Heather is a single mother living in beautiful Colorado. She has 3 wonderful children; twin 20 year old young men and a 13 year old daughter. She has lived in Colorado for the better part of her life and is a stay at home work at home mother. She started her own business over 12 years ago and is happily, albeit precariously, balancing her work and personal lives.
She spent over 8 years struggling financially and emotionally as a single parent before discovering how shifts in mindset and attitude can bring forth amazing changes in her life. Now her mission is to help other single moms stop the constant struggle and start creating success in their lives through the Single Mom Blog and Podcast.
This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Suzie Wheeler all about limiting beliefs and how they can keep us from living the lives we want.
Suzie helps divorced moms live optimal lives in every way. Her superpower is helping them create the life they want on the inside so that it has no choice but to become their external reality.
Our life consists of a bunch of beliefs and habits. Most of them come from childhood conditioning and experiences. What habits do you have that are getting you closer to the love you desire or the life you desire? Or are your habits KEEPING you from them?
Most people break their trust with themselves. We promise to do something a bazillion times and then don’t. So the result is that we have zero faith in our abilities to become more, to have more.
This weeks podcast episode was so amazing as we talked all about how our beliefs effect our habits. Telling ourselves that we have already failed or that we will never succeed. Learning that we use experiences from our pasts to use as reasons to keep our bad habits. Or letting our beliefs keep us from even trying to change them.
You can find Suzie on her website https://www.suziewheeler.com. She also has a FREE Facebook group called The Good at Love Club. You can find all kinds of amazing information there. She will also be launching 2 new courses this year. So be sure to check her out!
Kaycia’s mission women gain confidence and embrace the adventure that life has to offer. When she was 19, Kaycia found out that she was unexpectedly pregnant. Kaycia and her boyfriend went from happy college kids to being unexpected parents wading through a sea of unknowns, judgement and advice from peers who did not have kids. She walked through one of the hardest seasons of her life bearing judgement, change, and the insecurities that she held in her heart, searching for who she was. Through the trials and triumphs, Kaycia realized she was stronger than she thought she was. The memoires of being unexpectedly pregnant sparked a fire within her soul and a need to share her story so other women would know, they are not alone!
Listen to this weeks episode for more…
Kaycia’s story is so inspiring and for anyone who has ever felt judged, diminished or less than for being a single mom or finding yourself unexpectedly pregnant.
Tips on Co-Parenting a Newborn: Post-Separation and Divorce
If you’re preparing to co-parent a newborn with your ex, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. We’re talking feeding schedules, how exactly paternity leave for men works, setting up boundaries for your new roles, and more.
Parenting a newborn is a major life change in itself. Add a separation or divorce, and it’s a whole new ball game with entirely new rules. Luckily, there are a few tips that you can keep in mind to help you create the best environment for your little bundle of joy, while still maintaining your overall wellbeing. Take a look:
Create a plan
First thing’s first: It’s time for both you and your ex to sit down and hash out the details of what your parenting agreement is going to look like. This is essential to discuss details like the visitation schedule, how the holidays will be split, the feeding plan, and much more. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, for example, you’ll want to figure out your feeding schedule during this time.
You may also want to think about paternity leave for men and how your schedules will work whether or not your ex-partner takes time off. Laying out a thought-out plan from the start will help prevent a lot of potential issues and miscommunications down the road.
Avoid long separations from either parent
The early months of a newborn’s life are especially critical in terms of establishing a bond with both parents. In fact, keeping your child away from a parent in their first two years is known to have negative consequences for your baby’s mental wellbeing. So, whether you live with your child’s other parent or not, make sure that you both are fostering that relationship with your newborn in those early moments.
Healthy boundaries make the world go round! And this is especially true when it comes to navigating a co-parenting relationship. If you were once married to his person or living with them, this is especially important to move on from being just “exes” to now parenting your newborn together amicably, and ideally even as friends.
One important thing to remember is to focus on your own parenting. Avoid micromanaging when your child isn’t on your time. And speaking of time, another great boundary to establish is to respect and adhere to the visitation schedule that is in place. Sure, there are bound to be moments when things don’t run perfectly according to schedule. But unless it’s an emergency, both of you should treat your parenting plan like the law.
And finally, good communication is the ultimate key. Try to communicate as effectively as possible, whatever that means for your individual situation. This will help prevent silly, easily-avoidable arguments and bad feelings towards one another, which in return will make both of your lives easier. Better yet, if you and your ex can manage to maintain a respectful, friendly, relationship during this time, you’ll be creating the ideal co-parenting environment for both your newborn and each other.
The most important thing to remember is to keep it about your child, avoid fighting in front of them and try to assume the best in each other. After all, you both are just doing your best trying to navigate this new phase in your lives!
5 Ways to Ease Seasonal Depression with Natural Remedies
Feeling sad or sluggish, abnormal sleeping habits, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating or doing activities you usually enjoy. If any of this sounds familiar, you could be experiencing seasonal depression. As its name suggests, this type of depression is related to the changes in seasons, especially from late fall through the winter months.
Now, I know how difficult a time it can be for anyone experiencing seasonal depression. But the good news is that you absolutely don’t have to go through this alone. Seasonal depression is so much more common than you’d think and there are so many ways you can help cope with it.
Here are some natural remedies you can try to help combat seasonal depression:
Wake up your body
One of the best ways you can help with seasonal depression is by moving your body. I know this may also be one of the most challenging things to do when you’re experiencing lower energy levels and overall sluggishness. But even just going for a walk outside can really help get your mood up! Better yet, make it a social activity by inviting a friend to walk with you or try a class together. Socializing is also super important to prioritize during this time.
And when it comes to your usual shower routine steps, you may want to consider adding cold showers to the mix. This has been known to boost dopamine levels – in other words, the feel-good hormone! I know that cold showers might sound more like a dare than anything else, especially in the colder weather. But if you can take even just a minute, it really could do wonders.
Pay attention to what you’re consuming
You are what you eat, right? If you’re experiencing seasonal depression, there’s no better time than now to make sure your body is getting all the good stuff it needs to thrive. I’m talking greens, fruits, proteins, the whole package.
If you’re short on ideas of how to incorporate these foods into your meals, don’t sweat it! There are plenty of ways you can cook with more greens and more nutritional ingredients to give your body the best fuel it needs.
Get your vitamin D
Speaking of fuel, vitamin D is key when it comes to coping with seasonal depression, so make sure that you’re getting enough! Depending on where you live, it may be a bit difficult to get proper exposure to sunshine. If this is the case for you, consider speaking with your doctor about vitamin D supplements. There’s also plenty of foods that are rich in this nutrient, like salmon, egg yolks, orange juice, and cheeses.
Consider light therapy
Light therapy is actually an amazing at-home remedy that many people use to help treat seasonal depression! In short, this device works by mimicking light from the outdoors, which can help boost your mood and re-energize you. Definitely worth a shot if you haven’t tried it already!
Enjoy a little aromatherapy in your house
Truthfully, whether you struggle with seasonal depression or not, I would recommend aromatherapy to just about anyone. Take your well-being to the next level by diffusing your favorite scents around the house! It’s also worth mentioning, there are many oils out there that help specifically with seasonal depression, like bergamot oil, orange oil, peppermint, and so many others. Diffuse, unwind, and enjoy!
