Woman surrounded by spring flowers. You can boost your mood, even with spring fever!

How to feel joyful when you’ve got spring fever

A flush of weather in the high 40s hit Wisconsin over the weekend, turning my mind to spring and the tulip and dwarf iris bulbs I planted last fall. They’re somewhere under the frozen layer of earth, brimming with bottled energy. I can feel it. Soon I’ll turn around and there they’ll be – a rainbow of colors gracing my yard, hopefully giving passers-by a reason to smile. What about you? Has spring fever hit? Today I’d like to offer you some easy-to-do tips that will spark feelings of well being, even as we wait for sunshine and flowers. 

Create joyful spaces

In a thoughtful and uplifting blog post called “7 emotional lessons for a more joyful life,” Ingrid Fettel Lee writes, “Because joy is small, it’s accessible. I might not know how to be happy on a particular day, but I know that I can find one or two moments of joy that I might not have had otherwise.” I love this idea. Some days, I’m not sure how to pull myself out of a funk but I do know that I can hold gratitude for a flash of color or a pretty bake brought to the office by a co-worker. Small moments that spark joy are everywhere, and they can be intentionally created. 

Ingrid’s words speak to the concept of joy-making that I recently stumbled upon in my own life. I never realized it before, but by the small act of placing something that evokes loving and joyful emotions, I can completely transform how I feel about a space.  Slowly, oh so slowly, I’ve been bringing me-things into my office. Plants and artwork and most recently, a framed photo of my daughter wearing a sweet, knit fox hat. That picture was the missing piece; it turned my office into a place I like spending time. Every time I look at her face, positive feelings fill my mind and body.

You can spark joy in any of your spaces, too. That all-black outfit could have some bright earrings or a scarf. A bright layer of paint or art could make the bathroom a space where you feel energized. Maybe scents or musical sounds from special pieces of your past could be brought into your present, ready to help you transform your mood. 

Make New Beliefs About Yourself

Here’s another inspiring bit of writing that can make the best of spring fever. It’s so full of love and hope for all of us – wisdom on how to follow our hearts to our joy. “How to Create Joy Today: 7 tips for a Happy Life,” by Sarah Maude over on the Tiny Buddha blog. It’s hard to pull just one quote from this, but I will say that the section on spring cleaning your belief system resonates. Sarah writes, “Many people believe they have to live with the cards they have been dealt, that life is tough, or if you want something you have to fight for it. Yet beliefs are only thoughts that we keep thinking. No belief is set in stone.” 

Isn’t that on point? We build beliefs because they seem to fit circumstances. Years later, those beliefs still whisper to us even if our spirits and lives are calling us to do and be and believe something totally different.

Personally, I straddle two worlds – a researcher by day, and a creative writer and singer by night, slowly forming community. I dream of more time to bake and play with new art forms; discovering parts of me that are waiting to be born. Through it all, I have started to wonder, what limiting beliefs are holding me back? What limiting beliefs might be preventing me from the fullness of who I could be and the experiences I could have?

Sarah challenges us to ask ourselves: “Where has this belief come from?” “What does this belief cost me on a daily basis?” “What would happen if I let go of this old belief?”

Sarah Maude on Tiny Buddha

Good thoughts to ponder as we wait for spring. I know that the longer days ahead will bring with them a boost in energy. Perhaps you and I will be prepared to use that energy to rewrite those limiting beliefs into something powerful and true. 

Love that body of yours

It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? How we consider our bodies separate from our selves, like a thing we own instead of the thing we are. The body is entwined with our moods and thoughts and beliefs. A healthy body can overcome a lot of spring fever blues. It becomes easier to think thoughts, create joy, and re-frame limiting beliefs. 

This Forbes article has some spot-on suggestions for beating the winter blues. Among them are exercising, eating healthy, sleeping well, making meaningful connections, and engaging in healthy activities like mediation. Also, don’t forget that supplements can make a difference. Vitamin D sits at the top of the list in this Mindbodygreen article. It’s key in supporting our immune systems and boosting our moods.

For all you post-partum mamas out there, keep in mind that a blood panel can help you figure out if your body needs extra support. Pregnancy takes a toll and a personal blood-panel can be the thing that kick-starts a path to wellness. Even women who had their babies years ago might still carry an imbalance from their pregnancy.  

Here comes the sun

Spring is coming, I promise! In the meantime, I hope the resources provided today give you some mood-boosting inspiration as you move through spring fever. And wherever you are, whatever you’re up to this week – know that I’m cheering for you. We are all blessed because you’re here on this planet, loving and living and shining light into the world as only you can. Stand tall, sister.

