Improve the Quality of Your Friendships

Let’s be honest with each other here, it’s hard making friends as an adult. Am I right? As adults we are much more judgmental, hesitant, and picky about our who we choose as our friends.

Our social circles tend to get smaller as we get older and our lives change. We don’t see the same people that we used to on a regular basis.

However research shows that connection is necessary for living a fulfilling life. We need friends that we can share our lives with to feel whole. I’m sure you have heard the statistics about women’s life expectancy being longer than men’s. This is partly because women are more social creatures. We’re more likely to have a network of friends and therefore more likely to..

LIVE

LONGER!

If that doesn’t say something about how our friendships affect us, I don’t know what does!

So since it such an important aspect of our lives it’s something we should put more effort and intention into.

SO, I made a free 5 Day Course on Friendships! It includes:

  • Characteristics of Healthy Friends
  • 10 Tips for Being a Better Friend
  • Friends & Setting Boundaries
  • Healthy Conflict Resolution in Friendships
  • 5 Tips to Strengthen Your Friendships

If you are interested in my free course just click here to sign up!

Mommy Monday: Casey Kelley

To the Mama Who Let Herself Go

 

I can see the searching and quizzical look on the old friend’s face when I say hello in the grocery store. They’re attempting to place who I am. I feel my stomach drop and my heart pang when I realize they don’t recognize me now. I quickly throw them a life preserver, “It’s Casey! We went to (fill in the blank) together.” We both feel relief and they immediately try to disguise our embarrassment with a comment like, “Oh I didn’t recognize you with those glasses.” I’m grateful for their attempt to hide their disappointment, but I can imagine what they’re thinking. “She sure has let herself go.” They wouldn’t be wrong in thinking this, let me tell you why…

In typical fashion, I’m going to be really honest. I have had many false idols in my life. The image of perfection, youth and physical beauty have been mine for quite some time. They have been (and sometimes still are) my religion, my God. I learned at a very young age that physical beauty was valued in our society. If I could keep my physical body in a static state, that looks something like: thin, toned, tanned, perky, long shiny hair, blemish free, stretch mark free, wrinkle free, grey hair free, carefree — then I would never have to feel unworthy of love. So, I spent most of my time grooming, working out, shopping for the most flattering clothes and accessories, tanning, bleaching, waxing, painting — worshipping the idol of beauty and youth. I attended the church of celebrity gossip magazines and television shows. I took my worship very seriously. My thoughts about these things were all consuming, this was my religion and I was devout.

Then, the most terribly gracious thing happened, I became a mother on three separate occasions. My body was the home for three little souls for nine months each. My breasts and body nourished, and continues to nourish, three tiny humans. My beauty sleep became broken and instead was filled with nurturing brand new people. My hair became thinner and shorter because I no longer had time to spend hours each day grooming it. My nails no longer were manicured, my skin no longer stretch mark free. My taut tummy was replaced with something looser. I traded my sexy clothes for big t-shirts and yoga pants. My shiny idol was beginning to crack and crumble and in its absence was more love and beauty than I could have ever imagined.

Giving up my religion was not easy. The idol was the sacrificial lamb. She was the sacrifice. I absolutely let her go. I let her die, so true unconditional love could be born. The love that remains is so raw, so real, humbling, bring-you-to-your-knees-beautiful. It’s sacrificing sleep to hold a sick baby, it’s wearing pajamas until 6pm because the children needed you all day, it’s watching them learn new things, it’s in listening to them when they’re afraid or heartbroken, it’s in having long talks with your oldest child and realizing how amazing they are, it’s in the early mornings and endless chores.

 

Life has ripped every false idol from my hands. It has showed me what I think I need to be worthy and so graciously reminded me that I already am. So, when you think, “she has let herself go,” you have no idea how accurate you are. I did let her go and would do it all over again if given the chance.

 

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Mommy Monday: My Transition into Motherhood

Happy Monday Lionesses!

I recently watched a Ted Talk (linked at the bottom) about the transition to motherhood and how there really isn’t a name for this transition. She actually compared it to becoming a teenager because of all the hormone changes and the mood swings! I think we can all agree, maybe there are some similarities!

 

For me, this transition has been somewhat smooth. And I think that is mainly because I was blessed with an easy baby (currently knocking on wood.) Everyone always tells you that your motherly instincts will come naturally, and personally that has been pretty true for me. But I don’t feel all that different as a person. I still like the same crazy horror movies and have a deep obsession with true crime. I still have a passion for working with and helping women feel empowered to be themselves. And I still enjoy spending time with my friends.

