Category Archives: routines

Dads Don’t Babysit

When you see a dad at the playground with his kids, what’s the first thing that goes through your head? Is it different than what you’d think about a mom at the playground?

When your partner takes care of the kids for an afternoon while you run errands or hang out with some girlfriends, what is going through your mind?

dads don't babysit

When I or my husband heads out for an evening with friends, the other one is fully in charge of the kids. That means if there’s a meltdown happening as I head out the door, I leave. Because my husband is also a parent and he can handle it. But I’ve had friends bail on dinner because one of their kids was having a tough time going to bed.

Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. If you feel your kids need you, then give them that attention.

But if you’re staying because you don’t think your partner can handle it, let’s talk about that.

There is this double standard in our society. When dads do something like take their kids to the park, we see it as this hero move. Oh, look at him, spending time with his kids. He’s such a good dad.

Yet, I could guarantee you we don’t say that about moms. When we see a mom at the park, it’s not a big deal. We’ll judge her for being on her phone or not playing with her kids. Maybe the kid falls down – it’s the mom’s fault. Not just what kids do.

My husband doesn’t babysit. He’s not a hero for taking the kids to the park or sitting down to play legos with them. He’s a dad. This is what parents do.

I’ll stay off my soap box for how our society has created this mess and how we feed right into it as parents.

But remember this, dads don’t babysit!

Are You Often Striving For Perfection?

Do you have such high expectations of yourself that you feel like you are never living up to them?

That you are constantly striving for perfection and it’s never enough?

Maybe you spend time late at night cleaning the house so it’s organized and clean all the time.

Or you stay up late perfecting a report for work, a presentation you’re giving, or an email you need to send a client.

Maybe you worry that you’re not doing enough for your kids. That they’re not in the right activities that are going to get them in to the right college.

And you feel like it’s never enough and that you are failing every day.

It seems like if we don’t meet our expectations, we question ourselves, not the expectations.

When maybe it’s our expectations that are the problem.

I think it’s society that’s setting us up for failure.

One of the things I focus on in my client work is designing a life that you want. Not living like society or social media tells you.

But focusing on what’s important to you and your family.

Instead of striving for some version of perfect that society is telling you to strive for, clarify your own version of success.

striving for perfection

What are your goals? And what small step can you take today to move toward them?

What short-term tasks can you let go of to focus on a long-term goal? It might be letting the laundry sit for another day while you do some research on spending a summer in a foreign country. It could be hiring someone to deep clean your house once a month so you can spend time hiking with your family.

Ask yourself if the world will stop spinning if the task isn’t done perfectly. I’m guessing the answer is no. So maybe good enough or done is OK.

Don’t waste your days living someone else’s life!

Define your own success!

If you’re ready to figure this out in your own life, schedule a Get On Track call.

Did You Know That You Make 35,000 Decisions A Day?

Did you know that people make over 35,000 decisions a day?

This is why, when it’s time for dinner and you haven’t planned it, you have wine and m&m’s and feed your kids cereal (there’s nothing wrong with this, on occasion, by the way).

Moms already have enough on their plates. There’s no need to make life more complicated.

Having some basic routines and systems in your days and weeks help simplify things. Remove decisions where you can.

35,000 decisions a day

Have a menu that repeats every 2 weeks. You have chicken every Thursday. The spices and sides can change, but you know roughly what you’re eating. Every Monday is something vegetarian. Keep a list of meal ideas so you can easily plan those vegetarian meals without too much thought.

Have certain days of the week for laundry. Or, do one load a day. Figure out what laundry routine works best for you. I wash clothes on Sunday and sheets / towels on Fridays. I have a friend who does one full load (from washing to putting it away) every day. Figure out what works for you and your family and stick with it.

Have a list of things to which you will say no. This is important. Shiny objects. Clothes you don’t need. Toys your kids don’t need. Activities and commitments are just one more thing to keep track of. Figure out what’s important and say no to the rest!

The point is to take as many decisions as possible out of your day. Because 35,000 decisions a day is just too many!

Your future self will thank you!

She Wanted To Help Me

How did it get so messy? Does a pack of wild animals live here?

Big sigh

We were all picking up toys and clutter so that we could more thoroughly clean it. My 5-year-old daughter refused to participate. She’s 5. She’s stubborn and she’s not going to do anything she doesn’t want to do.

So I let it go and we all moved on.

A little while later, I hear her saying she’s cleaning up to help me. Because mom needs it.

Now, I understand that often our kids do stuff around the house to help mom. Mom’s the one who manages the chores and house cleaning (more on why this is a problem at a later date.

