Real Solutions for Real Families Living Real Life

How to Increase Breastmilk: The Ultimate Guide for New Moms

One of the biggest concerns for new breastfeeding moms is how to increase breastmilk. I know this was the case for me when all three of my babies were born.

I struggled with low milk supply and many other breastfeeding challenges that I hope to prevent for other sleep deprived, frustrated, and confused moms.

How to increase breastmilk

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re not in the camp of moms who were instantly blessed with a steady flow of liquid gold for their new baby. Or you certainly wouldn’t be wasting your previous time reading this!

You’re probably dealing with long days and even longer nights searching for the best breastfeeding tips and wondering if your baby is getting enough milk.

When you do pump, you produce a few meager ounces. This can be frustrating and depressing. Can I offer you some friendly advice first? Do NOT go down that dark road. It leads to no where.

Keeping your mind on the positive and having a positive expectation goes a long way!

Boost Your Milk Supply

Each of the natural methods to boost your milk supply shared here are proven safe and will only help you. A few do have side effects so be sure to read those before trying any new supplements and checking with your Doctor.

Just remember that every woman’s body is different and there are never any guarantees. If you find that your body just doesn’t cooperate, know you’re NOT alone.

I formula fed all three of my babies after breastfeeding and they are three of the healthiest, brightest, and smartest kids I know… if I do say so myself.  

There is never any shame in feeding your baby in any way that’s needed or chosen by you… a loving mother.

Now, let’s explore all the ways to increase your breast milk supply naturally. But first I just want to say that I’m not a lactation expert. Just another mom who cares a lot and does a TON of research!

Read: Breastfeeding videos for new moms that are actually helpful.

How to Know if Your Milk Supply is Even Low

Boosting your milk supply can be a tricky thing because it’s hard to tell why your milk supply is low to begin with. You may be tempted to start pumping to see how much milk you can make.

This is not necessarily going to give you a good gauge because every baby’s milk needs are unique and you may be making just the right amount of milk for your baby. And babies are much more efficient at removing milk from the breast than a pump. Many pumps just don’t work well.

Many moms also think their supply is low because their breasts don’t feel full or their baby is very fussy all the time.

These can be caused by things other than low supply. First, breasts that produce plenty of milk will often never feel full which is totally normal. And secondly a fussy baby can be cause by many things like reflux.

3 clear signs that your milk supply may be low are:

  1. Your Baby is not gaining adequate weight. (Weight recommendations.)
  2. Your baby isn’t wetting enough diapers. A typical infant should be wetting at least 5 diapers in a 24 hour period from 5 days old and onward.
  3. Your baby isn’t soiling enough diapers. A typical newborn should be soiling at least 3 diapers per day beyond day 5. This is sometimes less or more depending on your baby.

If you suspect your milk supply is low and your baby isn’t getting enough milk, make an appointment with both your baby’s pediatrician and a certified lactation consultant right away.

Boosting your milk supply is something you’ll have to work at and most likely experiment with until you find something that works for your body. This isn’t an overnight process… nothing is with parenting.

You just need to decide what you want to do and stick with it until you see results. And get all the help you need because you and your baby deserve it!

Here are many proven and highly recommended methods you can try to boost your milk supply. Remember, most of these won’t work overnight, so try them for at least a week to see how your body responds.

Fenugreek Breastfeeding

Using Fenugreek to boost milk supply is one of the most popular ways breastfeeding moms are increasing their milk. It’s been shown to increase supply within 24-72 hours, but that, of course, may vary from mom to mom.

Fenugreek is an herb. Its primary uses are as an herb or spice in Indian and Persian cuisine and as a galactagogue for breastfeeding mothers.

Fenugreek is safe but shouldn’t be used by those who are diabetic, have a chickpea or peanut allergy, or have asthma.

There are many ways to use Fenugreek. Here are just a few of the easiest ways:

  1. Take in simple capsule form. The capsules generally come in 610mg and it’s recommended to take 2 capsules 3 times per day with food. That’s a total of 6 capsules per day. (Dosing source) | Here is a capsule that gets high ratings from breastfeeding moms.
  2. Take in a tea form. Many moms swear by Mother’s Milk Tea and is an easy way to take Fenugreek. It has a slightly sweet licorice taste.
  3. Take in a powder form. You can use Fenugreek powder to milk in lactation smoothies to pump up the nutrients you’re getting while breastfeeding. The only downside to using a powder is the high price tag.

Brewer’s Yeast Breastfeeding

Brewer’s yeast is another popular and effective supplement to boost a low milk supply. Though it’s not known exactly why brewers yeast helps increase breastmilk supply it also has some other good benefits such as lowering blood sugar levels for diabetics, may help lower cholesterol levels, and helps nourish skin and hair.

It’s also believed to elevate moods and feelings of mild depression. And with so many moms suffering from Postpartum Depression, it’s worth a try!

It also has some possible side effects such as upset stomach, cramps, and an increased risk of yeast infections.

You can take brewer’s yeast in a simple powder form. This brand of brewer’s yeast has hundreds of happy mom reviews! Just add 1-2 tablespoons to your favorite drink, lactation smoothie, or lactation cookie once per day.

More Breastfeeding Supplements

There are more, less common supplements to use for increasing your milk supply.

  1. Blessed Thistle
  2. Fennel
  3. Stinging Nettle
  4. Alfalfa
  5. Goat’s Rue
  6. Milk Thistle

Always talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant before taking any herbal treatments. For many centuries, herbal remedies have been used as medications. And, just like prescription drugs, herbs and plants can have side effects. And, depending on the preparation, some herbs can even be toxic.

Increase Breastmilk Through Pumping

You can also increase your milk supply through pumping. Also known as power pumping. The concept is simple, the more your baby nurses or you pump the more signals your body receives to tell it to produce more milk.

“If you want to boost your milk supply fast, power pumping can help by creating an artificially high demand for breast milk. By increasing the number of times you pump, you give your body the message to increase milk production.” — Helen Anderson, Chief Lactation Officer

Power pumping works great for moms who’ve already established their milk supply and noticed a dip in their supply or haven’t been able to nurse baby consistently for a number of reasons such as returning to work or a painful breast infection.

It also works for moms who are exclusively pumping as I did with my son. He was admitted in the hospital after 4 days old due to critically low bilirubin levels. I wasn’t even able to hold him more than a few minutes per day.

I had to start pumping right away for days and he never took to the breast so I decided to pump exclusively for as long as I could.

Power pumping helps to mimic cluster feeding which is a natural increase in your baby’s desire and need for milk. Which your body will naturally respond to with increased milk supply.

Power pumping really requires a time commitment. Basically, you’ll need to set aside an hour for your full power pumping session which will look like this:

  • You’ll pump both breasts for 20 minutes
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 minutes
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 minutes

You can do this at least 2 times a day until you see your supply increase and then gradually reduce your power pumping sessions.

Foods to Increase Breastmilk

Aside from staying very hydrated by drinking lots of water during and in between nursing sessions, there are also foods that tend to help increase milk production. These are referred to as lactation foods or the lactation diet.

  1. Ginger
  2. Garlic
  3. Rolled Oats
  4. Vegetables like carrots, yams, and dark leafy greens
  5. Sesame Seeds

Here’s a great resource of lactation recipes!

When to Know When it’s Time to Supplement with Formula

There are times when it’s appropriate and even necessary to begin supplementing with formula. If you think you may need to supplement, I urge you to get medical support from your baby’s pediatrician and your own Doctor or lactation consultant.

And never feel pressured to keep breastfeeding or start supplementing if you’re not comfortable or ready. As long as your baby is meeting the above guidelines, you most likely have time to make the best decision for your baby without the pressure from professionals who may not share your convictions.

Do you have a tip that worked to increase your breastmilk supply? Please share it in the comments below!

Is your breastmilk supply low or taking a dip? Learn the natural way to increase your milk supply fast. The ultimate guide for new moms! #babies #breastfeeding

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Starting Your Own Quiet Time Routine in 2019!

The Busy Mom's Guide to Starting a Quiet time Routine

As moms, one of the things we need the most but probably get the least is a consistent quiet time. And I’m not talking about the 2 seconds you break free to go to the bathroom. Let’s be honest – if you have little ones waiting “impatiently” outside the door – that doesn’t cut it for quality quiet time

They always seem so interested in what I’m doing in there. Lol

Having a “quiet time” seems like a misnomer in a home filled with loud little people running around. Quiet is a luxury most of us just don’t have. And time is the other luxury we seem to come up short on day after day even if your children aren’t little anymore.

The Busy Mom's Guide to Starting a Quiet time Routine

Most of us press through each day trying to make it to the end, so we can get up and do it all over again. Kind of like Groundhog’s Day for moms.

