A Real Reason To Overcome Fear

I wish I could say that I have all the answers.

I certainly don’t.

What I do have are a hell of a lot of “been there, done that” stories that have brought me to where I am today.

And by sharing them, my hope is that you can laugh with me, cry with me, and see that we all have something to offer – even if we do have to dig really deep inside.

 

As part of my commitment to improving my own mental health I have been working my way through various journaling prompts to help with anxiety and depression, as well as overcoming fear.

No big deal, just exercises that make me dig a little deeper into my fears and anxiety than I usually want to go.

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What are you grateful for today?

Definitely not pollen, but the warmer weather is nice.

Certainly grateful that it’s almost the end of the school year and we will be at the beach in no time at all.

Gotta get to three things per the instructions, so probably something to do with it being my daughter’s birthday.

Even though it makes me sad to see her growing up so quickly, I am grateful that we were able to have such a wonderful space cats celebration with our family in honor of her birthday.

Yes, space cats!

 

Next question. What are you afraid of?

Imagine me spitting my coffee across the room because that is exactly what happened.

Seriously?

Let’s try it a different way.

What am I not afraid of?

Um, not much. Storms – I actually like those.

Being alone – literally my favorite way to be.

Annnnnd not much else.

There is no way I could write out what all I am actually afraid of because it’s literally almost everything.

Just ask my mom.

Or my husband.

Or my kids…

 

Continuing on. What has that fear kept you from doing? 

Hahhhhh.

Joke’s on me today because apparently these journal prompts are really intended to make me write a novel.

Again…literally everything.

 

Have you ever had a moment of clarity?

Where the big picture just comes out of nowhere and hits you like a ton of bricks?

Or a meteor, maybe?

 

Yeah, that’s me right now.

All of the things that I have wanted to do, and couldn’t.

All of the things I thought I would do, and didn’t.

All of the things I want so badly for my girls, but don’t embrace them myself.

 

Boldness.

Courage.

Ferocity.

 

The willingness to stand up for yourself and proudly say “this is me, take it or leave it.”

 

And you know what? I have taught them well.

Both of my girls are free spirits who know exactly what they like and what they don’t.

 

But I’m afraid that they need more from me than just encouraging words.

They need me to be an example.

 

I have spent my entire life trying my best to avoid having to face my fears. 

I fear being judged…so I try to fit in. 

I fear getting in trouble…so I follow the rules. 

I fear putting myself out there…so I miss out on some of life’s most important opportunities. 

 

Easy enough when it was just about me.

I didn’t mind missing out one bit if it also meant avoid potential failure.

But now, it’s not just about me.

It’s about the people that I could be helping and the example that I can set for my girls along the way.


As much as I like to avoid any and everything that could cause me any type of discomfort, my meteor shower of clarity today has made me realize one thing: I finally have a real reason to take the steps to overcome my fears.

Actually, I have two of them. 

And I want more than anything to make them proud.

 

Do you have a real reason for wanting to overcome your fears, or have you had a meteor shower hit you recently? I would love it if you let me know in the comments below!

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5 Ways Being A Mom Makes You A Better Boss

5 Ways Being A Mom Makes You A Better Boss

How mothering and bossing make you even more brilliant at both.

 

 

Post Contributed By Jess Critchlow

Jess is the top dog at Light UP Work where she helps digital entrepreneurs with all of their people and team ‘stuff’ so they can build their team and grow their biz. When she’s not coaching, consulting and cajoling bosses you can find her enjoying life with her crazy kiddo and husband in Windsor Canada. You can find out more at  www.lightupwork.com.


Let’s rewind the clock for a second to over a decade ago.

It was 2007 and I was an eager 20 something in my first REAL corporate job.

My boss, Marilyn, was a brilliant woman who was also a beloved mentor for me. She was wise, patient, caring, intelligent and she got shit done.

She was the real deal.

On this particular day, she had an important meeting scheduled with a senior VP at the organization.

She was prepped, ready to wow them (as she always did)…and then it happened.

The school called… again.  

“Marilyn, you’ll have to come and get your daughter, she’s not feeling well.”

With 15 minutes left until her presentation, my boss drove to the school to pick up her daughter, plopped her daughter (and a coloring book) into a seat near me in our shared office, and raced off to her very important meeting.

 

20-year-old me looked at that 5-year-old and thought…

“I don’t know how she does it. Having kids must make her career life so much more difficult. I don’t think I can manage to have kids and a career, it seems too hard


Fast forward to 2018.

My kiddo is napping as I type (a miracle in itself), allowing me to squeeze just a few more minutes into my workday.

And you know what I’ve only just now begun to appreciate since having my own little one?

 

Having children made it more challenging for Marilyn’s career… but it also made her better.  

