12 Random Stats That Might Explain Your Dating Situation
If there's one thing that I think all of us can agree on, it's the fact that dating is a bit of an enigma. The rules are always changing. The expectations are all over the place. Hell, some of us haven't been impressed while being on a date in so long that we wonder if the art of dating even exists anymore.
If I was able to figure all of this out, I'd be a millionaire—a few times over—by now. But I did do a little research on things related to dating in the hopes that it might help you to connect a few dots or at least get a little clarity on a couple of matters. So, if you've been wondering why guys keep wanting to meet up at Starbucks, why you are turned on by vegans or how long you should date someone before wanting to meet his mama or give him some, below are some answers I found that are based on various studies and dating experts. Check it out, forward it to your significant other, and also jump into the comments to share your views. With a little bit of input from us all, maybe—just maybe—we can figure out this whole dating thing together.
1. Where are the most popular dating spots?
As far as actual dates go, I'm the kind of gal who will give a guy major points for creativity. I guess that's why I found it pretty interesting—and disappointing—when I read an article onAsk Men's site that shared some of the most popular dating spots of last year. Some that cracked the Top 10 include—Starbucks (#1), Chick-fil-A (#2), Panera Bread (#5), Barnes & Noble (#7) and…y'all already know—Cheesecake Factory (#10). Le sigh. Am I the only one who isn't impressed?
I think this is why I am a huge fan of a couple of phone conversations leading up to a first date. That way, you both can get a feel for each other's personality, interest and overall vibe—and that can keep you out of Olive Garden (which also made the list). No diss to it, it's just…I am a firm believer that a man who puts forethought and creativity into first dates and marriage proposals is a man who is showing real sensitivity and fascination as it relates to the object of his affection.
Hmph. I must not be the only person who think this way because, according to The Art of Manliness site, their idea of great first dates are picnics, amusement parks, paint and sips—places that are fun and also places that are a little outside of the typical dinner and a movie idea.
Oh, and as far as signs that a first date didn't go so well, dating experts believe that if the conversation was dull, your date was distracted, no talk of a future date comes up on the date or a full day goes by without any sort of follow up at all…well, even if there are some great explanations as to why these things happened, you're still seeing, fairly early on, if you're going to be doing a significant amount of maintenance in order to keep things going. Just something to think about.
2. What subconsciously makes someone feel connected on a first date?
I can tell I'm getting older because my face frowned a bit when I kept reading that it was poor etiquette to ask someone what their last name is when you're first making a connection with them. What in the world? Even my homie-lover-friends, I know their middle name, birth date and where they were born—and I knew all of this before they got some. But apparently these days, last names are privileged information. Something else that I read is if you're on a first date and you really want to make the person feel special, you should say their first name a few times. It indicates that you are interested in them, that you care enough to retain their name, and that you want to be comfortable enough to remain on a first name basis with them in the future.
3. How long do individuals prefer to wait before having sex for the first time?
Chrissy Teigen has been pretty open about the fact that she slept with2019's Sexiest Man Alive on their first date. Now they're married with two children, so the taboo belief that having sex on the first date automatically dooms the possibility of establishing a solid relationship isn't one that holds a ton of weight (clearly, when there are articles out in cyberspace like "Why More People Are Having Sex on the First Date"). Still, that doesn't mean that sex on the first date is the rule; for most, it's still more like the exception. So, just how long do most people think that you should wait before getting it on for the first time? A Groupon study of 2,000 individuals came to the conclusion that it should happen after around eight dates; although most men were "cool" with waiting until the fifth date and most women preferred to wait until the ninth.
4. How often should you see your significant other to keep the relationship healthy?
This particular point I found to be interesting, mostly because it has something in common with how often married folks have sex in order to keep their relationship in a thriving state. If a married couple wants to feel happy and connected, they need to copulate the same amount of times a week that a new couple needs to see one another in order to get similar results. And how often is that? Once a week. Anything more than that can cause fires to burn out quickly. It can also prevent you from "pacing your way" into the relationship so that you can figure out if it's something that you want as opposed to merely being something that you feel (some of y'all will catch that later).
5. What is an underrated key to relational happiness?
While on the surface, this one seems a little odd, if you really stop to think about it, it makes sense. One study that featured 1,000 men and women discovered that whenever an individual is dating someone who is a conscious and healthy eater, they are happier in the relationship—even if their own eating lifestyle totally sucks.
I'd venture to say that, even if it's a subconscious thing, people probably admire someone who is intentional about caring for their temple. Not only that, but if that person is interested in caring for themselves, it could be a good indicator that they will take care of the person they are seeing too.