***If you liked this post, please share it to social media! The Love Your Mom Life 101 online course is about to launch. I’m grateful to all who help spread the word by sharing links to the blog or website! The course will teach moms how to quickly free up 2 hours per day so that they can enjoy their beautiful lives without stressing over their to-do lists. So thrilled to be launching this amazing resource!

Woman running...just like busy moms run all the time. Let's prioritize!

3 Mom-Approved Ways to Prioritize

“Prioritize!” It’s one of those hot button phrases out there, whether you’re a busy mom or a busy business person. Speaking as a mom, I also know that it can be tough to prioritize a to-do list when all of it is necessary for one reason or another. In the end, though, prioritizing is a form of self care. It keeps you calm and confident. That’s why today I offer you 3 mom-approved ways to prioritize, used by myself and other mothers.

Method 1: The Urgent vs. Important Grid

This is my favorite tool that I’ve come across that helps prioritize. I use it at work and home. I don’t even know if it has an official title, but it looks like the below picture. As you can see, the most urgent, most important to-dos go in the upper left box. Next are the top right and bottom left (not urgent but important) and (less important but urgent). These get done after your most urgent/most important stuff is done. The bottom right is for everything else…stuff that would be nice to get to. I often find myself chipping away at that one when I only have a minute or two and can’t get into a bigger project.

The beauty of this is that it 1) forces you to define what is urgent and what is important, and 2) it captures everything in your brain so that you’re not doing a mental juggling act all the time. It really makes it easy to decide what to do next. Pro tip: use a post-it note inside each quadrant so that you can fill it up and replace it instead of re-drawing the grid each time it fills up.

Remember to throw self care activities in the mix!

Method 2: Ask 3 Key Questions

In this short video, Dr. Kate Northrup discusses the three questions that help her prioritize. She shares examples from her own life. Importantly, the stuff she keeps on her “to do list” become part of a weekly to-do list. Such a great concept because the reality is that life throws curve balls all the time, so take the pressure off of a daily list and make a weekly one! 

The questions that Dr. Northrup uses to prioritize are:

-Does this need to be done?

-Does this need to be done by me?

-Does this need to be done right now? 

I’ve already taken a page from her book this week and started asking myself, “does this need to be done by me?” Without even thinking about it, I tend to add stuff to my own to-do list without taking into account that my husband is probably up for helping if I just ask. Those birthday party invitations for our soon-to-be 2 year old are about to become a joint project!

Method 3: Order Your Life Priorities

The last of the 3 mom-approved ways to prioritize involves writing down your life priorities in order of importance. Then, as possible activities present themselves, say yes or no based on how well they accomplish your priorities. The Confident Mom has a post that gives an example of how one mom used this approach in her busy life so that she says yes to only what’s most important. Surprisingly, this mom ranked her kids #4, but if you look at her higher priorities (God, Husband, Home) you see that all of it combines to create a loving home for her kids.

The lesson here? You can prioritize areas of your life and you have every right to order them how you please. You’re the best mom your kids could have and everyone who loves you knows it. <3

Wolah! There you have it: 3 mom-approved ways to prioritize, offered by mothers who want the very best for your happy home and life. Sending all life’s brightest blessings to you this week. May you find yourself reveling in small moments that are only yours to cherish. Life is good. 

***If you found any of these ideas useful, be sure to share the blog link on Facebook and other social media. Sharing is caring!

Woman hiking on mountain. Live with no regrets.

The No. 1 Question to Make Sure You Live with No Regrets

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m all about helping you to shrink the time it takes to do housework and general life routines. My goal is to help you enjoy your beautiful life to its fullest. But I also think it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. Do you prioritize the things that will fill your heart? The things you’ll remember? I know it can be easy to forget this in the business of mom life. So today I offer you a key question that will help you live with no regrets. 

The No. 1 Question Is….

“Will I regret missing this?”

That’s it. Simple question. Pivotal answer. 

This message keeps crossing my path, and I’m grateful for it.

