Do you ever wonder what life could be like without comparing yourself to anyone else?
Well, I think it’s time for us moms to stop trying to live up to everyone else and just be ourselves!
Yup! You heard that right, my friend, just be ourselves. Not our neighbor, not our co-worker, not our mom, sister or best friend and just be ourselves.
Friends, your authentic self is the only one I want to be around.
Your authentic stories are the only stories I want to hear. I want to experience the downright ugly parts of your soul as well as all of your triumphs.
I want to cheer for all of your children’s amazing adventures and goals being reached but also gasp at how awful they have been behaving on a daily basis.
So can we make a deal as moms?
Can we stop comparing and rather live our lives as our true selves? Can we stop attempting to live up to all of the online parenting tips, that are often way too hard to attain and allow ourselves to make up our own parenting rules… the rules that work for our family? And rules that take into careful consideration each child living within our unique household.
And please, for our own sanity, can we please stop attempting to live life as a generic woman?
We are all molded, as our own unique selves, but somewhere along the way I think many of us forgot that truth. Or maybe society started to tell us how to behave, how to dress, what our homes should look like and how our children should behave.
But we need to stop this nonsense and just be…
So how do we do this?
It’s not an easy task, let me tell you.
But one thing I know is this…if we all support one another it will be much easier to live as our authentic selves.
Upon a lot of reflection, and there has been a great deal the past year, I have come up with three ways to start living life as our authentic selves.
Take time for reflection:
Set aside a quiet moment or maybe twenty minutes alone, no distractions, just time with good old fashioned silence.
It’s powerful! Within this time, think about you… not the burnt waffles this morning, the four loads of laundry waiting to be folded, a conference call at noon and how you are in desperate need of a haircut. This is a moment for you to delve deep and remember who you are. What are your dreams? Your goals? Desires? What makes you happy? Truly happy? Have you been hiding anything lately? Pushing it away or numbing the pain? And most importantly how do you love yourself best?
I found it helpful to listen to my inner soul quietly and reflect, then write out my thoughts on paper.
My paper was a mess. There were words all over and not organized at all but it was a start.
The simple act of writing out these thoughts was bringing me back to my true self.
If I couldn’t recall who I truly was, how was I going to be able to live a life of authenticity?
2. Putting into action a part once lost.
Remember the reflection time where you made a list? Well, now it’s time to choose one or how many you are comfortable with and begin to bring them to light again.
For me, I knew my true self was a writer. It was my passion and the only way I could express myself as the honest woman I wanted to live. So, day by day I started to write more.
At first I began writing down some thoughts, which then lead to poetry… I forgot how much I loved poetry. I eventually realized it was time to take the next step and really let my true self out of the dark and start to share my authentic self, the writer in me. So for me, as scary as it was it meant starting a blog. My friends, for each of us the experience will be different, the time frame will not be the same but one piece will be constant for all of us and that is becoming the women we are meant to be… our true authentic selves.
So I urge you to take action with your list. Don’t let it sit there in a drawer or in the notes on your phone. Take the leap and call into action one or more of the amazing parts of yourself and let it take hold. You may be amazed at how far you will go.
3. Make peace:
Finding one’s self is not always an easy task. For some of us the thoughts of who we truly are may be easy to find, but for others, muddling through the murky waters of our own self can be daunting. I’m confident though, we can do this as long as we make peace with who we truly are as ourselves and love ourselves more than we expect any other person to love us.
It’s time, my friends, to live our lives fully and to the capacity which works for us… not for the comparison of what we see on HGTV or Pinterest, not for the comparison of ourselves and the other mom at the playground and how she parents. It doesn’t mean we are selfish. It doesn’t mean we should feel any mom guilt. It simply means we should be proud to finally show off our true authentic selves and the phenomenal women we are.
So friends, I pinky promise you this… our authentic selves will bring about more light than we ever imagined and what a blessing for our loved ones to experience. They will be blessed beyond measure with a woman who loves herself and radiates it out for the world to see.
Ali Flynn lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and husband. She is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents, The Mighty, Her View From Home and His View From Home, where she shares inspirational stories about motherhood while keeping it real.
Being a mom feels like a full time job in itself, but last November I had to take the leap back into the working world. I work only three days a week but so far it’s been a good way to get out of the house, especially with the lockdowns going on, and I definitely think it’s helped this time around to be a little bit less difficult that the first one. It did take me a while though to try and strike the perfect balance with being a working mom. Here’s a few things that I’ve found helpful.
1. Leave work at work. I’ll give an example of this. I had an exceptionally stressful day on Friday, I was so stressed all day about something that I felt sick to my stomach and was tempted to ask to go home, but we all know with Covid going on that’s not something that’s taken lightly anymore. When I left work, I put on some loud upbeat music for my drive home, gave my husband and Baby T big hugs and grabbed a glass of wine. It took me a while to wind down, but eventually I managed to put the whole day behind me and enjoy the time with my family. Also, I don’t have a work phone that I bring home with me, but another thing I always thought was a good idea was something my mom did when she was working. She would turn off her work phone at 6pm when she clocked out and put it on a charger in her home office where she couldn’t check it again until 8am the next day when she started. It really helped her to keep her work separate even though she worked from home.
2. Cooking and eating dinner with my family. When I say I cook, I mean I am the sous chef for my husband who is a way better cook that I am. We spend the time after work in the kitchen together with Baby T in her high chair watching us and upbeat music playing. I give her some of the non sharp kitchen utensils to play with to keep her entertained, then we all sit down together at the table to eat. It’s a routine we started since I’ve been back to work and it’s probably one of my favourites because it’s a time for us to talk about our days and watch Baby T play with her food which is funnier than you would think. We have been trying lately to make sure we don’t look at our phones, a bad habit we have both unfortunately started, but it has definitely helped the conversation to be more free flowing.
3. Making the most of the weekends. The weekends are such a fun time to plan an activity together as a family and just enjoy each others company. I get to spend a few days with Baby T by myself during the week but having my husband home for two whole days has become my favourite part. Obviously right now we can’t really go out and do much, but if the weather is nice enough we’ll bundle up for the cold Ontario winter and go for a walk to the park, or a drive to pick up our online-ordered groceries. Baby T also loves mixing things in the kitchen so we’ve starting baking together, especially things that are easy for her to help us with (like three ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Cookies that I will definitely share the recipe for). Even after Baby T goes to bed, my husband and I make the most of our evenings together by ordering a late take out dinner for two, watching our favourite TV shows or playing card games.
