Self care and delight is possible for any mama (like this one, holding her baby's feet)

The New Mama Guide for Self Care & Delight

I knew to expect my life to change forever after having a baby, but I couldn’t fathom how lost I would feel at first. All of my ideas of self-worth and success and “who am I” became a tangled glob of putty for a while, and in some ways, I’m still sorting through the beautiful mess – deciding which parts of me to carry forward and which ones no longer serve me. It’s actually a huge gift, becoming a mother – it’s a space for conscious self creation. A space that requires grace for beginning. And then – oh yeah! – self care. That thing that all the blogs and all the family tell you to do, but which can feel easier said than done. In today’s post, I’ll share some suggestions that will help you boost self-care and moments of delight to even the most tired of mothers.

BTW, this written in honor of a friend of mine; she just had a baby girl. I’m so thrilled for her, and for all of the new mamas out there who are navigating this strange new space. If this isn’t you, I bet you’ll still find an idea or two that would feel really good to use in your own life. And if you know a mama who could use these words, please share this post! May these self-care ideas help you navigate this slice of life, wherever you find yourself. 

Bursts of Self Care

Here are some self-care biggies that you may already know, but perhaps have yet to do. Please permit me this very gentle reminder. 

  1. You deserve to ask for all the help you need during this time. Consider this: from the outside looking in, people honestly can’t know how tired or lost or anxious you might be feeling. You know why? Because you’ve spent your life convincing others you’ve got it all together, and you are really good at it.  What you think is obvious sorrow or anxiety may not be obvious. They don’t know. They want to be there for you. Ask for what you need.
  2. Find or build a community of women who are in the same young-child phase. Having someone to text and say, “Today was hard,” somehow makes the day feel less hard. Someone to share your happy moments with makes them feel even happier. Life feels better when shared.
  3. Reframe “success.” This one is something I really struggled with. I went from being able to get all sorts of things done in a day to really struggling to feel successful, period. The dishes? Half done. The laundry? In the washer, but forgot to start it. That art project I was working on? Ha! So…if you’re a goal setter, set one (and only one) goal for the day. Something achievable within the day’s awake hours. 
  4. When you see your reflection in the mirror, tell yourself you’re doing a great job. Tell yourself everything you need to hear most. Remember to use your name. I promise you will see it in your eyes – the person looking back from your reflection desperately needs to hear these words. 

Moments of Delight

Moments of delight are another a form of self care that you can capture for yourself. 

  • Color: bring some sunshine into your home with a little color. If you’re feeling frumpy or underdressed, put on some earrings that make you smile. If you’ve got a shopaholic in your family – ask her to grab you some bright, happy colored t-shirts that will brighten your day. Buy some flowers. Add color to your life where you can! 
  • Smells: Smells are a great way to create calm and happiness. What smells can you bring into your home that will make you take a big breath and relax? A favorite tea? Cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove? Your favorite comfort meal? A scented candle?
  • Sounds: Sounds are powerful. For instance, you know which playlists call you when you need an energy lift, or something soothing. Youtube is great for hours-worth of nature sounds if being outside helps you quiet your mind (and you’re now stuck indoors!). 
  • Give gratitude: Gratitude for what’s at hand can help soothe a tired spirit. It doesn’t have to come from a joyful energetic space. Even small, quiet gratitude can help. Gratitude for the colors you see on your walk, or the comfort of your pillow, or the smell of your baby’s head. Gratitude for how good it is to have a voice that can sing. Gratitude for the bird that flew by. 

full steam ahead!

Welcome to this journey of motherhood! Often, I muse about how many folks out there give a strangled laugh and say how hard parenting is. (Well, it is hard sometimes). But mostly, I don’t understand why that’s the going phrase. You and I did not start families because we wanted hard lives. We did it because we want growth, and joy, and laughter, and fun. After all, it’s exciting to launch a dream and watch it unfold. With today’s tips for self care and moments of delight, maybe it will feel a little bit easier.

I’m so excited for you and so glad we’re in this together. You are an amazing mom and a light in this world. Your kid is so lucky to have you. You’re doing it right. You’re in the right place. Welcome to the club. go mama! 