But I didn’t like the way she said this. I didn’t like that she was only doing it because mom was mad.

We are a team in our household. Keeping the house clean and organized is not just mom’s job. It’s everyone’s job. Because we all live here.

We don’t clean the house to make mom happy. We clean and declutter the house so we can find what we need and don’t get ants.

Everyone participates in keeping the house functioning.

Here are some ideas to get everyone involved:

  • Make it fun. Don’t tell your kid to go clean their room. Their brains will shut down and it won’t happen.
    • Help them play the seek and sort game.
    • Turn it into a game. We play basketball with my kids’ laundry. You can do the same with any toys that go into a bin. (side note, don’t use bins with lids.
    • Have kids race against you (never against each other. Siblings are already competitive enough). See if they can put something away faster than you.
  • Make it easy to put things away. (Lids add one more step).
  • Have special time with them first.
  • Do something fun together as a family once you’re done.
to help me

If your kids are older, these same guidelines apply. Get them to participate. Ask them how they want to participate (and skipping out is not an option).

Build routines around decluttering and cleaning.

Keep it small. We clean half the house each weekend so it’s not overwhelming. We pick up most of the mess each day so it doesn’t get overwhelming.

Everything has a home, so it’s easy to put things away.

How cluttered your house gets is up to you and those who live there. What is your level of acceptance of mess? I don’t have the energy for a spotless house every day. I do like a weekly reset.

Figure out what works for your family.

Spend some time this week talking with your family about how to start working together to keep the house functioning. Pick one of the above ideas and put it into action!

Where Do I Even Start?

In this beautiful book I read with my kids, Suzy is told by her mom to pick up her room. Her room is such a mess that she’s not even sure where to start. She feels overwhelmed by the mess. What should she do?

Have you been there?

Have you ever taken a look at your kitchen, the piles of kids’ toys, your to-do list for work, and just stood there?

Overwhelmed and unsure of where to even start?

where to start

I have.

The endless lists. The piles that keep appearing, like a game of whack-a-mole. The dishes, laundry, kids’ toys. The emails, slack messages, interruptions. The work projects.

Where do you even start?

Do what Suzy and her mom do. (and what I do with my kids when their toys are all over the house).

Play the seek and sort game. Pick one task, one list, one subject. And start.

Process your emails (not just read them, but respond, delete, file, figure out the next action).

Find that one task that’s been lingering on your list and do it.

Find all the tasks that will take less than two minutes and see how many you can do in 30 minutes.

Identify the next step on an important work project and take it.

Set a timer for 15 minutes and work on that task you have been avoiding.

The point here is to pick one spot, any spot, and tackle it.

And, if you’re really struggling, put all the tasks on separate sheets of paper in a bowl and draw one out. Do it. Repeat.

Seek. Sort. Start.

Your future self will thank you.

This is a true picture of my kid’s old playroom. It was amazing how quickly they made a mess to the point that they couldn’t play in it! And we had to pick one spot, one toy category, and start cleaning up! Life can feel this messy sometimes, huh?!

Are You Still Making Their Lunches?

In the movie Bad Moms, Amy (played by Mila Kunis), has taken on so many tasks in her family. She does her best to make her kids’ lives magical. She does their homework. Makes their breakfast. Makes their lunches. Drives them to all their activities.

She does it all.

And she’s exhausted.

At one point, after she’s realized how hard she works and how she’s done doing all the tasks, she tells her kids to make their own lunch. They look stunned. Mom has always done everything for them! And now they have to do something for themselves.

And you know what happens? They figure it out.

Yes, they grumble a bit. They leave a mess in the kitchen. But they make their own lunches.

Moms have been told, over and over, that in order to show our kids that we love them, we must do everything for them. From making fancy breakfasts every morning to packing their lunches, and maybe even doing their homework.

Go overboard for the holidays with decorations, gifts, food.

Throw elaborate birthday parties.

We sign our kids up for so many activities and schedule numerous playdates.

Because society has told us this is what we’re supposed to be doing. That this makes us good moms.

When in reality, it makes us tired and resentful. And makes our kids rely on us for everything.

Now, I hate making lunches. Always have. So I taught my kids from a young age how to make their own.

Do they make a mess? Yes. Do they help clean it up? Yes. Are they getting better at it? Yes.

We make it as simple as possible. Pack snack-size containers with raisins and goldfish on the weekends so that they’re ready to pack (the kids help with this too). Keep ingredients to make sandwiches on hand. Have a list of easy-to-make lunch ideas. And we work on making lunches together, after dinner each night.