 

[clickToTweet tweet=”She was the most amazing boss and mentor not in spite of being a mother, but because of it.” quote=”She was the most amazing boss and mentor not in spite of being a mother, but because of it”]

 

What is it about being a mom that makes us better bosses?

How?

And Why?

In a word: Practice.  

You’ve probably heard the old adage that to get truly masterful at anything you need to practice for at least 10,000 hours. 

Real practice.

The kind of practice that entails mistakes, feedback, and chances to try again.

No degree, leadership retreat, coach, TED talk or book will ever replace good old fashioned practice.

Being a mom means that you practice these skills all day, every day.

You are getting your 10,000 hours at warp speed – no breaks, no vacations.

[su_note note_color=”#FFeae7″ text_color=”555555″]Want more info on how to be a great boss? Check out the latest tips and tricks on Jess’ Blog at lightupwork.com![/su_note]

 

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The 5 Ways Being A Mom Makes You A Better Boss

How mothering and bossing overlap to make you even more brilliant at both.

1. Efficiency and Asking for Help

Your kiddo needs to be at swim class at 6 pm. You have 872 things to do that day. You find a way to prioritize the top 3 things, schedule in the rest, and get that kid to swim class.

Moms are super efficient during their work day because they have to be.

There’s no ‘oh well, I’ll just stay late a couple hours and get it done eventually’.

Nope, not an option when you have to juggle soccer practice, swim class and sew a costume for the school play.

Thankfully it’s not the Middle Ages, so you don’t always have to do it all on your own… but that means you get plenty of practice with efficiency, delegation, and asking for help.

 

All trademarks of a great Boss (and a great mom).

 

2. Resilience

There is nothing like mothering to teach resilience.

Your toddler just lost their mind because you gave them the red cup instead of the blue one (how dare you?!).

Your teenager told you how they hate living with you… for the fifth time that week.

Your ten-year-old once again responded with ‘nothing’ and turned on their phone when you asked how school was.

And what do you do?

Breathe, reboot, shake it off, and go back in for more.

 

As bosses that is exactly what we can bring to our teams: the ability to shake off any setback.

We can have that tough sales call or board meeting and still go back to our teams and be able to motivate them, coach them, give them feedback and be there for them.

 

3. What Not How… aka Pick Your Battles

The best Bosses are able to decide what needs to be done and what a good end result will look like while avoiding the temptation of prescribing exactly how it needs to be done (also known as micromanaging).

Who is better at this than moms?

We just happen to call it something slightly different: Pick Your Battles.

The kids ate all their broccoli but mostly fed their meatloaf to the dog?

Put it in the win column and move on!

Moms become exceptionally skilled at focusing on the bigger perspective and end goal… and letting go of the little stuff.

Exactly what a great Boss does.

 

4. Balancing Relationship AND Task

Moms and great Bosses both inherently understand that the task is JUST as important as the relationship.

That finishing a report on time is important… and equally important is having the conversation to find out why your team member has been so withdrawn all week.

That doing homework and getting dinner on the table is important… and equally important is putting phones and iPads away and just talking about what happened that day at school.

Both the relationship AND the task get equal billing.

Sacrificing relationships for the sake of getting shit done is a mistake many of us regularly make… but we learn pretty quickly to correct back (after we’ve paid the price).

 

5. Mixing Empathy and Bravery

Last but certainly not least… the magic sauce of amazing bosses… a rich mix of empathy and bravery.  

Empathy is the ability to understand another person, read their emotional cues and be able to think from their perspective.

Bravery is doing the hard thing, the vulnerable thing, the uncomfortable thing.

Moms regularly have to bring BOTH to the table, being able to read their child, pick up on their cues and moods, and really understand their perspective while still:

…saying no to the music fest.

…grounding them from their friend’s birthday party that they’ve been looking forward to.

…admitting to the whole Santa Claus thing (yikes!).

Great bosses are defined by their ability to both think from another’s perspective and make tough decisions.

Not either/or, but both/and.

And who has more practice at that than moms?

 


Balancing motherhood and a career is freaking hard, which I’ve only now begun to appreciate. Practicing all of these truly difficult skills with no holidays, no breaks, all day everyday… is exactly what makes us moms a force to be reckoned with.

And ironically that’s WHY it makes us better bosses.

It makes us the boss that some new 20-year-old is looking at in wonder, thinking ‘Jeez that must be so hard’.

It is kid, it is… And it’s also totally worth it.