There you have it: 5 natural ways to help you cope with your seasonal depression. From adapting your shower routine steps to experimenting with light therapy and everything else in between, there are so many remedies out there that can support you during these more challenging times. And remember, help is out there!
For those of you who need the extra reminder, feel free to go back and check out my “Remember to Take Care of Yourself!” podcast episode. And remember, never hesitate to reach out to your doctor with any questions or concerns you may have. Each and every one of you is different and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to mental wellbeing.
As single moms it is very common for us to dive so deep into being a mom that we can often lose ourselves. Sometimes we can feel like there is nothing more to us than being ‘mom’. I know that I have felt that way at times.
Constantly feeling like I lost my identity when I became a parent. I mean, who am I other than “Connor’s mom” or “Gage’s Mom” or “Brooklyn’s Mom”. In fact, I am pretty sure that there are many children and some parents who don’t even know my actual first name.
So after years and years of not really having much of an identity outside of being so and so’s mother…what happens when they grow up and move out? When your identity is so engrained in being a parent who are you when they are gone? That is the dilemma that Jen McGuire faced when her four adult boys moved out.
She found herself looking at the bathroom mirror, that was now finally free of toothpaste spots, and feeling like it was no longer her home. Because it was now empty of the people who had given her purpose for so many years. She, like many of us, had wrapped up her whole identity in her children. Now without them there she felt lost.
So she decided that she was going to go on a mission to find herself again – in Europe. In this podcast episode I interview Jen and talk about how she came to the decision to take such a trip. We will also talk about her memoir NEST: Letting Go From Italy, France and Ireland, why she wrote the book and how her trip truly changed her life as an empty nester.
As moms sometimes we feel like our lives have to be completely about our children. And for single moms this can feel even more true. However, it is also really important to remember that you were a person before you had kids too!
You had dreams and goals and hobbies that maybe you have put on the back burner because you feel like you have to. And yes, that is true to a certain extent BUT if you don’t keep a little bit for yourself you will lose yourself.
Which is why so often we moms don’t know what to do with ourselves when we finally get a moment to ourselves. OR we feel guilty if we take time for ourselves. We need to normalize feeling like people outside of our kids. Because what happens to us when they are grown up and move out?
Who are we then? What do we do then? What do we do when our identity is gone and we are left trying to figure out who we are again?
So no matter what, try to carve out time for yourself. Take some moments when you can to find things that interest you outside of your kids. Find hobbies, make plans for when your kids are away. Discover what inspires you so that you can have some sense of your identity as an individual.
Because yes, being mom is one of the most important things that you can ever be… but it isn’t ALL you will ever be.
Needless to say, new moms face a ton of challenges (maybe in the past year more than ever). First and foremost, there are newborn care and physical recovery to consider. Then there’s adjusting to more time at home, and quite possibly juggling work commitments after some time has passed. On top of all of these challenges though, a feeling of social isolation can often be one of the main difficulties for a new mom (again, even more so in the past year!).
To some extent this is just part of the equation when you have a new baby. There’s going to be a different dynamic with friends and other social contacts, at least for a little while, and you’ll be spending the bulk of your time at home with the baby and anyone else in your family. At the same time though, it’s wise to find ways to level out a little bit, and mitigate isolation in small ways where you can.
Different women come up with different solutions, but one surprising option I want to talk about here is online gaming — and in particular, poker. It’s a game people get into for all kinds of reasons, and one that actually offers a number of intriguing benefits for new moms. For anyone who may have a new child (or may be having one soon) and who’s looking for a potential outlet for socializing or entertainment, I thought I’d cover a few of those benefits.
The Chance to Take a Beat
The most straightforward benefit of a poker hobby to a new mom is that it almost demands that one take a beat. Poker requires concentration, and while that doesn’t mean your brain has to be on overdrive to play, it does mean that you can only really get into a game if you sort of turn off your attention for everything else (except your newborn in this case, of course). Taking a bit of time to simply zone in on something specific — 15 minutes, an hour, or whatever you can spare — can be downright therapeutic during this time in your life. And poker sort of makes it happen naturally.
This point relates closely to the previous one. But it is worth noting that studies of stress and gaming have indicated that if you find the right game to “settle you down,” it can have a legitimate calming influence. Now, this is in a sense a good reason to try lots of games! You never know what may work for you, whether it be Tetris on your phone or a FIFA console game. Poker stands out as an option well worth trying though, because of the aforementioned tendency it has to get you to zone in. This invites that calming influence that some people find in certain games, and it can help you to de-stress from time to time.
Taking a beat and de-stressing can mitigate the effects of isolation (and general fatigue) when you’re caring for a newborn. But poker can also provide a direct social outlet if you have friends who will join you! While you may not find it easy to host people or go out for a meal or a drink just yet, playing poker online with friends is actually a simple prospect. You can choose a site, set up a room, and simply enjoy some virtual time with the people you most enjoy. It may not be quite the same as in-person socializing, but it can certainly be a refreshing boost when most of your time is spent with your new baby.
A Boost in Wellness
In another post here, the importance of focusing on wellness over weight loss was stressed, and it’s something new mothers would do well to keep in mind. While many are understandably focused on physical shape and the desire to return to a pre-pregnancy state of some kind, a more general focus on wellness often winds up being healthier. This goes beyond diet and exercise and has to do with managing stress, mood, and the anxieties of isolation as well. And here too — because of the points made above — poker can be beneficial. To be clear, we aren’t suggesting there are tangible health benefits involved. But a bit of time zoning in on a game, de-stressing, and possibly socializing can contribute to an overall effort to maintain personal wellness.
I’ll note again that different games will work for different moms. AND as single moms I know that money can often be tight so please be sure to only spend what you can afford to lose on any hobby or past time. The real idea here is to find something you can concentrate on during quick breaks, and ideally make it a game you can enjoy with some friends online. But for all the reasons above, poker can be a genuine comfort to a new mom juggling so much responsibility and so little time for friends or self-care.
“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy”
I recently saw a video on the America’s Got Talent Facebook page that really spoke to me. A young woman who goes by Nightbirde sang a beautiful song she wrote called “It’s Ok” and in her interview after she performed she said those words.
” You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”
Right before she sang she mentioned that she had been fighting cancer and still had cancer in her body at the time of her audition. Then later after the performance she revealed that she had less than 2% chance of survival. Less than 2%! I thought to myself ‘this girl has the best outlook on life‘ one that I wish I had realized so much sooner in my life.
For so many years I struggled, feeling like my life was always going to be hard. I allowed the hard times and stresses of being a single mother dictate my happiness. It took me quite a few years to really understand that my outlook on my life was contributing to my unhappiness.
I was creating a self fulfilling prophecy for myself. Telling myself that life sucked or was too hard MADE it suck and too hard. I was not looking at any of the good things that I had in my life. Only focusing on the bad. I didn’t realize at the time that was keeping me in a constant state of unhappiness.
I finally realized that I had the ability to CHOOSE happiness. That I could focus on the good things in my life instead of all the negative. Dwelling on the hard times or bad things that had happened in my past kept me stuck in the past. Not looking forward. As single moms that can happen to the best of us.
We all have different stories and circumstances that have led to us being single mothers. And YES being a single mom can definitely be hard at times but we don’t have to let those hard times make us hard. It can be very easy to allow the pain, hurts and anger from our past keep us in an unhappy state.
Choosing happiness means you choose to keep good and positive people in your life as opposed to emotional vampires or toxic people. After all, how can you be happy if everyone else around you is miserable OR if they are sucking away your happiness?
