4 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Evenings (and How to Fix it)

4 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Evenings (and How to Fix it)

4 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Evenings (and How to Turn it Around)

Evening Routine For Moms #momhacks #momschedule #selfcareroutineEvening Routine For Moms #momhacks #momschedule #selfcareroutine

As the day goes on, our reserves of will power get used up. Which is probably why my natural inclination after a long day of kid wrangling, laundry doing, mess cleaning, food making, and diaper changing is to sit on the couch and avoid any unnecessary movement.

All while I let the latest binge-worthy Netflix show wash over me like a gentle wave.

Once we’ve run through the bedtime shenanigans and 4 little heads are nestled in their pillows,  I am straight up pooped. Like end-of-a-marathon-fall-asleep-where-I’m-standing exhausted (aka MOTHERHOOD).

But instead of actually taking care of myself and listening to my needs, I just wasted time.

(Not unlike my kids at bedtime.)

My natural response was to push the fatigue aside and feel all the glory of what it’s like to do absolutely nothing for several hours. I wanted to relish being awake and not have to be constantly meeting someone else’s needs.

However, an evening spent in mindless activity (I’m talking’ to you Netflix) all but guarantees that the next day is going to be rough. It means crummy sleep, and a cranky morning once my kids are trying to pry my exhausted body out of bed to make them breakfast.

Before I even realized how my evenings were impacting my entire day, I realized that I needed to change my morning routines and wake up earlier. Once I made over my mornings I started to accomplish loads more every day (you can read my post here).

But early mornings forced me to recognize that I was blowing my evenings BIG TIME.

I needed to be way more intentional with my time.

Which led to me to searching for evening routine ideas. And resulted in me completely changing my evening routines by implementing more structure and prioritizing self care. In doing so, my sleep quality improved a ton, I was happier, accomplished more, and was more relaxed.

So what are your evening like? If they’re like mine used to be then here is how you’re sabotaging your evenings…and how you can turn it all around (with several evening routine ideas).

Evening Routine For Moms #momhacks #momschedule #selfcareroutine

1) YOU DON’T HAVE AN INTENTIONAL EVENING ROUTINE.

By the end of the day, we’re exhausted. Which is why late at night we are way more inclined to eat food we shouldn’t eat and waste time with things we shouldn’t do.

If we don’t have a specific plan for our evenings, then we are at the mercy of whatever forces come our way.

How to turn it around: Design Your Ideal Routine

If I’ve got no plan for once my kids are in bed, it’s all but guaranteed I’m going to waste time and end up even more exhausted. But simply having a plan makes it way more likely that I’m going to make smart choices even though exhausted.

When you’re tired, it’s hard to make good choices. Creating a plan beforehand takes away needing to choose when you are exhausted. You can just follow through with the plan you already put in place.

So what do you want your ideal evening to look like? Do you envision yourself cozied up in an armchair reading a book? Or taking a fragrant bubble bath? Drinking relaxing tea as you decompress and talk about your day with your husband? Meditating? Working towards a personal goal? Completing a project?

Once you know what activities you want in your evenings, determine what things are getting in your way.

For me, it was screens. Whether TV, phone, or computer screens, at the end of a long day I just wanted to get lost in mindless consumption. While it was nice to zone out, it didn’t leave me feeling particularly relaxed or help me get to my goals.

I realized that taking a bath and reading before bed were far more effective at leaving me relaxed and fulfilled. They even help me sleep better. So I do both nearly every single night.

Start eliminating the time-wasters and including more of what actually relaxes you and makes you happy. Create your evening rules that you will stick to. My rules are generally no eating and no screens (unless there is a planned exception like a stay-at-home date once the kids are in bed). 

2) YOU DON’T HAVE A BEDTIME.

We often think of bedtimes in relation to our kids. We give them bedtimes knowing that they need a certain amount of sleep each night or else they turn into little monsters.

Our bedtimes, on the other hand, tends to be very flexible.

But just like our kids, we REALLY need our sleep to function well, be healthy, and not turn into The Hulk when the day gets frustrating. Experts say that as adults, we need at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. I’ve discovered that I need 8-9 to function well. 

