Monday Mindset: A holiday pep-talk

Let’s talk IG vs. reality… On the daily instagram serves us ultra-curated snippets of perfection. Perfect angles, perfect lighting, spotless homes with farm sinks and all white aesthetics. And then the holidays hit and it multiplies – elaborate family costumes, porches decorated to the nines, kids smiling in photos. It is so easy to scroll on social media and feel like you aren’t doing, buying, planning, being “enough”. This Monday Mindset is here to remind you are enough and your reality is beautiful even if it looks nothing like one of those curated squares. Let go of the pressures to do/be/buy more & instead just be. Let’s embrace the parts of the holidays we truly enjoy and let the rest of the expectations go! This halloween is completely different for us, because everyone is sick. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t felt the pangs of disappointment that Will is missing wearing his costume to school and their Halloween Party, but at the end of the day I’m disappointed because I’m attached to that expectation. As soon as I let go of all the expectations I had and welcomed our reality it felt easier to shift gears and decide to make the most of our halloween at home this year. So whether you’re a crafty mom, and event planning mom, an amazon prime mom or some combo like most of us, here’s your reminder to leave your phone in the other room, let go of whatever expectations you’re putting on yourself. The funny thing is when we take a deep breath and slow down and be, our kids mirror that energy and you might just get a genuine smile.

5 Ways to Stop Pushing Snooze

For years I bought into the limiting belief that I’m not a morning person, my old night shift working self loved spending all day in bed and having breakfast at 4pm. Now fast-forward to having two toddlers. Sleeping in all day just isn’t a possibility anymore. But I also quickly learned that mornings where I got up a 15-30 minutes before my kids I was suddenly more patient, calm, I felt like the morning started on my terms instead of whatever meltdown my three year was gonna choose to have at 7am. If you’ve tried waking up early and are in a constant standoff between you and the snooze button here are some tips that have helped me skip the snooze and get my mornings off to a more peaceful, intentional start!

  1. Lay your clothes out – have your clothes for the morning already set out. Whether you’re headed to work or working out, having your clothes picked out the night before makes getting dressed something you can do while still half asleep. There’s no riffling for that pair of legging you swore was clean. Have everything you need right there so you can shut your alarm off and start changing!
  2. Charge your phone across the room – This is the change that has helped me the MOST when it comes to getting up early… Having to physically get out of bed to shut your alarm off means your feet are on the ground and you’re physically “up”. You have to then make a decision of if you want to get back in bed. The snooze button and I have our battles but I know that button would be undefeated if I it was directly next to my bed. Bonus about charing your phone across the room is you cut down on mindless scrolling in bed, which gets me to sleep faster at night!
  3. Have a plan – Take a few minutes the night before and know what your plan is in the morning. Will you be working out, will you be taking your dog for a walk, getting some work tasks off your list? Reading? Our brains will look for any excuse or reason to push snooze. By taking a few minutes to plan ahead, having your laptop charged and set up so you can start on your list, knowing exactly what workout or where you’ll walk your dog, keeps us from having to make these decisions in the moment when we’re struggling to wake up already!
  4. Go to bed early – The best way to ensure you wake up earlier is to get more sleep!! Waking up earlier actually starts the night before. If i’m in bed after 11 the chances of my morning ritual happening are low!! Stop sacrificing tomorrow by staying up late the night before.
  5. Look forward to something – this can be a hot shower after your workout, your cup of coffee, getting to read uninterrupted, a delicious breakfast, enjoying the silence before your kids wake up. Having something you look forward to in the morning helps your brain remember why we’re dragging ourselves out of bed!

Monday Mindset: How I broke up with toxic diet culture, for good.

It’s Sunday night, I scroll pinterest for “healthy” dinner ideas, saving “at home arms & abs” workouts. I tell myself this Monday will be different. This time I’m really going to stick to my goals. Monday I’m on fire, but by the end of the week my plan has gone off the rails and I’ve thrown in the towel again, wondering what was wrong with me, why I couldn’t stick to my plan… gearing up to tell myself next Monday it will be different. And so the exhausting cycle continues. I spent a decade living in this cycle. Constantly making and breaking promises to myself. Having the pendulum swing from overly ambitious fitness goals to binge eating taco bell in my car alone. I subscribed to toxic fitness myths that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, I tracked calories, I held the unhealthy belief that food was something to be earned. I thought if I saw a certain number on the scale that would mean success. I took every fresh start I could and it would burn hot and bright but only for a moment. And then I would find myself right back where I started, never reaching any goals & not feeling any better. The constant starting and stopping, the feeling of defeat before I even started felt never ending. But I’m going to share how I broke this cycle, how I became consistent and found a way to enjoy movement, how I helped mend my relationship with food.