Eventually, they’ll be able to pack their lunches without help.

What’s something that you can start teaching your kids to do on their own? Something you can eventually move off your plate, onto someone else’s?

Yes, it might get messy. Yes, it might take some time for your kids to learn. But in the long run? It’s better for all of you!

Reply to this email and let me know what you are going to start working on with your kids?

Your future self will thank you.

P.S. Want to learn more about what it’s like to work with me? Schedule a Get On Track call!

Dirty Dishes and The Invisible Load

We run our dishwasher a lot. There is often a clean load in the dishwasher, with even more dishes sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be dealt with. So many dishes!

so many dishes

At some point, I realized that I had it in my head that my husband expected me to deal with the dishes. Yes, we both work from home. But my schedule is more flexible. So, of course, why wouldn’t I be the one to deal with all the household tasks too?

Sound familiar? As moms, we take on all the household tasks because it feels easier that way. Without thinking about it.

In reality, it wasn’t that he expected me to do it. He wasn’t thinking about it at all. He was focused on work. And he would deal with the dishes later, after work, while he was making dinner.

I read an article in the Atlantic about how men and women are equally messy. But men don’t notice as much. Women feel a lot of pressure to keep their spaces clean and organized and pretty. Ourselves too. Now, I will leave space in here on how we feel more in control of our lives when we’ve cleaned and purged our house. I too clean and organize when I’m stressed out.

But, women are conditioned from a young age that keeping the house and family organized is our responsibility. Our worth is wrapped up in it. Women operate on a different time scale than men. So it appears that we take it all on because men won’t. When men just haven’t been conditioned to deal with it as quickly as women.

And the pattern continues. Women take on the tasks because we think men aren’t going to do it, instead of letting them do it in their own way. Then the men just stop doing tasks around the house, because the women do it all anyway. And the exhausting cycle continues.

And our kids see this. They see mom doing all the household chores and the organizing of schedules and planning of everything. And they grow up thinking that’s how it’s done.

It’s time to change that narrative.

I realize that I’m asking women to take on one more thing here. I’m also asking women to get their partners in on this. To start having these conversations together. To start shifting the dynamics in your house to more equity. Where everyone in the household is involved, down to the youngest child.

When my kids complain about not wanting to do something around the house, I remind them that we all live here. We all contribute to the household and we all need to work together. And then we read a book titled The Great Zooberry Debacle: A Tale of Many Hands.

Start paying attention to when you take it all on. When you are the one worrying about everything and feeling like people are judging you if things aren’t perfect.

Your future self will thank you.

When you’re ready to stop feeling pulled in too many directions and add a sense of control and peace to your days, schedule a call with me, and let’s talk about my coaching programs.

The Holidays Are Here!

The holidays are here! Are you ready? 

The pandemic is still complicating things. It might still be a year for social distancing and smaller parties. Or more of staying at home and visiting friends and family on Zoom. 

the holidays are here!

Regardless of how you spend the holidays, here are a few ideas for thriving, not surviving. 

Simplify

Maybe you’re one to go overboard for the holidays. Everyone gets gifts. You mail cards to everyone you know. And your family is wearing matching PJ’s in the photo that’s on the card you send. 

Before you go nuts, take a minute and step back. 

Make a list of everything you do during the holidays. Look at the list. Examine it. 

Do these tasks make you happy? Or are you doing them because you feel you need to? Are there a few that you can skip? 

Pick the few items that make you happy. Cross the rest off.  No one will notice! 

Ask

Ask each family member to pick one activity they enjoy and want to do during the holidays. 

Schedule it. 

Stick with the activities that your family enjoys. Skip the rest! You will all be happier. 

You do not have to say yes to every event that comes your way. If you love attending all the parties and it fills you up, then go! 

But realize that might not be true for everyone in your family. Or you. And that’s ok. 

Say yes to the events that you and your family get the most out of. 

When you’re overbooked, you don’t enjoy the holidays. It feels like one thing after another and before you know it, it’s January and you’re left wondering what happened. 

Being intentional about the events and activities you take on helps you feel present at each of them. Sinking into the fun of the moment. 

Simplify Some More

Are you hosting a meal? What can you do to make it easy? In our family, the person hosting makes the main dish and everyone else brings a side dish. Everyone signs up for something so we don’t end up with 6 side dishes of mashed potatoes. And it takes the pressure off the host to not be in charge of everything. 

Maybe it’s never been done this way in your family. Maybe it’s always been on you to make the holidays happen. That doesn’t mean you can’t request a change. At least start the conversation. It could be as simple as everyone else bringing appetizers or desserts. 

