3 Things that our "Yes Day" taught me about my kids, motherhood & myself...

We did it... we caved... we watched that movie on Netflix as a family and our children's big, shiny "pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaasee faces" (see Bluey & Bingo below for exhibit A), together with the overwhelming shame we felt for being pretty straightforward "no-parents" we basically had no choice but to schedule a Yes-Day.


...And boy am I glad we did. Aside from the really great (NOT perfect - more on that later) day we had as a family, doing something completely new for us created a really great opportunity for us to see things about ourselves, our children and parenthood that I had never seen before. 

For some context... and before anyone asks here is the movie that started it all: Yes Day ... The basic premise is that you give your kids more free reign on a yes day than usual in the hopes that you seem less like the fun police on other days.

We don't really care if our kids think we're fun police (although we do like having fun together as a family), but we did like the idea of giving our kids some responsibility (I think that this is what most of us misunderstand about a yes-day - its actually giving children MORE responsibility than usual, not less), and we were very curious about what they would choose for us to do together if they had (mostly) zero restrictions placed on how we do family time. 

Our older kids had 2 weeks to put together a plan, and here were the boundaries they had to work within: (Our rules were a little less generous than the movie):
 
- We had to stay in Waco (more or less).
- They only had a $50 budget to work with. 
- Only one junk food/unhealthy meal.

They really blew us away... from the attention to detail & thoughtfulness they put into the itinerary for the day, to being quite meticulous about staying in budget, they really did plan a really great day :) (again, it... or should I say WE weren't perfect)...

...but here are some things that I learnt about motherhood, myself & my children that really made the whole experience worth it:

1. My control issues run way deeper than I think/am aware of on a day-to-day basis.
I am not proud of this but I had to sneak a peak at the itinerary the day before because of how not knowing what was going tp be happening was starting to get to me.

I don't think that they derailed our day much, I was just surprised at how much anxiety the experience generated. I am not in a crazy shame spiral about it or anything - I choose to make it ok - in that I see it as something to see, know & learn from, not something to judge and heap shame on myself over. Like everything in life, we can't change or address what we can't see and I am grateful for the opportunity that this day gave me to see something that I am hopeful for change over :)

2. I set my own bar for "supermom" waaaaaaay too high
Either our kids set it way lower, or maybe its just set with different standards in mind.

One of our greatest fears around a yes-day was that our kids were going to want something from us that we weren't capable of... that they were going to ask for something we couldn't give them... and so we just avoided ever making room for them to ask.

Meanwhile, our children's requests were simple and easy. Our children's wishlist wasn't insane, it wasn't even that indulgent (accrording to our standards anyway)... it was thoughtful, fun and revolved around simply being together. Swimming, water games, walks in the park, unlimited swinging, splash pads, more swimming, a visit to our old farm, more swimming, movies with slushies & more swimming & some Starwars. 

None of it was particularly hard to do or say yes to... yet somehow, in the normal day-to-day of life its just stuff that gets put on the back burner,  or I guess, hard to stay fully present in. 

And yet, not a single moment of our day was something we couldn't easily prioritize into any given week of our lives moving forward. 



It made me realize that I have been holding back from really embracing the simple joys I am able to give to my children, because I focus so much on the more extravagant and elaborate 'joy' that I can't.

3. A great day does not equal a perfect day. 
And a great day doesn't need perfect people for it to be great.

We did have a great day - but there was absolutely nothing perfect about it. Behind the pictures and the smiles was the snottiest toddler, and at least 2 epic "I am so tired so I am going to be an unreasonable lunatic" episodes. In addition, there were moments when Danny & I were just not feeling any of that magical  "Yes-Day" mojo that Jennifer Garner promised us... and I was a bit of an asshole at least twice. 

We still had a great day.

Life doesn't need to be perfect to be good.

You and your kids don't need to be perfect to be enjoyed or enjoyable.

There is magic, but it doesn't look like the movies. It's much more special than that. We just need to be willing to see it without them (the movies that is). 



Have you ever had a yes-day? What was your experience? What did you learn about yourself, your kids or motherhood?

L.xx  

 





so I'm calling bullsh*t... (part 1)


So today, I'm doing it, I am calling bullsh*t.

Yes, I said (typed) that out loud.

So throughout my life, my adult life mostly, I've been told that any kind of meaningful, purpose or calling related, passion-driven, ministry-type, helping or helper work... that dedicating your life to that kind of thing is an automatic ticket to burnout, stress and overwhelm.

And that's why I'm calling bullsh*t.