I prioritized – the simple unsexy truth is: I cut the crap and prioritized 20-30 min 3 – 4 days a week. I don’t have some secret abundance of extra time laying around but I MAKE the time. We live in a society that tells us a “good” mom gives absolutely everything for her children regardless of the toll it takes on her. I call bullshit on that. As moms we wear a hundred different hats, and it’s easy to feel like nothing is ours when we spend our days giving so much to everyone else. But this 30 minutes is mine. It isn’t for anyone else but me! It gives me more energy, patience, confidence, and strength than any bubble bath or night out ever could. I learned to protect this tiny window of time and make it happen more days than not, because at the end of the day only you can make YOU a priority.

I broke up with my all or nothing mindset – Life is not all or nothing. Being healthy or fit isn’t comprised of perfection it’s built upon dozens of small choices we make day in and day out that compound over time. It’s moving your body more days than not. It’s going to bed 20 min earlier, it’s drinking water before a meal, it’s eating less out of boxes and more real food, it’s getting outside, it’s carving out stillness. It’s showing yourself kindness and focusing on building yourself up instead of tearing yourself down. I accepted the imperfect workouts where a toddler joined me, or a nap was cut short. I learned showing up imperfectly four days a week would carry me further than to show up for one perfect day.

I simplified. If a new habit is gonna stick it needs to be as easy and resistance free as possible. After having kids the logistical struggle of coordinating childcare and then finding motivation to use that precious kid-free time at the gym was just not a reality for me. I’m also not a personal trainer, I don’t enjoy or have the mental capacity to create my own workouts. I need it to be simple, straightforward and requiring as few decisions from me as possible. I found a netflix for workouts that I can do anywhere. I started in our tiny living room in San Francisco with a set of 5 pounds weights. I picked a 21 day program to do over 31 days and I simply started. Remember, you don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step.

Lead by example: I thought about the message and the example I wanted to set for my boys. Do I really want them to view exercise as a way to punish our bodies for things that we eat? Do I want them to moralize food as “good” or “bad”. I though hard about the message I wanted to send them. And I decided I want them see movement and exercise is a way to thank and care for our bodies. I want them to view food as fuel for your body. I want them to know what science has shown us, that movement boosts happiness, decreases risks for depression, improves sleep, strengthens muscles and bones, cuts our cancer and diabetes risks, reduces pain, energizes us, helps our immune system, the list goes on and on. There are dozens upon dozens of reasons to exercise & eat well. I want them to be able to think of 100 reasons to move and have none of them to be about the way their body looks or a number on a scale. We create our children’s inner dialogues and the same way we teach them to have healthy relationships with peers we also wield the power to teach healthy relationships with food and exercise and the most powerful and meaningful way to teach them is to be an example of healthy relationships.

I swapped motivation for discipline – I stopped letting motivation be the determining factor of whether or not I was going to do my workout. Because the truth is motivation is unreliable. More days than not it is nowhere to be found, so instead I lean on discipline. It’s okay that I’m not motivated, I’m still going to follow through on my commitment because I know how I’ll feel afterward. Honoring our commitments builds momentum. If I had an obligation to a friend I wouldn’t break that promise so it’s time to treat myself like a good friend.

I found gratitude – I stopped viewing working out as a burden. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a body that can move and lift and jump and run and carry my babies. Why I am a purposefully turning a blessing into a burden?? Instead I shifted my mindset to one of immense gratitude. Gratitude for all my body has done for me over the last 30 years. The miles it’s carried me, the heart and breath that go on without thought, the safe home it’s grown and then nourished multiple babies from. Why would I want to punish my body when all she truly deserves is thanks.