Flashback: I’m 18 years old and listening to a speech during Freshman orientation. Obviously I’m very cool because I now have a dorm room and a roommate and my parents are in another state. The speaker says: “You’ll never remember the time you spent studying. You’ll never wish you studied more.” He was speaking to a room full of high achievers. Many were about to disappear into books for four years. We would occasionally spot them at the late-night coffee shop in the library basement or on a quick run for the Walla Walla-famous taco truck. Because of that speech, I spent my college years asking, “Will I regret missing this?” If the answer was yes, I opted for the adventure over studying. Those were good times. 🙂

Flash forward 14 years: I’m now a mom and there is no orientation for a thing like this. The dorm is now a house, the roommate a husband. Obviously I’m less cool but also more real and solid in myself. Half my brain is devoted to a tiny human at all times, and some days the to-do list goes on and on. But there is a world full of voices that sing the same song as that speaker. The ones that say, “live with no regrets. Remember your beautiful life.” These are good times.

One of these voices appeared in a great article on NBC News about the mental load of motherhood. One woman shared: “I always thought forward and asked myself the question, “Will I feel bad if I miss this [family event]?” If the answer was yes, I didn’t go. No one will remember the business meetings I missed, but my family will remember the precious moments I was there for! That no-regret policy became my North Star.” 

You can have fun AND keep your clean-house standards

Now, let me be clear that prioritizing memory-making over a spotless house isn’t about lowering your standards. “Lowering your standards” is darn hard to do and it doesn’t make anyone feel good! I believe there are ways to keep your standards while having as much fun as possible.

You can check out these 33 Ways to Spark More Free Time for some easy-to-implement ideas. Another recommended post is 3 Magical Time Saving Techniques, which will help you nail down the exact things that waste time in your unique home and life (the stuff that no one can figure out for you). All told, if you can shrink the time it takes to get the less-fun stuff done, you amplify play time. 

There’s always the nose scrunch…

I do sometimes wish that I could do that famous nose wiggle from I Dream of Jeannie. Cute little nose scrunch and BAM! The house is clean. If I ever figure it out, I promise I’ll share! In the meantime, give yourself a big “Hell yeah” for all that you do accomplish. You are strong and brave and creative. A force to be reckoned with! And because you deserve the very best life has to offer, I hope you look toward these next days and weeks with an eye toward what will be most fun. May you live with no regrets. The dishes will be there when you’re good and ready.  

***Brag time! Tell me about a time when you chose fun and family over the work calling at you. What memory did you make? I’d love to hear, so be sure to share a comment. Go mama!

Koala bear with her baby. You're a mama bear, too - here are some apps to help you amplify self care.

Hey mama bear – it’s time to care for *YOU* with these 7 free apps

I love the idea of beginning anywhere. Anything that feels overwhelming or impossible is taken down to itty bitty bite size pieces. What’s your dream? Begin anywhere. How will you heal? Begin anywhere. How will you decide between all the options in front of you? Begin anywhere.  So whether it’s your mind, body, spirit, or relationship that you want to take to new levels, here is a list of 7 free apps that can support you as you unfurl your beautiful life. 

Apps for Body Health

-Avoid computer eye strain using a desktop app to remind (or force) you to take a break. I’m going to try one called “Awareness” because it uses tibetan bowls as the “time’s up” tone. Sounds nice. This article from Lifehack covers other apps that also do the trick.

-Are you drinking enough water? There are at least five apps out there that can help on this front, though the one called Aloe Bud is cute and includes tracks lots of self care elements besides water intake (like exercise, sleep, and eating). 

-Does waking up from a deep sleep ever make you feel groggy or out-of-it for the rest of the day? The Sleepcycle app solves that problem. It tracks your sleep and gently wakes you as close to your alarm as possible, but during the lightest part of your sleep cycle. This can help start the day on the right foot!   

Apps for Mind & Spirit

Insight Timer is a free app with over 25,000 guided meditations for topics that include sleep, anxiety, and stress. You’ll also find conversations from leading spiritual leaders. As a bonus, you get to feel connected with a huge community because the app lets you know how many people are meditating at the same time as you. 

Smiling Mind is a great one for people looking for guided meditations on the shorter end – such as the 5-15 minute range. Plus, this one has content that the whole family can use. 

365 Gratitude. This one is intriguing and I’m going to give it a try, myself. This app turns gratitude into a game you can win. Brains love games and success, so it seems like a faster way to rewire a mind toward grateful thinking. 

An App for your Relationship

Love Nudge for Couples. “It’s like a fitness app for relationships,” declares the website for this free app. The company has been around for a looong time, famous for helping couples understand the 5 Love Languages. Never heard of it?! Basically, each human has one primary way that they interpret information as “love.” For some people, gifts express love, others feel love through acts of service, others through affirmations, etc. This app helps you express love in a way that your partner considers most loving. Worth a try if you miss the quality time you shared with your partner before the first baby arrived. 