The most difficult part of this transition has been the guilt part of it all. Am I holding him enough? Am I holding him too much? Do I let him spend too much time away from me? Is he tired of me? Am I helping him enough developmentally? Am I talking to him enough? Am I reading to him enough? I could go on and on with the questions, believe me!

I think one of the things that has helped me the most is that I have made efforts to not lose myself in my son. I take the time to nurture myself as well as him. I work on my business, I read, I exercise, and I spend time with my people who make me happy.  I’m not just a mother, or a wife or a teacher, I am a combination of all of these things and more! Plus I have amazing parents and in laws who love me and Braden and who help me to be able to take care of myself and for that I am SO grateful!

I am a good mother because I ask for help AND I take help when its offered, most of the time at least! A support system is so important for us as women and mothers, we MUST take care of each other!

Alexandra Sacks: A New Way to Think About the Transition to Motherhood

Mommy Monday: Casey Wolfe

“Mom guilt, it’s like my arch nemesis. It’s constantly present, and never ceasing to exist! I had mom guilt before Fitz was even born, and still, to this day, it is present. I have just now learned how to ignore unnecessary guilt and let it “roll off my shoulders.”

Before my son was born, there would be days I would forget to take my prenatal vitamin, or I ate crap for several days.  I thought to myself, what a disservice to my unborn child! I can’t even remember to take a vitamin or eat my veggies that is beneficial to his development. When Fitz was born, I always asked myself, am I rocking him or holding him long enough? Am I using the right bottles? Does he need more gas medicine? It was always never enough, or I always felt like I was doing something wrong. When Fitz was 4 months old, I went back to work, and my mom guilt quickly escalated!  I constantly thought I wasn’t spending enough time with him, and I was missing his milestones. My milk supply dropped when I started back work, and I felt terrible that I couldn’t provide him with enough milk.

To this day, I have guilt when disciplining Fitz, and he is 21 months old. I always think, am I being too harsh? Am I not disciplining him enough? If Fitz eats fast food for several days in a row, he will be fine, he gets to eat food he thinks taste way better than my vegetables. If I discipline him, I know I a teaching him right from wrong because I love him and want him to be a good person. If I don’t give him that piece of cake right before bed and he has a fit, I can’t feel guilty about not giving in to him. I can’t feel guilty about every little thing that I may or may not be doing right. I always second guess myself when it comes to raising Fitz. This is all new to me and I am slowly learning.

There is one thing I do know, and that is Fitz knows he is loved, and he will always be safe. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but it can be close to it. It can be your kind of perfect. Mom guilt lingers and stays. However, I leaned to let things go and not let it take over. All mommies, and future mommies. You are awesome! Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone and think you should be doing more.  You be you, momma, and love that baby, and that is all they will ever need. Your love. Give your mom guilt a kick to curb and relax. You are doing perfect!”

Casey also owns an online children’s embroidery boutique called Lollie Mac’s. You can find her on Facebook Lollie Mac’s    and Instagram

Check her out! She has some adorable clothes for your little ones!! And mention this blog post and get $3 off your first order!!

Coming Soon: Saturday Stories

I want to hear from YOU!

Send me your story so I can share it here on my blog! Email me at thesmartlioness@gmail.com

“Share your story with someone. You never know how one sentence of your life story could inspire someone to rewrite their own.” -Demi Lovato 

Mommy Monday: Halley Foulds

Nearly four years ago I traded in my 8-5 job to be a Stay at Home Mom to my then one-year-old. Even though I loved my job and I loved working, the thought of staying home with my son was much more appealing. While I knew there would be a few challenges and hiccups during the transition, part of me also thought this would be a walk in the park. And it was……. Jurassic Park. (Just kidding!) Being at home definitely isn’t as easy as it looks or sounds though. You don’t just get to sit around all day cuddling the littles and watching soap operas (or trashy reality television in my case). Just like everything else, there are precious moments & hardships that come along with this job (see my post  ‘Surviving Two’ for a little more on that!). Here is a little glimpse into my life and some of what I have learned and experienced as a full-time Stay-at-Home-Boy-Mom.

