Advertisements

One REALLY awful Day toward Regression

Life is Happening for YOU.pngNo

Recently, I had a rough day. I woke up late, the house was messy, the kids were not feeling well, I was sick, and all the things were happening. I was upset and struggling! My self talk was loud telling me that I was not enough, I was failing and EVERYTHING was wrong.

Then the dog got into the garbage (this LITERALLY never happens) and I attempted to vacuum and the vacuum died. UGH! Then I noticed that the thermostat was not working. Maybe something with the internet? I was not sure.

There was no time. I had to leave my house with egg shells still on the floor, a thermostat that was working, and a load of stress following me around. I was frustrated.

Toward the end of the day, I received a call from the shelter that we rescued our dog from. She had gotten out of the backyard somehow and my neighbor had her! I ran home, frustrated, and the thoughts were running through my mind a mile a minute. How long was she out? Did I leave her out? How did the happen?

Luckily, the dog was safe. I took a moment to breath, vent it out to myself, and then try to figure out what was happening with the thermostat/vacuum. The fuse had blown! Easy solution.

What did I learn?

EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING FOR YOU! Everything is happening for me. The dog got out, which was totally frustrating. BUT it actually saved me money. Let me explain.

I was fretting at work and obsessing about needing to go purchase a new vacuum on my way home. Then I was thinking about needing to fix the thermostat. UGH! Why did I purchase a fancy new thermostat. All the thoughts were flying through my head.

Because the dog got out, I did not run out to purchase a new vacuum. It slowed me down long enough with gratitude, so I could actually think through this process.

Everything is happening for you.

So often, I find myself stuck in the victim mindset. The thoughts are swirling. When I adjust myself to think that this is happening for me NOT to me. It is happening to strengthen me, to save my money, to help direct me into the right place. He has a place and a space for me. Me – the way I was meant to be. Despite any challenge, I have been able to come out stronger. I have been given opportunities.

Be More Faithful Than Fearful

One of my phrases this year to focus on is to be more faithful than fearful. I have been given opportunities over the past year and I have pushed myself beyond my comfort zone. I have gain so much! I have learned so much and progressed as a person. I am living in the space and in the light that God has given to me in this season.

Slow Down

So often the anxiety get kicked up when you are so focused on outcome and everything that is going wrong. When you allow the self talk to get loud and nasty, you trap yourself. You literally place yourself in a prison. You have control over these thoughts and how long they stay. Slow down. Take a deep breath. Take a moment to really work through the challenges you are facing. Meditate, go for a run, or anything that brings you joy and helps you take your mind off the problem.

Life is full of challenges, but we are placed on this earth to do so much! We have so many things that we are good at, that we have been blessed with, but the little things, little frustrations can cause stress. Once you are in this cycle, it can be challenging to get out.

Intentional Living Tip:

Take a moment and determine 1 -5 tasks that bring you joy. They could be anything. Something small or big. These are things that can help you get re-aligned with yourself, so you can really work through any challenge.

If you have a mindset issue, work through it. Get a coach, journal, talk to a friend, or see a therapist. Work through the mindset issue, so you can become stronger. So, you can achieve anything. This challenge was given to you, so you could grow.

Love,

Ashley

Advertisements

Dream Intentionally – No matter how big

dreams.png

I recall as a child thinking maybe I could be a star. You know basically try to be the next Brittney Spears because why not? It seemed as though this was too far to reach. I remember being told that this dream would take a lot of money and time – it likely would not happen. I should set realistic goals.

Then in a need to answer the questions – what do you want to do when you grow up? – I responded with I want to be a doctor. Ah the praise! Yes, this is perfect for a high achieving, intelligent person. Everyone could back that. It made sense.

I remember grappling with this choice early on. I knew I was called to be a mother, so I pondered how this profession would affect my ability to become a mother. But I was not able to answer this question nor was the countless other women that I asked. Their answers did not seem to fit with the life I wanted.

Well – fast forward several years and no med school application. No MD after my name. No DO or PA-C. I had failed an attainable, sensible goal. A mountain of debt in pursuit for this dream. Yet – I seemingly failed.