Begin Anywhere

Writing this post has been kinda fun. It feels good to know that there are so many people out there trying to build a world of people who love their lives. Some of these people even make apps! I feel like the older I get, the more I understand how much intention it takes to live healthy, happy, and whole. I think it would be overwhelming to try all these 7 free apps at once, but I will likely pick one or two that could make a difference and see what happens. 

My friend, whatever you most want to draw into your life these days, I hope you succeed. Remember that you are an unstoppable force once you make a decision. Your dream will come true, clarity will come. You are in the perfect place to make the next thing happen. Begin anywhere. 

***Tell me, because I would love to hear… what dream have you already made happen for yourself? Your story may just inspire someone else, so be sure to click on the comment button to share! Go mama! 

Woman and baby in stroller, enjoying the day

How I made free time during 6 months as a single mom

It’s been a journey, writing weekly blog posts and incorporating what I’m learning into my life. What made this fall extra trying was that our second floor became a full-out renovation zone. My husband disappeared into our upstairs for days on end while I kept the wheels rolling for home life. This meant I had to learn how to make my own free time during 6 months as a single mom.

I’m not saying this to complain. Acting as a solo parent was how I contributed to our renovation. But I can say, holy cow do I have all the respect in the world for single mamas. Massive respect, also, for all you mamas out there who have a partner but carry the lionshare of the house tasks and child rearing. It’s never ending and thankless. You deserve standing ovations every. single. day.

Lessons from 6 months as a single mom

Without further ado, here are the top things that I learned in my “single mama” months as I sought to spend less time on house stuff so that I could squeeze in time for myself. 

  • Quitting time: 9:30ish became the time when I allowed myself to stop moving for the day and do something for me before bed. It is a boundary that continues to feel important.
  • Edge time: If I find I have a few minutes between things, I’ve started chipping away at a chore I know I’ll have to do later. Something as simple as unloading half the dishwasher before work means that I’ll have a faster time getting the kitchen cleaned that night. 
  • Batch cooking: I’ll say this one a thousand times, I’m sure. Batch cooking on Sundays has saved an hour or more of cooking and cleaning every night of the week. 
  • Your ONE thing: I decide what the most important task is. The thing that makes everything feel easier or better once it’s done. This helps keep smaller “task” distractions from eating up your time. It also helps me redifine “success” in this crazy life…I wrote a post on it that you can check out here
  • Bedtime schedule: Creating a routine that gets sweet child to bed on time is key. For us, getting dinner on the table by 6 practically guarantees lights out by 7:30. Ah, sweet silence! 
  • Schedule time to make time: Now that I look for invisible systems in my home that waste time, I see them everywhere. I quickly learned that unless I schedule time to actually make the changes, they don’t happen. If they don’t happen, then I miss out on time that I could be having more fun with my family or doing my own thing. 
  • Habits are killer: It is super hard to break habits, especially ones that started way before kids. To help stop myself in the middle of something that doesn’t serve a purpose, I’ve started trying to ask “does this serve me?” If the answer is no, it’s easier to drop it and move on. 
  • Online time: We all know the internet is a rabbit hole. By shifting my internet habits in small ways, I have managed to spend less time online. For instance, I don’t bargain hunt if I’ve found a company I trust and know my way around their website. I have unsubscribed from listservs so there are fewer emails in my inbox. Sometimes I set a timer to limit the time I spend online, including for activities like blogging or facebook. All this keeps me plugged in, but on my own terms. 
  • Savoring time: Over these last months, I have developed a gratitude for mindset for the time I do have with my husband and daughter. I have choir once a week and instead of Oh crap, I’ve got only seven minutes for dinner! It has shifted to Ah! I have seven minutes to enjoy myself. That simple and genuine shift allows me to be more present and really enjoy myself, even in small bursts. 
  • The sanity clause: Elbows up, mama! Don’t overbook. Trust your gut. Say no graciously and firmly. Ask your partner to say no or back out of things if the sanity clause means that your relationship will be in a better place or his/her presence will allow you to get more alone time. 
  • Loving the life I’ve got: This is a perspective on time in the larger sense.You probably get it when I say that I often feel like I need to have, do, and be more in order to feel successful. Having kids puts a huge speed bump in that race…maybe for the better, if I let my heart do the talking. I know I’m going to miss these days. I’m going to want them back. So maybe my rhythm is slower for a while. Maybe I don’t travel much or go out much. Loving this life just as it is right now is the brand of “success” that I’m learning to run with.

