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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Mommy Monday – Shannon Lusk

The Smart Lioness’ – 1st MOMMY MONDAY!!!
Introducing Shannon Allen Lusk
Shannon, Lucy, & her Husband James

Hi!  I’m Shannon.  I am a wife, Social Worker (with a degree from Auburn University), daughter, sister, and of course, proud mommy of a sweet and squishy little 6 month old, Lucy.

 

Lucy, 6 months

Hillary asked me to write an entry for her Mommy Mondays blog a few weeks ago, and I’ve finally mustered up the courage to share some of my new mommy “insight” with y’all.  With a little encouragement (and pushing) from Hillary, I finally decided to write on one of the most essential parts of every relationship we have: communication.

*DISCLAIMER: I’m new to this whole Mommy thing, so please take what I say lightly. This is in no way meant to mommy-shame or imply that I have it altogether, because I certainly do not. These are just some of the thoughts I have as I navigate through this new and unfamiliar phase of my life.

Lucy, Flower Child 🙂

After my husband and I got married on August 29, 2015 we knew we didn’t want to wait long before starting a family.  And to our surprise we found out I was expecting about a month before our first anniversary.  I went through all of the emotions you would typically expect after seeing that positive pregnancy test, but I can very vividly remember thinking, “Gosh, I hope it’s a boy.”  I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself the worst teenager but I also know that I wasn’t the easiest to live with, and I was (and still am) scared to raise a teenage girl because let’s face it, karma really is a b**$h.  But low and behold, here I sit with a beautiful, healthy, and happy six month old baby girl that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

As soon as I found out we would be bringing home the daughter that I was already terrified of, I decided that I would work my hardest to let her know how much I would love, accept, and support her.  I have had enough education and experiences (as a Social Worker) to know that communication between children and their parents will significantly impact the child’s life; your past relationships will always influence your current and future relationships.  But how do you communicate with a child who can’t speak yet and (probably) doesn’t understand a word you’re saying?

 

Before we get into that, I think it’s important to emphasize that every child is different and every mother is different, so as a result, every communication style between a mother and her child will be different.  The methods that work for Lucy and I may not have the same results for you and your child(ren).  Therefore, I believe it is important to develop your own style of communication that will help mold these important relationships. 

I’m sure you have heard of The Five Love Languages written by Gary Chapman (which I am a huge fan of and highly recommend you reading), but you may not know that he has also written The Five Love Languages of Children.  In the book overview he writes, “Everything depends on the love relationship between you and your child. When children feel loved, they do their best… Discover your child’s primary language and learn what you can do to effectively convey unconditional feelings of respect, affection, and commitment that will resonate in your child’s emotions and behavior.”

 

This is just one of the many resources floating around that can help you decipher how to better communicate with and love your child(ren), but again we’re back to the question I had earlier: How do you communicate with a child who can’t speak yet and (probably) doesn’t understand a word you’re saying?

To answer that question that haunted me for most of the 10 months of my pregnancy (that’s not a typo, 40 weeks = 10 months so don’t believe any of that 9 month garbage they tell you) I reflected back on my teenage years.  You know, back when I knew everything and thought my parents were clueless.  And I realized that, if I had known that my parents actually experienced, and understood many of the same emotions (and hormones) that I was trying to navigate through as teenager, maybe, I would have heeded their advice more often than I did. 

So I came up with the idea to write a journal to Lucy, one entry each month for the first year of her life and then at least one entry per year (I plan to have some “bonus entries” thrown in every now and then).  My strategy is to give the journal to her on her 16th birthday (when her teenage rage will most likely be at its peak) so she will hopefully understand that like her, I too have real emotions and can possibly relate to many of the hardships that she will no doubt experience in her teenage years, and even beyond. 

As of now, most of the entries are just chronicling the milestones she’s reaching each month, but I always make sure to include some of my hopes for her future.  I try to encourage her independence and reassure her strengths as a woman – I pray that she will fall in love with herself before she falls in love with anyone else.  I also write often about my marriage so she will be able to recognize and engage in healthy relationships of her own once she is ready.  And although I write about my life choices, I encourage her to choose her own path – one that will make her the happiest, and I assure her that I will always support the decisions that she makes.  The main goal I hope to achieve from this journal is for Lucy to one day be able to read all of the important things I may not get the chance or take the time to tell her.

 

Lucy with her journal

 

Another creative communication technique that may work for you (and something I intend to do as Lucy gets older) is writing letters to each other on a regular basis.  I think this is such a fun and non-threatening way to encourage honesty between you and your child(ren).  It opens up a line of communication that is constant and confidential, and also protects you from making the “Oh my gosh!” face in front of your kid if/when they drop some really shocking information on you. 

The Center for Effective Parenting states that, “Effective, open communication takes a lot of hard work and practice. Parents should remember that they will not be perfect. Parents make mistakes. What is important is that parents make the effort to effectively communicate with their children starting when their children are very young. The result will be a much closer, positive relationship between parents and their children.” 