When I don’t get my 8 hours of sleep, I’m not as happy, I’m more likely to overeat (and eat things that aren’t healthy), and I don’t get near as much done as when I’m fully rested. Frankly, I’m super inefficient when sleep-deprived.

How to turn it around: Figure out how much sleep you need.

So how much sleep do you REALLY need to function well? Be honest with yourself. Hint: it’s more than 7. Surviving is one thing, but actually thriving is another. How much do you need to thrive?

Set your bedtime accordingly and make keeping it a priority. As a mom, it’s sooooo easy to put your needs last. But when you are well-rested everyone is going to win when there is a happier, more patient mama around.

For more on improving sleep, check out my post 10 Strategies For Moms to Dramatically Improve Sleep.

3) YOU’VE GOT TOO MANY SCREENS HAPPENING. 

While we scroll though our smartphones or binge watch TV all in the name of relaxing, it ironically leaves us less likely to get quality sleep. The light emanating from the screens actually makes it harder to fall asleep and to then sleep soundly.

Also, have you notices that when you’re in front of a screen you enter a weird time warp? I’ll think “Oh I’ll just check out FB/Instagram/news for a few minutes” and while I’ll think 10 minutes has passed, a whole hour has flown by.

Screens mess up your sleep and suck up your time.

How to turn it around: Stop screens a few hours before your bedtime.

You’ve already determined what bedtime is going to be best for you. Cut off your screen time in the 3 hours before your bedtime. This will help your body relax and prepare for a more restful sleep.

I know it’s tough. Oh heavens, I know exactly how hard it can be. We are literally surrounded by screens.

But cutting off screens in the evening has been the most important change I have made to my evenings. Suddenly, I had more time to do things that actually feed my soul that I can’t get to during the day (e.g. reading, goal setting, planning, thinking coherent thoughts).

If you only change one thing about your evenings, ditch the screens. That alone will transform your evenings…and your sleep.

4) YOU DON’T PRIORITIZE SELF CARE.

Effective relaxation–the kind that makes your broken self feel whole again–all comes down to self-care practices. And just to clarify, doing nothing is not self care.

I may have tried to fool myself that sitting on the couch, not moving, was self care. But it wasn’t. Self care needs to be intentional. It doesn’t have to be complicated (in fact, I’d say it shouldn’t be), but it should be purposeful.

Self care is intentionally taking care of our minds, souls and bodies. And it is essential to not just creating the evening we want, but creating the life we want.

How to turn it around: Add self care to your evening routine. 

Some examples of self care practices you can add to your evening routine:

  • stretch/yoga
  • take a bath
  • read a book for enjoyment
  • go for a walk/run around your neighborhood (and listen to music you love, an audio book, or podcast)
  • journal

For more self care evening routine ideas, check out my post Getting Started With Self Care.

You can create a fulfilling and relaxing evening routine.

As exhausted moms, at the end of the day we just want to relax and do the stuff we couldn’t do throughout the day. We want to drown out our fatigue into our phone screens or binge watch one of the zillions of must-watch series that get zapped on demand straight to out TVs.

But with these evening routine ideas, your evening can be a catalyst to a happier, healthier, and more organized life. Your evenings determine your sleep quality, energy, self care practice, health and happiness.

Mama, you’ve got this!

 

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Why You Should Wake Up Before Your Kids

Why You Should Wake Up Before Your Kids

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Why You Should Wake Up Before Your Kids

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been jarred awake by a high pitched voice demanding breakfast. And I’m the first to tell ya, it’s a terrible way to start the day. 

Before I started to wake up before my kids, my days started generally the same way:

  • I wake up to two little eyes staring back at me, knowing I’ve lost even before I’ve begun. 
  • While my kids are moaning at the side of my bed that they are absolutely starving, I’ve suddenly got to pee.
  • So my kids follow me into the bathroom, their moaning for food intensifying while I am trying to remember what day it is.
  • I then groggily assure them that I will fix them breakfast in just a second. But they become more whiny and upset, convinced I am trying to starve them. 
  • When we finally make it to the kitchen and I get the breakfast, I’m annoyed and already feeling 2 steps behind and my kids are crabby.