We all know the benefits of practicing a regular quiet time routine – time to connect with the One who created us and allow Him to shape us into who He created us to be. Time to invest in ourselves and our personal growth, so we can be ready to live out the good life He promised.

But we so often feel like we can’t afford to take a few minutes for ourselves. That’s selfish and unnecessary, right? But I’ll step out there and say you can’t afford NOT to.

Why You NEED a Quiet Time Routine

You NEED time to recharge, rest, grow, and reflect. Notice I didn’t say deserve. Although I believe we all deserve our own deserted island and personal wait staff for all we do as moms – what we need jumps to the front of the list.

And we NEED a regular quiet time routine to be effective as moms, wives, and every other title we hold in our lives.

Without it we’re just pouring out from an empty vessel. And let’s face it – our job description as moms is pouring.

But something happens when we become empty – we still pour. Only what comes out then is resentment, anger, and burnout. Sound familiar?

We’re vessels who are desperately needed by our families so giving of ourselves on a daily basis is really our privilege to do so. So this “pouring” is something I get to do and not something I have to do.

But allow me to be transparent for a moment, as moms, we’re the heartbeat of our family. And we need to be sure our heart stays in great condition because if we’re tired, angry, frustrated, and filled with resentment – our family feels that and feeds on it.

Understanding the purpose of quiet time is key to tapping into its power. So we can stay filled up and pour out the love, help, support, and encouragement our family needs from us.

Related: Creative Ways for Moms to Grow in Faith When Life Gets Overwhelming!

The Purpose and Power of a Quiet Time Routine

The purpose of a quiet time routine is to connect intimately with Christ, our Savior so He can show us who He created us to be. And allow the process of transformation to take place in our lives.

And most of us think it’s literally just time in the quiet. Nope! There’s so much more potential here.

The power of practicing a regular quiet time is that you and everyone around you get to reap the results of your daily transformation by becoming – day by day – the person you were destined to be.

Most people believe that quiet time is for just getting a break and doing a list of activities like praying and reading. And while these activities are extremely effective to do during your quiet time; having the right heart and understanding of its purpose is how you really grab hold of its power.

Doing random things, no matter how good they are, without connection to a bigger picture rarely leads to substantial change.

Change is what we’re ALL after. That’s why we read books and articles like this one. That’s why we set goals and have desires for more opportunities to earn more income or start new dreams. We all have somewhere we want to go.

I firmly believe there are places we’re called to go and things we’re destined to experience, but we’ll never get the opportunity until we become the person who’s qualified to open those doors.

If you find yourself desperate to make a change, I’d love to share with you a book that was such a life-changing blessing to my soul. It’s Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Related: How to Find the Courage to Fearlessly Chase your Dreams

Are You Being or Becoming?

In other words, when we devote more energy on “becoming” that person we know we are on the inside and less on just “being” who we are now, the journey to our purpose becomes a whole lot easier.

Take a moment and visualize your dream self. What do you look like? Are you in better shape? Healthier? Happier? Richer? More fulfilled? Stable? Confident? Sexier? 😉 A better mom? Wife? Friend?

What will it take to become her? Not to try and manufacture her, but to actually become her?

One thing’s for sure – it’ll take work. But if you have that vision of yourself – I can confidently say that it’s your vision. It belongs to you and should be your mission in life to become that vision.

And to be clear, this isn’t about going on some mid-life crisis or selfish pursuit. This is about you becoming your best version of you so you can love your family from a place of fulfillment and joy. No more burnt-out mom who yells out of utter exhaustion, frustration, and the fear of never changing.

I’ve been there, feeling like a failure who’s better off not being their mother. One yelling fit after another with guilt piling up around me.

The truth is, I’ve always been an awesome, loving mom. But I was stuck in the cycle of stagnation. I didn’t understand the purpose nor the power of giving time to myself with a clear focus. I spent most days trying to survive and when late afternoon came around, I was rushing the day forward so I could see a new, better day tomorrow.

Sadly, the better days never came because I never created them. I was floating with no intentional focus on how I thought about my days and how I could make them better. I started each year with the hope things would get better and ended each year with the disappointment that everything was still the same.

It wasn’t that I was miserable every day, but there were things that I knew I needed to change, but just didn’t know how.

Now I spend my days living in the present moments and I use my daily quiet time to reflect on who I’m becoming and where I’m going. And even though I have a long way to go, I’m fulfilled in knowing that every day I’m growing toward my goals.

Related: The Truth About Mom Guilt and 4 Steps to Get Rid of It Forever

How to Get Started with your Quiet Time Routine

Let me start off by saying quiet time, especially for moms with small children, is a huge sacrifice. So exactly when and how much time you’ll spend for your quiet time is going to be different for every mom.

Just remember, anything worth doing is worth sacrificing for! But if you’re not currently in the practice of having a quiet time routine at all, start off small and work your way up.

Depending on the day, I spend 30 minutes to an hour very early in the morning before I start my work.

If you don’t have a quiet time right now, here are a few tips to show you how to quickly get started with your own quiet time routine!

  1. If you’re pressed for time, roll your alarm back 15 minutes earlier every day. I recommend starting light and adding more time as you grow. Everyone can get up just 15 minutes earlier!
  2. Use a journal sheet that has prompts, questions, and/or blanks to fill in. This helps you have a plan already set and you don’t have to do anything but show up!
  3. Have a place to go every day. Even if it’s your own bed and you just roll over, having a place set for your quiet time tells your brain that you’re serious. By the way, if you’re just starting out the bed isn’t going to be your best option for longevity.
  4. Be focused on change. Remember, having a quiet time isn’t just about doing stuff or having “me time.” It’s the time you set aside to become that woman you envisioned earlier. Quiet time is like a cocooned space you crawl into every day and slowly emerge day by day as your true, beautiful butterfly self.
  5. Read a devotional. I find devotionals a wonderful way to read and reflect on God’s Word. There are so many that are focused on whatever topic you wish to study or work on.

Here are some wonderfully encouraging devotionals I recommend for moms:

Related: 7 Simple Habits That’ll Yield Big Results in your Life

Getting the Most out of Your Quiet Time

The following are activities I do in my quiet time. I don’t necessarily do each thing every day or follow a rigid routine. I just start with my purpose in mind and go with the flow. I recommend you do the same until you find what works for you.

Pray

The way I start my quiet time is to pray. In other words, I talk to my Creator –  my Heavenly Father. I tell Him how grateful I am for having this new day in the first place. Then I honor Him by speaking highly of who He is. In other words, I give Him praise because He is truly worthy of all the praise I could possibly give! God has been so good to me!

I pray for my family, my community, and anything else that’s on my prayer list or that comes to mind.

I also ask for the wisdom I need for my day or anything else I’m facing. God’s Word promises that if we ask for wisdom, He’ll liberally supply it to us. And of course, I use this time to pray for others who are on my heart. Basically, prayer is part of my relationship with God and allows Him the space to speak to my heart at a time when I’m free of distractions.

Journal

Journaling is widely known to provide many benefits for our overall health, well-being, and success in life. But I personally love to journal because it works and has helped me so much in my life! I’ve actually been journaling since I was very young. I guess it’s the writer in me that needs to express myself.

Journaling is the time I use to also plan and reflect. I reflect on the previous day’s events and evaluate how I felt and what was good or not so good. I notate blessings that happened that day, missteps that I want to avoid in the future, and any powerful lessons I learned. I also allow it to be a natural tracker of my transformation progress. And when I’m in a planning period, I use my quiet time for writing out my vision and goals.

Here are some wonderful journals with writing prompts to help you journal every day.

Read

Reading is one of the most effective and powerful activities you can do for your personal growth. Just pick a topic to read and let the growing begin! I start off by reading my bible which is my foundation for everything else in my life. I’ll read based on whatever reading plan or bible study I presently have going on.

I don’t spend a lot of time reading, though. Just a chapter or so is all my time will allow during this season in my life. For my other books, I try to read a few pages per day. You’ll be surprised how impactful reading really is, even if you’re only reading a couple pages per day. Just be consistent!

You don’t have to do all the things I mentioned here. You can do one or totally add in your own elements. I just shared what works for me personally. But the key is giving yourself permission to invest in yourself. To press the pause button for a moment so you can be more effective every day and grow into your very best self.

Here are more of my favorite books I know you’ll love:

Related: 4 Surprising Signs You’re a Burn Out Mom and How to Get Out

Leave a comment below to share how you use your quiet time. Do you have any questions or suggestions on how you can easily add a quiet time routine to your day? Let’s get talking!Don't let being a busy mommy stop you from finding time for yourself. Learn how to start your own quiet time routine in 2019!