Like I mentioned earlier in the post, these ideas may or may not work for you and your child(ren).  You might already be dealing with teenagers, or don’t have the time to sit down and write on a regular basis, or writing just may not be your forte.  But I challenge you to find a way to increase the communications you’re currently having with your child(ren), because it can only improve your relationship.  There is a plethora of resources online, or you could reach out to Hillary Ivey Montijo @thesmartlioness – she is an EXPERT in communication! 

If you have a creative and effective form of communication that you want to share, please comment below.  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Thanks for reading,

      Shannon Allen Lusk

What Do You Mean.. “Unapologetically Me?”

“Unapologetically Me”

What does it mean to be “unapologetically me?” That’s the question, I have had on my mind lately, the “way of living” I’m trying to describe to you, and myself. I know it when I see it! That’s for sure! When you think of people who are unapologetically themselves, who do you think of?

First person that comes to my mind is, Wendy Williams! I just love that woman! She is just completely herself, or she’s a damn good actress because she seems genuine AF to me!

Another badass lady that comes to my mind is Lucille Ball! Hell! One of my favorite quotes is from Lucy herself, “Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.” And clearly, Lucille Ball had shit figured out! Now more than ever, is it important to remember this quote! So many people lose themselves in their partner, in their work, or into their problems, because we all, at least at some point in our lives, fail to follow this BASIC, BUT KEY RULE, of living a fulfilling and happy life!!

WHY? Why, Do we do this to ourselves?
  1. We think it’s our religious or Christian duty.

We think it’s our religious duty to “put others first, before ourselves,” or “make sacrifices.”  But God did not mean for us to do so at our expenses.  Become “one flesh” does not mean that you lose yourself in your husband, it means you make a life together, and you share an intimacy & bond that entwines your souls together, so you don’t have to lose yourself.  Your relationship is intimate not only sexually, but more importantly, emotionally.

2. We have damaged boundaries, or a lack of boundaries all together.

Our boundaries are our property lines, and what separates us, and what keeps us protected from other people. If you don’t have boundaries, it’s like being in a dark, dangerous alley at night and not expecting something bad to happen. Our boundaries keep us from being emotionally hurt or abused. Our boundaries are those lines that we lay down with everyone in our life, the people that love us and respect our boundaries have no problem dealing with this, however the people in your life that have boundary issues, will not handle it so smoothly.

3. We don’t value ourself, or know our own worth.

If you are the same woman that doesn’t take care of herself, because “she’s trying to be a good Christian,” did you forget that being a Christian means you are a child of God, born in his image. There’s worth in simply being that, girl! OPEN YOUR EYES! God made you to be some thing completely and totally unique, but you can’t see it because you’re too busy counting the wrinkles that keep popping up, or too busy pretending you are happy and fulfilled to realize you have totally lost your worth, your respect for yourself.

 

If you are guilty of one or all three of the above reasons I listed, PLEASE consider signing up for my NEW Program beginning October 1st. It is an 8 week interactive program that not only teaches you how to make a lifestyle change but helps provides everything you need to commit to living a life that’s yours!!

Do you feel like you base your happiness and worth on what other people think of you? 

Do you put everyone else’s feelings as priorities, but not your own? 

Is heartbreak becoming way too familiar to you? 

Are you experiencing more stress/anxiety & fear than you are health & happiness?

Well then, my Lovely Lioness, it’s time to make a change!! The first step starts with investing in yourself!!

 

  • 8 Lioness Lessons over the course of 8 weeks (Weekly Live videos)

– 8 Yoga Classes with Laura Lee Stjernstrom

– 6 Color Me Quickers – Adults That Love Coloring Adult Coloring Sheets


– Budgeting PDFs From Bossfidence


– 2 Workouts with Saje Cox Loftin from #SajeCoxFitness Sisters


+Plus: Gratitude Journal PDF, Self Love Journal Page, Goal Setting PDF, Self Assessments AND MORE SURPRISES ARE IN THE WORKS!!! 

+AND — I’m like having your very own Tinkerbell/Fairy Godmother/Cheerleader all in one!! 😉 You Message me & almost always get an IMMEDIATE answer!

Pay once for the Full 8 week program- $150 & SAVE $50
OR -The First 4 weeks for $100 —Pay another $100 later for second half.

When we invest money in ourselves and in our own personal development & growth, we tend to invest more emotionally as well. When you spend money on something, aren’t you going to try and get your money’s worth?? WELL you SHOULD! A Smart Lioness ALWAYS DOES!

Click here to sign up for “Unapologetically Me” Full 8 Weeks

Click here to sign up for “Unapologetically Me” Mini – 4 Weeks

Or Click here to message me on Facebook if you have questions!

 

The Smart Lioness Challenges You to — DARE TO ROAR!!

 

 

 

Lioness Ladies!!!

How are you doing on this lovely Sunday morning?? (Whatever time it is, where you are). Today’s blog post I write with total excitement because my new challenge Dare to Roar starts tomorrow!!

This Challenge is FREE & will be 7 Days!

 

We’ll discuss:

  • What is your personality type?

  • What is your love language?