Another dream to achieve my doctorate by the time of 25. When then did not happen – I had a 25th Birthday Breakdown. I was not the woman I wanted to be. I had failed. Yet – I still was not taking any initiative to be intentional about meeting my dreams.

I had children and I think about every decision I make. I consider how it affects them. Over the past year, I have conquered my fears of failure. I will fail – likely many times. I will fall, I will ugly cry in the shower, and I will continue to learn. I will always get back up and challenge myself. I have a dream. It has changed, but it is still my dream. It is as achievable as a I make it.

We often doubt ourselves. We tell ourselves we cannot do it because…

It costs too much money.

I do not have enough time.

Who am I do that?

No one will listen to me.

Someone has already done it.

I do not know where to start.

I am a mom.

The list goes on and on my friend. There are tons of people that have become singers. They have worked at it, failed at it, and succeeded. They had to start somewhere.

I know many doctors. They were intentional, worked hard, and achieved.

Many people are already doing the things that you want to do. Their are mothers, wives, daughters, friends, doctors, police officers, actors, influencers, writers, etc. Likely the dream you are thinking – no matter how big – has already been done.

That does not mean that you cannot do it! It means that it can be done. You are uniquely you. You can do it. You will do it your way. You cannot compare or compete. You need to focus on your dream. You will stumble like a toddler learning to walk. You will struggle with your words just like a toddler learning to speak. You may throw a tantrum from time to time. It does not mean that you cannot do it or should not do it.

It means that you are new at something. You are trying something that you have never done before. The more you continue to get up and try, the more you will impress yourself. In all honesty – it is something to celebrate and share. Every misstep, every failure. These are opportunities for your growth.

Do you know what else?

You achieving your dreams not only impact you. It impacts all of those that you will serve. It will impact your children. How amazing is it for your children to see you achieving, failing, and getting back up?!? How amazing is it for your children to see you living your dream? How amazing is it for your children to see you share your gifts with the world?

Intentional Living Tip:

Take out some post-it notes. I want you to write down as many beautiful dreams as you have. It may take you some time to develop a list, especially if you have not dreamed in a while. These dreams can be to lead a movement, to change jobs, to go back to school, to go to the gym, to make time for a morning routine, etc. The list goes on!

Take that list. Hold each post-it in your hand. Feel into it. Do you love it? Choose 1 – 3 things that you want to focus on. Then make a plan to go after it. Maybe you only have 20 minutes per day. Schedule it and make it happen!

Go after that dream!

Thank you,

Ashley

How to Find Your Purpose – Working Mon Style

Are you already living your Purpose_.png

When I found out I was pregnant with Bella, I had this moment where I thought, Is this it? What if being a mom is all I meant to be? What if this is all I am called to do?

Holy Moly! This struck me to the core! I have always wanted to be a mother, but the idea that this was it was terrifying to me. I have spent so much of my life thinking about my purpose. I have been trying to push all of my gifts into one thing. To find one thing that I would be called to do. The one thing that I would change the world with (yes, we have already discussed that my self talk is pretty big).

I was struggling to be a working mom. When I was at work, I felt like I was abandoning my kid!  I felt like I was failing as a mom. I wanted to do all the things that my mom was able to do for us. I wanted to bake cookies, make fresh bread, be there for every moment, and do all the things. These were expectations I was placing on myself and I felt like I was failing. At work, I felt distracted and like I was failing too!

I was pressuring myself to squeeze into this box that I had created for myself. I needed to be this super successful, high functioning employee AND a super mom. I felt guilty I was not a Stay at Home Mom. I felt jealous of the Stay at Home Mom! In my mind, she could do all things that I couldn’t.

I was pressuring myself to fit into a box of what it should feel like to be a working mom and what it should feel like for me to be a mom. These expectations and limitations did not fit me. It was uncomfortable. Because it was not the life I was meant to live, I did not feel aligned and I was not happy. I was not showing up at work well and I was not showing up for my family well.