80/20 – I unsubscribed from thinking carbs were evil. I quit eliminating entire food groups, I don’t track macros or count calories. I don’t tell myself I can’t eat something that I love. That’s not living and it is not sustainable. If your plan is restriction based that’s where you’ll have serious back slides, fueled with resentment. Instead, 80% of the time I focus on more water, more protein and more vegetables. And 20% I eat what I want, without guilt. The without guilt is key. I order my five guys burger and milkshake or get pizza and drink wine on Friday nights and don’t worry about how many calories are in it or how much cardio will be required to even it out. I don’t have to fill myself with guilt because I know I’ll be back to my 80% tomorrow. This allows to me eat Halloween candy or bake Christmas cookies or get cocktails and dessert on date night and truly ENJOY it, giving myself this 20% of guiltless freedom makes the 80% doable.

I keep grace in my back pocket – This journey is not about perfection. So we have to take a little pressure off ourselves. There will be sick kids, unexpected errands, injuries, travel, sleepless nights, or days our bodies yearn for rest. So I’ve learned how to extend grace and be gentle with myself. And when I get off track, when a day or two off turns into a week, I pick up right where I left off. I don’t spend time beating myself up about it, I let go of any shame or guilt or thoughts of failure and I simply choose to show up again.

There is no finish line when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle – so it is KEY to find sustainable habits that fit into your life no matter what season you might be in. We love to dramatically overcomplicate fitness and then wonder why we aren’t seeing results or feeling the benefits. I hope this post encourages you and helps you shift some mindset blocks you might have when it comes to working out. Not only have my home workouts helped me lose 40 pounds (not once but twice!) they have truly been a gateway to immense personal development and growth! And if you’re curious about what programs I use, if you want an accountability buddy or just have questions feel free to reach out. I’m an open book about my fitness journey & would love to help another mom create this space for herself!

Monday Mindset: How to harness your hardships & why it matters!

We think it’s the happy experiences, the birthdays, the week long vacations, the promotions, that make us happy in life, but it’s not. Ultimately what allows us to find happiness and joy even for the smallest moments is in fact, hardships. How can you appreciate the warm sun on your face, if you’ve never known what it feels to be cold. The same is true in life. Glennon Doyle reminds us “The truest, most beautiful life never promises to be an easy one. We need to let go of the lie that it’s supposed to be”

All of our lives are shaped by a mix of circumstances, choices and luck or lack thereof. And “being happy” is deeply connected to our ability to find joy and optimism regardless of our circumstances.

Consider This: “Your worst memories don’t go away and they don’t get better. But you can get better. You are more than the sum of your suffering.”

Dan Baker, What Happy People Know

Your struggles ultimately leave you with this choice of allowing them to shape you for better or for worse. Choosing to do so isn’t as simple as a flick of a switch. It takes acknowledgment and reflection. For me personally, writing about my experiences has been key to allowing myself to learn and grow from that experience. I wrote a post about Chris’ encephalitis and how I really struggled to process that experience. A textbook trauma response to a situation I had yet to really come to terms with. I so desperately wanted to step around it, vehemently resisting reliving it or talking about it. I simply wanted to “move on”. The funny thing about trauma is, it doesn’t work that way. The harder you slam the door shut on it & the stronger it will boomerang back bursting open. Ignoring hardships or choosing not to engage is not processing. And you certainly can get better by ignoring it.

No matter what your struggles are, big or small they play a key role in your mindset. If you’ve allowed every struggle, every misstep to accumulate, if you’re holding on to blame, and grief, and anger it is undoubtedly weighing you down. Dan Baker puts it simply “other people can hurt your, but only you can victimize yourself”.

If you play this life game long enough you realize that bad ish happens to everyone. Even the happiest person you know has not had a life free from suffering. The magic happens in your response when life is throwing obstacles in your way. We get the opportunity to write our narrative. The story we tell ourselves becomes our life.

Try This: Harness your own hardships

Write! This is my biggest tip for transforming hardship. Write. Write about what it was like. The way it made you feel, give actual names to emotions that come up: helpless, disappointed, lonely, anxious, jealous etc. Whether it was a job you didn’t get, a string of bad luck, whether it was something life altering or something on a smaller scale, these are all opportunities for us to grow. You know how you feel better after a good cry, writing is very similar. You’re able to empty out your mind and your emotions and often will feel a weight lifted.

Reflect on the story you’re telling yourself – is it one of blame, insecurity, anger? Or is it a story that is hopeful, perseverant, joyful, energetic? The words we tell ourselves our incredibly powerful.

Give yourself time – Not every hardship is created equal. Some may effect us for longer or just take more time to sort through. And that is okay, after Chris was in the ICU I so badly just wanted to snap my fingers and for life go back to normal. When in reality it would take over a year before he felt like himself again & it would take me a whole other year to process from that experience.