***Go Mama Love is a growing community of mothers with a focus on self care, saving time, and tons of validation. If this article spoke to you in some small way, please share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. Every share makes a huge difference! With much love, -Ashley

Women laughing together

What to do when you feel isolated

Today’s post is dedicated to all the moms out there who feel a little isolated. Sure, it might not be an every-day thing – and sure, you probably have friends who love you tons – even so, you perhaps have moments when the kids are asleep and it’s just you at home, wishing you could be out in the world somewhere, meeting people and hanging out with friends just like you used to when you were a little more free. The real kicker is that it’s hard to know what to do when you feel isolated!

If you hatch a plan to get out of the house, I’ll give you some back pocket pointers to help make it easy to make new friends. 

Step 1: Recognize the limiting belief

You know how people say it’s harder to make friends as an adult? I’ve often thought that yes, that’s the case – for all the reasons that you and I are well familiar with. But then I met my husband. He’s one of those people that can go away for a weekend and come back with at least one new best friend. Or he’ll come home from a bar, or band practice, or anywhere with people present, and often say he shared a meaningful conversation with someone.

His example makes me re-think the idea that adults don’t make friends easily. In fact, I’m starting to think that the phrase is a limiting belief, if repeated often enough and ingested completely. I’m ready to re-frame this limiting belief and if you find yourself in the same boat, I hope you will join me! 

Steps 2-4 (which you’re about to read) come from conversations with and observations of the social butterflies in my life, my husband included. When I use these strategies myself, I often find myself with a new friend. They work!

Step 2: Believe you are worth knowing

The key to making a meaningful connection with someone is believing that you are worth knowing. And you so are! The trick here is to choose your self-talk before meeting someone (and even in-the-moment, if needed). 

Instead of, “What if they don’t like me?” Try: “I’m worth knowing, and the people I meet are worth knowing.”

Instead of, “I’m not good at meeting people.” Try: “I have beautiful relationships in my life.”

If you need an extra boost of self confidence, check out this post about all the ways you shine.

Step 3: Only tango if it’s fun

It takes two to tango. If the conversation isn’t flowing, you have every right to politely close it up and move on! 

It also can help if you remember that most people spend their time focused on their own inner dialogue and worry about how they sound to you. You will be way ahead of the game just by showing up, eager to really listen to people’s stories and ready to share a few real and true things about yourself. 

Step 4: Have a back-pocket question strategy

Ok – let’s say you’ve done all the prep work. You’ve reframed your inner dialogue. You know you’re worth knowing and you’re really eager to learn about other people! There’s just one piece left: what to say? 

I have a few questions I pull out in a pinch, and they follow this trend:  

  • Start with something super light, and each progressive question digs a little deeper
  • Stay open-ended, which will give you a chance to learn something that will spark more conversation 
  • Get to know the mom – don’t focus on her kids the whole time

Here are a couple of question sets. Borrow them or make up your own!

  1. What’s one of your favorite things about living in (your city) and why?
  2. What is the best wisdom you’ve heard that helps you with parenting kids at this age?
  3. What has been bringing you joy these days?

Or:

  1. Where do you like to take your family for fun?
  2. If you had a magic wand that could make anything happen for you or your family, what would it be? 
  3. What do you love about your life right now?

There are countless more questions you could ask. The article, “200 questions to get to know someone,” by conversationstarterworld.com could probably give you a few more ideas.

Go for it

Remember that you are a great mom, and a good friend, and absolutely worth knowing. There are so many other moms out there, wishing for friendship. Now that you know what to do when you feel isolated, you can become that warm person who makes the first steps. So get out there and do a social activity that you enjoy. With these strategies, you will be so easy to get to know! 


***I’m curious, what are your favorite conversation starters? Do you have strategies for building new friendships? Please share in the comments – may our lovin’ energy inspire and lift each other up. Go mama!

Woman who knows where her car keys are and gets places on time

How to be the mom that gets places on time

Do you ever feel like there are some moms who manage to juggle it all and still be on time, but that’s just not in the cards for you? Oh hey – nice to meet you! We’re in the same boat… but this boat’s headed for smoother waters. It’s completely possible to chip away at those things that keep you from being on time. Over the past six months, I’ve turned myself into someone that arrives on time. It feels strange, and awesome. Stick around – I’m going to show you how to be the mom that gets places on time.

The obvious things (that perhaps you haven’t committed to routine yet)

First, let’s acknowledge that there is a general routine in the chaos of getting out the door. And in that routine, there are many small things that can go sideways. You might have a different reason you’re late every day of the week! This is totally normal, and something you can fix. It won’t happen overnight, but as you chip away at time-saving for each piece of your get-out-the-door routine, you’ll find that it gets easier and easier. Suddenly, the random things that pop up no longer become the reason you’re late – you’ve made space for them. 

