Letting Go Of Mom Guilt | Balancing Motherhood + Self Identity

Mom Guilt will hold you back from being the strong, inspiring mother and woman you truly are. To be a great mom you must love yourself. This is the first step to creating a life you and your family can love.

mother and son together on fulfilling family hike in oahu hawaii

I had been on the hunt for a photography workshop for close to a year. It had to be perfect. I needed a fantastic location, an amazing group of inspiring women, and time for some much needed Rest + Recharging.

And then the day came, I had finally found it. The most amazing workshop hosted by not one but two photographers I am completely inspired by. The location just happened to be a gorgeous AirBnB hanging off the side of the infamous Amalfi Coast in Italy. Freaking Italy lady!

I knew this would do the trick and kick in my inspiration + motivation I had been lacking for my deepest passion, photography. So did I book it? Hell Yeah I booked it. And I was completely satisfied with myself, not to mention overwhelmingly excited for the next week.

Then The Mom Guilt Set In

All of a sudden I was envisioning my one year old looking for me in the morning, and that about broke my heart. After that the flood gates opened and my thoughts ran rampant. I was imagining my kids burning the house down and wondering how they would survive meals with their father cooking?!

Is this just me being a control freak or mom guilt? Maybe they are the same thing. Or maybe one leads to the other. Either way, an overwhelm of emotions came rushing and I started feeling completely undeserving of some grandiose trip for my own selfish desires.

But I stuck it out and worked through the drowning emotions. And when I was in a better mental state I made the clear and final decision. Damn right I was going to Italy, and Hell Yes I deserve it!

Then I thought about how so many mommas out there are doing the same thing. Putting their own needs, creativity, aspirations and dreams on the back burner because of Mom Guilt.

And if you are here, than I bet you too are in need of a good motivational kick in the pants about balancing motherhood and Finding Your Self! Good thing thats exactly what you are about to get.

Letting Go Of Mom Guilt

First things first momma. You are a great mother. By not only questioning your abilities, but also taking the time to care to read about how you can better yourself in this role, is proof of that. So let me say it again. You are a Great Mother.

great mom getting parenting tips from lifestyle motherhood blog about mom guilt

Since you are here and taking the time to get some helpful tips on battling this ferocious beasts, let me go on and give them to you.

Figure out when Mom Guilt usually strikes

For me, I find that a few things spark the feelings of not being enough. And oddly, it is usually when I am doing too much. Taking care of all the babes, cooking, cleaning, working, caring for the husband, figuring out the perfect meals, planning all the activities is too much for anyone.

If you are overloading your days or being a perfectionist like me than take a step back. Figure out your limits. Because it will catch up and you will start doubting everything. Did I do this right? Should I have done that? Am I totally screwing this whole motherhood thing and my kids all up?!

Shut it! Don’t let yourself get to this point. Know your limits and ask for help. You don’t have to be all the things. In fact, you cannot be all the things. So cut that crap out.

Even if this means asking your husband to help with the dishes a few times a week or start enrolling the kids into getting the laundry together for you. My 3 year old is capable of this. Teach them the life skills young. It will save you sanity and set them up for self sufficiency. Win Win.

Another time I catch my thoughts being jerks is when I have been forsaking them.

That’s right. You need to pay attention to you to. Not just by putting on make-up or sneaking a shower. Those are crap ways of finding me time. You need to check in with yourself Mentally.

In the beginning for me that was hiding in the bathroom the second my husband came home for 5 minutes of peace and to be in a not touching zone. Oh how far I have come.

Okay, after thinking back, maybe sneaking a shower isn’t such a bad one. I have had many a mental convo in the shower. Taking a long walk is another great way to tune into yourself. But the best way to gain some clarity and get on track with yourself has got to be journaling.

I purposefully wake up at an obscenely early time to accomplish this one life changing feat. And that is Morning Pages.

Writing to yourself first thing in the morning with no judgement or worry of what to write will eventually bring you in tune with yourself. Here you will figure out what is really bothering you and what parts of you are locked up and want release. Which brings me to my biggest tip.

Find Your Passion and Live it.

Your children are not your passion. I promise.

But they may be the key in finding it if you haven’t already. I found my love of photography through my intense desire to document my growing children. And it blossomed into something so much bigger than I ever dreamt.

You Will Be A Better Mother By Taking Time To Build Time For Your Dreams

Squash any shame or guilt about taking the time to better yourself. Your children need to see that and it will give better quality family time also.

If you are lost in motherhood and needing help in finding and unlocking your inner desires you can start by asking yourself some deep questions.

These will work great to write in a journal and ponder over for a few days.

  • How am I making choices based on “I should” rather than “I desire”?
  • What would my friends and family say are my strengths? You can actually try just asking them this also!! Try asking your parents or someone close to you.
  • If I was “living the dream” with nothing holding me back what would I be doing?
  • Do people ask me for help in something particular often? If so how I can I develop something from this.
  • What do I gravitate to most on social media. Is it a desire in me that I can bring out?
If you feel like you are drawn to be creative, I highly recommend reading The Artists Way by Julia Cameron.