Ask yourself “what can I learn from this experience”… Once you start writing a page or two a funny thing happens it all pours out!

Monday Mindset – The one habit that transformed motherhood

If I were to look back and try to pinpoint what set in motion all my mindset and habit changes over the last four years, one thing in particular stands out. Waking up ahead of my kids… This ability to safeguard a little bit of time for myself at the beginning of each day without a doubt transformed my motherhood.

When I started waking up early I was pregnant with Johnathan, Will had dropped down to one nap a day. Suddenly I was scrambling for time to get things done, uninterrupted. My day would start with fussing and crying and I would instantly feel behind. I had started my coaching business, and my to-do lists were long. I was feeling frustrated, short tempered and was quickly realizing I needed to change something. I started small, just 15 minutes ahead of when Wills sound machine would click off. I’d take a few minutes to wake up, maybe jot down a plan for the day, wash my face in silence, sit and pet Juno. This quickly increased to me waking up 30 min early so I could get my workout done first thing. An amazing thing happens when you start giving your body and your mind this space. You begin to CRAVE this silence, this peace. I pretty quickly noticed a shift. Mornings where I didn’t get up early felt tense, I was easily thrown into a bad mood, I was on edge. Mornings where I gave myself a few minutes to wake up allowed for a sense of calm and the ability to handle whatever came at me!

Now I know what you’re thinking “there’s no way I could wake up any earlier than I have to”, stick with me here. I want to be clear, I was never a morning person. I love to sleep in. My former nightshift self relished in getting to sleep until 5pm. However, for the season of life I’m in, with young children, sleeping in is not only unattainable but also not functional or efficient for my life. In this season, when my kids are at home the majority of the day and still need me for many things, I need to front-load my day. When I do this I’m happier, I’m more patient, I’m certainly more productive. I’m able to approach my kids and my family from a place of calm and compassion. Instead of waking to the onslaught of toddler demands, I’m able to exert a little control in how I start my day. If I want to listen to a podcast, if I want to sit in silence and drink coffee, if I want to meditate outside, I can. When I give myself this gift of space and time to wake up, I’m no longer thrown off or upset when I find my two year olds night time diaper malfunctioned or whatever unforeseen event is waiting for me when the rest of the house wakes up. The reality is there are few places throughout your day where you’re able to find some extra time, so giving yourself even a 15 minute cushion of time in the morning allows for you to feel less stressed and more prepared for the day. As mothers we act from a place of servitude, however resentment can rear it’s ugly head when you feel like you’re serving others from the moment your eyes open each day until you fall in bed that night.

** Important caveat here – there are seasons of your life where this is not possible and sleep takes priority, hello newborn bubble. If you are in a season like this, grace. Grace is your biggest friend. Give yourself a big serving of grace, take seconds if you need to, and know that this season will pass **

consider this:

We tend to wear our ability to get by on little sleep as some sort of badge of honor that validates our work ethic but what it is a profound failure of self respect and of priorities. Then nearly a quarter of us do something else that starts us out on the second wrong foot of the day. We reach for our cell phones within one minute of waking up. Over half of us are checking messages within ten minutes. The majority of people go from out cold to processing mountains of information within minutes every morning. There are only six cars that can go from zero to sixty in under two seconds. Like most cars, humans are not built for that kind of sudden transition, mentally or physically. 

Dan Baker, What Happy People Know

Try this: skip the AM scroll.

Pick a day or two this week to set your alarm 15-20 min early & hold off on immediately scrolling, instead focus on a transition. When we immediately start our days by staring into our prized little rectangles we are giving our energy to other peoples messages, emails, we begin subconsciously comparing and our minds are instantly drawn to things we thing we “should” be doing. When we start our days with high pressure or high stress, we program ourselves to stay in that state the rest of the day and it can be hard to self correct out. By giving ourselves even just a few minutes to transition we can drastically alter the tone of the day.

I’ll share the framework of my morning routine in an upcoming post, but know, it has seen many iterations through the years. And ultimately our needs and circumstances are all different. Some women will want this time to read, to make lists, to workout, to pray or to run their businesses. What works for me in this particular season may not serve you as well. It’s less about how you fill this time and more about creating time that serves YOU. If spending 5 min unloading the dishwasher before everyone is up will make you feel on top of your game do it. If spending 15 min reading while you drink coffee will energize you do it. Consider you pain-points. What is making your morning feel chaotic… is it trying to get ready while little hands grab at you, is it never having time or motivation to workout, is it trying to prep school lunches and make breakfast? Most of our morning tasks can be completed much faster when we’re alone, it’s those tiny people that drag efficiency down… love em’ but it’s true!

