In my 20s, I quickly climbed the corporate ladder to the Vice President ranks because I knew how to set clear expectations in a way that inspired results from each member of my team. And, since I was surrounded by men (my boss, my peers & most my direct reports), I learned how to adapt my approach in a way that fostered commitment, accountability, and trust. For the first 10 years of my career, this ability to set clear expectations and adapt my style was proven to be my strength.
Then I met Katie. She was defiant, unrelenting in her demands, and irrational. My orderly day became exhausting. But like a good manager, I would adjust my strategies to win. I told Katie of my expectations and many reasons why these expectations were in her best interest. But, she didn’t care. Finally, in a fit of exasperation, I looked at her and decried, “I need a nap, can’t you go to sleep?” Katie simply laid there in her bassinet kicking her feet and making noise. From the day of her birth, Katie had other ideas. I planned naps, she gurgled. I planned to finish the laundry, she wailed.
I discovered that being a mother is the most complicated thing I had ever done. The adjustment from 0 kids to 1 was by far my biggest challenge. Throughout the days and nights, I’d read the books and magazine articles, I’d ask mothers of all ages for advice. Instead of trusting my motherly instincts, I buried myself in the advice of other experts looking for any solution.
Fortunately, my own mother didn’t fall into my endless trap of questions: “Should I let her cry it out or let her sleep in my bed?” My mom simply said: “Marcy, all your baby wants is a loving smile from a happy mom. If you prioritize things that make you happy, you’ll find Katie will mirror your happiness.” It was like magic. My husband and I hired a nanny and went on dates. I committed to meditation and mindfulness.
I stopped judging myself for not recognizing my perfect baby didn’t like to sleep. I've learned that it’s the moments rather than the expectations that really count.
18 years later, my beautiful daughter, who is in college, still doesn't like to sleep.
P.S. The other piece of advice was from my grandmother. She loved this saying so much that she crafted a needlepoint picture and framed the advice in her kitchen: “A clean house is the sign of a boring wife!”
For more information about Executive Mom Nest, visit executivemomnest.com.
Executive Mom Nest Founder, Marcy Stoudt is passionate about developing leaders, bringing teams together, and creating a work environment where people thrive. For the past 25 years, she has worked with hundreds of women and executives and has coached, taught, and inspired results through confidence and balance.