Ready to start a quiet time routine for yourself in 2019! These simple steps will help you be your best in this New Year! #momlife

Moms are always juggling many things. Having a consistent devotional time for quiet reflect and bible study is so important to living your best life and keeping your sanity! #jesus #selfcare #selflove #momlife

50 Simple Ways to Speak Your Child’s Love Language

speak your child's love language

Did you know there’s an actual language of love… no not Italian. Seriously, we all have a unique Love Language that’s tailor-made to our unique personality. A language that when it’s spoken to us, can make us feel love in a deeply personal way.

We all know what it’s like to feel loved. It’s this experience of love that hits our heart much differently than merely knowing we’re loved. So many of us live the majority of our days in the “knowing we’re loved” zone, versus actually “experiencing that love” in action.

speak your child's love language

We all want to feel that love a whole lot more than just knowing it’s there. I know I’m guilty of letting the days go by without going beyond the usual hug, kiss, and I love you as I drop them off at school. And, of course, the thought that feeding them, clothing them, and sheltering them is an expression of love.

And though they are clearly expressions of love, I have to ask myself when was the last time my child “felt” love. A love that was meant just for them, and not a one-size-fits-all love that merely got tossed to all the kids at once on the way out the door.

The truth is, far too often we all take for granted that our spouse, children, and friends simply know we love them and leave it at that. Until a holiday (#Valentine’s Day) or other special event rolls around. Then we bring out the big guns!

This list is designed to help you become an even better mom and a positive parent than you already are!

We Speak Love in our Own Language

But our loved ones need so much more than that, especially our sweet children. Who are generally sweet most of the time. 

They need to feel and experience a clear and tangible expression of our love. One they can’t question or talk themselves out of later. And the best way to do this is to show them love in their own love language.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (or mounds of your children’s dirty laundry) and haven’t heard of love languages; let me catch you up.

The concept is taught extensively by Gary Chapman who wrote several books on the topic including The 5 Love Languages of Children – which I HIGHLY recommend along with all of his other books on the topic.


He teaches that there are basically five main ways (languages) we humans uniquely communicate love to one another. We all communicate on some level using all five languages, but Gary believes we each have one overarching language that’s stronger than all the others. That’s our love language.

Why are Love Languages Important?

The interesting part is, we naturally communicate our love to others using our own love language. I mean, that’s our own language, right? But this can hinder the flow of the “love exchange” because, as you know by now, we receive love best in our own language. Confused yet?

Please don’t be. Think of love languages as actual languages. If your husband spoke French and you only spoke English, your relationship would be challenging at best. But if you knew each other’s language and chose to speak that language to each other – you’d be in business. No more mixed signals. Well, hopefully.

This gives us the challenge of identifying and understanding the love language of those we want to show love to the most – our family. This way you can shoot your arrows of love like The Mocking Jay and hit the bulls-eye every single time. Imagine that!

The whole point of understanding and using love languages is the concept of filling each other’s love tank. And doing things that fill our child’s love tank in the specific way that they need it, sends the message loud and clear to your child – I AM LOVED.

Tips to Identify Your Child’s Love Language

In case you don’t know your child’s love language, I’m going to briefly list a few clues to point you in the right direction. I’ll warn you, it may seem at first that your child has ALL the love languages.

But if you observe your child over time, it’ll become more clear. Once you know your child’s love language, you can have fun delivering love messages to them in a way that’s sure to fill their love tank all the way to the top!

Physical Touch

  • Your child is touchy-feely and never seems to leave your side.
  • Frequently grabs your hand to hold it, leans on you, or rubs you in an affectionate way.
  • Loves to snuggle, cuddle, and be close.
  • If you reject this snuggle-fest request, they’ll likely feel rejected themselves.

Words of Affirmation

  • Your child is highly motivated by your words of encouragement.
  • They tend to feed off the validation of others.
  • They also will be more affected by harsh verbal correction or discipline.
  • Compliments and praise are like fuel to their soul.

Quality Time

  • Your child will frequently ask to spend time with you, even after you just had an awesome one on one day yesterday! Lol
  • Every time you turn around – they’re there looking to see what you’re doing.
  • If they aren’t getting the attention they’re seeking out, they will often resort to getting attention elsewhere. This is where getting negative attention can come in.
  • They’ll ask to come along when you’re just running errands. The point is, they want to be with you. Here are some great ideas for family connections!

Gifts

  • Your child sees receiving gifts a special moment.
  • On big gift giving days like Christmas and Birthdays, they’ll often remember who gave each and every gift.
  • They will often collect and store seemingly random mementos from places they’ve been or from things they’ve been given by friends.

Acts of Service

  • Your child always wants to help and will even try to take over doing things like folding the laundry or putting away dishes as an act of love.
  • They will look for things that need to be done, like cleaning up the pile of blocks that got left in the corner. They’ll feel proud and accomplished after doing this, so showing your appreciation will go a long way.
  • They will naturally look for ways to help others.

Family Time Made Simple Checklist

50 Ways to Show Your Child Love in Their Own Love Language

Even when you’re busy and overwhelmed with life, these ideas are so super, simple that you’ll find yourself inventing new ideas. The ways to speak your child’s love language are really endless and are only bound by your creativity and FUN! Let’s get to it.

 Physical Touch

  1. Watch their favorite TV show or read a book snuggled up on the couch. For ideas, check out my Epic Summer Reading list here!
  2. Create a special one-of-a-kind handshake.
  3. Give a lingering hug every day. One that just holds for an extra moment or two.
  4. Offer piggy-back or on the shoulder rides (if they’re still little enough!)
  5. Invite them into your lap to read as long and as often as they’ll still accept the invitation.
  6. Challenge them to an arm or thumb wrestling contest.
  7. Play a board game. Twister is a great one if you can handle it, Mom!
  8. ALWAYS tuck your child in for bed whenever possible.
  9. Wake them up sweetly with a warm snuggle instead of the light on and a, “wake up!”
  10. Do yoga or stretches together using each other for gentle resistance and support.

Words of Affirmation

  1. Write them a love note in their lunch box.
  2. Send them a text message telling them how awesome they are. Be specific and genuine! They’ll spot a canned praise a mile away.
  3. Always be ready with something awesome to say about them when they’re with their friends and/or siblings.
  4. When disciplining/correcting use the sandwich method. Praise – correction – praise.
  5. Offer words of praise that are very specific such as, “it was so awesome when you did … “
  6. Talk openly about them in a positive way around other family and friends.
  7. Always reserve correction to be given privately within your home and not around others.
  8. Create fan signs for your child at their sports games or other activities. And scream their name loudly if appropriate.
  9. Purchase a nice journal for them and write an inspiring message for them on the first page and date it. Words are important for those with this love language so journaling is usually a great activity to encourage.
  10. Create a secret journal that only you and your child know about that you use to write back and forth to each other. This is wonderful for those challenging tween years.

Quality Time

  1. Have a regularly scheduled date day. Could be simple and free like going to the park every Friday. Here are some great FREE ideas! 
  2. Go for a walk alone. Allow them to lead the conversation.
  3. Order a fun subscription box for kids. They are so much fun. My kids are obsessed with these!
  4. Find a way to include them in your work, if you work from home and they’re old enough. Get creative.
  5. Play with your child. Enter their play fort, hide really well in a game of hide-and-seek, and learn how to give their dolls the most stylish do’s for their latest date to the ball.
  6. Create a project together that the whole family can enjoy when it’s done.
  7. Reorganize or rearrange a room together.
  8. Take up a physical activity like running together. You can train together and run marathons throughout the year.
  9. Cook a meal together. Allow them to plan, shop, and prepare it.
  10. Identify a talent, hobby, or sport they love and find a way to get involved. Become a coach, a volunteer, or start your own group.

Gifts

  1. Give unique and meaningful gifts like planting a beautiful tree together in the backyard. Preferably one of their favorites, if possible.
  2. Tap into your inner DIY crafter (get on Pinterest) and find something to make for your child that they can use every day like a jewelry organizer or a nice phone charging station. The fact that you took the time to make something won’t be lost on this child!
  3. Get creative in making gifts for classroom gift-giving seasons like Valentine’s Day. They like giving gifts as much as receiving them.
  4. Give them the gift of quality stationery so they can beautifully express their appreciation for the gifts they receive from others.
  5. Make their gifts an event or experience by coordinating a gift treasure hunt.
  6. Work on a project that allows them to use their talents as gift giving opportunities.
  7. Give them gifts with a deeper meaning or significance such as a piece of jewelry or a personalized journal. And make the packaging thoughtful!
  8. Bring them a personal memento from an interesting place you went that day or from your travels. For example, a cool looking rock or flower. Repay the “look what I found” sentiment we get from them so often.
  9. Buy them personalized items with their name on it. This could be as simple as a dinner plate or cup with their name printed on it but can get more special as they get older.
  10. Create cool spaces for them to store their new gifts or mementos. Like baskets, shadowbox shelves, or cabinets with open spaces.