After The Holidays, Evaluate

In January, spend some time thinking about what worked and what didn’t work in December. What did your family enjoy? What do you wish you had skipped? Take notes and put them somewhere you will find next November. 

Try a few of these ideas this year. The key is to only do the things that make you happy. Don’t wear yourself out doing everything! Doing a few things allows you to enjoy those activities and tasks and get the most out of them. 

If you want more ideas on how to simplify your life, sign up below!

    Around The Next Bend

    Years ago, my husband and I went hiking in Acadia, in northern Maine. As we were coming back down the trail, we kept thinking that the trail would end around the next bend. Around the next bend, we’ll be back at the car. This went on for some time. It seemed the trail was never going to end! 

    around the next bend.

    We still joke about it. It’s become a mantra in our lives whenever something seems to be taking longer than it should. It’ll end around the next bend. 

    Maybe this is how you feel about your to-do list. That you’ll get through it soon. It has to get shorter sometime, right? If you just keep chipping away at it. Skipping sleep. Not taking breaks. 

    Around the next bend. 

    Let’s be honest. In this case, it’s not going to end around the next bend. There will always be something on our to-do list. It might feel more manageable some days or weeks. But there will always be tasks. 

    I’m not telling you this to make you sad and feel defeated. I want you to make the realization that it’s ok to take a break from the list. To put something fun on it. Or even put it in a drawer for the afternoon and go do something for yourself. 

    Then, after that break, come back and let’s talk about how to handle the never-ending list. When you really feel like you don’t have the time to deal with what’s on it. Or to even make a dent in the list. 

    Where do you start? 

    Start with a brain dump. Take 10 minutes and write down everything that’s floating around in your head. All the ideas and tasks. Find the post-its and notes you’ve left everywhere. Get them all in one spot. Pull out tasks lost in your emails. 

    Once you have all the tasks in one place, it’s easier to see your priorities. It can’t all be a priority, so you’ll need some guidelines here. Ask yourself the following questions: 

    • What are the quickest / closest deadlines? 
    • What is making my business money? 
    • What project do I need to get started on soon? 
    • Are there tasks on here that I can delete or delegate? 

    What are the next steps? 

    Next, write out each step, as small as possible for all your projects. This helps you get moving on your projects because you know the next steps. 

    You can’t claim you don’t have the time, because you can make the time for small steps. 

    What are your goals and values? 

    Another place to start from is understanding what’s important to you. When you know your goals for your business and your family, you can easily identify the tasks that get you there. Anything else can be deleted. 

    Say No

    The next part is learning to say no. When you know what’s on your plate, you know if another project or client is the right fit. 

    Remember, future you is just as busy as today you. Only say yes to something in the future if you would say yes to it tomorrow. 

    Saying yes to a big project means saying no to something else. 

    Maybe a goal of yours is to spend more time with your family or on exercise or to create another part of your business. Saying yes to a new project or client might take away from that. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it. 

    That to-do list might never end, even around the next bend. But you can take back control and deal with it in a way that works for you. So the trail doesn’t feel so long. And you can enjoy the scenery along the way.

    If you want more ideas on how to deal with that never-ending to-do list, sign up below for weekly tips and tricks!

      Let’s Evaluate

      Do you spend your days crossing tasks off your to-do list and making plans and going and going and going?

      Sometimes, we need to stop. Take some time to check in with what’s working and what’s not. Ask ourselves questions and really reflect on what we’re doing.

      I know. I know. You don’t have the time.

      But, what if taking this time helped you create more time?

      Take some time, even 15 minutes, and ask yourself the following questions.

      • What commitments have you taken on in the last 3 months? Are they working for you? Or do you need to find a way to let them go?
      • Are there routines that need to shift?
      • What do the next 3 months look like? What projects do you need to plan now?

      Want to get started on this? Schedule a call with me or download this PDF.

        What Are You Escaping From?

        What are you escaping? 

        I know my life is reaching a point of overwhelm when there are too many post-it notes. When I feel like all I’m doing is creating to-do lists. But not actually doing any of the tasks on the post-its or lists. 

        When this happens, I take a few minutes to get all the tasks and ideas out of my head. Then figure out what really needs to happen right now, today, or this week. 

        When we have a sense of our commitments, it’s easier to say yes or no to something. If it’s a work project, we can talk about renegotiating deadlines. If it’s a volunteer commitment, we know if have the time to give. If it’s our kids asking to do one more activity, we can have a conversation as a family about whether it makes sense or will lead to more overwhelm.

        what are you escaping from? overwhelmed woman with too many people asking things of her.
        How many things have you said yes to in your life because you:
        1. Didn’t know how to say no at the moment?
        2. Felt obligated to do it even though you really didn’t want to?

