Posts tagged mama
Keeping your mom game Strong
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I killed it in the mom department yesterday. I literally sat in the bath typing this out on my phone because that’s how great of a day it was – it ended with actually having time for a bath.

My house was clean, my kids were happy, and there may have been a couple of toddler meltdowns, but I handled them like a champ. I got down to my tot’s level, I looked him in his eyes, and I empathized with his emotions. I told him I knew how hard it was to not get his way, and that I understood he was sad.

I tried to get him to do some deep breathing, but he refused, because #toddlers. But after that he recovered. I went to work, and kissed my infant good-bye with a smile on my face, and there were no tears from either of us.

I did work that I love, and I returned home to a happy baby. I even managed to have milk pumped and waiting in the fridge for grandma to feed her while I was away. #winning

I got home and I made a nice healthy dinner, did bath time, and got everyone to bed on time. I felt like a freakin rockstar! My mama rockstar status reigned so supreme, that I had time at the end of the night to unwind and take a bath myself.

By this point you may be wondering why I’m telling you this. And if you didn’t maintain your rockstar mama status today, you may even want to quit reading and/or punch me in the throat for gloating. Both of which I totally get, but I promise you there is a point to tooting my horn publicly, so stay with me ;)

I’m telling you this because this is NOT a typical day for me, and it really lead me to do some detective work into what caused such a freakish chain of events to occur in one single day.

Most days don’t end with me feeling like gloating. Most days end in exhaustion, and me falling asleep while nursing my baby, wishing that she’d hurry up so I can actually get into bed comfortably.

But on this rockstar mama day, as I sat in the bath and contemplated the difference between the oh-so-tired days, and this feeling of energy, it became clear to me what the difference was, and that’s what I want to share with you, mama.

The difference was my mindset. It started with mindfulness, and being intentional about my day. It took me all of 10 minutes to set myself up for success when I woke up in the morning.

I started my day with a 5-minute journaling exercise. The app is literally called, “The 5-Minute Journal.” I took the time to write out what I was thankful for, and what I planned to do in order to make the day great. I also typed out a few positive affirmations, and I carried all of this goodness with me throughout my day and sprinkled it around like pixy dust, and you know what? It worked!

By starting my day with intention, and being mindful throughout the day of those intentions I controlled my own mindset, and it made for some fantastic results.

On this very fine day, I journaled that I would be patient, be kind, and smile at strangers and those that I came into contact with.

I’m aware that this might sound cheesy, but I’m also aware of how easy it is to lose your shit as a mom. I’m aware of how easy it is to fall into comparison mode with all the moms you know on social media, and I’m aware of how easy it is to tell yourself what a crappy job you’re doing.

The good news is that it only takes a mindset shift, and that can happen at any moment you choose throughout your day, mama.

So while not all days end up being as fantastic as this one, when those days get challenging, I stop myself and remind myself of what my intention was at the beginning of the day, and I regroup, and restart.

I forgive myself for yelling back at my toddler, and I tell myself that things don’t have to be better tomorrow, they can in fact be better in the next hour.

On the really draining and not-so-good days, I don’t set any intentions, I don’t practice being mindful, and I don’t give myself grace. Those are the toughest days, and taking time to compare the two has created a new morning routine for me, one that almost always includes gratitude and intention.

What is one thing you do that makes a big difference in your day as a mom? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and you never know - your comment could just be the answer that another mama has been searching for!

Here’s to sharing the love, and all the tips and tricks, as we get through these longest shortest of days as moms.

If you need help shifting your mindset, being more intentional and mindful, you are not alone! In fact I have a group of some of the most amazing mamas who gather and work on lessening their anxiety, and those bad days. You can learn more about my group here

 
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Mindfulness for Moms
 
 

Mindfulness and meditation have become buzzwords lately. With the popularity of yoga and other Eastern-influenced practices that are becoming more mainstream, this skill is another valuable one to have in your arsenal as a parent.

Raising little ones is tough. I often feel like my head is going in a million different directions, and it’s not easy to run a business and a household at the same time. Little people have a way of reminding us that we can’t do everything all the time. That dissonance (the difference between your thoughts and actions) can cause some major anxiety, but mindfulness can help in so many ways.

What is mindfulness?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Mindfulness is bringing your attention to what’s happening in the present moment. This includes your internal experience as well as your external experience.

So why is this so helpful?