Acts of Service

  1. Give your child special responsibilities they personally enjoy doing such as cooking, walking the dog, or watering the plants. Allow them to have feedback in the process.
  2. Create opportunities to display random acts of kindness to strangers together.
  3. Offer to be a teacher’s helper in your child’s classroom and allow your child to work as your assistant.
  4. Discuss how you can work with them to use their interests to help others on your street. If they love animals, you can both offer to wash their neighbor’s dog for free together.
  5. Payback their acts of service by doing one of their chores secretly.
  6. Let your child HELP! Even when they roll the shirts up instead of folding them.
  7. Plan simple random acts of kindness just for them.
  8. Take the time to teach. Instead of just “doing” everything, slow down and teach your child how to do something.
  9. Always bring extra to share. If you get a snack in the kitchen put extra on your plate so you can freely share. Or better yet, offer to get them their own plate!
  10. Cook them their favorite “real” breakfast every now and then on a school morning

This is just a list to get your imagination working. As a mom, it’s important for us to take the time to learn how to deliver the message of our love in a way that speaks uniquely to them. No more generic love! 

Do me a favor and put in the comments below what your child’s love language is. My oldest daughter’s is giving gifts, and my middle daughters is physical touch. I’m not yet sure of my toddler’s yet but I’ll keep you posted.

Tell us what love expressions you’re planning next in the comments below! Let’s keep this list going beyond this 50!

Looking for easy ways to show love to your child in an extremely personal way? Try speaking their unique love language! Here are 50 simple ways to speak your child's love language. #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife Don't know your child's love language? Be the end of this post, you will! Plus, get 50 simple ways to speak their love language! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #lovelanguage #kidsWant to learn your child's love language? Get the full list and 50 simple ways to speak your child's love language every day! #kidsandparenting #parentingtips #parenting #lovelanguage #kidsLove languages for kids are so important in letting our kids know how loved they are! Get 50 simple ways to speak your child's love language every day! #lovelanguage #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips

Does your child "feel" your love every day in a tangible way? It's super easy when you know their love language! Get 50 super simple ways to speak your child's love language every day! #parenting #momadvice #kids #kidsandparenting #parentingtipsKnowing your child's love language is very helpful in being able to show love to your child in a special way every day. These 50 ideas will get you started today! #lovelanguage #kidsandparenting #parenting #momadvice #mom #kidsLove is unique for everyone because we all have a love language. Find out how to speak your child's unique love language today! #lovelanguage #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #momlife #motherhood These super easy and unique ideas will have you speaking your child's love language everyday and strengthening your relationship in the process! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101

7 TED Talks for Moms To Break Free from the Mom Guilt and Rock Your MomLife!

TED Talks for motherhood

Becoming a mother is probably one of the most transforming seasons of a woman’s life. It comes with it insecurities about whether we’ll ever be good enough, the judgments and opinions of everyone around us, and the daring responsibility of caring for another life.

TED Talks for motherhood

It also brings the unrelenting love and bond of a sweet blessing that no words could adequately describe.

Motherhood is full of amazing surprises and devastating valleys but one thing is true… motherhood is a privilege. And certainly a title we should be grateful for.

These TED Talks are powerful and will empower you in your best role as a mom. Watch these and be reassured that you already are a wonderful mom right now!

Related: Learning to Fully Embrace the True Value of Being a Mom!

7 TED Talks for Moms

It’s time to unmask the lies of motherhood

Every single mother is struggling with guilt and so many are hiding behind a mask. A mask that says, “I’m fine” even when we’re clearly not. Even when they’re struggling.

The truth is, we’re all competing with ourselves and our own unrealistic expectations. It’s time to remove the false mask we’ve been wearing and love ourselves enough to admit that motherhood is hard and that’s ok.

We should put more energy into supporting each other instead of shaming and judging other moms and ourselves.

Related: The Truth About Mom Guilt and 4 Steps to Get Rid of it Forever

Overcoming the loneliness and overwhelm in motherhood

So many moms are still struggling with the overwhelming demands of being a mom and have no idea how lonely they really are.

We feel the pressure to be perfect and do it all “well” but fail to realize we don’t have to do it all on our own. We need our community. We need friends and support and the need to be connected.

It’s not good for our own emotional well being to continue going through the motions of work life and mom life without quality connections with friendships with other women and moms.

Related: Super Easy Ways to Feel More Intentional, Connected & Fulfilled in Your Life

Why we need to ignore the judgments of others and mom shamers

Being a mom is really hard because we are judged and even shamed for every decision we make. The looks and stares we get when we choose to breastfeed in public. Or the looks we get from other moms when we shake up a bottle of formula for our new baby.

Motherhood gets a little easier when we decide to ditch the mom guilt and raise our children in the best way we know how. When we decide to be confident in our own parenting choices and support the other moms in our lives.

Related: Why Putting Yourself First Makes you a Much Better Mom

A new way we should be thinking about the transition to motherhood

When a woman gets pregnant, she goes on a massive roller coaster of emotions, hormonal changes, and fear we’ve only encountered since puberty.

If you’ve ever struggled with not feeling adequate as a mom you need to watch this talk. You and I are not alone and are navigating a totally normal phase of life for us as women.

Related: 51 Ways to be a Fun Mom Even When You’re Stressed or Tired

Parenting rooted in kindness versus the expectations we create for our kids

We all have expectations on how our children should look and behave. Many of these expectations are actually fueled by the expectations of others and society.

We can instead, choose to raise our kids through kindness and compassion and build a solid relationship and lasting memories with our amazing children.

Related: 60 Fun Questions to Ask to Get to Know Your Child’s Heart

Here’s our permission to stop overparenting our kids

We all love our kids and want to help them achieve their best in life. But in all our effort, we can inadvertently hurt their ability to develop self-efficacy. And the good news is, our child’s success in life is not our job alone.

So the pressure’s off! Motherhood just got easier.

Children desperately need us to be there for them but not to make every decision in their life. We are there to inspire them to discover and follow their own unique path.

This is one of my favorite parenting related TED Talks. You’ll feel relieved after watching this.

Related: 9 Things Your Kid Really Needs But Doesn’t Know how to Tell You

A moving tribute to a mom’s greatest gift – mother’s intuition

I personally have experienced countless moments of mother’s intuition. I remember when my son was just three days old and we had been discharged from the hospital.

When we got home, I noticed that his eyes had a yellow tint and so did his skin. I called the pediatrician right away and was told that he didn’t appear to be Jaundiced in the hospital so it was likely nothing.

I felt led strongly to take him to the ER anyway. Even as we were being checked in, the nurses commented that he didn’t appear Jaundiced either. But I persisted that he be seen by a Doctor.

Once he was seen, the doctor also agreed that he had minimal yellowing but took his blood anyway. When the results came back, his levels were dangerously high and he was immediately rushed upstairs to be admitted.

We had to stay in the hospital for four more days. It was scary but I’m so thankful that God has given parents a special intuition to know when we should push a little further. It’s a gift!

This mother’s own story is a beautiful tribute to the divine workings of a loving God working in and through our lives as mothers.

These TED Talks are so encouraging and are proof that we are all in this together. That your struggles are likely my struggles too.

Share in the comments below which talk meant the most to you as a mom!

Struggling in motherhood? Stop and watch these amazing TED Talks for moms that'll make motherhood a bit easier! #kidsandparenting #parentingtips #parenting #kids The TED Talks for moms will inspire you to feel free as a mom and finally stop struggling with mom guilt! #momadvice #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlifeOverwhelmed with mom guilt? Stop struggling and find freedom with these 7 amazing TED Talks for moms! #momadvice #momlife #parenting

The Ultimate Baby Essentials List for the Minimalist Mom on a Budget

Baby essentials list

When you’re expecting your first baby or second or fifth there’s a lot of stuff to consider buying for your precious bundle of joy. And there also are a lot of things you absolutely do NOT need. And after having three kids, I’ve learned a few things!

And wasting money and taking up space in your home when adding to your family is totally unnecessary. You really can live the minimalist life and be mindful of your budget when having a baby.

Baby essentials list

This list will give you the goods on what goods you really need and which ones you need to leave at the store!

That’s because that super sweet and cuddly first year of your baby’s life is literally going to fly right by! And so much of the baby gear that’s usually recommended isn’t really going to get used that much or not at all.

Start with Your Baby Registry

One of the first things you need if you’re pregnant is a baby registry. Why? Umm, to tell all your family and friends what you really want so they can buy it for you! But you already knew that, so moving on.

Amazon is the largest retailer in the world and millions of people are ordering their every need on Amazon every single day. And that goes for gifts too!

So while you’ll definitely have fun signing up for your Target Baby Registry you may not know that Amazon has a Baby Registry too. It’s totally FREE to sign up and you get a really awesome free gift shipped to you as well.

