This weekend I experienced a game changing moment...
I was sitting on my sofa, taking a momentary brain break scanning my instastory feed (can anyone relate?) I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and if I am honest, I had some Mom Guilt around the quality time I spent with my kids, or lack there of, that day. I was feeling like I was out of balance - time was passing but I wasn't taking full advantage of it. I didn't know how to turn the rest of the day around.
The game changer? As I took my brain break, @busytoddler was answering questions with the new instastory function. She referenced the 'Big 3' as the things that she focuses on with her three kids daily. The Big 3 are the key things that our children need most from us each day; conversation, play and reading.
When I saw those three I thought, "I can do that, that is simply... I can turn today around." I jumped up from the sofa and went to play with my kids. I explored conversations with them to learn about their perspective of the weekend and what they were looking forward to this coming week. I finished the night with some snuggles, stories and more conversation. I put them both to bed and returned to the sofa. I began reflecting and realized I felt amazing about the day. Less than an hour before, that was not my perspective on the day - amazing how something so simple made such an impact.
When I am overwhelmed, I need to break it down, to a meaningful list of achievable goals. I saw that Instastory on the 'Big 3' at the moment I needed it most. Three achievable things I could do, that (research told me) would make an impact.
Today, I challenge you to break it down, so that when life gets busy or overwhelming, you can return to that simplified list and feel accomplished, productive and like you are making the impact you intended to in that moment.
Sending love and simplicity out today, Mamma.
I love reading. I always walk away with a new book with so many great ideas to apply to my life, or new ways to consider the world around me. One of my favourite facts comes from a great read, 'What the Most Successful People do Before Breakfast' by Laura Vanderkam.
In this book Vanderkam draws awareness to the fact that we get more joy out of the anticipation of an event than the actual event itself. As Mammas this is a great tip to remember.
To maximize our joy and anticipation, plan well in advance. Book that vacation for next year, plan a fun activity for next weekend now, and talk about the fun you are going to have with your family (so you can all maximize joy out of the anticipation of the event).
I find this tip especially useful on a Sunday evening, after a great weekend, when I am starting to get the Monday blues. My family and I often talk about something fun for next weekend around the Sunday night dinner table. It is funny, the activities my kids normally are excited to call out are the simple things; going to the park, using sidewalk chalk, movie night etc.
The best part? When you are feeling like the week is long, are having a difficult moment, or need to refocus your famliy, bring them back to the event you have planned and enjoy the joy of anticipation!
What are you going to plan today for the future?
Image Source: Pinterest
This weekend I saw it, the first of the leaves beginning to change. It felt like my heart was going to explode from my chest I was so full of joy. Fall is by far my favourite season and I look forward to that first changing leaf I spot every year. I can't wait for the smell of fall, the crunch of leaves under my feet, and I absolutely love fall clothing options.
This week I have an extra skip in my step because of my excitement for the arrival of fall.
What season change gets you most excited every year?
Many of us relate summer ending with the beginning of the school year, which happens to be right around the corner. Today I want to share a tip for making the summer last in your home past the first day of school this year.
Research shows us that we get more enjoyment out of the planning and anticipation of an activity than we do the act of doing the activity. Think about an activity or trip you planned well in advance that you were eagerly anticipating - how much enjoyment did you get out of the lead up vs. the actual activity or trip?
This September make plans now for two exciting family activities to take place at different times during the month. Get your family to join in planning so that you can all look forward to them together!
Focus on your excitement and anticipation rather than focusing on any negative emotions you might feel about "summer ending".
Easy, eh? Now, go and give it a try!
In some ways I find summer overwhelming. After some reflection I landed on the fact that it is due to the amount of activities I try to cram in with my family. We use every moment of the daylight, outside work hours, to enjoy the beautiful season. It also means less time for the "stuff" of life - laundry, house cleaning, lunch making, and feeling organized overall.
I find myself on occasion considering not going berry picking, coming home from the cabin early, or skipping the bike ride to do chores around the house. In those moments I always reframe and ask myself, "In this moment what truly matters?" My family is always the answer I find in my heart.
You are probably thinking, but those household chores still have to happen! Yes, they do. This summer I am practicing just letting go. The house may be messy, we may have just enough clean clothing, and I may need to try grocery shopping online, but my heart is overflowing. I will never remember my trip to the grocery store, but the smiles on my kids faces when we spend time as a family make letting go of "the stuff" easy.
Cheers to an August lived with the fullest of hearts,
Compassion is a skill. It requires that we continually practice it in our lives. Compassion extends to self-compassion as well (which we tend to practice less than compassion toward others). Here is a little trick to practice self-compassion every, single day!
