I have a tendency to over-complicate my life. Can you relate? Most often without realizing – but sometimes fully aware – I do things the hard way. Largely because I’m comfortable and familiar with the hard way. It’s my cozy friend.
I can do it without even thinking. And doing things better and more efficient requires me to slow down and learn something new. Meh!
And when you’re already feeling buried by your to-do list, slowing down isn’t an option. Right?
I thought so until I read John Maxwell’s book Today Matters. He shares many powerful lessons in this great book – too many to mention here – but a piece of wisdom he shared from his father stuck out for me the most.
His dad taught him the principle of pay now or pay later. The point is, we all have things we need to do. But how and when we do them is just as important as what we do.
We can choose to do tasks early when they’re easy and manageable, or later when they’ve piled up – becoming a burden. We all “pay later” once and a while and that’s fine. But when we live our lives day after day putting out fires and cleaning up messes – we’re not doing ourselves any favors.
For example, I can let dishes pile up on the counter over the course of the day and clean them up in the evening after they’ve become a mountain of dirty dishes. Causing me to dread the evening ritual.
Or here’s a bright idea… I can take care of them as they’re used throughout the day!
Then my evenings become a stress-free time to do more important things like reading a great story to my kids before bed.
Thankfully, I’ve learned over time that change is good and necessary for growth. I just needed to finally make the decision to invest time in making my life easier and learning how to create a lifestyle of paying now.
Here’s a simple list to get you started, so you can rock out the rest of your life with ease!
51 easy ways to make your life simpler
Get up at least 15 minutes (or more) before your family wakes up. Enjoy the quiet before the day starts.
Do something that scares you – frequently.
Make yourself a warm drink in the morning just for you. And sip it slowly.
Keep a notepad by your bedside and before you go to sleep write down all the stuff that’s trying to keep you awake. Take care of it in the morning.
Write in a journal every day. Even if it’s just a paragraph.
Exercise daily. Whatever that is for you – it’s something!
Let the kids make a mess.
Teach your kids to clean up their mess when they’re done.
Don’t compare your family or life with anyone else’s.
Learn the art of going with the flow.
Order your groceries online for store pickup. Better yet, have your groceries shipped to your home if you can.
Live with the belief you were created for a purpose. Because you were!
Plan your meals at least one week in advance. Cook them all on a weekend day if possible.
Give all age-appropriate children chores. Only leave chores for yourself that they can’t do.
Get comfortable with telling people no.
Live in the moment and don’t be distracted when spending time with your kids and/or spouse.
Read at least 5 pages of a good book per day.
Exercise outdoors whenever possible. A good walk is plenty.
Allow yourself to daydream. It’s good for you.
Watch one less show on TV.
Set and follow a discipline system in your home for your kids. And don’t waver!
Make sure trash always goes straight into the trashcan and never on the counters.
Keep a recycling container in your kitchen instead of allowing recyclables to pile up on counters or on the floor.
Sweep your floors every day.
Hug and kiss your kids and spouse every day.
Stop caring about what other people think of you.
Call a friend and just talk for no reason.
Love yourself – flaws and all.
Give away or throw out beauty products that don’t work for you.
Practice forgiveness regardless of the offense.
Donate clothes that don’t fit or are outdated.
Write out a vision for where you still desire to go in your life.
Take a break once and a while.
Let your kids be bored. It’s good for them.
Make double batches of your dinners and freeze the 2nd batch for busy weeknights.
Take power naps for 15 minutes when you’re feeling sluggish.
Instill a love of reading in your home. Visit the library often.
Grab a glass of water and a piece of fruit instead of another cup of coffee.
Don’t buy unnecessary things like clothing on credit. Pay cash instead.
Give yourself permission to be imperfect.
Allow and encourage your children to be self-sufficient.
Have eye to eye contact with each of your kids daily.
Laugh often and cry when you need to.
Don’t beat yourself up when you have to let the TV entertain your kids once and a while.
Teach your children that disrespect is non-negotiable in your home.
Wipe your kitchen counters clean after every meal and before bed.
Do something you’re passionate about at least an hour a day.
Make simple goal setting a lifestyle.
Be grateful for what you do have and what is working.
Please leave a comment below and share your ideas for living a simpler life. Don’t keep those goodies to yourself!
I like to say that I’m a “sleep person.” Not a morning person or a night person… just a mama who really, really loves her precious sleep.
But a few years ago I came to a crossroad and desperately needed to make a change in my life and do things differently. There was just one problem – I didn’t have any wiggle room in my daily schedule to move things around.
As moms, our lives tend to revolve around everyone else’s needs and schedules so I knew if I wanted more time, and time that I could have consistently, I was going to have to steal it from myself.
And that’s what I did.
I took baby steps and started waking up before my kids… and the results were life-changing. No seriously, waking up early changed my life.
And I won’t sugar coat it for you, it was never and is never easy. It takes tons of sacrifice every single day. Again, I really LOOOVE sleeping in.
However, I made a choice for myself that I’m so happy I did.
But before I share all the details of why I made this choice, I feel it’s necessary to cover a few points first.
The first is that learning to wake up early was a process that evolved over a couple of years. And the goal to start shouldn’t feel like a load of weight or pressure to do one more huge thing as a mom. Motherhood is hard enough and this is NOT the only way to do things.