I would love to hear if you already do this, or if this is something you’ve tried but struggled with or something you’ve just never considered. For me, waking up 30 – 40 earlier than my kids gives me vastly more energy than staying in bed would for that same amount of time. It sets my day off on the right foot, I dictate the tone and the energy. Try it and see how your motherhood transforms!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

1. Cooler 2. Waterproof Hat 3. Battery Pack. 4. Wallet.
5. Breakfast Sandwich Maker. 6. Car Vacuum 7. Handprints

Father’s Day is right around the corner so I thought I’d share some ideas for anyone still looking for a gift for that Dad in their life! Plus all of these items are still in stock and will get shipped in time for Father’s Day!

  1. RTIC Cooler – If you follow me on instagram, you might remember I polled asking for peoples opinions on the Yeti coolers and if they were worth the serious $$ they cost. Most people responded that, yes they were as good as they claim, however the brand RTIC was just as good with a smaller price tag! This 52 qt RTIC cooler is what I opted to get Chris this year, I liked it because it came with a removable divider and a basket! Compared to a similar yeti cooler it’s $175 less expensive!
  2. Waterproof Hat – From the photo this might look like just another hat, but these are the perfect summer hat, they are water friendly, lightweight, and floatable! This was actually on my list for last Father’s Day and the color I had wanted sold out!
  3. Battery Pack – This was a gift I got for my dad! Something he wouldn’t go out and purchase for himself but that he gets TONS of use out of! These will recharge an iphone about 3 times!
  4. Wallet – This nonbulky wallet has a pull tab so you can easily access cards. I got this for Chris two years ago and it’s still in great shape & he loves it! Comes it lots of colors!
  5. Breakfast Sandwich Maker – Make your own McMuffin at home! We own one of these and it’s so good! My dad actually gave this gift to Chris his first fathers day!! It makes for a fun easy weekend breakfast! Just fyi the metal tabs get blazing hot so use an oven mitt!
  6. Car Vacuum – For the dad who hates crumbs in his car…
  7. Last but NOT least, keeping it simple makes for the best gifts. I made these handprints with the boys last year for Father’s Day. Put them in a simple white frame and now they live in Chris’ office. Took 10 minutes and cost less than $10!

The Monday in March That Started It All.

For most people March means the welcoming of Spring & St. Patricks Day. But for me, March will always make me pause, make me look around and think about all the different ways my life could have gone. Three years ago on a random March Monday our world flipped upside down. I thought I was taking my husband to the ER for an unmanageable migraine. In the hours that followed, his mentation deteriorated, I held my 10 month old son, and watched as my coworkers work fervently trying to figure out what had caused my high functioning husband to suddenly become unable to finish sentences, use his hands, or even follow commands. I sat beside him as a machine breathed for him, in the same room I had cared for countless intubated patients over the years. Stunned that this was my reality.

About a month after Chris’ “outage” as we jokingly refer to it now, I did write a post about our experience with viral encehphalitis, you can read it here . It’s funny because there are similar threads, thoughts on immense gratitude for life but reading it now it’s clear that at the time I thought “welp processed that, time to move on”. I refer to Chris’ recovery in the past tense, when in reality it would be over a year before he truly felt like himself again. And I would spend the year having intense flash backs and resisting attempts at truly processing it. Perspective baby.

I wish I could say that those nights in the ICU were the hardest part but the weeks and months that followed would be far more arduous. The get well flowers wilted and life outside our apartment walls went back to normal but inside I felt shell shocked. I was on edge wondering if every bout of dizziness or return of a headache was the start of Chris’ encephalitis returning. In the midst of balancing the household responsibilities and caring for our ten month old son the trauma loomed over us. At the time, I remember mostly saying “I don’t wanna talk about, let’s just move on”. Spoiler alert – you can’t just move on from your trauma without ever processing it.