While I knew my mornings needed to change, waking up early just sounded like cruel and unusual punishment. I was the consummate night owl and dreaded mornings.

But I finally decided that things really needed to change. So I read this book, and actually started waking up well before my kids.

What happened was miraculous. Suddenly, everyone was so much happier in the mornings. Instead of feeling behind, I felt accomplished and was able to not only serve breakfast, but do breakfast dishes.

Most miraculous of all, we started to getting to school on time. Getting lunches and backpacks ready and 4 little bodies fed, pottied, and into car seats is no small feat!!!

That’s when this girl became a believer in the power of mornings. Especially in waking up before your kids. Almost instantly, I was accomplishing more everyday, happier, and healthier. Which translated into a happier, calmer, more organized home and family.

 

Waking up before your kids will change your life.

 

Starting Out Behind

Think about it for a minute: Once your kids are awake, they’re all about mama.

Whether for your ability to make breakfast, change diapers, or give righteous snuggles, you’re in high demand once those little heads pop off their pillows.

But when you first wake up, you’re not quite poised and ready for action. You’ve gotta take care of business (i.e. pee, brush your teeth, and actually start thinking coherent thoughts) before you can really start to function like human being.

But such business tends to turn hungry kids into supremely cranky kids. And cranky kids plus a tired mama usually equals a cranky mama. And that is no way to start your day!

However, simply setting your alarm for 30 (or even 15!!) minutes earlier has the power to completely transform your day (for tips to wake up earlier, check out my post here). You will be happier, more efficient, and get more done each day. Your personal morning time will center you and set you up for your whole day.

Bare Minimum: Wake up 15 minutes earlier.

Girl, I know waking up is tough sometimes (or all the time). Especially when you’re up with a baby or a sick kid. Or just up late spending time with your husband binge watching Netflix.

Then just shoot for 15 minutes before your kids wake up and see how you feel. Here’s what you should do:

  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Set your intentions for the day (e.g. set daily priorities, plan, schedule, pray, journal etc.)

This will get you mentally and physically prepared to start your day before anyone needs something from you. And it will give you a bit of time to be by yourself (which frankly feels like a treat as a mom of 4 little ones).

Ready for a bit more? Try an hour earlier

Your Mama Power Hour

Waking up before your kids and starting your day by giving yourself a whoIe hour to yourself will truly change your life. I’ve found that how you start your day more often than not determines the quality of everything that follows (seriously, changing my mornings has literally changed my whole life).

Spending an hour taking care of yourself will set you up to be the mom you strive to be. And you will get more done everyday! If you can spend an hour before your kids are up taking care of yourself, you will be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. And your whole family will reap the benefits.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Make your bed: Start your day with an accomplishment.
  • Get dressed: Preferably, in workout clothes so you that much closer to getting your sweat on!
  • Exercise: And this 25 minute workout is the perfect. Getting your workout done first thing will give you a blast of endorphins, energy, and a serious sense of accomplishment. Don’t let it hang over your head all day!
  • Determine your daily priorities: This could be writing lists, planning, making a schedule, journaling, meditating..whatever gets you centered and focused for the day.
  • Read something uplifting: This could be parenting books, self-help books (I’m obsessed), scripture, etc. 
  • Spend time/effort on your personal goals:  Part of achieving your goals means making time for them. Spending even a little bit every morning will get you closer to achieving your goals than any sporadic and massive effort. 

And here’s a big giant DON’T for your mornings:

  • Stay away from your phone and any social media.

Nothing will zap your time away faster than “just checking” something. Think of this time a sacred time your YOU. Guard it ferociously. For me, this means no checking any news on my phone. 

Your Morning Transformation

Here’s what happens when you start your day in solitude and preparing yourself for your day:

  • You start the day with incredible momentum and can accomplish more
  • You’re happier and totally ready for the chaos once your kids are up
  • You start achieving your goals faster because you are actually making time every single day to get there.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that waking up before my kids has changed my whole life. It has played a big part in pushing me and helping me achieve my goals (including losing over 35 lbs after having 4 kids).

My mornings are a sacred alone time that I get during the day. That time prepares me to relish my days of chaos, snuggles, and challenges. And I get so much more done that I seriously feel like I have actually more hours in the day.

