Lifestyle & Fitness Coach Monica Bencomo Prioritizes Self Above All Else
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.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
Featured image by skynesher/Getty Images