There you have it! The quick-hits list of how I’ve learned to save time and appreciate time over the past months – my keys to making free time during 6 months as a single mom. All of these bullets cover (like I said) a very intense time for my family. Renovations, my husband’s band and shows, my choir, full time work, raising a child… it hasn’t been all roses. It’s been messy and beautiful and a journey. 

Thank you for the enormous love you give your family <3

The way I see it, if you have time to love yourself, then your children have a real good head start in becoming adults who love their lives. I hope the lessons learned in my “single mom” months can somehow help you shift into a place where you have more space for your own beautiful self care.

In case anyone hasn’t said it yet today, thank you for all you do. Thank you for keeping the wheels on the tracks in your house, day in and day out. Thank you for the massive care and energy you put into your family. This world hums and thrives because of you and all the souls who cook and clean and watch over, making home for us all. Namaste.

***Go Mama Love is off and running! If this article spoke to you, please share it on Facebook and “like” my Facebook page “Moms with Time.” Your support in this way means the world to me.

Use the sanity clause to make space for things you love, like this family sitting outside!

The life changing “sanity clause” for busy families

Have you had periods of time where the sheer number of things you’re juggling leaves you completely zapped? From the depths of a pile of blankets and potato chips on the couch and about to binge watch your favorite TV show, you announce you are never having a schedule this crazy again. From now on, things will be different! …months later you’re buried in potato chips again. If this is you, then you might like to know about the sanity clause. It can be life changing for busy families.

“The sanity clause” is a phrase my husband and I use to remind ourselves to look at the big picture before we say yes to things. We often find ourselves in a cycle of taking on too much and running thin. But when we remember to use the sanity clause, we end up a much happier family. 

The Sanity Clause

It’s a simple concept, so I’ll get right to it. The sanity clause is basically a question: will my family and I feel calm and stable if I say yes to this new thing? If the answer is no, then we adjust:

  • Perhaps we modify, slow down, or push off the activity for another time
  • Perhaps we say yes, but change or let go of stuff we’re already doing
  • Perhaps we say no, and that’s the end of it 

The sanity clause works really well in our house because we are the sort of people that go nonstop. When we don’t use it, we regret it. For instance, we did not use the sanity clause when we decided to move across the country with a baby, go on a trip to Europe days later, and then return to a fix-er-upper house with the idea that we could be living in it within a month. It’s hard to admit even to ourselves, but we struggled along for the better part of a year because of that too-intense summer. But the times when we look at all the things we could do and then ask: will we feel sane if we do all this? We get some perspective and make choices that are better for our family.

This is Key: Prioritize Your Well Being

So let’s say you know you need to use the sanity clause, but all the options in front of you look exciting for one reason or another. How do you choose what to say yes or no to? There is a huge body of articles that give guidance on the topic, but my favorite ones get at the topic from a holistic approach. In other words, they help you decide based on what’s most important to your physical, mental, and emotional well being. Your self care needs can change from week to week, which means that how you use the sanity clause might look different from week to week. 

In a blog post on prioritizing, Dr. Kate Northrup writes, “A life filled with what matters is a life well lived. And the only way to make sure you have a life like this is to do it on purpose.” She recommends that we intentionally figure out what matters most to us, schedule those activities first, and then fill in everything else that needs to happen. By doing this, you end up prioritizing your heart first. You get clear on what needs to fall off the plate and approach life on offense toward your goals.

Another nice article from Plenty Consulting talks about a healthy approach to prioritizing well being – it’s an intentional act made without guilt or apologies. I love that idea. I love that women are learning to speak and act in without apologizing or feeling guilty about it. It takes practice and it’s hard at first. I know, because I’m right there with you moving towards this space of unapologetic living. Fortunately, we’re surrounded by the voices of others who are doing the same and are encouraging us on this path.

2020: Best Year Ever <3

My wish for you in 2020 is that it becomes easy to hear the quiet stirrings in your heart. The whisper that says “this way” toward a life you love and experiences that keep you in awe of this beautiful world. May tools like the sanity clause and new ways of prioritizing help guide you on this path. You are an inspiring, powerful human being and I’m glad we’re in this together. 

***Tell me in the comments – because I’d love to hear! – what are you planning to do this year that you’re excited about? How can the sanity clause help you let go of things that don’t feel right anymore? Make sure to write it in the comments. You never know who you’ll inspire. Go mama! 