By taking the time to find your self-identity you will reinforce your character. This is beneficial in not only your mental toughness, but also in showing your children the possibilities and strengths of living and working through goals, and finding their own dreams.

If you can tell yourself everyday that you are doing that, than it won’t be so bad to battle silly self doubts like, “Did I feed them enough veggies today?”

Hey BTW, You are A Great Mom

Remember to tell yourself this A. Lot. Remember you gave them life. Taught them to walk, to talk, and made them giggle when they were sad. You were there for them in the best and toughest parts of their lives. And That will be what they remember.

I hope you got some feels from this and are thinking about big ways to battle the onslaught of mom guilt. You can do it momma. I would love to know your biggest challenges as a momma and how you overcome them.

Managing My Home Life And Making Time for Me |A Balance in Motherhood

It wasn’t until I was three kids deep that I even thought to myself. Holy crap, those are my kids… I’m a MOM! I’m not sure where the time went and it wasn’t just the time that had been lost to me. I was lost to me. 

It was an ordinary day when it happened. That one mind-blowing thought of  I. Am. A. Mom.  Then a cascade of others came crashing down.  

They are growing too fast.  Am I doing right by them? Are they learning enough? Am I going to be able to teach them well enough? I should really enroll Willow in that dance class. Maybe I will wait till I lose 10 more lbs so I can get some decent clothes. OMG. The Laundry. I hate all my clothes. Why do we even have all these Clothes. What are all these Toys doing here? Why do we even have all these Toys?! Damn you Target. 

And it didn’t stop there.

As I stomped through the house on my daily tirade of shoving things in bins and hampers, clearing off counters and chairs, and cooking and cleaning up for the endless amounts of food these little people, and my not so little husband needed, I started to get completely overwhelmed. I’m talking panic attack overwhelmed.

So there I was. On the floor in the garage, sitting in heaps of dirty clothes, contemplating the consequences of burning the whole house down and walking away hand in hand with my babes. I needed a fresh start.

And then it hit me. If I could watch it all go up in flames then why am I holding on to it. My glazed over vision refocused on the dirty laundry.  

I may have laughed liked a lunatic, a little too loud, and a little too well then,

because my children were very quiet after that. In fact, they stood quite still as they watched me barrel through the kitchen grabbing all the trash bags and then proceed to fill those bags with all the stuff I once thought I had to have that had been laying useless in the garage.

That day was such a pivotal day for me.

I felt like I had gotten rid of so much. It was absolutely freeing to see all the emptiness where there had been so much.. STUFF.  Clutter always did make me anxious and I have no idea why I had let everything get so built up.  In fact, it felt like I had let My Whole Life become some overgrown garden.

I started thinking about what in my life needed to be cleaned up.  Where was my time going all day? And what did I hate doing that could be changed?! For me it started with 2 things. 2 things that begrudgingly took over my thoughts, my home, and every bit of my precious time. 

Laundry & Food 

Clothes.

So many clothes. And all I wore was yoga pants and tank tops. Dressing up meant throwing on some denim. You would think my clothes would have been easy to throw out. 

But No 

They went ever so slowly.  I was keeping those shorts I knew would fit soon, and that dress I would wear when my husband and I finally went on that fancy date. And this shirt will totally go with those pants, and if I ever go meet that one mom I talk to on FB I could so wear this. And the kids clothes…

We’re talking Never. Ending. Story here. Thats where I splurged the most. At one point in my life every single time I went to target the kids would get a new outfit. And I was fine with that!!… I actually thought that was great. Then I will eventually own the whole store?!?!

What was I thinking?! 

I ended up with nothing but mountains of laundry I hated doing. And what was once beautiful pricey clothes were now stained, wrinkly heaps of rags. 

With the kids clothing I started by throwing out everything stained. For mine and my husbands I bagged up clothes I absolutely knew I wouldn’t wear. Some of them still had price tags. How did I let that happen?! 

That first big clean out left me exhilarated.  I felt like I had so much space. I felt accomplished. Organized. Free of some kind of burden I didn’t know was placed on me.

I think I did that 12-15 more times over the course of the next 6 months! It was quite addicting. This sense of peace and something deeper that came over me that I couldn’t quite explain yet. So about every week or two I would start to notice all the things I still hadn’t touched.  And  I would bag up a few more pieces that hadn’t been worn and ones that I knew, as much as I liked them.. I just wasn’t going to wear them. 

After I got down to a very modest closet and I knew I was close to only owning my essentials I finally had the brilliant idea that there must be other people out there like me. So I started my search for women who only wanted few clothes and knew better than I how to achieve that in a fashionable, sensible way.  

And I found The Capsule Wardrobe.

How had I not known about this?! Apparently there is a whole movement of people who live by a minimalist approach to their clothing! In fact, reading on capsule wardrobes was what led me to realize I was fitting into some new trend.. Minimalism. Wow. I had been way out of it. Motherhood can really swallow you up.. 

But after tons of articles and research I realized Capsule Wardrobe was what I had made for myself. And I learned a few new tricks. My favorite was that I could easily buy and organize with color palettes. Thank you Caroline from UnFancy!

