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.

 

Pin it!

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!!

Mommy Monday: Chelsie Jordan

My dad has always told me “be where you’re feet are.” And I’ve always rolled my eyes and moved along. My dad is the one always trying to teach life lessons. Trying to teach me to be patient, to not panic in stressful situations, to not cut corners when I turn while driving. Blah blah. I didn’t appreciate every lesson I should have growing up. But now, as a mom, the “being where your feet are” has suddenly hit me.
I’m the mom that constantly worries. The one who has anxiety. The one who struggles with working while my babies are little because I feel like I’m missing so much. The one who still does panic in situations. I am bad about “babying” my children too much and really bad about planning and organizing. The mom who makes my lists at night and pray it doesn’t get lost or forgotten. I’m the mom who 99% of the time does not know our weekend plans because it’s only Wednesday and I haven’t thought that far. So if all these are my weaknesses, you can only imagine how I am never where my feet are.
When I’m at work I think about my babies, when I’m with my babies, I’m thinking about night time routines to get us to next day, and making sure I reserve my grocery pick up order. On the occasional date night, I’m picking the restaurant that doesn’t have a wait time, and where the food usually arrives quick because I need to get home to put kids in bed and start laundry. I’ve tried to be the other mom. The organized planner with suppers and meals organized for the week, or even the month. It just doesn’t work for us. It doesn’t.  Not in our current stage of life. It may one day. And I will look forward to that.

But there is something perfectly imperfect with coming to the realization that your routine might not be your best friends routine. Or your sisters routine. That it’s okay  that my toy room looks like a F5 tornado went through It and I can’t pick it up because I’m almost 100% sure the bins the toys were originally supposed to go in, are broken. And my sister’s toy room looks like it belongs in a magazine. And right beside it, a family photo of them. And for a long time, a REALLY long time, all that bothered me. That I wasn’t that mom. I did a lot of comparing. A lot of crying. And then one day I actually heard my dads words. Be where your feet are. And I stopped. And I breathed. And I looked around at the toy room and laughed. And smiled at the laundry. And then played with the Kids. And read to them. And went on a date with my husband. And breathed. Because every stage of life is hard. Every stage. And it really is up to us to decide, and be confident, that we are enough. And if we want our children to also be confident in themselves, we must show them. We must not compare ourself to others. Because we don’t want them to do that.

Sometimes, in the stages of our life we don’t have the energy to BLOOM where we are planted. We only have the energy to BE where are feet are. And there is something so, so special about that.

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: Hospital Bag Essentials

Everything You Need for Your Hospital Stay When You Deliver

Not sure what all you need for the hospital when you go into labor? Ive got a list that will tell you everything you need! Before I went into labor with Braden in August I spent SO much time scouring Pinterest and Mom groups for lists of what to take with me because I wanted to be over prepared. I ended up having to stay a few extra days as well so my husband had to make a few trips back home! So through my experience I created this awesome list of everything I couldn’t have lived without!

1.) Loose & Comfy PJs — After birth you can get out of that hospital gown and into your own clothes! I took a night gown (super cute and comfy one from Target as well as some oversized pajama pants I found on Amazon. You want to be comfortable so whichever of these you prefer or both like I did!

2.) Oversized underwear — If you are giving birth vaginally this is key! Get some cheap undies that are way too big! You’ll have to wear pads and ice packs so you will want something that allows this comfortably.

3.)  Nursing bra &/or Tank Top — I got both of these but really didn’t use the tank top until I was home. (It was more tight fitting and I wasn’t as comfortable in it, so be conscious of size! However the bras were so helpful! (Also getting a gown that makes it easy for you to nurse is something to think about as well! Mine had a low neck and then buttoned up the chest so I could just unbutton to breastfeed.

4.) Phone Charger and Extension cord — Of course you can’t forget your phone charger and having an extension cord was so helpful because all of the outlets were too far away to reach the bed without! It just makes your life a little easier!!