I quickly learned that being a SAHM means that in addition to keeping your tiny human(s) alive and well, you will also be cleaning…pretty much all day long. When I started this job I had twice the house I have now. Naturally, I thought when we moved to a smaller house I would have less to clean (WIN!). Nope! That’s false. I still clean just as much and maybe even more because I have two tiny humans now and back then I only had one. If I’m not just doing general house cleaning (ie: vacuuming, sweeping, wiping of surfaces), I’m doing laundry, cleaning up toys (I’m ALWAYS cleaning up toys, pick one up and 4 more are tossed down!), cleaning up after a meal, cleaning up after the dogs, cleaning something I missed the last time I cleaned that area, cleaning fingerprints off of all the windows. ENDLESS CLEANING. It never stops. You would think with all that cleaning my house would be spotless all the time, too. Nope, more untruth. There are days that I vacuum the whole house and by the time I get from one end of the house to the other end, you can’t even tell I have vacuumed.  (I make cleaning fun by incorporating my kiddos. They are too young right now to realize that cleaning is a chore, it’s still fun to them, so why not let them help!)

Another thing I quickly learned, my days of getting dressed up and “ready” were mostly over. Kinda. I still straighten my hair most days and get blush and mascara on. However, if you find me in something other than a velour jumpsuit or yoga/workout pants, consider yourself lucky! In my opinion and as the ‘doer of all the laundry’, there is no need for me to get dressed in pants or jeans and a cute top and then later that evening when I go to workout, change into my workout gear. I’m not going to see anyone except for my husband and kids so I’ll just dirty up one outfit with snot and lunch particles and save the other for a day when I am out in public trying to blend in with the rest of the world. I call this life lesson, Embracing the Yoga Pants and I challenge other SAHM’s to this as well. You will thank me later!

Playing off the last lesson, I’m also guilty of doing this with my kids. Yeah, I said it. On the days that my oldest doesn’t have preschool and we don’t go outside of the house, I may or may not change my kids out of their pajamas! They don’t seem to mind and my thought is, “why dirty up another outfit and create more laundry?!”. Many of our days are pajama-casual days!

I learned that there would be plenty of days that NOTHING gets accomplished. Some days I had intentions of being so productive and the stars just weren’t aligned in my favor. I’m really hard on myself on these days because I have my own expectations of what I should get done and I’m a creature of habit, so when things don’t go as planned it makes my head spin and throws my whole day off. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how crazy those days make me, they still happen.

In all the madness, I have learned how thankful I am for my friends. I am especially thankful for the friends I have that are in similar situations as me and know the struggle. You know the one(s). The one you can take the kids over to their house, pop open a bottle of wine and vent to in your yoga pants while the kids play in the other room. THAT friend! Friends are essential in getting through not only motherhood but life and I feel so blessed to have great ones.

I also learned that panic and anxiety doesn’t stop when you become a SAHM. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and I was sure when I left my 8-5 job I would be leaving that behind as well. Wrong again. I still have anxiety and panic attacks, maybe not the same way I did when I was working outside of the home, but it hasn’t gone away completely and why would it? I’m still working… I still have a job. I just went from servicing insurance policies to full-time housekeeping, chef, teacher, accountant and chauffeur to my much younger bosses. The lesson: every momma has breakdown moments and a SAHM is no exception.

The most important lesson I learned is that this time with my children is priceless. It’s not always going to be perfect. Crankiness, teething, diapers and meltdowns (seriously, Surviving Two <– Read it) will get in the way sometimes. But still, occasionally, everything goes according to plan and we have our perfect days. What seems hard now will be over in an instant so do your best to cherish every moment!

To follow Halley or get in touch with her:

Halley@Momatello.com

Mommy Monday: Bree Downs

Mommy Lesson #8 (Laughter)

 

 

Laughter is one of the many keys in Mommyhood that holds me and my kiddos together. Everyone pretty much knows I’m a pretty silly person, and I’m so glad my baby girl and baby boy inherited my sense of humor. No matter how bad of a day I’ve had I know my lil minions will say something or do something that will bring my whole day back to life! And the same goes with me for them I always want my kids to not only think of me as someone they can talk to but also someone that they have all these awesome, awkward funny memories and moments with.

From the store runs where my son announced in the frozen food section that I, quote “I JUST POOTED BOOOM!”

To my daughter telling me at the mall while shopping that “That shirt was not approved by Madison ?” Lol

And so many more stories I could share about them and their always punctual comedic timing. I live to make them laugh!

You will find that there is nothing more funny or sweeter then the sound of your child’s/children’s laughter! It’s the greatest thing ever! I am a believer that laughter is one of the many keys to parenting that will keep you and your kids with a healthy and joyful heart.