Game. Changer

I have not always been a great clothes shopper and it was pretty monumental for me to figure out that it makes it so much easier to build a wardrobe that will actually all go together by creating a color board / visual board first. So I made a Pinterest Boards for Clothing Color Palettes and figured out how many pieces of clothing I wanted. 

If you have mountains of laundry you hate doing and want nothing more than to throw it all away or rent out a room in your house in exchange for a live in clothes washer I suggest you try to minimize your closets! 

If this idea seems amazing but incredibly daunting, I get it. I was there. Here are a few tips to get started and ways that helped me get through it. 

  • Start Slow Remove anything stained, ripped or faded.  
  • Remove Anything You Haven’t worn in 6+ Months If you haven’t worn it in a year. Do yourself a favor and give that unknown baggage away.
  • Remove Duplicates Do you own 10 Black shirts or dresses? Try picking one or two of your favorites.
  • Get Rid of anything that doesn’t fit If you have been waiting a year to fit back into those pre-pregnancy pants… Let them go. The mental effects of them in your closet weigh on you without you even realizing it. You can reward yourself with new pants if that is a goal your are dedicated to.
  • Get Rid Of Clothes That Just Aren’t You I had quite a few pieces that I wanted to wear because I liked them on other women. Or shirts that were waiting for just the right shoes and vice versa. Don’t worry about whats on trend or when you’ll complete that outfit. The great thing about minimizing your closet is you will find YOUR style. It is possible to have timeless pieces that show off who you are. 
  • If you don’t know where to start or feel overwhelmed try a certain amount at a time. Choose 10 items in your closet to box up for donations. It can be shirts, shoes, purses, belts. Once you get going you may find a lot more than you thought.
  • Test Your Wardrobe Try removing half of your clothes and put them in a different room or boxed in the garage.  You will be surprised how much time and hassle you save when you get ready with with fewer choices. If you haven’t missed any of the clothes in two weeks donate them.  If they were boxed. DO NOT OPEN THE BOX.  You will be tempted to put clothes back in your closet, and that my friend is called two steps back. 
written plans for capsule wardrobe
My First Written Plan for Capsule Wardrobe

Do not be fooled. This may take a long time and you may get discouraged. Keep at it and GO Slow. Find women who motivate you and reach out when you feel overwhelmed. 

At the same time I was clearing out my closet I was also focused highly on my utter shit show of food duty. So let’s talk about 

Meal Planning

I didn’t learn how to cook until I got married. Literally, the day we got married. Turns out I am pretty awesome at it. I put this fully on the fact that I. Love. Food.  

With my newfound love came Pinterest.  Can you see where this is going? All of a sudden I was cooking everything under the sun. Our grocery lists were a mile long. The worst part is if I didn’t cook one of the meals I had initially planned for I would have a garbage can of waste that week.  In fact, there was a garbage can of waste regardless for all the leftovers getting canned. 

It made me sick to think of all the wasted food, and my husband sick for all the wasted money.

Yet we continued that way for far too long. I am not sure why as it was utterly exhausting. Just going through Pinterest or trying to think of what new fabulous meals I should be cooking, taking inventory, the mile long grocery list, and 2 hour long grocery trip with screaming babies was exactly what it sounds like. An Absolute Nightmare. I shudder to recall.

So with all this time and energy management coming into play in my life I knew I had to figure out a better way for our food consumption. 

I first tried meal prepping.  

Wow.  I know this works wonders for so many people and I do somewhat implement it in our style now. Either I royally messed it up, or it just was not for me. 

The amount of tubberware and glassware alone gave me anxiety.

But I went ahead and spent too much money on it. Thanks again Target. I bought bulk rice and veggies and chicken, made turkey burgers with lettuce wraps, and put salads and overnight oats in jars. Literally, I meal prepped every meal Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for a week. 

And I hated every meal I ate that week. The food was soggy and my choices were limited.

Not to mention it literally left me cooking FOR A WHOLE FREAKING DAY and using the microwave all week. Something I hadn’t even owned in my first 2 years of marriage nor used after we moved into houses that had them built in (🎶moving on up🎶). 

Then I started thinking about my newfound minimalism.  And why can’t that work for our meal planning?! So a quick google search and my life was saved. I stumbled across the biggest game-changer for my sanity yet. A Minimalist Meal Plan.

And it is ingenious.

The idea is to assign each day of the week a “default meal”  I know it seems like it would be boring or you would be eating the same food all the time.  Your not and it isn’t. 

Imagine not  having to keep up with choosing new meals each week or month, figuring out your ingredients, what you already have on hand, then searching the stores for some spice you’ve never heard of. No more throwing out all those unused food items since you ordered a pizza or threw in a freezer meal because you  were too damn exhausted!

How many times I used to stop for a quick bite on the way home from the grocery store because shopping for food took all my energy to cook the food! 

The beauty of a weekly meal theme is that you no longer have to wonder what you are going to cook each night or figure out what you should be buying at the grocery store. It is roughly the same each week.  

My Weekly Meal Theme Looks like this. 