6. How many dates, on average, lead to exclusivity?
If you've been on about 3-4 dates with someone, you really like him, and you're wondering if it's time to have "the talk", what a lot of dating experts believe is you should wait until you've gone on eight dates before bringing up the topic of exclusivity. If you go on a date with someone once a week, that averages out to being a couple of months, so that sounds about right. Whatever you do, just make sure that you conduct a little "pre-commitment interview" first. A whole lot of us have found ourselves falling for the wrong men or totally wasting our time, oftentimes because we assumed that they wanted what they did when…they didn't.
(Sidenote: Did you peep that exclusivity and sex both require eight dates? Interesting.)
7. What is the “expiration date” on most new relationships?
Cuffing season can really be a trip; especially when you factor in that the most popular times for couples to break-up is either right before Christmas (I'm willing to bet that is men) or right after Valentine's Day (wouldn't be surprised in the least if that was women). Some folks don't want the pressure of taking things to the next level during the holiday season while others put a lot of stock into Valentine's Day, only to get disappointed and determine that they deserve better.
Now, as far as how long new relationships typically last, in general? According to several Google links that I checked out, the average is somewhere between 3-5 months. Why is that? Five months usually gives us enough time to know if we're motivated by nothing more than lust, if the person is doing things that are deal-breakers for us and/or if we're simply too impatient—or disinterested—to put the work in to make the relationship last. If you're seeing someone new, how long has it been? Have y'all made it over the five-month-hump yet?
8. What things turn men off about women they’re seeing?
A website that I used to write for back in the day is The Good Men Project. In an article published on the site entitled "5 Secret Male Turn-offs Women's Magazines Won't Tell You", what I appreciated is it didn't ask women what turned men off; they asked men. What the men shared where things like belittling a man's sexual needs, comparing him to other men or trying to guilt trip him for wanting to do things outside of spending time with you. To me, that sounds pretty realistic. In fact, I'd think that the only women who "feel some type of way" about those things are women who are doing those types of things. And, in the wise words of Dr. Phil, "How is that workin' for ya?" As far as a list of what turns men on, check out "I Asked 10 Men What Turned Them On. This Is What They Said." for a little insight.
9. Does astrology actually play a role in compatibility?
Some of y'all are gonna fight to the death on this one. But apparently, the online dating site OkCupid conducted a study that included 500,000 people to see if there is any truth to astrology and compatibility. You can click here to read the entire break down, but the bottom line is no, there isn't. So, if you're a Gemini like I am, you're currently digging a Scorpio but you're hesitant because you read somewhere that they're not a good fit, I'd still go on a couple of dates if I were you.
Putting too much emotional weight on astrology can create self-fulfilling prophecies; you can determine someone isn't good for you due to some chart when, in all actuality, they just might be your perfect match. Not because of when their birthday falls but because of who they are as individuals.
10. When should you introduce someone to your parents and friends?
They say that if you've been in a relationship with someone for a while and you haven't met any of their family members or friends, that could be a red flag; maybe they are involved with someone else, they don't take the relationship as seriously as you do or, it's an indication that they've got layer of things to hide, with their loved ones only being a layer of that. If you've been seeing someone enough to go through all four seasons of the year once, I would be inclined to agree. At that point, you should've at least spoken with someone who is a part of their world.
But if you feel like your significant other is on the up-and-up but since it's only been a few months you're still not sure when the right time to meet their loved ones are, here's the deal. A lot of millennials tend to think it's cool after about 10 dates or so. At the same time, a lot of dating experts think that is way too early; they believe that you need to take at least five months to see if the relationship is serious. Then, after that time, introduce the person you're seeing to some friends; then family. Oh, and when it is time to see the fam, avoid family functions at all costs. Those types of events will only put more pressure on you. Plus, it sends the message that you know exactly where the relationship is headed when, after only a few months, you probably don't.
11. Who has a harder time healing from a break-up? Men or Women?
This is something that I am glad is getting more attention because, while it might be assumed that men aren't as affected by heartbreak as women are, what's actually going on is we tend to grieve and heal earlier and faster than they do. In fact, there's a study that supports the fact that since women invest more emotionally into their relationships, they are more emotionally self-aware in how to handle a break-up. Meanwhile, many guys don't spend as much time processing emotions. As a result, when a relationship (that truly matters to them) ends, they see it as an irrevocable loss than can take years for them to get over—if they ever do. (I know at least 10 guys personally who can personally attest to this; they still talk about their first love like the break-up happened last year.)
