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.
Summer is here!
For many of us this season brings a mix of emotions, as we look to balance our personal and professional commitments. We often take time away from work to recharge and enjoy the weather.
So many parts of summer fuel our tank - the weather, the vacation time, the opportunity for more family moments, the longer daylight hours (I am sure you can keep going).
The one part of summer that truly challenges us, and often our little ones, is the lack of routine. The change between weekly care arrangements (camp, family, friends, vacation time etc.), flexing our professional schedules around those care arrangements, or being home for the summer without our usual formalised activities, is what is often determined as the most difficult part to summer.
When I explore this challenge with Mamma’s who are looking to better understand how they can not get caught up in the lack of routine and focus more on the joy, we come to some similar conclusions:
Have a wonderful summer!!
I recently moved into a new house. I am loving the new floor plan, it is wonderful for our family. I admit moving is a challenge. There is a, what feels, never ending list of things to do and find. I was reminded this past week how important it is to break a big project down into meaningful and achievable goals.
Our new home has an amazing garden, however it is overgrown. I desperately want to get it back to its condition from a few years ago, but I feel pulled in many directions - family time, work, unpacking, building Ikea furniture *ha ha*, friendship, exercise etc.
I found myself lacking patience over the last week and I realized it was because I felt like I wasn't achieving anything - the garden was overgrown, the house is full of boxes, work is busy, I feel like I never see my friends etc. I parked the thought in the middle of the day and decided to really think it through on my GO Train ride home that evening.
As I was riding along on the GO Train, I realized that my impatience or lack of feeling that I wasn't completing anything was because I was trying to do the whole task, versus defining what success looked like this week (i.e. unpack the whole house vs. unpack one box). I was making it impossible for myself to celebrate success.
I pulled out my notebook and was able to set mini-goals for myself:
Reframing what felt impossible to make it possible has enabled me to feel like I have regained my flow.
Give it a try - break down those impossible goals to make them possible.
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Whether it is replacing your lunchtime gym routine for holiday lunches, your family movie night for your friend's last minute Christmas party, or your Sunday family routine by holiday errands and commitments, it is easy to have your priorities fall to the bottom of list during the holiday season.
Many of us start the fresh, new year feeling exhausted, burnt out, and stressed from the schedule and commitments that we create for ourselves during December.
How do you create balance during the holidays? It starts with determining who is setting the schedule (likely you), and what is influencing you to try to cram everything in (external pressures perhaps? fear of disappointing others?).
For many of us it is difficult to say no, me included!
Here are some strategies for creating a little bit of balance during the holidays:
What strategies work for you to create balance during the busy holiday season?
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Due to my Canadian upbringing, I associate December with snow. Beautiful white snow. When I hear December... I imagine myself being snowed in at our family cottage, sitting by a crackling fire, drinking a warm cup of hot cocoa, wrapped in a snuggly blanket, and wearing my cosiest clothing.
The reality though is a bit different - the road conditions, the crowded malls, the early morning car window scraping, and the long line-ups that come with the holiday season. My cosy image is never, and has never been a reality.
December is a time where schedules are busy, nights are often late and mornings early, it is dark upon arriving at work and dark upon leaving, and you need to sneak in some shopping between holiday parties, concerts and celebrations.
We hear everywhere that December is the "season for giving." I agree. It is. My concern is that with all this giving comes fatigue. I can remember many Decembers where I felt like I was racing from one thing to the next trying desperately to draw a breath. I was showing up, but was I giving?
How can we create a balance so we can give with an open heart all season long?
For me the answer is simple, put your name at the top of your Holiday List. Give yourself the fuel you need so that you have the energy to give it in a meaningful, compassionate way to another.
As I grow older I realize more and more that time truly is the ultimate gift. There is no greater gift I can give my daughter, husband, father, best friend... Time creates beautiful, lifelong memories.
As I schedule away December 2014, I will build in time that I am giving to myself. So that I can show up the way I want to this holiday season - heart first, ready to make beautiful memories.
When the school years hit, permission slips seem to fill backpacks. Why not write one for yourself? I started this practice after learning about it in a Brene Brown webinar. Permission slips have been an incredible tool for me to banish the guilt and refocus midday.
What permission do you need to give yourself today?
Permission to (guilt free)...
Write that permission slip to yourself (on a scrap of paper, post-it note, or back of a receipt) and put it in your pocket. You can read it and remind yourself YOU HAVE PERMISSION when you feel that guilt creeping in.
I remember my University days, pulling all-nighters and bouncing back the next day. As I have aged the all-nighter has become less and less appealing. Now, the only all-nighters I pull are 'child-led' - a.k.a. teething, stomach flu, bad dreams... the list goes on.
After a particularly poorly timed all-nighter last night, I decided to turn to the internet to find some tips on how the effectively pull an all-nighter. Everything I found was targeted at University students, but I was able to pull some interesting bits from wikiHow, and thought I would share some of what I found...
1. Drink glasses of cold water every 30 minutes,
2. Instead of trying not to yawn, try laughing,
3. Eat protein rich foods,
4. Nap wherever possible,
5. Open the windows - let in the fresh air, and
6. Think positive thoughts.
What are your tips for managing the day after a child-led all-nighter?
Yesterday was World Gratitude Day, and I was travelling home from a week working in the rural North West region of Bosnia-Herzegovina during some major flooding. As I sat in transit home from the airport I felt surrounded by gratitude. I was grateful for everything I saw around me, everything I heard, everyone I saw, and for the week I just had.
Sometimes life can get in the way, we can allow ourselves to get caught up in the negative, but there truly is, "...always something to be thankful for."
What are you grateful for? How can you channel that when you feel yourself getting pulled in a more negative direction?
When I visualize key moments in my life I often find a soundtrack begins to play. Music for me can be white noise, it can be healing, it can provide answers, and it can be an escape.
Today as I was climbing a rather steep hill on my morning run, ready to give up, Colbie Caillat told me through her lyrics to keep going, and so I did. Often during my runs music is white noise for me, but in that moment, the perfect moment, I tuned in and heard what I needed to. Music was able to push me forward.
I remember a drive from Toronto to Sault Saint Marie to visit a friend. For the entire 8-hour drive I played, on repeat, a CD I had made and I sang along at the top of my lungs. It was a true healing journey.
How does music motivate you? How does it help you heal?
I think of my drives to the office, sometimes I loved the music on the radio, other times I was so frustrated with the stations - flipping through all my presets trying to find what I needed in that moment. Our commute time is important time. It sets us up for how we will feel upon arrival at the office, and upon arrival home.
What if you put together a playlist for your commute to work and a playlist for your drive home. What type of music would get you ready for the workday? What type of music would get you ready to arrive home as your best self? How can music help to bridge those daily transitions?
In the words of Hans Christian Andersen, "Where words fail, music speaks."
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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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