4. Lowering my standards. Did I really just write that? I guess I did. This one was a tough pill to swallow for me, I am a very OCD person with keeping my house neat and tidy all the time. One thing I learned since becoming a mom is that it’s not possible to keep it that clean when you have baby, especially when they start walking and running around the house, pulling things out of drawers and throwing toys that you just put away all over the place. I really had to lower my standards because I started burning out very easily trying to get everything done in a day. One thing I found really helpful, was making a list of my main chores that need to be done weekly and assigning one, maybe two, to a day, so that I knew what was already done by the weekend and wasn’t running around like a crazy person trying to do it all. I still have standards that might be a little higher than a normal person’s but I’ve learned to not stress as much if I don’t meet them all the time. Even as I write this I’m staring at a basket of unfolded laundry, and a while ago I would fold laundry until I fell asleep to get it all done, but now I’m just gonna save it for tomorrow and I’m okay with that.
5. Giving myself time to rest. Like I said above, I found I was burning out pretty quickly after working, taking care of Baby T and getting her off to bed, and doing the housework. I would be disappointed and frustrated if I didn’t get everything done. I started to force myself to sit down and relax in the evenings, which looks a little bit different for everyone, but for me it means watching tv, reading a book, writing some blogs, playing video games (yes, my husband calls me a big nerd for that one) and of course, pouring a nice glass of wine.
These are all things that have really helped me to find the balance with working part time and being a mom to the point where I really feel like I have the best of both worlds. Even in a difficult time like a lockdown I still find myself enjoying both my time at work and my time with my family. If you have more tips to share I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Thank you so much to Evangelyn Tavares for guest posting!
A Positive, Empowering Approach to sibling Conflict
by Isobel Mary Champion, Parenting Coach (aka The Mummy and Toddler Calmer!)
It is important to try to forge a positive relationship between siblings early on. The relationship between siblings will probably be the longest relationship of their lifetime, and they need to know that they are playing for the same team (not batting for opposite sides!).
Be the team coach!
Having spent over a decade working as a top London nanny (yes, I am a real-life Mary Poppins, and yes, I do have a magical bag full of everything everybody could possibly need!), caring for groups of siblings numbering up to six, I can tell you for a fact that looking after siblings is hardly ever easy! But it is such an important job, and such an important role to play, because siblings are their own little team, and more than anything they need a good team coach. They need tolearn to protect each other, defend each other, and care for each other. They need to know that family comes first! But they also need individual space, individual possessions, individual interests, and room to develop individual personalities. They need to learn that It is ok to be different. Learning to grow as a team outside and inside the home will be a bumpy ride, but as long as you have your positive coaching hat on, you should be able to lead them in the right direction, and empower them to be their best as individuals, and as a team!
Let them play rough sometimes!
Your home environment is your kids’ rehearsal space for the outside world, and this is often where much of the conflict between siblings arises. The home is their safe space for practicing the situations and conflicts that they may come across in the real world – therefore you will often find them honing their skills in arguing, fighting, name-calling and roughhousing! This does not mean you are failing as a parent, or that your team leadership skills are not working! This is natural, your offspring are practising for survival in the outside world- think lion cubs play-fighting in the safety of the family unit. As long as this play-fighting is supervised andtakes place in a controlled environment, and is gentle enough that nobody gets any real scars, try not to worry too much! Gentleness and empathy can be taught go hand in hand with a little rough-play and arguing.
Things will change over time!
The numbers and ages of siblings can raise or lower the conflict stakes (this will be fluid and will naturally change over time), and individual personalities will come into play. One group of siblings is totally unlike any other, and your little gang will require a different team management strategy from that of your friends and neighbours! The grass may be greener on the other side, but no doubt your neighbours are peering over thinking just the same thing! As a parent there is only so much you can do – the personality, temperament and developmental stage of each child will play a big part. Think back to your own childhood, and your own siblings. What was the power balance like? Who was the leader? Who had the strongest personality? Where were the alliances? And did things change over the decades? How about now? Are those relationships the same, or have they transformed or blossomed into something new?
Just try to remember – you are not the referee (keeping score and issuing penalties), you are the team coach! Think of your little crew as a sports team, or a boyband on tour. Your goal is to make them perform as best as possible as a group, to teach them strategies for good sportsmanship, personal growth, group ambition, and resilience in the face of disappointment – and to share your own wisdom and experience with them. But you have to acknowledge that it’s not always going to be perfect. There may be injuries, time-outs, one membermay leave the group and go off and start a solo career or join a rival team, but in the end the bonds between the team members will be strong enough to hold them together in the long run. Give yourself a pat on the back, and shout “Go Team!”!
Here are my 5 top tips for a positive, empowering approach to conflict resolution between siblings:
Your first job is to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible. Charging in as a “peacemaker” with a loud voice and your finger pointing will only raise the conflict stakes, and give your children the wrong kind of attention (a shared desire for your attention might be the hidden cause of the conflict!). If you get angry and raise your voice, you will only provoke the “fight-or-flight” response, and risk making things worse. While it may feel like you are avoiding dealing with the issue, de-escalating is actually the most effective way to deal with the immediate problem. Don’t worry, you will address the conflict later when everybody has calmed down (see tip 5!).
Use Reason – a calm, firm, matter of fact explanation or resolution to the issue.o Use Humour – joke about it (encourage sense of humour!).
Use Distraction – turn their attention elsewhere (let’s Skype Grandma!).
Use Alternatives – offer a high value alternative (time for a movie?).
Use Food – if this has happened just before a mealtime, hunger might be the cause. Try giving them a breadstick!
2. Encourage apologies, empathy and affection
Encourage both siblings to apologise nicely (eye contact, kind voice, kind face) to each-other for their part in the conflict. Encourage them to give each-other a hug and a kiss on the cheek (nice for little ones), and make sure that the other is ok. Highlight any scratches or bruises that need extra care! Enlist their help in first aid if necessary! This will teach empathy skills and strengthen the bond between siblings.