So, here are some activities and I challenge you to pick one that you can implement right away! Success creates momentum, so go for it! 

Options:

-Set clothes out the night before (and your kids’, or have them do it themselves if old enough)

-Have lunches prepped the night before and stacked together in the fridge

-Have breakfasts pre-made, ready to go in seconds or minutes

-Resist the urge to hit snooze

-Have cute, back-pocket hairstyles that you can throw together in minutes (youtube is awesome for inspiration!)

Let’s take it one step further

Ok, so let’s say you’ve done those things and they’re helping a lot, but you’re still struggling with how to be a mom that gets places on time. This is the point when you have to put in a little more work to figure out exactly why the problem is happening. As I explain in more detail in a recent post, there are pain points in any process (like getting out the door), that have causes that aren’t immediately obvious. Your job is to do the work of figuring out why. Check out the post when you have a sec – it’s a goldmine. 

The gist is that you have to ask “why” in response to a problem until you really understand why it’s happening. 

Where the heck did my keys go? (again!?!!)

Here’s an example from my own life: two to three times a day, I waste time looking for my keys. Honestly, most mornings I could be out the door two minutes sooner if I only knew exactly where my keys were. 

I bet you’ve got something similar. Maybe it’s your glasses. Or your hairbrush. Or your toddler’s second shoe. THOSE are the timewasters that we need to pay attention to. I promise, you will give yourself so much freedom if you start to notice them and chip away at them. 

As you read this, keep in mind that the solution I arrive at it is unique to me. If you have can’t-find-the-damn-key issues, I recommend you follow a similar process to discover what’s at the heart of the issue for you! 

Problem: I waste minutes, multiple times a day, looking for my keys in my purse.

Why? Because I don’t always put them in the same part of my purse. 

Why: There’s lots of pockets. 

Why? Because there’s no easy place to hook them. They just fall into whatever part is open and get buried. 

AHA! That’s the root problem. There is no obvious home for them. 

Your turn: become the mom that gets places on time

Ok, so I’ve found the root cause of my problem. There’s no obvious home for my keys. Now that I’ve figured this out, I can create a real solution  – I’m going to attach a butterfly clip to my key ring, so that I can always hook my keys to the same place in my purse. I’ll try it out for a while and if I find there’s still some annoyance, then I’ll take another crack at root causes.

Above all, remember that we’re after progress, not perfection. On time or not, you’ve got this mom thing covered and you’re doing a phenomenal job. Smarties like you and I? We keep the ball rolling. 

***I’m curious – what time-waster did you decide to address during this exercise? Tell me what it is and what your solution will be. I’m eager to know how you plan to become the mom that gets places on time! And don’t forget that your response in the comments may inspire someone else. May our lovin’ energy lift each other up. go mama! 

blue butterflies - magical as these time-saving techniques

3 Magical Time-Saving Techniques

Would you like to learn three magical time-saving techniques that really work? I hope so, because today’s post has some of the most important wisdom on saving time that I could share with you.

One of my favorite work experiences was becoming a Green Belt in Lean while working in a state government position. The time-saving skills I learned were eye-opening and if I get right down to it, they’re half the reason I started this blog: I want you to have more time in your life. You see, my vision is a world of daughters who grow up into women who love themselves. And who better to show them how to do that than their mothers? Mothers who have time to focus on self-care?

Background

To give credit where credit is due, “Lean” is a philosophy and methodology often attributed to the Japanese company Toyota. It comes with all sorts of japenese terms and methods that work, but they can also be hard to remember. The other thing is, there are loads of other people who have developed quite similar methods for saving time. 

What you’re going to get in this and other blog posts are tactics used by all kinds of people and families and companies, boiled down in a way that works for a busy mama like yourself. After all, you’re not a government worker or a car factory employee. And even if you are, any concepts we pull into our home to save time should feel good, flexible, open. 

Technique No. 1: Mindset Shift

Here is a mindset shift that can change your life because it will completely change your approach to problems and people: It’s our systems that make life hard, never ourselves or those around us. 

It’s our systems that make life hard, never ourselves or those around us. 

-Ashley Fisher, www.gomama.love blogger

It can be so, so, so tempting to get frustrated with things going wrong (or time being wasted) and furiously labeling someone that you actually quite like as the culprit. (If only they would try harder, and be more organized, your life would be easier). (Or maybe the culprit is you and you’re snapping at yourself again?)

