Posts in Lifestyle
No Nude Bras! A Confidence Revelation

At first glance, the statement “NO NUDE BRAS” might seem unreasonable. What have I got against the seemingly sensible, attracts-no-attention, modest undergarment?

The answer is QUITE A LOT.

It’s not a personal vendetta against the color or a piece of fashion advice. I’m against nude bras because of what they symbolize. I will give its inventor the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe their intentions were pure. Maybe beige bras were supposed to be helpful in the cases of thin white shirts and bright lights. I’ll accept that, seeing as I’d hardly consider myself an exhibitionist. But I can’t ignore what nude bras really stand for overall, when you take a good hard look.

They’re about hiding yourself and any glimpses at or traces of your femininity, in a way that’s more suited for our grandmothers’ generations. Times have changed and we are now women in business in a way earlier generations could only dream of. Hiding and toning down your impact aren’t strategies that you want as an entrepreneur, bra-wearing or otherwise.

Nude bras try not to be seen. They don’t want to disrupt or draw attention. They’re never memorable.

Ask yourself this: on the day of a big interview or meeting, do you pick your boring nude bra– even when there’s no chance of it being seen because your top isn’t sheer? Does it somehow just feel more professional? It kills me to admit but it took a long time to realize how WRONG that is! That’s a leftover idea passed down from when women weren’t allowed to start their own businesses; when sexuality was too threatening.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying bright, beautiful colors and patterns– and allowing yourself to do so can do wonders for your work life and personal life. But you don’t have to take my word for it. A study conducted by Harvard found that confidence is a key factor for career success, where the less confident people, usually women, don’t reach their full potential because of it.

“From a young age, women appear less confident than men. This confidence gap has been argued to play a key role in explaining differences in academic success, occupational choices, and career progression.”

Knowing that, wouldn’t you do all that you can to feel more confident? Why let yourself be held back by something you can actually change starting right this second?!

I hear so many women say they save their exciting, fancy bras for things like first dates, anniversaries, and parties. For every other day, which is most of them unfortunately, we repeat the same bland bras until they’re dingy and worn out. Why is that??? Why do we think we only deserve a confidence boost and, hey, maybe even a cleavage boost, on special days and celebrations? A cardigan and underwear suitable for the 1950’s won’t automatically command respect in the workplace. Feeling good shouldn’t be an indulgence; it needs to be rebranded as a daily investment in your overall quality of life.

When I need to crush a big meeting now, I want the bright red bra or the hot pink that makes me feel like a powerful boss lady. I never thought a nude bra was hurting me, since it’s marketed as being so neutral and demure, but wearing one almost edged me towards taking on those qualities. I would never reach my audience if I was content to be the quiet, “well-behaved” woman in the corner who hopes to go unnoticed. I want BOLD, colorful, fun, and brilliant– for my clothing, my personality, and my first impressions.

If you’re confident in yourself and love who you are, then why wouldn’t you want to be noticed? Even if no one is going to see your pink, mint, neon, striped, plaid, polka-dot bra, they will notice the attitude it gives you. And not attitude in a bad way, as the term is so often used, but the swagger and confidence that other people can pick up on the second you enter a room. It’s the invisible ingredient that guarantees you will be noticed, paid attention to, and remembered because you will stand out. People don’t respect the wallflowers that quietly tread in others’ footsteps; they respect the wave-makers who insist on being heard and confidently present the new ideas they believe in. There is, after all, a reason why the phrase “Well-behaved women seldom make history” is so frequently referenced.

Everyone knows Steve Jobs’s name. No one knows the Microsoft engineer who worked tirelessly and never dared to think outside the box and build a newer, (arguably*) better technology system like Apple.

Work hard. Question tradition. Value yourself. Go far.


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How to Say No to Your Friends

When it comes to balancing work and family, figuring out how to spend more time with family usually takes top priority. And why wouldn’t it? As a mother, my chief concern is always my girls! But our friends are crucial, too, and can’t be overlooked. They are a huge part in how we’re able to release, relax, and stay sane. It’s no wonder we value them! So when we do find a couple of hours to ourselves for a girls night, we want to go with the flow and enjoy.

Sometimes that means...

We overlook the time spent on gossip.

We excuse the friend who has really been bringing us down lately.

We write off our own jealousy as healthy competition.

These are some of our most cherished relationships, so it’s understandable to want to avoid ruffling any feathers. Saying no to the people and behaviors that have started to take a toll on your happiness doesn’t have to make you feel like a jerk, though! Friends are the family we choose, and sometimes we simply need to choose to revise how we interact with those friends.

 

1. Gossip

It always starts so innocently– just a “Hey, have you heard…” that’s initiated out of a desire to share and egged on by curiosity. And then there’s a few pointed looks and a certain inflection of disapproval or scandal in the narration. By the end, what began as a simple transfer of information has turned ugly with opinions, judgments, and jokes at the subject’s expense.

No one feels good about airing other people’s dirty laundry, and yet we chime in to remain part of the group and the conversation, putting aside the regret and disgust we personally feel. But this isn’t junior high or the set of Mean Girls. You won’t get kicked out of your friend group for politely declining to gossip. All it takes to say no to gossiping is a simple, “I don’t want to talk about them. I’m focusing on myself right now and can’t worry about what other people are doing/wearing.”

2. Jealousy

You’ve known them for years, would give them the shirt off your back, and… wait a second, is she wearing a brand new Diane von Furstenberg dress? Yeah, scratch that last part– she doesn’t need my shirt.

Time and closeness do not make your friends immune to being the target of your jealousy– and how you’ll subconsciously treat them differently because of it. Yes, you care about them, but can’t a girl be a little frustrated over how amazing and effortless some of our friends’ lives seem to be at times? The answer is no! They don’t deserve that, and you shouldn’t waste your time and energy lamenting the things you want but don’t have. Say no to jealousy by making a list of all the things in life you’re thankful for. Sometimes we get so distracted by what our friends have, that we forget to see how #blessed we are, too.

3. Draining Relationships

Somewhere in the unwritten friendship code is the starred, highlighted role of supporting a friend who’s going through a tough time. It’s the long phone calls even when you’re tired or the nights you skip your plans to show up with takeout and wine, just to be there for them to vent, complain, whine, and cry to. But patiently helping a pal during a rough patch is not the same as endlessly putting up with someone who is just draining. Maybe they weren’t always that way, but now every interaction leaves you feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, irritated, and altogether spent. You’re torn between being a good friend and being protective of your positive energy, which is a tough place to be.

You can say no to draining relationships without severing a valued friendship. First off, know that it’s not your responsibility to ‘fix’ them. Instead, talk to them. Point out how down they have seemed to you, and how you hate to see them this way. Is there anything you can do to cheer them up? In the future, try to steer the conversation away from triggering topics. If the situation doesn’t improve, limit the length of time you spend one-on-one and mix things up with more group outings.

4. Extra Activities That Don’t Further Your Goals

Invitations should be compliments. They mean we’re thought of and included. But we all know how it can really feel to be asked to take part in something we just don’t see the value of. You don’t want to offend your friends by frequently turning down their offers to go out and spend time together, but at the same time, you also don’t want to find yourself rushing through a project you really, really want to succeed at. Here’s the thing: you can say no to the barrage of extra activities your friends invite you to– without feeling like a jerk. Instead of just saying you have to work, include your friends on what you’re putting so much effort into. Let them see how passionate you are about your goals, and they won’t secretly suspect you’re blowing them off for Netflix and your couch.

5. Constant Social Media

You can’t blame your friends for wanting you to be as constantly connected as they are. There are only so many people you can trust to always throw you a like on Instagram, after all. Your friends will forgive you for missing a post, however. The internet is a dangerous rabbit hole for procrastination, and it’s pretty unsettling to realize how often throughout the day you feel compelled to check your phone. So give it a break! Your fear of missing out is not greater than your drive to succeed in real, tangible parts of life that actually matter in the long run (and sure, you can repeat that as a mantra until it really sinks in.) Delete your apps to lessen the temptation. You won’t erase your profiles and accounts, you’ll just be making them less convenient and easy to access.

 

Working Mom Moments to #MakeMoreHappen

Whether you are just starting with your business ideas or are already up-and-running, you need a way to #MakeMoreHappen. Get inspired and empowered because you are going to make progress today.

Mompreneur on Fire - Make More Happen

Staples has always been this working mom's go-to place to get organized, to set priorities and to help #MakeMoreHappen.

Listen, I am a girl who lives for and loves organizational supplies.  Stock. me. up!

And Staples is one of those places you can get purposefully get lost in... Do you need more binder clips? And how many sizes?  Ooo, there are new colors!  Do you need more Sharpies?  Yes.  Oh yes.  Goodness, I could always use a new wipe board.  If only I had the room. 

For the small business owner, it's that place you slowly walk through and carefully imagine what your dream office would look like. What it would feel like.  These clips here, those pens there. These planners and pads here.  Sure, of course, I need more of ... everything!  

Now when I walk into Staples my girls dash and examine every planner, every notepad, every kind of marker!  They see coloring books and painting pads and stationary galore!

There's no doubt about it, it's fun for everyone. 

But I've got to admit.  Life is busy.  I don't shop much anymore.  Life is this crazy mix of running between conference calls and drop offs.  Making snacks and playdates while driving business and launching products.  One moment quickly leads you into a demanding next moment.  

So here I am, a confident power mom on the brink. On the brink of something really amazing.  I know it.  Everyone around me knows it too.  I need to #MakeMoreHappen and I need help doing it.  I want more and I own that.  I have no time for wishy-washy and I don't care about trends.   

As a working mom, and entrepreneur mentor, I follow a few essential cardinal rules to help me (umm... us) not only survive but grow.  

1.     RESPECT YOUR PRIORITIES

Get very clear as to how much time you need and the impact it bears on your day and your work. Priority is the other thing one we know too well. We have stickers all over or don’t we? And in them we have our day’s schedule. So what really is the problem? Well, it happens not all of us respect our schedules and priority lists and yet we need this to be successful!

Other business owners who are moms say they agree their priority list is a combination of things to be done over the week including; children stuff, business and personal needs. At the end of the day she ensures all is done in good time. Alice Garbarini, a freelancer in New Jersey on the other hand says her to-do list is only complete with both work and fun slotted.

The one significance of making a to-do list is that we are able to think well and make appropriate decisions before we act; with it you will be able to act on issues much proactively than reactively. 

2.     MAKE EASIER MORNINGS

Still at home, try not to get yourself worked out in the morning by making relevant preparations for the day the night before. Pack the kid’s lunches, lay out their clothes, and have them shower. You can also decide what to make for breakfast, repack the diaper bag, purses, backpacks and or the work bags to be placed by the door, alongside the keys so you can grab them on the way out. The importance of a light morning is that you leave to work with enough energy and good mood.  

3.     SEEK HELP WHERE NECESSARY  

You can't do it on your own.  Nor should you have to.  If you're as forgetful as I am then you know you need help.  Even though society says we should find balance we still want to be 100 percent mothers, wives, and business owners.  Yet, how are we supposed to do that?!   In the end, for a healthy lifestyle, it is only mature to admit there are times you need to be assisted. From Staples - I was able to order printer paper, cartridges (necessary tools to keep my business running) plus get a few holiday treats for the girls all the while we are are in the car on a Tuesday afternoon.  No special trip.  No time out of my day.  No wondering if my printer will be able to make it one more load.  It worked out quite well.  Order online then pick up in an hour!

4.  CELEBRATE LITTLE SUCCESSES

There are so many ways celebrating little successes in our lives. Sure you can celebrate a promotion at work, beating a deadline, completing a task/project or just getting a good feedback from your manager, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate success. And then you can celebrate the small wins from the day, like picking up your order in. an. hour! 

Helloooo - can we talk convenience??  I am all for convenience.  That is a major win for me.  Save me time and it helps me #MakeMoreHappen.  

Then when we celebrate, we get ourselves ready for the next big job, project or goal.

As a working mom and entrepreneur mentor, the moments of the day are not lost on me.  Not one bit.  It's hard to work and and live a healthy lifestyle.  This includes kicking butt at work, finding quality childcare, having some “me-time”, staying connected with my family members.  It also means owning up to any help you can get to #MakeMoreHappen.

I was asked to participate in the #MakeMoreHappen campaign, sponsored by Staples. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.


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10 REAL-LIFE WAYS FOR THE WORKING MOM TO LIVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Balancing work and family is no easy task. As women, we are expected to give 100% to everything and everyone, all the time. If you're not taking care of yourself, you're going to burn out pretty quickly.

Mompreneur on Fire - 10 Real Life Ways Working MOm

“The struggle between work and family is not new. It is one of the most common causes of stress in working adults. More often than not, they are unable to find the golden balance between both. Given different circumstances, there is always a time when either family or work takes priority.”

