Filling up so you can pour more out

Those first months of motherhood, you’re completely consumed with this tiny human being you created inside your body. You’re living your life in 2-3 hour increments moving from feeding, to rocking, to changing dirty diapers; only to do it all over again before you get a moment to breathe.

But you don’t mind, it’s a magical season of life in it’s own way…

But then the exhaustion starts to wear on you. You feel yourself unable to catch up on sleep, showering or your household duties. Suddenly, this life becomes a train moving too fast for you to slow down. You feel depleted and unable to give the best of you.

All too often we as momma’s feel this need to give our all to those we love, especially our children. We feel the more we give, the better we are as parents. We say yes to the demands and no to self care. For there just isn’t enough time for it all. Is there?

But what I’ve come to learn in my almost 4 years of motherhood, is I can only give of me what I put in. So if I fail to fuel up, rest and replenish my body, mind & soul…then my family doesn’t get the best of me. They only get the stressed out, frazzled, exhausted me.

And that’s just not good enough.

At first the guilt takes hold of you. If I take this time for myself, aren’t I neglecting my family? #MomGuilt, it’s a real thing. But I’m a walking testimony that by giving myself the time I need to fill up my mind, body & soul; my family in turn get’s more of me. More of the happy, present & patient momma/wife they deserve.

So I set my alarm for 5am and I relish those precious 30 min of peace.

I find a quiet spot in the house every afternoon to read while my 3 year old watches a movie and my 18 month old naps.

I carve out a few hours every so often to leisurely walk through Target or get my hair dione.

I plan play dates or attend MOPS once a week to spend time with other momma’s without my kiddos constantly needing my attention.

I find 10-15 min a few times a week to play my guitar.

And the list goes on….

It may not seem like much, but these little moments of filling up, add up to my ability to be the wife & momma my heart so desires. There’s something to be said about putting on your “mask” first before you tend to others.

It’s a balancing act, not of finding perfect harmony in all areas at the same time, but it’s the give and take at any given moment to create a life that’s balanced as whole. To find moments of self care, then moments of caring for others. The back and forth of it all to create a life that is lived to it’s fullest.

XOXO,

~P

To the mom living in “Survival Mode”…

I see you over there with one screaming kiddo on your hip, while you’re trying so desperately to keep the other one from losing it right in the middle of the store. Finally you make it out…you sigh, you lose your patience, you react. Survival Mode.

My dear friend, it doesn’t have to be this way.

I’m not sure how we’ve suddenly as mommas gotten to this place of merely surviving. With to-do lists a mile long, kids to tote here and there, a house to keep up with, a husband to make time for and friends we barely speak to. Oh and to top it off, we feel this pit in our stomach like there’s still something we should be doing with our lives…we were made for more, weren’t we?

I know this because I lived it.

It’s this vicious cycle that keeps you trapped in reaction mode. Feeling out of control of your own life, barely able to come up for air. You feel pulled in a million different directions. Just trying to survive.

But what if we found another way of living?

What if we said no to trying to “do it all” and yes to slow, simple lives? What if we actually lived our lives versus just trying to survive them? Sounds impossible doesn’t it? I thought so too…but the thing is, we have the choice. It is our lives after all. So what needs to happen in order to live and not just survive?

Now don’t get me wrong, some days call for living in moments of “survival”, kids are incredibly unpredictable…am I right?! But when we learn to let go of trying to do everything and just focus in what God has called us to do, life instantly gets simpler.

I know you want more for your life, and you deserve it too.

So my friend, what needs to give? What can you let go of to make space in your life to be more proactive verses reactive? What will bring peace to your days and moments of pure joy?

Is it setting limits on how many days you will be on-the-go? Or maybe you feel called to do something, but know deep down this is not the season to give it your all? Or perhaps you ask for help with cleaning your house, or watching the kids so you can shop in peace?

I’m not sure what the answer is for you, but I do know it’s there if you look hard enough.

There is a life outside of survival mode. And it’s filled with hours that require nothing of you except to enjoy your life. To get outside and read a book while your kiddos play. Or cuddle up with them on the couch while watching a movie.

It’s days where you can let your heart lead you where to go next. To actually listen to your body and give it rest when it needs it. To slow down and really take in this season that passes us by oh so quickly.

My hope is that you take the time to find what needs to give in your life.

To let go and see the beauty that’s right in front of you. To actually come up for air, slow down and learn the art of saying no. Because after all…

Survival mode doesn’t have to be your only mode.

XOXO,

~P

 

Right in Front of Me

This season of motherhood, you know the one with little people running about? Well, I guess you could say I’m in the depths of that season. I mean right smack dab in the middle. The pull of a threenager that constantly wants to tell you about all of the things he dreams up in his curious little mind and a toddler that’s demanding your assistance at every turn.

I guess you could say I’ve come along way over the last year (you can read about it HERE & HERE), but I’m still human. And all too often I still find myself with my head down, moving from one task to another, only to miss what’s right in front of me.