I resisted for so long, thinking the walls I was building up would protect me. My decade as an ER nurse has been a masterclass at keeping trauma at arms distance, emotionally detaching myself from immense sorrow. It’s how us nurses are able to go from compressing a lifeless chest one minute & doing a vision test the next. A skill that I’ve since learned should be used with measure. When it came to this, the more I turned away the more it hurt. As much as I yearned for everything to “be normal” again it wouldn’t be. And that was the point. This was meant to transform us, if we’d let it.

I started recognizing that even though I didn’t want to “relive it” I already was, and it was happening out of my control (usually at work). Those memories seared into my brain, played like a movie with crystal clearness. I would get flashes of what happened that day, my coworkers sprinting around. The looks on peoples faces. The same hallway I walk dozens of time per shift, that I sat and sobbed in, all those memories loomed under the surface, red hot. About a year ago I was transferring a patient to the ICU. The patient was going into the same room Chris had been in. When I crossed the threshold in an instant I was taken right back to being at his bedside. The first two nights I had ever spent away from my son. As I wheeled my patient waves of overwhelming heaviness and fear washed over me. Fear of not knowing what life would be like when he was extubated. Wondering what would he remember, how much PT would he need, how far from baseline would he be starting at? Would I suddenly be caring for my son & my husband? All the feelings and fears I never allowed myself feel in real time because I was flexing my detachment muscle as hard as I possibly could.

That night I went home and wrote. I wrote about what it felt like to walk back into that room, I wrote about my fears, I wrote about the last twelve months. I wrote about things I didn’t even realize were below the surface. Some of which would be the skeleton of this post. My younger self used to fill journal after journal growing up. That habit abruptly stopped when nursing school took over my life. Writing in journals suddenly felt juvenile, like something I did only as a kid, before I had real problems. But here I was watching the words pour out of me. Chris’ encephalitis albeit life altering and terrifying has been the single biggest catalyst for change for not only Chris but myself as well.

This transformation certainly didn’t happen overnight, and in writing this, I know it is still ongoing. In some ways this experience feels like yesterday and other times it feels like a lifetime ago. It isn’t until you’re met head on with life’s raw fragility that you’re faced with either growing and evolving or hiding away. I could have continued to turn away, continued to say “I don’t wanna talk about it or relive it” but I’m convinced I wouldn’t have grown. Instead, eventually, I turned into it.

Right away we prioritized physical health – Per his doctors recommendations we did the Whole30 diet to figure out what had caused his body to be in such a hyper-inflammatory state. Chris embarked on Neuro Physical Therapy. I leaned into my at home workouts that I knew were keeping me from totally losing it. We slowed way down. Chris started talk therapy, and I actually agreed to open up about my experience. We discovered our enneagram types and recognized the role they played in our relationship, our daily lives and the way we communicate with one another. I started writing again. And last year I started meditating. Sitting with my thoughts, creating space and stillness has opened entire new worlds for me. I started intentionally choosing to use that experience to shape my life going forward. I recognized that through bettering myself, through facing my trauma I could help others.

This March I felt a very strong pull to lean back into things that bring me genuine happiness. I bought a doodle pad, I dusted off my sewing my machine, I’m reading books that make me laugh and cry. I’m posting here more! I’m planting flowers in every open space in our yard. I’m filling journals again, I’m overcommitting to projects (because I secretly love that)!

So this morning, this March Monday, I’m up before the sun. I’m giving my mind the gift of pausing. I’m moving my body and overall I’m thankful. Because even thought it may not seem like it it. It’s all connected. Your gifts, your circumstances, your purpose, your imperfections; your journey, your destiny. It’s molding you. Embrace it.

21 in 2021

Nearly all of us have made New Years resolutions only to watch them fizzle out before February. The end of the year can stir up all kinds of feelings. Whether your year was filled with great change, new additions to your family or maybe your year was filled with setbacks or grief, or maybe like most of us, a little of both. Sometimes it can be hard to look back and try to set goals especially if maybe your goals haven’t changed much. I love reflecting on the year, and thinking about what I want to take forward with me into the new year, but the idea of making resolutions is kinda bleh. A few years ago I was listening to a podcast where they shared the idea of instead of making resolutions creating a list for the year (20 for 2020, 21 for 2021 etc). Often times resolutions don’t strike us as fun things, although they certainly could be. The list is a way to reframe resolutions. You can fill your list with anything you want. Maybe it’s a list of 22 recipes to try this year, or 22 hikes. Or maybe it’s a list of half fun half tasks. They even suggest leaving a few spaces blank so you can fill it out with throughout the year when you get inspired. I personally like to fill my lists with some fun things, a few larger goals for the year, and easy things that I’ve been putting off but that can be crossed off in a day. The goal isn’t necessarily to get every single thing crossed off the list. It’s more just about thinking of what you’d like to accomplish in the year and adding some whimsy! I figured I would share both my 2021 & 2022 lists to give some inspiration!