Dresses on a clothesline - Moms can get it all done with a little guilt-free help :)

A happier way to “get it all done.”

I joined a couple of online mom groups last month. Through other mom posts, I realized how common it is to feel like it’s a personal failing if we can’t get it all done. Today I explore that idea – I consider why we shouldn’t feel that way. Second, I explore how to release that sense of guilt around getting help. (P.s. if you’re on a budget, we’re in the same boat and I’ve got you covered!). 

Why you shouldn’t feel guilty if you can’t “get it all done”

Congratulations, mama bear! A fabulous, holy, heart-filling, hugely time-intensive human being has landed in your life. For the perhaps the first time ever, you can take a big breath and revel in the fact that you get to move through your days without the “perfection” mindset that you maybe used to have. After all, something done is better than nothing done. You have every reason not to be hard on yourself for an unfinished to-do list. 

An article in Verywell Family points to data that moms with toddlers can be interrupted 210 times a day to attend their toddler’s needs. According to researcher Gloria Mark, who studies digitial distraction at the University of California, Irvine, it takes just over 23 minutes to regain your focus after a distraction. However, unlike the workplace, attending to a child can lead all over the place and easily go beyond 23 minutes.

No wonder moms struggle to do it all! You are losing time and focus because a child needs you. There is no shame in that. In the end, I hope this knowledge gives you some peace and a reason to be easier on yourself. No one can “get it all done” in a home full of interruptions. 

A new way to “get it all done”

If I have convinced you that you don’t need to carry the load of“getting it all done” on your own personal power, allow me to convince you of one more thing: that there are areas in your life where you can and should consider calling in help. 

Elizabeth Dunn, author of Happy Money, introduced me to this idea of intentionally buying time. She finds that people who spend money to buy themselves time or experiences are often happier than those who spend money on things. If you’re a parent, odds are that buying yourself time is what will allow you to have space for fulfilling experiences. 

Fortunately, even budget-strapped people can find ways to creatively buy time. Consider: regardless if what the going rate is, there are probably neighborhood kids who would babysit, mow the lawn, or weed the garden at a price that works for both of you. There are of course professional companies that can also come in and do yard, cooking, or housework, for a higher price and expert service. And if you really want to get creative, perhaps you could barter with a friendly neighbor: one hour with your kids gets them a jar of your blueberry kombucha. You get the idea…there are ways to buy yourself time on any budget. 

As a child, my husband’s family lived off one salary; his dad was in the early years of building a name for himself as a Milwaukee historian, and his mom stayed home with the kids. You can imagine how tight their finances must have been, and how his mom probably needed more breaks than she was getting. Cash strapped as they were, they managed to hire house cleaners once or twice a month. It gave his mom a little less to do, and helped keep the peace in their home. 

How to Not feel Guilty about buying time

When it comes down to it, buying time takes intention. First, you have to decide that the status quo in your house has to go: it’s time to buy time. Second, choose to feel good about this choice. This is a case where money (or maybe a little creative bartering) really can buy happiness. 

In a great article called “Why You Feel Guilty When You Spend Money and How to Stop,” Dani Pascarella writes, “A big reason why people feel guilty about spending money is they fear that it could be going towards something better or more important.” She says the solution to this problem is creating a budget where some of your money is set aside to spend on whatever the heck you want. This is guilt-free spending with your happy self waiting on the other side, so get on it! 

When it comes down to it, just about everything you do at home could be outsourced in some way. So consider what you like doing least – maybe that’s a good place to start buying time. Or consider the tasks you don’t mind, but do most often… that could be a great place to bring in help and free some time.

You are incredible

I’m not sure how any of us comes to the conclusion that we have to do it all, and do it alone. But if you find yourself in that boat, take a step back and congratulate yourself for all you’ve done. You are incredible. Then, take a moment to acknowledge that your heart and happiness are worth letting some of that stress and responsibility go. Start looking forward to that breathing room you’re about to buy. 

******

I’m curious – which household activity are you most excited to hand off in some way? Write it down here in the comments! Your comment is a commitment to making this change, and it may just inspire another mom to do the same for herself. May our lovin’ energy inspire and cheer each other on. Go mama!

A winter bird - a pretty image to say "thank you for who you are"

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for who you are

I went to a women’s circle for a solstice gathering a couple days ago. It was a profound reminder to be grateful for who I am and my life, just as I am grateful for you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for who you are.