Do you find yourself always getting involved with people who do not treat you well? Are you sticking with friends who are always bringing drama into your life? Those types of people will bring the wrong kind of energy into your life.
The energy we project is what we tend to attract. So if you want to have a happier life with happier more positive people in it then you will have to choose happiness.
Too often we also dwell on the things that didn’t go well in our lives. Instead of realizing that maybe those things needed to happen for us to get where we need to be in life. Whether you believe it divine intervention from God or the Universe sometimes those bad things were the best things that could have happened to us.
I know that getting fired from my job 13 years ago seemed like the worst thing that could have happened to me at the time. BUT it led to me starting my own business and THAT has been the best thing that ever happened for me. It allowed me the freedom to be at home with my kids, become financially stable and live a better life.
If you find yourself still thinking about or dwelling on a break up from years ago or an argument that you had with your ex last week…you are keeping yourself in an unhappy state. Choosing to be happy means that you make a distinct choice to not allow negativity to rule your life.
This and other changes helped me finally break out of that funk of unhappiness that I had found myself stuck in for so long. When bad things do happen, yes it does effect me but nothing like it used to. I am no longer as short tempered, no longer allowing small things to get to me and overall am so much happier as well as less stressed!
Things may not always go the way I plan or want BUT …
I won’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before I will be happy.
Let’s face it, we all have baggage. The crap that we carry around with us from one experience to the next. Old wounds, hurts, emotional trauma, pain, loss, resentment, fears… it all follows us. Most of us. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not we are probably putting some of that on our children.
I recently interviewed Kerri Hummingbird best selling author, Soul Guide and host of the Soul Nectar Show. Her recent book “Love Is Fierce: Healing the Mother Wound” talks about how for thousands of years, mothers have been disempowered, shamed, belittled, and abused. As a result, many mothers have developed victim mentalities which result in their being unable to love fully, neglecting their loved ones, and even competing with their children for control and attention. A woman with the Mother Wound will experience an intense struggle not to pass it on to her children.
We touched on some of the trauma that many mothers face in their lives and how those can effect their parenting. Most people usually think of trauma as a physical thing, but there is also emotional trauma that people face. I truly believe that is more common than physical trauma. Being hurt emotionally, lied to, betrayed… these all cause emotional trauma.
Too often we allow our past trauma to effect our present.
Maybe you had a hard relationship with your mother and that has led you to change how you parent your child. Did you grow up seeing your mother treated poorly? Were you in a relationship where you were treated badly yourself? So many of these things end up boiling over into how we parent our children. If we don’t work to heal those traumas from our past sometimes we unknowingly put them onto our kids.
For me, watching my son fight for his life after his father hurt him. That caused severe emotional trauma that has stuck with me for years and years. I have allowed this trauma to effect how I parent. I became hyper-vigilant or what most would call over protective. That over protectiveness caused me to have issues co-parenting with my daughter’s father and also caused issues with my daughter.
Kerri talked in our interview about how she had to spend a lot of time working on herself. She did a lot of deep spiritual work to find who she was at her core. She spent time focusing on her past stories and how they had effected her. Realizing that she was allowing stories of who she thought she had to be control her. Constantly being told that everything was her fault – and believing it!
She discovered that she was always trying to fix things by doing what everyone else wanted. She was a people pleaser. The problem with being a people pleaser is that everyone else is happy but you are miserable. Have you ever gone against your better judgement just to make others happy? Ignored your intuition and just gone along to try to keep the peace?
What Message Are We Sending Our Kids?
The biggest question that Kerri asked herself was – what message am I sending my kids? By ignoring her own emotional traumas and issues she was not living a good example for her kids. She was passing down trauma. By not living her truth and who she really was she wasn’t showing up authentically in her life. When we do this it shows our kids that they should be doing the same.
Are you living your life the way you want your kids to see? Do you show them a life where their mom is living in a victim mentality? Or are you showing up like the badass you truly are? When there is conflict do your children see you manage it or run from it? Have your past traumas caused you to live your life as a person that doesn’t seem true to you?
We are always telling our children to be true to themselves, be who they are. But do we always model that behavior for them? There are so many different issues that we struggle with in our lives. There is no easy fix for these things or the traumas that we have experienced. That is why it is so important to do the hard work to address them and learn how to wipe them clean.
If we are able to do that we will be able to show up as the best versions of ourselves for our kids.
How can making small changes help you reach your goals? Well too often we set goals for ourselves that we never reach. We may start out with all the best intentions but somewhere along the way we fall off track. Maybe we set too big of a goal for ourselves. Or maybe we just quit. But why does that happen?
More often than not the goals we set for ourselves require us to make changes. Often they are pretty big changes. Losing weight, quitting smoking, organizing our homes – these all require us to make changes. We start out gung ho, guns blazing with all the motivation in the world. Then something happens.
Maybe a cheat day turns into a cheat week. Or we just have a quick smoke on a stressful day, then break down and buy a pack. Either way we give up on those goals because the changes we made were too extreme for us to maintain. Which is where continuous improvement and the power of tiny gains comes into play.
I recently started reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear and it has changed my perspective on my goals. Or at least on how I am trying to meet my goals. I realized that if I wanted to really see any lasting changes in my life I needed to go about it differently. The goals that I want to meet are pretty big.
Lose another 35 pounds
Grow my business to $100,000 minimum per year
Create a brand around my blog and podcast
Buy a new home for my family
Go on a $10,000 spa retreat (this one I REALLY want)
Some of these goals may seem crazy and honestly they are a bit out there. But I always say, if you’re gonna dream – dream big. And that is part of the problem – these dreams are BIG and they require big changes from me.
The easiest of these goals is obviously the weight loss but as we all know that is still a big challenge for many. But after I read James’ book I realized that small changes could help me reach this goal AND all the others. I finally understood that I was coming at these goals all wrong for me.
Trying to dive into HUGE dietary changes worked for a little while but I wasn’t maintaining them. Long term I have found that I can’t do a strict keto diet. It doesn’t work for me because I can’t maintain it. So instead I make small changes every day. I replace something unhealthy with something healthier for me. I find a healthier replacement for the chips that I love to eat!
Instead of trying to go to the gym every single day I do 25 abdominal exercises every day for a week. Then I do 30 the next and 40 the week after that. Small changes that over time are leading up to long term LASTING results for me. Because I am building new habits and subtracting bad ones. I still go to the gym but on days that I don’t I am not beating myself up for it.
This mindset change has really helpful for me because when I make a mistake or take a step backwards – it is also small. I don’t feel like I have completely failed and so it is easier to go right back to those small changes. And those small steps backwards do not end up wiping out all the progress that I have made – so I am not as discouraged when it happens.
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
Why am I focusing on wellness instead of weight loss? Let me give you a little back story. After quitting smoking several years ago, I added on some extra pounds. Like 50 of them. It didn’t help that I was sitting all day working from home. I was not motivated to really do much of anything other than what was absolutely necessary. Not realizing at that time I was suffering from depression.
Over the years I have tried many times to lose the weight. Trying many different diets and fitness programs. Many of them worked very well. The Keto diet was great for helping me lose almost 30 pounds. However, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo surgery I stopped Keto.
And as expected some of the weight came back. Not all of it but some. I am now on a mission to lose the 30 pounds left that I want to drop. But I have been reluctant to jump right back onto the keto deep end again. I have been dipping my toe into the pool but not taking the plunge.