[line][su_note note_color=”#FFeae7″ text_color=”555555″]Jess is the top dog at Light UP Work where she helps online entrepreneurs transform into super confident + competent bosses so they can finally build their dream team (and grow their biz!) After spending over a decade in Corporate Land helping Bosses motivate their teams and increase productivity (while not becoming THAT jerk boss everyone loves to hate), she then moved out of the office and into the online entrepreneur space. Now she takes her juicy experience and geek-love of all things leadership and teamwork, translates it to work for the online world, and consults, coaches and cajoles her clients into becoming awesome bosses themselves – resulting in warm and fuzzies AND business growth! For any boss who’s finally ready to take their biz to the next level by getting their dream team in place, Light UP Work is where they can find help to get it right. You can find out more at http://www.lightupwork.com And when she’s not with her fellow Bosses talking all things people and teams, you can find her chasing after her crazy kiddo Rae or sampling the latest craft beer with her husband Ollie at their home in Windsor Canada.[/su_note]

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writing-in-journal-how-bullet-journal-different

Busy Mom's Guide to Bullet Journaling – How Is A Bullet Journal Different?

How Bullet Journaling Is Different From Other Journals

You might already be able to tell how using a bullet journal is different than other forms of journaling, and know why it is so helpful for busy moms, but let’s sum it up just in case you aren’t already familiar!

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There are several key differences between a bullet journal and a traditional journal or planner, outlined below:

1. Just one journal is used for everything!

First of all, you don’t have just a gratitude journal or just a diet and fitness journal with bullet journaling.

You get to have everything in a single journal.

How cool is that?!?!

This is why it is good to choose a thicker journal, but one that is easy to write in.

  • The hardbound books are great but can be hard to deal with, and you want to avoid any that use glued in pages as the binding may crack over time and become loose or lost.
  • You can also use a softer journal that is easy to turn pages, fold, and manipulate in order to draw on the pages and use quickly without too much fuss. Many of these are refillable as well.

I ended up selecting this one because of the elastic closure and pocket in the back:

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2. Another difference with a bullet journal is that it has sections for each form of journaling, and also includes an index for easy reference.

The sections are how you sort out your gratitude journal, bucket lists, daily planner, and more. There are some really creative ideas for different sections and topics, but it is best to just start with the basics.

 

3. Short sentences and bullets are used in place of long sentences.

You will still do some writing using short sentences, and the basic bullets determine which type of entry you are making, either a task, an event, or a note.

  • Tasks are any actionable item, and you go one step further with them to mark them as completed, migrated to a later date, or scheduled.
  • Events are items with a date attached, so either you schedule them or you write about them as a logged entry after they occur.
  • Notes are facts, ideas, thoughts, and observations. Anything that you want to remember, but that isn’t currently actionable.

Matt Ragland

4. Signifiers, or symbols used to represent moods and situations, are another key difference in bullet journaling.

Signifiers are good for quickly understanding what was going on during an entry or when making marks about how a day went in a monthly calendar view on one of the pages. These are yet another way you can customize your bullet journal to fit your life and personality.

Many people also choose to use different colors as signifiers, so their bullet journals really stand out from the crowd!

Personally, I am in love with the Papermate Flair pens for my bullet journal. But since they are a felt-tip style and work best for thicker pages,  I use the InkJoy style when my pages might bleed through.

4. A bullet journal is truly flexible.

Organizing your life as a busy mom is much easier to do with a bullet journal than any other. You can keep track of finances, schedules, growth charts, to-do lists and more!

Other long-form journals can still be good for relieving anxiety, getting out your emotions each day, and helping to find triggers for emotional eating. You should still have these as a part of your routine if they are issues you are facing.

However, with a bullet journal, it is good for organizing all the different areas of your life that you feel need a little more order. If you feel that you want to include additional journal types like those mentioned above, make sure to check out all of the great ideas for habit tracking, self-care, and mental health that others have already designed!

So what do you think?

Is a bullet journal a good option for you?

open-book-and-coffee-mug-books-busy-moms-must-read

5 Life-Changing Books Busy Moms Must Read To Combat Overwhelm

As a busy mom, it’s not easy to find time to curl up with a book, but I do try to squeeze in at least a chapter a day, especially for the life-changing takeaways in these books. So I thought I’d share the books that I think busy moms absolutely must read to combat overwhelm.

I have always been an avid reader, and I am trying to cultivate a love of reading in my girls as well.

Easier said than done, I know…

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I figure one of the best ways to teach is by example, plus it’s a great excuse to indulge in my favorite hobby!

We don’t stick to just one format – so you’ll see options for e-readers, book subscriptions, and “real” books. Just keep in mind that if something piques your interest, you can probably find it in a number of formats! And just in case you don’t already have a Kindle or other e-reader, check this out:
Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

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The 5 Choices is one of my favorite books on balance and productivity that’s out there. If you feel like you are too busy to be productive – take the time to learn the concepts in this easy read and finally feel like you can gain control of your life once and for all. Being able to clarify my roles and priorities has really been life-changing!