  • Monday – Meat and Veggie I start the week off with this as my base because the rest of the week goes off what I choose. Use chicken one week, Beef another (beef tenderloin is my favorite), and sometimes ground turkey. Veggies are varied but I always have broccoli and carrots on my list. I add anything I think sounds yummy and will incorporate well. Like treating us with potatoes for mashed potatoes for dinner and egg and potato for breakfast.
  • Tuesday – Tacos this is a no brainer. I always keep shrimp in the freezer and will use this for tacos a lot or leftovers of whichever meat I have on hand. Freeze cuts of beef tenderloin or shred chicken and either of these work amazing for a quick delicious taco meal.
  • Wednesday – Stir Fry We love rice. So fresh veggies like broccoli, carrots, red onion, mushrooms, or bell peppers thrown together with rice and leftover meat is easy and quick.  This can vary greatly by different sauces also. I love throwing in mustard and cream, or soy and sesame oil.  The different herbs you put in can also make the same meal dramatically different. Lemon and dill makes any meal light yet flavorful.
  • Thursday – Fish I try to purchase only fresh wild caught fatty fish that are high in Omega 3’s.  Salmon with basil pesto pops in the oven for 20 minutes and some leftover rice for a side with green beans or broccoli is a simple healthy dinner we all love. If I didn’t find a good fish that week then I make this a full blown vegan day. (my poor husband) Buddha Bowls are a favorite go to. 
  • Friday – Pasta Pasta is so versatile. I have been loving my veggie spiralizer and making zucchini or sweet potato pasta. Zucchini and shrimp is super quick and one of my go-to’s when I don’t feel like getting too fancy. But this is usually the night I put in some flair and make new dishes or put in some extra love. (If it was up to my husband this would be spaghetti and meatballs night every week!)
  • Saturday – Soup / Leftovers This is the day to clear out the fridge. I usually throw everything I have left in a pot with vegetable stock and maybe add some cream or cheese.  It almost always turns out amazing and is beyond easy.  Who knew pasta night and taco leftovers would make an excellent soup? I love seeing what new concoctions turn up. 
  • Sunday – Smoothie / Fasting So I know this is going to seem crazy as hell to most but I am a firm believer in fasting and how it can reset your body and mind. It is great for losing/maintaining weight, clarity of the mind, healing our digestive track and other vital organs and increasing mental strength and fortitude. A quick google search will show you I am not the only one and there are a multitude of benefits. If it seems nuts but you are intrigued check out this page for a few starter tips.  Just in case your wondering, I do not let my kids fast. They finish up the rest of the fruit and veggies and have smoothies on Sundays!
  • FOLLOW MY PINTEREST BOARD for my Weekly Meal Theme Inspiration
My first Week of A Minimalist Meal Plan
I also bought yogurt and oatmeal for kids breakfast
and protein mix for my husband and my breakfast

This is just one version of A minimalist meal plan though. You can start by thinking of your favorite meals and making a default meal night for it. Try to keep simple meals for days you know you are busy and more adventurous meals for the weekends or nights you normally have a bit of time. 

Following this meal plan has saved me Immense amounts of time and energy.

You have no idea how freeing it is to walk into a grocery store and hit up the produce, and an isle or two. I don’t even look down the other isles and I am in and out within 30 minutes.

Food and Laundry were the start of my new lifestyle and I haven’t turned back since. In fact, It has left me with room for more expansion in Living with Less in all parts of my life. I heard someone say Intentional Living when I was going through these changes, and those words struck a nerve in me. Now I strive to remember them and live by them everyday.

Since I have had so much less distraction in my life it has really shown me what I care about and who I am. It was hard seeing pieces of myself while I was clearing out. I didn’t like who I had become. And I didn’t understand a lot of my decisions and was constantly baffled at what I uncovered.

Earlier when I mentioned a deep feeling inside me I would get when I would start clearing out that I didn’t quite understand then… I believe that was the relief that comes with shedding skin.

Shedding layers you use to cover pain, disappointment, troubles you don’t want to face, or just plain fear or laziness to start what you truly want to do with yourself. When you don’t have the crutch of shopping, of filling your life with new things, or eating, you are left with a lot of time and you get a good long look at yourself.  

I did not like what I saw.  But I am using all that extra time to reconnect with my children, my husband, and most of all with myself. 

If you stuck through this post and read a bit about how I started pulling together my life and saved my motherhood and in turn, myself.. Than Thank You. It feels good to get some of it off my chest and out there in the world.  If you were having these problems like I was and feeling lost in despair and overwhelmed with your life. Then take a look around and find out what you can’t stand that is taking up the most of your time.  I would love to hear from you and about your journey so please don’t hesitate to comment or Join My Tribe!

Lazy Rainy Day Play Doh Experiments That Are Incredibly Easy

Some days I have no patience and a zero mess tolerance. These simple Play Doh creations are extremely easy to make, have simple and safe on hand ingredients, keep my children engaged in a creative sensory learning environment, and is hassle free when it comes to a quick clean up!

close up of boy holding homemade play doh and step by step instructions of how to make it

Since we have adopted a less is more attitude lately we don’t have a lot of toys or extras around the house. This minimalist lifestyle has not hindered us a bit. In fact, we are able to find so many different ways of getting creative and find most of our time happy and discovering outside. Unfortunately, rainy days happen even in paradise and this mama doesn’t always have a plan or patience to quite deal with 3 energetic little ones, especially when there is something I am obsessing over to get done.

