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!

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! 

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.

Woman in striped dress walking down beach path

Clear out your closet for new dreams, more time, & self care

The funny thing about letting go of stuff is that you give a gift to yourself. Not only does the absence of something unwanted feel like a relief, but you create space for life to draw in more of what you do want. It’s a physical and spiritual act, this letting go. In the dance of motherhood, and career, and heart, and life, the spiritual side of me needs to be heard and honored more than ever. So this month, as the snow starts to fall in Milwaukee and as light dims earlier each day, I have decided to clear out my closet. It’s a deliberate act of making space for new dreams, and one of self care. The icing on the cake is that it will put more time in the day.   

Use your Closet to Make Space for New Dreams

Recently, I listened to a podcast by Ingrid Fetell Lee where her interviewee shared a story about clearing out unwanted clothes from her closet and not only did they she feel like she had more to wear, but she suddenly felt free enough to quit their job and try something new. That story totally resonates with me. There’s something freeing about removing the physical proof of our past – who we were and what was working for us then – in order to move into a space of who we are now and who we want to be. 

Who is it you want to be? This slice of life has caused new dreams to form in you. So why not send your signal into the universe (and to yourself) that you’re ready for them. Clean out that closet…then the dresser…then the forgotten boxes in the basement. Finally, release whatever else that’s filling your space and making you feel stuck. You are so free, if only you allow yourself to see it

Use Your Closet to Boost Self Care

You are a beautiful human being, you know that? Every inch of you. And getting dressed should be a fun way of celebrating yourself on the daily. However, if you’re like me, you have clothes you keep around because they’re functional, not because they make you feel beautiful or brighten the day. We all do it –  we keep things that look nice, but they show too much cleavage or don’t fit quite right or we convinced ourselves in the store that we can make it work, but never got around to actually making it work. Sometimes we keep stuff because a relative bought it. There are clothes kept for reasons we’ve long forgotten. 

Now imagine – how would it feel to have and wear only clothes that fit right and feel good? How would it feel to spend less time worrying about or adjusting what you’re wearing? Pretty good, right?!?

You deserve the kind of self care that comes without having to think about it. You deserve to wake up to a closet of only outfit options that you are excited to wear. 

Clear out your closet to save time

If drawing in new dreams and self care aren’t enough of a reason to clear out your closet, then perhaps this info will seal the deal: when you make repetitive motion by choosing or finding clothes, you are wasting your time. Think about it – how much time do you spend when you search through a drawer for a shirt two or three times before finding it? How much time do you spend just deciding what to wear? 

In the end, clothes can create a waste of time that really adds up. We blow by the fact that the problem could be fixed in the rush of getting ready to leave the house. And because it’s not addressed, it comes up day after day after day. You’re losing minutes without even realizing it.  I’m tellin’ ya – solving this problem will make mornings run a little faster.

Action Challenge

This month, I invite you to join me in a very loving and intentional act of letting go of clothes that no longer serve us. To help, Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up recommends that you:

  • Thank your “get rid of” clothes out loud. Thanking is a way to honor how they served you and send them on their journey with gratitude. 
  • Get rid of anything you keep out of a sense of obligation, functionality, or guilt. You have permission.
  • Keep what sparks joy (I love this one!)

I also came across this Apartment Therapy blog post by Arlyn Hernandez, which has a quick-hits list of stuff to toss like those shoes that always hurt, old bridesmaid dresses, and things that you kept last time you cleaned out your closet but haven’t worn.

I hope you enjoy yourself as you clear out your closet to make space for new dreams, more time, and self care. Turn on some tunes. Sip some wine. Enjoy the memories your clothes bring up, even as you thank them and say “yes!” to whatever’s ahead. 


***I’m curious, what dream are you ready to draw into your life? Let me know in the comments! May our lovin’ energy inspire and lift each other up. Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing, thanks for being 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!

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! 

Creative space for a busy mom like you? Heck yes!

Someone once told me that becoming a mother is just another layer added to everything you already are. You don’t lose yourself or suddenly find yourself having to become something you never were. I still hold tightly to that idea. Being a mom is a process of meeting yourself in a new space, like any other major transition.

Who were you before your children were born? And have you drawn those dear pieces of yourself back into your present? For me, bringing music back was a milestone in honoring my creativity and my full self. Somewhere during my daughter’s tenth month – time blowing full steam ahead! – I decided my chaotic life was as settled as it would ever be and started checking out and auditioning for local choirs. The one I joined has been so. rewarding. Practicing the music happens in stolen scraps of time, chasing after my daughter who has toddled off with the music or whispering notes to myself as she sleeps. It’s messy, fitting this in, but I wouldn’t trade it. I’ve got a piece of myself back. A place where my spirit feels free.


It’s messy, fitting creativity in, but I wouldn’t trade it. I’ve got a piece of myself back. A place where my spirit feels free.

-Ashley Fisher, gomama.love blogger

Today I caught up with a long-time friend who is in a similar place – navigating the newness of mamahood and our ever-changing children. My friend recently started drawing art back into her life, capturing beauty on paper in some form that feels good to her. There’s no money in it. No fame. No audience, even. It just feels good. She remarked that once you start doing one creative thing, it starts snowballing. She’s making art again and has already started considering the best way to make music part of her days.

Once you start doing one creative thing, it starts snowballing.

Isn’t it wonderful to be alive? To watch opportunity show up as soon as we say, ok, I’m ready now to do this thing that my heart longs for. To watch that inspiration and creativity snowball into more filling experiences? The best part is, the creation is yours. There are no judges, and permission is already given.


*****Today my question for you is: How did you bring creativity back to your life after you became a mother? And if you are discerning your creative ventures, share what you’re thinking about! Please comment below – I just know your answer will inspire someone else to pursue her creative dreams. May our loving energy inspire and lift each other up. go mama!

Happy mom and baby. Life is beautiful!

The silver lining to any rough patch

“There is another world, but it is in this one. -Paul Eluard” These words came to me on a postcard from a friend studying abroad during my college years. Below them is a black and white photo of a grinning child jumping on a bed – possibility vibrating between her airborne feet and the mattress. Over time I’ve whittled down my memorabilia from those early-adult days, but I never could let this postcard go. There is another world, but it is in this one.

You can probably relate when I say that some days are full of this kind of magic, but others are a little harder. My toddler has been in more teething pain than I’ve seen before, and my own much-craved sleep to heal from a cold is nonexistent. It’s hard feeling like I’m going to be ok on days like this. Overwhelm has become a familiar companion since becoming a mother.

But then, there are fleeting moments that push the overwhelm aside. Blowing bubbles on the sidewalk with her in the morning hours, taking breaks to pet friendly dogs out for their morning walks. Showing her early red and yellow tulips. My favorite flower, now a word in her vocabulary.

There is another world, but it is in this one.

-Paul Eluard

Today, I wish for you quiet pause to notice the magic in this world. I wish for us the ability to observe overwhelm – or whatever hard emotions we resist – with compassion. Both worlds, the hard and the magical, exist side by side. And even if we forget for a little while, the sun continues to light our children’s faces. We are blessed.

***How do you move through rough patches? What helps you be gentle about them? Post a comment or respond to someone else’s. May our energy inspire and lift each other up. go mama!