The thing is – and I promise this is true 98% of the time – you and everyone you love are victims of your own design. We move in these systems that are riddled with flaws that do things like cause car keys to be lost and dinner to be later than you meant and everyone to get out the door 10 minutes late. And because we don’t realize the systems are the problem, our annoyances turn into real live arguments and finger pointing that hurt ourselves and the people around us. 

The beauty of knowing this is that you can completely shift how you approach frustrations at home or work. If everyone can get behind the idea that problems are not caused by people, but by systems, then we can get to the business of fixing them. All egos and relationships remain intact. 

Technique No. 2: Identify a problem, then pause. 

Ending wasted time habits is kind of like kissing your kid’s scratched knee. Just like how the kiss magically makes everything better, there’s something underneath the surface of your wasted time that needs to be addressed. Putting a band-aid on it just isn’t enough, you’ve got to lean in to the heart of the matter. 

When it comes to saving time, the root cause of what’s bothering you is where you need to focus. In other words – and this is super important – you have to suspend your brain’s amazing ability to problem solve. Because your brain is most likely to create a band-aid instead of a magic kiss. When you identify a problem that needs fixing – pause. 

Lesson No. 3: Ask “why” as many times as it takes

To get at the root cause, it helps to ask yourself “why” a number of times. This forces your mind to problem solve in a permanent way. I’ll give you an example. 

The dreaded clothes pile

I used to take 15 or 20 minutes cleaning up a pile of clothes in my room every week. And no matter how many times I renewed my resolve to put away clothes when I changed, it somehow fell to pieces. Finally, I started asking myself “why.” 

Q: Why do my clothes pile up on the floor?

A: Because I change when I come home from work. 

Q: Why do I change when I come home?

A: Because I want to be more comfortable, so I put on jeans and a t-shirt. And my work clothes get dropped on the floor.

Q: Why? 

A: Because I’m usually in a rush to get to my next activity, and the laundry basket is over in the closet. 

Aha!!! There it is. The laundry basket is not where I physically change, and I’m in a rush to get somewhere else. 

So, after finding the underlying issue, I re-organized my room so that I am forced to change clothes next to my laundry basket. I have those 15 minutes back every week now, and my room looks a lot better. 

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn to use these 3 magical time-saving techniques to fix something in your house that’s bugging you. Something that wastes your time. Remember: It’s the process and not people that have caused the problem. Don’t try to solve your issue right out the gate, or you could end up with a band-aid that doesn’t work all that well. Finally, ask yourself “why” until you reach an “Aha!” moment. You’ll probably come up with a solution you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. You’ll probably save some time! 

***I’m curious – what time-waster in your house are going to take a look at, now that you’ve got these three magical time-saving techniques? Write it down in the comments. Because even though it might feel small, making a comment is an action. And action creates more action. go mama! 

horse and rider on watery beach inspiration - your reflection can change your life

Your reflection can change your life

I know we haven’t met yet, but I bet I could name five things about you that are totally amazing. Sure, it’s a little unconventional to compliment someone you’ve never met, but let’s admit it – we could always do with a little more love in our lives! But here’s the deal: If I get any of these right, then you agree to say them to yourself for a whole week whenever you look in the mirror. Why? Because your reflection can change your life. 

If you say loving things to yourself in the mirror often enough, you’ll start to believe them, and belief in oneself has the power to change worlds.

Do you want to change your life?  

Do you accept the challenge? 

Five Amazing things that make you shine

Here are five things that make you shine: 

  1. You have an amazing laugh that makes other people smile.
  2. You notice things that others don’t.
  3. You are smart.
  4. You are resilient – it doesn’t matter what comes your way: you figure it out.
  5. You love deeply. Your love has changed people’s lives (and your own) for the better. 

How’d I do? Did I get any right? I hope you’re nodding. I hope you’re remembering these truths about yourself. 

Why complimenting yourself matters

I was reminded recently about how easy it is for women to lose sight of what’s real and good about themselves. There are so many of us who struggle to name five or ten positive things about ourselves. At some point in our lives, we direct criticism inwards. Eventually, we start to believe that criticism. Eventually, we forget the light that we are. 

I know, I’ve been there. I’m still there, sometimes. That inner critic is always lurking until I shine a light in her face and say that those thoughts don’t serve me anymore. The inner critic has no choice but to be quiet when I decide to speak differently to myself. 