        Remember that every time you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. And sometimes we have to say no to something that seems like a great opportunity because we know that there’s a better one out there. (Or, we know we need to leave breathing room in our schedules). Make sure that yes is worth it. 

        I want you to design a life that you don’t need to escape from. One that doesn’t have you dreading every Monday. Where you aren’t resentful of the activities you and your family are committed to outside of work and school. 

        It’s a life full of activities and tasks that deserve to be there.

        If you’re feeling resentful and want to figure out a way to change this, let’s talk

        This PDF will help you too! 6 Steps to Peace And Accomplishment

          Add A Little Structure

          It’s 5 pm. I’m staring at the fridge, wondering what we’re going to have for dinner. I don’t like to cook. If it’s not planned or prepped, we’re having frozen pizza. 

          Once we started weekly meal planning (and prepping) our weeknight dinners got easier. Veggies and potatoes were prepped and the meat was defrosted. All I needed to do was turn on the oven, toss everything in a pan, and roast it. 

          Sunday is laundry day. I refuse to wash clothes any other day of the week unless absolutely necessary. If you want your clothes washed, they better be in the hamper when I start. Otherwise, it waits until next week. 

          Routines are helpful concept. tired housewife meditates in lotus position in laundry room near washing machine and dirty clothes

          I’m working on implementing certain days of the week for certain works tasks. Something like marketing Monday. Where Monday is focused on all my marketing tasks. Maybe you have planning meetings on certain days of the week or focus on specific projects at specific times. 

          Do you find routines stifling or helpful? Do you think that having routines in your life helps with your creativity? Or hurts it? 

          It is possible to have routines in your life and also flexibility. When your days are planned and structured down to the minute, any disruption throws things into disarray. 

          When you have routines and structure with space for the unexpected, everything flows smoothly. 

          What routines do you need in your days? Below are a few areas to add routines to your days. 

          • Laundry
          • Meal planning and prep
          • Recurring work tasks
          • Morning routines
          • Evening routines

          Ask yourself the following questions related to building routines:

          • What are all the steps needed to complete this routine?
          • When does each step need to happen?
          • Who is responsible for each step?

          I also recommend spending the last 30 minutes of your workday cleaning up your workspace. Check your calendar and tasks for tomorrow. Celebrate what you accomplished today. Process emails. File paperwork. Check your physical inbox, if you have one. Prepare yourself for tomorrow. 

          Routines can make your life easier! And when your brain knows that tasks are taken care of, it can solve other problems!

          Want more ideas on adding routines to your life? Sign up below for a PDF to get you started!

            Manis/Pedis. Massages. Bubbles baths.

            Manis/Pedis. Massages. Bubbles baths. Chocolate (or your favorite junk food). 

            I don’t believe any of these things are really self-care. They’re what society has told us is self-care. 

            massages. bubble baths. self-care.

            And we’re told that we should be taking care of ourselves. Not feeling guilty for taking that bubble bath or getting a massage. 

            And yes, we should be taking care of ourselves. And no, we should not be feeling guilty for filling our cup. 

            But we need to take some time to figure out what really feeds our souls. And, we should be taking the time to find activities that we truly enjoy. Not what we think we should be doing. 

            We need to be building lives that we don’t need to escape from. 

            This means that we don’t need a weekly massage so that we can have an hour of quiet time because we have time to ourselves and for ourselves built into the week (and we actually make that time happen).  

            That we’re not hiding in the pantry eating cookies straight from the package while hiding from our kids because we actually enjoy spending time with them. We fill their cups too and we have scheduled breaks from them to fill our cups.  

            Yes, I do enjoy my hot chocolate. I believe chocolate feeds my soul. I am also aware that it’s a quick fix. It’s not going to fix whatever it is that got me to this place of feeling drained. 

            Now, if you love your weekly massages, then have them. But don’t use them as your only form of self-care. Same for manis/pedis. 

            What do you do for self-care? Beyond bubble baths and massages? What really feeds your soul?

            For me, going to bed early with a good book fills my cup. Sometimes it’s a long phone call with a friend. 

            Want to get started on creating a life you don’t need to escape from? Start with this PDF. Or, contact me and let’s chat!

              The Sunday Scaries and the Need to Escape

              It’s Sunday night. I’m wondering what the heck happened to my weekend. What exactly did we do? I think I crossed a bunch of tasks off my list. The laundry is washed and dried, not necessarily put away. I’m tired. And I’m starting to dread Monday.