Bree❤

Mommy Monday: Megan Rix

Mommy Monday: Megan Rix

from the Blog, “This Anchored Life: Measured by Love & Spoons”

This blog post goes out to all the moms raising strong willed child. Anyone who has a sweet, kind toddler, who sits quietly in a restaurant coloring or plays alone while you get things done will probably not understand this at all and will most likely think I am a horrible mom. But, I’m willing to lend my sassy pants beauty over for a trip to the grocery store in case you’re curious. Or just go to my google search history and see how many times I’ve typed the words, “activities for a strong willed child” and maybe that will give you some insight.

It’s funny. We say “strong willed” because calling your own kid an expletive that starts with an a and rhymes with shmashole is frowned upon in society. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little human so much it hurts. I would never try to coerce her strong willed character out of her. I know that it will make her into an assertive, brave, and confident young woman one day. But that doesn’t mean I am oblivious to how much she will test my human will on her way to becoming that strong young woman.

To begin, there’s consistent use of the word no. I’m not talking about the average toddler use of the word no. I’m talking about this being my child’s favorite word. A word that is used hundreds of times a day in defiance. A word that is said with brute force, attitude, and bellowed at a decibel that once again makes my neighbors (and anyone in public really) question my ability to parent. If you are a parent to a strong willed child, you know exactly what happens when you try to win the battle of “no” and challenge them to do something they have clearly indicated will not be done. I like to follow up these challenges with a bottle of champagne.          

Then there are the facial expressions. Little miss thang has a WTF face that literally makes me slightly afraid of her. It’s like she’s flipping you off with her eyes. It is even a running joke in my circle of friends that Mack is going to need Botox soon, because the wrinkles between her eyebrows will be so deep from frowning by then that she’ll have no hope by the time she’s 30. You receive this look anytime you try to initiate a conversation within 30 minutes of her waking up. When you get her juice-to-water ratio wrong. If you ask her to climb down from something or hand over a sharp object. If you try to stop her from eating dirt, marbles, plastic, legos, or prevent her from licking the sliding glass door. Or simply if she doesn’t like your face. Want to know what goes along with those facial expressions? Reread the paragraph above this one. 

 

 

No one is exempt from her attitude…most especially her big brother. My kids could not be any more opposite and what Mack possesses in sass, Grant carries equally in sensitivity. He’s the boy you’ll want your daughter to marry when they’re older, but right now he’s just an easy target. Mack knows exactly which buttons to push and spends her day antagonizing poor G by stealing whatever he’s currently holding, pulling his hair, kicking him in the face from her carseat, and my personal favorite, lying on the ground fake crying when he’s having a meltdown. No, not for attention. Because at 2, she is making fun of him by mimicking him.    

Mack is also fearless. To date, she has climbed the refrigerator, walked into my room with a butcher knife which she retrieved after scaling the cabinets with her toes, jumped off of every tall surface in our house, tipped the dining room chairs over a dozen times as she tried to tightrope walk across the backs of them. Fallen off the trash can. You get the idea. Daddy also had to build her a special frame on the floor for her crib bed to sit on because she could crawl out before she was a year old. 

Research you say? Yep, I’ve done that. I’ve read tons of mommy blogs and online articles. Basically the most consistent advice for not losing your mind is to put your seatbelt on, hold on for dear life, and harness patience from Tibetan monks. Oh, and love them like crazy, because one day that strong will is going to serve them abundantly in life. Until then, I will find the joy in watching her chug her sippy cup of “appy juice” and then hurl it to the ground like a viking warrior.

Because there is also an incredibly sweet and cuddly side to Miss Mack. One that melts your heart and leads you to cover her chubby little cheeks in kisses. She loves exclaiming that she loves you at random times, with as much gusto as her exclamation of “no!”. She loves when you read her books. She loves to share her snacks (on her terms). She loves to be rocked to sleep and while this can sometimes take up to an hour at night, I relish this time because in those quiet moments, when she’s snuggled in my arms, all is right in the world. I remember that the years when she will too big to sit on my lap will come fast and furious, just like her current attitude. I remember that even though she came at me with a right hook when I tried to put her hair in a ponytail, one day we will do all the things I still love to do with my mom. Even though I am married with my own children, my mom is still my best friend. I hope Mack looks at me that same way too.