These are the words of Rosette Obedoza, a blogger, entrepreneur, mother, and the loving wife of a military man. When asked about how difficult balancing work and family can be, she says     “…really stress is an understatement when women are the subjects, or much better let’s just say victims. The tussle is often associated with dysfunctional outcomes including poor physical and mental health, ineptitude at work, and strained family relationships among many other upshots.”

Laura Probert of Huffington Post says "If your expectation is that you must work harder and do more to get what you want, you will have to work harder and do more, which will lead to burn out."  And she's absolutely right!

Now Rosette and Laura are women we can both give the tag “badass mompreneurs”, of course in their own different and little ways. And here’s a list of the things that help define their success stories.

1.     Talk With Your Family

The first thing Rosette speaks of is open communication between yourself, boss at the office and of course the people you love back at home, your family. Listen: “Often I thought I did not need my husband and child to solve my work versus family concerns but I was wrong. So I decided to try and the more I did, the more I realized there is no way to get things done right if you only rely on what you know. For me, this is magical. I think that if you can make your entire family know about your obligations both at home and at work then they can be more understanding. The other bit is your boss. If s/he can understand a little more about you, certainly you hit the first step to a healthy lifestyle.

2.     Respect Your Priorities

If possible, get very clear as to how much time you need off and the impact it bears on your fee. Priority is the other thing. And it is one we know too well. We have stickers all over or don’t we? And in them we have our day’s schedule. So what really is the problem? Well, it happens not all of us respect our schedules and priority lists and yet we need this to be successful mompreneurs!

Sarah Krieger, a mother of three and dietitian in St. Petersburg, Florida says her priority list is a combination of things to be done over the week including; children stuff, business and personal needs. At the end of the day she ensures all is done in good time. Alice Garbarini, a freelancer in New Jersey on the other hand says her to do list is only complete with both work and fun slotted.

The one significance of making a to do list is that we are able to think well and make appropriate decisions before we act; with it you will be able to act on issues much proactively than reactively         

3.     Create Time For Sleep

According to a recent post by Daily Mail, lack of sleep is damaging mothers’ lives. It affects the productivity of close to 82 percent of working moms, makes some 55 percent of them vexed with their babies, and about 70 percent off sex. Perhaps you’re part of the statistics but you want out. It’s simple, create time for yourself either during the day or at night and get a nap. It’s important.

The fact of the matter is that in the short term, good sleep will help improve your ability to learn and retain information, your mood during the day, and your judgment both at home and at work while also helping you avoid little misfortunes, could be errors in the office or knife cut at home.  

This in essence will not only make you more efficient but also more productive, not to forget that in the long term a good 6-8 hour sleep guarantees a healthy lifestyle.

4.     Set and maintain time for Routine Exercise

There’s a physical, mental, spiritual and energetic toll taken from you whenever you work, birth, work and raise children. The toll is huge for any one of these things. Combine them and you’ve got a sure-fire recipe for burn out. The only way other than sleep to recharge your batteries is to formulate a simple exercise routine you can maintain. For more fun, get your partner to try it too.       

5.     Make Easier Mornings

Still at home, try not to get yourself worked out in the morning by making relevant preparations for the day the night before. Pack the kid’s lunches, lay out their clothes, and have them shower. You can also decide what to make for breakfast, repack the diaper bag, purses, backpacks and or the work bags to be placed by the door, alongside the keys so you can grab them on the way out. The importance of a light morning is that you leave to work with enough energy and good mood.  

Mompreneur on Fire - Working Mom

6.     Seek Help Where Necessary  

Now if you are working 60 or more hours a week, there’s the alert. Even though you still manage to keep together a family despite all the work, you need help. And this again is what Laura speaks of, the expectations we have as women. The society expects us to be 100 percent mothers, wives, and still get a similar score at work.  Yet, how are we supposed to do that?! According to Rosette, one day you’ll be 100 percent mother less other expectations while other days you’ll be 100 percent other responsibilities less a mother. In the end, for a healthy lifestyle, it is only mature to admit there are times you need to be assisted. It's all about balancing work and family. So don’t waste a lot time listening to those saying you are lazy.  Some of my favorite resources are Amazon's Prime and Prime Now.  And of course I love Freelancer.com to help out with all sorts of odds and ends!

7.     Let Go of Negative Energy

It’s hard to please everyone, in fact, it’s impossible. Sometimes you’ll hear things; good and bad, if not how you’re not doing this right then it’s how you’re doing that wrong, sometimes from the extended family, sometimes from colleagues at work. This is part of life. Quite a normal thing in the life of both gender, but more especially for working moms so expect it and don’t allow it in.

According to Chris Talambas of Lifehack.com, negativity affects ourselves and everyone around us. It limits our potential to become great and to live a fulfilling life. Also it has a tangible effect on our health. Now, when we let it go, positivity comes in and then we begin to encounter other situations and people with more similar attitude and thus we begin to live happy and healthy lifestyles.

I am not shy about telling you how much I love this guided meditation.   It focuses my thoughts and efforts and shows me how to forgive myself for my failings (and there can be many!

8.     Listen to Your Body

Unfortunately what needs to be done can be so overbearing that we lose ourselves in it and fail to listen to our bodies. Laura tried to do it all and when she pushed herself harder, the body jammed then she realized you don’t have to sacrifice yourself in the process, you can do it all yes but save yourself; tomorrow needs you. She says, If you feel that you are really tired, run down or a little achy and that you need a vacation — take it because this isn’t a should, it’s a must for self

9.     Let Loose At Times

In Texas, a group of working women (bankers, nurses, and doctors) often let loose by organizing a roller derby. This is a game in which the members of Texas Derby Divas often laced in skates’ takes down local opponents of similarly organized groups and that’s it for them. Kerri Gathright, a member of the divas team says skating is her outlet, that if she’s often in a bad mood whenever she doesn’t go out. Like her Carrie Dopoma, who’s a flower mound mother of two often goes out and for her it’s another role with an added tag, ‘Baroness Von Booty’. She says, “I’m one person at home and a different one on the track. Well, like these diva moms, at times you can go out and let go. Like sleep, letting loose will help you become more productive by improving your mood thus keeping you on the pathway to a healthy lifestyle.       

10.  Celebrate Little Successes

Finally, there are so many ways celebrating little successes in our lives matter. Whether this is a promotion at work, beating a deadline, completing a task/project or just getting a good feedback from your manager, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate success, however little. See, the whole point of putting in all that effort - working longer hours than normal and really stretching yourself to getting both done right is so you can enjoy the satisfaction of attainment. Otherwise, you’ll be robbing yourself the feeling and sending the message that really your efforts don’t need to be recognized. When we celebrate, we get ourselves ready for the next big job, project or goal.

Briefly, other ways to work and live a healthy lifestyle includes finding quality childcare,  having some “you-time”, staying connected with your partner and other family members during the day, creating special family bonding sessions whenever time allows and finding the balance as well as setting boundaries between work and family, not to leave out creating more time for your partner.

Which of these working mom tips are you committed to implementing? Let me know in the comments below!


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15 Ways to Relax in 5 Minutes

When you only have a few minutes to relax, use them! It’s not very often that I have time to take a long, luxurious bubble bath– or even want to use my time to indulge in such a way– and I’m guessing that many of you feel the same. When you need to de-stress from mom life but can’t slow down, try any of these 15 working mom tips & tricks to relax in just 5 minutes– or less!

Mompreneur on Fire - Relax

1.     Cup of Tea

“You know, there really isn’t much that can’t be solved by a decent cup of tea.
— Louisa Clarke, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Tea is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of releasing tension, and there’s good reason for that. It’s inexpensive, simple to make, and you can feel a difference in the first few sips. Herbal blends with chamomile or lavender get the most press for promoting relaxation, but you’re not limited to those two flavors.

 My go-to is Yerba Mate, a hot tea that is known for providing an energy boost. Unlike coffee, which can give me a jittery, intense burst of energy, this tea calms me down to the point where I can focus better on whatever I’m working on.

2. Walk it Off

In a stressful situation at home or at work, remove yourself for a few minutes and get outside for a walk. Breathe in that fresh air and feel your jumble of thoughts untangle with each step.

When you’re pressed for time, walking is your best bet. Unlike running or an intense workout class, you can go straight back to your routine without needing to change clothes before and after or shower.

3. Phone a Friend

 This works for more reasons than one.

•   It’s a mental break from what you’re working on. All of those things that were stressing you out a minute ago can be forgotten while you focus on catching up with your gal pal and hearing about her life.

•   Supporting someone else makes you feel good. Reaching out to someone and showing interest in their daily goings-on is a great way to show you care, and that kindness and support will not go unnoticed– or unreturned.

•   Complaining is a nice release. If you won’t say it, I will. It just feels good sometimes to vent and let it all out. Most of the time I don’t expect my friends to have a mind-blowing solution to whatever is stressing me out, but the simple act of talking to someone about it seems to lessen the weight of my stress. If nothing else, we can both complain and help each other see the humor in it all.

•   It’s inspiring! Call someone up and say, “Tell me some good news!” Sometimes it’s the mompreneurs on my podcasts, and sometimes it’s friends and family, but hearing about others’ successes is inspiring!

4. Journal

Writing can be so incredibly therapeutic. Even if you’ve never found joy in writing, put your past conceptions aside because journaling may be your new favorite pastime.

 Don’t think “Dear Diary…”

Instead, try writing down the things you’d like to accomplish today, this week, in the next six months. Make a list of the things you have already accomplished this week, last month, in the last six years. Doodle!

5. Queue Up the Ultimate Playlist

I challenge you to not feel more relaxed in five minutes or less when you have your favorite music playing. Shake off the dust from those high school classics and sing at the top of your lungs when no one is around. It’s not just athletes that need to be pumped up. Figure out your fight song (if one didn’t come to mind immediately) and use it to rally against fatigue, stress, and days when you would just rather be at the beach.

6. Focused Breathing

A quick tip I learned from a licensed therapist is that you physically can’t feel panicked if your breathing is in control. If you feel like you’re spiraling in the middle of the day, are having a hard time falling asleep, or just need to get centered, try this quick breathing exercise wherever you are:

Breathe in while you slowly count to 3, then breathe out for 4 slow counts. Inhale 1…2…3… Exhale 1…2…3…4…. and repeat until you feel completely calm. It will happen!

While you count slowly in your head, you’re distracting yourself from the negative thoughts, and the slow, deep breaths will instantly relax you. I love this one because it flies completely under the radar and is virtually unnoticeable by those around me. It is also a great way to begin a meditation session.

7. Pull Out the Foam Roller

If you’ve used a foam roller before, I’m sure you understand exactly why this little activity made the list. It’s a favored tool by those who exercise regularly because it helps break up lactic acid buildup from previous workouts while also getting you loosened up for the next training session. You don’t need to hit the gym every day to experience the benefits of foam rolling, however.

Rolling out your muscles for a few minutes every day can have the same effect as a massage. You might not realize how tight your muscles have gotten from stress or sitting down for long periods of time. Using a foam roller can give you a deeper stretch than doing without, and help posture, blood flow, and the aches and pains of daily life.

8. Look Over Photo Albums

What else can instantly put you in a good mood like seeing all of those happy memories you stored in photo albums? With all of the technology that has come along, actual printed pictures aren’t as popular anymore, but it’s a habit I won’t let go of. I love looking back on forgotten moments from vacations and first days of school, and my kids really get a kick out of it, too. It still works if your pictures are saved on your computer or phone. After all, if you’re going to use most of your phone storage for pictures you might as well take the time to go back and enjoy them!

9. Look Over Favorite Quotes

I’ve always had a ‘thing’ for quotes; a sort of amazement at how someone could take so much wisdom, inspiration, or profundity and squeeze it into a cleverly worded little sentence. I jot down the quotes that have stuck out to me for one reason or another in my journal, on post-its that dot my desk, or clip them from magazines and newspapers to look back on when I need to remember:

•   why I work so hard at the things I love

•   other people have failed and struggled before reaching their goals

•   some of my problems are not as big as they seem, and they can be overcome

•   love is real and it is out there for me

If you haven’t started collecting quotes yet, check out Pinterest and Instagram for some of their many quote accounts.

10. Furry Friends

Petting your dog or cat may seem like it’s for their benefit, but doctors say it is one of the most efficient stress relievers around. If you’re an animal lover, then it already brings you joy to be around your furry friend, but did you know that taking time out to give Fido a belly rub can not only lift your spirits, but lower blood pressure and release a relaxation hormone? And admit it, it feels good to have someone who is always excited to see you no matter what.

11. Aromatherapy

Whether you want to relax or not, there are certain smells that just do the trick. Light a candle, turn on an essential oil diffuser, or lather your hands with an aromatherapeutic moisturizer.

For a more on-the-go solution, I love Aveda’s stress-fix roller ball that I can keep in my purse and discreetly apply to my wrists, behind my ears, and under my nose whenever I feel stress levels rising.