              I’m looking at my calendar and tasks for the week. The week looks full. Maybe even overflowing. How am I going to get through this week? I’m tired just thinking about this week. I already wish it was Friday! 

              dread Monday. woman looking overwhelmed at the clothes and mess in her living room.

              Sound familiar? 

              Life doesn’t have to be this way! Because we don’t have to continue to be so busy that we’re exhausted simply thinking about our week. 

              We don’t need to dread Monday!

              What if you designed a life you don’t need to escape from? 

              If you knew your daily priorities and that you were able to complete them? 

              Maybe you even have time for activities you love? For that ever-elusive ‘me-time’? (I promise, it is possible!)

              I want you to do something for me. Spend some time thinking about what you want your life to look like in the (near) future. If you didn’t have the dreaded Sunday scaries.

              Maybe it’s planning something fun that you look forward to for Monday or Tuesday nights. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be a regular phone call with a friend. A virtual dance class or yoga class. 

              Try saying no to any new activities that come your way, while you figure out what activities you and your family want to take on next. Not signing up for soccer, dance, and piano lessons for each kid. Pick one activity for each family member (which can, honestly, still be a lot to manage each week). 

              I know that might feel like a lot right now. I’m just asking you to think about it. 

              I think this pandemic has changed so much for all of us. In big and little ways. We’re physically and emotionally exhausted and drained. Our routines are a mess. Our ability to make decisions is fried. We never know if the decisions we’re making are right. 

              Maybe you’ve spent the past year and a half barely surviving each day. It was all you could do to get your work done and take care of your kids. You looked at Facebook and felt like everyone else was taking on a new hobby or finding their passion (whatever that means!). 

              And you know what? That’s ok. 

              Simply getting through each day is sometimes enough. Sometimes that’s all we can do.

              I’m so tired of hearing people talk about getting back to normal. I don’t want to go back to normal. I’m not even sure what that is. I don’t want to go back to who I was in 2019 or even February 2020. I’m not the same person. 

              For me, this pandemic has wiped my slate clean. It’s clarified so much for me. What’s important to me. Who is important to me. What I want my life to look like in the future. 

              Honestly, rebuilding from scratch sounds less exhausting than going back to the way things were. Where you ran from one activity to another without really thinking about it. Attending every birthday party, sports activity, and event you were invited to. Using retail therapy as a way to feel better about how crazy things were. And talking about being busy like it was a badge of honor. 

              How about creating your life with intention. Building a life that you don’t need to escape from. That doesn’t require weekly massages or bubble baths to relax or feel slightly better about things (next week’s topic). 

              What steps can you start on now? They can be the smallest steps necessary! Take that first step and see where it leads you!

              Keep reading here and here. And if you want some help on this, check out this PDF. It’ll walk you through steps on designing a life you love!

                A Simple Game Of Mousetrap

                Have you ever played the game of Mousetrap? I remember sitting in my grandparent’s house, putting the game together. I don’t think we ever played the game as designed. Just put the pieces together and sent the marble through the system.

                a game of mousetrap put the pieces together.

                There’s cause and effect. If something goes wrong, the end result is different. But, when things go smoothly, you get what you want at the end (unless you’re the mouse being caught). 

                It builds on itself. You need the pieces to connect in a certain way for it to work. 

                The same can be said for systems (and routines) in our own life. Pieces need to connect in certain ways. And when something is off, things can go wrong. 

                What routines in your life need some work? What systems can you create? 

                As we start a new school year, what routines do you need to build back into your family? 

                Here are a few to think about. What do you need to put in place? What needs to be tweaked?

                • Laundry 
                • Meal planning 
                • Family meetings 
                • Processing emails (personal and work)
                • Recurring work tasks

                This week, as you’re thinking about meal planning, here’s something to help you! My friend, Mary Gaul, designed a Magic Meal Planner for you. No more wasting food, time, or money. 

                The Magic Meal Planning System is a paper planner that includes your meals for the week and a built-in grocery list.  Along with Mary’s systems, tips, and 6 weeks of meal plan ideas, it makes meal planning, shopping, and prepping easy! 

                It helps you have a clear answer to the question – “what’s for dinner tonight?”

                Go to www.magicmealplan.com and get yours today for less than one meal out for a family of 4! 

                Use the code Meals10 to save $10!

                Follow on Facebook: @MagicMealPlan

                Contact Mary with questions at mary@successmagnified.com

                Contact me and let me know what routine you are going to focus on this week!