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Declutter Your Mind is the definitive handbook for getting rid of the mental clutter that has been causing you overwhelm. If you want to stop the stress and stop the negative thinking once and for all, grab a copy of this book to learn how to take control of your mind and use your thoughts to your advantage.

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The Worry Trick is a must read if worry and anxiety are interfering with your quality of life. Part humor and anecdotes, this book was written by a PhD and provides real solutions that can be integrated into your everyday life to overcome worry.

Unwind is delivered in classic FranklinCovey style, with easily implemented tips and 7 specific paradigm shifts aimed at eliminating the root cause of daily stresses. This book offered a great perspective about how changing your mindset about how you approach life can greatly decrease stress levels overall.

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Only Love Today is a collection of shorter essays and reminders to dwell in love, many of which appeared originally on her blog. It would make a perfect gift for a busy mom for Mother’s Day, but I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to decrease their stress and trying to be more present. Rachel is the Hands-Free Mama and her latest collection is full of short essays on a variety of aspects of life.

If you read as much as I do, then you know how convenient it is to have books available across multiple formats.

Try looking for one of these life-changing books for busy moms on an audiobook service or at your local library!

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Have you read any of these books, or are there any you think I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!

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Get Ready For The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2018 – The Best Way To Beat Overwhelm!

Making a home is way harder than it looks!

When it comes to homemaking, it’s never any one thing — the family members who need constant reminders or the daily kitchen clean-up duties or the budget and financial woes or the parenting “what-the-heck-am-I-doing” moments or the basement suddenly flooding- no, it’s not any of those things in particular.

The hardest part about homemaking?

ALL THE THINGS!

It’s the cumulative effect of juggling all of the different and neverending roles and responsibilities and circumstances we face as moms each and every day and trying so desperately to give each of them our best.


Ultimate Homemaking Bundle
We want to lead beautiful, joyful, meaningful lives.
We want our homes to feel organized, functional and inviting.
We want to raise our families lovingly and intentionally.
We want to invest in ourselves and continually grow as people.

All of these things are good. But that doesn’t make them easy.

The reality is, we can all use a little help along the way from other women who have strengths in areas where we struggle or who are a little further down the road than we are. They say “it takes a village,” but in this day and age we often have to create our own village.

What if you could finally learn to organize and swipe simple decluttering methods to keep your household running smoothly most of the time?

What if you could find strategies for balancing ALL THE THINGS that come with homemaking– without going crazy and without compromising what’s most important to you?

What if you had real meal planning help and could serve your family quick & healthy meals without spending hours stressing over what to cook for dinner?

What if you found ideas to improve your relationships – your faith, your marriage, and your parenting?

And what if you could find the support you need to create an intentional home and life – one that falls in line with your values and dreams?

Well, you can. 🙂

I’m so excited to tell you about the 2018 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, a digital library of resources and tools to help you in all these areas and more!

It includes products like eBooks, online courses, printables and planners, audio files, membership sites and more, crammed into one unbelievable collection, for a ridiculously low price. Like seriously low!


Ultimate Bundles creates a lot of different bundles, but this particular one has been running for 6 years (with brand new products each year!) and it’s their most popular bundle EVER.

Over 100,000 women have picked one up since 2013.

I love working with this family-run company because they care so much about the value and quality of each bundle and their customer service is amazing.

First of all, this is the first year the specially-formatted eReader files are included, so you’ll have a smooth reading experience no matter what kind of device you use. You used to have to pay $10 extra, but since they’re now included, it’s like you’re getting a $10 bonus!

It’s also the most resources ever included in one of these bundles! Whether you want decluttering and organizing tips, ideas to help you balance all your roleshealthy meal plans, mothering or marriage tips, or anything else related to homemaking, this bundle has you covered.

Curious what the bundle includes?

When you buy the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, you’ll get access to:

  • 62 eBooks
  • 30 eCourses, videos & audio files
  • 34 printables & workbooks,
  • and 3 membership sites

… all curated to give you an insanely helpful collection of resources to touch every part of your homemaking journey – at a price that’s too good to miss.

Will our homes ever be perfect?

Nope.

Will these tools make life completely stress-free?

Uh-uh.

But learning smart strategies and solutions, and saving yourself time and stress trying to figure things out on your own sure does go a long way.

And with a little help, you really can create a home and life that (while imperfect) is pretty stinkin’ awesome. 🙂

That’s how they convince all of these amazing bloggers and product creators to include their products for so little!