Beautiful spirit, a huge part of loving ourselves involves speaking gently to ourselves. We must build ourselves up just as much as we build up our kids and those we love. This is even more important as mothers. We’ve become experts at being hard on ourselves, but to give our daughters the very best shot at operating differently, we must first change ourselves. If we can learn to love ourselves, we set our daughters up with a huge head start in doing the same. They learn first from us. 

We’ve become experts at being hard on ourselves, but to give our daughters the very best shot at operating differently, we must first change ourselves.

-Ashley Fisher www.gomama.love blogger

Motherhood and the Self Esteem Nosedive

Being easy on ourselves about how we mother is another great place to start, when it comes to self talk. Tell that mirror you’re an amazing mom, because you are!

Psychology Today has a nice article where counselor Megan MacCutcheon talks about self-esteem, and the toll that trying to do everything perfectly takes on women, especially when we become mothers. We fill so many roles, and we strive to be good at every one of them! We have this idea that not being “perfect” (whatever that is) means we’ve failed. 

Being a mom is actually an ideal place to start noticing self-talk that hurts our inner psyche and hearts. I say this because life is more in-your-face than ever before. So maybe we can notice our inner life a little different, too. Maybe now is the time to change. 

Your turn

I did win, right? Are you ready now to fill your end of the wager? (I know at least one of the compliments we started with were right. Hint: You have an amazing laugh. You’re resilient and smart. Your love changes people’s lives.)

Actually, the way I see it, there are only winners on this one. I wouldn’t set you up to fail. 😉

Your reflection can change your life, starting now. Every time you see your face in a mirror, look into your eyes and say kind things to yourself. Tell yourself what a good job you just did getting everyone to school and work. Tell yourself how strong and independent and smart you are. Tell yourself how great your laughter is. Tell that woman in the mirror that you love her. She needs to hear it. She’s probably been waiting to hear it for a long time. 

***I’m curious, what’s something you love about yourself? What will you tell your reflection, and are you ready for those words to change your life? Write it in the comments. May our loving, positive energy lift each other up. go mama!

A rainbow as a symbol that everything's ok. We don't have to live in the past or be hard on ourselves about it.

Living in the past? Here’s what to do.

Have you had days where you replay a past mistake over and over, as if reliving your embarrassment will sometimes make it better? Me too. Sometimes I replay scenes that surely everyone else has long forgotten, or at least they’ve ceased to care. And what do you do to get out of that internal re-play? Have you found a way to make it stop? If you often find yourself living in the past, this article is for you. 

Your life on repeat

I bet a number of things are happening to you when you obsess over the past in a negative way. Unkind words toward yourself are likely running through your head. You’re probably giving yourself a really hard time for those mistakes or imperfections. You’re probably forgetting how divinely loveable and worthy you are. I bet precious minutes go by that you could be using for something (anything!) more enjoyable, but you’re lost in the past, hurting your heart. Meanwhile, your body is in a stressed state of flight or flight, which will take literally hours to come down from. 

According to a Success article featuring Erin Olivo, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical psychology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, there’s no emotional difference between living an experience and re-living it in our minds. In other words, we create stress when we ruminate on a past event over and over. And what is stress? It’s triggering our bodies into a state of fight or flight. There is no danger in most of our waking moments, yet we create stress for ourselves by reliving our pasts. 

it’s ok now

Dear, bright spirit, let’s take a big breath, you and I. 

(yes, right now – big inhale…. and let it go….)

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re on a journey to heal your heart. To heal into the now. It’s because you want to feel fully alive, and you want that joy to expand into an example that your children will follow. 

I want that for you, too. 

4 Techniques to stop living in the past

Here are a few things that can be done to help curb this habit of living in the past. Keep in mind that these suggestions should be done with love toward yourself, never as an opportunity to be hard on yourself when you realize you’re living in the past again. 