3. Share the blame (and the punishment!)
Don’t always blame one sibling, especially if he or she has been exhibiting more challenging behaviour lately(sometimes the “good” or smaller (more innocent!) sibling is to blame! If you are dishing out a punishmentor consequence, share it between siblings (e.g. no TV for all, or they all have to pick up the toys on the floor!). This will not only encourage all siblings to behave better, but your children may even bond unexpectedly over a shared punishment! PLEASE NOTE: it takes two to have an argument! Even your most innocent little angel may not have been as innocent as you assume – even a cheeky pout can set off a battle given the right (or wrong!) circumstances!
4. Have a “Team Talk” later
Discuss what happened later when everybody is calm, quiet, and have full tummies! It can be nice to do this when you are all cosy together in your pyjamas (near bedtime?), or sharing a special treat together. Make sure to give all siblings affection and physical contact. Kindly and quietly bring up their dispute, and acknowledge that it wasn’t very nice for anybody, that you love them all very much, that they all love each-other, and that they need to look after each-other. Try asking them if they have any suggestions for how they could have managed their own behaviour better.
5. Anticipate conflict situations
If a situation is coming up where you can anticipate a conflict, try having a “Team Talk” beforehand (I always do this before playdates with a visiting guest of one sibling, or a multiple guest playdate!). This may sound a little corny, but imagine your family are a baseball team about to go out to bat, or a boyband about to go on stage. Take a quiet moment to have a team huddle, say some positive words, acknowledge that this might be tricky, give them some encouragement, tell them that you love them, and that you want them to do their best. Outline a strategy of what you would like them to do if tempers start to fray (e.g. come straight to you and speak quietly about the issue, rather than starting a fight). Add in a high-five and a group hug if you can manage it! This will start the situation off on a high for everybody, and is a good way to teach them leadership skills!
Good ground rules to set (for adults as well as children!):
1. No shouting
2. No interrupting
3. No hitting
4. No hurtful name-calling
5. Always take turns and share
Visit my Parenting Coaching website for more positive, holistic, empowering parenting solutions and guidance:www.isobelmarychampion.com
Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @isobelmaryc
Isobel Mary Champion, Parenting Coachwww.isobelmarychampion.com
When we women first discover that we are pregnant, we begin a journey in which we expect our lives to change – in the most wonderful of ways. We watch in awe as our bellies grow into these sweet bumps that hold our growing mircles, our wonderful little babes. We excitedly prepare a nursery in our home and we begin shopping for the smallest, sweetest pieces of clothing. We stock up on necessities like diapers, booties and the softest blankets you can imagine. It’s such a thrilling time for expecting parents and we allow our maternal instincts to go into overdrive as we prepare for the arrival of our first born babies.
We love counting down the nine months of pregnancy week by week, celebrating each milestone – we take monthly bump pictures, updating our social media followers, friends and family members on the size of fruit or vegetable our growing baby currently is. We wait for the tiny flutters of kicks and we enjoy the feeling of our babies rolling around inside our bumps until the grand finale of pregnancy is upon us and we are ready to deliver our baby. We are more than excited to meet the tiny person inside of us that we have created.
Then, suddenly….. it happens. Labour. Delivery. Birth. And, ahhhhh, the sweet arrival of our newborn.
It’s a whilrlwind of excitement and hormones and the biggest love you’ve ever known; and then – if all goes according to plan – you find yourself bringing this tiny bundle home, ready to begin your adventure as a new parent to this precious gift.
Up until this point, chances are that not too many things have caught you off guard. You were probably well read on and prepared for the pregnancy and birth of your baby. You likely had everything in place, planned and arranged. And – if you are anything like me – you kind of thought that caring for a newborn would follow in that suit. You did your homework, you were knowledgeable and prepared. You were ready.
And – if your experience was anything like mine – you quickly realized that, despite your best paid plans, you were in for a surprise.
Having a newborn is hard. Every single second of every single day is suddenly consumed by your brand new baby and any notion you previously had of being in control quickly goes O-U-T the window. Nothing is as you expected it to be. Your body is a strange place you now inhabit. Sleep is just not happening. Personal hygeine is nothing like it was before and you kind of feel alone in this, despite having a partner there with you. After all, YOUR body is the one recovering. YOUR body is the one feeding the baby. YOUR heartbeat is the one that’s familiar and comforting to your infant. It all feels as though it is 100%, completely, solely on YOU.
And, sweet new mama, if you truly are anything like me – you’re not going to ask for help. You are going to do it all yourself. You are going to fight to stay in control and you’re not going to open up about your struggles as a brand new momma. I get it. I didn’t want to, either.
Well, it’s been two babies and five years now since the first time I was a brand new mama and I am here to tell you that if you don’t reach out, speak up and validate the way you are feeling; if you truly do take the weight of the world on your own shoulders – you are going to crack. Life, parenting, and raising children is not a one woman show. And it certainly is not a show you can put on when you are not maintaining your own health – mental, spiritual, physical and emotional. It is imperative, new mama, that you are prioritizing your own wellbeing, even though your life has drastically changed and chances are you’ve probably put everyone else at the top of your priority list.
It turns out that is is not just a slogan we have all joked about, heard or on a t-shirt; the old adage ‘if mommy’s not happy, nobody’s happy’ – it’s the actual truth. You NEED to take care of yourself, for your baby. For your family. For yourself. This is a lesson that I personally learned the hard way and, even when it isn’t comfortable or doesn’t come naturally, I am learning to ask for help and to lessen the amount of pressure and expectations I have put on myself.
There are a lot of ways to practice self-care and everybody’s practice looks different. But, what I am going to share with you today, are seven really awesome ways that most momma’s will enjoy that are designed to cultivate mindfulness as a way to help restore sanity and promote self-love and self-care – even when you have a newborn and a circus of a household around you.
* If I had written this article prior to being a mom myself, I probably would have suggested waking up before your children in order to secure yourself some quiet time in the mornings -which actually is a beautiful way to begin your day – but if your children wake up before the crack of dawn like mine do, that might not be a realistic option. Therefore, it is crucial that you intentionally take time during the day to practice mindfulness.