This is a huge incentive for gift shopping because while your best friend is ordering her groceries to be shipped, she can add your baby shower gift and have it gift wrapped too. And you can add ALL of these amazing products so easy!

So it’s like doing her a favor! #winwin

Now on to our list of only the baby essentials you really need and the ones you don’t.

Baby Essentials You Must Have

Baby essentials list

1 – Newborn Pack and Plays

By the time I had my third baby, I didn’t want a bunch of large baby gear that I had to get rid of in the first year. I quickly realized that buying a sweet little bassinette isn’t necessary.

With the invention of beautifully designed newborn friendly pack and plays, this is all you need for your newborn’s first bed. They’re small enough to fit by most bedsides like a bassinette but will do so much more.

The reason I love these so much is that the newborn sleeper is perfect for snuggling your little one in softness while safely keeping them on their backs. As they get a few months older, it’s amazing how quickly they can start to roll in their sleep.

They also have a changing table that allows you to do quick changes in your room instead of needing to run to the baby’s nursery in the middle of the night.

And the best part is, as your baby gets older you can remove the newborn sleeper and changing table and have them sleep in the crib attachment. And finally, you’ll still get use out of them as a playpen for many years after! It’s simply one of the best new baby essentials I can think of!

Here is a listing of the highest 5 star reviewed newborn-friendly pack and plays!

Breastfeeding class

2 – Convertible Car Seat

We love convertible car seats because your infant car seat isn’t going to last you passed the first two years. And if we’re focusing on our budget here the convertible car seat is totally the way to go.

All of these car seats come with a newborn attachment that safely keeps your newborn snuggled while in their seat. And this particular seat is perfect because it transforms as your child grows up to 100 pounds!

Here is a full listing of all the five star rated convertible car seats!

The only time I would recommend buying an infant carrier car seat is if you have multiple children. And only if you feel that taking your baby out of her car seat every time would be too overwhelming.

We purchased a convertible car seat with my first daughter and loved it. We then purchased an infant carrier when we had our second daughter and it was convenient. But it was also very heavy to lug around too.

I would suggest investing in a comfortable baby carrier and wearing your little one everywhere. It’s super easy and keeps your baby close!

3 – Infant Carrier

I just love infant carriers! They are perfect for doing things in the house and comfortably getting around out of the house. And if you have multiple children they are a lifesaver!

There’s just one problem, many parents are getting it wrong. There’s a huge danger of hip dysplasia in babies and infants by using the wrong carrier.

Most of those carriers that dangle the baby either front or rear facing are usually the culprits. Read here to learn how to prevent hip dysplasia in infants with common baby products.

The good news is there are many great baby carriers to choose from that will keep your baby safe and comfortable and won’t wreck your back either.

I love Ergo because they’re all about the comfort of both baby and mama! This wrap style carrier takes some practice but once you get the hang of it you’ll never want to stop using it. Plus, it takes up almost no room which is a HUGE plus!

Here’s a Top Five list of infant carriers that moms voted that they love!

4 – Baby Stroller

Though I loved wearing my baby’s everywhere, I still had plenty of opportunities to use our stroller! Especially as they got older and heavier.

We chose this particular stroller that we loved so much because it had all the storage and perks of the bigger strollers but you could basically lift and operate it with one hand. I had tons of jealous mom friends when they saw how light it was.

You can buy the stroller on its own or the infant carrier and stroller combo if you’re opting for an infant carrier car seat. And if you are, I highly recommend you purchase the matching stroller. You’ll thank me later!

Check out my absolute favorite stroller here.

5 – Baby Bottles

Whether you are breastfeeding or not, chances are your baby at some point will need to drink from a bottle. And you want to be prepared!

There are many, many bottles to choose from and bottle feeding is very personal to each mom based on your feeding desires. If you are exclusively breastfeeding and want a bottle that’s very close to breast, you may want to invest in Comotomo Natural Feeding Bottles.

They are on the pricey side, but if you don’t plan to use bottles often, you could get by with just a few. And the benefits of avoiding nipple confusion likely outweigh the investment.

If you are exclusively pumping or are formula feeding like I did, you can feel free to choose a great bottle that focuses on helping baby drink and digest their milk without painful gas. I personally used these Philips Avent bottles and loved them!

I recommend buying the larger 9 oz bottles instead of the newborn 4 oz bottles. It saves money and you can just change the nipples from slow flow for your newborn to the older stages as your baby is ready.

6 – Swaddling Wraps or Blankets

Swaddling wraps have certainly come a long way since just a few years ago. I used to be firmly on the swaddling blankets side of the swaddling debate.

That’s because the first swaddling wraps on the market didn’t really achieve that snug swaddled feel that the blankets did. However, these swaddling wraps are simply amazing and make swaddling a no-brainer for tired parents!

If you love swaddling your baby with those soft muslin blankets, you’ll love these Aden + Anais swaddling blankets. 

Check out this video if you’re feeling clueless about swaddling your little one to sleep.

7 – Breastfeeding Pillow

Whether or not you are planning to breastfeed, you need one of these breastfeeding pillows! I literally used this handy pillow to prop up my little newborns all day long. The Boppy pillow’s shape seems to make them feel snuggled and keeps them calm.

And because of its portability, you can take it anywhere you go. I actually pumped for the first month because he had to be admitted in the hospital for Jaundice at 4 days old.

This complicated our breastfeeding plan, and I ended up using this pillow to lay him on while I was pumping.

This pillow also gets a lot of mileage as it works perfectly for propping up your little sitter.

8 – Burp Clothes and Onesies

A couple of things that you simply can’t live without as a new mom are burp clothes and simple onesies. Your washing machine will be full of these every single load, so you can never have enough.

These burp clothes have a unique curved flap style that seems to stay in place on your shoulder better. Plus, the designs are very cute!

These simple gray uni-sex onesies are perfect because white seems to really hold on to spit up stains and they work perfectly under baby’s outfits when you actually leave the house.


9 – Must-Have Bath Time Essentials

Obviously bathing your baby is something you’ll be doing every day or at least every other day. So, having a simple bathtub is important. This baby seat is what I used for all three of my babies and it easily fits into your kitchen sink or bathtub.

It still cradles your newborn and when you’re done it folds flat. It ends up taking no room at all and it’s very inexpensive! Perfect for the minimalist mom on a budget.

This very cool tub dam is not something I’ve used but, wish I had one when my kids were babies. It saves a ton of money and water. Probably one of the coolest baby products I’ve ever seen!


What did we miss on this baby essentials list? Let us know in the comments below what your absolute must-have baby product is!

Related Baby Posts:

60 Cool and Strong Baby Names with Powerful Meanings

25 Romantically Beautiful Baby Girl Names with Strong Meanings

This list shares the must-have baby stuff you can't live without as a new mom. Plus, it's only the most essential items perfect for the minimalist mom on a budget. #pregnancy #baby #momlife #kidsandparenting #parenting #babiesThis list of baby stuff is everything you need for your baby's first year! Baby essentials. #kidsandparenting #babies #parenting #pregnancyThis list of baby products is everything a new mom must have and nothing she doesn't need. Baby essentials list for new moms! #pregnancy #parenting #babies

Gorgeous and Easy Fall Inspired DIY Home Decor Projects

Fall inspired DIY Home Decor

DIY home decor projects are so fun and add a unique personality to your home that you won’t find anywhere else because you made it! Sure, you found inspiration on sites like this one, but you still added your own special touches and made it your own.

Fall inspired DIY Home Decor

Now, it’s time to get ready for Fall! And these gorgeous and simple Fall inspired DIY decor projects will have your home welcoming this beloved season with open arms. So go grab your Pumpkin Spice Latte and let’s get to work!

25 Fall Inspired DIY Home Decor Projects

Fall Inspired Home Decor

1. Pressed Fall Leaves Frame | Confessions of an Overworked Mom

2. Rustic Fall Table Scape | Making Manzanita

3. Fabric Fall Wreath | Small Stuff Counts

4. Floral Pumpkin Centerpiece | Fun Thrifty Mom

5. Pretty Burlap Wreath | Crafts by Amanda

6. Wooden Pumpkins | Our Home Made Easy

7. Easy Scrap Wood Pumpkins | Love and Renovations

8. Log Candle Centerpiece | A Crafted Passion

9. Fence Post Pumpkins | Chicken Scratch NY

10. Metallic Painted Pumpkins | Small Stuff Counts

11. Homemade Dehydrated Orange Slice Decorations | Salt in My Coffee

12. Gorgeous Faux Pumpkins | Love and Renovating

13. Thankful Pallet Sign | Making Manzanita 

14. Pretty Fall Baskets | Create and Babble

15. Reversible Holiday Banner | 365 of Crafts

16. Happy Fall Pumpkin Door Hanger | The Soccer Mom Blog

17. Burlap Placemats | One Crazy Mom

18. Easy Dried Beans Centerpiece | Mission to Save

19. Succulent Topped Pumpkins | Delicious Table

20. Felt Leaf Garland | Our Crafty Mom

21. Decorative Fall Mantel Sign | Create and Babble

22. Easy Floral Fall Wreath | Small Stuff Counts

23. Pretty Painted Acorns | Crafts by Amanda

24. Easy Fabric Fall Pumpkins | Crafts by Amanda

25. Fall Ribbon Wreath | Create and Babble

Aren’t these ideas amazing? Let me know in the comments below which one you’re excited to try!