So if you have a strong willed child, I see you. I understand you when other parents try to give you advice you’ve already tried, or tell you that it’s a phase, or that all kids are this way at some point. Side note, they’re not. I see the expression you make when people say, “just bring the kids with you, they’ll be fine.” I’m with you eating at home because restaurant trips are like the odds in Vegas. Not good. I feel your pain when you get looks of disapproval from strangers…because why yes, perfect stranger, I absolutely train my child to have epic meltdowns every time they come in contact with other humans.

One day, we’ll all sit back and smile when our strong willed children become CEO’s and professional athletes. The one thing I know for sure is that when people ask me if I am having any more kids.

My answer is one word.

No.     

SHARING IS CARING

Mommy Mondays – Rachael Freeland

October 16, 2017

Today’s Mommy Monday post comes to you from Rachael Freeland! Rachel has a blog called Werifesteria: To Wander through the Forest in Search of Mystery. Rachel is from Melbourne, Australia originally, but is living in Amsterdam currently. Before Rachel became a mother she was a therapist and yoga teacher, which is super cool since I’m a therapist and I love yoga and really wish I had the time to get the hours to become a yoga teacher! So anyway clearly we have a lot in common! After she had children, however Rachel became a blogger and writer! So now she shares stories from her life on her blog and she does a fantastic job doing it! I found her blog very enjoyable to read and you’re going to love her Mommy Monday story!! Just for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “Pram,” a pram is a stroller or baby buggy.  So on with the good stuff!! Rachael Freeland

Bookstore Mishap

I pulled a book out of the shelf, and flicked through the pages, desperately trying to ignore the fact that my children were far more interested in the bouncy balls the bookstore sold than the books themselves.  When did bookstores start selling toys anyway?  I added the book to the pile of books I was buying and then suddenly, my nose detected a very distinctive smell.  I looked at my daughters, the youngest had adopted the full nappy waddle.   I bit my lip, looking around for a bathroom, but there was not one.  We were at least a twenty minute walk from the apartment and nowhere near a public rest room.  Where did people go to pee in London?

I thought briefly about putting her in the pram and hot footing back to the apartment, but Grace doesn’t do quick, especially not when I need her to and Ava Rose has the most delicate skin.  If I didn’t get this nappy off her now, her bottom would be red raw in minutes.  I looked around, there was no one, not even a staff member.  We were completely alone on the top floor of the bookshop and had been for the last 10 minutes.  I scooped her up, holding her slightly away from my body and pushed the pram around, nope, definitely not in the art section.  Fashion, mmm, maybe.  Magazines?  No, too risky, too close to the glass hand rail and the happy shoppers on the ground floor.   I spotted the service elevator, perfect.   It hadn’t opened since we’d come out of it 20 minutes ago.    

I lay Avarose down in the pram, whipped off her pants, undid the nappy, rolled it up and pushed it to the side.  Quickly, I wiped her soiled bottom and put on a new nappy.

The elevator pinged and the doors slid open.  I looked up, guilt smeared all over my face, the foul smelling stench still emanating from the pram, but it was just an empty trolley riding between floors.  I breathed out.  I grabbed her pants, pulled them on and then picked up the soiled nappy.  The tabs, oh my god, the tabs.  The nappy unrolled, and the little ball of poo flew through the air.  My daughter, wondering what all of the excitement was, lifted her head up to have a look.  The little ball of poo bounced off the back of the pram and landed right where her head had just been.  The next bit happened in horrifyingly slow motion.  My daughter, having decided there was nothing of interest to look at, lay her head back down.   

I emptied the packet of wipes into the pram, trying desperately to remedy the situation, but poo, it turns out is very, very difficult to get out of hair.  I pulled at the strands of her fine, blonde, curls but all that did was rub it in further. I looked around, trying to figure out what to do.  If Grace caught sight of it, she’d surely vomit, and then we’d officially be blacklisted from every bookstore in the UK, although to be perfectly honest, if that little black box in the ceiling, that I’d only just noticed was actually a camera, I was pretty sure we’d not be welcomed back in a hurry.

I scrabbled around the carrier of the pram, desperately seeking inspiration.  Finally my hand seized upon her hat.   There was nothing for it, but to shove it on her head, leave the books we’d been going to buy and walk nonchalantly out of the store. 

I think we’ll steer clear of bookstores for a little while.

If you would like to get in touch with Rachael you can find her on:

Instagram: @werifesteria_s

Twitter:@werifesteria_s

And of course, her blog, Werifesteria 

Let us know in the comments if you have had a similar experience, or if you would like to share a story of your own for Mommy Mondays!!

 

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