I needed to restructure my thoughts, my home, and my schedule to determine what working motherhood would look like for me. This was based on my strengths, loves, and opportunities.

Home

Our homes are really sanctuaries meant to support us on our journey. They provide us shelter, a place to have family dinners, a place to learn, a place to relax, etc. This is specific to you. As a family determine how you want your environment to make you feel and how you want that environment to help support you. Ditch the need for perfection and work toward progress. Measure your progress based on how you feel and how your family feels. Are you able to do more of what you love? Are you less stressed?

This was my strength. I am naturally gifted at organizing my environment.

BUT I had not considered working with my husband to understand what works well for him. So, we are all more aligned and it serves all things for my family!

Mindset

Your mindset has to be strong. Journal. Think about what you love to do. Not what career options are available, but gifts you have. What you enjoy doing.

I love décor. I love setting up a room, I love decorating, I love organizing, and I love supporting people. From this, I am currently working toward a building my own business to support families discover/create a home that supports what you love. I want to help support mothers and families through the challenges of today. To get back to the basics and find joy in simplicity.

We all have gifts. Not one career or label can or will benefit. You will have many purposes. Many talents and gifts. He has given you so much. You are uniquely created. You have so much to offer with how you can use your talents. In every season, you will be given opportunities. You will be given ways to share and grow your gifts. You will also be given ways to strengthen your weaknesses (your opportunities).

There will be challenges and there will be so many opportunities. You will hold many titles, labels, and have many projects in your life. Your journey will be one full of abundance. It is yours.

Do not limit yourself in how you think you should act as a mother.  Do not limit yourself in the ways you think you should use your gifts. That focus, that tunnel vision will prevent you from experiencing all that there is. All that is meant for you. It will keep you from your happy.

You are worthy of expressing your gifts and you are needed in this world. Please working hard and be open to all things. Continue to see your worth and try new things. You will never know when it may be your next assignment, your next purpose.

Thank you,

Ashley

7 Signs You Are Experiencing Mom Fatigue

sweet heart.jpg

Have you ever realized how your brain seems to change after having a baby? Some days it feels like I went from a high functioning and capable woman to a brain fogged mess that cannot keep her shit straight.

I once joked about this with the pediatrician. She smiled and told me that it never really goes away. But that I am more intelligent and capable that average, so no one really notices. Although, I laughed and it sort of made me feel better, I really wanted to better understand what I could do to change this. There had to be a way right?

Over the past several weeks, the kiddos and myself have been sick which in turn leads to a tired momma that does not sleep often. Sometimes the insomnia strikes and I begin to research like all normal people, right? I mean that mixed in with Pinterest searches and late night hair/makeup tutorials…because obviously the next day I will have so much energy I will wake up early to basically get ready for a photo shoot.

Are you ready to hear what I found out?

Mental fatigue or mom fatigue is a real life thing. I am going to over generalized, but I am thinking that every mom has felt one or more of these pretty routinely because it seems to come with the territory. Or does it?

  1. Overwhelm
  2. Emotionally/mentally drained
  3. Mental fog or “mom brain” “pregnancy brain”
  4. Lack of Motivation
  5. Irritability
  6. Stress Eating or loss of appetite
  7. Insomnia and just plain exhaustion

Now, you read through this list. Not to sound like one of those advertisements for some life-altering drug, I mean these are legitimate symptoms and you probably have experienced these.

You are interested. You may even want to know if you should pay more attention to those annoying, laughable, and sometimes scary drug advertisements.

Before we get into the cure, we have to understand the why. How the heck does this happen?