  • Notice when you are ruminating, and say some sort of mantra that calls you back to the present. I often use a mantra by Tich Nhat Hahn: “I have arrived, I am home/ In the here, in the now/ I am solid, I am free/ In the ultimate, I dwell.”  This works for me, but you might have a different one that calms your heart. 
  • Forgive yourself as quickly as possible. On Puttylike*, Emilie shares that she makes a practice of allowing herself to feel embarrassed when something happens, and then she chooses to forgive herself within hours of the event. Isn’t that beautiful? She makes a choice to let go, and in doing so – she never even forms a habit of reliving a mistake or embarrassment. 
  • We choose the thoughts we think and sometimes our minds just need a nudge in a different direction. Ask your mind to help you in not reliving moments. Tell it that these thoughts no longer serve you, that you choose to think about things that feel good and you could use it’s help in doing this. 
  • Consider the possibility that there are no mistakes, only learning experiences. What we consider a mistake is just a sign that we are growing, and there will always be more to learn. There’s flow in language like “learning experience.” A mistake sounds serious, unfixable, unmovable – but our lives aren’t like that. We move on, we grow, we only ever have “learning experiences.” 

Feelin better already 🙂

Aren’t we blessed? We live in a world where safety and beauty fill our days. It’s a choice to think hard thoughts, and we can choose again in every moment. We can forgive our pasts. We can be grateful for who we are right now. Why, we can even look at ourselves from the perspective of those who love us: they want only happiness and ease for us, in the end, and they would never spend much time dwelling on our mistakes. In their eyes, it’s all part of the story, it’s all ok.  

I hope the rest of your day has moments where you notice the deep peace all around and within you. I hope you feel the love that surrounds you. You are an amazing human being, a light in this world, a good friend and an amazing mother. Thank you for being. 

***I’m curious, is there a mantra or quote or calming technique that is powerful to you? One that helps you calm and center yourself? Make sure to write it in the comments. You never know who you will help by sharing. May our lovin’ energy inspire and lift each other up. Go mama!

tasty breakfast pic to inspire batch breakfasts

55+ tasty, speedy breakfast ideas

Dear readers, dear friends – one thing you should know about me is that I put my money where my mouth is. The speed-up-your-routine ideas I provide are only on this blog because I’ve tried them, they actually work, and my life has been made better by them in some way. I want this for you, too. So today, I offer you 55+ tasty, speedy breakfast ideas.

How do breakfasts work in your house? We all know the importance of breakfast, but I bet most of us would raise our hands if we were sitting in a room and someone asked, “Who here struggles to find time to make a good breakfast?” 

And another question we’d probably raise our hands for: “Who here wishes they could enjoy their breakfasts a little more?” I don’t know about you, but the food I often grab to eat on the way to work hardly counts as something I’m enjoying. 

Today, I offer resources that will put some flavor back into your mornings and make it easier to get out the door. You heard that right, getting ready to leave the house will be faster. 

55+ tasty, speedy breakfast ideas

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, batch cooking is a huge time saver. You get lots of meals made at once, and you minimize the amount of dishes later in the week. Surprisingly, most batch breakfasts work really well as a freeze-then-thaw meal. So why not batch for breakfasts? The below blog links have over 55+ tasty, speedy breakfast ideas. One of these should strike your fancy!

Kristin Appenbrink on thekitchn.com has a great article with 30+ batch breakfast ideas. The range from carrot zucchini pancakes, egg muffins, frozen burritos, muesli or oatmeal with fruited yogurt mixes, and for a little fun – yogurt and fruit breakfast popsicles. All of the 30 meals look delicious and are worth a try! 

Kristine at Kristine’s Kitchen Blog has a fun article with some smoothie recipes as well as a breakdown of smoothie basics. You basically get the idea of what you need on hand for smoothies and the different flavor and nutrition directions you can take them. 

Or try this one by Julie from Julie’s Eats ‘n Treats. She’s put together over 25 crock pot recipes that are sure to be easy to throw together, tasty, and filling. 

New habits take time, but you’ve got this

As with anything, it takes a little time to start a new habit like how breakfast is handled. But we both know that it’s something worth doing. After all, if you can do it in a way that not only keeps you and your family feeling full, but saves you time?! That’s a win all around. And I can tell you from recent experience as I’ve made changes in my own kitchen, it gets easier and easier. 

And hey, know what else? In the end, if you pan out a hundred miles, the big picture is that you are doing an amazing job at being a mom. Be it cereal or casserole, the breakfast menu pales in comparison to this monumental thing you’re doing in raising humans who know they are loved. Well done. 

***I’m curious, what are your family’s favorite go-to breakfasts? What fills your bellies and tastes good, to boot? Please share in the comments! May our lovin’ energy inspire and lift each other up. go mama!

camouflage bird is like this parenting secret hidden in plain sight

This parenting secret is hidden in plain sight

There’s something hidden in plain sight in every day moments. Something that says you and I are amazing parents. It can be easy to forget it, too, when so much of our focus is on our little ones.

