FIVE X FIVE: Kristel David
The Tot FIVE x FIVE invites inspiring mamas to answer five questions on motherhood and curate five products they can’t live without. Here we talk to Kristel David, speaker, strategist, creator of the Fox Project and mother of five.
From the outside, mother of five and entrepreneur, Kristel David, makes her hectic workload and jam-packed schedule look effortless. To be completely honest – she even makes it look glamorous. However, Kristel is the first person to tell you what’s really up. Passionate about her husband, five daughters and lifestyle website, Wife Complex, Kristel writes about the complexities of success and how she overcomes negative self-talk. With the aim to inspire women around the world to think big and act big while maintaining healthy relationships, Kristel offers mentoring and is an avid public speaker.
Kristel on Motherhood
As the mother of five – how has your parenting style evolved from child to child?
“The evolution of my motherhood with each child has revealed a new layer of my being and shown me that life is about love, joy, connection, authenticity, fun, passion and grace. Not perfection, right or wrong, or even good or bad.
With my first I did all things “right” and “perfect”
With my second I realized there is no right way and perfection doesn’t exist.
When my 3rd and 4th came around I had been introduced to conscious eating and more natural ways of doing things. Motherhood was challenging as is but then navigating whether to vaccinate or not, reading labels, time out or no time out, figuring out how much screen time is appropriate? Just so many questions about what felt right for us.
These last few years have really taught me the importance of grace and the power of trusting my intuition.
With baby 5 I read the book The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary, which has completely transformed my parenting style. Before reading that book I bought into the hype that there’s no manual to parenting and much of my ways rooted from unhealed baggage and trauma from my own child hood and manifest as reactive parenting, fear based teaching and hindering their human spirit to the confines of my blocks and triggers. The truth is, there are tons of parenting manuals. There are tons of lessons to be learned from our fellow mamas. I found a balance between learning from other mamas and listening to my own intuition to create my own style that suits my babes and me.
My biggest lesson to date in my motherhood journey is to focus more on BEING a mom versus DOING mom things. I was all the things for my kids. I birthed them. Nursed them. Planned their parties. Hung their monogrammed stockings on the fireplace. Got them to and from school. Put them in every extra curricular activity known to man. I was doing what superwomen do. But I was not being present. I realized that being a superwoman is boring if you’re doing life alone. I learned that having a village is the only way to truly raise up a child. I got to ask for help so that I could BE there and not just spend my days DOING.
Being present is greater than giving presents. Being love is greater than them loving their new toys and clothes. Being connected to their little souls is greater than connecting them to the right sports and activities.
When I started asking for help and started doing less and being more, motherhood got really, really sweet. And yet here I am. Still breaking down each day to discover a new breakthrough and being okay with my evolution as a human thru my children who are ever changing themselves.”
What advice do you have for women who feel like they’ve lost their identity after becoming a mother?
“My advice to women is to commit to self-discovery and self-development. If you lose yourself you lose everything. I believe that men and women often don’t know who they are and what their identity is even before they meet and have kids. Then when their roles as partners take place and the kids come, they have an easy way out of continuing self-discovery. They can hide behind their roles, they can use their kids as reason and excuse not to push past fear and continue to chase their wildest dreams, which I believe is the core to living a life worth living.
Then realize that your Identity is not outside of you in a title, role or to-do list. It has always been and always will be within. You will truly find your identity when you get real with yourself and strip away comparison, self doubt, past trauma, generational baggage, fear of failure, fear of judgement, the need to be a people pleaser, the need to be perfect, the need to be right, fear of rejection, lack of trust in yourself…and all the things clouding who you’ve always been deep down in your soul.
I teach women I work with to start with vision. Getting honest about the deepest desires of their heart. When you set goals for your life and commit to creating them it is the journey of becoming where life happens. Fulfillment is wrapped in failure and growth. When we stay stuck and comfortable we lose the opportunity for finding out who we are and what we’re really made of.
I have a free Self Identity guide you can download and use to dive deeper into who you are!
How do you help yourself and other women release their mom guilt?
“First things first, realize that many of us mamas are suffering from mom shame not mom guilt. The definition of guilt is: the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime. The definition of shame is: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
When dealing with mom guilt and or shame first ask yourself is what I am doing, want to do or have done wrong? If the answer is yes, then ask yourself according to who and what? Your standards? Your religion? Your morals and values? Societal expectations? External comparisons?
