wearing Baby & Me matching outfits, while I’m here all like, “I got out of bed + brushed my hair. Go me!”

It’s exhausting.

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 5

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 6

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 7

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 8

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 2

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 3

I guess it all comes back to fear. Fear of missing out. Missing out on being good enough. A good enough CEO. A good enough mom. It’s my struggle, and I suspect in some ways, it’s yours too. That fear of falling into the cracks of mediocrity… of abandoning our path… of walking out of our true calling… of giving up those precious moments that hold meaning to us so we can prove that we aren’t missing out.

And of course we know inside our hearts that we are everything. E-VERY-THING. That we are exactly where we need to be. On course. On track. Right here. Except when we skip a nap or breakfast because we said YES when we really meant NO. Those times, we really do miss out, on our own live.

Know what I discovered? That we cannot trade living life for what-if, because we’re afraid to miss out a big opportunity, the one that could be our big break. You know what my biggest break was this week? Watching Olivia say “PAH-pa-pa-pa-pa-PAAA-pa” for the first time.

In a way these past months have been about finding the courage to enjoy NOW for what is.

This is a stage. Just a stage. The checking-to-see-if-Olivia-is-still-breathing stage + the car-seat-tantrum stage + the shhhhhh-the-baby’s-sleeping stage. It’s all a stage. Everything’s a stage. And every stage has a beginning + an end. Just a couple of weeks ago we got over the sleeping-in-two-hour-intervals stage, and I tell you the truth: I miss it a lil’ bit because it means my baby’s all grown up. She was so tiny, like, yesterday. What happened?

The years are long, but the days go by so so fast you guys.

Maybe we become. Slowly. Perhaps at some point down the road we all the sudden become worthy to be called “ma-ma-ma-ma” + wear the superhuman boss boots.

Or maaaay-be we unbecome. Gently. Perhaps we unlearn how to be Robocop-woman, and we just are the journey. 

I think it’s the latter.

I trust it’s the latter. Because everyday I close my calendar of perfectionism + give myself permission to stay one more hour in my pijamas (or three) + to snuggle Olivia until we both become one breath + to watch one more episode of Modern Family with hubby (or a whole season) + to have a grilled cheese sandwich in bed… it gets easier. Life does.

I trust that a place in a galaxy not that far away exist, where I don’t have to give up my passion projects + I don’t have to say good-bye to those chubby little hands that like crawling up my chest from 9 to 5 from Monday through Friday. I don’t want to.

I believe there is a place where girl boss meets super mommy, for tea + ginger cookies. And they get along.

The girl boss has the backbone to stay on course + the firmness to keep going for her dreams. The super mommy has the softness to be grateful + the heart to stay grounded. We need both to guide us home.

The girl boss reminds the super mommy of her mission in this world, which is greater than herself. And the super mommy reminds the girl boss that the world doesn’t need more successful people, what it needs is more unconditional lovers + more people who read “Once upon a time…” stories.

They need each other. The girl boss + the super mommy do. I really believe that now.

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 11

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 10

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 14

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 13

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 12

My Top 20 Comeback Tips

Coming back to work after hibernating in maternity la-la-land has been sweet n’ sour.

After a long adjustment period, I really feel like I have found my happy rhythm. I don’t know that I’m quite there yet, since I still catch myself saying things like “I survived” or “Winter is coming”, but I’m definitively getting somewhere that’s not bad at all.

If you’re looking to return to work after a a sabbatical + you’re freaking out a little (or a lot), I made a list of a few things that helped me transition back into the keyboards. Smoothly. Without hyperventilating.

Here are some handy tips to make your return from maternity leave easier from a momma who’s just been there:

1. Plan It 

If you don’t already run your life around a calendar now is the time to start. David and I both work + have a very hands-on approach to raising Olivia, so it’s nice to schedule date nights + trips. Things to look forward to in between the craziness of building our own brands + parenthood.

Of course, every family’s tolerance level is different. Ours, for example, doesn’t do well on a fixed hour-by-hour routine or controlled feeding feeding/napping schedule, but we have learned that we cannot go more than a week without a movie + we start to get really cranky if we don’t go to our beach house for long stretches of time. So, we make fun plans all the time. And those plans are locked down on the calendar.

We have also become very guarded of our social schedule + only plan for things we really REALLY want to do.

2. Share the Load

Whether you return to work 10 hours a week or 50, you will need to enlist the help of others to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Since we can’t add hours to our day when we return to work or have a Time-Turner like Hermione, we must make adjustments to our existing schedule to fit it all in.

I’m a big advocate of bring family onboard. I literally assign missions to everybody who offers a hand. My mom-in-law helps with the groceries. My sister is great at taking the night shift. Mom babysits during date nights. Auntie Kari distracts Olivia while mommy has lunch. Everyone has a role, an important role. It’s because of them that I’m still sane.

Like the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I see it unfolds in front of my very eyes everyday.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help. It will not make you any less of a mother. I promise.

3. Find the Right Job

When I was returning to work, I made the mistake I see a lot of my gal pals make when going back. I undervalued myself. “I’ve been gone for 6 months.” “Everyone’s forgotten who I am.” “I have nothing to offer.”