What is stopping me???
I spent several days trying to figure out why I wasn’t just diving right back in since it was so successful for me last time. After a bit I realized that while the keto diet worked and I really didn’t mind it…my weight loss wasn’t the biggest thing I wanted to focus on. Wellness was.
It would be great if I lost the weight but would it help me feel better all around? The answer was no. Wellness was something that I needed to start focusing on. Because wellness is something that helps you feel better all around. Not just losing weight but feeling good inside and out. Weight loss alone wasn’t going to achieve that for me.
Don’t get me wrong it is definitely part of it – but it isn’t all there is for me. After spending a year recovering from surgery after surgery I needed more for myself. I realized that there was a bigger need than just fitting into a smaller pair of jeans. I wanted to feel more content. To feel like I was paying attention to my wellbeing not just the numbers on a scale.
So I decided that I needed a more wholistic approach to my wellness. Not only would I be feeding myself more healthy foods I would also feed my soul. I know that sounds really cheesy but it is truly what I was lacking. There was this feeling at my core that something was missing for me. I had a small voice that was calling out for more out of my life.
Focusing on Wellness and Wellbeing
Making the decision to focus on wellness made me take a look at the bigger picture of my happiness. It wasn’t just looking better that was going to make me happy. I needed to FEEL better all around. Simply changing my diet wouldn’t do that. Here are some things that I added to my wellness routine that have had some amazing results for me:
I added daily meditation to my routine to help my focus and mental state.
A daily practice of gratitude
Walking for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week
Taking daily vitamins – I started using Persona vitamins to help with specific things I was struggling with
Getting more sleep – going to bed earlier and using sleep meditations to help me fall asleep faster
Making healthier dietary choices – eating less processed foods and almost no sugar
Committing random acts of kindness – buying a strangers coffee, giving a $20 to the man on the corner who is down on his luck etc.
Donating my time to local charities
There are so many little things that I have changed to help with my overall wellness. These little things have made me feel better all around. No I may not be losing weight really quickly but that is ok. Slow progress is often lasting progress. I would rather feel good all over and let that help me lose the weight that I need. The best part is that BECAUSE I feel good all around I am not beating myself up about the weight.
Have you ever made a bad decision because you thought you had no other options?
I read an article the other day about a young woman who was arrested and charged with child endangerment. Sadly, there are often stories like this but this one really caught my attention.
Shaina Bell, a 24 year old mother of three was arrested in Ohio after leaving her children alone in a motel room. She left them alone while she went to work at her job a Little Caesars. She wasn’t out partying or hanging out with friends. She was working.
We hear stories all the time of bad parents who do awful things to their children. Stories of abuse or abandonment – but this isn’t one of those. This woman was working and made what was likely a very hard decision.
I am not condoning leaving young children alone and unsupervised. Yes, that part was dangerous and not a good choice. BUT the point is that this young woman had to feel that it was her ONLY choice. She made a bad decision out of desperation. And I don’t fully blame her for what she did.
Child care is the biggest expense that single mothers have.
As single mothers the largest expense that we typically struggle with is the cost of child care. When I was looking at going back to a regular office job it was going to cost me double the amount I paid in rent to put my kids in day care. I don’t know many single parents that can afford that on their own.
Luckily I was able to figure out how to start working from home but I was lucky. Not everyone is able to do that. Not everyone knows how to do that. Some people have family or friends that can help them but not everyone. I imagine this young mother struggled with the thought of leaving her kids alone.
There are many people who are saying awful things about her because of the decision she made. Many of them have never been faced with a circumstance where they would need to make such a decision. They are lucky. As single mothers we often have to struggle with decisions like these.
Do we pay the light bill or the water bill and hope one or the other doesn’t get turned off. If we pay this bill with a check will it float long enough before we get paid or will it bounce? How can I make ground beef and macaroni noodles last for a week?
Making bad decisions because we feel like we have no other choice…
Women are dammed if they do or damned if they don’t. Stay at home with your kids and receive government assistance and you are a leach, go to work for poverty wages and can’t get consistent sitters and go to jail. https://t.co/9NJxEPgCFs
Sometimes the decisions we have to make are harder than that. Sometimes we feel like we have to make bad decisions because we just don’t have any other options. Like this young mother in Ohio. Also the mother who was in the news for leaving her kids in the car while she went in for a job interview. There are hundreds, if not thousands of stories like this.
Not having childcare is one of our biggest challenges. It is too expensive for single parents. Hell, it is too expensive for married couples! But if we don’t have the money for day care we don’t have a spouse we can lean on. We can’t decide to stay home while the other person works to avoid child care costs.
So more often than not we end up on government assistance programs to help us with those expenses. Then we end up trapped in those programs that are supposed to help us. We also will often be demonized and stereotyped as leaches or drains on the economy.
So like Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego tweeted – we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we don’t take government assistance or can’t get it – how do we work if we can’t get child care? Well, we likely end up making a bad decision that we know isn’t great. BUT we feel like it is the only thing we can do.
Before I started my own business I was fired from several jobs because I wasn’t able to make it in to work. A sitter would not show up or one of my kids was really sick. Not all jobs or bosses are understanding. Some will fire you on the spot just for calling in.
So what are we supposed to do?
If we know that we will likely lose our jobs if we call in but we don’t have a sitter? We are faced with a difficult decision. If we lose our jobs how long will it be before we can find another? How will we pay our bills? Put food on the table? Especially right now in the midst of COVID – we are lucky to even HAVE the job we do.
So this young mother made a bad decision because she likely felt it was the only one she had. Too many of us know what that is like. Have you ever had to make a bad decision because you didn’t have any other options?
*There is a silver lining to her story though. A GoFundMe account was started up to help her find a place to live so she didn’t have to live in a motel anymore. And hopefully it will help her secure some child care for the next little while. I hope it is enough to put her family on the path to self sufficiency.
Be the hero of your own story instead of waiting for someone to come and save you.
Why am I talking about being your own hero? Well, yesterday was Valentines Day. An arbitrary day that someone somewhere decided should be a romantic holiday. A day that often many single people dread. For single people, especially women, this day can sometimes be very hard.
Why is that though? It seems as though there is a stereotype that has prevailed over the years that if you are single on Valentines Day you should be sad. Or depressed. Simply because you don’t have someone to buy you flowers or candy.
But we DO have someone who can buy us flowers and candy. We can buy them our damn selves.
‘But if I buy myself flowers that is just pathetic isn’t it?’
Um, no. If you like flowers and they make you happy why wouldn’t you buy some for yourself? Why would we let an antiquated stereotype keep us from doing something that makes us happy? Who decided that if we don’t have a man that we are sad and helpless?
This is exactly why I say be the hero of your own story.
There is this picture that has been painted about single moms. That we are lonely, sad and looking for someone to come save us. To rescue us or make our lives better for us. Over the years I have had people think that of me – but sometimes we paint that picture of ourselves. We buy into the story.
Stop doing that!
I don’t need someone to save me…
Several years ago I had an ex tell me that I was trying to trap him. That I was looking for a man to take care of me and my kids. Um – NO! I have never needed anyone to be my hero or come to my rescue. I save my damn self thank you very much!
Yes, there are many times I struggle. Months that seem like life is just trying to beat me down. But I always get back up. All by myself. I don’t need a man to fix my life because I am my own hero. So are you!