When I yell at my kids out of bad habit, frustration and overwhelm, I feel guilty because I do not want to yell at my kids. I want to show them love, patience and grace. Those are my personal desires and standards as a mother and I feel guilty afterwards. But it’s when I start comparing myself and beating myself up that I’m probably the only mom yelling at my kids and I’m a bad mom that shame overwhelms me and gets me down.
When I leave my kids to work on my business, have a date night or take part in self care, I used to have shame because I couldn’t wait to leave! I had that anticipation and excitement you have when you’re heading on vacation. But the shame was rooted in comparison because most the moms around me would say things like “I didn’t leave my son until he was 4” or “I don’t know how you do it. I can’t just leave my kids with anyone.”
What was authentic to me is that I was okay with leaving my kids and I trusted other people with them. I actually feel that it is good for them. But shame kicked in because I’d compare myself to others NOT because what I was doing or feeling was wrong.
Ultimately when we want to see change we get to be change so the biggest piece of advice I can give all of us mamas is to stop the jugement. Just STOP! Our children are different and what works for some does not work for others. If we stop judging others we will create space to stop being judged.
Live your life mama. Be authentic and do you! Only you know what is best for you and your kids. And when you do mess up, because you will, have grace and move forward.”
Can you share a few tips for maintaining a passionate relationship with your husband post kids?
“I maintain passion in my relationships by maintaining passion in myself. I put myself first. The reality is that when my cup is full it runs over for the people I love the most, my husband and my kids.
Putting me first looks like pursuing my dreams and goals. Doing things that set my soul on fire. Taking part in self-care, demanding naps and sleeping in from time to time. Teaching my kids to be independent and showing them they are capable of doing things that they want me to do for them. It also looks like asking for help. Once I got off my superwoman high horse and delegated the domestic duties I found that my husband was capable of cooking, cleaning, watching the kids and doing baths and bedtime.
My husband comes before my kids. Never forgetting how our babies got here. We do this by enforcing bedtime so we have some time without the kids around, frequent date nights, keeping up our physical appearance and allowing each other space to do individual things that make us happy outside of each other.”
Do you have a mentor or role model you turn to for guidance?
“Yes! I believe every human should have a mentor and a village. We all need someone pulling us up, inspiring us to be better, people beside us in the trenches reminding us we are not alone and someone who we are pulling up and inspiring to be better. It’s the cycle of life!
I follow many mentors online and indulge in their content such as Lisa Nichols, Brené Brown and Gary Vaunerchuck. Outside of online content I consume, I have worked with a mentor Shanda Sumpter the last 3 years as well as several other mentors in all areas of my life personal and business like a parent coach and health coach.”
Kristel Top 5 Picks from The Tot
My kids L-O-V-E to color and create. They have cut, colored and painted on so many of their clothes so to give them clothes that were intended to design is a win for me and them ha! They also love pajamas. My kids are the kids that won’t wear just anything to bed, they have to have matching Pajama sets so these are by far a must have all around!
Selfie Clothing Co. Coloring In Pajama Set – Tropical
“Our family is very into health and wellness and whole food is a foundation to that. It is important to me that my kids know how to grow their own food, to create a fun and educational experience for them around how to sustain life and to simply know that carrots and lettuce don’t come from a bag, they grow in the ground! Plus, having a wheelbarrow is so nostalgic and a classic toy every kid gets to enjoy!”
“I have used the same rocking chair with all of my babes. I could go without most of the nursery “must haves” but to have a comfy chair to basically sleep in during late night and early morning feedings and then to have it for reading, hanging out and not to mention decor…it is an investment that you can keep and use over and over. I love the cream color because it’s clean, fresh and neutral which makes it easy to use for future babies with all nursery colors, themes and genders!!
The ottoman to the glider is like fruit and tajin or ordering a salad at Chik-Fil-A and not getting a side of waffle fries. It’s doable but just goes so well together and makes it that much better! My ottoman was used in another room temporarily at one point and that’s when I realized how much I not only use it but enjoy it!
“Anytime I can have fox symbolism near by I’m here for it! I coin women I work with as ‘foxes’ because the fox spirit animal is keen, self aware and moves thru darkness. I believe these are qualities us mamas get to have to sustain the ups and downs of life and motherhood! Yes, this toy is for the babes, but we are the ones who will be picking it up a million times each day, making sure it’s packed in the baby bag, and washing it from all the tumbles to the ground. Simple reminders that you’ve got this mama are always a good idea! Plus, I love that this fox is 100% natural rubber.”