Within weeks, I had mastered the art of working while Olivia was rolling around on her foamy play-thingy or family came to visit (ahem, ahem, babysit). Quickly I was feeling underutilized + bored. I had underestimated myself.

Being a mom doesn’t mean you’re all the sudden handicapped or sick. It just takes some re-adjustment + fine tuning.

Take some time to think about what you want to do + what your skills are + what your goals are for returning to work. Is this a return to full-time work that means pursuing a career until retirement, or is this a smaller return to increase your income while still prioritizing your family? What do you like to do? How much time can you give to a job? Can you work from home or would you rather separate the two?

Find a job that’s right for YOU. This is something you will want to talk with your partner, since it affect the whole family. So make sure to carve out time to involve hubby in the process.

4. Pass The Torch

Because I’m the boss of my own time, I tend to leave too many slots available for others people’s agendas + urgencies. I tend to overcommit. I’m that super volunteer people call when there’s an auction or a bake sale. It sucks.

Being a mom has taught me to let go of a few responsibilities, pass them on to someone else if you will. It’s been nice to finally have an excuse to excuse myself. Not that I needed one, but oh well.

5. Hire Help

Get someone in regularly to help out with cleaning + laundry + cooking or any day-to-day task that you dread doing now that time is of the essence.

Her name is Cati, our savor. She comes in weekdays from 8 to 5, and at the end of the day my floors are clean + the plants get watered + there’s homemade almond milk in the fridge. It’s AWESOME.

Plus, not only does hiring help alleviate your burden, you get to help out another working mom by hiring her. Extra AWESOME!

6. Don’t Worry

Try not to worry too much. Your baby will be fine + will not hold your ‘working mommy’ status against you. In fact, you well may turn out to be her role model. Take care + be kind to yourself. You deserve it!

7. Find Trustworthy Care Giver

Finding someone you can trust to take care of the baby in your absence is a big one. I feel very blessed to have family close by that I can count on to look after baby O when I have a doctor’s appointment or business meeting. You can always hire a nanny or find a close-by daycare, if family is not an option. But! Do your research + check references. Muy importante.

8. Pick the Feeding Method That’s Suits Your Family

I made the decision long ago that I wanted to breastfeed Olivia on demand. After overcoming a very rocky + painful start, I’m finally at that point were I really enjoy nursing. I LOVE that it requires no preparation, other than buttoning down my shirt. I LOVE that food is always available as long as we’re together. I LOVE how I feel when I see what my body is capable of doing.

Like that time we went to Vieques. Packing was so easy. And not having to worry about milk temperatures or sterilizing bottles at a remote hotel was lovely indeed.

Or like that other time we were stranded in traffic for 4 hours and 40 minutes coming back from the beach (a trip that usually takes us 1 hour + 20 minutes). No problem. Daddy just pulled over every time Oli wanted a little snack (wink). That was nice.

I really encourage expecting moms to think ahead + pick a feeding method that fits their lifestyle best.

9. Prioritize

Everyone knows I’m an avid list maker. Except now, besides making to-do lists, I make sure to circle in red the items that are top priority.

I’ve learned that not everything is an emergency, like updating my Facebook fanpage or alphabetizing my cookbook collection. If something can be done later, I put it on the back burner without guilt or shame. It’s an art. I think it comes with the hormones.

10. Learn to Say NO

When it comes to setting priorities + boundaries, I say NO many times. I’ve made it a habit.

Make NO your default setting. I know it sounds horrible, but look at it this way: Saying NO to stuff that’s not aligned with your big picture only means you get to say YES to what’s truly important. It’s called living with intention. And living in authenticity with your values is a beautiful thing.

11. Give Your Baby Quality Time

When I started taking a few clients here and there + getting back to blogging + going back to work in general after maternity leave, I made a pack with myself:

  1. Work stays in my studio.
  2. Set decent working hours.
  3. I will not take work home.

When I’m at work, I’m fully present. In my creative flow. The time I step out of my studio + enter my home, I devote it to my family. No working after dinner. No bringing my laptop to the beach. No inbox clean up in bed. No exceptions.

I think that’s one of the main reasons I don’t feel guilty about working or guilty about spending all this time with Olivia. It’s because I enjoy every instant I have with my virtual community + every slit second I get with my familia.

12. Have A Plan B

Sometimes, the best-laid plans can unravel. Tell me about is sistah!

It is possible that your nanny gets ill or the abuelita couldn’t get out of the office + cannot look after the baby as planned. Have a backup plan for such situations. I keep a little black book of options in case of emergencies – that friend you can always count on… that family member who keeps asking if you need an extra hand… that babysitter who can come to the rescue. It’s good to have options.

13. Look Your Best

You may have to buy a new wardrobe! Under no condition should you attempt to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes. That’s a great recipe for disaster! Don’t go trying to stuff yourself into your pre-pregnancy clothes. Pick up some new clothes that will flatter your new body. You can also go for a haircut. Now will be a great time to try a new hairstyle. And while you are at it, get a facial + manicure + pedicure too!

