Woman shining a light at night, like seeing the real monster in the dark

The Real Monster from a Thump in the Night

My husband and daughter are sick with the flu. The last thing I needed was a monster in the dark! Fortunately, it turned into a laugh-at-myself moment that I don’t mind sharing

My husband’s been sleeping in the spare room in the basement in an attempt to keep me healthy. Good plan…but last night at 1 a.m. I let my sick daughter into bed to snuggle. Figure I’m more likely to stay healthy if I sleep longer, and her getting some snuggle time was the key to sleep. We do what we gotta do. Anyway… I get up to use the bathroom and tell her I”ll be right back. It’s about 3:30 at this point and I don’t bother turning the light on. I hear a thud, thump thump thump. I know it’s my sweet toddler coming to join me…but it’s 3:30 in the morning and I’m in the dark and my fully adult brain thinks “Oh God! Monster!” 

How to Face a Monster in the Dark


This week I happened to speak with two people on the front end of their careers. We teach what we most need to learn and it’s a funny thing, but what I taught them is something I have learned, but am also still learning. I shared that it’s hard to see the success stories of peers who make big news and not feel like you’re floundering – that because things haven’t lined up perfectly you’re making a mistake. There’s so much anxiety and self-doubt wrapped up in thoughts like that. So much of our own light diminished by these phantoms. They’re like my toddler monster in the dark – something wonderful is coming your way but because you can’t see it yet, you hear thumps and your brain thinks, “Oh God, Monster!” 

Even from this vantage point, with a budget and policy career I could follow as long as I desire… that urge to look around and compare myself to others is still present. Funnily, I don’t compare myself to other moms. I love that you’re out there making home for your sweet children, uniquely and beautifully as only you can. My comparisons are more to do with people who (on the outside) appear to have careers that light them on fire. The ones who wake up every day and love what they do from top to bottom. My dreams are turning toward something like that. I think it involves having a purple streak in my hair. Whatever and whenever that may be. 

Carry On, Sister

In the meantime – my work – our work – is to realize that those monsters in the dark are possibly something wonderful headed our way. We have to be brave enough to step out into the hall where the monster is and take a look for ourselves. Could be she’s the best thing that ever happened to you and you’ll get a lifetime of hugs and smiles and great big “Hooooo-RAHs! because of it. Could be there’s purple hair streaks and maybe more creativity and baking and flowers and gardening and kindred spirits. More sunshine-filled moments that carry us along these beautiful days.

**** What about you? What big or small dream is growing in your heart? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section. My our lovin’ energy inspire and cheer each other on. 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! 

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! 

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!

Feel-good image of mint flowers in mortar and pestle

Why I Know You Will Heal

Tis the season for intentional gratitude, so before I dive into today’s post on why I know you will heal, I want to start with a great big, heartfelt thank you to you. Thank you for following these posts, and for telling me in person or on social media that they’re making a difference. You’re the reason I write. If I can help you draw space, and peace, and happiness into your life in any way, I will have succeeded. Your support keeps me going. Thank you. 

There is also a lot to be thankful for outside of this blog. I’m grateful for my sister’s happiness with her new husband and farm. I’m grateful for the huge, loving community that showed up to support us in our renovation (the end is in sight, and we could not have done it without you). I’m grateful for friends and family far and near – you’re the reason I showed up on this planet, and I love you so much. Finally, I’m grateful for the fact that our bodies have infinite capacity to heal, which brings me to the topic of today’s post. 

Self Care to Feel Better than Ever

Sometimes self care really is about focusing on the basics. I’ve spent time in a number of recent posts sharing self-care strategies like mirror work and self talk (and how to practice self care at family gatherings). These are super important. But in the mind-body-spirit continuum, the body piece is important and can have a huge impact on your thoughts and feelings. In fact, research is increasingly linking things like anxiety and depression to gut health. 

If you feel like there was a time when you had more energy and brightness to meet the day – when you felt less worried, anxious, down, or zombielike – felt more you, then read on my friend. There is so much hope for feeling more like yourself. In fact, I don’t just hope you feel better – I know you will feel better. The reason why I know you will heal is because you are a powerful force when you make up your mind to do something.

What I share here is a mix of articles and books found through my own efforts to get back to a happy, “normal” state (i.e., none of this is professional medical advice). After having my daughter, the physical toll left me with a degree of anxiety that I didn’t want to just “live with” forever. I had some other non-urgent but not-going-away things that I finally decided to do something about. The results from this path have been amazing. With that, here are some tools that I hope will help you launch your own journey to well being. 

The quick hits

You are your own best healer. Fortunately, some of the cheapest and easiest things to do are already at your fingertips. The trick is to be conscious about following through. Try to:

  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • Up the veggie intake. Half your plate should be veggies. 
  • Lower your sugar intake. (You might even give yourself a three-day, no-sugar challenge to help re-set).
  • Get your heart going. A five-minute dance party with your kids counts. Or try a ten minute walk-jog-stop to pet a cat… that counts too! No one’s watching. You can build up. 
  • Take your vitamins and fish oil
  • Laugh often
  • Nap
  • Send gratitude as often as you can remember

A little more effort, but every bit worth it

Pregnancy takes its toll on a body, and small imbalances can make your whole system feel off-kilter. Whether you recently had a baby, or your sweet chilli bean was born years ago, it’s never too late to ask a doctor to order tests to check out how you’re doing with things like vitamins, folate, and iron. A thyroid test can also provide clarity. Your doctor can help you decide the best tests. Afterward, if you feel like something is still missing, keep researching. Do your own homework so that you go to the doctor armed with good questions. 

A find at the library got me started on this track, called The Postnatal Depletion Cure by Oscar Serrallach. Check it out or find something like it – you’ll realize how not alone you are, and that this is not your new normal. In fact, it may just be a window that gets you feeling even better than before your pregnancy.

Why I Know You Will Heal

I came across a quote recently that really resonated: “The path to healing is not linear.” Some days you may feel totally energized by the changes you want to make in your body and life. Some days you may feel down and wonder if all this work is getting you anywhere. For me, this roller coaster has been very much a part of my journey over the last eight months. Some days, when results are not obvious, the only thing that keeps my spirits from sinking too far is choosing to believe the thought: “I have decided to heal, so I will heal.” (Because decisions send incredibly powerful messages to our brains and the universe to line it all up and take action). I know you will heal, too, if you so choose.

Sometimes healing takes time. Begin anywhere.

Sometimes you may try the wrong thing. Clarity comes through action.

Sometimes you may get overwhelmed. It’s normal. Keep going.

Inevitably, you will succeed or transcend, or both. Because you decided to.

Dear woman, you are more powerful than you realize. You created a family who you surround with love every day. You make your dreams come true. There is a light in your eyes that is only yours. 

It’s really up to you, this healing you seek. I hope you get there. And even though we may never meet, I like to think that you and I are part of a vast river of women whose spirits are cheering each other on. You are not alone. I am grateful for you. Go mama.

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!

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!