Get Started Tomorrow

So what are you waiting for!?! Set your alarm a little earlier, wake up before your kids, and transform your mornings. Before you have to throw on your super hero mom cape, taking time for yourself first thing in the morning will do wonders for your happiness and productivity.

Even if it’s just for 15 or 30 minutes, that short time in the morning will have a massive impact on the quality of your day. You will be more able to handle stress and challenges and you will be more likely to achieve your personal goals.

You deserve it, mama.

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Why You Need to be Listening to Podcasts

Why You Need to be Listening to Podcasts

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Why You Need to be Listening to Podcasts

Being a mom of small kids means your brain is probably full of Disney lyrics and wistful thoughts about napping.

Or being alone for 5 minutes.

Sometimes, you feel like your “mom brain” is turning to mush, held hostage by the sounds of children’s TV programing and the constant hum of whining or asking for snacks.

But don’t despair: podcasts to the rescue.

For me, podcasts are the antidote to the crazy, “blah,” mom brain that often accompanies long days devoted to raising small kids (here are 7 podcasts that’ll help you feel smart again).

They are the perfect way for busy moms to be entertained and learn new things, without taking up any extra time in the day.  

Seriously, they will change your life. Here’s why:

1. They’re free.

Um, can I get a “heck, yes”!?! When I discovered that I could download any of the bazillions of podcasts out there FOR FREE I felt like stumbled on the greatest thing in the world.

It was like a master baker moved in next door and would bring me free pastries and fresh bread everyday. But it’s even better because you can’t get fat off of podcasts!

2. You can listen as you do all the stuff you’re gonna do anyways.

Whether cleaning your house, going for a run, folding laundry, or driving your kids to soccer, you can be feeding your brain and soul with the goodness of podcasts.

Through a podcast app, you can download them straight to your phone. Then you can sync it to a portable bluetooth speaker, throw on headphones, or connect it to your dashboard. You can listen anywhere while doing just about anything.

Seriously, you’ll actually look forward to folding clothes and mopping your floor when you can listen to your favorite podcasts.

Podcasts are amazing for moms

3. There is a podcast for EVERYTHING.

When it comes to podcasts, there is an insane amount of variety. Comedy, parenting, health and fitness, history, true crime, motivational–whatever you’re looking for, there’s a podcast that’ll knock your socks off. Here are some of my all-around favorites.  

Need a quick place to start? Check out any of these crazy-addictive series:

Oh, and there’s even podcasts for kids! My kids love to listen to “Wow in the World”. It’s hilarious and educational.

There is literally no end to the amazingness and variety of podcasts at your fingertips.

4. You get to learn awesome stuff & be inspired.

Which, at the end of the day, just makes you a better mom. I’m always learning stuff that helps informs my parenting or helps me be more understanding of people who are different than me.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that podcasts have changed my life. Listening to podcasts is what inspired me to start this blog, try intermittent fasting (which helped me lose 35 lbs), and keeps me informed about the world around me. If I could hug podcasts, I would. 

Basically, podcasts are the bee’s knees.

While they’re great for most everyone, podcasts are an especially amazing resource for busy moms. You can feed your brain as you go about your day doin’ your thing. Check out Apple Podcasts or Stitcher and bring this amazing force into your life. Start with one of the addictive series I mentioned and then tell me all about how obsessed you are (because you will be). 

Listen on, mama!

 

15 Ways to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

15 Ways to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

15 Ways to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

Mom life is tough. You’ve got about 50 problems coming at you at once and you’re just trying to keep everyone alive without going insane.

When my 4 kids are all screaming at once, there’s a puddle of pee on my floor, and my house looks like the aftermath of a tornado it takes a lot to not lock myself in the bathroom and cry.

While the joys of motherhood are real and intense, so are the dramatic lows where you find yourself locked in a bathroom with little fists pounding on the door as you cry in frustration and despair.

While it’s impossible to be The Perfect Mom™ (newsflash: she doesn’t exist) there are many ways that you can keep overwhelm at bay. These simple habits will not only help you avoid overwhelm, but be happier and healthier.