Every single mother that I have met has had this same experience. Someone telling them that they are just looking for a man to step in and help them. A daddy for their kids or a man to bring in money to pay their bills. I’m sorry but I personally find that extremely insulting.
All the single mothers that I know are strong and proud women. We work hard to take care of our families all on our own. And we may be tired and worn down but that doesn’t mean we are lazy. In fact we are powerful! More powerful than we often give ourselves credit for.
You are a super hero!
As a single mom you have so much more power than you know. You do the job of two people and sometimes even more than that. So why would you believe that you NEED anyone to save you? You are a freakin’ rock star all by yourself.
You may WANT someone to be a part of your life. Someone to be there with you, to share your life. But you don’t NEED them. That is something that a lot of people don’t understand. In fact, you may be struggling with that yourself.
You may not feel like you are whole without a significant other. But you are. Being your own hero means that you KNOW that you are good all by yourself. That you can run your life just fine if you need to. And that if you want a man in your life it is not because you need them.
You don’t need to be rescued or saved.
You buy yourself flowers if you want to. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Do you ignore people’s red flags? Are you a fixer?
If someone shows you their true colors, don’t try to repaint them.
This statement really hits home for me. I realized years ago, after my last relationship, that I am a fixer.
I think about people in terms of who they could be. Completely ignoring who they really are a lot of times. Looking past the red flags to only try to see the good things. I try to repaint them. Seeing the potential while ignoring the bad things about them.
I realized that I have done this in many of the relationships in my life. In my romantic relationships, friendships and even with family. There are glaring red flags telling me that things are not great. That a person is not good for me. That I should run, not walk, the other direction.
Red flags can show up in any kind of relationship
For example, my ex-best friend was doing drugs and ended up heavily addicted. Also a boyfriend who was an alcoholic and verbally abusive when drunk. Another boyfriend who was also an alcoholic and occasionally used drugs. I had them all and all of them were bad for me! But I stuck around, tried to see the good in them and completely ignored the red flags.
It took me years to fully realize that I was doing this. I realized that it also changed me having these people in my life. It put me into situations I should never have been in. It caused me emotional pain. I ended up in financial trouble because of some of these people. Guess what – not one of them cared how they had hurt me either.
I finally understood after years of pain and struggles that I needed to start paying attention to those red flags. I needed to stop trying to paint over people’s true colors.
What are some of the red flags to watch out for?
If you are a fixer too here are some red flags that you should be looking for in your relationships. If you notice any of these things in your partner, friends or even family members – start asking yourself if you are trying to fix them.
Do you find yourself always justifying their bad behavior? Are you always making excuses for the way they are acting? ‘He’s just had a bad day that’s why he is being so mean.’ ‘ He had a really bad childhood, so he lashes out sometimes.’ Yes every one can have a bad day and lash out – but if it happens often ask yourself if you are making excuses for them too often. Everyone has baggage and issues – BUT that doesn’t mean you have to bear the brunt of it. This one is a huge red flag!
Do they not respect your boundaries? If you tell them no you don’t want to do something, do they listen? Do they respect your wishes or are they constantly pushing past them? Often women will feel bullied by their own partners, friends or family members. This isn’t ok and people who care about you shouldn’t make you feel that way.
Do they have massive entitlement? Meaning they expect you to do more for them than they do for you. Would your friend expect you to come get them if they were stranded but can’t be bothered if you are the one who needs help? Are you always their shoulder to cry on but are never there for you? A healthy relationship needs an equal amount of give and take.
Do they dismiss how you feel or put you down? When you try to talk to them about important issues do you get brushed aside all the time? Are they always making you feel like your feelings aren’t important? Or worse do they say mean or hurtful things that make you feel small or insignificant? People who truly care about you won’t always make you feel bad.
One of the most important things to remember is to listen to your gut. Your intuition will likely help you identify those red flags. You have probably heard your inner voice telling you these things before but you ignored them. Stop doing that. Stop trying to paint over people’s true colors.
You will end up being happier in the long run because you will find people who are good for you. People who complement you and who don’t need ‘fixing’.
Self sabotage – you may be asking yourself what does that mean? Have you ever heard the quote, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” I know that may sound odd but quite often we can be our own worst enemy. We set goals for ourselves or decide to make changes in our lives – and then we get in our own damn way.
Think about it. You may want to blame life or your set of circumstances but if you are being honest with yourself – have you also been a factor? I am not trying to blame or shame with this post. However, real change has to come with some tough love sometimes. So ask yourself, “Have I gotten in my own dang way? Do I sometimes self sabotage?”
If you are being truly honest with yourself – you likely have a few times. That isn’t to say that life can come kick your butt sometimes but we can do it to ourselves as well. But as they say, knowing is half the battle! So here are some tips to help you stop sabotaging yourself.
1. Let go of the past.
Mistakes from the past don’t mean that you’re doomed to failure in the future. The past should be used as educational material, not as a predictor of the future. Leave your past in the past and create the future you desire.
2. Avoid talking to yourself unless you’re going to say something nice.
Think about what you want to be successful at and notice your habits that stand in your way. For example, if you want to lose weight, but you eat a bag of chips every time you’re stressed, that habit is sabotaging your success.
Make a list of all the habits that sabotage your success. Write down all the ways in which those habits inhibit your success. What is the cost of each of those habits? Being aware of the damage these habits cause can make it easier to change them.
4. Define your fear
All self-sabotage is rooted in fear. What exactly are you afraid of? Are you afraid of embarrassing yourself? Maybe you are afraid of finding out that you’re not capable? Are you afraid of success? Are you afraid of how people will view you?
Understand the basic fear that is causing you to sabotage yourself. Unless you can either get over that fear or remove it, you’ll continue to get in your own way.
5. Know your ceiling
Notice how far you can go before you begin sabotaging yourself. For example, perhaps you’re stuck at a particular income level. What income level do you get stuck at? If you’re trying to lose weight, at what point do you begin sabotaging yourself? We all have a ceiling for each part of our lives. Understand yours and seek to understand why.
6. Identify and change your beliefs
What are the beliefs that stand in your way? For example, do you believe that you’re naturally a chubby person that can never get below a certain weight? Do you believe that you can never be a successful writer because you failed high school English?
Look at all of your beliefs related to the part of your life you want to be more successful in. Which of those beliefs are getting in your way?
7. Notice the people that get in your way
Sometimes, we allow people into our lives that don’t really want the best for us. You’ll find that few people are truly interested in seeing you live up to your full potential.
Avoid believing that it’s acceptable to allow someone to get in your way. If they choose to be an obstacle, consider removing them from your life.
The good news is that easier to control yourself than it is to control others or circumstances outside of yourself. Since you are the source of your challenges, you also have the power to eliminate them. Never underestimate how much you’re standing in your own way!
Can changing your thoughts actually help you change your life? I know it sounds overly simple and a bit corny… but what if it were true?
Have you ever heard the saying “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got”? Think about it, when you always follow the same recipe you get the same results. Your thoughts are like that as well.
How often have to told yourself that things are always going to be hard? Do you talk yourself out of things because ‘that could never happen‘. Have you given up on yourself before you even started something? Are you stuck in a pattern of negativity?
For years I told myself that because I was a single mother I was always going to struggle. That was simply going to be my lot in life. Money was always going to be tight, I was always going to be stressed out…things were just never going to get better.
