No more Guilt…No, Really.

Guiltbegone

Dear Readers

This past weekend, I was telling a friend, I am so sorry I can’t come see your show, I am just not going to get to it. I went on to say, I feel so guilty.  Which I did, because I really did want to see the show, but I lacked the night. My husband and I take turns and give each other one night off a week and I had already committed myself to another show. The weather (who the heck would expect SNOW in Texas?) did contribute, but overall, I lacked time.

She was so sweet and kind and graceful and said something that stopped me in my tracks, “I release you of that, that is all yours if you have want to feel guilty that is all coming from you, not me” – We hugged and she walked away.  Wow. It was such an honest moment.

It was so true and lovely and she even mentioned having been there herself, “I love you best friend in the world but I can’t come see your show”.. I felt enormously better.

I have really been making great strides with this whole not feeling guilty thing, and then I had this large setback, but it’s okay because I have recommitted myself to giving up feeling guilty. There are just too many places to be, shows to see, parties to go to and events to sign up for and I recently realized, there are only so many hours in a day.

(I know? Stop the presses..  Mind blowing, right?)

I am the first person who has ever made this realization.

EVER.

But seriously, I don’t have “all the time in the world” and neither do you. It’s the only commodity you can’t get back, and that money can’t buy, so choose where you spend it wisely.

What I realized is that I have to budget my time ( and you should too ) just like we budget our money. I have to THINK before saying yes to something as much as I might REALLY want to do it, I have to be sure I have the time and more importantly be sure I haven’t already budgeted that time for someone else (like my daughter or my husband, say?)

birthdaygirl2017

I really thought I had this one wired after last year and the whole having a baby thing which makes you realize how little time you have, but as is true with so many life lessons, I guess I need to bump into this one a few more times before it really sticks.

So here’s to NO MORE GUILT!

Think About It.

Mom Bingo- aka Scheduling Sanity!

 

Dear Readers,imagejfminc

I love my daughter, I love my husband AND I need a break from time to time.

I NEED a conversation that isn’t modeling behavior and appropriate language for a 14 month old. I need to read a book that isn’t cardboard and I NEED to watch a show minus a letter of the day and a number of the day.

I need a conversation that has years of inside jokes and shared reality as a woman, a director, a friend, and sister of the heart and mind. I need to remember who I am when I am not wearing my Mom hat.

 

 

I can’t remember if my friend Rachel came up with this term or if it was me. I will go ahead and give her credit, as she is very smart and likely did come up with it.

Mom Bingo. (you heard it here first) 🙂

Mom Bingo- refers to the checkerboard of schedules one has to consult before “finding time” that is not already promised, to work, to school, to spouses or to sleep or to exercise! Sometimes it takes a few go rounds before you find it, but if you persevere, you will !

I definitely have to work harder to keep my energy up in the face of parenthood and all the ensuing responsibilities. So this means I need examine what I am doing that doesn’t work for my long-term goals. I want to be healthy and have energy to live my life.

I have been sleeping more (but only because I stay up too late watching things that I have watched over and over again) which puts a burden on my husband to watch our child while I catch up on sleep (and then he also takes care of her while I am work so that wasn’t very fair of me) which was making me feel tired all the time, and I was trying to figure out why.

When I really looked at it and was honest with myself, I realized I am not doing anything to help feeling tired all the time. I have been eating a lot of junk and not exercising, a surefire way to put on weight and get depressed so I am working on that.

Last Thursday, I gave up soda, yes my beloved Pepsi is now a thing of the past. I want to try it and see if it helps give me energy so I am committing to giving it up for 30 days, and then see how I feel. I am also committing to working out once a week and with the combination of those things, I should have more energy, it’s a formula I have tried in the past and lost about 20 pounds, just by changing what I am drinking.

It’s an experiment, and it’s one thing I can do to try to give myself more energy. I will report back and let you know how it’s going.

The other thing I can do is say NO to things I don’t want to do. I can put more boundaries around my time so I don’t agree in the moment, and THEN take a look at all my responsibilities and commitments and then realize, I have to take that back now.

I hate going back on my word or cancelling plans and I really try hard not to do it.

There are going to be times it’s unavoidable but for the most part, if I say I will be there, you can take it to the bank that I will be.

So what has this to do with you, Gentle Reader? Simple.

Do you need to schedule a little sanity? Are you in a busy season that seems to have no end date? Look to the future and say, okay, on this day I am going to take a spa day or go to a movie by yourself (book a date with yourself and KEEP IT) treat it like a real commitment because it IS! Have that to look forward to and that will help you through your current busy patch.