                Go To Bed

                That’s right. You and your kids need to go to bed. Yes, it’s August and it’s still summer. But, school is going to be here before you know it. Here in the Denver metro area, schools start in mid-August. 

                If you’ve been letting your kids stay up late and sleep in, now is the time to get back on a better schedule. Don’t wait until the night before school starts to enforce an earlier bedtime. It takes several weeks to shift things. Start to shift things by 10 minutes each night. Slowly get back to a school-night bedtime. 

                Spend some time thinking about your evening routines. What can you do at night to make your mornings better? Pack lunches? Pack backpacks and work bags? Set out breakfast? 

                And, you need to go to bed too.

                Sleep is important. If you’ve been skimping on sleep because you feel overwhelmed by everything you need to do, then stop it. Sleep (and taking breaks) actually helps you get more done each day. 

                go to bed bedside table with book and flower.

                When you’re tired, you’re not efficient. 

                You make mistakes. 

                You’re slower both physically and mentally. 

                So go to bed. 

                Ok. Now that you’re getting some sleep, start thinking about your morning routines. Are you getting up earlier than your kids? What needs to happen in the morning to make the rest of your day easier? Run the dishwasher? Put dinner in the crockpot? Here are a few ideas for morning routines. 

                Think about your evening and morning routines now. Start working on sleep habits for you and your family. Start the school year off on the right foot, not kicking and screaming! 

                If you’re not sure what you want your routines to look like (and really, who knows what school is going to look like again this year) let’s talk! I can help you create routines to make your mornings and evening better for everyone.

                Not sure you’re ready to dive into changing your routines but want to get a little bit of support? Sign up for a free PDF on my STRIDE Method. Everything I do in my business (and in my own life) follows these ideas.

                  Where Do I Even Start?

                  In this beautiful book I read with my kids, Suzy is told by her mom to pick up her room. Her room is such a mess that she’s not even sure where to start. She feels overwhelmed by the mess. What should she do? 

                  Man starting at brick wall with question marks on post-it notes. Where to start?

                  Have you been there? 

                  Have you ever taken a look at your kitchen, the piles of kids’ toys, your to-do list for work, and just stood there? 

                  Overwhelmed and unsure of where to even start? 

                  I have. 

                  The endless lists. The piles that keep appearing, like a game of whack-a-mole. The dishes, laundry, kids’ toys. The emails, slack messages, interruptions. 

                  Where do you even start? 

                  Do what Suzy and her mom do. (and what I do with my kids when their toys are all over the house). 

                  Play the seek and sort game. Pick one task, one list, one subject. And start. 

                  Process your emails (not just read them, but respond, delete, file, figure out the next action). 

                  Find that one task that’s been lingering on your list and do it. 

                  Find all the tasks that will take less than two minutes and see how many you can do in 30 minutes. 

                  The point here is to pick one spot, any spot, and tackle it. 

                  Set a timer for 15 minutes and work on that task you have been avoiding. 

                  And, if you’re really struggling, put all the tasks on separate sheets of paper in a bowl and draw one out. Do it. Repeat. 

                  Seek. Sort. Start. 

                  Contact me and let’s get you started playing the seek and sort game!

                  Or, share your email below for a PDF to help bust you out of procrastination!

                    It’s Not That Simple

                    I’m standing in my kitchen. I need to empty my coffee maker. I’d like to clean it out too.

                    it's not that simple Toys on stair with foot about to step no them.

                    But I’m stuck. The compost bin is full and if I attempt to dump coffee grounds in it, the grounds will end up all over the counter.

                    I don’t want to take the time to empty the compost bin before I clean out the coffee maker. It’s a few steps, but it feels like too many right now. I have other things I need to get to. 

                    So, I do what any sane person would do in this situation, I walk away to deal with it later. 

                    While this is a simple (and maybe silly) problem, this feeling of being stuck, of wanting to deal with something but feeling overwhelmed by the steps, is common. 

                    It might be wanting to hire a housecleaner or a nanny. Maybe it’s getting your kids to do more around the house. Or you want regular date nights with your partner but don’t have a reliable babysitter.

                    Whatever it is, take a few minutes to figure out the steps to get you there. Whether it’s researching babysitters or asking your neighbors for their housecleaner recommendations.

                    Whether it’s something where you need to do it yourself or you want to delegate it, getting started is tough.

                    But think about what that’s costing you in the long run. If you could hire a nanny or a house cleaner, what kind of time would that get you? 

                    Figure out the first step and then take it.

                    If you’re based in Denver and that project includes offloading a chore, try https://callemmy.com/

                    Receive a free PDF to help get you started.