I TOLD myself that so much that I made it true for myself. My thoughts effected my perspective and my perspective influenced my habits. My habits effected my life and how I felt about my life. It wasn’t until I decided to change my thoughts that my life turned around.
Outer changes in your life are the result of changes in behavior.
Changes in our behavior are usually because of inner changes – changing our thoughts. When your thoughts change or your beliefs change then you behavior typically changes. For example:
Maybe you decide one day that you want to serve your community more. Get out of the house and do something fulfilling. You meet new people while volunteering, maybe you start dating a new person or possibly get a job that you otherwise would never have known about.
Sometimes the simple thought of doing something new can be enough to push our lives in a completely different direction. Simply changing your thoughts to believe that you can have something different or new.
Examine your current beliefs…
Are your current thoughts or beliefs holding you back? Do you believe things that simply aren’t true? Are you telling yourself stories that you have made up? Like when I told myself that because I am a single mother I have to struggle. Who says? Where is that rule written?
Our beliefs are like our software – yes I am a bit of a nerd so I am going to use computer terminology for a second..
If your software is telling you error error error or it is faulty then maybe you need to reboot or upgrade that software. You can’t operate efficiently on broken software – so change your thoughts.
Are your thoughts and beliefs serving you? Are they helping you reach your goals or dreams – or do they hold you back? Do they keep you from even trying? Ask yourself this question…
If your good friend came to you with their dream or goal would you tell them that they couldn’t do it? Would you crush their dream by telling them they weren’t good enough, capable enough or qualified enough? No – I didn’t think so.
Inner changes will change your habits…
Once you change your thoughts you will start to change your habits. When you have decided that your goals are attainable you will start working more toward reaching them. Because you are no longer allowing yourself to talk yourself out of them.
For example, if you have changed your perspective on why you want to stop smoking…
I need to quit because my children need their mother around and healthy
– instead of –
I can’t quit because my children stress me out and smoking is my only stress reliever
Then you may find yourself not even feeling that you need a cigarette the way you once thought you did. Or maybe you change your thoughts on why you want to lose weight – so you go to the gym or start taking walks.
When the things you do each day are altered, even if it is small at first – your results will be altered as well.
Envision the life you want to lead…
If you only focus on the life you have then you will always get more of the same. Take some time each day to think about the life you WANT. The goals that you have and what your life looks like when those have been met.
Don’t dwell in things that are not the way you want them because it only brings you down. Be specific about the life you are creating for yourself. Have you bought your very own home? What does that house look like? Where is it?
What type of work are you doing? How does that work make you feel? Now that you have met your goals how do you feel?
When you do this enough this life should feel possible to you, it should feel normal and completely attainable. When you do this you will keep changing your habits to help you create this life. You have decided that you can accomplish this so you will no longer get in your own way.
Monitor your thinking…
This type of change takes work. If you are like me you have spent a really long time telling yourself you can’t do things. You need to stay on top of your thoughts because negative thoughts will always bring negative results. Once you start telling yourself you can’t do it you will start to believe it. You will give up.
How can you have a positive life and make positive changes for yourself if you are being negative? You can’t. So every time you find yourself having a negative thought change it to a positive one. When things don’t go exactly as you wanted them to just tell yourself “plot twist” and try to find a positive spin.
You are going to make mistakes, you will fall down sometimes – because we are human and that is life. The important thing is that you don’t let those times stop you. If there is a lesson in the mistake, take that lesson and let it help you grow and keep moving forward.
This will be something that you have to work on all the time. Some days will be harder than others. It is an ongoing process but it is totally worth it because it can be life changing.
Recently I saw a meme posted on Facebook by a lovely woman named Amy Ahlers. (Seriously, if you don’t know her you should totally check her out here). I have known her for years and she is truly one of the most loving women I know.
She posted this image when I really needed to hear what it was saying.
That last part is what REALLY resonated with me because lately I have been questioning whether or not I am a good mom. There have have been some pretty big changes in my home lately and I have been struggling.
Raising a Teenage Girl is HARD…
Raising a teenage daughter is so different than raising my boys was. There have been struggles and challenges that I never expected. Things that I simply wasn’t prepared for.
To be perfectly honest, I feel completely ill equipped to raise a teenage girl. Growing up I was a tom boy and was never really a ‘girly’ girl. I don’t always do well with overly emotional responses. Really didn’t even like boys until I got into high school. (I saw them as friends not ‘boyfriend’ material).
Sometimes I worry that I don’t always know how to relate to my daughter at this age. I don’t always feel like I am equipped to give her good advice. I struggle to relate to her at times and because of that we have been arguing more lately. Which is yet another reason for me to feel like I am not a good mom.
I mean, shouldn’t I just KNOW how to do this?
Recently she decided that she wanted to go from our week on week off schedule to living mostly with her dad. After a lot of discussion we agreed to make the change. This has been REALLY hard for me. Even though she feels that this is better for her right now, I don’t fully agree.
However, I am willing to try this because more than anything I want her to be ok. I know that there are likely many different reasons for her wanting this change. Her father is a dynamically different parent than I am. I am more over protective and strict in many ways than he is. He doesn’t ‘nag’ her about her grades and getting her schoolwork done like I do – and other various things she listed off.
If I am being honest, I think that the core reason though is that she has craved a better relationship with her father. Her whole life she has been desperate for it and now he is able to provide that. So she wants as much of that as possible.
Trying not to take it personally…
When my daughter told me she wanted to live mostly at her dad’s house I took it very hard. I took it personally. I was a bad mom. That had to be the reason, because if I was a good mom she wouldn’t want to leave.
Beating myself up for days, running the emotional scale from devastated to hurt to angry with everything in between. I was mad at myself…upset with myself…feeling like I wasn’t a good mom.
After a little bit of time I came to the realization that I didn’t do anything wrong specifically. I was still being the parent I had always been but she was developing into her own person. She and I have to figure out how our relationship is going to change – because she is growing up.
I had to realize that none of this was personal. She wasn’t punishing me. I wasn’t a bad mom. We just were struggling. I needed to give myself some grace. Which brings me back to the meme…
One of the outcomes of her living mostly with her dad is that now he becomes the primary care giver. So after 13 years of doing all the scheduling, being the primary source of transportation and staying on top of her grades – I now pass the baton to him. All those responsibilities now fall on him to manage.
This means that my life is a lot different than it has been for the last 13 years. All this time I have scheduled my life around my children. Since my boys are technically adults now, for the past 3 years it has been mostly around her. Now, without her here as much, I am able to do the things I may have been neglecting.
It is ok to do things for ourselves…
Remembering that it is ok to do things for ourselves – it is hard sometimes. Sometimes that means setting new boundaries and saying ‘no’ when you used to just say yes. It can be hard and uncomfortable sometimes. For 13 years I have been the ‘do it all’ parent. I had to tell myself that it was ok for me now plan my life around NOT being that parent anymore.
It is ok for me to expect her dad and step-mother to now step into that role because that is what the primary care giver does. That is the role they have taken on and expecting them to do that is not mean or petty – that is just the reality of that role.
Now I am learning how to live in this new reality where my daughter isn’t a primary part of it. I am working on remembering how to do things for myself that I need to. Things that help me be ok – even though nothing about this feels ok right now.
As moms we often struggle to do things that we need to do – or WANT to do for ourselves. We worry how it will look to others, or if it is the right decision for our family – even if it right for US. How often have to done something for yourself and then felt guilty afterward? Did you feel like you weren’t being a good mom?