It wasn't my proudest moment but in the aftermath of an emotional meltdown in my early twenties, I sat in the sun with my Bible turned to Matthew 11:28-30. Here's what it says:

"Are you tired, worn out, burnt out on religion, come to me, get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a rest. Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or hit or ill fitting on you keep company with me, and you'll learn to live lightly and freely." (The Message)

And so the message I received when I read that that day was this:

When I am following Christ and learning how to live from him, the exact opposite of my lived experience would be true. That Christ would lead me away from and teach me how to live free of hustle, burnout & overwhelm! (gasp!)

So, if I was in that space (and I was), then I couldn't help but make the following deductions:

1. Either I am not following Jesus at all (in my case I was chasing a religious check-list) 

2. That I was stuck in a rut of working/hustling for love, and not from it (also true for me)

3. That I wasn't paying attention to HOW I was living out my calling and pursuing closeness to God. I had the "what" down, I was doing the things but I wasn't doing them in a way that would preserve me. 

Earlier in Matthew 11, Jesus also said that God would reveal his great wisdom to anyone humble enough to seek it - that the spirit of God would instruct us how to live lightly and freely. 

And it was basically since that moment, right after I thought that I had blew up my entire life that I started to put it back together again - this time I would be dedicated to the pursuit and application of that wisdom I was promised in Matthew 11. 

I nearly died hustling for my worth, I lost so much searching for love and validation in all of the wrong places. 

If what the Bible says is true, and it is: we all have access to a life that is characterized by REST, blessed quiet and renewal for our souls... a life that is free and light... (check out Matthew 11 in the Amplified Bible. 

I created a video about this experience and towards the end I share about a special and very practical tool that I have created  from the wisdom I have gathered specifically for the purpose of cultivating what I call peaceful productivity. 

In the meantime, if you'd like to participate in something I created called "the Peaceful Productivity Challenge" - You can do that by joining the Facebook Community: Support & Solutions for Overwhelmed Heart-Centered Mompreneurs & Leaders


How to Simplify Your To-Do List in 3 Easy Steps

How to Simplify Your To-Do List in 3  Easy Steps

Efficiency is my love language. 

There I said it :P 

I am the lady who thinks 99.9% of meetings could have been emails, and who is always looking for a smarter way to get things done. 

And I have zero chill about it :D 

THAT is why I was delighted (yes, actually delighted) when a friend called, handed me her to-do list and said HELP ME! 

It. was. LONG. 

And overwhelming.

And it was giving her stage fright. 

So here is the thing about a to-do list, they're just ok. They're a great tool, but if the tasks on them aren't connected to a greater purpose that gives them and their accomplishment real-life-meaning then as you may know from personal experience - will have ZERO appeal when you need to actually get things done.

Additionally, when they're too long - it becomes a "can't see the wood for the trees situation".

Where do you start? How do you start?

Some people like to just start at the top and work their way down - thats a great strategy if you just want to do SOMETHING but, its not an efficient strategy and it does not guarantee that you will get to the end of your day feeling any less stressed or satisfied about how you spent your time if all you have done is distract or exhaust yourself doing things that aren't really important.

So when I find myself faced with a monster of a to-do list, and only 24 hours in a day (as well as what may feel like competing priorities), here is how I take a second and tackle it in a way that transforms my day and leaves me falling asleep feeling at peace and accomplished. 

1. Identify Boulders
The first step in coming up with an effective strategy for tackling your list is taking a look at your day or week and getting clear on how much time you ACTUALLY have at your disposal. 

For some of us that may mean that we need to get real about the fact that we have a 9-5 with little wiggle room OR 3 littles at home with us with lots of wiggles, but still - very little margin for much else other than homeschooling or snack prep. 

Boulders are responsibilities or commitments that are immovable. 

Disclaimer: a lot of the "immovability" of your boulders is perceived. This step if often as much about recommitting to these immovable priorities or re-evaluating your commitment to them. Either way - the goal here is to get clear on how much room you have in your day or week to play with. 


2. Create Time Blocks 
Once you have figured out your non-negotiables, clear the deck - everything else is officially up for grabs. 

This is where you may you need to commit to taking a look at your daily or weekly schedule with a fresh perspective. 

Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you DO have enough time for what matters most - you are just not using it that way.

For me this has looked like realizing that if I need a block of silence - that the two hours before the kids wake up, or after they go to sleep could be put to better use. 

It has helped me be more creative with my hour long lunch break. 

And it has helped me realize that there are some things that I like to control myself (like grocery shopping) that I can delegate to curbside or amazon. 