1) Something I like to do in my home is to set up little ‘stations’ that serve as little reminders for me to take a quick moment to decompress. For me, my ‘stations’ each have a diffuser, some essential oils premixed and ready to drop in as well as a roller to apply, a book with a short reading and some flowers, just because I love them. I can quickly pause what I am doing, read something inspirational, get some oils going and take a few deep breaths before I continue along my day. I have several of these throughout my home and not only are they beautiful, but they serve as a physical reminder for me to pause and reconnect to the present moment.
2) If space allows it, having an alter or area to lay your yoga mat, meditation pillow and some relaxing essential oils readily available is the perfect way to offer a gentle reminder for you to practice a short flow during your day. Stretching our bodies, getting the blood moving in our system and allowing ourselves to breathe is a beautiful practice to employ when you have a minute or two to spare. My space like this now has two mats because I have a little blonde three year old yogi who likes to stretch alongside her momma, but that’s just fine by me. Whether she and I stop for five minutes or thirty, having my mat ready reminds me to stop, stretch and breathe and I hope it models that same practice for her, too.
3) A mindful practice you can employ on the go, whether you are out dropping your children off at day care, in like at the grocery store, watching their sports practice or on the phone is a breathing exercise. One of my favourite ones is a learned practice from Gabrielle Bernstein – my personal guru, picutres below – called ‘Nodi Shodhana’ or Opposite Nostril Breathing. It is designed to calm your mind, relax your nerves and help you focus as you balance the left and right hemispheres of your brain. There are many ways to practice this, but what I like to do is simply doing a full exhale, then covering your right nostril with your right thumb and doing a full, deep inhale. Hold for 3-5 seconds and then remove your thumb and exhale. Repeat on the opposite side with your left thumb and nostril. A few minutes of breathing this way helps settle our bodies and minds, as well as our emotions. Often times we find ourselves feeling frazzled, anxious and ‘out of sorts’ because we are unbalanced. We can find ourselves doing too many things at once, having ‘too many tabs open’ in our minds or are simply overwhelmed by our surroundings. This practice helps restore this balance and is a wonderful way to reconnect to the present moment.
4) Something I love to do at least once a day is a quick, 5 minute Journalling + Gratitide practice. To make this quick and easy, I literally use The 5 Minute Journal because it’s a simple way to jot down my thoughts for the day and it’s a guided writing practice. Meaning, I fill in the blanks and carry on. It’s designed to be written in in the morning and again in the evening, but you can create your own ritual with it. It’s a proven fact that being grateful for what we have helps adjust our mindset and can help us attract even more things to be grateful for. Especially for new moms, when the days truly blur into one another, having a keepsake like this will be a beautiful thing to look back on for years to come.
5) EnVISION your future. OK, this is kind of a cheat one because it can sometimes turn into a little bit of a ‘mindless’ mindfulness practice – if that makes sense. This form of mindful practice is a Pinterest Vision board. Done on your tablet or cell phone, use the Pinterest app or website to design a Vision Board. I like to do one for each year. I save pins that have inspiring quotes, trips I want to take, moments I want to create with my family, big ticket items I would like to puchase, renovations I would like to do to our home, goals I have for myself, etc. This is something I can come back to when I need motivation or inspiration and something I like to add to all through the year. It’s fun to look back on year after year to see how my dreams and vision change. The reason I say it can be mindless is because I do often tend to get lost in the endless scrolling that’s available on Pinterest, but it can be a useful tool to take a mindful minute, grab a coffee, relax a bit and save some dreams – big or small – to your board.
6) If you need some guidance in getting into a more positive frame of mind, or you simply need some assistance in being mindful, I suggest giving a walking medititation a try or testing out an app like ‘HeadSpace’. A walking meditation allows your mind to wander as your senses take in your surroundings, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and then be released as they pass. An app like ‘Head Space’ helps guide you through a meditation, so whether you are practiced in meditating or are brand new, you can spend a few minutes getting zen with the guidance from a pro. When practicing either (or really any form of meditation) I apply + diffuse oils, tell my husband that I need some time alone, and truly cherish some time to be alone with my thoughts. I am slowly learning through meditation that it is safe for all my feelings to come, to validate them, and then to allow them to pass – knowing that both good and bad emotions serve a purpose and that they are tools I can use to help learn more about what is really going on inside of me.
7) Of course, my mini-list here of ways to be mindful would be incomplete without incuding a truly mindful practice – albeit one many new moms truly may not have time for – and it is reading. Reading for joy or to further your learning and self-development, something all new moms can do for their own mental well being is to rest, relax and read. My favourite author, Gabrielle Bernstein, is a wonderful source of inspiration for me and I use her works as guides for my own spiritual journey and to improve my mental wellbeing. I also like to read romance novels, books about spirituality, home design inspiration and cookbooks – the options are endless for topics to discover and read about. If you’re not a reader, but still want to tune in, Audible or PodCasts are great, too. Anything that you can read or listen to that directs your thinking and gives you the sense that you are doing something solely to benefit you momma, is great.
Like I said, there really are so many wonderful ways to practice self-care and sometimes it takes testing several out before you find the one that works for you. Sometimes even just loading the kids into the stroller and getting out of the house to go for a walk is enough to get you – and them – out of your environment and into some fresh air. Maybe you’ll find that a creative hobby is what moves you and makes you feel mindful, maybe it’s cleaning your home, talking to a friend, writing or journalling, cooking or building something – whatever it is that works for you, it is important that all moms – whether you’re in the newborn days or are a mom to teens now – find ways to take some mindful moments, to create space and to intentionally focus on mental health and wellbeing in whatever way suits you best.
Please remember; if you are truly struggling with being mindful, if life seems unmanageable, if your emotions truly are not in check and you feel your anxiety/depression heightening – seek professional help. Whether its an online counsellor, a therapist, a service you can call into or something else. Connect with your family doctor and discuss what’s going on, making sure to consider your environmental, sleeping, eating and substance use habits. Speak to someone you trust, someone who is educated in the field of maternal mental health and who can direct your best on the path to healing.
We moms spend our entire lives giving our love to our families – it is imperative that we practice self-love first. Taking mindful moments in our day is a beautiful way to show our own selves that love, to honour our needs and to create space in our day to care for ourselves.