Think About It

 

If you don’t like it, reframe it!

 

 

Reframe

Dear Readers,

When I coach people I often hear them say negative things about themselves.

“I am a bad writer”

“I am reallly bad at math”

“I am not good at networking”

“I am really bad with names”

I have said at least one of those phrases to myelf  and then realized that I was building the story about how bad I was at something because when you tell yourself something over and over again, you start to believe it.

Stop beating yourself up for something you think you need to be doing better.

We are all works in progress. Remember that when you talk to yourself, Mind what you say. Your words matter. Listen to how you talk about yourself. Is it mostly positive or negative?

So when I hear myself or others say something like that, I stop myself and say, “I am good at names, and getting better all the time.” In a coaching situation, I generally will say, “How about this, you are a good writer and you are getting better all the time. Sometimes they get it and say it, and sometimes they don’t pick it up and that is okay, I have planted a seed, it’s my client’s job to water it, give it sunlight, and help it grow.

Now, you have to do the work to actually change it from just a postive affirmation  into a truth. There is no way to “Tony Robbins” your way into being a better public speaker, you have to join Toastmasters to learn how to be a better speaker, leader and communicator.

If you want to be better at something, don’t talk about how bad you are at it, make a plan to get better (and stick to it!) or accept where you are on the skill spectrum and be at peace with it. But please, no more badmouthing yourself, you get enough of that from other people, don’t do it to yourself.

Think About It!Reframe

 

 

 

Cry it out… Not so terrible!

Dear Readers,

For the last three weeks, my husband and I have put our daughter to bed and when she cries, we let her cry till she cried herself out and fell asleep.

I DID NOT WANT TO DO THIS. I fought it. HARD.

I felt like it would make me a bad mom, that it meant we didn’t love her and a variety of other very irrational but very REAL things (to me) that I made up about what it would mean to not pick her up when she cries after we put her down for the night.

Every time she cried, my husband and I went in and picked her up (taking turns) to calm her down and she calmed and then we would lay her down and she would be okay for a bit but a few hours later, the whole horrible cycle would start again. I finally hit my breaking point and said, “okay, we are going to try this.. and if we can’t take it for one night, we can always go back to what we were doing before” It’s always an option, but we HAVE to try something else right now or I am going to LOSE my MIND from lack of sleep. viviennecrying3

I had this crazy notion in my head that she would feel unloved or abandoned if we did not go comfort her if she was crying. The truth is, each night it has taken her less and less time to soothe herself and drift off to sleep.

I want to say something very important here.

If you choose not to let your child “cry it out” I am not judging you. If you choose to let your child cry it out, I am not judging you. You have to do what feels right for your kid. As a fellow parent, (we are ALL in this together) I give you permission to parent as you see fit, and how you see fit. It’s not my job (or anyone else’s job for that matter) to tell you how to parent, if they try, smile and nod and do what the heck feels right to YOU.

I think a big problem we all have as parents is wondering if what we are doing is helping our society is super quick to give us things to have a complex over…

Do you co-sleep?

Do you have the most up to date flingity flangity bobbity wobbity toy? Oh, you don’t. I guess you don’t love your child as much as we love ours.. hmm..

Are you breastfeeding? Why ? Why Not?

Are you feeding them organic food or that packaged stuff?

Why? Don’t you love your child?

To name but a few, there are many many more but I don’t have time for that. I have time to think about what is good for my kid and what I can live with so I didn’t let her “CRY IT OUT” till I was ready.. that was exactly 12 months and 2 weeks into her life, I couldn’t take it any longer so we let her cry for 45 minutes (that was agony) and then her nap the next day was 43 minutes, and then that night it was 38 minutes and then bed time that night was 35 minutes, and slowly but surely it got to be shorter and shorter and for the last two days she has not even whimpered and rolled right over to sleep.

Truthfully, on this occasion, I got nothing but support for this method when I reached out to other parents on social media so that was wonderful.

“UGH. That is the first time my husband and I let our 13 month old “cry it out”- We gave her Tylenol, Orajel, milk, water and nothing would make her stop. I felt so incredibly heartless but nothing we were doing was helping, so we let her cry and cry she did for 45 minutes. Please tell me you went through this and your babies are older and fine. Feeling a lot like a mean mommy right now but she is asleep.”

The support from other moms was amazing! Especially my own who said, “let her cry”

(I finally listened, but you know I was a little stubborn, AND I realize I wasn’t ready to do it until I was ready to do it, and if I had rushed it, I wouldn’t have been so sure it was the right thing to do.