12. Mint Gum

The peppermint herb can have great health benefits when used in teas and tinctures, but don’t overlook mint gum. It might seem like a simple, everyday item, but mint gum can be your secret weapon in stressful situations. Chewing can release some of that tense energy, and the scent of mint is calming. For those prone to stress eating, try chomping on sugar-free gum to avoid consuming mindless calories– a habit that would stress you out more in the long run.

13. Self Massage

I never realize how sore my hands are until I get a massage, and wow what a difference it makes! Massage has long been the poster child of relaxation, but it doesn’t have to be the book-in-advance, expensive, time-consuming outing that you might be thinking of. Try devoting five minutes to just your hands. Take some coconut oil, vitamin E oil, or a glob of moisturizer and really work into that meaty area of your palm between thumb and pointer finger. For the most part, you will just know what feels good, but it doesn’t hurt to Google the location of pressure points so you can hit on those.

For your feet, find a small, dense ball. Golf balls or lacrosse balls work well, but a tennis ball has too much give. Position it under your arch while standing and slowly roll your foot back and forth to get deep into those foot muscles.

14. Surround yourself with green

No, not money–although that would be nice! Getting out into nature does wonders for the mind. There are endless ways to go about it, depending on what activity level you enjoy: walking, hiking, lake activities, golf, or just lounging in a park. The serenity and beauty of a lush, green landscape is the change of scenery that will spark instant relaxation.

15. Creative Visualization

Yes, I love meditation, so you might be wondering why it didn’t make the list. Creative visualization is so similar! I don’t always use meditation to attune my energy and focus to the future. Sometimes it is a way for me to just clear my head. Creative visualization is another way to relax. Sometimes you have so much going on that you don’t want to clear your head. You want to keep that to-do list at the forefront of your attention. Being hyper-focused doesn’t mean you can’t find calm, though! Set a timer for 15 minutes and close your eyes, relax, and visualize how you want things to go in a specific situation– the best possible outcome! Forget the skepticism and worries about things going wrong. Picture your future as you want it to be. When your timer goes off, ask yourself what’s stopping you from the dream you just envisioned? That ‘dream’ might just be your new plan of action.

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
— Kurt Vonnegut

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30 Things To Say No To Without Feel Like A Jerk

Between servicing clients, attracting clients, taking care of the home, the kids, the laundry, the dishes, the dog, the homework on and on and on and on I go, OH MAN life is full.  It's not easy balancing work and family. If you're going to keep your sanity, something has to give.

Mompreneur on Fire - 30 Things You Can Say No To

Oh man - my life is full. 

Yeah, yeah I am grateful and blessed and sooo thankful for all of the things I have in my life but

OH MAN, my life is full.  

Between servicing my clients, attracting new clients, taking care of my home, my kids, the laundry, the dishes, the dog, the homework on and on and on and on I go, OH MAN my life is full. 

And I know I am not alone with this one.  

This past year I declared it as the "THIS IS MY YEAR" year and I'm not going to lie.  As good as it has been, it's been tough too. 

I have my eyeballs filled to brims with commitments.  

And then I just broke. 

I am not going to Costco every week. 

I am not going to the grocery store every day. 

I am not doing laundry all the time.  The girls have enough clothes that, yes, that can pile up and they can wear what they don't wear.  (SHOCKING, I know.)

There is no need for me run around and bust my butt for these silly things.  

I don't want to be in the grocery store every day.  

And when I started to say NO, guess what happened.  I didn't need to do these things that often anyway.  

Guess what.  We survived not going to Costco.  We have eaten pretty fine without me stopping in the Grocery store every day.  

We are just fine.  Actually, we are doing great.  

And then I was talking with others and they needed to say no too.  So I created a list.  You can print it.  You can print your favorites only.  You can take one or two a day.  

You can say NO without feeling like a jerk and get control back. 

You've got this.

10 Simple Ways to Get More Done Every Day

I’ve heard moms around me say it and I know I’ve said it plenty of times: there aren’t enough hours in the day. Typical mom life. Of course, it doesn’t matter how many hours make up a day if you aren’t using them to accomplish your goals.

Mompreneur on Fire - 10 Ways To Get More Done

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“Life is too complicated not to be orderly.”
— Martha Stewart

We can all get sidetracked, distracted, and delayed. Some days, it seems like the world is purposely throwing hurdles in my way to test my focus and slow me down. I combat days like those with this list of tried and true methods for getting more done every day. Stop drowning in mom life and get stuff done!

1. Establish Real and Specific Goals

You have to know what you’re trying to accomplish! Take a moment to think about what your immediate goals are– for the day, the week– and then consider your larger, long-term goals. Looking too far ahead can be daunting, and you don’t want to end up mentally putting things off, so think about a 6-month goal instead of a 6-year goal.

2. Prioritize

One you identify what you want to get done, it’s time to figure out what needs to get done– and in what order. Divide your goals into two categories:

1.     Goals that are important to you

2.    Goals that are important to your business

List #1 would be your personal, lifestyle priorities, such as spending time with your kids. These are the things you want to accomplish to keep you sane, happy, and healthy. They are what matter to you most emotionally.

List #2 might be sitting down to go over finances, meeting with a distributor, or any of the other tasks that you need to make time for this week or this month in order to keep your business on track.

Both lists are important!

3. Set Deadlines

You need deadlines to make sure these priorities don’t fall by the wayside.

Determine a limit for how much time you can spend on each task, or a day that they absolutely must be completed by. You can base this off a client’s actual deadlines, or use your priorities list to remind you of what you would like to come first. But remember, this also means you will need to hold yourself accountable!

4. Create a Checklist of Things That Need to Get Done

I’m a very visual person, so I find that nothing helps me more than to actually see what I need to finish each day. Before I dive into anything else, I write a numbered checklist of tasks on notebook paper and tape it to the wall above my computer in my workspace. Instead of getting overwhelmed by how much needs to get done, I focus on one number at a time, going down the list.

Crossing items off gives a sense of accomplishment that motivates me to get to the end of my list. Be realistic with how much you can get done, and confine the list to only the most pertinent tasks for today and today only. Then add one more to challenge yourself!

5... And Go!

Set a timer as you begin an item on your checklist.  Did you know that not only is there a timer on your phone but if you Google "Timer" one will pop up that you can set.  Just like that.  Set it for 20 minutes and tackle one thing on your list.  You’ll want to work faster knowing that you are “on the clock,” and seeing your results will help you plan more efficiently for the days to come. It’s easy for me to say that I can draw up a proposal in an hour, but my estimations don’t include getting interrupted by my children for snack time and look-how-dusty-my-keyboard-is time. Most cell phones have an easy-to-use stopwatch timer built in. Turn that on and get going. See how long things actually take you so you’re aware of how much you can actually accomplish in a day.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
— Stephen Covey

6. Turn Off the TV

My life changed when I stopped watching cr*p tv.  Long gone are the days hours watching people fight with each other endlessly.  (Instead, I just read about them from my favorite funny comedian Katy Casey @ Love & Knuckles!)

Anyway, speaking of distractions, watching television is a good way to zap your time and focus. When you’ve got a full list of tasks to complete and goals to meet, watching TV will likely only get in the way. Save TV time for when you need a break from beating so many deadlines. DVR was made for busy people like us who need TV shows to run on our time, not primetime, and Netflix will wait.

7. Involve Your Family

Recruit the little ones to help in more ways than one:

  1. Let them hold you accountable for deadlines. Are you following through with the rules you set for yourself? We can negotiate with ourselves to get out of things, but it’s not so easy to cheat deadlines when you’ve asked your 8-year-old to oversee your completion of checklist #1-5 by dinnertime.
  2. Complete tasks. You’re not the only one who can empty the dishwasher or fold the laundry! Delegating can be family time too, right?
  3. Keep you on track. Let your family know that you are in grind mode and should not be disturbed for the little things if they can help it! Essentially: “Please don’t ask me to watch a movie with you tonight! Help me keep my deadlines!”

8. Wake Up Early - YES I MEAN THAT

I get some of my best, most efficient work done when I push myself to wake up early. It’s quieter in my house (and the world in general) which is half the battle of staying focused. It also gives me more hours in the day. Yes! Conundrum solved.

9. Meditate

Meditation is like the WB-40 of getting more done every day. Try meditating to figure out your goals and priorities. Download some guided meditations.  It's no secret this meditation is my favorite.  A meditation session at the beginning of your day can help you enter into the focused mindset you need by helping you set your intentions and concentrate your energy.

You will feel unbelievable after you finish meditating and that there is nothing that can stop you!!

You can try it by sitting in silence in a cool, dark room, or letting a Youtube video lead you through the process. There are different types of meditation, depending on what you need help with that day: concentration and focus, relaxation, anxiety relief, falling asleep, or even learning to trust your intuition.

10. Celebrate Successes– Even the Small Ones!

It feels good to get things done, and sometimes you just need to take a minute and really feel the accomplishment. Just as you give yourself deadlines, plan out ways to treat yourself when you reach certain checkpoints. These little celebrations are something to look forward to– besides being successful– and reminders that you can, and should, be having fun along the way!

BONUS! 

Some of my personal favorite resources for staying productive!


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Be Busy & Mindful with This Overlooked Tool

As moms, we experience days when we're severely lacking in sleep, the house is a disaster, and some disgusting smell is lingering from the kitchen. It's especially difficult when you work from home and find that your office has fallen into a black hole. So how can you re-focus on what's important and maximize your time?

Mompreneur on Fire - Busy & Mindful

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By Ty Schmidt

It’s one thing for us to embrace the concept of cherishing the little things and living in the moment.

It’s something else entirely when you have one of those days. You know the ones – the days that are etched vividly on your memory despite you wishing with all your heart they weren’t.

Especially as moms there are the days when you haven’t slept (or showered) since sometime last week and you watch in horror as your house (which, for me, is also my workplace as a work-from-home-mom) just morphed into something that would evoke nightmares in the minds of nannies and maids everywhere.

The days when canned goods from the pantry are scattered in every room of the house, and when you smell like a mixture of sweat, some sort of baby food goop and a diaper you changed only a few minutes (or maybe it was an hour) prior.

The days when glass was just shattered all over the floor and the garbage was tipped on its side and you think your beloved dog just ate what was left of a chocolate chip granola bar (doesn’t chocolate kill dogs?).

Those are the moments when living in the moment seems about as plausible as finally figuring out how to convince Starbucks to deliver a skinny vanilla latte to your doorstep.

Meditation Means Focusing

There are those moments we could all afford to just pause. To take a breath. To live in the moment.  We need a moment to focus.

Meditation is a great tool to help you learn to embrace these moments and live a more balanced life. I know what you’re thinking? What working mom or mompreneur has time for this?  I know it sounds impossible and that you’re too busy and all that glass you need to pick up before the barefooted children cut up their feet is desperately calling your name.

Who has time to sit down and empty their mind?  But that's not what meditation means.  It is not emptying your mind, it's focusing your mind.

But experts say that is where meditation practices are at their strongest. That is when taking five to 20 minutes to try guided meditation can really make a difference for you, by helping you learn to gain control over those chaotic moments. By helping you remember to breathe.

Mompreneur on Fire - Busy & Mindful

An overlooked tool to a healthier, happier you

One example I have personally found helpful is from Dr. Joe Dispenza’s “Change from the Inside Out” series.

The “Morning & Evening Meditations” download offers listeners the chance to get to know themselves better, and ultimately notice positive changes to their mental and physical health.

Available for download or on CD, the series begins by getting you in the right mindset to tackle the day and ends with a relaxing opportunity to ease your mind and body into restful sleep.

“It all sounds so simple but it can be really hard,” said Diane Sutrick, a mompreneur of three adult children who owns Peace Yoga Studio in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wis. and has been practicing yoga and meditation for more than 10 years. “In a world where our culture does so many things that are bad for the body and embraces multi-tasking like it’s the best thing in the world, we are losing ourselves and the ability to find balance.”

Meditation means teaching your body to heal

Research shows that meditation, which is a practice that helps calm yourself by quieting your mind, has many physical and mental health benefits that can aid in dealing with stress and anxiety, but also help keep you more focused and present in your daily life.

“I know the struggle for a lot of people is time – there is never enough time,” said Sutrick, who opened her yoga studio about five years ago. “Yet it is in learning to get into the moment and teaching your body how to flip the switch from using the sympathetic nervous system to using the parasympathetic nervous system that we train our body to get the rest and relaxation it craves.”

The ability to fully relax doesn’t come easy to everyone, despite the health benefits research points to in favor of taking some time to regularly reboot.

While cynics and skeptics alike may question the impact meditation can have on one’s daily life, finding a way to maintain balance by whatever means necessary sounds pretty good to a work-from-home-mom like me who all too often puts literally everything and everyone else ahead of simple things (like that yoga I’ve been meaning to pick back up for the last seven years).

Meditation means thinking about yourself and others

It sounded pretty good to Sutrick as well, which is among the reasons she wanted to find a way to help others find peace.