Parenting, mothering, nurturing and raising babies is a beautiful, messy, unpredictable and hard season. It is one to be honoured and celebrated and enjoyed, too. Our hard moments help us grow and our joyful moments help us cherish our days. Wherever you are in your journey, know that your worth is important and that self-care is not selfish.
Take some mindful moments, momma, love on yourself and then share that love with your babies.
Thank you so much to Marlys Morden for guest blogging for us!
To connect with her be sure to visit her blog and website for a healthier lifestyle!
So, here we are back in quarantine. Yes, many things have opened in America, and now we have a third COVID spike happening in a lot of places. There are several reasons why you might have to quarantine, and it’s not necessarily because you have COVID-19. So, it’s something that we should all be prepared to deal with.
With this in mind- I am going to try to make this quarantine better than the last one. We all went a little crazy with the last one, didn’t we? Especially those of us that had to work at home. (Here is my post about working from home with kids.) I know that so many people have been stuck inside for unknown periods of time, and it can be such a struggle. But, do not give up yet! We can make this work for us and our families!
Here are some easy ways that you can manage quarantine as a mom:
1. Take a Break- I know this is easier said than done. Trust me. I know. But, part of being a good mom, a BIG part, means that you are in a good place mentally. If you’re annoyed or overwhelmed- then you need to find a way to take a break and regroup. But what do you do if you need someone to watch the kids? If you are uncomfortable with allowing someone else in your house, that is understandable. Then, the only option that I can think of is to put the kids to bed early. Make them run around for a while, give them a large dinner and send them to bed at 7pm. This way you can have a couple hours to yourself. I know that this may be impossible some days, but keep trying! You need and deserve time to yourself to do whatever you want!
2. Support Squad- Get yourself a support squad (that you can talk to about anything). Make sure that you have your besties ready in a group chat, Marco Polo, FaceTime, SnapChat, email- whatever! You do not need to be doing this alone. I would advise you to keep your friends and family separate. You may feel like you’re close to your MIL, but what about when you need to vent about your partner or talk about sex? See what I mean?!
3. Time Block- You don’t necessarily need a set schedule if you’re not that type of person. And honestly, a daily set schedule can get stressful in quarantine. But, do make sure that you have parts of your day blocked off for certain activities: play time, movie time, reading time, or everyone in their separate rooms- quiet time. Even a little structure is good for your kids. It will also help your sanity. Having a schedule, or some kind of plan, will give you hope when you think you just can’t take one more second, you don’t have to! Move on to the next activity!
4. Set Boundaries- This can be any type of boundary that you need. Maybe you limit snacks, time or spaces. Whatever works for you. But, let me tell you, you cannot live a free for all and have everyone make it out alright. It’s just not going to happen. With my husband and son, I make the kitchen off limits when I’m cooking dinner. They cannot come in for snacks or to bug me during that time. They can go anywhere else, just not the kitchen while I’m cooking. It’s a time that I look forward to every day.
5. Special Celebrations- When you don’t know what day it is in quarantine, and everything seems to be running together: no one’s showering, changing clothes or deciphering between meals… Then it is time for you to shake things up. You need something special to do! This may sound like extra work, but it does not have to be. Make it simple, but different. You could have a special movie marathon, like Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones- anything in a series works. Or, you could have a fun theme for the day. Just make some kind of doable plans that will get your family excited. It’s always important to have something to look forward to!
6. Refresh and Revitalize- This sounds a lot like a shampoo commercial, but I think it’s something that the whole family needs to do often (daily if possible) when in quarantine. A great way to refresh is to go outside. I know that this one is a hassle, and it’s getting colder. I get it, but you will not regret the fresh air. Also, think about having family yoga or taking an online exercise class together. Do something that gets the blood flowing and raises everyone’s spirits.
Quarantine is definitely a time to let things go- but not too far! Don’t lose yourself or your sanity. Make a point to keep some law and order- or invent new tactics if you need to. When everything shut down in the spring, I didn’t have a plan for quarantine. I didn’t know what it would be like or how long it would last.
Now that I know how dark things can get, I don’t want to go there again. If I find myself in the same clothes for 4 days in a row eating lasagna while my 2 year old is watching the Simpsons naked at 3am, then I know I have let quarantine get the best of me. This is not the kind of mom that I want to be.. again.
Get a little bit of structure and spontaneity in the mix if you can. Stay positive and know that if we all follow guidelines and quarantine rules- we will be okay!
Creating a better quality of life for our families doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are ready to start on a path to cleaner living and whole-home wellness, you are in the right place.
You would be surprised at the number of harmful chemicals in the products that we breathe in and apply to our bodies daily. Literally hundreds before breakfast ALONE (especially women). We are exposed to chemical combinations all day every day and no safety data exist on these. It’s impossible to know how much damage we are doing to our bodies. Have you ever started coughing immediately after using a cleaning product? Yea, me too!
Even if we do not feel an immediate reaction, we are not in the clear y’all. Over time, these chemicals build up and create a toxic overload. Many of these chemicals are synthetic—that means they are FAKE. Our bodies do not know what to do with them. Our liver, our bodies filter is overworked, our hormones are out of whack and our body can be out of balance and cause a whole host of problems like eye and throat irritation, headaches, respiratory issues, allergic reactions, worsened asthma, and possibly even cancer. Yep, you read that right.
I was shocked when I learned what was being used in so many of my favorite products.. Don’t think that some brands that say “natural” or “toxin-free “are safe. Always check your labels. Here are just a few to look out for.
SLS—Sodium Lauryl Sulfate—cancer neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation, endocrine disruptors (hormone/thyroid). Benzisothiazolinone—eye and skin irritation.
PEG-2 Cocomonium Chloride—evidence of cancer, developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects; damage to DNA.
Methylisothiazolinone—possible neurotoxicity, nerve damage, lung toxicity, and allergic reactions.
Fragrance—this is a BIG one y’all!! An undisclosed chemical cocktail—trade secrets.A WHOPPING 12,500 ingredients fall under the umbrella word, FRAGRANCE on a label.
Manufacturers are not required to list their fragrance ingredients on product labels.