12. Who actually says, “I love you” first? Men or Women?
Talk about debunking a myth. I'm willing to bet that at least half of y'all read this question and immediately said, "Duh. Women." However, that isn't the case. According to several published studies, it is the fellas who experience feelings of love, as early as a few weeks into a new relationship. Now, that doesn't mean that all of them have the best of intentions when it comes to saying "I love you" because, there are also reports that indicate some do it in order to win our trust so that they can "get the meats". Still, that isn't the case for everyone, so if you're seeing a guy and he says, "I love you", if his words and actions complement one another, chalk it up to him being honest and society underrating a man's true sentimentality—at least until or unless he proves otherwise.
Welp. There you have it. Dating, in a nutshell—kinda, sorta. Whatcha think? Did it make things clearer or more confusing than ever? Sound off in the comments. Let us know.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Should You Consider Dating Someone You're Not Attracted To?
Experts Say You Should Date This Long Before Getting Married
5 Things That Are OK To Require On A First Date
Three Dates In. Should The Two Of You Move Forward? Or Not?
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Introducing Chief Mom Officer: Where Working Moms Come First
xoNecole's Chief Mom Officer explores the 18-month post-pregnancy journey through the lens of our very own Chief Mom Officer, Shakyna Bolden. The series will serve as an inspirational and resourceful guide to help get through the early days of new motherhood as working moms knowing they are not alone in the hardships.
“I want to build my work around my life, and not my life around my work.”
I typed these words in my iPhone Notes as I fed my newborn daughter one morning during the first few weeks of having her earthside. I didn’t have much time for page-filled journal entries as my days were filled with nonstop feedings, soothing, and recovery…but I knew I needed to give those words space and life.
Prior to my maternity leave, I, like most working moms, was burning fumes juggling work and life. Since 2019, I’ve been running revenue operations here at this really cool company you may have heard of called xoNecole (hehe). I’ve been behind the scenes building our brand partnerships and negotiating deals with companies such as Ulta Beauty, Toyota, Target, Spotify, SheaMoisture, etc.
Courtesy of Shakyna Bolden
I’ve co-produced our signature events like ElevateHER and Pajamas & Lipstick while conceptualizing, selling, building, and distributing our original video and podcast content and podcast. The list goes on and on. I’ve helped build this small but brilliant company into what it is today, all while running my own small family. And that is not an easy feat.
In all truth, trying to be the best mom and partner I can be while also leading in my job has felt at times like a whirlwind where the rest of my life is passing me by. I don’t quite know where or when it happened, but I swear somebody pushed the fast-forward button in life, and I’m losing my edges trying to keep up.
My mind and body get so preoccupied with the management of life that my soul sits on the sidelines, waiting to take the reins and intentionally live it.
So many facets of my life, from my health and well-being to my hobbies and passions, have been placed on the back burner while tending to my young family and growing in my career has taken center stage. And for the longest time, I’ve wanted to flip the switch, but the pace of life just hasn’t let me restack my priorities.
That is, until now.
Courtesy of Shakyna Bolden
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter last year, I couldn’t imagine adding more to my already full plate. Simultaneously, I was also relieved to know that my upcoming maternity leave would force me to press pause and catch my breath. Her birth in January 2023 was a much-needed reset, to say the least.
My maternity leave was the first time since 2019 that I had a second for dreams that were buried in the back of my heart to bubble up to the surface of my reality. I got a taste of what it was like to solely focus on my well-being and my home life. And I liked it a lot. My healing. My recovery. Sitting and really taking quiet time with God to search the unattended areas in the garden of my life.
I was cooking homemade meals on the regular and actually sitting down with my family at the table to eat. As grueling as those first newborn weeks can be, I was enjoying the long-awaited shift in my priorities; and I wanted that shift to stick. I didn’t want it to fade away after my maternity leave.
I want to build my work around my life and not my life around my work.
As a leader of an organization that speaks to millions of women every day about their well-being (and also in leading a team of majority women), I feel it’s my responsibility to carry this shift forward boldly. This is why I’m launching a new column here at xoNecole: Chief Mom Officer!
As I return to work full-time this month from my maternity leave, I want to regularly share my experience of trying to harmonize work and life. As an audience, you all share your raw, unfiltered journeys with us. For years, they’ve undoubtedly inspired me. I want to show up and do the same because I know this shift in my life will be quite the journey.
So for all my Chief Mom Officers—those of us who are constantly merging the imperfect and chaotic worlds of leadership in the office and wearing our crowns at home—I invite you to come on this journey with me and celebrate the ebbs and flows in how we show up for each.
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Featured image courtesy of Shakyna Bolden