“I’m not an expert meditator by any means, but I am an advocate for moms who I support as they carve out the time to do something for themselves that ultimately benefits the whole family,” she said. “It’s easier for some people than it is for others, for a whole host of reasons, but meditation pairs with yoga to help you find a place to be quiet with yourself and reflect…and find your center.”

Despite the cliché that all moms live in yoga pants, not all who wear yoga actually practice yoga.

“Ultimately all that matters is that you are finding time to think, breathe and simply be in the moment,” Sutrick said. “You can meditate any time – it doesn’t have to be in a class or at yoga or what have you – in fact, it’s almost a sign you’ve learned the practice well when you can apply it to your everyday life.”

Meanwhile, doubters of the practice will try to make the case that busy people (i.e. mompreneurs on fire) don’t have time to get into lotus pose and clear their minds. Believers like Sutrick have these words of advice for them.

  1. The benefits of meditation are endless. Meditation is considered a highly effective relaxation technique, and relaxation is linked to a number of proven health benefits. Less stress means a healthier immune system more capable of fighting off all those germs kids are prone to bringing home, helps keep you focused and aids in retaining memory and decision making.

  2. Meditation can happen anywhere. Whether you’re wearing yoga pants or not, you can meditate almost anywhere at almost any time to help refocus, clear your mind and be present in the moment.

  3. Time is of the essence. Meditation is a practice that helps you let go of the past, live in the present and be ready for tomorrow all at the same time. By clearing your mind and learning to simply be, you are more capable of finding peace amid the chaos.

Because let’s face it. The life can be tough. And not just ‘oh my goodness, I miss happy hour and mani-pedis with the girlfriends tough.

It can mean admitting that yes, you’re having one of those days when you haven’t slept more than an hour or two in the last 72 hours and you can’t keep up with the mess and you really kind of just want to drink an entire bottle of wine when no one’s looking (because that won’t give you a headache or make waking up and doing it all again tomorrow that much more trying).

Maybe we should all just try meditating instead.




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5 Ways the Working Mom Can Also Take Care of Herself

A stressed mind isn’t receptive to the flow of creative thoughts– thoughts which may stem into new business ideas or solutions for your current company. Even if you feel that you work best under pressure, that’s a talent that has its limits as well. Constant pressure without release is the makings of a burn out or blow out, and a boss lady CEO has time for neither. 

Mompreneur on Fire - 5 Ways Mom Can Take Care of Herself

Entrepreneurs have a special drive and motivation. It’s the reason you couldn’t settle for an uninspiring career path, and why you’re working toward those big ideas that keep you up at night. It’s a blessing, but it can also eat up your free time– if you even have any of that left.

Most entrepreneurs put in much more than the 40 hours of a standard work week, so we know you dont have a problem committing to the grunt work, but how often do you make time to simply do nothing?

Seem counterintuitive to growing a business? Think again.

Instead of waiting for that one straw to break your back and delay your progress, build some “me time” into your week to offset the stress of mompreneur life and take care of yourself. In this industry, an investment in yourself is an investment in your business. I know you’re busy, but here are 5 easy ways to take care of yourself that every mompreneur can make time for.

1.      Exercise

Not all of us are the type to set a 5am alarm to head over to the gym for a few hours, and we don’t have to be. To reap the benefits of exercise, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says a little goes a long way. According to their research, “even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.” That means even a quick game of backyard tag with your kids could bring on the calm you need to breeze through your 9am conference call with investors.

 What’s more? Do this regularly and the benefits extend even further, from reduced tension levels to better sleep, self esteem, and overall mood. In other words, you should probably be able to add a gym membership or a new pair of Nike’s to your expense write-off’s, considering how powerfully beneficial exercise is to your business.

If heading to the gym isn’t your style, consider taking your dog or kids for a brisk walk each night after dinner, swimming laps in your pool (if you have one), or following a 30-minute Youtube workout tutorial in the comfort of your living room.

2. Establish your own #TreatYourselfTuesday

Okay so maybe you need to bump it back to Wednesday– you’re a busy gal, after all. Whichever day of the week works best for you, decide to treat yourself to that one item, service, or guilty pleasure that would really brighten your week. You don’t have to wait until your empire is built to celebrate all of your accomplishments thus far.

For me, it’s the 45 minutes I set aside for the blow dry bar on Sunday mornings. Before the chaos of Monday morning sets in, I indulge in a complimentary mimosa and set myself up with good hair for the rest of the week (thank you dry shampoo). Sometimes I flip through magazines, sometimes I watch whichever rom-com is being screened in the salon that day, and on busier weeks I will answer emails or jot down notes and ideas in my planner.

 For you, treating yourself might mean splurging on steak instead of chicken, getting the gel manicure instead of a regular one, or finally giving in to that super-soft leather purse you always walk by that never goes on sale. Whatever it is, let this be something for you and you alone. Running a business and a household is a lot of doing for others. It’s not selfish to set aside some time for personal enjoyment on a consistent basis. You need to feel confident in all aspects of life.

Mompreneur on Fire - Zen

3. Sleep

Being exhausted is a special kind of torture. One of the most important ways to take care of yourself is avoiding that sluggish feeling altogether and getting better sleep more often. For many of us, sleeping in late is just not in the cards, so I approach it from the other side: by going to sleep earlier when possible. To snatch up some extra snooze time, try to go to sleep an hour earlier than usual or more if you can manage it.

Even if a full 8 hours isn’t possible, you can still improve the quality of the sleep that you do get. Sleep with your phone on silent mode, or remove it from your bedroom completely and let it charge in a separate room. You might be waking up more often throughout the night knowing that your phone is right there beside you, just waiting for you to check what texts and emails have come through.

If you really want to pamper yourself, try these quick fixes for your sleep space:

•   Take a shower or bath right before bed. Use lavender or chamomile scented shower gels or moisturizer post-shower to help bring you into a restful state.

•   Put fresh sheets and pillow cases on your bed.

•   Shut your shades and block out all sources of light, which inhibit the body from entering into those coveted deep sleep cycles.

•   Turn on your air conditioning or fan to ensure your room stays cool all night long.

•   Try an essential oil diffuser to keep you calm and relaxed. They run about $30 online and in home goods stores.

4. Girls’ Night Out

Because sometimes you need to step away from your role as commander in chief and just be one of the girls.

It will do you wonders to change out of your work mode/mommy attire and put on those heels you worked so hard to afford. You love your family dearly, but we all know there are some topics that you can’t talk to your partner or children about. Vent to your friends like the unpaid therapists they are, and get out of your own bubble by hearing about their own dilemmas and triumphs. The best part is you don’t even have to go anywhere if getting all dolled up doesn’t appeal to you this week. If one of you has a quiet house for the night, sit around in cozy clothes, sip wine, and reconnect over adult coloring books. Now wait. Before you become skeptical, know that this is a real thing. Adult coloring books have become a major hit in the world of trendy relaxation. They’re inexpensive, you can borrow your kids’ crayons, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you mellow out. I’m starting to think that those kindergarten teachers know more than they let on…

5. Kids’ Night In

Kids can sometimes get a bad reputation for causing chaos, but I find that when my world is off-kilter and too hectic, spending time with my kids can really center me. You’ll feel better by giving back to them and alleviating some of that working mommy guilt that can invade your subconscious. Kids really do say the darndest things– things that make you genuinely laugh and forget about your stress. Let your hair down and bounce on the trampoline with them, or get competitive in that new Wii game your son insisted upon at Target. Let me tell you, those little guys really know how to have a good time and they’ll be thrilled to have you join in.


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Organize Your Life in 1 Single Afternoon

When you work from home, your office can go from clean and tidy, to disaster in about 8 seconds. You know what I mean. The kids come in and dump crayons, legos and anything else they can find... and well, now your head is a mess too. Every Sunday I get prepared for the week and this is how I do it.

OMGoodness - Are you so overwhelmed sometimes that you just want to throw up your hands? You don't know where to begin? 

I know the feeling. 

I have to fight living in and becoming a complete and total mess every. single. day. Since I work from home, my office (fancy word for room above the garage) is my haven.  I have casually and quietly decorated it.  It's a work in progress but it's mine. 

And then my girls come in and the room explodes with markers and coloring pages and food everywhere!  Then in a heartbeat they take off and run to the next thing!  Sometimes, most of the time, with me running after them!  What happened to my office?? 

It was so nice before...

Honestly, this was a metaphor for my life. 

It's clean, it's messy, it's clean, it's messy.

Total mom life! Total woman life.  Total entrepreneur.

There are a few things that help me get motivated.  You may agree or not but once in a while a girl's just gotta do what a girl's just got do.  

Sundays I prepare for the week ahead and this is how it goes. 

1. Get Caffeinated. 

Yep, I said it. 

Drink a cup of coffee or have some iced tea.  Black tea.  

I am a zombie many afternoons but I don't have time to lay low.  

I don't have the desire or ability to crash on the sofa as if I were a 22 year old with all the time world.  I don't have that luxury.  So Starbucks here I come.  

Tejava - sets me straight.  

Revolution Teas too. 

Maybe for you it's better to get those endorphins going and you need to take a brisk walk.   Skip the caffeine.  Skip the sugar (and I really mean that) and go for a walk.  Do some jumping jacks!  Get yourself energized for a productive afternoon.  

2. Let the Kids Watch Cartoons

Yep, I said that too.  

I know who I am talking to.  

I am talking to that mom who wants to do the right things for their kids, the mom that wants to have a neat house and dinners on the tables.  

She wants to have her side gig, her successful side gig.  

She wants it all or at least a little bit more.  

And here I am saying it is okay to put the tv on and put your kids front of it.  

(Now, I can't guarantee how long they will stay there but a few minutes with their attention elsewhere is the point.)  Get your kids in a position where they are focused on something besides you and where they are not making more of a mess.  

I know that's easier said than done.  But our goal here is to prepare you (energy) and your family for a productive evening.  

3.  Straighten Your House.  Don't Clean It.  Straighten It.

I'm a modern woman and a modern mom.  A modern business woman.

I can't believe I am actually telling you not to clean up!  My mother would fall flat on the floor with that advice coming out of my mouth.  

(You'll understand more with my most popular post about my relationship with my mom.)  

Here's the things about cleaning up.  It clears out your mind too.  It clears out the clutter of your house and your mind. 

Truth be told.  I hate cleaning.  I LOVE TO straighten!

Frankly, you feel better with a straight room or house.  

Here's what I do to power through and straighten up as quickly as I can without just moving piles from one place to another.  

  1. Start with the kitchen.  Clean out the sinks, load the dishwasher and clear the counters.   Phew! Once you have done that you have made it through the hardest part!
  2. Clear out the toys and the random items in your family and dining rooms.  Move anything that doesn't belong in these rooms out.  Move them to the stairs to go up if that's where they belong.  Don't move them upstairs at this point, just put the stuff on the stairs for now!  Clear out the family room of anything that doesn't belong there and put that stuff in piles to go where it does belong.  Make sense?  If it goes upstairs, put the stuff on the stairs.  If it goes in the garage, there's a pile by the door to take to the garage.  Focus on cleaning out one room at a time. 
  3. Fluff pillows. Wipe tables clean.  
  4. Once the family room and dining rooms are straight, you are ready to move to another room that is downstairs.  Move that pile for the garage into the garage and put away what you need to.   So on and so on and so on until that floor is straight. 
  5. Now it's time to move upstairs.  Here's where I recruit my kids to help me.  All they need to do is help me move the stuff I have piled up on the stairs up.   
  6. Now that we are upstairs, the clothes go in the hamper.
  7. The beds get made if they aren't already.  (I love to make my bed in the morning.  It makes me immediately feel as if I am in nice surroundings and I am productive within minutes of waking!)
  8. The piles get distributed to the place they belong.  

Phew!  You did it!  You should be proud and happy to have a straight home again! That part, admittedly, is the hardest part sometimes.  Honestly, I throw my headphones in and listen to a book on Audible or a great Podcast!  (Ummm hellooo of course!)

4. Feel Good About What You Are Doing. 

Listen, you're making progress already.  

When you clean up and clean out you are doing good things for your family and your soul.  

It's time, now is the time, to feel good that you are actively taking steps to get organized.  

Setting the intention and following through is something you are doing right now.  

This is it.  This work is what makes the difference.  

Feel good about it and carry on. 