1) Make your health a priority.

This is most important thing you can do, and yet it’s the first thing that gets kicked to the curb when overwhelm hits.

But think about airplane safety. The flight attendant always goes through that little thing where they remind you that in case of an emergency to put on your own mask first.

This absolutely applies to motherhood.

So many moms put their needs last, afraid to take care of themselves thinking it will take away from their kids. But it’s not a win-lose game where if you are focusing on yourself, your kids are missing out.

It’s actually the opposite: The better care you give yourself, the better equipped you are to take care of your family. You can’t give your kids your best when you are running on empty and about to lose it.

2) Get enough sleep.

Quality sleep may be challenging as a busy mom, but it’s possible. It’s just not going to happen on it’s own. It’s gonna take some effort to lay this important foundation for your health. Here are some strategies to improve your sleep.

Sleep should be your number 1 health priority. Your sleep is 100% linked to basically every part of your health (weight, energy level, skin health etc). It’s also directly correlated to the amount of patience you have (which comes in handy as a mom).

When we are exhausted, we eat entire bags of chips and move at a snails pace as we try and attack our to-do lists. We lose our cool and yell at our kids. Great sleep is the foundation for being a happy, healthy, and organized mom.

conquer-mom-overwhelm

3) Wake up before your kids.

Waking up before your kids will supercharge your productivity and give you important “me time” when you are energized.

Even if it’s just enough time to get dressed, brush your teeth, and set your intentions (see #5). Waking up before your kids puts you in control of your day from the beginning. You’re not just responding to the bedside demands from your children as they ply you from your covers.

I find that waking up early, exercising, and getting a few thing done before my kids are awake honestly makes me feel like there are more hours in the day. For tips to wake up early, check out these 9 fail-proof tips.

4) Make your bed.

If you’re skeptical of this one, I get it. I used to think making my bed was the biggest waste of time. That is, until I actually gave it a shot. Now I’m a full believer in the power of making your bed everyday.

Making your bed right when you wake up gives you and immediate and visible “win” for the day. You get a little jolt of happiness/and or feeling of accomplishment. Starting your day with an easy win, sets you up to start knocking more tasks out of your way.

Also, one major source of mom overwhelm is clutter and disarray. Simply keeping your bed and bedroom in order will soothe your worried soul when the rest of your house looks like a tornado swept through it.

Simply, I get more done on days that I make my bed.

5) Set your intentions for the day in the morning.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. This is especially true for moms. You’ve got a million things coming at you at once and little people to keep alive.

So how can you manage your home, family, AND prioritize your health? At the start of your day, you’ve got to determine what the most important things you can accomplish today. Where will your focus be?

This can take many forms. For example:

  • to-do lists
  • visualization
  • journaling
  • talking it out with your spouse

The key is to decide, right off the bat, what are the few things that you want accomplish for the day. Then you don’t let the little challenges (that inevitably come) derail your day.

For example, if my goals are to be an attentive mom and to get some meal prepping done, then a dirty house or an unexpected phone call wont throw me off. When my child slips and falls, I’ll snuggle her and ignore my messy house. When someone calls to chat, I’ll find a way keep it short and get back to making meals.

conquer-mom-overwhelm

 

6) Find an exercise you enjoy & do it regularly.

We all know we should be exercising. The benefits are awesome for both physical and mental health. It boosts your mood and gives you more energy throughout the day.

But the key isn’t just exercising, it’s actually finding something you want to do. If it’s not something you look forward to, you aren’t going to do it when life gets crazy. Which then just makes life harder to handle.

Find an exercise activity that you like and schedule it regularly. Not everyone has to love the gym or running or crossfit. Don’t beat yourself up or try and force yourself. Find what works for you and you’ll actually look forward to doing it.

7) Pick your battles wisely.

Every day, you are bombarded with challenges. But YOU decide which are worth even dealing with.

You can’t do it all, but you can do what is important and valuable to YOU.

For example, I do not battle over my kids clothes and hair. It does not affect my happiness one bit. Instead, the fact that they dress themselves from about age 2 and on makes my life considerably easier. 

Do they look like they were dressed by someone dropping acid? Sure! But they love having control and autonomy over how they look. And I skip any battle over brushing their hair or making sure they match. 