But the thing is, that is not how I want to live my days…

As much as I hate to admit it, I still fall into that trap from time to time of letting the day dictate my actions. The difference is now I’m able to see when this is happening much sooner than before. I’m able to take a step back, breath in deep and take control.

Yes, my children take up a lot of my time and attention. Between the messes they make, the fighting over toys and needing to go potty (NOW!) when I’m in the middle of changing a diaper can leave me feeling like I can barely come up for air. But that doesn’t mean I have to move through these tasks with my head down just trying to survive.

I can look up, see the beauty right in front of me and soak it al in…

The messes, they’re reminders that two tiny humans played and had a really great time without a care in the world. Even if it was 20 min after I finished mopping.

Or the fighting over toys, is seeing two siblings learning to coexist with one another. Building a relationship with one another that they will keep for the rest of their lives.

And the needing to go potty at the most inopportune time? It’s a feeling of still being needing in this growing up way-too-fast little boys life. When all too often he no longer needs mommies help. 

I’m slowly but surely learning to let go of my need to just get through…

And in it’s place I’m learning to see what’s right in front of me. To slow down. To enjoy right where I am and leave the rest behind. My need for control and feeling accomplished is drifting away to make room for the beauty that life holds.

“Life can happen to you or you can make life happen.” I’ve heard that saying many times in my life, but it’s never rang more true than it does in this season. With two tiny humans and so many demands, I can easily let life happen to me, but then what will I miss if I do? So instead…

I’m choosing to make life happen.

When I’m old and grey, I want to look back on this season of life with a fondness that only comes when I’m present and see the beauty right in front of me. I don’t want to think of this season as just “surviving”, but a season of “thriving”.

I’m still a work in progress and I may never be done. But I’m so grateful for the ability to have a fresh start each and every day…

XOXO,

~P

Letting the Walls Fall…

I’m not sure what kind of friendships you have. Maybe you’re the type who has her “core friends”, the ones she can open up to and be vulnerable with. Maybe these friendships are effortless, the give and take being equal on either side. Or maybe you’re more like me, craving connection and true friendship…

I’ve had a few people come into my life and make a BIG impact, but unfortunately time and distance has caused most of them to drift away. Leaving only a few intact. Maybe it’s due to being home full time, or perhaps living in a fairly “new to me” city that leaves me wanting more. More connection. More acceptance. More love.

Unfortunately, the walls I’ve built around my heart have kept me from experiencing this type of friendship.

The fear of being hurt yet again by someone I’ve let into the core of my heart, has caused me to put up a barrier. A protection. To keep my heart safe from the pain I know too well. The problem is, unless I’m willing to risk heartbreak, I will never experience true friendship. 

Over the course of this last year I’ve felt a tug on my heart. A whisper from God saying, “let the walls fall.” Ugh. Just thinking about it makes my chest feel tight. But I know it must be done. So I take a baby step. I put myself out there. I plan a playdate. I go to events I where I know almost no one.

I slowly let the walls fall.

It’s been a refining progress to say the least. I slowly start to let my guard down only to put it right back up again. But just as always, I hear the whisper again. So I pick myself up, I let vulnerability lead the way and I take another step forward.

I’m definitely not where I want to be, but I’m getting there. I’m becoming more intentional about who God has placed in my life. I’m focused on cultivating those relationships with the understanding that they may only be for a season and that’s ok.

I’m letting the walls fall.

I’m opening up.

I’m becoming vulnerable.

I’m letting people see the real me.

I’m experiencing community & what it means to have true friends.

And for this I am grateful…

If you’re in a season where you’re craving more, I challenge you to take that first step. Send that text. Plan that playdate (or girls day). Open your heart and take a risk. We were meant to experience this life together, not alone. But it starts with you.

XOXO,

~P

Slower days, fuller hearts

One year ago, I was living a life that didn’t allow me to be present. Every minute was accounted for with taking care of my kiddos, my husband & my business. I would move from task to task without actually paying attention to my life and everything in it. This needed to change.

I was completely overwhelmed, not knowing how to get to a place of being present & content. Everything on my plate seemed important, so how was I to decide what needed to give in order for me to live my best life?

It’s been a slow process of refining, but I’m finally in a place where being present is becoming my reality.

I’ve realized that I don’t need to “keep up” with the rest of the world. I can go at my pace. I can build my business in baby steps and in God’s timing.  I can let my house go a little bit if it allows for more time to play with my kiddos. I can make space in my day for resting and doing the things I enjoy.

Life is not meant to be lived checking off our to-do lists in order to feel productive. It’s meant to cultivate beauty in our lives and flourish in our relationships. It’s meant to be spent intentionally and with purpose. God’s purpose.

As soon as I realized that I had the power to change my life, the weight drifted off my shoulders and peace took it’s place.

My days are much slower now. Many of our hours are filled with whatever our hearts desire. So we play outside. We blow bubbles. We play in the water. I read my books. I play my guitar. We listen to music (always gotta have music!). We meet with friends. We live in the present.