At day-care pickup, my husband and I often try to steal a quiet moment watching our daughter before she notices we’re there. We’re so curious what she’s like out in the world, with other people.

Once we’re all home, we shift into more familiar spaces and dynamics. A routine that involves the obligatory snack and diaper changes and playing together (or averting a tired melt-down) while somehow getting dinner on the table. Where do the days go? And did you catch the melt-down bit in that last sentence? They’re getting more common. Full-body-on-the-floor tantrums, following me and crying loudly for minutes on end when she’s been told “no.” Is there ever a way to feel less frazzled in these moments? 

But still, we move on and watch from a distance when we can, eager to know what this person is like when she’s not in mama-and-papa-are-right-here mode.   

Who Our Kids Are

A family friend made an interesting comment recently. She shared an old saying: Who your kids are with other people is who they will be. The sentence has lodged solidly in my mind and I know I will be watching differently now. Looking for how she brings her home-self into the world, and also for how she shows up without that home-self version that I know so well. What a beautiful mystery she is!

The sentence also seems to resolve a common theme among moms of judging our own parenting. There’s this scene in a Netflix show I’ve been watching that drives home the point. The show’s called “Working Moms,” and it’s got laugh-out-loud moments around every turn. There’s one scene in particular that I think we can all relate to. There’s this mama who is wholesome to a fault when it comes to her children – but one day something goes wrong in public and she breaks down, telling the other moms around her how being a mom is her one job and she’s failing at it. They can’t believe their ears that this wonderful parent would say that about herself.

A parenting secret hidden in plain sight

Do you ever feel like that? It’s a crazy thing, isn’t it? Judging our own parenting when there are literally no guidelines, no criteria, and no grades. For me, the old wisdom that “who our children are in public is who they will be” brings comfort to the craziness of self-judgment and doubt that threatens the edges of parenting. It’s a parenting secret hidden in plain sight.

Think about it – we know our children deeply, in a way that no one else ever could. And yet, we somehow still can only scratch the surface. There is a vast spectrum to who they are and who they will be that we can only guess at, only hope for. In the end – because of and in spite of our lovin’ efforts – they’re already picking up the ball and running on their own. 

During my daughter’s first year, I often felt like the center of her universe. Part of me thinks now, though, that as moms, we’re always the backdrop. The solid place to come home to. And we know how to do that. We do that easily. We do it well. This, my friends, is how we know absolutely that we are doing this parenting thing right. 

***I’m curious, how do you talk yourself off the ledge when you start to doubt your abilities as a mom? What parenting wisdom has come your way? Please share in the comments. May our lovin’ energy inspire and lift each other up! go mama! 

3 ways to joyfully say goodbye to summer

It’s September – can you believe it?! I feel like fall crept up on me this year. It’s my favorite season but it’s hard saying goodbye to summer this time. Something shifted in the past month and I’ve felt more energetic and awake than I have since becoming pregnant two years ago. I feel like myself again. I’ve missed this. 

There are a whole slew of reasons I’m feeling so good, and I know they won’t stop with the onset of fall. Vitamins and fish oil pills, my daughter finally sleeps through the night, I’ve probably doubled my intake of vegetables, and I’m running for longer and longer stretches. (Don’t get me wrong – this means I can go up to a mile now without a break. We’re not talking marathon runner here, but hey, I’m feeling awesome!).

Maybe this all boils down to that old theme of resisting change. And in this case, it’s the weather: resistance is futile. There’s this new blogger out there in the world named Ingrid Fetell Lee who spreads the idea that, “our greatest source of joy is the world around us.” Her monthly joyletter (aka newsletter) is seriously inspiring. And in honor of this idea that joy is all around us, I’ve dug up some ideas that will prompt some creative activities that honor the transition into this season that is as full of abundance as it is beautiful. It might sound a bit rambunctious, but we really can joyfully say goodbye to summer.

Celebratory Fall Planting

Make this a just-mom project or loop the kids in:

  • Make a fall outdoor planter for your porch or balcony. Fill it with textures and colors that make you smile. For a little inspiration, check out this post by Pam Kessler in House of Hawthornes.
  • Plant bulbs for next spring – tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and irises are great options. The DIY gardener has some other pro fall-gardening tips for your list. 
  • There are tons of vegetables that thrive in a fall garden – chard, kale, broccoli, beans, the list goes on….Jill Winger at The Prairie Homestead can get you started with her detailed descriptions for what to plant and how to keep each vegetable happy. 