(Note: We do “brush our hair for Jesus” so they look presentable at church. Usually.)

On the other hand, I am really concerned about creating healthy eating habits. Therefore, I put a lot more energy and effort into preparing healthy foods and encouraging them to like things that are good for their bodies.

Pick your priorities and let go of the rest.

8) Shower & get dressed everyday.

Showering and getting dressed for the day will make you more productive and efficient.

Mind you, “dressed for the day” does not mean you need to be ready for an Instagram lifestyle shot. It means you are clean, clothed (no pajamas), and have brushed your teeth. Figure out what kind of daily “uniform” is easy to throw on. but makes you feel “ready”.

By the way, this shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Remember, dry shampoo is your best friend. It’s going to save you so much time! 

Brilliant Hacks to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

9) Spend 15 minutes on laundry every day.

Spending a little time everyday doing something is far more effective than massive and sporadic bursts of activity. This principle applies perfectly to that fearsome beast: laundry.

A little everyday will ensure that it doesn’t ever get out of control. Think about it: in fifteen minutes, you can throw in a load of laundry and fold the laundry from your load the day before.

This has absolutely changed my life. As a mother of 4, laundry plagued my life. Especially folding. Ugh. I would do one big push a week, gathering, sorting, washing. It was a massive undertaking. And I could never manage to get much folded. Which meant living out of the clean laundry baskets (a time-sucking habit).

But now, I fit my “laundry 15” into my regular morning routine of taking care of kids and cleaning up after breakfast. I spend far less time on it, yet it never gets out of control.

10) Give individual attention and snuggles to each child daily.

Having 4 kids means that this takes some thought. But this goes a LONG way to create a happy home.

Lot’s of snuggles make happier kids. And crabby kids make for a crabby and frustrated mama.

Remember, most crabby kids don’t need a lecture: they need a good long hug. More snuggles usually translate into a happier day. For everyone.

11) Have a reliable babysitter (or several)

There are a few facts of life you can count on. Water is wet. The sky is blue. And you need to get out of your house without your kids.

Whether on a date with your husband or when an emergency pops up, you need someone you trust that can watch you kids. If you don’t have family to rely on, it sometimes takes time and effort to find these people. But it’s worth it.

Also, having a mother mom friend with whom you can trade babysitting is magical for a busy mom. I highly recommend finding a trading buddy. I’m lucky enough to live just a few miles from my college BFF, so we often do date night trade offs.

12) Live by 1 minute rule

This is simple: If a task will take only 1 minute or less to complete, do it right away.

Whether it’s putting something away, responding to a text, throwing away junk mail, or clearing off the counter. If it takes less than a minute, do it immediately.

This gives you 2 boosts: you get the satisfaction of getting something done plus it creates momentum to accomplish more tasks. And it keeps small tasks from building up and becoming overwhelming.

13) Use the “10 minute clean” philosophy.

When you have huge messes to clean and no time (i.e. every moment of your life), this strategy is perfect. Especially when you’ve just put the kids down for bed.

Muster whatever strength you have for just 10 minutes and do a whirlwind clean. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 10 minutes of focused effort.

It’s usually enough to get areas of your house in good enough shape to feel fine moving on to an essential task or going to bed (see #2).

 

14) Declutter, declutter, declutter.

The more things you have, the more messes you have to clean up. So the more clutter you have, the more time it takes to manage it and the crazier you feel.

My favorte decluttering stratiegy: Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

This book immediately changed my life. Not only did we get rid of 1/3 of our possessions and make hundreds of dollars selling stuff, but it made my home a million time easier to manage (and more pleasant to be in!).

If you feel like your house it cluttered, get this book, read it, and let the magic rain upon you like dew from heaven. 

15) Have a soul-satisfying outlet built into your schedule.

You love being a mom. You adore your children. But you can’t be fulfilled as a person when you lose sight of yourself outside of your role as “mom”.

You need an outlet that makes your soul happy and makes you feel quintessentially YOU. Whether playing music, singing, reading, crafting, DIY, going to flea markets, or whatever. You need something that brings you joy and satisfaction apart from being a mom. And you need to do it regularly.