  • Who are you REALLY?

  • What are your values?

  • What is your purpose?

Clearly there is more to it than those 5 questions but I can’t give away all the juicy details, now can I??

My goal for this challenge is for you to come out of it with a greater awareness for yourself, your needs, wants, & attitudes. Ways that you can strengthen your weaknesses & build your strengths!

Laura Lee Stjernstrom will be providing our Smart Lioness Pride group on Facebook with a live mini meditation to get the ball rolling! Then  I will be live shortly after Laura Lee to get this party started!! (I’ll be live at 7:30 btw).

If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments! I always see them!!

I hope that you ladies have a wonderful rest of your Sunday before we have to go back to the real world on Monday!! But, hey, at least you have Dare to Roar to look forward to this week!

 

If there is a certain topic you would like me to discuss, please just let me know!! I’ll be happy to do whatever I can to help you ladies out!

Oh yeah and if you haven’t signed up for my Weekly Newsletter: Lioness Lately — A Weekly Love Letter for the Lioness Lady that comes every Monday to turn those Monday blues into Monday Pinks & Yellows! 😀

 

Click here to sign up for my Dare to Roar Challenge!!

 

See you soon my lovlies!

Live in the Smart Lioness Pride group!

Until next time,

Be passionate

Be Brave 

Be YOU!

Sending you lost of love and light,

Hillary the Smart Lioness

Help Me Develop My Next Product!

Hello my Lovely Lionesses!

 

I have been laying low on the blog lately because I have been working on some new products to provide you gals! But I need your help! I’m having writer’s block except for creating new products, not really writing! YOU know what I mean!! ..right?

Anyway, I was working on a new free 7 day series on Boundaries, then started rethinking my topic because I’m not sure if that’s what you all want to work on. So I decided to just come straight to the source and ask you! What would you like for my next FREEBIE Series to be? If you could have anything, no matter how much you think it would cost, what would you like to see “in my store?” (Clearly I don’t have a store, & most of what I provide can’t be bought in a store anyway, but it gives a good visual, don’t you think?) But for real, tell me!

I’m also heading in a slightly different direction than I’ve been going with my content, focus, etc as far as products/services that I offer go. My blog is always going to have multiple topics and types of content because… because that’s just how I LIKE IT!! 🙂

So here is a little bit to give you an idea of where I’m headed…

How to Relationship in the Real World

        For the ladies who have been cheated on, mistreated, & wronged! For the ladies who are PASSED PISSED & ready to move on to healthier, happier places!

I’m liking PASSED PISSED as a title of something FA SHO!  It just has a good ring to it! 🙂

So let me hear from YOU!! What do YOU want??? Tell me in the comments here or you can shoot me an email at thesmartlioness@gmail.com or Message me on Facebook or Instagram!

 

What are the Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship?

Do you question if your relationship is one that is healthy for you? Has your partner shown “red flags” while you have been together?

We all deserve to be happy, fulfilled, and in healthy relationships. Are you not quite sure if your own relationship is healthy? Complete my Healthy Relationship Questionnaire to assess if your romantic relationship is healthy or not. The directions for how to score the questionnaire are included.

The most common form of an unhealthy relationship is one that is based on power & control vs respect and equality.  Being constantly ridiculed or put down, feeling as though you are constantly walking on eggshells, or worse — pushing, hitting, or slapping are all forms of abuse and if you are someone who is experiencing this type of behavior or have in the past, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. This is why this subject is so near and dear to my heart. I have been in your very spot, thinking.. “what? abuse? How the f*%k did I let it get this far?! How did I get here?!”

My journey has been one with many plot twists, to say in the least. But I wouldn’t be where I am today without my past experiences and even though some of them are tough to remember, (memories come flooding back as I’m writing this) memories that make me cringe, when my mind starts to go in that direction. I have to stop myself and bring myself back to the here and now. I use that energy to put into my work in helping other women become educated on what a healthy relationship is, how to set boundaries, and how to build her confidence to that of a Lioness!

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no where near perfect! It’s a constant effort I put forth to keep my self confidence on the higher end of the self confidence spectrum but, I do the work and it continues to build. It’s still a process and some days my Inner Lioness is fully Unleashed and some days she’s no where to be found.  And I’m ok with that, I’m not perfect, and there is no need in my trying. There are so many different and better ways to use that energy than on the negatives.

 

You too can get through whatever struggles you are dealing with!! Change your thinking, and quit making things worse on yourself. Take your mind from the dark places and into the light. Its warmer in the light!

Click here to take the Healthy Relationship Questionnaire

If you have further questions after taking this questionnaire please feel free to contact me on Facebook with your questions and concerns. I am happy to discuss your score with you, in fact, I would LOVE to discuss your score with you! So I encourage you to contact me once you have completed the questionnaire!

You can contact me by clicking here!

If you don’t want to talk to me, there are other resources. If you are in the Dothan, Alabama area, The Exchange Center for Child Abuse Prevention provides free counseling to anyone who has experienced abuse at any point in their life.

Or click here to go to Domestic Violence National Hotline Website