21 in 2021

  1. Take the boys to the snow!
  2. Go to the dentist – did this with 8 days left in the year!
  3. Night away with Chris
  4. Take the boys to the beach
  5. Meditate / gratitude daily
  6. Take Will on day dates (I want to do more of this in 2022 – we only did a handful of these this year)
  7. Read 10 books (currently reading book # 10)
  8. Create 2020 photo book
  9. Holiday photo frames
  10. Get family photos taken – had these scheduled but bad weather had us cancelled. 2022!!
  11. Swim lessons for Will
  12. Have a spring garden
  13. Get vaccinated
  14. Host at our house
  15. Redo boys closets
  16. Find a PCP
  17. Go to Yosemite
  18. Less than 5 hours screentime / day
  19. Get Johnathans birth certificate
  20. Hike LimeRidge – This was a 2020 roll over! Made it happen this year.
  21. Overnight BFF trip – This did not happen this year but will happen in 22!

22 in 2022

  1. Get family photos taken
  2. Read 12 books
  3. Trip to NYC
  4. Redo front yard landscaping
  5. Day dates with boys
  6. Switch to clean makeup
  7. Run a 5k
  8. Go to the dermatologist
  9. Find a PCP
  10. Do 3 Day Refresh
  11. Get pictures off old macbook
  12. Do a 30 minute meditation monthly – I want to push myself to sit in stillness longer this year.
  13. Take boys to Tilden / BADM 3x
  14. Plan and Plant a spring / summer garden
  15. Pay off mazda
  16. Take Juno on weekly walks
  17. Make an album of now
  18. Paint master bath / add shelving
  19. Take a social media Sabbath each week
  20. Go to a National Park
  21. Try therapy
  22. Shiplap entry way

I’d love to know how the ending of a year makes you feel? Do you enjoy reflecting on the year? Is it hard to come up with resolutions? Or do you take a spin on resolutions and do something whimsy filled like a fun list?

I think most of our lives are more complex than just “good year” “bad year”. 2021 for me was filled with seeing more family, getting to take our boys on adventures, finding a new world of calm and presence through meditation. Turning inward and looking at barriers and old wounds that are holding be back from being the happiest version of myself. There were also moments of grief and struggle. We lost my cousin this year. And in October I laid with my son in a hospital bed for 70 hours while doctors decided if he needed to go to the ICU. None of us are immune to the sorrow that life will inevitably throw at us, but we are capable of looking for light & allowing that light to come in. I’m always brought back to a quote by Milan Kundera from his book The Unbearable Lightness of Being “The heavier the burden the closer, the closer our lives become to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. what then shall we choose? Weight or lightness”. No matter what 2021 brought to you, I hope you are able to find light & take that light in 2022 with you!

Cheers to a New Year! Oh & if you make a list I’d LOVE to see it!

Sensory Overload In Motherhood

Why doesn’t anyone warn you about sensory overload as a mother. I feel like we hear about moms being “touched out” but it’s not just being touched. It’s the dog barking, it’s the wooden hammer on the cabinet, it’s the doorbell ringing, it’s the repetitive phrase your toddler has chosen to say louder and louder, it’s that toy with the annoying song that someone left on.

I struggle with overstimulation big time. I first started really noticing it a few months into breastfeeding J. Combining feeding a distractible infant while cross monitoring what a busy two year old is getting into had me almost always in this fight or flight mode. It was not the peaceful breastfeeding experience I had with Will. After stopping nursing I realized another rapid fire way for me to get sent into sensory overload was when we would roughhouse. It would only take getting hit in the face a few times for me to suddenly feel like my walls were closing in, my skin would start crawling, I’d immediately want no one to touch me.

It is easy to question yourself, to feel alone. Why is the dog barking or my kid wanting to “wrestle” me causing me to feel SO uncomfortable. My heart beats faster, I feel annoyed, angry at seemingly insignificant things. Each noise feeling like an interruption into the single thought I’m trying to complete. I found myself deeply craving silence. In the moment feeling like I want to retreat into darkness.