Mompreneur on Fire - Black Desk

5. Next Make Your Lists.

I love lists.  Don't you love lists?  I also need them too.  If my list is too much of an 

  • Meals - what and where are you and your family going to eat.  It doesn't have to be elaborate, you can eat out every night.  The answer doesn't matter but oh-my how helpful it will be to know what you are having for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
  • To Do - Do your brain dump here.  Now.  Let it go, let it all out.  Don't worry about doing any of that now, just get your list pulled together.  
  • Follow Up - Who is waiting on you to respond?  Who needs what from you? 
  • Phone Calls - What phones calls do you need to make and follow up on?  Who have you been meaning to call and haven't done quite yet?
  • Preparation for Tomorrow - This list is often my life saver.  I write out what I need to remember for tomorrow.  What the needs to be packed for the girls, what needs to be pulled aside or does anything need to be completed.  I am constantly forgetting different things for the girls whether it is homework or flip flops or money for ice cream.  It's always something but when I plan it out ahead, I have a better shot of getting it right. 
  • What you need to do this week - Pull together a list of things that need to get done this week. Period.  Star or highlight the important ones from your original to-do list or create a new list.  

Now you are probably feeling a mix of accomplishment and overwhelm.  Don't let the overwhelm stop you from taking the next steps.  

Often times we create our lists to get the things out of our heads.  

If you take one (or two) final steps, you will be further than you have been before. 

6. Calendar Blocking

Calendar blocking is a funny beast.  There's not an exact science to it but there are some real benefits of taking a look at your scheduled calendar and then filling in your To-Do List items during your open time.  

  1. First thing you want to enter into your calendar is your appointments and activities that are non-negotiable.  Do the kids have basketball practice?? Do you have work meetings?  Or a Moms Night Out?  All of that goes into your calendar, first and foremost. 
  2. Once you have all of your appointments in your calendar you can now see where you "free" time is.  There's not a lot of it I am sure!  In your open spots, enter in when you are going to do what.  Use the lists you created earlier to fill in the things you need to do this week, the phone calls and preparation you need to complete.  Fill in your calendar to the best you can. 

Now you are set for the rest of the week.  You have a solid idea what is going to happen and what needs to happen the rest of the week.  

Your life is organized to point where you are starting off on the right foot.  Clean, ready to go, knowledgeable. 

Be kind to yourself, allow that things are going to change and work your schedule. 

Good luck!! Let me know how it goes! 

When you're ready you can add on too!  

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Mompreneur on Fire - 6 Steps to Organize Your Life
Hate Asking Your Husband For Money? A Funny & An Easy Legit Way to Get More Cash

Okay, so one of you has to run the finances in your household.  Maybe that's you.  Maybe that's your husband.  Maybe you have two completely separate accounts and divide it the expenses each month. Whatever it is, there's a way to work from home without disrupting your life.

Whatever your situation is you have to have the conversation with your spouse about money.  My husband and I, over the years, have worked out a system that works for us.  He doesn't ask and I don't tell.  

No, just kidding!  

But we don't discuss every penny spent, we have a threshold where either can comfortably spend without talking with the other.  

But our income combined is our income combined.  

Family money.  

Household money.  

You wouldn't believe the behind-the-scenes conversations I have had with friends about how they wished for the independence of having extra cash in their pockets.  

I get it, you want the freedom to make some shopping decisions without having to consult another.  

You want to buy and purchase things without having that consultation.  That discussion. 

Here are two ways I know people are making money, working from home

1. The Most Funny Way

One of the moms I know absolutely loves her department store lipstick but her husband doesn't agree that this is money well spent.  She works hard in the home and doesn't want to give into his request.  I get it. I have expensive taste too.  So at the grocery store she purchases gift cards for the Department Store and uses the gift card to purchase her lipstick! 

Her husband looks at the credit card bills but not the grocery bill.  She gets what she loves and he gets peace of mind that their money is being well spent.  

Sounds like a compromise in the making, right?? 

I was dying of laughter / shock when I heard this one!  But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do! 

2. An Easy Legit Way

Ask your friends if you can help them out.  YES.  That's how.

Tell them you are looking to make some extra money and do they know anyone who could use part-time assistance?  

Actually, if you start by helping someone out, the work could easily turn into regular, paid work if not a reference.   

I believe if you have a LIVE conversation versus sending an email to someone, your likelihood for getting a positive response is much higher.  

Here's the conversation:

Hey Friend - I would like to bring earn some extra cash and am looking if I can help anyone a few hours a week.  Do you know anyone?  I could help them with this, this, or that.

Do you know anyone who may need this type of assistance?  Could I call them that way you don't have to be in the middle?

Thank you!  

If you start by asking your local community, if you can help them, I am confident something will come through!

3. (Bonus!)  Do you like to write?

Writing for blogs is a real opportunity out there.  

Many places pay $100-200 per blog post or article.  

The first article you write, may take you some time if you are rusty but once you get into the groove of it you can really pop out some articles and make some real cash.  

I sat next to one woman and mompreneur at a conference while she wrote an article on Kim & Kanye.  

Her 30 minutes article earned her $175.  I know other bloggers who write articles, collect the income and have this other avenue to get their name out there.  Ah-mazing!  

The "trick" to earning extra income is to just start.  Put yourself out there and be open to what comes. 

Good luck!! 

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Too Busy/Tired/Anxious/Annoyed for Quality Time with the Kiddos? 5 Things to Do Right Now

I can see it coming.  I can see my patience thinning out before my eyes.  My girls want my attention and I just want help.  Or I just want to be left alone.  Or I just want them to play on their own. If you're going to keep your sanity, you need to learn how to balance work and family. Your needs are important.

I see it coming. I lose my patience far more quickly than I wish for.  I yell or raise my voice.  I see my mom in me.  She was tired.  She far more tired than I ever knew.  She would get upset and frustrated.  But I also see, she didn't take care of herself, in the ways we now know we need to.  Times are different now.  

I see my frustration grow as I get more and more tired.  In my heart, I want to soak up the precious time with my girls.  Yet there in the day as we run from one activity to the next, the quality time becomes survival time.  When this happens, when I see that part of my mom in me, that tired part. I know it's happening.  I know I need to make a change.  

Below are a few thoughts on what changes help me.  Maybe they will help you. 

 

1. Don't Worry About Them. Worry About You. 

I know that's harder said than done but now is the absolute most important time to start thinking about you again.  

Take a deep breath.  

Give yourself a break.  

Give yourself a moment.

Put the cartoons on and leave the room.  

Tell your kids you will be back and to focus on... anything else.

I know I am no good to be around when I am over tired.  This is when I am my most cranky and most frustrated.  This is when I yell.  This is the most important time to take care of myself.  To treat myself.  If I don't take care of myself, I can't do a good job of taking care of the family.  If I don't take care of myself, how are my kids going to learn that they need to take care of themselves too?  If I don't take care of myself, what example am I setting? 

I not only need to survive the day but I really want to thrive in it.  

And that starts at home.

2. Get Rest.

For me, I know I need rest.  I need more and more rest.  Rest is what refreshes my body and soul.  It's amazing how good you can feel with a good night's sleep.  It's that thing that you must fight for.  This is where you make good choices for yourself.  I know I have to go to bed by a certain time to get my ideal amount of sleep in.  There are periods of time when I go to sleep late because we have friends over or I want to spend that extra time with my husband or I have work deadlines coming.  We all have busy seasons and slow seasons.  The point is that with rest, you can manage through the easier.  With rest, you a making a conscious decision to take care of yourself.

As a matter of fact, Arianna Huffington, you know as in THE HUFFINGTON POST,  wrote The Sleep Revolution countering the age old thought that sleep was a time waster.  Where studies show it (lack of proper sleep) hinders our health, growth and even sex lives.  

Here's the other thing, if you are actually going to try any of these recommendations out then let me also add in that you (at least) fall asleep to this evening guided meditation.  It is such a wonderful way to end the day.

The guide, Dr. Joe Dispenza, helps you settle down on the day, reflect on the day, get excited about tomorrow and forgive yourself for the errors in your day.   I started with this twice a day guided meditation at the beginning of the year based on a recommendation by my beloved coach and haven't looked back since.  LOVE LOVE LOVE it.    

 

3. Move. 

When you move, your body releases energy.  When you move, your body creates endorphins.  Endorphins talk with your brain and tells it to reduce the pain.   When you move you shake off the things that are stuck within your body.  When you move you change your present self.  Take a walk.  Do some jumping jacks.  Or do what I do and throw on some good music!!

When you dance you change your energy!  Allow yourself that!

It should come as no surprise to you that one of my go-to songs is Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys!  

 

4. Do One Fun Thing.

Set the timer for 5 minutes.  And then go!  

Race down the hall with your kid!  Blare the music!  And do some funny dance moves!  Jump out of your comfort zone.  Let yourself have fun.  You're exhausted, I know, let it. go.  Let them play with you how they want.  (You can set the timer here too.)  Make up funny words and meanings with them.  

Say YES! and let yourself enjoy it!   Whatever is fun or funny or easy.  Have dessert before dinner.  Connect.  5 minutes will be good for your soul. 

 

5. Try Again Tomorrow

Give up.  Tell the day - you. are. done.  

My husband has certainly come home from his work to a dark, disastrous house.  My mother liked to put lipstick on for her husband before he came home from work.  I sometimes think it's a miracle I survived the day, especially when the girls were little.  There certainly have been times when my husband has come home and I am sitting on the sofa with no lights on, trash tv in the background and I was just done. 

That's okay too.  Get your rest, take care of yourself.  Do what you've got to do. No one said balancing work and family was going to be easy.  Give yourself that permission and try again tomorrow!

Good luck!  

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5x Bad Parenting Turns Out To Be A Good Thing

I don't think Bad Parenting is the end of the world.  I don't even think it's that bad.  I'll admit it.  Bad parenting can actually turn out to be a good thing. Mom life can be overwhelming, it's okay. You don't need to be perfect all. the. time.

Mompreneur on Fire - Bad Parenting

But before I get into why I think bad parenting could even offer some benefits, yes, benefits, I have to put out a few disclaimers.  

First and foremost, what I am about to say in relation to the normal, average parent.  We try to parent well but we also make big, huge mistakes.  We have failures too.  This justification is for those who intend to do what is right, what is best, what is most appropriate but just as we are humans, we slip and we make mistakes too.  

If you are abusive, mean-spirited or just plain, deeply and emotionally troubled, I am sorry about that.  You should do what's best for you and your family and seek out professional assistance.  There is light at the end of every tunnel.  This is not for you.

But if you are the normal, everyday mom or the normal everyday parent then I am here to say: Bad parenting is okay.  

In fact, bad parenting is more than okay, it's likely to be a good thing!  And yes, that's okay. 

My kids are young, they are 4 and 5 1/2.  I try my best.  I try to teach them proper manners and fun play.  I try to teach them lessons and consequences.  I try to teach them about love, unconditional love and putting your energy to good things.  Helpful things.  I try.  I can honestly say I try.  I do good things I know.  I do regular good things for my kids.  

Yet, I know, I have epic failures too.  Goodness, I point my finger at them when I am really angry.  I count in a voice so firm that when I get to whatever number it is, there will be consequences if need be.  And my kids know it.  

I fly off the handle.  I hate to admit that.  I am embarrassed it happens.  But it happens.  

There are some tense moments in the house when my husband is around.  

There is crying on other occasions.  Geez, there was real, heart-breaking sadness, that I just couldn't hide from them when my Dad passed.  

And just the other day, I am ashamed to admit, my daughter had been "mom mom momming" me and then stopped in her tracks and said in her beautifully strong voice "Mom taking care of your kids is more important than work."  Ouch, that one hit a nerve.  Wonder where she learned that adult statement from...

Did I drop my non-work email and hug her immediately?  No, maybe another bad parenting moment came after that. Because I then proceeded to tell her how I had taken care of her all day long, in excoriating detail, and to not ever talk to me like that again.  

"Did you like that camp you went to today?  Which I found.  Which I convinced Daddy was the right camp to attend and pay for.  Which I coordinated friends to go along with you.  Did you like the lunch you ate with the hearts, fruit and your favorite snack, which I purchased, made and packaged for you..."

I went through the entire day from start to present moment with her about how I had taken care of her bit by bit.  You can imagine how long that digest was if we were having the conversation in the early evening.  I was not happy, she hit a nerve and had to listen to my firm, stable voice about the day's activities. 

Almost immediately I felt bad I got so upset.  (Can we say she hit a nerve?)  We hugged it out and my sweet darling responded as she does.  "It's okay Mom."

But here's the thing.  Bad parenting has its' moments.  These moments bring forth emotions, moods, and lessons. 

Because we, as moms love lists, here are few ways bad parenting is not so bad. 

1. The Kids Experience Mistakes 

It's important that kids experience mistakes.  I would also argue it's important them seeing you make mistakes too.  Now you don't have to go overboard.  I want my daughters to look up to me but I also want to them to see that when I make a mistake, I take action to correct it. When I make a mistake, I work to improve from it.  When I make a mistake, sure it hurts, but I will survive.  They will survive too.  When kids experience mistakes, they learn that mistakes are part of the natural learning journey.  When kids experience mistakes, they learn that a mistake is just that, a mistake.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It's something that happens and it's something they can move on from.