14. Sleep, You’ll Need It

Once you return to work after maternity leave, you’ll truly understand what exhaustion feels like. Juggling work + family is one of the toughest jobs in the world. So, sleep whenever you can. That dirty bookshelf can be dusted later. That movie can be watched later. That pantry can be organized later. That homemade cake can be baked later. But you need sleep, NOW!

15. Practice Makes Almost Perfect

Before you jump into the workforce, do some practice runs. Let the babysitter try giving the baby milk out of a bottle. Let the nanny try bathing the baby without you. Let grandma put the baby to sleep without your aid. See what happens. Make adjustments. This will get you ready for the real thing.

16. Remember Why You Are Working

It may be because you need the money or because you need to work to stay sane. Whatever be the reason, remind yourself of it whenever you feel overwhelmed.

17. Let Go Of Momma Guilt

Guilt comes with the territory for most moms. Let go of it. Thousands of working moms manage to bring up amazing babies. My mom is a very successful lawyer. And I think she did pretty good.

Don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself if you decide going back to work is the right thing for you.

18. There Is Life Besides The Baby (Hard To Believe, I Know)

No matter how much you love your baby, don’t make it the topic of all conversations. Your life may revolve around your baby, but others have different priorities.

Don’t blame your colleagues for not being interested in what your baby ate for dinner. Don’t blame your friends for not asking you to show them baby pictures. Don’t blame your husband if he wants to talk about something other than the baby’s poo color that day.

19. Don’t Compare Yourself With That Other Moms

Parenting is hard. Don’t compare. Make the best of the situation you + your partner picked. You will soon get into a routine. I promise it gets easier. I swear it gets easier.

20. Get Comfortable With The Stillness

My biggest shock getting back to work was realizing I would never be back, like as the Mayi from before Olivia I mean. Cuz, I used to be one of those bosses that was on call all the freaking time. For e-mails. For customer orders. For comments. For social media questions. For interviews. For round ups. For blog tours. For all nighters. For a catch up chat on Google Hangouts. I was there. Busy busy busy.

By removing all that busy work from my schedule I feared that my brand would fall apart. That I would no longer have friends. That I would PUFF, disappear from the radar.

For the first time in my life, I was forced to make room for emptiness. For alone time. For introspection. For my thoughts. Like when I’m nursing Olivia, I literally can’t do anything else. Don’t believe me? Go ask my Coordinator of Messy, Amanda Sue Howell. It’s true. Every time I try to send her a voice note to catch up on work while I’m breastfeeding or playing with Olivia, she let’s us know she’s not having the multi-tasking thing on her watch.

Being present requires work. Not busy work. Soul work.

In the words of Paul Jarvis (if you’re not signed up to his newsletter, you’re missing out big time): “When your work requires you to be creative, you need to be alone with your thoughts. You can’t get around it. You need the mental space to create.”

We prefer to fill up our days with social media + e-mails + WhatsApp messages + chores. It feels productive. But busyness rarely equals creativity.

Motherhood brings with it mandatory calmness. And with it the boundless possibility of an imaginative mind + an innovative spirit. We must sit though the discomfort, sometimes minutes… hours at a time just watching the baby sleep or ironing cute little clothes. It’s part of the job. And it pays creative dividends.

Stillness is not the ultimate punishment. It feels like it, but it’s the necessary path to true creative work that matters. Just wait + see all the stuff that I have lined up for us from all this quite time. Stay tuned!

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 16

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 15

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 17

Ultimately thou, there is no amount of preparation that can fully prepare you for the transition from full-time momma bear to world domination biz lady. I think the hardest part with any comeback is always the learning-to-trust-the-mess part.

Trust your husband to take care of things in my absence. So what if he put on the diaper wrong? Let him bond with the baby while you catch your breath!

Trust your mom/mom-in-law/sister/nanny to take care of things in my absence. So they don’t sing like you or dance like you or play like you? Do not micromanage! Your baby doesn’t need mommy clones. What your baby needs is a fun grandma. A crazy aunt. A silly God Mother. A loving cousin that sometimes doesn’t want to share his toys. That’s what will ultimately prepare the baby for the world. Diversity will.

Trust yourself to take care of things to the best of my abilities with a sense of worthiness. If you feel like you are not being as productive at work as you were before, don’t worry. You have just become a mother for God’s sake. It is a HUGE accomplishment. Give yourself time. And talk to other women who are going thought this process. It helps.

Trust. Takes practice.

Mayi Carles Kate Space January 1

To wrap up, here’s my final confession: I’ve changed. I’m more loose in the joints + chubbier on the cheeks + my eyes are a bit more wrinkly. In a lot of ways I’m uglier. Except to people who understand. Who get it. Who know what I’ve been through. To them, I’m prettier than ever before.

I’ll take it. It was all worth it.

It’s been therapeutic to write this. It really has. Thanks for sticking around till the end. Means so much to have a space to share this metaphorical Everest climb with.

Now I would like to hear from you. Are you returning to work after maternity leave? What is it you are worried about the most? What has helped you make the transition easier? Share it in the comments!

*This post is sponsored by Kate Spade NY. All content + ideas + words are my own.

Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú

Pin It on Pinterest