Often only one-word ‘fragrance” or “parfum” is used on the label and can hide a cocktail of more than 100 ingredients.
75% of fragrances contain phthalates which have been linked to cancer, infertility, pregnancy loss, and birth defects.
Fragrances are common triggers of asthma, migraines, allergies, and sinus problems.
Fragrances are linked to so many profound health risks that avoiding them is probably the #1 change you can make to reduce your family’s exposure to toxic chemicals. It only takes 26 seconds for chemicals in your cleaners to enter your bloodstream through the skin, this includes EVERYONE in your home especially our kids since their little bodies are still developing. It is just not worth the risk!!
Why would companies do this? It’s called Greenwashing, they mislead consumers about the health, safety, and environmental impact of their products. They use those cheap synthetic fillers that we talked about earlier. Some popular brands in candy-colored bottles seem eco-friendly, quirky, hip, and homemade—but hold up check the label.
We’ve all used products that aren’t the best for us, but we can’t let old habits dictate our future. Companies are smart but WE are smarter and as the gatekeepers of our homes, WE get to decide what comes in. So, what can we do?
Thieves the Day my friend!
Thieves is an ultra-concentrated, versatile formula made with plant-based ingredients that can be used on virtually every surface in your home. Formulated with the power of Young Living’s Thieves oil blend, you can get a deep clean without dangerous or synthetic ingredients. Thieves cleaner also includes the scent of Lemon essential oil for an even more uplifting aroma. Infuse your entire house with the power of Thieves with a whole line of Thieves products.
Thieves contain no harsh or dangerous synthetic chemicals that need to be rinsed after use. Thieves is safe for septic systems, pets, and children. BONUS, you can have your kids clean safely and easily. Just one capful of Thieves Household Cleaner to 2 cups of water will cost you less than $1 a bottle making it a healthy, thrifty choice.
Using Thieves Household Cleaner is the single best thing you can do to reduce those harmful cheap synthetic chemicals that are so prevalent in most cleaners. This one step will lessen your toxic load allowing your body to function optimally, the way it is supposed to.
Thieves products extend into the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room where even more harmful synthetic chemicals are found. Dishwashing liquid, automatic dishwasher soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, cough drops, hand sanitizer, and more make Thieves versatile for any lifestyle.
Thieves dishwashing soap uses natural grease-cutting agents and essential oils. THRIFTY TIP>> I split my dish soap into threes, add a little Thieves Household Cleaner and baking soda, and stretch it even further.
NO SYNTHETIC PERFUMES
Bringing the power of Thieves to your laundry room with enzymes that combat dirt and stains. A highly concentrated formula so one bottle will last a good while. THRIFTY TIP>> I split mine into threes, add water and stretch it even further.
NO SYNTHETIC PERFUMES
NO OPTICAL BRIGHTENERS
Thieves toothpaste and mouthwash support healthy-looking gums and teeth with ingredients from nature and pure essential oils.
NO SYNTHETIC DYES
NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS OR COLORS
NO MINERAL OIL
Thieves essential oil can be used to make your own DIY cleaning and wellness recipes. Thieves essential oil blend is a powerful combination of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils that fills any space with a rich, spicy aroma. It is one of Young Living’s most popular essential oils so it’s no wonder that Thieves is included in so many of the home cleaning and personal care products. It is a key ingredient in Thieves Cleaner, Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier, Thieves Wipes, and Thieves Foaming Hand Soap. Thieves blend is your go-to for an invigoratingly clean and spicy scent that smells more like fall baking than harsh cleaning formulas.
You can become a Young Living wholesale member. What does being a member mean? Think Costco’s or Sam’s. That’s it, You never have to share with anyone if you don’t want to. ( There are two sides to Young Living. Over 80%of the wholesale members are product users only and approximately 8-10 % are members who have chosen to build a business with Young Living ). There are no monthly requirements or quotas. Your membership will get you wholesale prices on over 600 oil or oil-infused products like Thieves.
You can join Young Living’s Essential Rewards program and earn free products and reward points on every purchase every month. It’s like FREE money back every month to be used on future purchases. DOLLA DOLLA BILLS Y’ALL.
This is how I get most of my essential oils. I buy my household products, makeup, supplements that I am going to buy anyway. Then I use my points I earn to get the oils I want plus the ones I get for FREE every month. It’s a good deal but it’s also totally optional.
There are a few different options to start your wholesale membership. The biggest bang for your buck is the Thieves Starter Bundle. When you use my referral number at https://bit.ly/startYLNOW to start and choose a Premium Starter Bundle with Essential Rewards, you will get $25 cashback from me plus FREE SHIPPING and you will earn $10 in Rewards Points to use on future orders.WHOOP!!
We can also put together a customizable membership and I am happy to help you with that. Email me at email@example.com or comment here.
***Young Living just added on another Premium starter kit and it is not on my website yet. It’s called the ” Little Oilers Premium Starter Bundle” and it formulated for kids so it is already diluted so just add a roller to the top and start rolling. This starter bundle does qualify for the $25 cashback from me when you start with Essential Rewards plus the free shipping from Young Living.
I am happy to answer any questions you may have about Thieves, Young Living, or Essential Rewards You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Avoiding synthetic chemicals in your home may seem daunting and overwhelming but the payoff will be worth it. Your body will function better without the toxic load that comes from using cheap filler synthetic chemicals. Switching to Thieves makes it an easy process to turn your home into a safer place for you and your family.
Let’s chat about how to find 2 extra hours in your day! That is right, 2 extra hours! And you are going to be able to use that extra time to do all those amazing things you set out to do this week! These are 10 things that I do throughout the day that if you do a quick time audit, will easily save you 2 hours or more.
The #1 question I get asked is how do you fit in all the things. So I thought this would be a fun way to share.
STOP SCROLLING. Despite managing my business on social media, I am not online very much. I do it very strategically. I set aside time to connect on social media and then get off. And I do it in 20-50 minute increments. Otherwise, while I am working on other tasks my phone is in airplane mode! Crazy concept, I know. But it works. There are also a few browser apps that you can load that block you from social media sites after a certain amount of time. And most importantly, do not scroll first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed. Do you want others to influence the most important times of your day?