In fact, read to the end to hear my full thoughts on this issue.
And second, motherhood is filled with so many expectations on what we should be doing and when. Only you can decide if this is the season for you to add on something new. And you’ll know inside when the time is right.
7 Life-Changing Effects of Waking Up Before Your Kids
However, waking up to the sound of children running around, whining “I’m Hungry”, and fighting over toys can be literally the worst way to start your day… ever!
Even if you decide to wake up a simple 15 minutes before your kids and steal a moment to soak up the quiet stillness of the morning, you’ll feel so much more ahead of the day instead of running behind.
This is the most obvious benefit of waking up before your kids. And it’s a BIG one!
But there are also more little-known and life-changing benefits of rising before your little ones and that’s what I’m covering in detail in this post.
Related posts on living your best life as a busy mom:
As women, we struggle with self-care and self-love. It’s not hard to see why with all the constant pouring out we do every moment of the day. We’re too often left bone-dry and feeling underappreciated.
We often fight feelings of guilt, failure, and not being a good enough mom. I believe in many ways motherhood is the great equalizer for women, who all experience these feelings in their day to day mom life.
With all those negative feelings stewing around our amazing qualities, our unrelenting love for our families, and all the great things we do every day can become dull and unnoticed.
Why? Because motherhood is expected and simply a part of your daily life. Moms don’t get awards for doing an amazing job… it’s expected.
But when you suddenly decide to make a sacrifice and do something for you… something unexpected happens. You start to notice that YOU matter too. That YOU are still there. And YOU are loved by you.
And when that self-love kicks in, you start thinking, doing, and acting differently. You wear better clothes, you take a shower every day or most days, and you begin thinking about those old dusty goals from your pre-kid days.
2 – You Become Stronger
If you know anything about working out you know that when you first start… your muscles are crazy weak. And after you work them they revolt and make you walk around in serious pain for a few days.
Walking around like a duck after a great leg day is the best. 😉
But after you keep showing up and working out those same muscles they hurt less, grow bigger and stronger, and help to burn all that suffocating fat that surrounds those sexy muscles.
That process of growing stronger at the gym is the same process that happens when you stick to your goal of waking up earlier than your kids.
It gets easier and you start to experience an inner strength rising up inside that’s the best kick starter for your day.
3 – You Gain More Confidence
Confidence is something I’ve always struggled with in my life. I spent so much of my energy comparing myself to everyone around me which always left me drained in self-confidence.
That was partly because I never gave myself the space to think my own thoughts, create my own ideas, and even set my own goals.
When you never give yourself the place to stretch yourself and only rely on doing what everyone else thinks is best, your mind starts to believe you aren’t capable.
Yes, waking up roughly three hours before my kids allowed me to see that I don’t have to just take life as it comes to me, but I have the power to write my own story as I want it to be told.
No one likes being stood up, especially on a continual basis. In fact, if one of your friends constantly invited you to meet up for coffee and catch up but left you hanging again and again, you probably wouldn’t be friends for long.
That’s because that’s rude and disrespectful. It sends the message that you don’t matter to them. But it also brings into question their integrity. You simply can’t trust a word they say.
Now let’s talk about how many times you invited yourself for a quiet run in the morning and stayed in bed instead. Or a million other times you told yourself you’d be somewhere, doing something and decided your Netflix account was a better friend than you are.
Here’s the real danger in not keeping your word to yourself. Studies on cognitive dissonance show that when people’s actions and beliefs don’t line up, they usually change their beliefs to match their actions.
You’re actually telling yourself you don’t matter and don’t deserve the time you’ve tried to set aside for yourself. And learning to stick with your early rise goal allows you to start trusting yourself again.
5 – You Become a Master
Malcolm Gladwell shook the productivity world when we said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a master of anything.
This can totally feel overwhelming but it’s also strangely encouraging because there’s a clear number… a clear goal to be attained.
Now, whether or not you believe this 10,000-hour rule or not (and many do not) the fact is, the longer you do anything the easier and better it gets.
And I’m not talking about trying to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer if writing isn’t your thing. We’re talking about doing something you’re already passionate about and already doing or wanting to do on some level.
When you set aside a consistent time to write, read/study, sow, design, build, workout or whatever it is, you will gain your own kind of mastery!
6 – Your Purpose Comes Alive
When moms sacrifice their precious sleep it’s got to be for something that really matters. Something that’s deeply personal and inspiring to their soul.
And in most cases, that thing is closely connected to their passion or purpose. And when you give yourself permission to pursue your passion, over time it starts to evolve and come alive.
Things that don’t get watered and fed wither and die. When we feed our passions they get stronger and begin to thrive.
I believe we as moms all have a unique God-given purpose outside of motherhood. Our purpose may even be closely related to being a mom but motherhood is a ministry and a season of its own.
Finally, and not at all the least, is that you actually become a better, happier mom. Didn’t see that coming, did you!
When you make time for you and just you, something powerful happens… you loose mom-resentment. You know those thoughts that creep in and tell you how you could do this or that if you didn’t have a house full of kids… or one kid.
I know, I know it doesn’t feel right when we think those thoughts or even when I just talked about them but all moms think them from time to time.
But here’s what happens when you give consistent time for you… all you. The resentment fades, you feel more fulfilled as a person outside of being a mom, and you actually feel more tuned in to your kid’s needs.