Banish mom overwhelm bit-by-bit

Being a mom is hard, but through the difficulty and overwhelm comes the moment of sheer bliss. Like when you see your child says “I love you” for the first time and gives you a big wet kiss. Or watching your child show kindness to another child at the park. When we put systems in place that help eliminate overwhelm, we can have more of those sweet moments of pure joy and fewer where we want to scream into our pillows. You don’t need to try and do it all at once. Start with one tip and see what happens.

You’ve got this, mama!

Brilliant Hacks to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the Mama Who is Stressing Over Your Kid’s Birthday Party

To the Mama Who is Stressing Over Your Kid’s Birthday Party

Dear Stressed-Out Mama,

Oh darlin’. I get it. You want so badly to make your child’s birthday party magical and perfect. And you are stressed out about it.

You want everyone there to be blissfully happy. And you want some amazing pictures for your instagram feed. (And one day you WILL get to that Shutterfly album…)

But oh, sweetheart. You. Are. Tired.

Your eyes are glazed over from scouring Pinterest looking for the perfect themes, decorations, and designer treats. Maybe you’ve already put in a ton of time into planning and ordering.

But now you’ve had it.

Or, perhaps you are simply realizing all the hours (and $$$$) it’s going to take to make this dream party a reality.

Girl, I seriously know how you feel. I’ve been there and felt the exact same way. 

And my friend, I have some great news for you. Unless putting on an amazing party brings you immense joy, you can stop all this planning RIGHT NOW.

You don’t have to sacrifice your life at the alter of children’s birthday parties. And you can still be a rockstar mama.

In fact, I would argue that NOT stressing yourself out will actually ultimately bring your child more happiness and will help you be an even better mom than you already are.

And yes, you ARE good mom. You don’t need a party to prove it.

And your child does not need this party. Your child can experience the joy and magic of turning one year older without giving you gray hairs and forcing you into sleep deprivation.

Crazy stress is not the only vehicle for a fun and exciting party.

Stressed over your kid's party? There's a better way.

kids-birthday-party-stress

But I get you.

It was 2:30am and I was furiously hand sewing ballet tutus for toy dinosaurs when I suddenly questioned every step in my life that led me to that moment.

What on earth was I doing staying up at all hours sewing a tutu for a TOY dinosaur?!?!

Despite a headache and serious sleep deprivation, I had been determined to have a picture perfect Ballerina Dinosaur Party for my 4-year-old. I was looking at the pile of tiny tutus I had spent hours making FOR A DECORATION (*eyeroll*) and I was like: this. is. ridiculous.

And it was.

But like so many moms, I got caught up in wanting a picture perfect Pinterest/Instagram-worthy birthday party. 

So, some real talk here. I’ve got a question for you to ponder: Who exactly is the fancy birthday party for?

It is for your child? Other moms? Social media? For yourself? A combination?  

If I was answering in that moment with the tutus, I would have had to admit it was for all those reasons. While creating a magic experience for my daughter was my primary motivation, if it was my only motivation, I’m 100% certain I would have gone about things differently.

As you well know, kids find joy in the simplest things. A cardboard box or simple kitchen utensils can keep kids busy for hours while the mountains of expensive toys gather dust.

I’m telling ya’ mama, your child does not need a fancy party to have fun and feel special.

A better way

Just days after my stressful and exhausting dinosaur party, I went to a birthday party for one of my daughter’s friends. This mom had it figured out.

We met at her in-law’s house who had fun playground equipment and they had rented a bouncy castle. As it was morning, they got a few boxes of donuts for the treat. Also, the in-laws had a pony so the birthday girl’s dad guided kids around on little rides while the mom chatted completely stress-free with the other moms and the children joyfully played.

No gift bags, organized games, decorations. or photo props. Just a bunch of deliriously happy kids and relaxed parents.

Frankly, this mom was a birthday party ninja.

Okay, I know what you’re about to say. I get that we don’t all have in-laws with playgrounds and horses. Or even funds for a bouncy house rentals, for that matter. But, I’m telling you, my friend had birthday parties figured out.

She used the resources that were already easily at her disposal and she kept it super simple.