For way less than the cost of an unplanned Target shopping trip, you’ll get a complete library to help you:

Move from overwhelmed and living paycheck to paycheck to confident in budgeting with money in the bank. (total value = $161.97)

  • The 90 Day Budget Bootcamp Workbook by Rosemarie Groner ($7.00)
  • Financial Foundations: Everything You Need to Build a Strong Financial Foundation by Jennifer Roskamp ($37.00)
  • Finding Your Greatest Worth: A Starter Kit by Nicole Rule ($49.00)
  • Real Life on a Budget Planner by Jessi Fearon ($19.97)
  • The Complete Grocery Budget Solution by Elise New ($49.00)

 Go from overwhelmed mom to totally in control (total value = $112.98)

  • ADHD Parent Manual by Elaine Taylor-Klaus ($27.00)
  • Create Coping Skills Champions at Home by Janine Halloran ($49.00)
  • Family Culture: Building A Strong Family Identity by Rachel Norman ($12.99)
  • So Many Littles, So Little Time: Worn Out Mom’s Guide to Mothering Little Ones by Amy H. Roberts ($7.99)
  • Unplug + Unlock: The Step by Step Guide to Conquer Screen Time Battles for Good by Julie McCorkle ($16.00)

Declutter your home and take it from chaos to calm in a simple and step by step way (total value = $126.61)

  • Clutter: Sorted: Take Your Home From Chaos to Calm, Step by Step by Chrissy Halton ($67.61)
  • Clutterfree: Declutter Your Home to Create Space for Joy by Christina Tiplea ($49.00)
  • The Clutter Handbook by Clean Mama ($10.00)

Besides being packed with so much great stuff, one of the things I like best about the bundle is the price. By offering it for a short time only, they’re able to give you access to over 129 digital products worth $3,680 — for just $29.97!

(Nope, I’m not kidding. Can you believe it?)

P.S. Did I mention the bonuses?! Choose from bonuses worth more than $180 like free kids’ books from Bookroo, unlimited books, audiobooks and magazines with a 3-month Scribd subscription, or free natural eyeshadow from Orglamix – just to name a few!

Learn more here: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/UhomB2018/a13318/

Here’s how it works:

Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.

You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.

But don’t get overwhelmed… use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start your stress-less homemaking journey!

 

Check out the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle right here: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/UhomB2018/a13318/

The most important detail, though, is this bundle is available for just six days!

After Monday night, April 16th, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.

I’d hate for you to miss out, so click HERE to learn more or buy the bundle.

It’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

Creating a home and life you love is not out of reach. And even though it seems impossible at times, homemaking is a skill you can learn!

Learn more or get your bundle HERE

(Psst… the bundle goes away at 11:59 pm Eastern on Monday, April 16th, so don’t wait!)

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

Sale Ends

Sanity Savers for Working Moms Cover

Swipe My Sanity Savers for Stressed Out Moms!

Try these tips to streamline your routines & get started with managing your mommy mayhem today!

As a working mom, you juggle so many things. Swipe my top tips & tools for saving your sanity:

Sanity Savers for Working Moms Cover

Scheduling & Productivity

One of the biggest challenges I face is keeping up with the endless list of to-do’s, reminders, appointments, shopping lists…I could go on but I bet you know exactly what I mean. I have found that utilizing web-based tools allow me to refer back to them wherever I happen to be.

I use Google Calendars across all my devices, but have separate ones set up for different life areas – the cool feature here is the ability to view all or some of your calendars at once, but they remain color-coded so I can determine must-do items versus what I can choose to eliminate. You can even share calendars with other people, so if both you and your spouse set one up, it is super simple to schedule family events! If you use Gmail, then you can add events directly to your calendar from an email.

Trello* is another one of my favorite tools for tracking to-dos. I have the add-on in my Gmail (totally FREE) to allow me to create new task cards directly from an email. Since I have the app on both my phone and my computer, I am able to add new tasks and review my to-dos at any time! I also have a Trello board setup to keep track of all of my blog ideas and tasks.

 

If your house is anything like mine, clutter is a constant battle that continually causes me stress. But the WORST part is when you are trying to get out of the house and you cannot find your keys!

Once, I spent two days looking for my keys and didn’t find them until I was loading the dishwasher – my daughter had put them in the sink and they were hidden under all of my dirty dishes!!! I was determined to make sure that never happened again, so I invested in a Tile key tracker. Seriously – this was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I have been giving them as gifts to everyone I know ever since!

 

Groceries & Meal Planning

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know that meal planning is THE BIG THING right now. My first thought was that if I am already strapped for time, there is no way I can fit something like this into my life – it’s way too complex. Well, I recently jumped on the bandwagon after tiring of eating pizza and takeout almost every night, and I cannot believe I did not try it sooner!