You don’t need a plan, patience, or a lot of time

to get your kids in a good place of engaged, creative learning so you can sneak some time for work, relax, or play. I personally end up doing all three every time we do these fun experiments. The kids and I get to connect through fun sensory play together before I sit and zone out watching them and wonder at their ways, before finally letting them have at it while I do housework, write, or catch up with my photography or blog.
All it takes is finding some simple kitchen and/or nature ingredients and gathering a few household supplies.

Supplies

  • Large Mixing Bowls
  • Rubber Spatulas
  • Bed Sheet
  • Beach Toys
  • Sensory Toys (beads, sticks, etc)

Ingredients

  • Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Baby Powder
  • Sand
  • Oils ( coconut, olive, baby, etc)
  • Clear Handsoap
  • Conditioner

Does that look like a lot of ingredients to you? Pick 1 solid and 1 liquid and have at it. I find myself looking at all the perfect moms and there perfect play-doh recipes on pinterest and I love them for all of the amazing inspiration they give me… BUT

I’m just not that bright, colorful, perfect mama everyday

engaged learning and hands on fun with homemade play doh
Hands on Fun

But my kids don’t care how pretty play-doh is. They care that we made it. They care that we get to play with it together. And most of all they care that they are free to make messes, build, and destroy their creations at their own whims.

We started with our large mixing bowls and rubber spatulas, 1 solid and 1 liquid.Our first attempt and favorite was inspired by this post for 2 Ingredient Fluffy Cloud Dough from Southern Plate. Since I’m not usually one for measuring but prefer to go by eyeing and testing I figured we couldn’t go wrong with this recipe.

For this soft fluffy fun stuff all we did was throw corn starch in a bowl then add some cheap conditioner and start mixing. It always starts off a little crazy and you will think you surely did something wrong. Once you start seeing it clump together just start kneading with your hands and Viola. Play-Doh. I’m not sure if this is magic or science but we are going with both for now.

My daughter picked pink strawberry suave since she is slightly obsessed with pink and my son picked a blue suave conditioner that smelled like ocean breeze. These actually weren’t bad and made the end result a soft, cool to the touch, faintly sweet smelling concoction of fun.

Some of our experiments did not turn out as easy but were still pretty manageable. Like I said, you will come to a point in most of these recipes where you wonder how this will work. When we mixed corn meal and baby oil it was pretty sticky at first. Then we added some hand soap and it was worse. Until it wasn’t. The oils will absorb after enough kneading and even this ridiculous mess of yellow that seems to be completely covering my hands worked up nicely. 

The possibilities seem pretty endless when it comes to experimenting and playing. We loved making pumpkins, snowmen, animals, and shapes. The kids especially loved when I made something and they could destroy in some hilarious new way.

To make sure to keep it an easy to clean and stress free environment for you, just throw down a bed sheet. Our wrinkly sheet from the garage was a wonder and shook out easy outside. Bonus if it is raining for sweet mother nature will clean up the rest for you. It is also extremely easy to sweep off a tile floor.

Snowman made out of homemade play dough, photography of childhood imagination
Snowman in July … Why Not
beach toys for play with diy play dough, creative childhood play
No Shirt, No Shoes, No Worries .. Just Play Kinda Day

The point of this post isn’t to show you how to make play-doh though. It is to let you know that it doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be a little messy and unmeasured and you still can’t fail. Because what it is really about is finding a brief moment to step away from “the rest” and connect with the kids.

For me on this day I was having a rough go. I’m not sure we even got dressed. I had a few million things that I wanted to accomplish and felt the weight of it all with the pressure of being cooped up inside on this rainy day. When I started taking it out on the kids I knew I needed to cope with what I could. The world would wait like always.

20 minutes and a few things thrown together from around the house and I was in a much calmer state of mind. The kids were engaged and happy and I was able to chip away at the mountain of wants, needs, and goals that will always be there.

To look back and see the pictures of my smiling happy babies I get so emotional. Once upon a time I wouldn’t have been able to step out of whatever situation I was obsessing over and would have resented the time the kids were taking from me. I am so grateful for the days I am strong enough to look at a situation and know it can wait just a few minutes.

image of a smiling happy boy
smiling happy girl with bright beautiful blue eyes

Because these smiling faces right here are what it is all for anyway.

Are You Ready For A Lifestyle Change? How I Became Happy & Healthy Enough To Live Life On My Terms

For me all it took was a water bottle. And though it took me a while to realize that.. there’s one thing I can tell you now. It is real. And if the simple word “change” resonates with you then, Yes, you are ready.

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I knew I needed a change. A big one. I had just had my 2nd baby in 2 years and moved into a new home In West Coast Cali. And I was miserable. I was miserable that I was miserable. I had the luxury car, hard-working husband, my two Beautiful children, a boy and girl, complete with all the pretty clothes and accessories. I even had my dream dog. I knew I had it to good to cry. 
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But cry I did. My husband was lost in his own life and those babies were wearing me down hard and fast. The dog wasn’t getting walked or groomed enough, and neither was I. And the Clothes.. Oh the clothes. They were in never ending piles of major purchase regret. The car was Amazing though. Thank you Ernie from Witt Lincoln San Diego I still miss that MKX. 
 