While I ran around my kid’s party, exhausted and frantically trying to go through each activity, my friend sat relaxed and happy, visiting with all the moms. She actually appeared to be enjoying herself.

The difference couldn’t have been more stark.

The 3 F’s of a Rockin’ Birthday Party

Can I let you in on a little secret? I’ve come to realize that a successful kid’s birthday party really only needs 3 things: frosting, fun, and friends.

That’s it. Really.

At the end of the day…

Remember, mama: at the end of the day, what your kids need most is a happy, healthy mama who takes care of herself. What will shape their future is feeling loved by you and connected. Not a party.

So go hug your kid and get some sleep, my friend. You’ve got this. 

To the Mama Who is Majorly Stressed Over Your Kid's Birthday Party
7 Books You Should Read Right Now

7 Books You Should Read Right Now

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7 BOOKS YOU SHOULD READ RIGHT NOW

I love to read. Despite 4 kids 5 and under, a busy house, and classes to teach, I find time most everyday to read. After my kids are in bed, I enter my relaxing nightly self care routine that includes reading.

It feeds my soul. In the last year, I read dozens of books ranging from science to fiction, history to self help.

Of those books, here are my absolute favorite books that I’ve read from the last year. 

7 Books to Read Right Now

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

If you pick this up, prepare to not do anything until you’re done reading. You aren’t going to want to put it down.

Tired of all the non-fiction books I’d been reading, I picked this up one evening and figured I’d read if for a few minutes to relax and unwind. I finally slipped into bed at 4:00am after finising the book.

I cried. I laughed. It was a great read.. 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 

Once you start this murder-mystery, you will want to devour the entire thing. Spooky and undeniably clever, this book is a serious page turner. 

The plot: Ten strangers all arrive at a mansion on a remote island. One by one, they start to drop off with no one able to leave the island.

Oh my gosh, it’s soooo good! 

I’ve been on a major Agatha Christie kick since reading this book. She is indeed the master of mystery. 

Grit by Angela Duckworth

If you’ve never heard of her, Angela Duckworth is definitely someone you want to check out.

This book is a fascinating look at grit, the power to succeed and overcome obstacles. She delves into fascinating (and motivating) examples of resiliency and perseverance and unlocks the keys to obtain those qualities.

Not only did it inspire me to be more gritty and resilient, it’s helped me focus on how I can help my children develop the trait. I’ll definitely need several more reads!

The Miracle Morning

Want to change your mornings? Then check out this extremely motivating book. This book literally changed my life.

Though it’s not without its flaws (he really needs to cite his sources and use footnotes), it motivated me to start waking up and exercising at 4:00am.

This book was a major paradigm shift for me not only in completely changing my mornings, but it was very instrumental in helping me get the courage and determination to start this blog. Definitely a super motivating book.

7 Awesome Books to Read Right Now

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin has made it to 2 places on my list. I simply adore her and her podcast too.

Former Supreme Court clerk turned researcher and writer, Rubin is obsessed with happiness. This book is her exploration into her year-long “happiness project” where she, using research as her guide, actively set out to increase her happiness.

It’s so inspiring and will surely leave you with many ideas about how you can be happier.

The 4 Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

This is a book that will completely change how you see yourself and other people. My book club cannot staop talking about it..

After exhaustive research, Rubin created a personality framework based on how people respond to both inner and outer expectations.

People fall into 4 categories: Upholders (that’s me), Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Take the quiz and tell me what you are.

It is sooooo fascinating. And it’s extremely helpful for understanding ourselves and the people around us.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne

I found this quick read to be downright delightful. While some die-hard Potter fans find fault with various parts of this, I loved it. It’s a playscript and not a novel, so it reads differently. But once you get into it and can envision it on the stage, it is transporting and very engaging.

It picks up the story when Harry Potter’s own children are at Hogwarts. I loved every second of it and hope to see it on stage one day. I thought it was a perfect addition to the Harry Potter series.

You deserve a great book.

You work hard and deserve to immerse yourself in a fantastic book. Go to your local library or Amazon and get yourself one of these awesome books to read.

Then tell me what you think!

7 Books to Read Right Now

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