It is ok for us to do the things we need to do for our well being. You are still a good mother if you find fulfillment outside of being a mom. Doing things that make you happy without your kids doesn’t make you a bad mom.
Want to go back to work? – Do it if you are able to.
Want to start painting? – Girl PAINT!
Do you need to take medication to help with depression? – Please DEFINITELY talk to your doctor and do that if you need to. There is NO reason to feel bad about that!
You were a person before you had children and it is ok to be something more than mom. It is ok to do what you need to do to be ok. You will still be a good mom even if you admit that you aren’t actually Wonder Woman and need some help.
Ultimately my daughter wanted this change because she felt she needed this for her to be ok – and that is important.
Finding and doing the things I need to do to be ok with this change is important too.
If you have been following my blog and podcast you know that in November of 2019 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After various appointments and tests my doctor told me that she recommended I get a mastectomy.
There are some things you don’t think about until you’re told they’re going to be taken away.
I was diagnosed with DCIS which is basically cancer cells in the ducts of your breast. The area that had those cells was pretty substantial which is why my doc recommended the mastectomy. You see, I have never been what you would call ‘well endowed’. So simply having a lumpectomy wasn’t really going to work.
It would have been disfiguring. So the mastectomy was a better option aesthetically because I could get reconstruction.
So then why would I choose a DOUBLE mastectomy? If I only had cancer in one breast why have both removed?
Why choose a DOUBLE mastectomy?
I will be honest with you, hearing that I had cancer was scary. Hearing that I should have a mastectomy was traumatic. At first.
As I mentioned before I was not a big chested girl. Think pointy pancakes more than melons. And I was totally fine with that. I never wore a bra, I didn’t care that they weren’t big. Honestly, they were more of a nuisance to me than anything else.
Until I was told that I would need to lose one. Then they became more for some reason. Hearing that I would need to have a mastectomy made me feel something I had never experienced.
I felt like I was losing something that made me a woman. It sounds ridiculous to me even as I type it out, but that is truly how I felt.
Then immediately after hearing that my doctor asked me about the possibility of having a double mastectomy.
WHAT?!?! You want to take both of them?!?!
I almost couldn’t process that. I didn’t understand why she would even ask me that!
Then she started talking with me about a lot of other options and the various things I could do if I didn’t do a mastectomy. A lumpectomy (which would be disfiguring), radiation treatments which had their own side effects.
I would rather change the way I look than worry about dying.
Ultimately after hearing all of the options I did decide on the double mastectomy and reconstruction. I did so for several reasons:
There was no guarantee that a lumpectomy would get all the cancer cells and I would possibly be in the same situation in the future.
I didn’t want to be disfigured. I know that my breasts weren’t my pride and joy BUT I didn’t want them to look any wonkier than they already did.
If I only did one and got the reconstruction I wouldn’t match. (They don’t make implants in saggy ‘I’ve had three kids’ pointy pancake size.)
And the BIGGEST reason – I didn’t want to have to worry about doing this all over again on the other side in 6 month or a year or whenever.
As a single mom I need to have the best solution with the best possible outcome and the least amount of down time. Having a double mastectomy was that option.
If you’re faced with having a mastectomy, don’t think you’re going to come back after a week or 2. It will kick your ass.
Please be sure to listen to the podcast where I go into more detail about the surgery and recovery because it is really too much to write here.
BUT I will tell you this – if you are faced with having a mastectomy make sure you prepare yourself. Not just for the physical aspects of it but the practical ones. For some reason I thought that I would be all better and back to normal after a couple weeks.
Told my clients and friends that it was no big deal and I would be back at it in no time. NO! This is major surgery, I am not sure why I thought it wasn’t. It took me months to get back to even HALF speed. So give yourself some grace, make sure you have help and here are a few other tips to help you.
Before your surgery put anything you will be needing – dishes, clothes, toiletries etc at mid level. You won’t be able to lift your arms for a while.
Make sure you have body cleansing wipes and dry shampoo – you will not be able to shower for a while if you have drains put in. (PS. That first shower after you have been cleared to take one is GLORIOUS)
Get a bunch of front button up shirts – I got a ton of them from good will in the men’s section. Again, you won’t be able to lift your arms to change your shirt so button ups will be a life saver.
REST. It takes longer to heal if you don’t rest and let your body do the work it needs.
Your body is putting in a lot of energy to heal. It doesn’t seem like it, but when you start doing other things, it makes you really tired.
Also, remember that even though you had to go through this, the only thing you lost is the cancer.
You have not lost your womanhood. You are still feminine. You are still YOU!
And if you get reconstruction like I did, you may even end up with better boobs than when you started. I sure did.
Above all, remember that you are doing what you need to survive and keep living. Our bodies don’t make us who we are. I lost cancer. Other than that, I haven’t lost anything. I’m still me.
Here are some other recent posts you may be interested in:
In our last podcast episode we spoke with Isitri Modak about ways to help you regroup when you are overwhelmed. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to that episode you can find it here. In this podcast episode we will talk about how to prioritize.
How a brain dump and prioritization can help eliminate overwhelm:
In the last podcast episode we talked about how you can use your breathing to help calm yourself when you feel overwhelmed. Being able to take just a moment to breath can bring you back to a calmer state where you are able to function again.
Ok, that’s great but how do we keep ourselves from ever getting to that overwhelmed state to begin with?
This is what we are covering in this episode. How can you prioritize your life in a way that helps you be less stressed and more productive?
How can you prioritize to reduce your stress?
I know that I almost always feel like I have too much to do. EVERYTHING to do. I am sure there are days you feel like that too right?
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were 5 of me to be able to get all of this stuff done? Well, unfortunately that just isn’t possible. So how do you handle life when a million things need to be done?
You prioritize. I know it sounds over simplistic – BUT it truly can be a life saver. Now, when I say prioritize that doesn’t mean just make a to do list and check stuff off. (Because I am sure you have all tried that and it doesn’t always work). I know I have made plenty of lists that have never even gotten ONE thing checked off.
So when I say prioritize here is what I mean. Start with a brain dump – write out everything that you can think of that needs done. It doesn’t matter how big or small, just write it down. By the way, I suggest doing this on paper not on any electronic device.
Why? Because when we are on our phones or computers it is WAY to easy to be distracted. I have often started working on something on my computer, stop for a moment to check my email – and then the next thing I know an hour has gone by.
Use the matrix to help you prioritize…
So – on paper – write down all your ‘to do’ items. THEN you are going to prioritize them using the mindful matrix below.
In the podcast we break this down in more detail but the basic concept of this is:
Go through your list and start prioritizing the items as urgent, non-urgent, important and not important
Put them in the various boxes in the matrix
The items that are urgent and important are your ‘to do’ items – things that must get done and in a timely manner
The items that are important but not urgent – you need to decide if they can wait until later or do they really need to be done at all
Items that are urgent but not important – can you delegate those to someone else? Like your kids.
Things that are not important and non-urgent – get rid of them. You don’t need to do them..
We go over more examples of this in the podcast but here is a basic scenario. The dirty dishes are urgent because they need to be washed – but it is not important for YOU to necessarily be the one to do them. So can your kids take over that task from you?
Here is another example of prioritization:
You have been asked to volunteer to bake cookies for your child’s school but you already have a lot on your plate. In the matrix where does that fall for you? Will the school be ok if you don’t bake the cookies? How urgent and important to YOU is this task?