Like I said though, All of that changed from a single water bottle. And it was a Glorious water bottle. It had to be. I sucked at drinking water. And this was something that I really wanted to change. So I figured, find a bad ass water bottle, and guzzlin’ would ensue.
 
It worked.

I was drinking 100+ oz a day. That was insane for me.

 
That kick-started a cascade of little changes over the next few months. I was starting to eat more fruits and veggies, while cutting out fast food, and I even started lite stretching at night. One of those nights I happened to be admiring my water bottle when a simple realization hit me That Changed Everything.
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I was still drinking all that water and it wasn’t even something I had to think about anymore, it just was. I had dropped most of my baby weight / all I ate while I was pregnant was cheeseburgers weight, my Husband and I had started taking long walks with the kids And we found a new way of connecting through biking. The dog was getting groomed, I was getting groomed, the kids were still a screaming hurricane with food faces and sticky hands but I was keeping patience with them, and actually guiding them instead of screaming at them. This mental connection reached out and physically hit me.
And it was then that I realized | Every choice was mine
And every choice has a consequence.
 
I know it sounds simple but this was Not an easy thing for me to realize. And realize I did… Now I was responsible for my life.. and the things happening in it; down to the way I was feeling in every given moment. 
 
This required a great deal of mental stretching and breaking out of my own head.   I was so stuck in myself Scared to go out and face my own dreams and aspirations; to just plain get out in the world, simply because I was scared of societal judgments. I had to unlearn a lot of sabotaging programming from my youth and young adult hood. 
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Now all of a sudden my unsatisfactory marriage, was me being a cold, resentful wife. I didn’t see his faults as an excuse for me anymore, and that left me with a long, hard look at myself. This wasn’t just in my marriage, it was my Life. From my kids, to my estranged relationship with my family.. the way it was so hard for me to build healthy relationships, and friendships, and full circle.. back to me, and the way I have always treated and thought of myself. Insert nights of hidden tears and days of ever-present overwhelm.
 
Now I told you this realization was not easy, but to loosely quote Tim Ferris, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker. In fact, it had broken my mind, and like a butterfly shattering a chrysalis, I emerged with new capabilities.
 
I knew I had made an important mental shift and I had no idea what to do with it. I decided to do what was already working for me. Make Goals. Then Make better Goals.
 
Momentum Is Key
Never underestimate the power of mental momentum
 
Being without momentum is rough. It is how I had been living most of my life. For me, It was the difference between hitting the snooze button a few times in the morning, and then getting up vs just turning the damn thing off. It was persevering with a stoic face when all 3 of my children are having emotions bigger than themselves. It is wearing my keyboard out, while burning holes in my eyes as my family sleeps to pursue my passions… that way I am better apt to focus on them, and our goals together during the day.
Once I realized what momentum was for me
What it felt like for me
I was able to recognize the ebb and flow of it
Because I am very much of an up and down kind of person….
I have Huge Bursts of Energy and Insight, and I want to explode all of my feelings and understandings unto everyone around me.
 
These times for me are a whirlwind of making things happen, overestimating myself, surprising myself, connecting, and learning. So Much Learning that it is vital to get some down time.
 
Rest and Recovery is Essential
 
Everyone needs time for themselves. There are no exceptions. Especially for me. I would find myself craving to be alone after the constant touching and talking that comes with toddlers and at first thought I must be a horrible mother. Please. Excuses.
 
But with 2 littles under 2 running around I had to get a little creative for my much needed R&R. Most of my rest was not actually sleeping but if the babes are busy mommies brain was resting. Here were some of my go to strategies.
  • Nap Time

Crucial. Wear them out in the morning then stuff their bellies and send them to their rooms. Or to your bed with you if you must. Make nap time a priority for your family and make sure your taking part. No “getting stuff done” or needless cleaning. Promise, it can wait. Even a 20 minute rest with your eyes shut improves focus and mental function.
 
  • Take a Walk

When it’s no where near nap time and your feeling frazzled throw those babies in the stroller. Won’t stay quiet long enough.. bring snacks! The outside air and steady pace will keep them quite and entertained for a bit so you can make a phone call to family or just zone out in your thoughts for a few minutes. Ah bliss.
 
  • Find a park with a fence

Why aren’t these everywhere. The first time I saw one I thought well this is nice. No it is much better. It is ingenious. Yes, you still have to watch your kids moms. But the stress will be exponentially better and you can maybe lay in the grass with a book or take the time to watch the kids from afar peacefully and think of all the ways they make your life better. Regular playgrounds can work also.
 
  • Story Time

Cuddle up with a book. This is a great way to unwind with your children. Even the littlest ones can get involved with the right books. I would give my smallest an indestructible book while my eldest and I went through another. This will give you all the good feels and get you unplugged while bonding with your most important.
 
  • Get Help

Your Partner, Family, and Friends are all their to help. You just need to say when things are piling up and be specific about what could actually help you. Don’t feel bad about needing an extra hand or an hour to soak in a bubble bath.
 