These Fall inspired DIY Home decor projects will have you running to grab your DIY supplies! Let your home shine this Fall with these gorgeous ideas. #decor #Fall #DIY #home These simple and gorgeous Fall inspired DIY home decor projects are the perfect way to celebrate the season with style! #DIY #homedecor #decor #crafts #crafting These easy DIY Fall inspired decorations will have your home feeling warm and cozy and ready for the Fall holidays! #Fall #DIY #diyprojects #decor These Fall DIY home decor projects are super easy will make your home look effortlessly stunning! #diy #homedecor #fall #diyprojects #crafts

How to Successfully Balance Your Passion and Your Family

how to successfully balance your business and blog with your family

Are you a mom who’s super busy with life and family, but secretly wants to pursue a passion, talent or business idea?

Maybe you’ve already stepped out to start your Passion Project but quickly got overwhelmed and quit.

No judgment, here. Been there!

Or you’re like me and already have a growing blog and business but still need practical advice on keeping everything balanced.

No matter where you are, pursuing a passion is a really big deal because for most of us – it leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed.

how to successfully balance your business and blog with your family

Entering… life outside of good ole’ comfort zone!

The good news is… a life that’s filled with passion and purpose is like getting a cool breeze on a hot summer day! #Winning

It’s also a whole lot of work and dedication if you’re all in, but your Passion Project is all your own and can be extremely satisfying!

#MomBoss

So let’s talk about the giant elephant in the room… lack of TIME!

The main hurdle for myself and most moms out there is, “where will I find the time between work and family to follow my dreams?”

The real reason this is such a major issue for moms is that we want to care for our families well and keep them first place on our Life’s Priority List.

Adding new things to an already full plate can be scary, for sure.

Let me show you how chasing your passion just got a whole lot easier!

Bring your Family into Your Passion

Start by letting your passion be known by your spouse and kids… if you haven’t already done this.

Let them know why this thing is your passion and even how you believe it connects to your life’s purpose.

You’d be surprised how supportive your family can be, and how they are sometimes just the perfect people in your life to help you in your passion.

My Passion Project is this blog. I LOVE writing and sharing what I’m learning about raising and family and becoming the best version of myself. FamilyFelicity.com is growing and growing and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

The best part is, it’s really a family project! My husband how’s a genius tech and online marketing Pro helps me with all my tech and advertising stuff. And my oldest daughter who is an AMAZING artist is working on some graphics and products that will be offered in our store later this year.

I’ll be honest, I started this blog a few years ago all on my own. That was my choice and a result of my own insecurities. Once I got out of my feelings, and let other people into my project – things began to soar.

Related: How I Keep My First First While Running my Growing Business

Maybe your husband isn’t supportive of your passion or your children are too little to understand.

In this case, keep a positive mindset and as long as there isn’t any conflict over what you’re doing… keep working at it!

Ruth Soukup and Crystal Paine both tell stories of them stepping out in their passion for blogging. Their husbands both didn’t see how anyone could make money from blogging but they both forged ahead and now make thousands each month from their blogs!

There’s a Grace for Your Passion in Every Season

So what does that look like for the stay-at-home mom of 4 kids under 8 who’s living room constantly looks like a toy factory explosion, or the working mom who has very little margin left at the end of her long day to cook dinner, or the work-at-home mom who’s ready to pull her hair out trying to balance play-dough and business plans at the same time?

Whether you’re in the early stages of motherhood or soon to be an empty-nester, there’s a grace to follow your dreams right now.

That grace isn’t just the ability to “DO” things in this season, but also to “NOT DO” things.

That means, scaling back, delegating, or taking a break depending on where you are! Or better yet, saying no to what doesn’t fit, so you have more time to focus on what does. There’s a grace to fit together creativity the things you’re led to do, and equally the grace to say no to the things you aren’t.

Knowing this takes the pressure off, and allows us to stop waiting for the perfect time to step out. There’s always going to be a little chaos and a whole lot of juggling no matter what.

The only perfect time is now!

Related: Mommy Martyr Syndrome: Finding Yourself in Motherhood

Baby Steps are OK!

This post is specifically about helping moms balance their family and their passion, and we all know how crazy motherhood can be on a good day.

That’s why taking baby steps is a great strategy for jumpstarting your Passion Project.

One of the best ways to do this is to see how your passion, gifts, and talents can be used to serve others.

Again, during the very busy season of motherhood, this idea can immediately feel overwhelming.

Let me stop you right there!

I’m not talking about opening a non-profit or starting a new ministry here. Just start serving others in your area of passion, using your gifts and talents.

Related Post: 27  Super Easy Ways to Purpose Your Passion as a Crazy Busy Mom.

You can volunteer in your church for a couple hours a week, you can make crafty things and donate them, or you can join a group of like-minded people that align with your passion.

The only thing you MUST do is… Put your Passion On The Calendar!

Schedule Your Passion

Remember Ruth Soukup and Crystal Paine? They both made big sacrifices of their time to make their businesses happen! Crystal Paine ran her very busy blog and homeschooled her kids at the same time.

Ruth confesses spending months and months waking up at 3 am to work on her blog before she ever made a dime! That’s determination and dedication. Do you have that same bull-dog tenacity to keep going even if no one else understands?

The good news is, if you stick it out long enough – your success will be evident to others. Both Crystal and Ruth were able to retire their husbands and they gladly came to work in their new family business!

Carving out a dedicated amount of time every day or every week is extremely important to your success.

First, start by determining your most productive and creative time of day is… midday, early morning, or late night. Then do your best to get creative and carve out at least an hour a day to work. Soon that time will be like a habit and one you’ll guard and protect.

You’ll be amazing what you can accomplish in one hour a day! It’s certainly more impactful than zero.

One more thing, when your kid wakes up with a fever and is sick for a few days or something else unavoidable comes up, drop the work if you can. Mommy is your first priority and everything else comes second. Being the best mom you can be is always the best choice you can make.

When you make the most important choices, things always have a way of working themselves out in the end.

What’s your business or blog idea? How are you staying sane and keeping things semi-balanced? Please share your ideas in the comments below!

Running a business or blog and raising your family at home can be hard to balance! These tips will have you quickly feeling at ease! #business #blogging #momlife #homelife #momadvice #kidsandparenting #parenting

The 3 Step Plan to Break the Cycle of Unwanted Behaviors in Your Home

The only way to get rid of negative behavior patterns in your home

All behavior and all choices – both good and bad – stem from one process. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases, what goes around comes around, you’ll reap what you sow, or even karma’s a ____. All these phrases are rooted in one powerful principle that drives all behavior – our children’s behavior and our own behavior.

It’s the Principle of Sowing and Reaping. If we don’t understand how this principle works, we’ll end up letting the cycle of negative behaviors go unchecked in our lives and families.

The only way to get rid of negative behavior patterns in your home

So how do we use this principle to put a stop to selfishness, bickering, and other destructive behaviors?

We first need to understand the cycle and pattern of all behavior.

All behavior and decisions start with a seed. The seed of a thought. If that thought-seed (whatever it is) is allowed to lounge around and chill – chances are, it’s going to stay and grow.

As that thought hangs around for a while, it’s going to eventually force itself out of our mouths. Have you ever had a new idea pop in your mind and after you thought about it for a while you started talking about it to everyone around you?

That’s when the real fun begins!

That’s because our words, whether we realize it or not, are extremely powerful! I can’t emphasize that enough.

Our words have creative ability and have the power to shape our world. In other words, we’ll have what we say. The Bible says, “life and death are in the power of the tongue.”

Sadly, most of the time we don’t even pay attention to our thoughts or the things we say. Words today are so loose and unintentional. But in reality, our words are everything.

And the combination of our thoughts and words together are the building blocks of all behavior and habits. If we learn to understand this, we have the ability to have mastery over bad habits and choices and create good ones.

The goal is to teach these principles to our kids and help them also develop a lifestyle of good, healthy behaviors.

Related: 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Personal Accountability

Good Behavior Starts With Us First

The culture of our homelife largely depends on the type of seeds we sow as parents. We are setting the tone for our family every day. In order to experience the family life we really want, we must first plant the seeds of the right thoughts, words, and actions. And then watch them grow.

Seeds of selflessness instead of selfishness.