I was not brave enough to try and create my own plan out of thin air (nor do any of us have that kind of time) so I bought 10 Meals In An Hour from one of my favorite productivity blogs, Living Well Spending Less. Not only does it have weekly plans and shopping lists already put together, but it walks you through the freezer prep steps for each recipe! I have some pretty picky eaters at my house, and I was impressed that the recipes were suited for all of us to enjoy.

 

Another meal planning miracle has been the advent of the online grocery shopping services. I use Kroger ClickList because it is so close to my house, but Walmart has also recently introduced a similar service. I save money by not having my kids ask for something on every single aisle, and now I no longer have to spend my entire lunch break grocery shopping! I just add items to my shopping list as I think of them, and once per week place an order to pickup. They put the groceries in the car for you, so no need to wrestle with shoes and carseats and cranky kiddos.

 

I recently enrolled in Crystal Paine’s Grocery University and it has made a huge difference in the way I shop. I thought I was doing a good job saving money on groceries, but this has saved me money AND I spend less time trying to find good deals.

 

Education & Entertainment

I currently spend over 10 hours per week commuting & have recently found a way to maximize that time. As an avid reader B.K. (before kids), I am always disappointed when I cannot find time to read any of the great books I hear about.

Enter Audible.

I went back & forth over whether I wanted to spend the money for an audiobook service, but I signed up for the free trial and haven’t looked back. I now can listen to my books at work, in the car, or while I am doing dishes.

Another great option is to subscribe to podcasts on your favorite topics or by your favorite authors. Until I got on ITunes and started looking, I did not realize how many options there were! You can get parenting tips, meditations, inspiration, business advice, you name it and there is a podcast for it. Even better, you can access your (FREE) podcast subscriptions from your phone or computer, and download them for offline listening.

If you are currently enrolled in any online courses or thinking about joining one, many of the teaching platforms are available via your mobile device so you can listen and watch your courses while waiting at the dentist, on your lunch break, or while you are cooking dinner. I love that I can keep up with my learning without being tied to my computer!

 

Last but not least, shopping!!!!

Yes, we live by a budget, and yes, I am a sucker for a good deal as much as you are, but sometimes convenience is more important than scouring all of the sale ads to find the best price.

When I am looking for a last minute gift or if we end up needing to order take-out AGAIN, I will hop on Groupon Local to check for any great deals. When you purchase a Groupon, it is added to your account for use instantly. Recently, I needed to order some sympathy flowers, so I checked on Groupon* before I placed my order and ended up saving $30! There are usually great deals for seasonal and kids activities as well, so I tend to check here for discounted admission before we head out the door.

Amazon is a total lifesaver for moms everywhere. We don’t use the diaper subscription anymore, as my youngest is potty trained, but never having to worry about running out of diapers or forgetting to buy more was priceless. I still use the Subscribe & Save feature for items that we use regularly – air filters are a great example -I know it is time to change them when they show up on that month’s order! Having an Amazon Prime subscription came in handy recently when I didn’t have time to go shop for an upcoming birthday gift, and it arrived just in time for the party!

 

If you aren’t waiting until the last minute to shop, Zulily is an incredible site. I am in love with name brands, and now that we are on a budget, I can still get them in my price range with Zulily. They feature different brands every day (don’t sign up for daily notifications your you might become a shopaholic!), and you can set it up to be notified when brands you are looking for become available. They have amazing customer service, so if anything ever goes wrong, you can be confident they will make it right. That’s the kind of guarantee I need in my life. Even better, you get $15 in referral credit if you share your link & one of your friends signs up!

 

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday Slowing Down Presence Not Presents

Presence Not Presents. Ok, maybe presents…

 

Presence Not Presents. Ok, maybe presents, too…

I approached Black Friday a lot differently this year, & I must admit…it felt great!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Slowing Down Presence Not Presents

Every year, I have either been the one working behind the retail counter with bloodshot eyes & a crazy smile or have been awake at the crack of down to score the best spot in line as a shopper.

But this year, I was tired.

I didn’t peruse the sales ads.

I didn’t make a shopping plan.

I didn’t even leave my house.

And it was amazing!

confetti_rosegold

All of those things together are more than enough to make for a radically different Thanksgiving experience.

I wasn’t worried about rushing through our meal because I “had somewhere to be.”

I wasn’t stressed about which sale to hit first & if THAT THING would be sold out.

I was able to actually enjoy spending time with my family over a special meal, content & present.

[bctt tweet=”With the hustle & bustle of the upcoming holidays added to the hurried pace of our everyday lives, being able to slow down, even for a minute, is a priceless gift.” username=”sometimemom”]

However, I plan to totally kill it on Cyber Monday!

I won’t lie & say I haven’t already jumped on a few early deals, but thanks to Amazon I can safely shop in my pj’s (or at my desk) & avoid all of the lines.