  1. Decision Fatigue – we make a million decisions a day ranging from what we need to eat, what to wear, work decisions, and who will pick up who from daycare/school.
  2. Clutter – Seriously, science shows that physical clutter causes a stress hormone, Cortisol, to build up in our bodies. Yes, we will have this hormone in our bodies from time to time, but we should not stay there. That leads to physical and mental health conditions. Cost of a Cluttered Environment
  3. Over-committing – Do you got that yes girl gene? The one where you say yes to all the things without even thinking it through? Yes, me too.
  4. Avoidance/Procrastination – Oh yea. We all know procrastination is not the best idea, but there are a few of us (me included) that still do it. Back before children (let’s call that B.C), I NEVER or very rarely procrastinated. I understood the stress it caused me. But now, although I know better, it is hard because there is so much to do – right? But that running to do, should do, could do, need to do list that is constantly running in your mind – not good either.
  5. Perfectionism – Slap a big red bow on this one. I call myself a recovering perfectionist because I am constantly working to avoid this trap.
  6. Lack of Sleep – Are you supposed to sleep as a mom, like ever?

So looking at the list above, I think – OKAY – I know, I fall into each and every one of these categories. Sometimes daily or maybe routinely. So, what are my solutions?  Seriously, do I need to check back with the drug advertisements?

Here is the deal, I am not a doctor. I will not pretend to be one. But I am a mom. I am a mom of two busy toddlers, I am a wife, daughter, sister, friend, employee, and holy smokes there are more labels – but I will keep this brief.

The point is that I understand the fatigue, the brain fog, the overwhelm and the pure exhaustion. Literally and figuratively.

But I honestly do not believe that we were blessed with all of these gifts to spend the rest of our lives tired and stressed out. I do not believe that this is the way to spend our motherhood or to teach our daughters to spend theirs.

Here are my suggestions. Honesty – when I set intention and practice these habits – I am stronger. I have more joy. My relationships are better. I have more mental capacity and energy. I do not yo yo with my weight because I am stress eating, then not eating, etc.

Solutions:

  1. Reduce Decision Fatigue – Let’s work to automate, schedule, and set intentions here as much as we can. Simple solutions to this include: picking out clothes the night before, packing all bags the night before, meal prepping for the week, scheduling cleaning duties, etc.
  2. Reduce Clutter – Yes, this takes time. Here is the deal. We will take one step at a time. Start with tossing out all of the garbage or broken items. Then take out any dirty dishes. Then remove any obvious clutter. These are objects that do not belong. When you have the time, dive into slowly getting rid of things. Then categorize and organize. Rinse and repeat. Sustainably Organized
  3. Setting Boundaries and Saying no – Remember that yes gene. Start by pausing before accepting any offer. Really consider how this ask will impact you. Know your values, so you have a measurable way to determine if it important to you.
  4. Ask for help – Seriously, I know it is hard. It just is until you make it a habit. You cannot to all the things well by yourself. It is not possible. The most successful, busiest people in the world have help. Why shouldn’t you? It may look different, but ask.
  5. Batch tasks – Studies show that it can be less demanding on your brain to complete all similar tasks at a time and then shift to something else. Get all of your shopping done (groceries, Target, etc) or prep all of your meals at one time. Batch Cleaning
  6. Be a problem solver – Look at how you spend your energy. Are you looking for stuff all the time? Always need a charger in the kitchen? Does it drive you insane to have dirty dishes in the sink before you cook? Maybe you always run out of diapers midweek? Stop and reflect on the smallest annoyances. Small or not, they affect our energy. Take action.
  7. Get off the hamster wheel  – So often our brains are literally running, spinning even. We are consistently running our schedule over and over, all the should dos, could dos, need to dos, and want to dos are just rolling and running in your mind. That takes energy! Get off the wheel. Take a moment to get those thoughts out. Write them down. Then you will not forget. Also this helps you prioritize and get moving in the right direction.

Intentional Living Tip: As a mom, I noticed immediately the fatigue I had trying to do all the things. Society holds motherhood on this pedestal and talks about how moms can do it all. Heck yes! We can do all lot of things at once while nursing a baby and finishing up a conference call. Certainly, we can. But at what expense?

Take some time today and prioritize you. If you are feeling this way, then you need to make changes. Small changes over time will make a difference. Write it out and let me know how I can support you!