Seeds of encouragement instead of doubt.

Seeds of presence instead of busyness

Seeds of compassion instead of condemnation

Seeds of respect instead of contempt.

Seeds of affirming instead of judging.

Related: How to get your kids to listen without yelling and losing it

We all have good intentions of thinking the right thoughts, saying the right words, and doing the right things. But before we realize it, we’ve already dropped some bad seed in our fields. And too often, that seed has time to remain, fall into the soil, and gets watered. Then we look up one day and wonder why we have weeds in our fields… choking the life out of our precious harvest.

So what does that mean in our busy, everyday lives?

How to Stop Unwanted Behavior Before it Starts

If we keep with the planting example of reaping what you sow we can come to a reasonable conclusion that we should be planting with the end in mind. For example, if a farmer wants to plant more apple trees, he’s going to plant apple seeds. He’s not gonna to be throwing around the wrong seeds!

We need to decide what kind of life we want to live. What kind of marriage we want to be in. What kind of children we want to raise. And then start planting the seeds that will produce the harvest we want instead of the ones we don’t want.

Basically, it all starts with us as parents. We set the ultimate example and show our kids what is acceptable. “Do as I say and not as I do” is a really bad parenting philosophy on so many levels.

When parents do things that they tell their kids is bad, it sends a very confusing message that rules don’t apply to everyone. That we can simply pick and choose which rules we want to obey and which ones we don’t. And ultimately one that’ll backfire on you as a parent when they decide your rules no longer apply to them.

Related: 51 Ways to be a fun mom even when you’re stressed and tired

What To Do When Unwanted Behavior is Already Happening

So we talked about how to set the stage for the family life we desire and how to plant and nurture positive behaviors. But how do we handle unwanted and even destructive behaviors that pop up anyway?

Let me just be clear before we move on and address this issue. All children and all adults for that matter, exhibit poor behavior and make bad choices from time to time. It’s normal and you shouldn’t feel guilty when it happens in your home.

It’s how we choose to handle it that makes all the difference.

The first thing we need to do is offer grace… heaping amounts of grace. We ALL need grace because we ALL make mistakes. Adding condemnation, yelling at your kids, or making them feel guilty fuels more negative behaviors.

The next thing to do is sit down and calmly have a face to face conversation with your child. Ask them questions about what they really want and desire in that situation. For example, let’s say they are constantly fighting with their sibling. Ask them to think about and describe the type of relationship they really want with their sibling.

Allow them time to speak freely and form their own thoughts and feelings. Once they’re able to create their own picture, ask them how their current behavior is either positively or negatively impacting their vision. Have them think about what behaviors can more effectively create that dream relationship.

Kids are super smart and they’ll naturally see that going into their sister’s room and taking their stuff without asking permission isn’t creating the relationship they really want. They will begin to create their own sense of accountability and start little by little changing their behavior over time.

Remember that change is a process and one that takes patience and time. Please don’t heap condemnation on your kids when they don’t change fast enough or when they keep reverting back to the same old behaviors. Don’t we do that too in our own behaviors?

I can’t count how many times I’ve committed myself to exercise and eating healthier only to sleep in and grab a hot n ready pizza on the way home.

3 Simple Steps to Change

What our kids need more than anything is our support and encouragement to keep moving in the right direction. Think about what you desperately need at the moment you’re considering moving in the wrong direction. You need loving support and a gentle reminder of what you really want… your end in mind.

Related: 50 Simple Ways to speak Your Child’s Love Language

The reminder that you’ve worked so hard and lost those 13 pounds and how you’ve got what it takes to keep going even when you feel like giving up!

To keep the process of change super simple and make it easy to teach our children, I’m using an acronym – S.O.W. to give you a simple framework.

S – Start with the End in Mind

If you decide upfront what type of life, relationship, or home life you desire then start sowing that kind of seed. If you want more patient children, start sowing patience with them. If you want a more intimate relationship with your husband, start sowing intimate seed. Start flirting in subtle ways.

When helping your children work through this process, remind them of the picture they want. Help them draw the connection of how their actions are either bringing them closer or further away from that picture.

See where I’m going with this?

O – Offer Heaps of Grace

Change is hard but in order to reap a new harvest, it’s necessary. And in that process of change or children, our spouse, and we WILL mess up. Forgetting our new habits, in the moment, and reverting back to the old way is human.

Calmly (take a break if you need to) get down on your child’s level and remind them of their big positive change. Say something like, “Sammy, remember we don’t hit your brother anymore. You stopped hitting all by yourself. Let’s go back to your good choice.”

If you have older kids say something like, “Jaden you were doing so amazing with remembering to use your planner at school for a whole month. It’s OK to forget, but let’s not let a bad habit form. Starting tomorrow remember to stay on track with your new good habit.”

W – Wait for the harvest

Seeds require time to grow.  It’s not an overnight process. The step in between seed and harvest is – TIME. Whether it’s you making the change or your kids, change won’t be evident right away. Old habits are hard to break.

Another thing to be cautious of is bringing up old behaviors in a shameful or joking way. It doesn’t matter what the intent behind is, bringing up the past when someone is trying to make a change is a huge stumbling block for change.

If you are working on making a change in your own behavior, put on courage and be prepared to push on to change even if others still see you the same way you were.  Trust me, if you stick with your decision to do the right thing and don’t give up – you WILL reap the harvest. And harvests are ALWAYS visible to others.

So keep at it, and they will see and your life will be better because you didn’t give up.

Related: 9 Ways to Rid Your Mind of Self Doubt & Become a More Confident Person Today

Share with us, what new seed are you committing to planting in your life? Share in the comments below!

Our you tired of bad behaviors cycling through your home? Here's the only solution to finally breaking the cycle. #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #motherhood #momadviceThis simple 3 step plan will help you effectively break bad behaviors with your kids and foster healthy new habits. #parenting #kidsandparentingWant to know how to help your kids break bad behavior habits? Try this fool-proof 3 step plan to foster good, healthy habits in your kids. #kidsandparenting #parenting

The Secret to Working Out and Staying Fit as a Busy Mom

The Secret to Staying Fit and Healthy as a busy Mom

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!

The Secret to Staying Fit as a busy Mom

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.

Related: What it really means to love your body and how you can love yours today

The Secret to Staying Fit as a Busy Mom

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!

Related: 12 Habits of highly successful goat-setters made for moms

Here are 7 more tips to help you get and stay fit as a busy mom.

7 Fitness Tips for Moms

5 Minute Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

5 minute workouts

Source – The Soccer Mom Blog

How Busy Moms Find Time to Exercise

how busy moms find time to exercise

Source – 5 Minutes for Mom

Running Tips for Beginners

tips for beginner runners

Source  – Everyday Shortcuts

How to Find the Best Work Out for You Based on Personality Type

workout based on personality type

Source – Confessions of an Overworked Mom

5 Ways to Exercise Without Gym Equipment

how to exercise without gym equiptment

Source – All Natural Ideas

The New and Improved Way to Train for a 5k

how to train for a 5k race

Source – Brepea

 

How To Really Flatten Your Mommy Tummy

how to flatten your mommy tummy

Source – 5 Minutes for Mom

How to Stop Making Excuses

How to stop making excuses not to exercise

Source  – Pink Fortitude

100 Free Fitness Apps for Weight Loss

free apps for workouts

Source – Everyday Shortcuts

Free Workout Printables

Workout printables

Source – Everyday Shortcuts

Did I leave anything out? If I did, ask a question or add your favorite fitness tip in the comments below!

Want to start working out but don't know where to start? Learn the secret to working out and staying active with kids. #momlife #fitlife #exercise #fitness #healthylife #parentingStaying active as a busy mom can be hard. Get 7 tips to easily getting started with exercise and staying active with kids. #fitness #exercise #healthyliving #momlife #parentingStaying fit and active is hard when you've got little ones with you all the time. These easy tips will help you get on a consistent exercise routine! #kdisandparenting #parenting #momlife #fitness #healthy

12 Habits of Highly Successful Goal-Setters – Made for Busy Moms!

Goal-Setting is vital to making any lasting change in your life. Get 12 habits that you can start using today to start goal-setting like a pro!

If you have children in your home the only kind of change that’s really going on is when you’re changing diapers, changing the sheets on the beds, or changing your purse as you head out the door. Oh, who am I kidding – I wear the same purse every day! #FutureFashionGoals

It feels like with so much “need” going around there’s little time for your needs – let alone trying to make real, lasting change in your life. Look, I know you’re busy so I’ve done the research for you. I’ve compiled 12 habits of highly successful goal-setters (you know, those people out there putting crazy ninja skills on their goals and actually slaying them) and crafted them especially for YOU – a busy mom.

Goal-Setting is vital to making any lasting change in your life. Get 12 habits that you can start using today to start goal-setting like a pro!