Artsy fall projects

There are a million fall craft ideas out there and I can say that usually I have more ideas than a single human can handle. I maybe get to one or two. So with that in mind, here are some super easy and fast fall projects that we busy mamas can probably squeeze in! 

  • For some fun with the kids, Frugal Mom eh! Suggests we try these pumpkin apple stamps. A halved apple is the stamper – using orange paint it makes a pumpkin shape on the paper. Paint in a stem and leaves and wolla, pumpkins abound! 
  • 10 Minute DIY Pumpkin Soap looks like a lot of fun. Heck, you could invite some other moms over and make it a hang out session! Heidi Kundin at Happiness is Homemade has the instructions. 
  • Make a wreath for your door. Personally, I just rummage through thrift stores for cast off wreath bases and fake flowers. Then I tie ‘em on with some ribbon or twine and wolla! 10 minutes and Done. But if you want something a little more fine-tuned, these are some beautiful and affordable ideas from the Prudent Penny Pincher.

Get out of the house

If there are any trips you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t, now is a great time to plan them! We’re squeezing in some late season camping over here in Wisconsin, hitting up those last farmers markets, and keeping our ears open for word of the area’s best pumpkin patches. I do love fall. Ahhh, yesssss…..


***I’m curious, what are your favorite parts of transitioning to the fall? How do you say goodbye to summer? What are your traditions, and what new things are you thinking about doing this year? Do share a comment. May our lovin’ energy inspire and lift each other up. go mama!

Pro Tips to Turbocharge Dinner

What do you love most about your evenings? If you’ve had a day at the office, are you getting some sweet time with your kiddos and/or getting dinner on the table? If you’re a stay at home mama, do you get a much needed break? Whatever your situation, I bet you are the heroine who gets at least half the dinner meals on the table each week. I bet you’d also love some pro tips to turbocharge dinner.

I enjoy cookin’ dinner. After working at a computer all day, it feels so good to feast my eyes on colorful vegetables and immerse my hands in interesting textures as I chop, rinse, and stir. But I’ll tell ya one thing – I do not love how long it takes to cook! Love doing it, but wish it could go faster. 

For today’s blog, I’ve done some scouring of the internet to bring you pro tips to turbocharge dinner. In other words – it’s time cooking dinner went faster! I’ll share a few of their ideas here and also give you links to the full articles. You should also check out this earlier post with 5 essential time saving tips for your kitchen.

Straight from the pros: turbocharge dinner

Sarah Crow at Eat This, Not That! recommends that we: 

  • Use “mise en place,” which is a french term that means “to put in place.” In other words, get everything ready, chopped, and prepped before you start cooking. Your meal will turn out better and feel less chaotic as it’s prepared.
  • Get some kitchen shears to make cutting faster
  • Make one-pan meals that roast meat and veggies together

In a bon appetite article with a sweetly playful voice, Christina Chaey suggests we:

  • Stock up on ingredients that feel fancy, but are super easy to cook. Ground lamb, anyone?
  • Consider the freezer our best friends. Use it for leftovers, for extra bags of tomato sauce, for extra bags of pre-prepped fresh herbs, for pre-sliced fancy bread that you can throw in the toaster. You get the idea. 
  • Cook grains in extra-large batches. The leftovers will inspire other meals during the week, and the grain part’s already done!

Taylor Isaac at CookSmarts has our backs with an article that talks about saving kitchen time on the cooking and cleaning side:

  • Keep a trash bowl or trash can near you. We waste precious time going back and forth to a trash can!
  • Prep dry ingredients first. This lets you re-use your measuring cups and spoons without washing in-between. 
  • Batch prepping = batch cleanup. (Notice a batch theme across these authors?!)  Batching makes meals big enough for leftovers, and means you’ll have less dishes to wash on those leftover nights. 

Let’s do this!!!

Well, there you have it! Straight from experts who have shortened their cooking time. I’m going to be intentional about employing some of these points in my own home, especially the “mise en place,” – aka prepping before starting to cook. We’ll see how it goes!

***I’m curious, what are your go-to tricks for making dinner quickly? What’s your turbocharge dinner secret? Make sure to write it in the comment box! Give this go mama community some inspiration – after all, we could all use a little more time in our lives! go mama!