DO NOT HIT SNOOZE. Do not hit snooze. I repeat. Do not hit snooze. Snooze is the worst. And actually makes you MORE tired. (Because you aren’t getting into that deep restful sleep again). II know from prior experience this will save you 30-40 minutes alone! Go to bed the night before with intention. Map out what you want to do first thing in the morning and then do it! I heard a quote earlier this week that inconvenience exposes commitment. If you are committed as in truly dedicated. Snooze won’t be an issue. You gotta find something that makes you jump out of bed in the am!
SAY NO. UNLESS IT IS ONE OF YOUR TOP 3 PRIORITIES.Only say YES, to what is going to support your goals. My girls and I use this when it relates to healthy choices. All the time (eat your veggies). Cupcakes (sometimes). Netflix at 9pm? Maybe a sometimes task instead of all the time? See what I am saying? I talk about this a lot in my podcasts, but you should only pick 1-3 priorities a day. And sometimes even that is too much. If you know your priorities than it is way easier to say no to something that doesn’t support them.
As an example, on Friday nights we have a family movie night. So when a friend asks me to a girls night on the same night, I typically will say no, OR I will make adjustments so that movie night is on Saturday and my priorities are intact. Use your schedule to your advantage to help you make decisions.
SINGLE TASK WITH A SINGLE FOCUS. Don’t multi-task. This one is pretty straight forward, but the days of multi-tasking are over. Even if you are just focused on one thing for 10 minutes, you will get WAY more done in that 10 minutes than you will be doing 3 different things at one time.
I also use this to set boundaries. As an example. When I am in my office, my kids know that I am working, so, for the most part, they are aware that it isn’t time to ask me a million questions. When I am in the kitchen and trying to work as an example, they think I am available. So I try to focus my work time on one task in one area where I can knock it out and be done. It isn’t to say I don’t check my phone while in other areas, but when I am in “shared” areas, it isn’t my priority.
TIME BLOCK – You guys. I chat about this EVERY DAY. It works. And it works. I have a template in my WFH guide that is attached and also in my Systems Shop. You have to do it.
One thing I will add is to watch your energy levels with this. As an example, I come out the gate strong on Monday but I leave time for planning and strategizing. Tuesdays are almost interview and podcast days along with other meetings but by Friday. I try not to schedule meetings so I can “catch up”. I know I will be tired. And ready for a break. So don’t save your biggest task for Friday night! Just as your energy fluctuates throughout the day and week so does your attention.
I also almost always schedule a “maintenance” day, which is usually Friday or Saturday AM depending on the week. Clear out your inbox. Review your projects. Re-look at your to-do list. Do the laundry 🙂 Clean house. Organize. It helps. And sometimes is my most creative time. As a note, you don’t want to have your “maintenance day” on the same day you have 5 meetings.
In addition to time blocking you can also do a few fun things to motivate you to be super focused during the day by bookending your day. I pick the first two hours of the day to focus on my self-care and my VIP tasks as I call them. Don’t leave the hardest tasks for when you are the most unproductive. Then at the end of the day, I block out time for family and a least one hour before bed relax!
DON’T COMPARE. Your schedule isn’t going to look like anyone else’s. Just because I get up at 5am, doesn’t mean you need to. You have to play around with what works for you and when it feels good and you feel fulfilled, stick with it!
BLOCK TIME TO CHECK EMAILS. Only check email 1-2 times a day. This will probably save you an hour alone!! You want to say NO to busy work as much as possible. And if possible even automate repetitive tasks. As an example, when I have a new client sign up for our wellness package, I have a welcome email I send. I tweak it a little for each client but it is the same information. I don’t need to re-write it every time.
STOP EATING LIKE CRAP.Don’t eat sugar. Or at least limit it when you are trying to knock out some deadlines. Fuel your body with nutrients that are going to help you thrive!
SET ASIDE TIME FOR YOU! Reward yourself at the end of the day for working on those goals! (Or the beginning! Move your body. Meditate. Take a walk. Give yourself time to think! Your best ideas will come from this time and save you more time later!) And you know I am going to say this. But block off your calendar. Hit pause right now. Block out “ME TIME” for 30 minutes every day for the next month. See how it goes.
DO MORE WITH LESS. CLEAR YOUR SPACE. Work from a state of inspiration! Clean your desk. Go work in a coffee shop. Surround yourself with an environment that supports you!
Think about where you can outsource! I recently started a whiteboard in my office where I write down all the tasks weekly that I could outsource. Some of these are business tasks but some of them are basic tasks that you might not think of when you think to outsource….Outsourcing is really just saving you time!!!
Dry Cleaning pick-up
Meal kits / delivery
Outsourced Shopping (Such as Stitchfix or other services)
Proofreading (I use an app on my laptop)
Other apps that help with Time Management – Asana, Loop Habit Tracker, Trello, Calendly, Google Keep etc.
So tell me. Which one are you going to do this week? Or are you going to be a rockstar and do them all?
I Lost count on how many times a day I say “what’s in your mouth” “come back here please”, “no get down.” It must be enough because my toddlers favorite word is NONONO now…oops! (She’s a week shy of 17 months by the way.)
Yet still my baby who likes to be rocked and cuddled to sleep and is still so so sweet. I miss the baby stages I really do, but this new adventurous toddler stage is so fun and so exhausting.
How does one have enough patience in the day without full break down and exhaustion… the answer is.. well you nearly don’t.
I became a “stay at home mom” the week my daughter turned one and this pandemic shut down began. I was and am SO excited to stay home and spend more time with her but it was so draining to not see any friends or family or basically the outside of our house since it was still cold out.
Now that we are looking at this being the new “normal” for a while here are some tips that have saved me!
Tip 1: The mom guilt! Don’t feel guilty about napping when they nap. Or even to binge watch TV all day. There’s so many expectations that the house should look immaculate if you’re a “stay at home mom”, but let me tell you, its just going to be messy in 5 minutes again, so TAKE THE NAP! Or do something for yourself mama.