We need to be filled up so we can be adequately poured out for our families. And that’s what happens in those quiet, early hours.
3 Easy Steps to Start Waking Up Before Your Kids
Before we dive into these super practical steps to waking up before your kids. I need to share the absolute importance of you knowing your “why” intimately.
After you start you’ll want to quit this new wake up time many, many times down the road. And when that spirit of quit jumps all over you in your comfy bed, you need to know why you want to wake up so early in the first place.
Is it to have some quiet time to connect with God and study your Bible to grow stronger spiritually?
Is it to have consistent uninterrupted time to write or work on your business?
Is it to work out and lose 50 lbs and stay healthy and active?
Is it to drink a cup of coffee and stare out the window in the blessed quiet for 15 minutes before your crew wakes up?
It doesn’t matter what your reason… that belongs to you alone. And your reason doesn’t have to be super significant in the eyes of the world… only you.
Without trying to sound like a cliche hair dye commercial… you are worth it!
Just know your “why” and get started. Here are the easy 3 steps that any mom can start right now.
Step 1 – Roll Back No More Than One Hour
If you’re an overachiever like myself, you may be tempted to roll back your clock at least a couple hours. DO NOT DO THAT… yet.
Roll back your clock by 30 minutes increments if you’re really not a morning person or one hour if you really feel you’re ready. But no more until you’ve been waking up at this new time for at least 3 months.
Shocking your body into a drastically early wake-up time can cause your body to revolt and we don’t need your mind and body plotting against your new goals! Slow change is lasting change.
And be sure to get to bed early enough to not loose your recommended hours of sleep!
Step 2 – Gracefully Reset Every Time You Sleep In
This process really isn’t as hard as you may think. The biggest obstacle to lasting change is failure. Failure to get out of bed!
You WILL hit snooze, cover your head with your pillow, or throw your clock across the room some mornings. Especially, if the baby was sick or your toddler starts hating their bed for the 100th time this year.
#MomLife is full of sleep stealers so when you just can’t get up, cut yourself a much-needed break. Don’t let frustration linger and reset tomorrow.
And repeat this process as long as needed.
3 – Play Hide and Seek with Your Alarm
This final step is one I actually had to add into my wake up routine when I started snoozing my phone in my sleep repeatedly. I’m so sneaky in my sleep!
I would wake up so frustrated because I felt like I had no control. Until I decided to be sneaky with myself!
I would lay my phone in different places that required me to get up and move to turn it off. It worked like a champ!
What To Do When You Can’t
You may be reading this and for some reason, you can’t wake up early or you feel like staying up late would work better for you.
Let me be super upfront here, this post isn’t to put pressure on moms who are already doing too much. Or the mom who just had a baby and now is feeling guilty that she’s too exhausted to try this new goal… yet.
It’s flu season and you know what that means… germs! So what’s a mama to do when she sends her kid to school and doesn’t want them coming home with colds, bugs, and the flu?
The answer is to naturally build up their immune systems!
You may be asking yourself, “Why does my kid keep getting sick?”
The answer is our magnificent bodies have the ability to fight off harmful invaders on its own. But those soldier anti-bodies need to be strong in order to work effectively.
One of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy and able to fight off infection is to eat healthy immunity-boosting foods. Specifically living foods filled with phytonutrients.
Our kids and ourselves need to be eating as much of these foods as possible and ditching the starchy and sugary snacks and treats as much as possible.
I offer apples, oranges, strawberries, and grapes as snacks instead of allowing them to grab some crackers or a granola bar. If they are still hungry they can have some greek yogurt with granola. Usually, that’s enough to hold them over until the next meal. If I let them choose a snack, they gravitate right to the packaged snacks that I buy to pop in their school lunches as a treat.
Another important way to increase your child’s immunity is to give them a nutritional supplement like a multi-vitamin. Just be careful of all the additives and unnecessary colors that are added to vitamins. There have even been problems with children’s vitamin labels not matching the vitamins inside, resulting in dangerous overdoses in children.
I found these natural vitamin gummies to help keep my kiddos cold-free. My kids had very few colds and no flu during a very harsh flu season last year. And to top it off, I forgot to give them their flu shot!
18 Natural Ways to Boost Your Child’s Immunity
Here are 18 healthy food recipes to keep your kiddos healthy. Use these methods to build their immunity to prevent colds and flu and also use in the event they do catch something to speed their healing and recovery time!
Which recipe are you most excited about trying? These are some super simple and natural ways to help ease the burden of the winter cold season. If you have your own recipe, please share in the comments below!
How many times have you found yourself trapped in a cycle of doing something the hard way, but just couldn’t get off the hamster wheel?
This lady right here (hello) is the poster child for doing things the hard way! When life shows up pointin’ it’s finger at me and barking orders, being efficient and doing the “important” flies right out the window. I’m left putting out fires and greasing the squeaky wheels instead.
Or better yet, cleaning up spilled cereal.
But hallelujah! I’ve found a better way! Over the years, I’ve learned some things that make my life easier and I know they’ll make your life easier too.
But here’s the kicker… you’re probably NOT doing them. Or at least, not all of them. That’s because we’re so busy living our lives like one emergency room trip after another, instead of getting regular preventative check-ups to make sure things stay out of the crazy zone!