If you have kids & haven’t already gotten a Fire tablet (or two or three…) GET ONE NOW!

[amazon_link asins=’B01J94SCAM’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’Sometimemom-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4d34806f-d320-11e7-b514-83b12d219a02′]

Seriously, I am in love! Both my toddler & 8 year old have one, & the content is curated to be perfectly age-appropriate based on the account settings. I promise, I still love my iPad, but parental controls are such a hassle!

With Amazon Kids Freetime Unlimited, I never have to worry about the girls going to an unprotected website or accidentally pulling up inappropriate content. The peace of mind is totally worth the price tag- & new Kids Fire Tablets come with one year free!

I do almost ALL of my shopping online, whether for Cyber Monday or not, & I highly recommend one of the apps that tracks your purchases & alerts you if there is a price drop. I currently use Paribus, but there are several good options out there.

Be on the lookout for more online shopping tips from me down the road!

Until then,

Happy Shopping!

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Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Volunteering as a parent for Girl Scouts

Sometimes You Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

You’ve been doing such a great job balancing everything on your plate. Maybe even gave yourself a pat on the back for keeping it all together (most of the time). 

All of your plans, priorities, & people seem to finally be lined up nicely.

And then…you are asked to volunteer.

Bam!

Within an instant your mom guilt kicks in & possibilities race through your mind.

I won’t seem like a very good mom if I don’t agree to help. I don’t want my kids to think that I don’t care about them. What will the other parents think if I just say no?!?

Sound familiar?

I don’t care who you are or where you’re from, the volunteer recruitment people will find you. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But trust me, you simply cannot hide.

I know because they came for me, too.

It was September 22. That day will be forever ingrained in my mind. Not because we survived the Solar Eclipse that occurred the day prior, but because my daughter reminded me of it at least 47 times a day for weeks. 

It was the Girl Scout interest meeting. 


I was excited for her to try something new, & had enjoyed my time as a Girl Scout in my own childhood. So why not?

After the exciting presentation about badges, camps, & sisterhood, they dropped the bomb: these would all be brand new troops and there were no leaders.

All of the puppy dog eyes turned toward their parents silently begging for someone to step up.  No one did for our grade, so it seemed as though there would be no troop. Until my daughter verbally nominated me, & the other parents agreed. Uh oh…

Sure. Ok. I can do this. 

I completed the paperwork & started my background check that night. No big deal. Whew!


But wait…there’s more!

As soon as my Troop Leader application was approved, I received an email asking if I would also be willing to have the 4th grade girls in my Troop as they didn’t have a leader. Mom guilt,again. So, of course I said yes.

After 5 different trainings composed of classroom sessions, webinars, & CPR certification…


4 books with lesson plans & tips…

3 trips to an out of town bank…

2 levels of Girl Scouts to coordinate (Brownie & Junior with different badge requirements for each)…

& 1 very tired mama…

We had our very first troop meeting last night!!! The girls had a blast & I did, too. 

Yes, I bit off more than I could chew.

No, I had no clue what I was getting in to.

But maybe sometimes that’s ok. 

After seeing the smile on my daughter’s face, I wouldn’t want it any other way.


overwhelm, mommy blog, being present

Are You A "Maybe Sometime" Mom, too?

Maybe Sometime you’ll have one of those perfectly pleasurable days you see featured on social media feeds.

Maybe Sometime you will scour Pinterest weeks ahead of the holiday & complete several projects to ensure your super Mom status. 

Maybe Sometime your counters will sparkle, no crumbs will stick to your feet when you walk across the floor, & your endless to do list will finally get done.

Or maybe not.

overwhelm, mommy blog, being present

 

I am a Maybe Sometime Mom.

I am guilty of wishing that Maybe Sometime things would just go my way.

Of wishing that I wasn’t always needed so dang much.

Of idealizing the past & rushing the future.

 

But you know what?

There’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.

We are all human & we all have our own wants, needs, & desires.

As moms, we sacrifice a lot to ensure the health & happiness of those around us. The trick lies in having enough fun along the way to avoid being bitter. To avoid becoming a martyr of our own making.

And as much as I always want to be a “yes” mom, joyfully embarking on every crazy adventure my girls dream up, I cannot. With our crazy schedules, endless commitments, & lengthy bucket lists, I would be lying if I always said yes. But I certainly don’t want to crush their spirits with a quick & thoughtless “no.”

So, instead, I tell them Maybe Sometime.

I say it so much that they now preface requests with “Mom, maybe sometime can we…”

Like this morning when they wanted to make [amazon_textlink asin=’B003W0UMPI’ text=’cupcakes’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’Sometimemom-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4080d2cd-d32e-11e7-8a47-6de4200445de’].I have all the baking supplies you can think of, & super fun decorations to top them with. I told them we would pick up the ingredients at the store & maybe sometime today we could make them.