Tip 2: Make mommy friends! It can be the most uncomfortable feeling putting yourself out there to make mommy friends but its been so worth it for me AND my toddler! Find a local group if available and reach out you never know you might have a reply within 5 minutes (I did!) Pre Covid we attended a weekly music group and newborns support group and I’m so thankful to have met some lifelong friends from those groups, so it’s never too late to find mommy friends! I also used the peanut app briefly when my daughter was first born, it’s a great way to connect with other moms either in your area or not in your area.
Tip 3: Get adventurous, and don’t be afraid to get dirty ! Check out the site “busy toddlers and beyond” on Facebook it’s been a lifesaver. Parents/caregivers provide pictures of activities to do with your toddler or any age! Some favorites for us have been sensory boxes, water activities, or using recyclables.
Or another way to get adventurous is to try out a new park and have a picnic! I know for a while the playgrounds were closed down, it was even refreshing to go for a daily walk or two to a local park and just let your toddler RUN!!
I hope my three tips helped you maybe get out of a funk of feeling like you’re going crazy or out of ideas and remember YOU’RE NOT ALONE, and THEY ARE ONLY LITTLE ONCE!
(The following is not advice, I am not a doctor or a dietician, these are only my personal views/experiences)
Weaning – What the fuck?
Ok can I just say the following may be considered a rant, it may be considered off loading or a touch too honest, but if you have a child, especially a fussy arse child with reflux and a CMPA then YOU my friend will probably relate to the following!
So I had my baby in a stressful environment, it was stressful due to the fact the kid was trying to but his way out of my bumhole for the best part of 12 hours before the midwives realised he didn’t know what the fuck he was doing. But when he was here, I had flashes of this spectacular duck to water situation where all this motherly wisdom would wash over me like a waterfall on a secluded pond, but let me tell ya… I was wrong!
I trust my gut 99% of the time but dieticians, anxiety, GOOGLE SEARCHES, drs, lack of health visitors and friends personal worries unfortunately have their effects. If you know you know.
Now I started weaning my terror tot at just over 5 months, no I didn’t have drs say so, I didn’t have health visitor or dieticians agreement but let me just tell you, I’m his mum. I told the dr he had reflux, I told the dr he had a CMPA, and I’M the one who kept in touch with the health visitor who, once COVID hit, quite frankly couldn’t give a shite, so instinct is all I had, back to the caves we go! At first he was brilliant, he LOVED the purees, however my son is the type of child who learns fast but then gets bored quickly. So two days in and the refusal started, in all honesty look at my site the kid picks things up at the drop of a hat, masters them and then thinks sod it I know I can so lets stop.
Changes. People have said ‘oh soon as you feed him you’ll notice he’ll sleep better’ well, what a lying sack of shit that was. Soon as he started weaning BAM the mid night feeds came in, and I don’t mean feeding at midnight, no no, I mean 2,3,4,5am you name it we’ve had it! My son was sleeping 9/10 hour nights through, I look back on them times fondly. I thought shit, have I done the wrong thing, have I broke my baby? So I did what every good mum does with a good internet connection, I hit Google. And you know what I found? It’s NORMAL! Normal! Not to mention he’s at prime sleep regression age, like we just got over one what did I do in a past life to deserve this
. So now he’s slamming his legs in the night, he’s waking crying and he’s desperate for a feed. I know you’re probably thinking ‘are you sure it’s nothing else?’ Well, slap on your I’m sorry smile, because trust me he’s perfectly fine. Oh, other than teething, out of nowhere the little shit bit me last week and I realized he had sprouted not one tooth at the bottom front but two! My 5 month old now has 2 teeth, beats me on the regular and refuses to sleep. Can I sue him for this? Like if this was a relationship and it was his dad doing this it would be out and put abuse, but when it’s a baby people say it’s CUTE! You know what I’m saying if you have kids. They scream ‘aw the baby’, they rag your hair with their tiny raccoon hands ‘haha ohh he’s a cheeky one, but look how cute’ HE shit on ME and my friend goes ‘aw it’s cute though’ SQUEEZE YOU! How is walking round smelling like a soggy nappy cute? I digress…
So weaning, as great as it is it’s not as easy as people make it out to be. Reflux = a lot of research, dietician appointments (via phone atm, fuck you Rona!), and major guess work. We have now realised blueberries are a no no, with in 10 minutes he had launched them back up, but as many with a child with reflux know, it’s as if it’s perfectly normal to throw it back up. Mums on the case. Pears and apples are his absolute favourite but I still find myself eye hawking my son like a food stalker, because that’s kind of what we are. Also I have tried him with free from bread, this means free from gluten, soy and dairy, and whatever other ingredients they can’t have, I also used dairy and soy free butter to taste, for those who are so fast to say ‘you shouldn’t do that’ he had been weaning for 3 weeks and I had hold of it, and you’ll be pleased to know he licked it, took it off me and squashed it into his jumparoo whilst smiling, sooo, more fun for me. Nothing says piss off with your shitty fake food mum, like having to clean greasy crumbs from underneath a plastic monkeys arse
How did I know he was ready to wean? I did my research, I also got the dietician sheets from my friend whose daughter is 5 days older than my son and has exactly the same dietary needs as him. My son can hold his head up with ease, he was fully sitting up and rolling over. He was always reaching for our food and trying to bite it. He was also mimicking us chewing our food and on top of all of this, when we had food and he had a bottle he would completely lose interest in his bottle and throw it and go for our food. He has a brilliant appetite so I knew what was going on there, but as always you know your baby best I will NEVER tell someone how to parent, I’m not you and your child, every need and dynamic is different.
So what I take from this weaning is, slow and steady wins the race, go in with an open mind your child may not like what you’re trying first off (my son likes avocado but not bananas the weirdo!) And make sure you do your research. Honestly we have all of these wonderful resources at our disposal to not make the most of them is silly to me. It’s hard work, but after my own health visitor telling me my son may ‘just have a bug’ when he was having a reaction to milk he had been put on and get his age wrong, I decided his well being is completely on me. I wont rely on strangers to tell me how to raise him. And to be honest, he is flourishing, he is doing brilliantly (our doctor told me I’m doing a great job so I’ll take that) and I’ll only try him on natural things (bar the bread and butter he didn’t care about). You do you but make sure you are safe and only doing what is best for your family.
I hope you enjoyed this post, I’m nothing if not honest.
Until next time stay safe and don’t be a stranger.