It’s time to give ourselves permission to stop and readjust. To get the ball rolling in the right direction so we can set ourselves up for success on the front end instead of always playing catchup. And I don’t know about you, but I hate playing catch-up!
My advice is to read this list and the ones that pop out to you – DO THEM. Don’t worry about trying and perfecting all of them. Let’s work together to take baby steps into lives we love…
1 – Start Following a Routine
If you’re a stay-at-home mom, it’s vital to your success and sanity that you follow a routine. Notice I didn’t say schedule. Schedules are for setting appointments and other activities at specific time frames. They’re necessary for keeping us on time and in the right place.
But what about the rest of the day when there’s no demand about what we do and where we go? It’s those spaces of time that can feel like a black hole, consuming our whole day and leaving you not knowing where it went.
That’s why I love routines! They’re great for you and your whole family. You can create your own routine by listing out all the activities and tasks you want or need to complete each day. Break those lists into a morning, afternoon, and evening category. You can add more of those categories like a mid and late afternoon as you see fit.
Write them out in the order you want to complete them. Now you need to add some anchors to your routine list. For example, quiet time can be an anchor for your early morning routine which means this is the first thing you do. Then your run on the treadmill can be another anchor to signal your early morning routine is ending and your mid-morning routine is beginning with taking a shower and getting ready.
Routines are based on developing predictable patterns of behavior or habits in your day. This way you’re not fixed on following a rigid schedule with time slots that never seem to work in the real world. You just naturally flow through your day with the larger anchor tasks keeping you in the flow and helping to remind you of what’s next.
Having a budget is like having a routine for your money. Your budget tells your hard-earned money where to go and what to do. Without one, your money’s going somewhere, but it’s probably not where you had in mind.
Budgets have a bad rap because so many people feel like budgeting is something only financially stressed people do. It’s actually the opposite. A budget is really just a well thought out plan. And you better believe that the wealthy and well-off individuals in this world are following a well thought out plan for their money!
That’s precisely how they got rich, stay rich, and keep getting richer. Sure, their budget probably has a lot more to work with than yours or mine, but you’d be surprised how much extra money you have when you get intentional and cut out unnecessary spending.
This is one that I personally didn’t do for a very long time because it felt like too much work on the front end. And when dinner rolled around each night I could actually feel the dread consuming me. Not a good feeling!
It’s really super simple, though. You just take a moment to sit down and write out a quick list of what you want to cook or prepare that week for dinner. It can really be as simple as that or as involved as you desire. You can plan out all your meals for the week or just your family dinners.
I grew up raised by a stay-at-home mom who worked hard every day to keep our home in order. She pretty much did all the chores and cleaning in the house. I have very little memory of us having real chores outside of keeping our rooms clean.
This is partly because as a stay-at-home mom you believe that cleaning is your job and no one else’s. And she was also a perfectionist who didn’t like seeing things being done “the wrong way.” I personally followed suit on both of these mindsets in my own family.
That is until I realized it’s not about me anyway. I may not give my husband a long list of chores to do because his work schedule is simply too demanding, but as my children get older they NEED to know how to run a home.
Doing chores not only develops personal responsibility, but it also teaches valuable skills to my kids preparing them for adulthood. They need to know how to keep a house, not just their own room, clean. They need to know how to do their own laundry, iron a shirt and cook a meal. Here’s my post on 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Children Accountability.
But most importantly, you need help! Doing everything yourself isn’t the best plan for everyone. Getting everyone involved takes the pressure off you, and helps give you some peace and rest.
Speaking of peace and rest, practicing a regular quiet time is a game changer. Even if you carve out a few minutes every morning or some other quiet part of your day, the benefits far outweigh some lost sleep.
Spending a few moments just you and God, is a sacred time and one you’ll come to cherish. I wrote a very in-depth post about how to get started with practicing a regular quiet time. You can read the post here: Why Every Mom Needs a Regular Quiet Time Routine
I also created a super popular resource to help you journal your transformation during your quiet times. It’s called the Daily Transformation Journal because that’s exactly what’s going to happen when you put yourself first and practice a consistent quiet time routine. You can grab yours for FREE by subscribing to my VIP Vault.
6 – Set Regular Goals
Setting goals can feel overwhelming. Something that only super “successful” people do, not real everyday folks like us. Right?
True! Successful people are typically goal-setters and average people aren’t. Ever wonder why that is? It’s not because people who’ve reached a version of success are just drinking the goal-setting Kool-aid and telling everyone else about it.
It’s because the goal-setting came first – making them successful! When we have a target, we as humans instinctively try to hit it. As the wise saying goes, “when we aim at nothing, we’ll hit it every time.”
Having goals keeps us moving forward to the place we want to go. Otherwise, we’re merely drifting. And drifting is NEVER a good strategy for getting where you want to go. Get my Goal Slaying Toolkit with 20+ pages of printables to help you Slay your Goals!
This is probably one of the most important, yet under-practiced items in this list. This is really where good intentions get shoved aside by busy, demanding schedules.
But by standing firm and carving out time for our loved ones in advance, we’ll be that much more successful.
No matter how good your marriage is right now, you need to make time to be together one on one. It doesn’t need to be expensive or involve going out to dinner. Get creative and do things you both enjoy, keeping your personalities into consideration. Going to the gym to take a class can be a date day if you both love exercise keep the focus on enjoying each other.