2. The Kids Experience That The World Is Not Always Rosy

Omgoodness.  Do you know where I live?  I live in one of the most beautiful towns by one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.  The homes are literally the most expensive homes in the country.  The shoes these women walk around in are jaw-dropping gorgeous and expensive.  The clothes are seemingly perfect.  Their health is seemingly perfect.  That's where I live.  It's 70 degrees and sunny everyday.  

All that said for what purpose?  Even if your surroundings are rosy, your kids need to experience life that is not rosy.  Life is not rosy.  I did not grow up where it's 70 degrees and sunny everyday.  I grew up in Upstate New York, in New Hampshire and Virginia and Washington, DC.  

Just like you would take your kids to the carnival, to the park, to the beach, to Disney World, to Europe and Mexico you want to have your kids experience the days that are not rosy.  Dare I say dark? 

Here's my reasoning.  Life is not going to be rosy for them always.  Don't you want them to experience the dark days when they have the comfort, support and encouragement at home?  Don't you want them to learn that when the dark days come, they are still loved and capable?  Let them experience the dark days while they are still at home, that way they can get used to the experience and can come out of it thriving with a strong support system around.  When they are older and on their own, the dark days won't be so hard, right?  Because they know they can not only survive it but thrive from it. 

3. The Kids Bond Together By Their Experiences

I was talking with another family recently about their own parenting mistakes.  My friend was telling me how she felt regret that her kids had seen some fighting between herself and her husband.  She wished she could have handled certain situations better.  She was talking about how she had this specific conversation with her 20 year old daughter.  Sure, mistakes were made, sure we wish could have done better.  Her daughter is very close to her brother and said the parents fighting was a bonding experience for the two brother and sister.  A bonding experience for the brother and sister that are the closest of friends.   While my friend did not intend to do some bad parenting, a positive did come out of it.  

4. The Kids Learn From An Early Age How To Deal With Mistakes

Imagine down the road your kiddo gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar.  Their first big mistake.  They took an action that was not worthy of them, they made a big mistake.  What will happen? How will they deal with it?  How will they move forward?  Will they even learn from it? Grow from it?  It's best to lay that foundation when they are young, right?  Ensure they learn about actions (positive and negative), about consequences now, right?

5. The Kids Learn From An Early Age That Nobody Is Perfect

Needing to be perfect is a growing problem in our society.  I do think we are more aware of our imperfections but with social media so prevalent there's some hypocrisy happening too.  We present on social media the good, the pretty and the planned out.  Only.  That's okay, I accept that. I don't want my Facebook feed filled with woes.  I enjoy cheering on the good things in my friends and families' lives.  Offline, if they discuss with the hard stuff.  But I am a confident adult with emotional development and stability.  

When perfection is always presented to them, when only the good is presented to them how are they going to learn that they themselves do not have to be perfect?  That they should and can embrace those imperfections within themselves.  

We are not perfect and that is okay.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if children learned at an early age that everybody has individual flaws. Nobody is perfect.  When they see that nobody perfect but we are still wonderful, lovable beings. Wouldn't that be wonderful?


Yes, I am actively trying to build a well-rounded child and I believe that means my kids fall, they see the good but also some of the bad.  I try to protect them, absolutely, but I don't lie to them either.  I respect them, even from an early age, and firmly believe (pray) that together we create a great meaningful life. 


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Improve Your iPhone Family Photos in 3 Unbelievably Easy Steps

Make the most out of your mom life moments with better pictures! When I had my girls it became immediately apparent that I was going to be a photo taker.  I was / am one of those women that takes a zillion photos to capture the moment.  I want to hold onto it forever.  I want to have access to the things my terrible memory would otherwise almost certainly make me forget.

Mompreneur on Fire - Family Photos

This blog post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase from any of these links, I may make a little money. Thank you in advance for using these links.

I am the person that gets so excited about a great moment I am living I will take photos of everything even knowing it won't translate later.  Case in point, have you ever been to Las Vegas and stood outside the Bellagio to watch their water show?  Being there is such a magical fun moment, even YouTube videos don't do the experience justice.  This video is a good try though and who doesn't love Billy Jean by Michael Jackson??  In any event, I would come out of watching that 5 minute show with about 40 photos.  Ha!  Photos of water in air doesn't do justice to the experience.  

So when the girls were born I knew I wanted to learn how to take photos without having to invest in a big camera and without having to learn a whole new hobby. I just wanted to take good photos, like, NOW. 

I wanted to learn how to quickly, in the moment, capture it.  Make it pretty and something I could proudly share - to share the experience and the moment - to my family on the other side of the continent. 

I have been a long time follower and admirer of two women, Ashley Ann from Under the Sycamore blog (those are her Instagram photos above) and Kristin Rogers. Both produce beautiful work in the form of photography, blogs and sharing meaningful moments.  They capture the moments of the day in a way that brings more meaning to it, perhaps.  Or perhaps it highlights the most meaningful moments.  Ordinary becomes extraordinary.  I follow along and learn from them in all these ways. I want to have that in my life too.  I want the beauty of the ordinary to shine.  

At some point years ago Ashley Ann opened up an online photography course including modules specifically for the iPhone.  Something I was just looking for!  Technical direction, community support and feedback all around!  All without breaking the bank. 

Since I have taken the course literally I get told all. the. time. that I make the most beautiful photos.  I am better than normal, I can admit that.  And I have learned a few things.  I think it is totally worth it to take the course - I mean I give this sucker out as gifts! (I'm not kidding!)

Below are 3 vital takeaways to start from. 

STEP 1.  ZOOM IN

Why oh why do we have to see the entire landscape if you really just want to see the people?? The faces? The expressions??  With too much stuff in the photo you miss you on the good stuff.  Rather the good stuff gets over looked. Look at the black and white photo below of the girls sleeping on the floor together.  Doesn't your heart just melt?  The sweetness ooozes out, right?  What if the photo below was taken with all the other stuff around?  Would you want to see the nightlight next to the bear?  Or the books and clothes by their side?  Would that have added to or taken away from the photo?  The point of the photo is how sweetly the girls were sleeping together.  That's all I cared about.  That's all I wanted to capture.  

 By Zooming in you capture the important stuff, like how sweetly the girls are sleeping together and leave out the other unimportant stuff, like clothes and books on the floor next to them. 

By Zooming in you capture the important stuff, like how sweetly the girls are sleeping together and leave out the other unimportant stuff, like clothes and books on the floor next to them. 

STEP 2.  BRIGHTEN IT UP

Brighten it up baby!  You can use the standard photo editing app on your phone or you can upgrade for a few bucks.  I solely use Camera + app for all of my editing.  I have tried other apps that come highly recommended and simply find this one to fit with me.  I can easily brighten things up, pick my favorite filter (Boost), crop and go!  Oh and if I am on the computer, then I definitely use PicMonkey.

STEP 3.  RULE OF THIRDS

This is a very easy way to create a photo that is completely amazing and captivating.  Honestly, to explain it I had to go back to Ashley Ann (love her) for how to explain it correctly: 

The Rule of Thirds means you want to aim at placing your subject on the top, bottom, right, or left third…or near one of those intersecting points. Basically anywhere but the center.
— Ashley Ann of Ashley Ann Photography

So with the rule of thirds in mind, I moved the lifeguard stand and post from the center of the photo to the side and wa-la. An amazing pic - right??  I wish I had the original to show you the real impact. Point is, forget the center, try to put things to one side or another.  See what happens!

 Wouldn't this photo look weird if the lighthouse were in the middle of photo?  Much much better with it off to one side.  Don't you think?

Wouldn't this photo look weird if the lighthouse were in the middle of photo?  Much much better with it off to one side.  Don't you think?

With three of these things in mind (Zoom In, Brighten Up, Rule of 3rds) you can absolutely use your iPhone to take some great shots.  

Then when you are ready for more Ashley Ann has that awesome and affordable SnapShop course.  Not only does it teach you about capturing the moment and the storytelling behind it but HOW to do that.  She tells you about the harder stuff like composition and cropping too.  It's a community and there's wonderful feedback too.  

If you sign up for her SnapShop the course that will truly help you make the most the camera you always carry around you will get a special discount as a Mompreneur on Fire reader.  

Sign Up Here: Not kidding it's amazing!

Special Treat: Enter Code: SSOnFire to receive a $10 discount from the course!



FUN SIDE NOTE!

By the luck of the draw, I was so so pleased to have the opportunity to talk with Kristin Rogers for my podcast. Talking with her was so inspiring.  I think the others agree as her podcast has been my most downloaded and most read to date.    

Click on the her image here to go to that specific post.  We talked about so many wonderful things.  Just listen and take my word for it!

I am still working on Ashley Ann to say YES! for an interview!  I think she is super busy and a little shy! But I am keeping up hope and will let you know when the YES! comes!

 Click On Photo To Hear more about my interview with Kristin.

Click On Photo To Hear more about my interview with Kristin.


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15 Work Things To Do When You Only Have 15 Minutes

I work from home.  My kids are around and are always asking for something from me.  I know I am supposed to be focused and totally present with them but the truth of the matter is if they are watching a cartoon, why can't I do some work too?  Or if they are at swim lesson, do I have to be 100% present?  Reality is, for better or worse, I am dying to get a few more things done when I am sitting and waiting.    

Mompreneur on Fire - 15 Things

This post may contain affiliate links.

Don't shoot the messenger but here are a handful of things you can do to get more work done when you only have your phone a limited amount of time. 

1.  Make a quick phone call.  Seriously.

It's hard to make a phone call these days, right?  We are always so distracted and then as more time goes by we think the conversation has to be longer and longer.  But I find, I am actually making more phone calls now that I have in years.  It's easier and faster than texting or shooting a quick email.  It's okay if we haven't talked in a while, who said we have to stay on the call for a long while anyway?  We don't have to make up for lost time. 

So really, you can call your client, your co-worker, your mentor and say:

"Hey! I have 5 minutes to talk and wanted to get your input on XYZ.  Do you have time now?"  

Certainly the person on the other end will tell if you if it's a good time for them and then, take that moment.  Have your call.  Discuss your thoughts and ideas.  Right now.  

Plus, I truly think phone calls these days are "back".  It's easy to avoid and write.  Phone calls build relationships.  Relationships build businesses.

2. Edit photos for social media postings.

No one said the photos on social media had to be from that exact moment always.  Do we always live in these picture perfect environments?  And if you are a mompreneur, then I know you know about social media.  And there's probably always this feeling that you have to have more out there.  

So while you are sitting and waiting, go through and edit some of your photos.  Brighten them up.  Make them square.  Heart them.  

Mompreneur on Fire - Desk Layout

3.  Comment and connect with your people.

Review and comment on social media platforms that you are attracted to.  Comment and connect with the content creators that you admire and aspire to be like.   I know I want to build my tribe with like minded women.  I love it when people connect and comment on my work.  It's feedback and connection.  It's crazy to think that real relationships can develop over social media but the fact of the matter is not only is it possible but it's happening time and time again.   Imagine connecting with your people.  All it takes is reaching out...

4. Review your monthly / weekly goals.

I am going to assume you have goals well-established.  You have things you want to accomplish this month and you are actively working on them.  Right?  If not, then spend the 15 minutes or call me.  (Like now.)  

If you DO have your goals set then take a look at them.  Now.  The work that you are doing, the place you are spending your time, is it here?   Are you actively working to achieve them?  Where and how can you spend your time better?  Where and how can you be more efficient?  What needs to shift?  Where do you need help in order to get to your goals?

Do that.  Write that down.  Make your changes.

5.  Update Your To-Do List. 

Don't you just love a good to-do list?  Do you use Evernote?  I live and breathe by Evernote.  I can create, review and update my to-do lists on the fly.  They've even got checkboxes so when I am done, I can check my box and move on.  When I am sitting I like to go over and figure out what's next.  Is the work? Is it the grocery store? Is it the next kiddo activity?  Geez, even what's for dinner is always on the list!  Update your to-do list, figure out what's next. 

6. Calendar Block.

Yes.  Now is the time to put in your calendar when you are going to do those important, high priority tasks.  Block out the time.  Even if you don't use it as an exact science, it's helpful to see and know just what activity you have to do and what timeframe you have to do it in!!

7.  Pin Strategically. 

Followers and value count.  I hate to admit that and even say it out loud.  Well, the followers part, not the value part. But it's true.  If social media is a part of your business (and I almost can't imagine what business would be without it) then you must be online.  Pinterest is far more important now than it ever was and there is no better time than the present than to make your Pinterest profile that much better.  Pin pin pin.  

There's a whole lot more to be said about Pinterest and a whole lot of learning to be had!  I, personally, am following anything and everything The Busy Budgeter does!  (Remember her from one of my first podcasts?? She is making well over 6 figures on her blog in less than 2 years time!  Here's that podcast interview with Rosemarie Groner.)  And while we're at it, her working with me and her Pinterest Strategy CheatSheet has helped this site get tons and tons more traction.  