Not every day is perfect, this is life with two young children of course! But most of my days are filled with the peace I so desperately desired. My mind is clear and free to take in the beauty that this life brings. I see my children’s faces with so much detail they’ve become etched in my memory. I’m truly soaking in this life. Breathing in the air. Noticing the trees and the flowers in bloom. I’m living MY life.

So how did I get here?

  • I wrote down the things in my life that absolutely need to get done as well as the things that I want to be a part of my daily life.
  • I looked at my calendar and figured out where each of these will fit best allowing for plenty of time in between tasks.
  • I was realistic about what needs to get done and when.
  • I set boundaries for work, cleaning the house, time with friends etc…
  • I physically placed these items on the calendar and set reminders so that I don’t get back to that place of overwhelm.
  • And I gave myself LOTS of GRACE…

Mom life is a beautiful life, but can become chaotic if you let it. Take control of your life, live each moment to it’s fullest and know that it’s ok to go at your pace. You got this momma!

XOXO,

~P

Decorating my body with memories

The other day I was washing dishes, staring out my kitchen window  when my thoughts drifted to my tattoos. I have three of them. None of them planned. All spontaneously done but filled with memories and meaning.

It’s sort of like life isn’t it? So much of what we experience isn’t planned, but brings with it memories & meaning along with the pain.

My first tattoo is a butterfly located on my right hip. I was 18 and up until that point I had always been an obedient child, rarely going against my parents wishes. I guess you could call this my rebellious stage. There was no planning or thought put into it, I simply went into the tattoo parlor, picked out the first thing that caught my eye and went for it.

Growing up I had always been VERY shy, but something happened that summer before entering into college. I no longer wanted to be the shy, self conscious girl anymore. I wanted to come out of my shell, make friends and learn who I was. In hindsight, a butterfly was the perfect representation for that season of my life.

As the years followed, more tattoos came, along with the memories (good & bad) that they would bring.

A flower with my husbands name written in the vines on the top of my left foot, capturing that sweet dream-like season of life. Newlyweds, with hearts wide open to the journey that was upon us. I remember the tattoo artist telling me that this tattoo would never last, the color would fade in such a delicate spot, but I didn’t care. It was exactly what I wanted. And you know what? It still looks as beautiful now, 12 years later, as it did then.

Initials on my lower back honoring the loss of my brother in law, Jason. A time in our lives when we felt broken and unsure of where our lives were headed. Where I had to learn how to live 500 miles away from my husband for 9 months, in a city where I knew few people and had no friends of my own.

And a addition of vines and another butterfly to my first tattoo. Initially, I did this out of pure desire for more. But now see it as a representation of myself in this new city, once again having to learn how to spread my wings and fly.

There was a time when I feared that decorating my body would be a phase and something I’d later regret.

I never put much thought into my tattoos before arriving at the tattoo parlor, so there have been times where I feared that I might regret them. But as I get older and experience life, I love them more and more.

I love that I was bold enough to get my husbands name tattooed on my body, something that I’m sure others would never do. Or that I just went with my gut and did what felt right in the moment. I love that I have a way to carry my brother in law with me always. And a reminder of the beauty that life brings when you spread your wings and fly…

XOXO,

~P

The art of making space for Peace.

Hey Friend,

It’s been a while hasn’t it? Honestly, as much as I love to share my heart in this space of mine, I’ve enjoyed the time away. LIfe just gets too busy sometimes, don’t ya think?

So I’ve been learning the art of making space so I can have more peace in my life.

Initially, I didn’t know how to slow down. I’m a people pleasure by nature and hate to let others down. But I had said yes to too many things, and felt I was missing out on the moments in my life that mattered most. But where to start?

First I had to be honest with myself and ask “What areas in my life bring me the most joy/stress?”

Some of the answers I came up with in the joy column where pretty obvious:

The areas that brought stress, not so fun to admit. Especially since it would mean letting others down and giving up things that I actually enjoyed, but knew in my heart they weren’t right for me in this season of life.

And I truly craved slower days where I could be more present in my life…where I could cultivate peace.

Once I gave up those areas of stress, I took a look at my schedule and daily rhythms. In what ways could I simplify the “busyness” of my life and create more space for peace? I’m a neat freak and would straighten up my house and clean all day long, but I realized this was taking away from time I could spend doing the things that actually matter and bring me the most joy.

So I made a list of the things that I wanted to keep up with on a weekly basis, broke them down so was only focused on one thing per day and limited straightening up to just the evenings. Talk about a relief! Instantly I felt my days become slower and more peaceful…goal achieved.

What life looks like now…

It’s amazing what will open up in your life when you create more space. I have more time to be present with my babies and hubby, I can get together for playdates spontaneously, I have time to pour into my calling and more time for myself .

Letting go of the people pleasing, asking yourself “what really matters?” and making space to cultivate peace in your life can allow more room to flourish in your life like never before!

Until next time my friend…

XOXO,

~P