Your children also need one on one time with you. I never realized this until my middle daughter outright asked me one day to go out for some alone time without the other kids. I was totally surprised by her request, but I took note. And I make sure to keep her on my calendar for special dates regularly. This is important to keep strong bonds and building lasting relationships with our children that will last a lifetime.
Adding new things into your life doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. It starts with making a quality choice to make your life better and easier! What are you planning to work on? Leave your plan in the comments below so we can keep each other encouraged!
Turn your home into a luxurious spa with these simple homemade bath products infused with healthy essential oils. These products are toxin and chemical free so you can feel free to enjoy them and share them with your kids… if you want to!
There is so much benefit in making your own skincare and beauty products. The first and most obvious one is that it’s healthier. There are so many unhealthy and outright dangerous chemicals found in the products we all know and love. Making them at home ensures none of these endocrine inhibitors, is being absorbed in our bodies.
The second reason for making your own DIY skincare and beauty products is that they are so cheap to make! You’ll save so much money by taking a few seconds to whip up a batch of peppermint body scrub and you don’t have to pay the enormous retail markups!
And since you’re saving so much money, why not splurge on these amazing glass apothecary jars to store all your new goodies and make your bathroom look amazing.
Now let’s get ready to transform our bathrooms into spa time!
We live in Florida and the summer evenings can be brutal for mosquitoes! And many of the storebought repellants are either ineffective or full of toxic chemicals I don’t want to be spraying all over my kids.
This is where the amazing power of those little magical bottles of essential oils come in. There are so many ways to use essential oils and effectively repelling mosquitoes and other pesky bugs is one of them!
Essential oils are also extremely effective in treating bug bites. Case in point, my daughter attended a field trip at a pumpkin patch last October and they apparently had a fire ant problem they neglected to share with the teachers and parents. As my daughter and all the other kids were getting off the bus and waiting to enter the event, she was swarmed by fire ants!
Her legs were totally covered! Thank God she was wearing jeans that day. However, many crawled up her pants and into her shoes resulting in painful and extremely itchy bites. I’m so grateful for another oily mom who was with us and had a bug bite roll-on with her. It calmed the itch and pain and really saved the day.
The bites were almost non-existent by the end of the day!
Are you truly enjoying your life? Notice, I said LIFE – as in its ENTIRETY. Not simply the occasional summer vacation or other random, happy moment in your life.
Do you justify putting off fully enjoying your life for a “good” reason? Um… maybe after the kids get older?
The truth is, there’s no good reason to delay your joy. To put it off for a more appropriate time. The right time is NOW!
I’m not talking about turning into one of those super happy-go-lucky people. You know, those people who never seem to have a bad day. I mean, that’s not a bad thing… but some of us just aren’t wired that way. And that’s OK too!
Some days I wish I could be like that but I’m not. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned how to capture the good moments on purpose and not delay really living my life for a “better” time.
There’s a phrase I know you’ve heard – Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once). Though this phrase seems an attempt to justify questionable behavior – I totally get the sentiment.
Enjoy your life to the full and don’t wait to do it because you only get one chance.
This is true. I mean, we only get one shot down here on this earth until we move on, so we should do our best to live it well.
So, why do we find ourselves living a good life but stopping there?
Why do we find it so hard sometimes to be spontaneous and just not know what’s coming next? Not having access to life’s map and all the details is hard. And I think it’s human nature, at least for most of us.
Every time we get in the car, my kids always want to know where we’re going, whose’s coming, and what we’ll be doing. And even though I think pretty much the same way; when they do it to me it’s no less annoying. I’m always telling them to relax and enjoy the ride.
I believe that’s what God is whispering to us. Just enjoy the ride of this life. Rest your head on your headrest and stare out the window as His beauty flies past your window. Soak it in. Go with the flow. Don’t wonder where you’re going, but be excited about the ride there.
I’ve learned along the way that my enjoyment is just as important as the work I do each day. Who is it important to? Me, my spouse, my children, my friends, my church, my community, and to God who sent His Son to give me this enjoyable life.
The actual word enjoy clearly lays out its purpose. The prefix en means to be “in” the cause, place, or state named; confined in.
So enjoy really means to be confined inside of joy. Imagine being confined, sealed off, and protected by joy. Soak that in for a second.
Joy means the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed; or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; the exhilaration of spirits. Happiness; felicity.
I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of being confined in that. Everyday.
But let’s be clear about something – joy isn’t an emotion. It’s a choice and a deeply personal belief that we’re not alone in this life and God is working all the mundane, the crazy, and the just plain disappointing stuff out for our good.
Happiness and joy get mixed up a lot, unfortunately. Happy is an emotion totally dependent on your circumstances. And I’ve lived long enough to know that circumstance we can’t control shouldn’t be the drivers of how much we’re able to enjoy this life.
Life throws a lot of curve balls and joy gives us the ability to tap into the power of experiencing an enjoyable life… no matter what it looks like!
There are also clear mindsets we can adopt that will outright rob you of your enjoyable life! So, to help you actually claim joy for yourself, here are 4 mindsets that are probably stealing your joy right now.
As you read these, allow your heart to be softened to getting and staying free once and for all.
This mindset is probably the most common and far-reaching one. The mentality is simple, “I want to do ____ but” or, “it’ll be better if I wait until ____”
Many single people wait to travel until they have their future spouse to travel with. Little do they know, their spouse may not be waiting for them in their hometown – but in that land, they’re waiting to see.