We have a way of going through life on autopilot. We can often be doing things without even recognizing what we are doing, and if you have an anxious mind it’s easy to be parenting and going through the motions but missing out on what’s really happening.

Have you ever been giving your baby a bath while simultaneously going through the list of things you need to get done after they go to bed?

The little moments that can be so precious are not savored because we simply aren’t present in them. I’m not saying you need to be present for every single moment of bath time, every day of the week – I’m currently writing this post while my 2-year old is splashing around in the tub, but a little bit goes a long way. 

I often think of a woman’s brain like a web browser with 100 tabs open at the top, and we toggle back and forth through each of those tabs at any given moment. It’s often difficult to stop and it can take over and create feelings of overwhelm because it can feel like it’s never ending.

Creating a new reality takes practice, and mindfulness is a practice much like yoga. The more you do it, the stronger that muscle will get – kind of like working any other muscle out at the gym.

Practicing Mindfulness

I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only mama who has experienced overwhelm and anxiety, and so I created the Mindful Mums Group where I teach mindfulness. Moms share their experiences and have a special place where they truly find that they are not alone. They gain the support they need to be open and honest about their struggles and their wins.

There is a ton of ways to practice mindfulness, but the easiest is to just pick a designated activity to start with. I like to do it while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and I choose a time when my kids are asleep or out of the house.

From start to finish, challenge yourself to focus only on the task at hand and engage and pay attention to each of your senses.

While you are brewing your cup of coffee or tea, take the time to smell it as it seeps. While you’re pouring it into your cup, notice the aroma. Notice what the cup feels like in your hands, and take notice of the warmth.

As you take a sip, do it slowly, and notice what it feels like when it first enters your mouth, as it sits on your tongue, and as it goes down your throat and into your stomach.

Drink the entire cup slowly, engaging your senses each time you take a sip. This entire exercise may take 15 minutes. But when was the last time you truly enjoyed a cup of coffee? Mine usually sits on the table and gets cold by time I get to it.

You can do this with anything you’d like, a glass of juice or water, a piece of fruit, or toast.

Once you’ve done this exercise you can translate it to any other activity in your life, including those moments with your little ones that you know you should be more present for. While giving a bath, close those tabs in your brain’s browser and engage your senses. What does the water feel like? What do the bubbles look and smell like? What do your kiddos giggles sound like? Engage in play, give some extra kisses after the bath, sing a song, and be present.

It’s not always easy and I’ve had my fair share of rushed baths full of tears and tantrums, but when I go into the process with the mindset that I want to be present, things seem to turn out so much better.

Often times the stress comes in when we feel overwhelmed with the to-do list in our minds, and feel as though what we are presently doing is just one more thing on that list, which makes it difficult to enjoy.

Mindfulness is a practice. It takes time to implement any kind of change, and support goes a long way. If you’re interested in learning more about Mindful Mums, click HERE. We currently have a few spots open for our upcoming 4-week session, which begins February 10, 2017. 

10 Ways for Mamas to Recharge
 
 

Whether you’ve had a long day with the kiddos, a trying day at work, or pretty simple and easy day, self care for mom seems to get put on the backburner. I hear things like, “There’s not enough time,” or “How can I prioritize myself above my kids?”

The best metaphor I can use here is pouring from an empty cup.

If we have nothing, we’ve got nothing to give.

I explained a little more in-depth about the necessary superpower of asking for help in my last post, so if you haven’t checked it out go and do yourself a huge favor ;)

I’ll admit that mommy guilt can creep up on me like a storm, and running a business can take me away from spending as much time as I think I’m “supposed to” with my kids. After a long day, I want to get in bed with the baby and run my hands over his angel soft little cheeks, and shower him with kisses. I can let that guilt turn me into a fairy Godmother, that grants all the wishes I possibly can in the hour I see them before they go off to bed, and when the sun rises the following day that guilt can trick me into thinking I have to give like I’ve never given before.

I tell myself things like, “I’m going to be present, we are only eating organic, and I’m not going to look at my phone once for the next 24 hours because I was gone all day yesterday, and I really need to give, give, give of myself to this little being." I seriously sound like my favorite #momtruths mamas, Cat & Nat in this hilarious video.

That video is so hilarious because it’s just so true!    

I get to about noon, and all that presence wears me out. My business and my people are so rewarding and fun, but even a day at Disneyland takes a toll and you eventually wish for some quarters for that machine that gives the crumby foot massage. That foot massage is what gives you the pep back in your step and pushes you toward that last ride and then to the car.