8. Email an old client. 

I have said it before and I'll say it again.  Following up and keeping a relationship going is what will keep you in mind.  Everyone loves to be thought of and you need nothing more than a quick email saying 

"Saw that XYZ was happening and it made me think of you.  Hope you guys are doing well and pressing forward.  Let's connect again soon."  

You have kept your conversation and more importantly, your relationships going.  That was 3 sentences that ultimately told your old client that you still cared.  What better way than to spend a few minutes of your time?

9. Read. 

You don't have to read a book.  You can if you want but you can also start reading more about the business things you want and need to do.  I cannot even begin to tell you how massive Pinterest is and how it truly is not just for pulling entertaining ideas together anymore.  I have learned and learned and learned so much, business-wise, from reading about what other people are doing from reading and researching posts on Pinterest.   

10. YouTube. 

If you want to learn anything and I mean ANYTHING YouTube is the place to go.  I literally learned how to physically podcast from YouTube videos.  When I talked with Deva from My Life Suckers, (you know the awesome viral video maker), she said she learned about video editing through YouTube too!  Want to learn anything - YouTube it!

11. Meditate. 

I love to meditate.  It has such a bad rap.  People think you need to sit there and magically make your mind go empty but it's simply not (always) the case.  I don't even know how one would begin to make their mind go empty.  I think my skin would start crawling and I'd have a panic attack or something!  Much less, if I was able to find a time for no interruptions, now I have to figure out how make my mind go empty?? 

Okay - so I get it.  I'm not interested in making my go empty.  Truth is that is probably for the expert mediators.  That's not me.  What does the beginner meditator do?  Someone like me? You get these amazing meditations that guide your thoughts in a positive uplifting manner.    Think about your dreams.  Think about your power.  Think about forgiving yourself.  Think about how this world is there for you to bring your best foot forward.  

My favorite meditation is this one.  It's 20 minutes and I will admit, I sometimes (cough) fast forward right to the good stuff around minute 8.   But imagine being guided to your best self??  Seriously what better way to spend 15 minutes?

12. Sit down and do nothing. 

You heard it.  Your body needs to rest.  Your mind needs to rest.  How can you be your best self if you are constantly running?  Put on some music and rest.  Sit down and do nothing! 

Wooops. I know I said I had 15 great ideas for working while the kiddos are distracted but truth is - this is where and how I focus my time.  I could make up another 3 more ideas but that would just be fluff - right.  When I have a moment to sneak a peak at my phone - here i my focus.  Truly.  


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No Time for a Book Club? Start a Cooking Club in 5 Steps!

As much as I love to read, I admit that don't always make it a priority. Or when I do, I want to read what I want to read.  Now imagine getting 5-8 other moms together to discuss the same book.  If we all have young children, it is so hard to do!  Mom life just consumes all of our time so why not start a cooking club?!

Mompreneur on Fire - Cooking Club

When I lived back East, I was in a book club aka wine club.  Six of my girlfriends and I were in our 20s and it was BK, (Before Kids) where we had all the time in the world to be together.  

We started off reading a selected book each month and as our friendships grew we would still read the book but then would barely discuss it because we were so excited to see one another we couldn't wait to catch up on our real lives.  Occasionally though a book would draw us back for some deep and sometimes heated conversations.  Actually this book, I remember, was the most heated discussions.  Do not get me started. 

This idea is taken, lovingly from one of my most favorite people in the whole. wide. world.  Shauna Niequist.  Each month, Shauna and friends gather around the table for good food and plenty of conversation.   She says: 

“We don't learn to love each other well in the easy moments. Anyone is good company at a cocktail party. But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right, when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up uninvited with magazines and granola bars, in an effort to say, I love you.” 

With the girls by my side, my husband growing in his career, my parents passing, I am often bursting for an easy outlet of authenticity and connection.  Every book club attempt in the past years has fallen flat to cold and curfews.  It's harder to read even though I coincidentally, wrote another post about being a mom and finding the time to read again!  

In any event, when I first learned of cooking clubs from reading Shauna's book Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table  and I grabbed onto the idea and ran with it.  Actually here she discusses specifically right here how she runs her cooking club.  And it's brilliant.  

The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.
— Shauna Niequist

So to start your cooking club you need a few essentials:

1. Trusted friends interested in getting together on a regular night every few weeks.  

That may seem easy, that may seem tough.  Or maybe there is someone you would like to get to know better.  You know there are women you connect with and would love to see more of.  Here's your perfect opportunity to get to know them!  Make a list.  Make a meaningful list of women you want to deep dive with.  10 maximum.  

2. Invite but invite with rules and understanding.

Another woman I love and fellow Podcaster, Kristin Rogers just had a podcast with 5 of her friends about creating book clubs where they discuss pulling one together for themselves and even their kids.  It was quite a fun episode you can check out here!   What I love is how they were very intentional about the rules of their book club.  We, here, have established doing a cooking club vs a book club but setting the foundation applies everywhere.  

This is where you can invite people you love to see and those you want to see more of into the cooking club.  Now is also the time to be upfront with what you are looking for.  Connection,  yes but what else?  Consistency.  Not to have to spend a ton of money.  Will each person put in say $20 and the host will supply everything but the wine?  Maybe it's a good idea for you to work in teams and each team can rotate hosting.  That way responsibility isn't on one person.  How often will you meet?  Monthly? Quarterly?  When is best?  For breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?  Will others be invited in? And how?

3. Pick a theme.  

Yes!  Do that now!  As the host, you get to decide.

How about Breakfast for Dinner. Or Italian Night! Mexican!  Favorite family recipes!  Favorite EASY recipes!  Appetizers and Hor D'euvres!  There I just gave you 5 options to choose from.  Host your first dinner and then together you, as a group, can decide what you want to do next time. 

4. Pick some discussion points.  

The conversations can be heavy or light, as you wish.  Don't force it though.  Some questions that started our cooking club included:

  1. Name one thing you learned today.
  2. Tell us something that happened to you this week (or since the last we spoke) that I wouldn't know about nor know to ask about. 
  3. What can you open up about without spilling your guts? 
  4. Where have you succeeded today?  Where have you failed? How's mom life treating you?
  5. And the ultimate, let's cut to the chase, question: "What keeps you at night?"

Is there something on your mind? Something you are trying to figure out?  Work out? Want more information about? Bring it up.  Make it your question.  You don't have to go into the deep deep history of why, you can simply ask for insight. 

5. Enjoy.  

There's fear and pressure and judgment all around us.  When pulling together a group there can be pressure to for everything to right and perfect.   Forget that.  Stop wasting your time there.  Focus your time on enjoying what you pulled together.  Make and create the connections.  Enjoy and enjoy and enjoy!


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10 Ways to Get Ahead Even When You're Already Late

Do you always feel like you are behind?  Like everyone is making progress doing things you think or dream about?  You want to get ahead, yet you always feel late to the game? As an entrepreneur mentor, it's my duty to share with you everything I can for you to be successful. Let's do this!

Mompreneur on Fire - 10 Ways To Get Ahead When You're Already Late

My own coach told me, "Honey, that is a game you are never going to win.  You are not late."  I kind of "yeah yeah'd" her, thinking I "should be" err... so desperately wanted to be further ahead in my goals and dreams than I actually was.  

In thinking about our conversation, I think she is right.  (Totally right.)  I get to put together the plans for what I will accomplish, when, and how.  I get to decide if I am late or not -- it's my own game.  Right?! 

Given that, I still very much want to move forward, actively, and continuously.  I personally found that by giving myself space to work, and by taking it step-by-step, I was able to get ahead like never before.  (Well, like before when I had all the time in the world and no kiddos pulling on my leg asking for another coloring page!) As an entrepreneur mentor, I want to share with you everything I can to ensure your success.

1. TACKLE ONE THING AT A TIME 

Before you can really get ahead, you have to know and decide what you want to do.  Sounds like a no brainer, I know, but when you have lots of ideas and lots of responsibilities, it's hard to nail down just that one thing.  I get it.  I have a hard time doing that, too.  Being a professional project manager, where I literally teach and help others implement their goals, I can tell you through and through, it is simply impossible to change every single thing you want all at once.  You have to decide where to focus, and that's a maximum of 3 things at one time.  Depending on your workload and responsibilities, it may be 1 thing at a time.  That's okay.  Step by step, you will get to the others, but first you have to decide which item you are going to tackle now.

Are you going to focus on getting those big dream accounts?  Are you going to focus on building your brand?  Are you going to focus on having dinner on the table each night?  Getting to the gym on more regular basis?  

Once you decide, then own it.  

2.  START AND STOP

Again, once you decide what you are going to tackle, what you are going to accomplish, you have to decide when you will start.  

Right now? Are you prepared for that?  Probably not.  

Heck, I gave up processed sugar as a test to myself, and before I could fully commit to when I would start, I suddenly had cravings for Trader Joe's bite-sized licorice that I had to get!  Random!  But I had to do it!  I was not prepared! 

(By the way, best decision ever to give up sugar!)

Point is, you need to get prepared.  Will you start in a week?  Tomorrow?  Pick a date.  Put it on the calendar.  Mark where you are, and what your starting point is. 

Then give yourself a stop date.  An arbitrary stop date.  In my podcasts with Rosemarie Groner, the Busy Budgeter, she talked about how she gave herself a year to make full-time money from her blog.  If it didn't work after a year, she was going to move on.  (She's killing it, btw.)

Give yourself a reasonable timeframe to accomplish what you are looking for.  Test the waters and commit. 

3. COMMIT

OMGoodness, I cannot tell you how many times people let go of their own commitments to themselves.  You know it's true.  We all do it.  In order to get ahead, you have to commit to doing what you set out to do.  The best and easiest way to do that is also to plan out how you are going to accomplish it.  Plan out how you are going to get started TODAY and for the rest of the week.  That's it.  Don't go any further that next week.  Truth is, part of your work will be learning.  When learning comes, the plan goes out the window.  

Commit today.  Plan for tomorrow and next week.  Then start doing. 

Mompreneur on Fire - Desk

4. TURN OFF THE TV

When are you going to do this?  Do you watch tv? 

Good, I do, too.  I wish I could be that person where we didn't have tvs, but that's not me.  I have 3 shows I watch.  The Good Wife (sad it's actually over).  Scandal. (Silly I know, but I'm committed.)  The Deadliest Catch.  (My husband and I have been watching it since it started, what can I say, I'm a loyal person.)  Then if I need something mindless in the background, I watch Friday Night Lights from Netflix on repeat.  I have literally seen the show way too many times.  

But guess what -- that's it.  I watch tv, but I don't let tv consume me, either.  Typically I watch an episode of something with my husband and then I walk away.  With the tv out of my life, I have many more hours to give to my goals and dreams.  

Step away from the tv.  You'll thank me for it later. 

5. GO TO PINTEREST & YOUTUBE

OMGoodness.  Google is dead.  Google is sooo 10 years ago.  If you want to know, if you want to learn, it's all on Pinterest and YouTube.

Don't even "yeah yeah" me on this one -- just listen.  I had no idea myself until just a few months ago.

Want to know how to put together a podcast?  YouTube.  

Want to know what equipment you need to put together a podcast?  YouTube.

Want to know how to start a blog?  Pinterest.

Want to know how to create multiple streams of income online? Pinterest. Or Here.

Want to know how to do that and put a meal on the table at night?  Pinterest.  YouTube. 

Anything you want to learn or do, there is information about it on Pinterest and YouTube.  (And actually Facebook, too.)  Google is sooo over.  Trust me.  Keep the learning going and go where I tell you.

Actually, I am so serious about this that I have 2 guides that I am living and breathing and dreaming about when I sleep.  Pinterest Strategy Guide and Strategies Worth Sharing (for Facebook).  Seriously, 2 books to increase traffic by the thousands??  Worth it?  Ummm, yes!

6. CALENDAR BLOCK

I started calendar blocking just a few months ago and I simply love it.  It's not an exact science but what it does do is open up your eyes as to how much time you really have to devote to certain things.  

Immediately, the first things in the calendar are my girls' activities.  Most afternoons are booked solid with their activities.  That gives me mornings and evenings to add in.  When will I interview a guest for the podcast?  When will I edit the podcast and prepare the show notes?  When will I work on client work?  When will I hit the grocery store?  Make those returns I have to?  

Once I started putting tasks in my calendar, it was eye-opening where and how I was spending my time.  And with whom.  Was I spending my time with the people I wanted to vs the people I was actually seeing?  I was inadvertently and unintentionally setting priorities that way. Once I started calendar blocking, I really realized I could better control my time and make my activities align with my real values. 

Try it.  Just try it. 

7. SAY NO

Pick 3 priorities.  If a request comes in, then have NO at your forefront.  Remember, that is an option for you.  

It's okay to say no.  Actually, it feels amazing to say no.

No, thank you.  Not interested.  Not today.  Not tomorrow.  (Maybe next week.)  No.  