                      It’s Just Easier If I Do It Myself

                      How often do you find yourself muttering…it’s just easier if I do it? Then spending the rest of the evening resentful that you did something that you feel you shouldn’t always have to do? 

                      It's just easier Woman standing in kitchen surrounded by laundry, dishes, and trash.

                      What if, instead, there was a conversation about the task and the opportunity for someone else to do it?  Maybe it wouldn’t always be on you. If expectations were set about when and how a task was done (and who was going to complete it), it would happen without you constantly asking. 

                      It is possible. 

                      Women are conditioned that we’re the more capable parent. So we take over every aspect of raising kids and taking care of our house. 

                      This is known as maternal gatekeeping. It impacts relationships with our partners and our kids. It can be unconscious and unintentional. But it’s detrimental. (It can also happen in families where the parents are not together.)

                      Our society has told us that if a child isn’t thriving, it’s mom’s fault. If the kids aren’t wearing matching clothes or spending all their waking moments at some enrichment program, that they’re never going to get into a good college and will fail at life. 

                      None of this is true. And we need to stop buying into it. 

                      My kids have dressed themselves from a young age. They often don’t match. Their clothes are inside out or backward (sometimes both). For me, it’s more important that they got themselves dressed and have agency over their own lives. It doesn’t even matter if they’re wearing weather-appropriate clothes. I just want them dressed.

                      And, there are costs to taking on all the emotional and mental labor of a household.

                      We’re tired, exhausted, drained, cranky, sleep-deprived. We are not taking care of ourselves so there’s little left to give to others. And we don’t see a way out. 

                      We still see dads as clueless, almost like another child we have to take care of. But dads are actually fit to parent. And we need to let them. It might look different than your way, but that’s a good thing. 

                      So what can we do about it? 

                      First, we can be aware of when we’re doing it. Are you redoing the dishwasher after someone else has loaded it? Do you passive-aggressively complain about how your husband never empties the trash? Are you grumbling about how you always plan the family vacations and never enjoy them because it feels like it’s just as much work as being home? (That last one is me!) 

                      Then have a conversation with your partner about it. Without blaming or shaming your partner, talk about how you want things to be fairer around the house. Find a couples counselor who can work with you through this. Schedule time with me to talk about it. Read the book by Eve Rodsky called Fair Play

                      Talk about what really matters in your life. What is essential for everyone’s happiness? 

                      Want to talk about this more? Schedule some time with me!

                      If you want a PDF to help get you started on this, send me your email!

                        Helping Is A Lifeskill

                        A few weeks ago, we were all picking up the house so that we could more thoroughly clean it. My 5-year-old daughter refused to participate. She’s 5. She’s stubborn and she’s not going to do anything she doesn’t want to do. 

                        So I let it go and we all moved on. 

                        A little while later, I hear her saying she’s cleaning up to help me. Because mom needs it. 

                        helping is a lifeskill. boy cleaning up toys

                        Now, I understand that often our kids do stuff around the house to help mom. Mom’s the one who manages the chores and house cleaning (more on why this is a problem at a later date. 

                        But I didn’t like the way she said this. I didn’t like that she was only doing it because mom was mad. 

                        My kids need to learn how to pick up after themselves. And participating in a team (family) is a life skill. Helping is a lifeskill. So it cleaning up after yourself. Our kids need to know how to do this stuff on their own. 

                        We need to all participate in keeping the house functioning. 

                        Here are some ideas to get everyone involved: 

                        • Make it fun. Don’t tell your kid to go clean their room. Their brains will shut down and it won’t happen. 
                          • Help them play the seek and sort game.  
                          • Turn it into a game. We play basketball with my kids’ laundry. You can do the same with any toys that go into a bin. (side note, don’t use bins with lids. 
                          • Have kids race against you (never against each other. Siblings are already competitive enough). See if they can put something away faster than you. 
                        • Make it easy to put things away. (Lids add one more step). 
                        • Have special time with them first. 
                        • Do something fun together as a family once you’re done. 

                        If your kids are older, these same guidelines apply. Get them to participate. Ask them how they want to participate (and skipping out is not an option). 

                        Keep it small. We clean half the house each weekend so it’s not overwhelming. We pick up most of the mess each day so it doesn’t get overwhelming. 

                        How cluttered your house gets is up to you and those who live there. What is your level of acceptance of mess? I don’t have the energy for a spotless house every day. I do like a weekly reset. Figure out what works for your family. 

                        What steps can you take this week to get back on track? If you want some help with this, schedule a call with me or look at how we can work together.