The important thing is that they know we really will.  Maybe.

Maybe not this time.

Maybe our schedules will be too hectic to do all of the things for Halloween. Or Thanksgiving. But for Christmas? We might.

Maybe I won’t find find out about a school project until the night before & it will be a slapped together mess made of leftovers from our craft box.

Maybe Sometime I will know far enough in advance that we can make that school project [amazon_textlink asin=’B07387JYMT’ text=’sparkle’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’Sometimemom-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’77a5cbee-d32e-11e7-8b80-45baedf86a85′] like Dolly Parton with the coolest types of glitter.

Maybe Sometime it will turn into right now, like it did today.

Mommy, will you paint with me?

Today, I stopped to consider that perhaps I had been measuring my accomplishments all wrong. What if the reason I never felt that my work was “done” was because I wasn’t spending my time on the things that really matter?

Time can be our friend, or it can be our worst enemy.

Both of my girls, ages 8 & 2, are in school during the week. 

My husband & I work demanding jobs. 

There is always more on our to-do list than can possibly be done. But, like many of you, I gave myself the responsibility of trying to do it all anyway.

Start the laundry, wash some dishes, hurry the girls off to school, run to the grocery store on my lunch break to avoid cutting into family time, work late to make up the extra few minutes it took to go  shopping, hurry Alyssa into the car at pickup so we aren’t late to get Callie, bring in the groceries, rush through homework, speed through dinner, a quick bath, and then bedtime. For the girls, at least. Whew!

Say hi to my husband, put the laundry in the dryer, set out clothes for the morning, & realize that somehow I have stayed up too late yet again. Promise myself to do better tomorrow.

Rushing through tasks, cramming more into our day than ever before, & waking up exhausted yet bravely attempting to do it all again. Sound familiar?

I read the same articles that you do- the ones that tell me to slow down before I burn out. It makes sense, & I tell myself that I will slow down. Later. When I am finished with all the things that have to be done. 

Today in between checking items off of my to-do list, I try to take a break like the articles suggest. But then I see those beautiful homes on TV & in the glossy covered magazines I don’t normally stop to read. I browse through my newsfeed & see those adorable snapshots of my friends’ neatly groomed children & spotless living rooms. I look around my house- at the toys scattered carelessly & dishes left in the sink, & get to work.

“Mommy, I want to paint.” Alyssa comes to the kitchen holding a pad of paper almost as big as she is, and I give my standard reply. “Ok, just a minute, let me finish (insert task of the moment here).” She goes off to play with her sister, and I tell myself I will get her paints after I finish loading the dishwasher. One job turns into another & I find myself moving the art supplies to dust the table.

I forgot to get Alyssa her paints. I am a terrible mother & have probably scarred her for life. I hope she doesn’t think that I forgot about her. I know I would be letting the girls down if I didn’t do as much cleaning as I can on the weekend since I work during the week because they deserve a tidy house like the ones I always see. That’s just part of being a good mom.

I quickly set up the paints & go find Alyssa. I get her situated so I can head upstairs to do some laundry. 

“Mommy, will you paint with me?”

I stop- I stop walking, I stop checking off items on the list in my head, & I look at her. She has gotten so big. So independent. I wonder how long it’s been since I sat in the floor & played with her. She’s almost 3 now, & doesn’t need me to keep her entertained like she did when she was younger. But she still needs me.

You should have seen her eyes light up when I sat down on the floor. Callie heard the giggles & joined us almost immediately. We spent at least an hour sitting in the floor together. The girls were having tons of fun, & so was I. 

Callie painting with watercolorI didn’t think about my to-do list once during that time. I was fully present, simply enjoying the moment with my girls. I understand what those articles about slowing down were trying to say. I felt it today, & I want to feel it every day. Time stood still for that moment. 

Earlier I told you about my impossibly long to-do list; all of the things that have to be done. And how, like many of you, I gave myself the responsibility of trying to do it all anyway. After today, I am done with that way of thinking, & I want you to release this burden in the same way that I did. 

It isn’t about the painting, or sitting in the floor. It is about the choice.

The choice I made when I gave myself the responsibility to do it all. The choice you make when you do the same. That is the choice that will make or break us all- & it depends on whether you can bring yourself to stop. 

Just for one small moment. 

Stop & feel  time stand still.

When I put Alyssa to bed tonight, I knew this would be one of the best choices I have ever made. As she snuggled in with her lovey & started talking about her day, I asked what was her favorite part. Her reply?

“Mommy, when you played with me.”