I certainly hope your child sleeps through the night and you are not faced with this, but if you are, I would recommend it. It’s hard that first time, but it’s teaching them to self-soothe which is a skill they need.

If it’s not for you, that is completely okay too, AND I think if you are going through what we were… it might be worth a shot. At the very least, it’s something new to try.

Like my Mom says, “Motherhood is following your instincts and experimentation”

Think About It…

momvivisleepymovie

 

Happy Debt Free Day, Hastons!!

Dear Readers,

On this day, two years ago, my husband and I became debt-free!!! We got Cachet, the debt-free dog, and then had Vivienne, our debt free baby! Yep, we cash-flowed our child. For those who don’t know, that means we didn’t go into debt to have our baby, because I have great insurance and because we paid cash we got a hefty discount.

I am trying to make this a thing, like birthday, anniversary or other important milestone, because it is. So Happy Debt Free Day to us! Play along with me, will you?

Why is being debt-free so great? Well, for starters, we owe no money to anyone.

We do have to pay rent and utilities, AND that is it.  We no longer owe student loans, store credit cards or medical bills. We had this on our fridge to help motivate us.

Capture

Target-Gone

Lane Bryant- Gone

New York and Company- Gone

Royal Prestige- Gone (that was a very stupid mistake we made with money when we were first engaged and goopy eyed and thinking we needed amazing cookware, in order to cook, never mind that it took us 3 years to pay it off)

Chase VISA- Ugh, lots of stupid, including some Manolo Blahniks I just HAD to have.

Student Loans- GONE (my husband is especially proud of that one!)

Smoky- My 2007 Toyota Carolla – Paid off October 2014

Vlad- Jeremy’s 2009 Chevy Impala- Paid off November 2015- LAST DEBT!

Take a second and breathe that in, if you have payments, that you pay each month on student loans or your car loan or your credit cards, think about what you could do with that money if you had it as your own instead of promised to creditors every month on the 15th, or 18th or 30th or whatever your billing cycle is at the time. Think of how much you could save for retirement (it’s coming faster than you think) or to pay cash for a vacation that doesn’t follow you home. Or five other things I am not talking about here, but are in your heart because it’s YOUR dream, not mine.

Maybe you don’t have a lot of debt, a couple of thousand or so, but if you are like most people (that was us too) you live paycheck to paycheck and if a 1000.00 emergency came up you wouldn’t have it, you would have to put it on a credit card.  That emergency could be a hospital stay or a dental emergency or a flat tire or a dead battery (all of which happened to us while we were working to get out of debt) and we kept having to refill our emergency fund each time.

Well, Jeremy and I decided back in 2012 to take a class about how to handle money. Believe me when I tell you, it changed our lives.

How? We got organized, we started doing a budget and figuring out where all our money was going. Believe it or not, once we looked up and saw that we were spending almost 300.00 a month on fast food and “inconvenience’ store stops for coffee and Monster and breakfast. Mine was more about Starbucks, I had to have that Caramel Macchiato and then a bagel and it’s kind of amazing how fast that stuff added up. If you do the math that is 3600.00 a year that we were just “wasting” on things that we were not even aware of until we were.

So we both went to work, I should say, went out and got extra jobs since we were both instilled with an incredible work ethic way before we ever met each other. It has to be said, I have never met a man who works as hard as mine did and does.

In this case, I had a little more free time than he did so I had three jobs, he had two and we saw a lot less of each other as we both worked to eliminate the debt that was shackling us. We didn’t mind because we knew it would be temporary and it was. I mean in the grand scheme of things, it was.

We got serious in November 2012 and finished in November 2015. 11/16/2015 to be precise.

We did a lot of sacrificing to get there, and it was worth it and it is still worth it.

Is our life stress-free because we are debt-free ? Hardly, but it definitely makes it better.

We may fight about things, but money isn’t one of them. That is an incredible blessing and I am grateful every day for it.

Here are a few pictures from the radio show where we did our debt free scream.

Here is the youtube for those who are interested-

We went to Nashville, and went on the Dave Ramsey show and screamed to the world that we were debt free. Why? Well for starters, it was the goal I wanted when we started this journey, it got me up out of bed on days I did NOT WANT to go to my second and third job. So it was very important to me to do it, then it became more about being accountable to say we ARE NEVER GOING INTO DEBT AGAIN.

According to Google, The Dave Ramsey Show surpasses 13 million weekly listeners on more than 585 radio stations and a variety of digital platforms. That is a whole lot of people to be accountable to, I can only hope to one day have that kind of readership, but baby steps, baby steps!

So besides bragging about our family’s big accomplishment, what is the point of this post? Well, the bragging is part of it, but more than anything, I really want to say, you can do this too, if you want to. If you want to know more, ask us. If not, that works too.