  • Take yourself on a date

Not your husband or family or friends. Just You. My favorite way to get back in sync with myself is to be able to just be myself. i am quiet and reserved. When I am with my family I am the boss on a loud speaker. Spa day, lite lunch and a stroll through town or the beach, a scenic drive, a long hike, or a day hiding in your room with a book are all good ways to reconnect with yourself.
 
 
 
Once I realized I had made it this far by haphazardly implementing just these few vital keys
  • Responsible for Self / This is your Choice
  • Mental Momentum / Make Goals and Go After Them
  • Rest And Recovery / Avoid Burnout and Overwhelm
 
I was better able to understand the real possibilities for myself, my family, and our lives together that blew my mind and our world right open…
 
I have grown exponentially since those years, and my world and mind are still wide open. I have since moved with my Husband and 2 small children to Hawaii where we added another so now we are 5. Here we will be prepping for full-time travel starting fall 2019 and will be World Schooling our family.
 
I am so grateful everyday that I took those first steps that inspired me and re-developed my love of learning. It touches deep into my life and seeing it Now I realize I am going through, and may, very-well always be going through, an Intensive Lifestyle Change.
 
For most people this feels too hard to achieve and they live their life in a comfortable form of acceptance / denial. It is doable. It is actually just a way of life and all it takes is starting with key changes in the right parts of life.
 

Physical Health

Diet and Exercise is everything.
 
If you shed everything about you down to your basics you are left with nothing but a need to eat and you need to be able to move efficiently to do that. Pretty important. It just is. This is the Magic Cure you have been waiting for.
 

Diet

 
I was a fast food junkie who would’ve said the best date ever was a place with a monster cheeseburger, fries and ranch, topped off with a few choice drinks. Beer.
Simply achieving my first goal of drinking half my body weight a day in water was enough to bring on a cascade of events that led to an extremely different way of living.
  • Drink Water
Drink water for an instant upgrade in life. It alone will change everything. It has been proven to make you focus better and just be plain Happier. Plus, beyond just improved mental functions.. Literally Every Single Part of Our Bodies Function Better. Our joints move better, exercise isn’t as challenging and more effective, organs function better. And with the skin being the largest organ, it benefits greatly. Who is possibly against supple, glowing skin and feeling super-charged?
  • Start the day off with a healthy choice
I started with Avocado toast with an egg. I wasn’t far off the mark and still enjoy this quick easy breakfast all the time. There are so many reasons to make sure this meal is the one you choose to be healthy with. It fires up your metabolism, increases energy, boosts brain power, and starts your day with a positive mindset that will flow into all of your choices that day.
 
  • Cut out Fast Food
This can be so hard to start but a great momentum boost when you achieve it. Try saying no next time your partner or friend go through a drive-thru. If you are a fast food junkie like I was then this will be no easy feat but will gain you major reward Fast and in all parts of your life. From saving money, to increasing will-power, to saving your guts from the the processed nightmare they call food. This one is a game-changer to add on early!
  • Eat more Fruits and Veggies
This is something we all know. Or do we. The nutrition knowledge in the world is extremely lacking. It took a lot of self-propelled research for me to understand why I had been dieting and failing all my life. Everything I thought I knew about food was wrong. Food has so many functions in our body and it is so important to have a Balanced Diet.
 
Fruits and Veggies are so easy to start implementing in your life. Leaving a snack tray of cut veggies and humus in the fridge is a great way to reach for something healthy for a snack or to add to a lite lunch. I never thought my kids would eat raw broccoli or a beet. Experiment with new selections from your produce stand and you will often surprise yourself.
  • Cut out Processed Foods and Refined Sugar
Imagine walking into a grocery store and only needing to walk down 1 or 2 isles and the produce section. Just the time saved not looking at all those pretty pictures of yummy concoctions on these boxes and cans is worth it. Surprise yourself by making one of these delicious simple 5 ingredient recipes
 
 
Diet has taken on a whole new meaning for me since I have implemented these steps. It doesn’t mean losing weight anymore. It is a word that only refers to the way I eat. I now am implementing minimalist meal plans with ingredients from farmers markets and locally sourced meat markets. Life can change rapidly and if you keep pushing yourself you will find yourself living a life you didn’t you could reach.
 
 

Exercise

 
  • Find Something you Enjoy
I knew it all along.. “a body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest”
someone a lot smarter than me, and probably you too
 
Besides my short stint of running around the block in the a.m. that was back too many lifes to count, I can’t say I was much into exercise. A few simple home routines of stretching at night and I was able to enjoy movement again. That led to bike riding which let me find reunite with my love of everything outdoors. Finding even a small routine that is under your comfort level can help build the momentum for a greater challenge. Here are 18 Best Workout Apps For Lazy Girls.
  • Find Natural Exercise
The world is your playground. Don’t forget to go play in it.
I got so stuck in an inside routine where my kids watched too much t.v. and I stared at computers too long. This was exactly what I said I would avoid as a mother and I fell in the same easy trap as most of society. When we bought a kid carrier and started biking I fell in love. With more than the energy of the ride, with the sun on my skin, and the wind in my hair. This connection to the outdoors did wonders for me mentally and physically. Hiking, mountain climbing, snorkeling, and exploring are all now frequent activities that keep me out of the gym and happy and healthy.
 