1. Cut out hearts on pieces of paper (or any other shape that makes you feel happy) or buy pre-cut sticky shapes at your local office supply store. I have included a template of hearts below to get your started!
2. Write a different thing you love about yourself on each heart shape.
3. Stick them up somewhere you see them regularly (like your bathroom mirror, in your closet, on your dresser, or make a collage of them for your bedside table.
4. Each time you see them, take 10 seconds to read one of the hearts and let it land.
Watch how this simple activity can lift your mood, help you reframe a tough moment, and help you continue become more compassionate toward yourself in challenging moment.
A Template of Hearts to get you started....
This past week I was sitting on my couch crying, and not that pretty 'Hollywood cry', but a big, ugly blubbering cry. Each year I create a family photo book to document our year in images and words. And every year it fills me with every emotion imaginable as I reflect on the past year.
If my tears had a formula it would be 95% joy with 5% SLOW DOWN LIFE!
It takes a few hours to pull it the book together, but every year as the bound copy arrives at our doorstep and I flip through the pages I feel my time investment was well spent.
My memory holds moments, but there are many I forget in between, so I fill the pages of our year in review with the highlights, but most importantly, with all the moments I don't want to ever forget.
In this digital world with gigabytes upon gigabytes of camera photo storage, I find it difficult to review them all, or simply manage them all, but as I look back on each years book it is the simple moments and smiles that I treasure and use to fill the pages.
These year in review books give me something beautiful and real to flip through with my daughter on my lap and my husband by my side. Forever treasures.
Where do you store your precious moments?
Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This morning I woke-up to a beautiful fresh blanket of snow in my backyard and it got me thinking...
I adore nature and even more so what it has the power to teach us. I felt this morning like the snow was whispering, quietly sharing a lesson with me before the sun came up and the first shoe print was laid upon it.
If you have experienced a white winter before, you know that a beautiful, fresh snow is quickly changed by people. As we drive our cars, leave our homes to begin our days, and shovel our walkways we turn that beautiful, fresh snow into something quite different.
I recognized that this too happens to me in life. I wake-up with the best intentions - centred, goals, my to-do list and then the day begins. Other uncontrollable things happen and I am called to shift, change and ultimately muddy-up my plans and centred-self. So, how then, as chaos strikes do I let a fresh blanket of snow fall again (a reset for my mind and day)? For me, it is a quick timeout with a cup of tea, a pad of paper, and my planner.
How do you reset when your beautiful start to the day gets muddy from the chaos around you?
Meet my daughter - B. This picture was taken during a summer holiday past. I was recently cleaning up our photo storage device and came across it. It filled me with hope, promise, freedom, excitement, joy, and simplicity. This is my 2016 inspiration. This photo holds within it everything I want for the year ahead.
I want to see your 2016 photo now. What image depicts your 2016?
Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed celebrating the end of 2015 and are ready for a fabulous year ahead Mamma!
Over the past year my family and I have been placing memories / moments / celebrations into a jar in our kitchen, and what a way to celebrate a year (and remember the big and small moments) as to go through and read each and every slip of paper.
The holiday season has been a busy one for us as well, and I found myself not ready to embrace 2016 when it arrived a few days ago. Before I can truly welcome 2016 and all it has to offer, there are three things I need to do...
1. I need to celebrate 2015
2. I need to let go 2015
3. I need to give myself permission to embrace 2016
Perhaps you are already there, ready to welcome 2016 with open arms, but if not, join me as I grab my journal and consider ...
1. Celebrate 2015 - How do you want to mark 2015 for yourself and your family? How are you going to celebrate all your successes, highlights, moments of joy, and everything in between?
2. Let go of 2015 - At the end of year we tend to highlight both the beautiful successes and also the unfinished business. The resolutions / to-do's / plans that never got executed. In order to launch into 2016, I need to let those go first, what about you? What do you need to let go of? How?
3. Permission - Lastly, I need to give myself permission to embrace 2016 with both arms and an open heart. I often use a permission slip as a tool to write myself formal permission.
Cheers to the end of a beautiful year and the beginning of another!
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The Mamma Returns is a boutique coaching firm for Mammas. We offer executive, life and transition coaching services. In addition, we offer programs for Mammas returning to the workforce post-parental leave, and self-guided programs to explore priorities, boundaries, goal setting to name a few.
Megan is an optimistic, enthusiastic Mamma who strives for a balanced, intentional life. Megan believes in planning for the best case and preparing for the worst.
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