By the end of this process you should have identified and set aside time blocks (even if they are only an hour each) throughout your day or week that you can use in a different way that you've been using them before. 


3. Name Your Big Rocks 
This is where you get creative with and give meaning to that to-do list. 

Big Rocks are the big, overarching goals or the VALUE that fulfilling certain tasks on your to-do list will bring to your life. 

IF you can't do everything on your life, what is the ONE THING or cluster of things that you can't not do?

or asked differently:

- What thing/s will move the needle on helping you get to where you want to be in your life/marriage/parenting/career most? 
- What task/s if done, would be total game changers for your life? 
- What do you need to do to go to bed feeling deeply satisfied/proud/accomplished? 

These are your big rocks. And you should only have 1 or 2 - for sure no more than 3. Everything else may be or feel important but be honest with yourself - it will be ok if they end up undone.  

Pro-tip: I have found that for ME - my big rocks are usually the things I am avoiding doing, even if its just subconsciously.  

Now... remember those blocks of time you've created in step 2? This is what you're going to do with it. Forget everything else on your list - put your head down and get your biggest rock knocked out. 

If you get through it and you still have time blocked out - hit big rock #2, then #3 and so on. 

You might get to the end of the day having not done the grocery shopping or having gone to the library - but you have paid the bills, handled that thing you've been putting off for weeks and even spent meaningful time with your best friend or your kids, then paying that library fine or eating cheerios for dinner seem like a great compromise. 

At the end of the day, our time has been given to us to use and care for as a precious gift. It is our responsibility to steward carefully because once its spent its spent - we don't get it back ever again.

Additionally, wasting it on priorities that aren't really ours or spending energy dealing with bitterness and resentment because we have allowed other people to dictate to us how we use it isn't worth it.

While I would probably never advocate for anyone spending more time on social media -If you are feeling a little out of control of your calendar - and you can feel the stress, bitterness or burnout bubbling up as a result - you would probably benefit from all the resources in my FB community for women who are using boundaries and self-stewardship to stay out of both bitterness and burnout - why don't you head on over there now - we can't wait to have you! 


Why I Had to Break Up with My Hustle

Why I Had to Break Up with My Hustle

There was a time when I probably would have been extremely proud at my propensity to hustle. 

I am by nature pretty driven and hardworking and when the goal is worthy, I can be extremely disciplined and focused. Basically, I am full-on Type A, and hustle was me in my element. 


My hustle does have a darkside though. Discipline and focus becomes ruthless elimination of any distraction - even if that distraction happens to be another human who I love and who loves me back. Hard work turns into self-harm as I feel my body groan under the weight of its workload. Early mornings, late nights, all work, no play or rest -  all in the name of strong work ethic and whatever it is I start to believe is worth the cost of my health and my peace.


I think the worst part about all of this is that it actually works (at least for a while) - goals are accomplished, a system flooded with adrenaline feels amazing and even better is the value that an achievement, no matter how arbitrary, can bestow upon a small self-esteem pretending to be confident and secure in who she is, and not what she does. 

It works… until it doesn’t. It works until bodies start to give in after years of abuse. It works until marriages and friendships are eroded until there’s nothing left, and it works until your appetite for achievement or value becomes so insatiable that nothing satisfies for long or how it used to. 

Here is the real problem with hustle though. The issue undergirding all of that self-destruction is that the energy driving most of our hustle is scarcity and shame. 

Hustle is not about hard work or productivity. 

Hustle is a posture and an energy. 

It’s an expression of scarcity and an experience of danger or threat to who we are. 


It’s fight or flight in action. 


If you know anything about fight or flight you know that it is a physiological and emotional state that is only supposed to be short term and for extreme, dangerous situations. 


Rest doesn't happen there. 

Peace doesn’t happen there. 
Reproduction and fruitfulness doesn’t happen there. 

Real growth gets stunted there. 

Healthy energy can’t be sustained there. 

Creativity & imagination is non-existent there. 

I am learning that when I find myself in hustle-mode, that I am also in fight or flight mode, I am avoiding pain or threat of some kind. The only way through or beyond that is to turn towards it, to remember and to know that I am worthy, that I can live shining my light and pouring love out onto my world. 

Hustle is fear of loss or losing, it is shame and fear responding on your behalf, its self-protection - and it’s also isolation when you need connection more. 


If we are honest with ourselves, we can acknowledge that a lot of us structure our lives around avoiding pain. 


What if we chose to structure it around pursuing love? 