As moms, we’re professional take-care-of-everything’s. We do it all but rarely do we give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves. So I urge you to put yourself on the list this year. Let me put it to you this way. You becoming your best self is actually the greatest gift you can give your family.

If you’ve found yourself overwhelmed, burnt-out, and wondering if there’s more to life than this than go ahead and take time to get to know the real you deep inside and help her come out and shine! You got this! Your family really does want to see you happy, healthy, and living your passion.

So, to kick your year off with a bang here’s your totally do-able list of 12 Habits of Highly Successful Goal-Setters:

1. They Don’t Set New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are like kryptonite for actual change. Statistics show only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them! That’s crazy! It’s not that you shouldn’t set goals in January, but those who practice the habit of setting goals do so throughout the entire year – not just during the hype season.

So, don’t be a lame lemming and pack out the gym in January aggravating all the regulars who hate going in January because they can’t get a treadmill to save their life! And stop aggravating your family with all the crazy, sudden changes in the New Year that they know will vanish with the appearance of sweet, sweet February. It just sends the message that goals are like fads – they come and go with no real impact. Our kids need to see us setting and killing our goals, so they can learn to do the same for themselves.

2. They Understand Goals are a Part of a Big Picture

Goals are simply little steps to get where you want to go. And we ALL have somewhere we want to go in life. Unfortunately, most of us are paralyzed in our efforts to get there. That’s because we make too many isolated goals that aren’t attached to a larger vision. Our goals need to be anchored in a deeper significance.

Our family is a big picture we must use in our goal-setting. Sitting down and writing out your desired vision for your family should be done before you set goals for yourself. For example, if you want to lose weight this year it probably won’t happen if you don’t anchor it with a deeper purpose. If you change your goal to lose 40 pounds over the course of 12 months by taking walks with your family 3 nights per week and finishing the year with a marathon – you have the benefit of accountability and a stronger bond with your family.

Related: 4 Ways I Keep My Family First While Running My Blog & Business

3. They Know Goals are Essential for Change

Why do we set goals? For fun? Um … NOOOO! We set goals for one reason only – CHANGE. We want to change our bodies, our health, our financial status, our profession, our living situation, our marriage, our children’s behaviors, on and on and on. The problem is our heart wants to change – to make our lives better. It’s our bodies on the other hand that are totally fine with the way things have been going.

Professional goal slayers have the same problem, too. They just know if they don’t make goal-setting a priority, they’ll stay the same. And for some of us, that’s a terrifying thought. For me, I know the visions deep inside of me and for me to keep going year after year staying exactly the same is like having a reoccurring nightmare. It’s not that I don’t love my life. Not at all! I just see what’s ahead for my entire family and I’m so excited to keep moving forward on this journey – together.

Related: 7 Simple Habits That’ll Yield Big Results in Your Life!

4. They Harness the Power of Focus

When you set your goals, there shouldn’t be 10 unrelated goals for you to focus on all at the same time. Putting your energy and focus on one goal or a few related goals will dramatically increase your success. That’s because our minds tend to think change is the enemy due to the stress it creates. If you start piling on all this change all of a sudden, your body will start to revolt.

Power of Focus

There’s a great acronym for focus that fits perfect here: Follow One Course Until Successful. I just need to add one distinction – we shouldn’t just follow “one” course but that one course must be “your” one course. But the point is making sure to focus on one thing at a time. This is very powerful and helps to lock in on one goal until it’s completed or it’s become a habit. Then you’re free to move on to the next one.


 5. They Decide to Stop Being Lazy

This one might seem harsh, but the truth is goal-setting isn’t for lazy people. The act of setting and achieving goals is hard work. If you do it the right way, that is. The first thing you must do is write out your big picture. That includes the vision for your family. Once you have a vision for what you want to accomplish and experience this year – it’s time to break that big vision into smaller steps. Those are your goals. After you have your goals listed, you need to go deeper with each one. This ensures that each goal can and will be achieved!

Related: 9 Ways to Rid Your Mind of Self Doubt & Become a More Confident Person Today

6. They Know Their “Why” Very Well

The most effective goal-setters know how to define their why. It helps propel you forward even when you feel tired and overwhelmed. Taking care of a busy family can leave you feeling sapped when it comes to doing anything beyond putting out the daily fires. But when you reflect on why you’re working on that book after everyone else gets to go to bed – you keep going. When your body says sleep …. give me sleep! I’m not saying you should ever exhaust yourself to meet your goals, but sacrifice is an ingredient all goal crushers understand all too well and so should you.

Related: 5 Ways to Make Your Dreams a Priority When You’re Overwhelmed With Life

7. They Set Goals That Challenge but not Overwhelm Them

Goals should never overwhelm you. I mean, you’ve got enough on your plate as it is! But they should challenge you to go further, become stronger, and transform you into the person you were created to be. I’d take a wild guess and say that the vast majority of people in this world are living their Plan B Life instead of the Plan A Life they were destined to live.

But all those living their dream life didn’t get there by pressuring themselves with unrealistic goals and ideas. That’s a sure-fire way to get off track. You can prevent the feeling of total overwhelm if you set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.) This way when you start setting goals you won’t get burn-out but will be challenged to keep growing.

Related: 6 Surefire Ways to Ditch Overwhelm and Be More Productive Today

Here are some amazing books that I highly recommend ANYONE read who’s ready to make a real and lasting change using the power of goal-setting.


8. They’re Not Afraid to Fail

All successful people understand that failure is all a part of the process of, well … being successful. It’s been said if you’re not failing you’re not doing anything. I used to be one of those people who was actually paralyzed at the thought of failing or making a mistake. To cope, I just didn’t do anything. Sound familiar?

Failure has been a launching pad for many of the greatest successes in life! So when you sit down to write your vision and goals, don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. No one is powerful enough to stop you from your greatness but YOU!

9. They Use Hope as a Tool and not the Method for Change

Hope is essential to our survival as humans. We desperately need hope, however, too many of us are misusing hope and it’s actually leading to frustration, and even depression. The Bible teaches that hope deferred makes the heart sick. Which means when we simply hope for something and it doesn’t happen right away it leads to hopelessness. Hoping for something to change is rarely an effective strategy for change because it doesn’t involve any action.

Hope should be used as a tool to inspire us to do better, experience more, and live our lives with more purpose and meaning. It also helps us through the process of change by telling us we really can do this. But the actual method for change is to take action through setting goals and working to master them – one by one.

Related: How to Reverse the 4 Mindsets that Steal Your Enjoyable Life

10. They Take the Slow Road

With goal-setting, faster isn’t always better. Trying to rush change will only lead to burn-out, and that’s not how we want to start this New Year. Because weight loss is such a huge, reoccurring goal for so many I’ll use that as an example again. If you want to lose 50 lbs this year, it’s not a great strategy to set your goal to lose it all in the first 3 months.

Don’t mistake your strong desire to see something happen quickly, for a great goal strategy. What’s more likely to happen if you pressure yourself to lose 1 pound every day, versus every week, is a “hit the wall” type situation. This is where you totally overwhelm yourself and have a breakdown and declare 2018 as the year for your total transformation because 2017 is a no-go. Breaking down that same goal over the entire year will challenge you because you’ll have to put in the work BUT you can actually enjoy the process and will be so much more likely to continue and live a healthy lifestyle.

Finally, there is so much beauty and opportunities that we miss striving to hit the highway. When the backroads are how we’re able to fully enjoy and embrace the journey to our purpose.

11. They Write Goals in Pencil

Goals need to be tweaked often as new information is revealed in the goal-setting process. Sometimes until we start chipping away at a goal there are things we just didn’t know yet. Being flexible allows you to keep everything moving as you make adjustments along the way. We also need to tweak our goals if we see our goal is either too challenging or even unachievable or if our goal is just too easy.

12. They Work with a Team

Let’s face it, I’m an island kind of girl. I like working alone. I’m a classic introvert who’s always struggled with confidence and anxiety working with other people. I’ve certainly come a long way, though. If you’re like me working with others can feel like a chore sometimes. But I’ve come to realize that we need people in our lives to help us move forward and keep us on track. If you have great friends, a support or mastermind group, or maybe even a group of moms at your kid’s school that you gel with – share your goals. Oh and let them share their goals with you.

What habits have you developed to set and crush your goals? Please share in the comments below. We can grow this list beyond this 12 here!

As a mom, you're busy but that doesn't mean you can't become a master at goal-setting. Here are 12 habits of highly successful goal-setters made perfect for moms! #goals #lifegoals #lifeplan #goalsetter #goals2018 #productivity #timemanagement

Goal-Setting is vital to making any lasting change in your life. Get 12 habits that you can start using today to start goal-setting like a pro!Goal-Setting is vital to making any lasting change in your life. Get 12 habits that you can start using today to start goal-setting like a pro!