Many couples wait for more comfortable finances before they start having children. Little do they know, a business or career opportunity could be waiting to be birthed as a result of being a parent.
The point is, to stop waiting until you move into your dream house before you update your furniture. Stop waiting until you have your own backyard before you go outside to play with your kids. Stop waiting until you feel more comfortable before you start pursuing that dream.
Your joy comes when you do those things you desire – NOW. Many people never got the chance to live their dream because they sat waiting for perfection to come and pick them up. But perfection is always a no-show.
She’ll always leave you sitting sadly on the porch with your suitcase in hand. You don’t need to wait to be picked up anyway. You just need to get up, grab your suitcase and start moving – TODAY.
I’ve learned that control is rooted in fear and from that control sprouts anger, discontentment, and depression. To say the least, control is not good.
This need to control everything and everyone stems from the fear that something’s going to go wrong if we don’t do it our way. We won’t get there on time if we don’t go my way. They won’t be healthy unless they follow my health plan. It won’t get done unless I do it. She won’t get it right unless I teach her.
And all that mindset does is dull the gifts, ability, and drive of your spouse and children. They’ll eventually become resentful of your control and as a result; never have the opportunity to thrive.
A family can’t experience joy if they aren’t allowed to thrive. To thrive means to grow or develop vigorously; to flourish. When we step in to dictate, instruct, and save the day; we rob from them their ability to flourish – to grow vigorously.
And the only way to reverse this mindset is to lay down your crown.
I give you permission to control your decision to not control.
It shows wisdom when we yield to others’ ideas and do it their way. Control has no place in the family. We need to invite collaboration and unity. A democracy instead of a dictatorship.
That’s not to say, you don’t get to be a parent. I’m just talking about the unhealthy compulsion of control. Discipline and boundaries, on the other hand, are necessary components of a family, but that’s another post entirely.
Mindset #3: Being a Time Counter vs. a Moment Catcher
This mindset is a type of control but deserves its own category. Think of a time when you had a week off from work or your regular routine. This was vacation time for you and the family. The first day is awesome! You’re letting your hair down as you step foot onto the grounds of Do Whatever You Want Land.
This continues until around day 5 when it suddenly occurs to you that you only have 2 more days left before you have to return to the real world! Your heart starts to beat a little faster and you feel like you’re having a mini panic attack.
And no matter how hard you try, from day 5 until the end, you chunk everything you do into tiny time frames.
Wow, this pool is so nice. Wait! We only have two more hours before the day ends and that means there’s only one day left!
That can go on until the last hour of vacation. This mindset is truly an enemy of your joy because you can’t feel joy while you’re counting the time.
This is a mindset that I’ve always struggled with and the danger of it is really simple – when you count the time, you can’t be present enough to capture the moments.
While you’re swimming in the pool with your kids and allowing your mind to be overtaken with the countdown; you’re missing stuff. The good stuff. And if you’re not careful, this mindset can invade your every day – not just your vacations.
The only way to reverse this mindset is to train yourself to get lost. Not in a physical place – but in the moment you’re in. If you’re putting together a puzzle with your kids, remove all clocks from view and just keep going until it’s done or you and the kids are tired of putting it together.
Get lost in it and choose to forget what’s next. Pay attention to their faces while they’re trying to fit the wrong pieces in and their excitement when they get one right. Be present to guide them through how to wait for their sister to finish putting in their piece before diving in to put their own.
Smile, laugh, really live.
There is freedom in being present. There is bondage in being torn between your schedule and your moments.
At the end of your life and the end of your children’s lives, there will only be moments. Time won’t matter a bit.
Mindset #4: Comparison
Comparison always leads to a lack of healthy confidence. You can’t compare a priceless one of a kind painting to anything else. We understand that concept, but don’t understand that each of us is priceless, too. One of a kind creations. We can’t rationally compare ourselves, our lives, or our moments to anyone else’s. But we do – every day.
In order to reverse this mindset, we must learn to see our bodies, our spouses, our kids, our homes, our vacations, and our school routines as unique and made for us and no one else.
The key to joy is keeping your eyes on your own beautiful yard and not letting your eyes wander into your neighbor’s. Sure, there are weeds that pop up from time to time, but those are your weeds. And you work together as a family to rid your yard of them.
But NEVER, ever allow your mind to wander and compare your husband with another woman’s. Or your child with someone else’s. Your family with another family. When we do; their flaws, cracks, blemishes, and imperfections become magnified and eventually repel us.
We all have a desire and an outright need for a clean, germ-free, and great smelling home. But at what cost are we cleaning our dirty messes in our homes every single day. What are we really wiping on our baby’s highchair table, washing our dishes with, and mopping on our floors?
I think we can all agree that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have our best interest at heart. There are far too many toxic chemicals that are allowed to lurk right in our foods, so why not in our household cleaning supplies.
We need to do our own research and make safe choices for our own families. In everyday household and personal hygiene products, there are toxic ingredients that are carcinogenic, hormone disrupters, and neurotoxins. This is really scary stuff and not a subject left only to the “crunchy” mamas.
Here’s the real truth, DIY, all-natural products are just as, if not more effective, than the store-bought chemically laden products we’ve all come to know and love. But why do we love and give our money to companies who made products that poison us?
