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Lifestyle & Fitness Coach Monica Bencomo Prioritizes Self Above All Else

Lifestyle & Fitness Coach Monica Bencomo Prioritizes Self Above All Else

"Self-care is not an option or a luxury; it's vital to my overall health and happiness as a mom."

Mother/Hustler

In xoNecole's series Mother/Hustler, we sit down with influential mom bosses who open up about the ups and downs of motherhood, as well as how they kill it in their respective industries, all while keeping their sanity and being intentional about self-care.

If you thought being a full-time business owner while homeschooling two small children and still managing to get a full-body workout in is hard, try doing it while you're 34 weeks pregnant. While many of us would shudder at the thought, there is one smooth Mother/Hustler that accepts this challenge with a smile.

32-year-old founder of Moms Wear Heels, Monica Bencomo is a force of nature that knows that securing a bag means nothing if you don't secure yourself, first, sis.

No one is immune to burnout, not even this seemingly superhuman Lifestyle and Fitness Coach who shared that she deeply understands the struggle of trying to fill from an empty cup. She told xoNecole, "As a recovering people pleaser, I'd often go out of my way to ensure all my clients were happy, and I'd overgive and overperform. That led to burnout."

Monica, who will soon be a mother-of-three, says that while her plate is often full, it's only full of the projects she chooses to say yes to. "Nah" is a complete sentence, and when given the choice between securing a check and securing her sanity, Monica chose the latter. "Realizing my kids had to come first, and that I wanted to give them a happy mom (not a burned-out one) forced me to say 'no' to anyone or anything who wanted more than I thought was fair."

As a full-time wife, mother, and business owner, Monica says that hustling ain't easy, but most things that are aren't really worth having, are they? We caught up with Monica, who gave us the tea on how she manages to balance motherhood, entrepreneurship, and self-care at the same damn time. Here's what she had to say:

How do you handle moments when you feel overwhelmed?

"I pray. Then I remind myself in that moment of what my most important priorities are. Then I tackle them accordingly."

When do you feel most productive? 

"The morning--I am such a morning person. I wake up before my kids so I can have alone time, and get my creative work done. The morning is when I feel most optimistic, and when I have the most energy to conquer the day."

What’s the hardest part of your day?

"That's usually towards the end of the day, after many hours of homeschooling, working from home, tidying up, and taking care of everyone when my energy begins to wane and I still have to do nighttime baths, reading, and planning for the next day."

How (and how often) do you practice self-care?

"Every. Day. I won't get out of bed until I've meditated, prayed, gone over my gratitude, and asked for guidance. For me, self-care is not an option or a luxury; it's vital to my overall health and happiness as a mom."

What is your advice for dealing with mom guilt? 

"Check yourself, guilt isn't always something to shun away. Sometimes guilt serves as a painful reminder that we need to shift something in our lifestyle. I believe you can be a great mom and go after your dreams, but there is a delicate balance only your heart will be able to weigh. I always guide my clients to listen to what their emotions are trying to communicate with them. Guilt may have something to teach you in that moment."

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur? 

"That no one will work for or believe in you or your dreams if you don't--and that not everyone will like you--or understand you--sometimes even family and friends. And that's okay! Your destiny is your business--not theirs."

What is the most important lesson you want your kid(s) to learn from you?

"Most of all, I want them to exemplify self-love--to live in this world knowing that they matter--their contributions, gifts, and unique traits. It breaks my heart to see so many young people suffering from depression and anxiety due to not feeling valuable because they're comparing themselves to IG models or reality stars! I want my kids to be thinkers, have discernment, and believe in themselves in a world that constantly tries to make them feel insecure; which drives my work and my mission with Moms Wear Heels today."

Why was it important to you to be an entrepreneur even though some people may think that a 9-5 offers more stability? 

"It's been my experience that 9-5s do not offer stability--I've been let go of 'safe' jobs I hated due to budget cuts and am grateful for that happening so that now, I have the courage to work for myself. Once I graduated from college and everyone asked where I wanted to work, I intuitively knew it had to be for me. No job was attractive enough to cause me to trade time away from my kids for money. And as Jim Carey said, 'We can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.' I've been an entrepreneur for 8 years and have no intention of turning around now."

What advice do you have when it comes to time management as a mogul mommy? 

"So many women I've worked with have told me they don't have time for the things they claim they want in life--whether it's exercising or chasing a dream. We all have the same 24 hours in a day--so do a time audit and really see where your time is going. Are you on social media too long? Are you chilling with Netflix or YouTube when you could be growing your business? Be honest and investigate where your time and energy is going on a daily basis, and reprioritize where necessary."

How has being a mother helped you become a better entrepreneur (or vice versa)?

"Being a mom woke me up to my potential. Being a mother has also made me become more organized and better at time management. I realized that every 'yes' I'd give others was a 'no' I was giving to my kids and family. And that helped me to draw fierce boundaries as a businesswoman! As a mother, I only say 'yes' to things that I really want to say 'yes' to, and I've learned that 'no, thank you' really is a complete sentence."

What tips do you have for financial planning, both professionally and for your family? 

"Have family meetings. If you're married, you and your partner need to be on the same page. If you're single, you can do this yourself. My husband and I meet weekly and monthly to go over things like finances, goals, etc so we're on the same page. Develop a vision as a family, and practice discipline! If you decide you want to buy a home in the next two years, for example, plan to spend more frugally and save a certain amount each time you're paid. Set tangible goals you can measure. And check progress each time you meet."

To learn more about Monica and join the Moms Wear Heels Movement, follow her on Instagram @MomsWearHeels!

Featured image courtesy of @MomsWearHeels.

The Mamie 'Till' Movie Wants To Empower Us

Sitting in the theater getting ready to watch Nopefor the third time, I was excited, like a good film nerd, to see my friend's first-time reactions to the fun UFO horror-comedy. My heart sank immediately when a trailer for the film Till, which follows the life and legacy of Emmett Till's mother, Mamie, started playing first.

My knee-jerk reaction, of course, comes from years of watching film and TV that have exploited Black trauma onscreen and were created with little (if any) consideration for what could emotionally trigger the Black audience. The 1955 murder of Emmett Till is so heartbreaking and inherently violent; would this film make us live through that violence on screen?

Fortunately, no!

This week, before watching Gina Prince-Bythewood's incredible The Woman King, a featurette for Till played in place of a trailer and it soothed my fears.

"There will be no physical violence against Black people on screen," the film's award-winning director and co-writer Chinonye Chukwu says in the featurette. "I'm not interested in relishing in that kind of physical trauma. We're going to begin and end in a place of joy," she says.

Starring Danielle Deadwyler (whose heartfelt performance on HBO's Station Eleven stole the show) as Mamie, Till is a celebration of Mamie's tireless activism which sparked the civil rights movement that continues today and ultimately culminated in President Biden signing the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law just a few months ago in March 2022. "Mamie Till Mobley is a hero," says Alana Mayo, president of Orion Pictures, the production company behind the film. "I'm really, really committed to making movies not just by us, but for us," Mayo says in the featurette.

After a private screening of Till, this week, Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, tweeted that the film was "#Powerful" and "a must see."

Mamie's story of courage in the face of unspeakable tragedy deserves to be told--especially as we continue the fight for civil rights today. Knowing that the Black filmmakers behind the film are centering Black joy and aiming for our empowerment through the film makes a world of difference.

TILLis in theaters October 14.

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