I am always supporting you,

Ashley

Efficient Cleaning Tips for the Busy Mom

Clean like a Busy Mom.png

As a busy mom, I decided to embark on a journey toward efficiency and ditch perfection at the door. I have two high energy, spirited toddlers only 16 months apart. As they get older, they want to play with momma on the weekends or in the evening after work. I do want to play too – even though yes I feel like I can only play Toy Story so much. BUT this is a season of my life and it is one that I would prefer to spend intentionally living versus picking up after life.

Let’s face it as a busy mom of two, who works full-time, teaches American Sign Language, and is growing a business my philosophy with cleaning is less is more. It takes some time, strategy, and habit changes to do just that.

Hold on to you seat and be prepared to be amazed at some awesome sauce knowledge I am about to throw your way!

Clean the Dishes as you go

Yes, I know you are hungry and thinking about how you have to feed the kids, get them in the bath, do story time, and then bed. The to-do list is running, but I want to help you reduce the effort you put into cleaning. Spend less time here, have more time there. Simple math.

Before you sit down to eat your meal, toss your cooking dishes in the sink with warm soapy water. I put all the food into jars that will later go into the frig. This will prevent the food from baking onto the dish and all of the scrubbing later. Aluminum pans do need some time to cool or this method can cause some warping of the dish.

Wash your rugs in the washing machine

Rugs with rubber backing can be tossed into the washing machine. I do recommend shaking them out or giving them a quick once over with the vacuum first to prevent build up of nasty things in your washer, but this is a highly effective solution. Helps eliminate stains and odors!

Note I am super lazy and like instant gratification, so I also like to toss the rug into the dryer. However, over time this will break down the rubber backing and cause cracking. You can air dry to improve the longevity of the rug.

Invest in the Magic of Magic Erasers

These little stain fighters can be used on almost any surface! They remove unwanted markings on your floors, walls, counters, or even dishes. These are boss when it comes to removing soap scum and even marker or crayons when your children get a little wild with art time.

Empty the Vacuum Cleaner

Yes, we all know it needs to be done. BUT it really should be done far more routinely that most of us probably do it. I recommend emptying the vacuum weekly or every use depending on the amount of hair, pets, etc that you have in your home. I also recommend wiping the vacuum out with a wet cloth and washing the filters (if possible). This will help your vacuum work more efficiently!

Clean your Appliances

Your dish washer, coffee maker, and washer need to be cleaned routinely. Think about the amount of food particles, soiled materials, etc that run through these appliances. YUCK! If not cleaned, you will find that your clothes may smell or your dishes may not be getting cleaned. Even worse, your coffee may not taste as awesome.

You can simply run white vinegar through all of these machines. For the dish washer, add vinegar to a cup and place on the top rack. Use the wash cycle and clean the washer. Do this without any dishes in it, if possible, for the best results.

For the washer, add vinegar to the machine where you would add soap. Clean without any clothes in it for best results. You could also try a bleach load or consider purchasing the laundry cleaner recommended for HE washers.

For the coffee maker, I recommend adding a cup of white vinegar and brewing like you would a cup of coffee. Run through the machine 1 – 2 times. Then I run water through the machine to ensure a nice rinse before your next cup of coffee.

Clean the Oven and Cover the grates

I like to clean the oven with the Vinegar and Baking Soda. The paste is crazy effective and leaves your oven sparkling.

Then cover the grates with tin foil or a grill mat. This will prevent the bigger mess. Reduce the amount of time you will spend cleaning the oven, thinking about cleaning it, or smelling that burned cheese that has been there for weeks.

Organize your Frig

Clean it, organize it into bins and then cover the shelves with place mats or shelf paper. When something spills, you can easily pull out the mat and clean it. You can remove the bin and wash it. Much less time than it will take you to scrape off that sticky mess that has spilled onto every single shelf.

Intentional Living Tip:

House Maintenance is TOUGH! Cleaning is a necessary evil. But it should not take you away from what you want to do. It should not take you away from your living. Create strategies to do it more efficiently, cut corners sometimes, and live a little.

Go ahead get the work done and then go play outside like a seven year old.!

Thank you,

Ashley