The best part is, this isn’t a hard decision at all! Natural, home-made cleaners are super easy to made and use. They smell great and obviously smell like real scents… no fake summertime rain scents here. And best of all, natural homemade products are cheap, dirt cheap! Here’s the proof.
All Natural Cleaner Recipes
So let’s get into some amazingly simple, effective, and non-toxic cleaners that’ll have your home sparkling and you feeling great about it!
Natural cleaning is a lifestyle and one that you should strongly consider, but please don’t feel overwhelmed or guilty for not making all the changes overnight. I’m personally far from a crunchy mom! But I do hate when Big Business chooses profits over what’s right.
My honest advice is to make one simple swap at a time! I promise it’s easy.
If you have a DIY recipe you’d like to share, do it in the comments below or share how essential oils have made a positive difference in your family.
Staying fit and exercising isn’t easy for most people including me. I’ve gotten on and fallen off the workout wagon a million times. But staying fit as a busy mom is even harder because everyone else’s needs become your own and we all need a convenient excuse not to get on the treadmill. Right?
I want to share with you the secret to staying fit and healthy as a mom. And I’ve rounded up some other mom bloggers who share their fitness tips too!
Let’s get started with my hands-down biggest fitness tip for moms getting started with exercise.
Work out with your kids. I know, I know I can hear the objections coming at me. I get that this approach doesn’t work for every mom and it doesn’t always work for me.
But working out with your kids has a lot of benefits. The first is, it creates accountability for you and that’s extremely important! Since kids seem to think all exercise is fun, they’ll remind you again tomorrow when it’s time to work out. And let me just add here that exercising should be fun and if your kids aren’t begging you to do it again, chances are, you aren’t going to want to do it again either.
The second and very important benefit of working out with your kids is you are spending quality time with your kids. This is huge when you have a busy schedule and struggle to find quality time with your children. Instead of going to the gym by yourself, spend an hour racing your kids at a local track or doing a park work out. You’ve just become the fun mom!
And the last benefit of exercising with your kids is you are setting the example and modeling healthy behavior. This one is monumental! Kids don’t do what we say, they do what we do.
Here’s a really fun video example of a fun family workout. This is perfect for little ones who like to get in your way while you’re working out. This way everyone’s having fun. And if your kids are older like mine, just find something fun to do and have them join in.
Like I said, this approach is to help you get started with exercising, especially if its been a while. If it’s working for your family, you can continue working out with your kids. Or if your body starts to need more, and it will, you can gradually add in things like working out with weights at the gym or taking a class.The important thing is to remember to listen to your body and give it what it needs as your body transforms. Just try to stick with exercising with your kids as a healthy and fun activity even if you do decide to become a contestant on Ninja Warrior!
Make a Quality Decision
The second thing you MUST do if you want to make exercise a priority is to make a decision that you are officially doing this. I find that sometimes even when I want to make a change I simply won’t take action and I’ll procrastinate. This is usually because I never stopped long enough to make an actual decision.
Thinking about doing something and even agreeing that it’s a good idea or feeling like you want to do something isn’t making a decision. When you make a decision to do something, action always follows.
Action like putting it on the schedule, making a gym appointment, or calling the kids into the room and telling them everyone’s going running tomorrow.
Making a quality decision also means granting yourself grace in advance for the days you fall off the work out wagon. And not giving yourself permission to stay off. You already know that you’ll have bad days and make bad decisions, but you must move gracefully passed that decision and get back on tomorrow. Or better yet, later that day!
Do you love your body the way it is right now? Maybe you’re answering me with the side-eye. But seriously… what does it really mean to love your body? In order to answer the body-love question, we need to talk about what love is.
When you love something, you give it your attention, you care for it, and you want it to be in the best condition possible. If we love our bodies it means we give our body the right attention, we care well for it, and we want it to be in the best condition possible.
It doesn’t mean that when we look in the mirror, we see an image of perfection starring back. That’s not love… it’s admiration.
While you may have goals to achieve a higher level of fitness or lose those baby pounds still hanging on from ten years ago, finally loving your body means to care more about the condition of your body than how you fit in your skinny jeans.
The fact is, we only get one body… and when that one is done working – that’s it. As harsh as that may sound, it’s true. And what’s also true is we often put our physical needs at the absolute bottom of the priority list.
I don’t need to give you the car maintenance analogy here. You’re too smart for that. You know our bodies need preventative care and attention in order to stay in top condition. And we need to fuel up on the best nutrition for our individual bodies – not the kids’ leftover scraps and breakfast bars in the cupboard. Guilty of that one, some days!
We also need to go in for annual check-ups and physicals to be sure there aren’t any problems we’re not aware of. And listen to the built-in warning bells that go off in our bodies when something’s not right.
They tell us when we’re too stressed, too tired, or something more serious is going on. In short, we need to take our health seriously. And yes, that’s all a part of loving our bodies!
Love Your Body Through Good Nutrition
What goes into your body is the fuel it runs on. And if you’re like me, you’ve got a thriving family to take care of, a boat-load of work on my desk to do, and iceberg sized dreams I’m working on revealing to the world; so I don’t have the luxury of running on cheap fuel.
I’m guessing you don’t either!
The buzzword today is “healthy.” Eat healthy. Cook healthy. Live healthy.