During the women’s circle, as we celebrated the wisdom that may be found in darkness, and our expectation for the return of the sun, we also held space for each other.  It was deeply powerful, to sit and share my story for a few minutes and to be witness to others. As I sat there, everything that I struggle with somehow seemed to feel better, lighter. I regained perspective that I am exactly where I should be, that we all are. 

The Path is the Goal

Gandhi once said, “The path is the goal.” Powerful words, right? But perhaps not enough on their own?

“Ah, but Gandhi,” you might be thinking, “How do I remember that in the middle of everything I’m going through right now?”

Not knowing Gandhi personally, I cannot tell you what he would respond. What I can tell you is that from the bottom of my heart, I am grateful for you. So is everyone else whose lives you have touched. I suppose that’s what Gandhi might tell us – to remember to be grateful for where we are and who we are, and to remind each other of the profound beauty of our lives when we forget.

With that in mind, this is my gift to you: a reminder that you are a gift. You have not made no mistakes. In fact, you chose exactly the right people at exactly the right time. You are being of light and love and we all need you. Just as you are.

Thank you for who you are

Merry Christmas, my friends. (merry everything!) Thank you for reading this blog and allowing me to connect with you. It’s an honor to be in your life. I hope that this Christmas, or whatever holiday you may be celebrating, you find rest within all that’s going on around you. May you experience the deep peace that is always present inside your heart – a gift to you, just as you are a gift to all of us. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for who you are.

Woman gazing at a meadow - free from mom guilt

How to free yourself from mom guilt

Mom guilt…it doesn’t matter how short or long you’ve been a mom, we all know the phrase. We all know the feeling. And it’s alarming how often it creeps in. There seem to be endless opportunities to feel guilty over moments where there is no actual breach of trust or ethics or boundaries. It’s a real thing, this strange, uncomfortable emotion that rears its head over so many choices we make. Today, let’s set some new music to dance to, because guilt has no place in a happy heart and home. Loving, brave woman that you are – guilt deserves no place in you. It’s time to free yourself from mom guilt.

First: The Bigger Picture

In a post that’s mostly a rant, but a well-articulated one at that, Momsanity blogger Dawn Yanek runs down a whole range of things moms feel guilty about. Then, she lands on this – which I didn’t expect: “We call it mom guilt, and that’s cute. It’s not. It’s woman guilt. And it’s so culturally ingrained in us, we don’t even know it’s happening until it’s crushing us and we can’t breathe – and then we’re apologizing because we can’t breathe.” 

The bolded lettering is mine for emphasis. I know that I (and most women) go around feeling apologetic about tons of things. Often, I wonder how to hold space for myself without feeling bad about it or the need to apologize. I wonder how to stop feeling like I’m responsible for the feelings of others. It’s an ongoing process. Dawn’s article made me realize that mom guilt is sort of like holding a picture frame over a panoramic view – the phrase “mom guilt” turns the broader idea of guilt into a bite sized nugget, easy to shove aside and ignore. But it doesn’t go away, does it.

Will you join me in looking now at the big picture and how to heal from it? We had mom guilt long before we ever became moms. Guilt is part of our psyche, and healing from it is hugely important. It matters for our own mental health. It matters because releasing our own guilt will give other women permission to do the same. Most importantly, our daughters will learn how to be women moving unapologetically in the world by watching us. That is a vision with power. I will do anything for my daughter. I’m all in. 

How to Free Yourself from Mom Guilt

Psychologist Nick Wignall has this fabulous article about how he helps clients who suffer from what he calls Fake Guilt (we call it Mom Guilt). He says it’s a surprisingly common but rarely diagnosed condition wherein we end up making decisions based on incomplete evidence, even though we have done nothing wrong. His hypothesis is that fake guilt comes from a fear of sadness, helplessness, and/or a lack of control. In other words, guilt is a mask for deeper emotions that are scary to face.

Facing those deeper emotions and allowing them to be is the ticket to our freedom. Wignall also suggests scheduling sessions to sit with those uncomfortable feelings (yes, actually schedule it so that you gently face them. In doing so, they become less scary). He says we should think about those hard emotions like helplessness or sadness as normal, and not something to be hard on yourself about or to avoid. He also has this awesome concept called functional analysis, which means that you actually analyze the guilt and how it is serving you in the moment that it’s happening. By being curious about your guilt instead of judgmental toward it and yourself, you allow movement. 

Mindfulness techniques are another powerful way to help return a mind from guilty thoughts to the beauty of the present moment. Sarah Rudell Beach of Left Brain Buddha is someone I recently came across who has wonderful resources on the topic. A mom herself, she offers kindness and a sense of humor when it comes to mindfulness practices. 

