Maybe we’re still mesmerized by the magic of the holiday season. Maybe we’re still in that notorious Christmas sugar coma. But for some reason, many of us mistakenly see January 1st as a magical switch we can simply flip on to leave behind all of our flaws and bad habits and become everything we want to be in a day. While goal-setting can definitely be a healthy and helpful practice, most of us go about it all wrong. Here are some tips to help you make your resolutions realistic and reachable.Read More
“House Hunters” is the top show on HGTV. My husband and I discovered it last year when we were looking to buy our first home and thought it was fun to watch other people going through the same process.Read More
I got in contact with Emily when High Fitness was just a baby. I had heard the buzz about this new workout and was impressed that a local mom had started it (with her friend, Amber). I featured High Fitness as part of an article I did for UtahValley360.com about the latest workout crazes, and talked to Emily about getting an instructor at the gym where I teach, Cahoots Fitness.
As I send my first child off to all-day school and my second child to preschool, this fall feels like a season of change. I want to take advantage of our new day-to-day schedules and build in some new habits and ways of doing things.
Being a mom requires a lot. By the end of the day, I feel like I’ve been tugged on, sucked from and sneezed on so many times that I just want to scream “give me some space!” Sometimes I do.
The days of working on something without interruption or even finishing a sentence during an attempted conversation with another adult are few and far between. I’m constantly at the mercy of the needs and demands of the tiny humans who are wholly dependent on me.
Don’t get me wrong — I love being a mom. Making my kids happy brings me inexpressible joy and fulfillment. But sometime after I had my third child, I realized I was giving 100 percent of myself to my kids 100 percent of the time, and there was nothing left for me.
I was running on a constantly empty tank. And that meant I was impatient with my kids. I felt a touch of resentment when my husband went to work and left me to navigate through eight hours of my kids’ meltdowns, boredom and bickering. Every day felt like an impossible feat.
I wasn’t enjoying life as much as I used to. I felt like my only identity was mom, and I was failing at the one thing I was supposed to be.
But then I realized something.
Mom is a beautiful identity. It’s the one I treasure most. But it’s not my only one. It was never meant to be. I’m a person. A whole person with unique talents, strengths and dreams. A person who needs to take time to exercise, to eat well and to sleep enough in order to be happy. And if I’m not happy, my family sure isn’t.
I also realized that I need time, without my kids, to connect with friends. I need that time to feel validated and to remember I’m not alone in the ups and downs of motherhood.
I need to step away from my role as “Mom” every now and then to remember that I’m not a mombot. Because although the routine parts of motherhood are important and necessary, it’s doing the things that bring me happiness, progression, validation and fulfillment as a person that make me a good mom.
I realized that taking care of myself is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. And I don’t need to feel guilty about doing it.
Oh, the mom-guilt monster is still ever-present. If I get some babysitting help so I can do the work I love and escape mom life from time to time? Hello, mom-guilt monster. I make my child skip a nap so I can hit a yoga class? Mom-guilt monster is all up in my Namaste. I decide to break up a stressful week by getting out with my girlfriends? You better believe mom-guilt monster is clicking along behind us in her hot pink high heels.
Sometimes she even sneaks into the car when I’m headed out on a date with my husband. She sits in the backseat with a smug look on her face, reminding me that no one can put my baby down to bed like I can, and she’s probably crying right now, and I probably shouldn’t have left her.
The mom-guilt monster is always going to be there, tagging along like an unwanted third-wheel. But I get to choose whether I listen to her or not. And that includes when the she takes the form of a neighbor, friend or family member.
So whatever it is that makes you happy, that helps you relax, that reminds you that you are a whole person and not only a mom — set aside time to do it. Protect that time like crazy. And put some duct tape over that pesky mom-guilt monster’s mouth.
Because when you do things for you, guess what? Your tank gets filled. And you’ll have a whole lot more to give to those precious children.
Now, my kids know they don’t get 100 percent of my time and attention. They know that sometimes I pursue things that don’t involve them. They know I need to take breaks and take care of myself. They know I’m not a mombot whose sole purpose is to give 100 percent of my time and attention to them. But they also know that I love them, 100 percent. And that’s what matters.
I had a conversation with a seasoned mom today about how having three kids has tested my patience more than anything. I told her that I never had temper or anger issues . . . until I had kids. I told her how frustrating it is to try to keep my cool all day—to stay positive and react calmly to all of the interruptions, demands, fights, and temper tantrums day in and day out. I told her how I am trying to stop, breathe, and think when my kids do something that upsets me or stresses me out instead of reacting like Miss Trunchbull.
But I fail. Even on my best of days, when I’m in a good mood, when I’ve gotten adequate sleep (that one makes or breaks me), and even when I have the best intentions in the world, I still consistently have moments of weakness. Moments when my reactions are far from what I want them to be. And those moments of failure make me feel like I’m in a vicious cycle of bad momness.
This mom listened patiently, with nods of empathetic understanding, before she told me something that will stay with me for a long time.
We all have dreams. Desires to do something, to be something. A gift within us that we want to develop, that we desperately want to express, but we talk ourselves out of it. It may not be something huge, like becoming a movie star. It may be learning to cook really well for your family. Learning to sing. Starting a small business. Or if you’re me, writing a book.
Whatever your dream is, we all meet a moment (or multiple moments, really) when that dream requires us to put ourselves out there and risk being seen as desperate, not quite talented enough—weird, or boring.
What are you going to do with that moment? Most people give up before giving in to vulnerability. They convince themselves that somebody has already done it, or is doing it better.
But here’s the thing. You don’t have to compare yourselves to them. You are not them. And no one really wants you to be. Or at least, the people who matter don’t. You have something unique to offer. Even if on paper you are doing the same thing that has been done a million times over.
But when I attended the annual LDS Storymakers conference for the first time this year, I felt anything but alone. I was surrounded by 700 other people with the same passion. It was exhilarating to mingle with and feel the energy of so many people with a shared dream.
But it was also overwhelming.
As I learned about the craft and the business of writing from talented authors, the truth hit home that if I want to write a book that is really good and not just good enough (and oh, I do), I have a lot of work to do. Like, a lot. And while I see the smiling success of these authors and their shelves of published books, I know there is a huge iceberg of hard work, criticism from others, self-doubt and time — lots of time — beneath the surface. The thing that’s overwhelming is that I know I can’t just walk away from that.
“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”