What if the energy we need to succeed in life isnt hustle, what if it is courage infused with love and it's rooted in deep peace and a confidence that we are safe, that we are valuable and that life is good? 


What if there is always more than enough time? 


What if it were fun and easy? 


The commitment I am making to myself, and the one I am inviting you to make for yourself is to consistently examine my foundation and the energy propelling me. Am I prepared to work hard? YES! Do I want to live my life having left nothing on the table? HECK YES! Do I believe it's worth sacrificing my health, love and peace for? Never again. 

I can choose to do all of that from a place of already, right-now, in-the-present deep satisfaction and peace. 

What about you? Are you ready to let go of the fear and the shame and shine in your love? 

If you are reading this and are concerned that your hustle might be starting to take its toll on your health and wellbeing, you might be interested in a free quiz I put together for you. Click here to access the “what is your survival mode score?” quiz!





Angie: Resetting to healthier ways & empowered to keep going.

Angie: Resetting to healthier ways & empowered to keep going.
Angie is a mother of two, living in New York. 

She decided to participate in The Stress & Self-Care Reset because... well... pandemic. And in her words... "the whole thing was just extra... working from home, homeschooling the children, the stress and anxiety of the times... it was more load than I have the capacity to bear and I knew I needed some help to get me across the finish line.

Here is what she says about her experience of the Stress & Self Care Reset:I just wanted to touch base since I wasn't able to speak with you last week.  Even with all the chaos last week threw at us unexpectedly, I was able to continue participating in almost all aspects of the reset.  In the few days that we've been home this week and settling back into our usual pandemic work/life routine I've finally had a chance to reflect on impacts I've seen from the reset.

I just wanted to touch base since I wasn't able to speak with you last week.  Even with all the chaos last week threw at us unexpectedly, I was able to continue participating in almost all aspects of the reset.  In the few days that we've been home this week and settling back into our usual pandemic work/life routine I've finally had a chance to reflect on impacts I've seen from the reset.  

Two places in particular where I saw changes were in using the Superfood supplement and identifying and using a daily mantra/affirmation. I have a deep and abiding love of Coke, and while I have mostly eliminated it from my diet in times of great stress and overworking, I find excuses to let it back into my life and while it's not the couple a day habit i used to have, even a few during a single week is not something I really want. It just has a noticeable impact on my physical and mental health. Anyhow, that's where I was when we started and without even making a conscious effort, I found that a few days into using the Ningxia Red that I no longer had that mid afternoon craving for a coke. In fact my afternoon fatigue seemed to be gone in general.

The idea of using a mantra or daily affirmations isn't new to me. I do them with my kids regularly, but it's not something I've actually focused on for myself. When we first started the reset, our family was reading through Romans in the mornings together. And there were some parts of Romans 8 that just jumped out at me. So I began with the daily affirmation of I am free. (Romans 8:2) I am fearless. (Romans 8:15) and I am never alone. (Romans 8:38-39)  Coming up with the daily affirmation forced me to really think about what it is I needed to hear and tell myself each day to remind me of who I am and who I want to be. Not knowing when we started what the second week would bring into my life, I relied on those affirmations often throughout the day on our trip to my hometown to say good-bye to my grandmother and spend some time with family. I won't go into detail, but leaving that town was my greatest goal from the age I first realized it was an option. My parents have always been a stress trigger for me starting with a diagnosis of a stress-induced autoimmune disease when I was a teen. I've spent a long time learning to deal with the impact of stress to my body and mind and how to manage and prevent it and how to stay healthy while having a relationship with my family of origin. I didn't realize how much I was relying on those affirmations until I sat down to reflect.

I have also been using the other protocol tools regularly. I very much enjoy integrating them while I spend a few minutes meditating in the morning or when I was traveling I used it on the short 10 min drive from our cottage to visit my grandmother. I haven't usually used something like that during my morning meditation time, but I plan to continue the entire RESET protocol through the summer.

All in all, I'm very grateful to have participated in the reset...it did just that for me, helped me reset to healthier ways that I feel empowered to build on. I plan to keep up all the things through the summer and hopefully catch up on the journaling too.  Thanks so much for offering it!
Angie Took the time to chat with me about her experience... I hope you enjoy hearing from her as much as I did :)


I am not sure there is a single human who has made it  through 2020 so far and who won't benefit from the protocol in the Stress & Self-Care Reset. Let alone the amazing women and mothers who have had to suddenly become teachers, while working and managing their own fears and anxieties.

If you would like more information about the Stress & Self-Care Reset: Visit the webpage here.  
 
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