Mom Guilt During the Holidays

It’s no coincidence that I am writing about guilt as we head into the holidays. Family time, gifts, expectations… this special time of year offers a ton of opportunity to feel guilty about things both small and large. Fortunately, this also means that the holidays hold a ton of opportunity to love yourself, just as you are. 

Bright spirit, I wish for you a sense of presence in your life. I wish for you space to notice your guilt and gently allow it to reveal and heal the raw emotions happening beneath. It’s time to free yourself from mom guilt. You are a light in this world, and every single person you have met is better for knowing you. You are enough. 

****

Thank you for being part of this go mama community! It’s an honor to share this motherhood journey with you. If today’s article spoke to you in some way, please share it on Facebook or whichever social media landscape you hang out on. May our loving energy inspire and lift each other up! Go mama!

A potter wheel to symbolize keeping the idea of a Focus Wheel to keep the kid blues from ruining the day

Keep your “kid blues” from ruining the day with a Focus Wheel

Have you ever been through an intense period of time with soaring highs and hard lows, and over time the hard parts sort of fade away from memory and all you can remember is the laughter and fun you had? Like you, I’m in the thick of the early years of parenting. Even on the worst days, I know I’ll mostly remember the best ones. My husband and I will look at each other and say, “Wasn’t that fun?”. Right now, though, there are some days where I feel anxious or lonely or totally spun. Those are the days when I lean on a Focus Wheel activity to keep the “kid blues” from ruining the day.

To feel better, go general

You know how you would never expect your child to go from very sad to giddy and happy? If you’ve ever watched a grown up tickle a crying child, you know what I mean: it just doesn’t work. The leap is too far. 

The same is true for you. You’re not going to go from flustered to merry and bright. However, you can get yourself to a better space by going general about the situation, and continuing down that thought path until you really do feel better.

For example, let’s say at least one child is fussing and you’re running late and you just spilled something on your clean work shirt. You’re totally frazzled right? First, breathe as deep as you can until you have some distance from the situation (as in, you’ve dropped sweet fussy babe off at day care and are driving alone in the car).  Next, without talking about the specific things bothering you, you can get to a better spot by being general about the problem and your life.

An Example

Here’s an example of a verbal focus wheel (because you’re driving in this scenario and not with a journal). The word flow might sound something like this:

“I do not need everything running smoothly to know that everything is going to be okay. I know that things get easier and easier. I’ve had hard days before and move through them and done it with grace. In fact, I’m really good at moving through hard places and I am a better person for it. This is just a phase and I’m in the right place and I am the right person for this moment. I love where I have been and am certain that I will love where I’m going. Plus, I know that I always figure things out and that I can trust myself. I can trust the future. There’s nothing I can’t have or do or be and all is well. All is well. All is well.” 

Do you get the idea? Before long, you will find that you are calmer and more present. You will feel at least a little better (and maybe a lot better) than you were five minutes ago. You’ll keep the “kid blues” from ruining the day. I promise.

The FOCUS Wheel, Explained by Experts

Gabby Bernstein, an author considered a thought leader for the next generation by Oprah, has taken this concept mainstream. You can hear her talk about it in this Marie TV episode, called “How to Reclaim your Joy When You Feel Like Giving Up.” I love that she’s broadcasting this idea, but she would be the first to tell you that it is not originally hers. It comes from another thought leader named Abraham Hicks, someone that’s a little more in the land of “woo”  and less mainstream. That said, if you can accept the idea of using what resonates and leaving the rest behind, then this link for the original thinker behind this concept is a good listen.

I have been using this focus wheel practice for years and it is one of the best tools I’ve come across to get into a better emotional state. I’ve used it to get from a state of worried to expecting amazing experiences. I’ve gone from self-doubt to confidence, from feeling deeply negative to feeling easier about situations. 

Once, I used it on a stopped bus in Ecuador at 3 o’clock in the morning. I journaled myself into an expectant state that yes, my new husband and I would get past a landslide and make it to our connecting flight to our Galapagos Island honeymoon. 

We did. (And that’s a story for another day!).

Your Turn

I hope you give this a try sometime. You are an amazing, hard working, brave mother and a focus wheel might be just the re-set you need to get your mood in a better-feeling place. Why not? Your life is calling.


***Tell me, what do you do to keep the “kid blues” from ruining the day? Share in the comment section, and be sure to share this post on Facebook or Twitter! go mama!