It’s not fair to think that we can be present at ALL times. In order to do all the things, mamas need to time to themselves, they need that foot massage to get over the hump, and they need to fill their cup so they can give to their people.

Here are 10 things you can do to recharge your batteries that I think are so much better than that crumby foot massage machine:

1.     Meditate.

In the last several months I’ve become obsessed with my Headspace app. You might think of meditation as some strange thing that only monks do, but it’s truly like a little cat nap for your brain and I highly recommend it. Mama brains are like a website browser that has 1,000 tabs open at all times, and it can be seriously overwhelming to have all the tasks and to-dos floating around in there. Take 10 minutes out of your day and refocus your mind. You’ll come back to your day feeling a little lighter and a little more refreshed.  

2.     Journal.

Capture all of the things that you are grateful for, and the fantastic moments of the day that you don’t want to forget. I love The 5-minute Journal, and it comes in paper form or as an app. When we focus our minds on gratitude, it helps to melt away stress and anxiety and bring us back to what’s really important.

3.     Give yourself permission to use naptime as your time.

Instead of catching up on chores, do something for yourself. Call a friend and catch up, watch that show you've been meaning to get to, even if it's only for 30 minutes and the rest of the time you actually catch up on chores - they're always going to be there. A happy, present mama is worth so much more than a load of laundry. 

4.     Take a bath. 

That sudsy goodness isn’t just for your little ones! After a long day, a nice dip in the tub with the door closed and locked, and no tiny hands rummaging through bathroom cabinets can do wonders for your mind and your body. If you don’t have a bathtub, take a nice long, hot shower. Listen to some music, and indulge in some nice aromatherapy with a sweet-smelling bath salt or body wash.

5.     Hit the gym.

If you can't get to the gym, try something like Stroller Strides, or create your own workout at home. There are so many solutions to the problem of not having childcare, so hit up Google for some exercises with kiddos and babies. Exercise will give you more energy and boost your endorphin levels helping you feel less anxiety and more self-confidence.

6.     Create a space just for you in your home.

For me this is my office. It’s where I go to write, and think, and meditate. Truthfully, it isn’t even all mine, because I share it with my hubby who also works out of there, but that piece of space is just for me. Having a small corner somewhere in your home or yard that’s decorated just for you where you can read, do yoga, or just pass by and look at will remind you that there is more to you than just being mama. Create a little space that’s inviting that will remind you to take a couple minutes for yourself each day.

7.     Join a moms group.

I know not all moms see the value in this, and it can be scary to put yourself out there and meet a group of strangers, but knowing that you’re not alone in your journey as a mama is so important. If you don’t feel up to meeting new people, and already have a group of friends that also have kids, arrange to meet up on an ongoing basis – once a week for a park date or activity. The emphasis here is on connection and the kids will love it too.

8.     Plan a MNO, and make it a recurring event in your calendar. 

Having a kid-free event with your pals on the calendar can help you survive a hellish week of teething, tantrums, and carpool. Plan something fun and give yourself permission to let daddy or the babysitter be in charge for an evening so you can enjoy yourself and do something that makes you happy.

9.     Get a massage or spa treatment. 

Do it without guilt. Carrying around little ones doesn’t just take a toll on your brain, but also on your body. If you can’t realistically plan a full day to indulge at a spa, try booking a 30-minute massage and sneaking out to indulge a little. While you might initially feel a little guilty for this indulgence, focus on the way you feel when you return home to your little people, and keep that in mind. Filling your cup is what’s important here.

10. Plan a retreat weekend. 

This might sound like a big leap here, and as I shared in my last post, I didn’t get to this one for a while. I took a retreat for a long weekend with a fantastic group of Lady Bosses, and it was fantastic! It took some planning and preparation to leave for 3 days, but I came back refreshed, and rejuvenated. Not having to cook or clean up after people, and enjoying full meals without interruption can sometimes be what we need to wind us back up!

So there you have it – I’ve given you 10 ways to recharge and fill your own cup. As you may have noticed, I started small. If taking time for yourself seems selfish, start small and work your way up to doing things that take a little more time and planning, or create your own list and pick and choose things that make you feel like your best self. If you’re not quite sure how to do that, and could use some help, I’m so happy to support my fellow mamas out there, don’t hesitate – pick up the phone and call me (909)226-6124.