Before we had kids I would occasionally feel this way after a busy shift. Chris would play music in the mornings and I remember this same feeling, the music was too much, it felt like my brain was still too close to that fight or flight mode. Even if I slept it still felt like all the alarms, ringing phones, or screaming patients were still right there. All it took was turning the music down and it’d go away quickly. Well with kids you can’t just turn down the volume and often times the volume feels like it’s just increasing. 

If you feel this way too, you’re not alone. It is totally normal to get sensory overloaded and you are not selfish or a bad mom for wanting silence. Letting our brains decompress from the stimulus of motherhood is absolutely necessary in order for us not just to survive but thrive in motherhood. We all have difference tolerances and triggers when it comes to stimulus but there all ways to help both prevent and rescue yourself from fight or flight. 

  1. Know your triggers & set boundaries around them. Find out the sounds or types of stimulus that push you quickly into that mode If that toy remote your kid has plays a song that makes you want to tear your hair out – take the batteries out! Make certain toys for outside play only. I personally stopped buying dog toys with squeakers, instituted a drumming outside only rule, and encourage loud play to be done in bedrooms instead of common areas. I also know to put my hair up so it doesn’t get accidentally snagged by a toddler, and to set clear boundaries when we roughhouse I usually say something like “If I get hit in the face again, I will need to take a break from the game”. It sounds silly but the boundary setting works & is another valuable skill to teach your kids. When it comes to your body setting clear boundaries that you hold in turn teaches your kids that it is okay and they can set boundaries with their bodies too! Tickling is the prime example. Whenever my boys say stop to tickling we ALWAYS stop. Continuing to tickle your kids when they say stop is saying “it’s okay to ignore people’s boundaries”.
  2. Practice LOUD & soft – when your kids are already screaming is not the time to try to teach them how to whisper. Instead turn it into a game at a time when they are fairly calm. We play this at the dinner table. We can’t expect our kids to know things we haven’t bothered to teach them, teaching them how to control their volume is an important life skill and future teachers will thank you!
  3. Breathe mama breathe – When you are seeing white & are in that mode. Literally stop moving, and start breathing. Take a slow deep breathe, hold for 4 seconds, exhale. repeat. Closing your eyes helps too. This physiologically will help bring your body and your nervous system out of fight or flight.
  4. Carve out quiet. I personally get up 1-2 hours before my kids now that they both sleep through the night. I use this time to meditate, journal, read, workout, get breakfast ready. I know this is not for everyone. At the very minimum I get up 10 minutes before them. Enough time to sit in silence and stillness. Creating a quiet morning ritual will give you a sense of control over your day. You are not immediately thrown into a reactive state. This has probably been the thing that helps me the most. Sitting in stillness feels like the most luxurious thing once you have kids and meditation has helped me actualize this concept that peace is within us and are able to find it whenever we like. 
  5. Use a screen, recompose, and don’t feel guilty. You will be more present and a better parent. When I had peaceful nursing sessions it was either in the middle of the night, while Will was sleeping or when will was watching Mickey Mouse. Looking back I’m thankful I did that and wish I had recognized this sooner and found more ways to make more peaceful nursing sessions. 
  6. Speak Up. Do not suffer in silence. Name what you’re feeling. Is the clutter overwhelming you, is the music too loud, is toddler hanging from your leg pushing you into a reactive hyperstimulated state? Name it. Talk about it. If you are lucky to have a partner or support system talk to them, and try to find ways to release. Some days when my husbands comes in from work (he works in a detached office in our yard) I will tell him I need to go sit in the office for a few minutes of silence.

Sensory Overload In Motherhood

Sunday Sunsets

Last night we spontaneously decided to head over to Baker Beach for the sunset and it ended up being one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve probably ever seen. This past week was so busy, Chris was gone Monday through Thursday for work, I worked 3 shifts including Saturday night. I celebrated a friends birthday & Sunday we went to Dim Sum for a red egg & ginger party. So Sunday was the first day Chris, William & I were all together for a whole day in a week!

Before having Will I used to take Juno to the beach weekly. It’s truly her heaven on earth but now days it’s a two person job. One to wrangle the dog and one to wrangle the toddler. I’m acutely award that we won’t live 10 minutes from the beach forever so I’m trying soak up all the beach days I can & even though it can be hectic I wouldn’t have it any other way!