The truth is healthy can mean different things to different people. And we need to take the initiative to investigate what’s good for us and our family. And just to be clear, I’m no health expert. But none of us need to be rocket scientists to figure out what is and what isn’t good for us.
I’ll also add that I’m not a huge fan of diets because most diets were created to do for a short season and not built for the long haul. And in some circumstances that may be the right call. But most of the time people pick up outlandish diet plans on their own without the help of their doctor.
They may even lose weight, but end up gaining it all back and then some because they didn’t have a transition plan for the rest of their life.
So in the general sense, I’m a total fan of lifestyle changes. Things that you either add to your life or take away and stick with forever. For example, switching out all white grain products for whole, unprocessed grains is something you can easily do and stick to forever.
You can make the decision to stop drinking sugary drinks like soda. Still working on this one!
If you’re not currently filling your body on a daily basis with wholesome, nourishing foods I urge you to do some research to find an eating plan that works for you. And stick to it!
To get you started here are some basics that anyone can add to their lifestyle every day: Drinking water. The more the better. Reducing or eliminating processed foods. Using frozen is oftentimes better than boxes meals, but certainly not in every case. Adding whole foods like veggies and fruits to every meal. They add fiber and nutrients that your body needs for peak performance. Think premium fuel. Swapping white, bleached grains for the whole version (brown rice, whole wheat pasta.) Reducing the added sugar in your diet. But NOT replacing them with artificial sugars either. The real sugar is better than the fake. So, make small changes if needed.
Getting exercise is something you either love or hate. There’s rarely a middle ground with exercise. But one thing we all want is to be “successful” in life and our businesses.
What if I told you most successful people exercise as a priority in their daily routine. There’s totally a close correlation between high productivity and high physical activity.
If you’re on the fence about working out, think of it this way – exercise just may be the key you need to take your life goals to the next level. And you’ll get a rockin’ body in the process!
One of the other FABULOUS benefits of physical activity is the burst of energy that comes with it! And the older I get, the less I care about my Mommy Tummy and the more I crave ENERGY!
And as crazy as it seems, you have to give out energy to get more back in return. But it’s so well worth the time and effort. Studies now show that exercise helps combat depression more effectively than medication – without the side effects!
And there are so many other benefits like helping you actually stay on track with your eating. You just worked really hard and aren’t going to let your kid’s Twinky take you down! Your mind becomes more clear and my brain fog goes away. My energy level soars and I don’t feel like I’m dragging my body around anymore. And of course, your butt gets tighter and everything else with it! I’ll take that!
I don’t think it’s always necessary to have a specific plan or get overly analytic when it comes to exercise. But if you have medical or physical challenges, you should always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise plan.
But overall, if you find something you love or at least enjoy that gets your heart pumping every day – I say go for it! I personally can’t get to the gym at this season in my life, so I exercise in my living room in the evenings with my kiddos and this gives us all something fun to do together.
And the best part is it gets them wiped out for bedtime!
Love Your Body Through Style
Do you feel like a woman every day? I mean, yes you’re a woman. But I’m talking about expressing the woman before the baby weight, throw-up or food stains on your shirt, and yoga pants.
I’m talking about the woman before sneakers, jeans, and t-shirts became your signature look. This is not as much as an issue for moms who work outside the home because obviously you’re required to look presentable for work. Right?
But for those of us who stay or work in the home – I’m talking to you. Everyone always envisions the one day they’ll be able to work from home where they can tromp around in their PJ’s and bunny slippers all day. Though this is great for vacation days, it’s not recommended for everyday use. Sorry to wreck the dream.
Getting up and putting real clothes on in the morning will do wonders for your productivity and overall mindset!
You’re sending signals to your brain that this isn’t the weekend or a vacation day. That there’s real work to be done and it’s important.
I personally wear jeans and a cute yet comfortable top every day. It’s my uniform. I have a collection of flats that are comfortable and stylish that I can slip on instead of athletic sneakers. If you need some amazing style inspiration for real mom life, check out GetYourPrettyOn!
I’m always dressed in a way that allows me to be ready for anything. If the mailman rings the doorbell I don’t need to run and hide. If the school calls and I need to run to pick up my child, if I have a meeting to attend, or if I need to run a quick errand – I’m always ready.
In addition to getting dressed, I also put on makeup and make my hair presentable. Now, I know some of you are naturally gorgeous and don’t wear makeup. That’s awesome for you! Seriously, I’m jealous.
But for me, I need to cover some things up and accentuate others. But to be clear, I don’t spend nearly as much time on my face and hair as I did before kids. I used to flat iron my long hair every day. And I haven’t done that in years. In fact, I’m not sure I ever will. I have a lot of hair!
But the point is, I’m still doing what makes me feel good. And that’s what’s important. If you don’t put on makeup or brush your hair and avoid looking in the mirror – STOP!
If you don’t feel beautiful, that’s a shame. You are beautiful and should feel that way EVERY DAY. For the most part, most of us won’t be walking around feeling like supermodels, but we don’t feel like we’re scaring the children either.
You deserve to feel like a gorgeous woman! And I’ll go further to say you deserve to feel sexy, too! Feeling good isn’t hard – it just requires your permission.
These are small examples of ways you can start loving your body today!
Leave in the comments what you’ve deciding to focus on to give yourself your BEST! This post and the entire series is ALL about caring about yourself.