Why Mamas Need a Tribe
 
 

Have you ever had one of those days? I’m talking one of THOSE days. The kind where no matter what you do, and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t pull yourself up and dust yourself off. The kind where even though you truly try to just hit pause, and take a breath, and reset, but the reset just seems like a freakin repeat of what you were trying to reset from.

I have.

I actually just had one of those days yesterday. 

My terrible, horrible, very bad day started like most other days. I got up, and got my coffee fix in, and had some time at my desk to myself.

I got a little work done before my beautiful little angel of a 2-year old woke at his usual time (Which is 8am, in case you were wondering. I know you’re thinking I should just shut up, because really, how bad can life be when your toddler sleeps in past 6am, right? But I digress, and I never said this day wasn’t full of first world problems).

Somewhere in between his first diaper change and breakfast, this beautiful, sweet, tiny little angel morphed into a fire-breathing monster. I didn’t exactly see the change happen. Maybe I missed his head spinning around while I prepared his breakfast, but something definitely happened, and he was unrecognizable!

The day proceeded to be filled with frustration after frustration. I’m sure the rest of the mamas out there can attest to having such a day.

The word “no” equaled the end of the world, as we knew it to exist, and my responses to the tantrums sounded something like, “I’m really sorry that you can’t keep sucking the ink out of the Crayola marker! Even though it says non-toxic on the box, I’m pretty sure that doesn’t mean it’s ok to try and drink it!!” 

I’m not even sure how many time-outs we went through on that terrible, horrible, very bad day. I stopped counting and started counting down the minutes until I got to leave for work. But just as I was about to walk out the door my husband and I had a spat (I know I’m a couple’s therapist, and you may have assumed that I have the perfect relationship, but I am human, and I too fight with my husband, you can ask me about it in session anytime ;)).

Dealing with my toddler had me weak and broken down, and that spat was enough to send me into a spiral. Not only was the little one against me, but so was my partner, and wouldn’t you know it, that was the precise moment my teen decided to text me and let me know just how unfair I was being for not letting her take the car and leave her dad stranded at home for the entire evening while she hung out with her friends after school.

The score was now 3 against 1. One angry tot, one stubborn man, and the wrath of a teenage girl were all in my opposing corner.  

I can literally feel the tension rising in my shoulders as I recall the details of the day. When I returned home, my house looked like a war zone. I know I’d been begging for the ice maker to be fixed, but damn, why did it have to be today and do we really need to move ALL the appliances??

I locked myself in the bathroom several times. Took deep breaths, and desperately tried to start over with a fresh and positive attitude. None of it worked. It was like the movie Groundhog Day. I really hate that movie!

I finally used my last lifeline. I reached out and phoned a friend. Ok, I didn’t really, but I did text my bestie. If anyone was going to understand what a frazzled mess I was, it was her.

I’d love to end this post by saying that she text me back, and we had a laugh, and all was right with the world. She did text me back. 1 hour later. She has 3 kids of her own, and between diaper changes and kindergarten drop-offs, things get hectic.

We did have a laugh the very next day, and the only thing that I could do was sleep off my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. I went to sleep knowing that the next day would be better because I have a tribe that loves and supports me. I knew that the next day would bring clarity, and laughter, and connection with at least one friend who truly gets me.

But sometimes there isn’t a bestie to laugh it off with. Sometimes you just lay down and the tears stream onto your pillow, and you feel so alone in this life as a mama. You just wonder if you’re really doing it right, and if anyone else out there is trying to figure it out just like you.

But I’m here to tell you that you are not alone, and motherhood is really freaking hard sometimes, and that’s why I created the Mindful Mums group. I wasn’t born knowing how to be a mama. Things don’t always come naturally to us, and I’ve had to learn how to be mindful and gain the strength and tools that I need to sleep it off, and reach out to my tribe.

Maybe you have a tribe, and your BFF is on speed dial like mine, but maybe you both could use a push in the right direction, or an excuse to get together once a week without the kiddos and focus on yourselves. If so, I want to invite you to see what it’s all about, here

Whether you join our tribe of Mindful Mums, or another mom's group, I truly want to encourage you to find support for those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days, and everything else in-between. You might not find it on your first try, but keep trying, and keep reaching out, because you will find the one that feels comfy and accepting. Having a tribe is not just a want, it's a need.