5.) Pillow/Blanket — I took my own pillow because I’m picky and also a queen size blanket that I didn’t end up using but my mother did when she slept on the couch in the room with me and so did my husband so its nice to have for the people that are staying with you because that room gets COLD!

6.) DVD’s — I didn’t take any but really wish I would have and my husband forgot them when he made his trip back home! But if you have to be there for a while like I did (over 24 hours of labor) + 3 nights after delivery I was so tired of watching TV and it would have been nice to be able to just pop in a favorite movie.

7.) Toothbrush & toothpaste — Do I really need to explain?

8.) Hair ties — Obvious reasons right?

9.) Bedroom shoes — My feet were SO Swollen most of my pregnancy and for several days after delivery, so I got some bedroom shoes a size too big for the hospital. They want you to walk around pretty soon afterwards and you need something comfy to hobble around the hospital in!

10.) Yeti Cup (Or something like it) — That hospital ice is the BOMB and its the only the besides jello and popsicles that you can eat until you deliver! Plus the cups they give you are pretty small and require a lot more refills than a larger cup.

11.) Robe — This one was so important for me! I got a long robe from Amazon that I lived in! I wasn’t comfortable just being in my nightgown in front of visitors so throwing on my robe was super easy and comfortable! Plus I got a really pretty silk floral robe and it just made me feel good!

12.) Snacks — For your guests up until delivery and then for you afterwards! I was starving by the time Braden finally arrived and hadn’t eaten for over 24 hours!

13.) Headphones — for music during delivery or to listen to to help you go to sleep. Hospital rooms are hard to sleep in with nurses coming in and out but if you have your headphones you can drown it all out!

14.) Body wash — when you take a shower!! Duh!

15.) Shampoo & Conditioner or Dry shampoo

16.) A comfy loose outfit to go home in!

17.) Stool softener — If you are giving birth vaginally, you’ll thank me for this!

18.) Chapstick — Delivering a baby is intense and chapstick was key for me! All that breathing and pushing and everything! Your lips get really dry!

19.) Socks — One thing I left off the list above are socks! If you are anything like me, your feet will get cold! Fuzzy socks were a life savor!

20.) Positive attitude — Labor is scary but your perspective matters too! Stay positive and believe in yourself! You’re stronger than you realize!

Click here to download a printable version of the Hospital Bag Essentials Update

Mommy Monday: Tiffany McLaughin

Mommas/ Soon-to-be Mommas,

My name is Tiffany McLaughlin, I am 27 years old and have been married 2 years to my wonderful husband. I’m here to let you know have no fear your NICU baby will grow, and will be strong enough to hold their own!

Our daughter Paige was born 7-7-16 after I was induced due to preeclampsia. She was born at 37 weeks, and it was a wonderful experience being induced. I had the epidural after being in active labor for 4 hours. I thought all was great and she was perfect. I was wrong, her blood sugars were low(common with preeclampsia) and she was jaundice.

 

Paige was rushed to the NICU and I was rushed in to emergency DNC as I had hemorrhage while Paige was being taken care of with the nurses. That’s another story in itself but it makes recovery from natural birth so much harder.

Paige weighed 5lbs 12oz, 19 in. when she was born and she was our little fighter. She was pricked a women up every hour for blood test, and feeds. I didn’t get to be with her the first 12 hours and I hated every moment. I cried, I called my mom, I was an emotional wreck. Little did I know the strength she was working up to be a strong hanging with the rest of them baby. 10 days is all it took for her to tell the nurses, “I’m ready to go home.”

Paige today is 19 months, taller than most kids her age, but skinny as can be. She is a talker, a lover, and not much of a “cuddler.” She has been sleeping through the night since she was 3 months old, eating since 6 months. I hope to keep this a short burst to tell you moms know, it will be ok. Every story has a rough spot. I’m here to tell you there is good that comes from the bad. Moms be strong, look for support from your family and SO. You can do this. If you have questions or would like to know more into our story please feel free to reach out to me. Iselt91@gmail.com 

Or request to follow me on Instagram: @minniemommatiff

Your fellow Mom,
Tiffany McLaughlin

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