Think about it….

What will you do now?

Dear Readers,

wantyoutobebrave

There isn’t much to say that doesn’t sound hollow and empty in my ears.

Another shooting, this time  at a church, the flag at half-mast again, the continued thoughts and prayers sent out and posted on social media.  I am angry and sad. I am feeling defeated but not giving up.

It feels hollow and empty because I think what everyone wants is action and we want action to be big and loud and very dramatic but the truth is, most movements are quiet and grassroots.

So I have been upset and depressed for a few days and really wasn’t sure what I was going to write about because it’s during times like this that I struggle to find the good.

I look at my little girl and her smile provides a bit of relief, along with realization of the responsibility that we are faced with which is to teach her about loving everyone. EVERYONE.

LoveThyNeighbor

When does that start? NOW. Like everyone she meets is an opportunity to be loved by her and have them love her. She smiles at everyone and I love that. She wants to look at everyone and is curious about everyone and I really hope that continues because to watch her I have hope for the future.

But back to the rest of us, living with this now and wanting to take action.

It’s pretty simple, love your neighbor. Part of loving your neighbor is knowing them.

So get involved in your community- I have a few organizations that I have been digging into locally here in Austin.

http://interfaithtexas.org/events/the-red-bench-privilege/

http://www.txgunsense.org/

http://austin.adl.org/noplaceforhate/

http://www.undoingracismaustin.org/

These are just a few – I implore you, do not stop at reading the sites, actually sign up to learn more and volunteer. If you are a parent, get involved with your kid’s school to find out what you can do to help and be involved. If you are a teacher, talk to your administrators about joining efforts with some of these groups.

If you are not a teacher or a parent but know a teacher or a parent, talk to them about what they are doing. Find someone who disagrees with you and ask them to tell you what they believe and why they believe it. Listen and try hard to understand. If you don’t, say something like, “Thank you for sharing with me.” Then, really think about what they said and look for things that unite you to that person, not divide you. It’s incredibly easy to find points to disagree on, do the work of finding the thing that you can agree about.

If you are not in Austin, reach out to your local community and find out what exists. If it doesn’t, figure out what it takes to start it.  Why not you?

DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING, even a conversation like the one I described above, can save a life.

Think about that.

 

What a difference a year makes!

Timepass2016-2017

Dear Readers!

What a difference a year makes or.. this too shall pass.

I remember last Halloween with startling clarity.. it was very very scary.

I had hit the zenith of my frustration with the process of breastfeeding and so had my daughter. After hours of trying and failing to have her latch or feed, I gave up, cried uncle and said that is IT! I really don’t know how else to describe how helpless you feel when you can’t do the basic thing that you are supposed to be able to do when you are a mother, but let me try. It’s like you are a fisherman and you can’t bait a hook. It’s a seemingly simple process but for whatever reason you can NOT do it. You can’t blame the bait, it doesn’t talk or do anything other than what you direct it to do, and you just keep getting more and more frustrated. Not fun for anyone.

10/31/2016- We were both struggling and both upset and both crying. The picture above on the left is me looking at her in her bassinet and marveling over her lovely costume and sighing a very large sigh of relief that she FINALLY stopped crying.  (this was after almost 6 hours non-stop fussiness. It was on this day that I called in the experts and after getting a lactation consultant to help us, we were well on our way. I know some mothers where that is not the case so I consider us to be very lucky.

The picture on the right is one year later and to be frank, my husband had a pretty rough day with her but for completely different reasons.

She did not nap today and was an absolute terror. She did pull it together enough to come visit me at work and I sure hope that Daddy has had a better night with her tonight as he takes her trick or treating in her handmade ladybug costume.

(in case you read this later, my love, it pains me to write it, AND it’s true!)

So if she was fussy both times what has really changed, you may ask.. and it’s a good question..

A few things.

  1. My patience is a lot better than it was a year ago.
  2. My list of “wins” as her mom, are longer than my “losses”.
  3. She is starting to communicate, we aren’t much past Mama and Dada and Hi.. but we are getting clearer everyday with what we are trying to say.
  4. I am back at work and learning the balancing act of manager/mom
  5. Jeremy is home with her full-time, last year I was on maternity leave.
  6. I have learned to ask for help and to walk away* if it really gets hard.

*walking away – only after making sure the child is secure in her crib –

A year can bring a lot of change, and this year certainly has, I am excited to see what the next year will bring.. we might even get ourselves together enough to do our own matching costumes, but for tonight, we dressed as what we are.. TIRED PARENTS!