'The Empowered Mama' Puts Women's Wellness First

Jumping on the beach
MataSnow/Shutterstock.com. Images below of The Empowered Mama and Lisa Druxman.

Set priorities, schedule self-care and make time for what's important, author says.

Author Lisa Druxman is the dynamic founder of FIT4MOM, a national fitness company that operates a range of classes to help women get back in shape after having a baby. After spending years interacting with busy moms, and raising her own kids while also running a growing business, Lisa has gathered her wisdom and experience in her new book, The Empowered Mama: How to Reclaim Your Time and Yourself While Raising a Happy, Healthy Family. We spoke with Lisa to learn more about how women can fit wellness and self-care into our hectic lives without giving up on fulfilling work, in or out of the home.

Live Happy: Lisa, what made you want to write this book?

Empowered MamaLisa Druxman: Everything we do at FIT4MOM is about helping women realize their strengths in motherhood. I get a chance to meet moms across the country, and they all say they are overwhelmed. I have learned a lot since founding the company (and growing it while raising my own family), and I wanted to shorten the learning curve for other women. The Empowered Mama is the culmination of the wisdom and experience I’ve acquired over all this time.

Why is it important for moms in particular to engage in self-care?

Moms are used to caring for their family—putting others first. But you can’t pour from an empty cup. As moms we set the tone, and we set the energy for the whole family, so it is crucial that we take time to take care of ourselves.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges for moms today?

We are trying to be supermoms. We are living in the age of Pinterest when we think we have to have our houses look a certain way, and party decorations have to be a certain way... Seventy percent of moms are working full- or part-time, so with that, taking care of the kids, the house—they wish there were more hours of the day, but they would just fill it up with more errands. Instead, we need to be more purposeful about how we use time. We need to set priorities, say no to some things and let go of perfection.

You are in the fitness business, yet you included many aspects of life in the book in addition to exercise and nutrition. How did you decide to do that?

My master’s degree is in psychology, so I am fascinated by the mind and the power of the mind. I’ve been in the fitness industry for 25 years, and I’ve learned that you can’t become happy and healthy just by being fit. We have to change our mindset. To me that means thinking about things like purpose, values and goals, so I have included what I’ve learned over the years in this book, in a fun, interactive way.

What is the most important thing you think moms can do to improve their well-being?

You need to put your self-care in first. The thing moms want, but are never able to achieve, is balance. So if we know that, what happens if we take care of ourselves first? Ask yourself, what is the minimum effective dose for me to feel healthy and happy? For me, I need a certain amount of exercise. I know I need to eat certain kinds of foods… What is self-care for you? Whatever it is, you need to get those things in first and build your schedule around that.
 
Do you think it is possible for moms to find work/life balance?
 
If you schedule your self-care first, you will automatically feel more balanced. Instead of focusing on balance, focus on counterbalance. Sometimes you need to really focus on work. So maybe when that period is over, you can counterbalance with more family time. Other times your family is taking all your time; then you need to talk with your family and explain you will be working longer.
 
How can dads and kids help mothers to have more time for self-care?
 
Partners need to sit down and share what they want out of life. Moms should explain, ‘Here are my reasons why—here is what I need.’ Don’t assume your partner is a mind-reader. Tell him or her what you want: ‘It would be really helpful if you could pick up the clothes from the dry-cleaners or the kids from school.’ Make a workout schedule with your partner, so you are not competing for free time to go to the gym.
 
Lisa Druxman Headshot
Do you think there is a cult of busy-ness among women, and how can we get out of it?
Being busy has become almost like a badge of honor for moms. I used to be the same way—this whole book is based on mistakes that I’ve made! It’s like we don’t ever want to come across as lazy, so we wind up as martyrs instead. We need to redefine what a happy and healthy life looks like. I want moms to schedule margins—spaces and air in-between activities—a feeling of peace and roominess so we no longer feel so rushed.
 
Why is it important to meditate?
 
I have been consistently meditating now for nearly 20 years. I have ADHD—my mind is always going. Meditation quiets those thoughts and decreases stress. It will increase your immune system and your brain size. It helps depression, too. I wish and hope that moms could do at least 10 minutes before the rest of the family wakes up to set the tone for the rest of the day. Set your intention for the day.
 
You quote extensively from The Slight Edge, which was written by Jeff Olson, founder of Live Happy.
 
I didn’t know that! But the book is so important to me—his philosophy of incremental change leading to big transformation really resonates. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I actually paid my kids $100 to read it!
 
What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
 
The book is written to be used as a yearlong interactive process, with a different focus each month. I believe moms—who are raising the next generation of leaders—are creating a positive ripple effect, and I want to help empower them to be change-agents in the community and in the world.
 
8 Empowering Takeaways for Moms
  1. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself.
  2. Exercise and good nutrition are necessities, not luxuries.
  3. Take little breaks: Have a bath, enjoy a nap, unplug from digital devices.
  4. Write down your core values, and make sure your behaviors are aligned with them.
  5. Learn to delegate and say “No.”
  6. Figure out in which areas of life you might be lacking or over-committing.
  7. Create a Personal Action Plan to achieve specific goals.
  8. Use The Slight Edge philosophy to make incremental positive changes in your life.

Emily Wise Miller is the Web Editor for Live Happy.

 

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