If it falls under non-urgent and non important – then you say no. And no is a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain yourself or make excuses. You can simply say no, I am not able to do that this time.
Prioritizing isn’t simply putting things down on a list to check off. It is also taking a moment to decide what is most important to you and what actually requires YOU to be the one to do it.
Remember, if you are overwhelmed and stressed out then you are no good to anyone. You will burn out eventually and you are too important for that to happen.
Try this method and see if it helps you start prioritizing the things in your life and helps you be more productive. And hopefully less stressed out!
** In the podcast ‘Ish’ also mentions her upcoming event on October 5th-9th. This is a FREE virtual event for moms so if you would like to experience calmer and more productive days you can register here!**
There are any number of things that can cause a mother to become overwhelmed. For a single mother there are even more! In this weeks podcast we cover the state of overwhelm and an easy way to help you get past it.
Isitri “Ish” Modak helps moms overcome overwhelm…
As single mothers it can often seem like we have a million things going on at once. Quite often I have found myself so overwhelmed that I am not even able to function. The feeling that I can’t take even ONE. MORE. THING.
I remember a day when everything seemed to collapse on top of me at once and I sat down on the floor of the kitchen and bawled. My body felt like it was under attack. My brain couldn’t process anything. I felt frozen.
Have you ever felt like that? Felt like you couldn’t do even the smallest thing because you were so overwhelmed.
Try this quick trick to help you reset
During our interview with “Ish” Modak we talk about a quick way that you can use when you become overwhelmed.
When you find yourself becoming overly stressed or unable to stop the thoughts running through your head this one trick can help. When you are overwhelmed, your body immediately goes into a fight or flight status. You may feel like you are under attack – at least that is how your brain may be interpreting it.
Listen to this weeks podcast above to hear the easy breathing technique that you use anytime you feel like you are overwhelmed.
Giving your body and brain a moment to stop and reset. It may seem simplistic but it REALLY DOES WORK.
Be sure to keep an eye out for part 2 of our interview where we discuss another way you can prevent overwhelm.
Also be sure to follow “Ish” on her social media platforms:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
I have honestly been struggling to decide whether to write a post about the current events going on in this country. Mainly because I am not certain if anything I say could possibly be sufficient. I also worry that I may say the wrong thing. Racism is such a difficult subject and one that is so deeply personal for so many.
However, one of the quotes that has always stuck with me is one from Sir Edmund Burrows. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” So I must speak my truth and I know I must speak up because silence helps feed the hate.
After yet another unarmed black man was killed by a police officer – blatantly murdered for all the world to see – our country is in crisis. Though if we are being honest, it has been in crisis for a long time. The racism so deeply embedded into our culture has started to slither its way back out from under the rocks it hid under. Though, I know for many it wasn’t hidden. It was never hidden.
I used to think that racism was going away. That it was getting better. It had to be right? I mean, we had to be progressing as a society right? I know that there are still groups out there like the KKK and white supremacists – but they aren’t that pervasive. Right?
I knew that there were still instances of racism in the world – but I never thought that it was still this bad. I saw things as hidden or subtle – because for ME, as a white person, they were. They aren’t hidden and they aren’t subtle to the people of color who have to deal with it every day.
Taking a hard look at myself…
Part of my process has been to look hard at myself and back through my life. Have I done or said things that were possibly racist – sadly, if I am being honest – yes. When I was kid and stupid – I told jokes that I think back on now and cringe. I said things back then that I know NOW I would never say.
And in this process, I have had to figure out why or where I would have even got the idea that these things were ok.
In retrospect, I know that I have had people in my family who had racist beliefs. I remember my grandfather having a HUGE issue with my mother dating and later marrying a black man. Even though he was himself married to a Japanese woman. Hypocrite much?
Apparently it was only black people that weren’t ok for him. (As time went by he ended up loving my step-father which gives me hope that everyone can change.)
In fact, my grandmother (by marriage on my father’s side and a very “religious” woman) also had an issue with that marriage. She called my dad – my mother’s EX-HUSBAND – to express her ‘concern’ about my mom’s pending nuptials. Mind you, my parents had been divorced for 13 years at this point. She was worried about how my mother marrying a black man would affect me – and ‘what was he going to do about it’. To which my father responded, “Not a damn thing. She is happy and I am happy for her.” Then he hung up on her.
Clearly, I had some people in my life who influenced me without me really understanding that was how they felt. But I never thought it was blatant racism, I called it ignorance. I honestly thought that they were just old fashioned and only old people thought that way. That is just how THEY grew up – that is how I excused it.
Racism & hatred are taught – but so is love & acceptance…
Thankfully, I also had loving and accepting people in my life who helped guide me more that the others did. As I grew up and matured, I began to recognize how bigoted some members of my family really were. I believe that they helped me become a better person. Still I know that there is always more for me to do.
I also fully understand that I approach everything going on right now from a place of privilege that being white has afforded me. So, I can only try my best to understand and support those I know and love who are black and hurting right now. I can only try to take a good look at myself and recognize if and where I need to change and do better. To also be a voice among the many who need to stand up and say NO MORE.
My White Privilege…
I know that I will never be able to fully understand. I will not ever really know what it is like to be viewed as ‘less than’ by someone else simply because of my skin color. I won’t ever know what it is like to feel like I have to change my natural hair simply to ‘conform to company standards’. Never have I been asked to wear ‘less ethnic clothing or earrings’. I will not ever experience feeling that who I am naturally, in my own skin, simply is not accepted.
I will likely never be targeted or singled out because I look ‘suspicious’ in a fancy department store. Nor will I get pulled over because the officer thinks my car is too nice for me to be driving. Or get the police called on me for sitting in a Starbucks waiting for a friend. I will never fear for my life when an officer walks up to me.
I will never experience racism and the kind of hatred that so many black people do. I know that.
Black Lives Matter
I don’t like that this is how some people have to experience life. I can’t imagine it. But they do. Every day this is their reality and it is wrong.
I cannot imagine the deep level of pain that the black community must carry around. I know that right now that pain is manifesting in protests across the nation. I know that there are many people protesting peacefully but I also know that there is a powder keg out there. Anger, sadness, frustration, fear, rage … all rolled up and just waiting to explode. And in some cases, it has.
I am not here to defend looters or destruction of property. As a business owner I know how hard this is going to be on many of those small businesses. I know that many of them may not recover. I don’t believe that any of these protests should end in violence. But this is a volatile situation – and people are fed up. And they have a right to be. So, while I don’t condone or defend the rioting – I can understand why it is happening.
Change must happen, racism can not be allowed to endure – our country can’t stay fractured like this and survive. Too often I hear people say “All lives matter” when they hear someone say black lives matter. And yes, I personally believe all lives do matter – but unfortunately not everyone feels that way. Not everyone is treated like THEIR life matters. And that is the problem. That is what needs to change.
And until that happens, we can’t really say that all lives matter – because to some, they don’t.
So, my pledge is to do whatever is needed for me to do. I will cast my vote to remove those in power who are fanning the flames of inequality and racism. I will use my voice to advocate for change. I will call out racism when I see it. I will not be silent unless my silence is what is needed. I will ask questions and I will learn. I will be open to change. I will help when and where I can.
I will listen.
[One of the MOST important ways to bring about change is to VOTE! If you are not registered to vote, do so now! Your voice matters so make sure it is heard! Click here to register!)
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