  • Sticking to Routine

We are all creatures of habit. Our bodies are constantly trying to keep us comfortable and that is why routines are life savers. Don’t think diet and exercise were just a thing I always did or just easily started up one day. I also went from waking up at 5 p.m. to 5 a.m… which is now getting switched to 4 a.m.

What is this sorcery?

It is my wonderful brain.. rewiring itself.. to protect it’s simple emotional human. They say it only takes 30 days of enforcing a habit to make it a habit. I believe it. I have done it ..over and over. I am constantly surprised at how quickly I can change, build, and develop new skills.

 
 

Mental Health

 
  • Self Love Starts with Self Care

 
My skin has always given me trouble. Chicken bumps, ingrown hairs, acne, stretch marks were all plagues of my teenage years that led to insecurities and continuing conditions in my adult years. An epilator, exfoliating, and dressing up are my favorite tools for an instant Goddess Feeling. Find what makes You Feel Beautiful.
 
  • The Epilator
I had finally jumped on the band wagon and got waxed. My whole damn body.  I went back twice because I really liked my waxer but I knew instantly I had to find a better way. This bad boy gets you soft and smooth at home on your own time, in the shower or out, and even has exfoliating heads for your face and body. Game. Changer.
  • Exfoliating
When your skin is that bare you need to maintain it! Store bought body scrub is Expensive and full of chemicals but it is so easy to make your own exfoliating scrub at home. Bonus: you get to pretend your at the spa while your husband deals with the screaming kids and you level up in the shower. Go throw some raw sugar and coconut oil together, scrub away, and see how just that simple concoction makes you glow.
 
  • Dress For Who You Want To Be
I was always a tank top and jeans girl. I used to see and even buy cute clothes but never wear them for fear of looking out of place or silly. To possibly hear someone say..”what are you wearing?!” was mortifying. A pair of waist-high sage colored hobo shorts bought in a “I’m A New Women” mode, threw me out there and I realized something extremely freeing.. Most people don’t care what your wearing and really it doesn’t matter all that much if they did. I threw the rest of my clothes out. Seriously.
 
  • Organize and Minimalize your Life

One day I started throwing clothes in bags and got them the hell out of my house. I was sick of the piles of clothes I barely even liked or wore being Everywhere! It was freeing and absolutely addicting. I have now spread this concept to all parts of my life. Right down to my thoughts. I am able to actually see what matters in my life and focus on that with all my extra time and energy.
Some of the ways I have cut down on clutter in my life is

Capsule Wardrobe

When I found out I could own only a handful of clothes, look and feel amazing, save tons of money and time, plus unburden myself from too many choices and mountains of laundry.. I was ALL in. These are a few ladies and their wardrobes that inspired me to make the change.
 
        1. The cutest video of Kitty Cotten and her awesome capsule wardrobe. This one came right after she had a baby so it is nursing friendly and you still get to look amazing!
        2. Caroline at UnFancy will get you drooling over color palettes for her simplified wardrobe. I was hooked when I read this and instantly started creating color boards.
        3. The Calm Collective’s neutral, clean wardrobe style instantly won me over.

 Minimalist Meal Plan

I was spending too much time in the kitchen, too much money at the store,and throwing away tons of leftovers and rotten veggies. Enough was enough. I started adapting a minimalist meal plan thought up by Miranda over at Live Free Creative Co. She is another amazing maker mama who is all about Energy Management!
 Mindset is Everything
This should be first but it is last for a simple reason. I couldn’t stand to hear it before I understood it and I didn’t want to scare you away. But, hey, your at the end now so there it is.
 
There was a question I asked myself daily for years and when I answered it for the first time I broke down and cried till I was dry. When I was done feeling sorry myself I knew I could get up and change it or stay the way I was. So I decided I would “fake it till I make it” and got Happy.
 
You will always be presented with situations that are hard or will disrupt your peace and happiness. How you mentally tackle these situations will forge your path. When you are upset and irrational it is too easy to lead yourself down a destructive path. Mental toughness is built from continued success with staying positive in rough times.
 

The first time I knew it was working:

 
When my girl brought me a pen from my desk smiling and told me to “come see” while I was trying to get a moments reprieve in the bathroom; I looked at her with raised eyebrows, calmly finished up and followed her. My new white office chair had the mad but proud scribbles of a little Willow girl all over it.
I stood there for a second upset and when I would have usually snapped I thought… Well damn thats some nice scribblin’. I have no idea who that was in my head but when I bust out laughing and was then able to follow with a calm, connected talk with my girl I decided I was going to be listening to her a Lot More!
 
Want to know what that anguish filled question I asked myself daily was?
“Why am I Doing This”
 
If you are asking yourself that question still then I suggest you answer it.
Because it will put you well on your way to a great Lifestyle Change!
 
Hello! I am Amanda and this was my first Blog Post Ever!!!
Wish me luck, Tell me your story, Let me know how you made a change in your life or want to make a change in your life! I am here to share and connect and would Love to hear from you!