8. SAY YES

Have fun with YES!  Just say YES!  Let things change up.  Do what you wouldn't normally do!  Get out of that rut!  Allow the doors to open, breathe in the fresh air!  Say YES! and give it a shot!  You will get ahead more and more by just saying YES! YES!  I am open to that!  

Nothing is permanent.  If you cut your hair, it will grow!  If you say YES! then you get the experience of being open to the new experience!  Say YES!  Then next time, you can decide is this a YES! or a NO!

Mompreneur on Fire - Be Kind to Yourself

9. STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE

It's too much.  To really get a break, to really get ahead, to really connect and move forward, you have to put the phone down. 

It's hard.  I know.  I have a love/hate relationship with my phone.  I hate it.  But I need it.  

Truth is, I don't need it all day every day.  Put the phone down and get back to work. 

10. BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Mompreneur on Fire - With Coffee

You cannot get ahead without treating yourself well.  

I repeat.  You cannot get ahead without being kind to yourself.  

There are so many glorious and easy ways to be kind to yourself, so just do it.  

Recognize that you are strong and capable.  Treat yourself.  

All. the. time.

I realize this past year I mostly talked about my dreams, or even got angry about my unfulfilled dreams.  Without quite realizing it, I felt I had less time because I had my kiddos around and my charming, yet needy husband to take care of.  I felt my responsibilities were overwhelming me and preventing me from doing the things I dreamt of.  Perhaps that's true to a degree.  Or perhaps, I wasn't quite ready.  

But I'll tell you what, when I did get ready, when I did focus and turn off the tv, the tide shifted in my favor.  There has been so much learning this past year.  There's been a lot of highs and lows too, I'm not going to lie.  Yet, I realize, like my coach said, I was the only one who thought I was "late to the game" and I just had to focus on moving forward.  Was I committed?  Or wasn't I?  Was I open or wasn't I?  Was I willing to do the work?  When all my answers there were YES!, everything started to change.  

Start!  Take action!  Correct your actions and continue to move forward!

Good luck! Also, by all means, if you are working on getting ahead in your own life and want further explanation on any of these steps, please reach out to me.  I'd be happy to explain my process further if that would help you! 


In full disclosure, this blog post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase from any of these links, I may make a little money. So thank you in advance for using these links as it adds a cushion in my accounts, too! 


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4 Things to Do When Your Values Don't Match Your Mom Friends Anymore

As a mom and a mompreneur, good quality friendships are the hardest things in the world to find.  I find I am consistently analyzing and judging (yes, kindly judging) where our time is spent and with whom.  I am a mom and am relatively new to town.  Making friends per say isn't the necessarily the hard part, I find making friends with people whose value systems are similar to mine to be the biggest challenge. Balancing work and family isn't an issue for women without kids, they don't understand the struggle.

Mompreneur on Fire - 4 Things to Do When Your Values Don't Match Your Mom Friends

A good, quality friendship in my 20s meant who could meet me for drinks after work or who was game for book club.  We would read yet barely discuss the books and found getting together as an excuse to have a fun girls' night out.  It was and still is a fun way to relax with some wine while the host gets to share their latest appetizer recipes!

Then when I had babies, I was lonely.  L.O.N.E.L.Y.   Lonely and unsure of myself, who I was anymore and then how in the world I was going to raise this baby!  Heck, I could barely, if ever get dressed myself, how in the world was I going to do good for this child??  Anyone who wanted to meet with me at the park or Nordstrom's was a gift sent from above and it gave me reprieve from my internal insecurities, woos, thoughts and wonders!

Yes!  I will meet you at the park!  Yes!  I will meet you anywhere. you. want!

Motherhood is this club you join the second you have babies.  When you talk with other moms  your first questions are - how many? how old? and how far apart?  This gives that starting place of understanding what the mom next to you went through when they had babies.  And you can ask away or just share stories of survival. Balancing work and family is hard, and those without babies just don't get it. 

And of course there are the birthing stories that ALWAYS come out.  It's something we moms must share.  It's how we connect. 

But now my kids are getting older.  Now, their kids are older.  Now at ages 3, 4 and 5 words matter.  Actions matter.

When a kid says they don't want to play with them anymore, that hurts.  When a little girl says "you're not my best friend anymore" at the age of 4, that hurts.  Maybe here and there it's okay because I don't know the circumstances around it. Yes, kids will be kids.  But when it happens everyday for weeks, whatever the circumstances are, my daughter is getting hurt.  When a boy says to the lunch table "let's not talk to her, she wears glasses", that hurts.  When a little girl says to another, at the age of 5, "I feel sorry for you" those are adult words she is bringing in.  Again, not that funny.

I don't know all the back stories or all the circumstances and yes, "kids will be kids" but when something happens everyday that doesn't align with your values or you don't see the mom stopping behavior you don't agree with.  What do you do?

It sits and naws in your stomach.  It naws in my stomach.  I wonder and worry about the things my kids are exposed to.  They are not allowed to watch Barbie and not allowed to watch even My Little Pony.  At this age, I am doing my best to protect them from the grown-up things they will certainly have to experience.  Can't I hold onto their innocence for as long as possible?  Heck, even with my grasp, they are exposed.  

The question is: what do you do?  How do you re-enforce value judgements you want to raise your kids with?

Mompreneur on Fire - Red Flag

1. Listen to the Red Flags

I am quick to accept good intentions from the acts of my friends.  I am quick to believe they mean well and if something doesn't translate, then that's okay too.  I am not perfect, nor do I expect my friends to be either.  Perhaps the other mom doesn't know how to discipline.  Perhaps the other mom doesn't know how demeaning her actions are.  Perhaps that mom doesn't realize her little one is taking cues from her actions.  Perhaps the mom doesn't realize this is the starting place in building character.  

Red flag are just that.  We are quick to make excuses.  That's okay too.  When there are consistent little red flags, if the red flag is always there.  Listen to it. Sometimes, for me, there were BLARRING red flags and I was just loyal because that friend helped my loneliness in tough times.  

Yet once the red flags started impacting my sweet girl (and on a regular basis) I know I need to take action.  I couldn't ignore the differences in value systems.  I like to pretend differences didn't matter but when it came to raising my girls, nothing became more important.  And the red flags were there all along.  

I wish I listened sooner. 

2.  Use kind words but meaningful ones too. 

Keep with your own value system and use kind but meaningful words.  I have done my best and in my heart try to have the most meaningful conversation with the other parent.  Hurtful words from the little one can become consistent if not taken care of.  I looked to my friend, another mother, to take action and stop it.  Among other things I would say and have said is that the mother had to stop the hurtful behavior and even "nip it in the bud."  Was it that she watched Barbie at 4?  Was it that they had older girlfriends who were teaching older behavior?  I guess the reasonings don't matter.  The hurt has to stop.

Truth be told, conversations with kids are much easier than conversations with adults.  Kids take your word for it.  Adults have their own history, judgments and insecurities to manifest through.  You never really know if your intentions will be understood from the other side.  I have genuinely done my best to have easy, yet important conversations.  I had the conversation with mothers and conversations with my daughters.  

Words hurt.  

It's important to be nice.  

Just because your friend is saying these things doesn't mean it's okay to say.  

Her mother is going to talk with her.  

You have learned.  She hasn't, she's still learning. 

Over and over, I have had to have these conversations with my girls.  My words have always been kind but with meaning behind them too. 

3. Create Space 

When you have space from the situation you are better to reflect and make different decisions.  Sometimes, the mother is mortified at her child's behavior and takes immediate action.  Then in other cases, the mother has been defensive. Honestly, I can imagine if a mom had such a conversation with me, I would be mortified.  Mortified that my child was treating another kid poorly.  My kids are not perfect and I am sure this will happen.  I imagine that my child will be punished and I will hunt to no end to find a way to make it right.  And I can imagine that I would be defensive too.  

It's what you do going forward that matters most.  Create space.  

With space you have room to reflect on my choices.  With space you have a better opportunity to listen to what your soul and gut are telling you.  Does your little one need to spend time with others?  Or will the hurtful behavior not become a pattern.  Will a quick conversation be all that's required or even further conversations.  

You can't control how others are going to react to your requests but you can control how you react. 

I listen to the red flags now, all 800 of them, and am happy with the choices I make.  With space I am able to make clearer choices.  With space you have room to listen, to decide and take action. 

Perhaps, in your case, when you have space you will find you are overreacting.  You will find your values are a good match and the kids or the mother is simply having a bad day.  We all do.  Space, I believe, it a good way to step aside and observe what is really happening. 

Mompreneur on Fire - Coffee and Phone

4. Re-connect 

Re-connect with your kids.  With your family.  With your tried and true, trusted friendships.  With yourself.  

You did it.  You took action and now that should be celebrated.   Whatever your outcome, it was intentional and conscious.  Time will only tell how things will settle but at least you are putting your best foot forward, contentiously for yourself and your family.

Our kids are the most important things to us.  Even if we are distracted and working hard.  Even if we feel our time should be spent differently, I firmly believe that by kindly connecting your family to those whose values matches yours is of utmost importance.

Hard decisions become easy decisions when you know they are the right ones.


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How a Kids' Value Lesson Turned into a Brilliant Product

Do you love listening to Podcasts?  Or do you not really know what one is quite yet?? Let me make it easy for you.  It’s perfect for you - the super-busy-always-running-around woman that you are.  Pull up the podcast on your phone, plug-in your headphones and listen as you workout, do your errands or even the dishes late night! 

CLICK on the LINK Below & Go

OR another easy way you can pull up the Mompreneur on Fire podcast via the Podcast App that is already. on. your. iPhone. 

Mompreneur on Fire - Brilliant Product

Today’s podcast just warms my heart.  Kristen Littell from WeeWork For Good started with a mission in mind and that was to teach her kids understanding and compassion.  One family activity - of throwing her kids in the car - lead to another and another and another.  Her kids saw "the other side" and they all wanted to do something about it.  They wanted to help and so they started to organize pay-it-forward parties.  One event led to another and another and another.  This family activity grew and grew so many more could benefit from their generosity.  The community-wide activities then led to launching a non-profit and in this past year a for-profit business was created so that one hand can support the other.  

It’s what we all want, right? 

To teach our kids. 

and to work with Purpose.

Yet, how and when do teach those life lessons?  Kristen is leading the charge in helping us teach our children these oh-so-very important lessons. 

Mompreneur on Fire - Kristen Littell

You’re going to love this podcast and hear what this mom of 5 is pressing to do. We talk about many things including:

  • How punishing her kids became a family activity they all enjoyed
  • When everyone gets excited what happens
  • What it means to do the work you love 
  • The process of building a Foundation and a Social Good Company so everyone can benefit 
  • How her experience prepared her for today's business
  • Her Mentors and whose most honest with her
  • How she manages building a business and prioritizing her family
  • What her days look like at home and at work

UPDATES

  • What did you want to be when you grew up? 
    • I wanted to have my own business. At the time I wasn't sure what that would be but was always dreaming of the different things I could do and what that might look like if successful.  My Mom always said keep dreaming and you will eventually land somewhere.  It just took me a while. :)
  • What was your first job?
    • My first job was cold calling for a Lawn Care company when I was 16.  Yes afraid to admit that was when text messaging, emailing etc.. didn't exist.  We would use a phone book and one by one make the calls. LOL think I learned how to take rejection at a young age but to keep calling/trying because occasionally someone would say YES.

  • What are your go-to books and apps?
    • Right now most of my time reading is to educate myself on something to help WeeWork grow.  I read a lot of business and parenting blogs,  but when on vacation I'll take a quick easy book that I can read in a couple days.  One of my recent favorites is a book called 'Scarred Beautiful' written by a friend.
  • What are your favorite gifts to give??
    • My favorite gifts right now are either a wine candle and a matching bottle of wine or LUSH Cosmetics bath products.  LUSH was WeeWork's first Corporate partner and empowered us to grow. I always want to support them and their brand and I love their products. My kids too!


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Don't Panic! You Can Be a Mom & Productive This Summer!

Mom life can get crazy and hectic, really fast. During the summer, the kids are home and you still have work to do! You need to keep them kiddos occupied and have a little fun, so what now?? In order to have a fun-filled summer, you need to get organized and remember not. to. panic!

Mompreneur on Fire - Don't Panic

Summer is here and are you afraid?  I am. I need to be productive.  I need to get stuff done!  

And yet my kids are out of school.  

Yes, they will be in camps here and there but they will be out of school. 

And yes, they understand that "Mommy works too." Actually they are quite good at being quiet when an important phone call comes in or I have to take a meeting.  It does take a moment of conversation to calm them down and get focused on coloring pages and stickers beforehand but that's okay.  And really at these times they only whisper for me to print out a Belle Coloring Page instead of demanding it over and over again.  Please tell me you get those distractions too!

But that's mom life.  I can't keep their little bodies still and I can't keep their little bodies quiet. Nor do I want to - frankly. 

So in order to have a fun-filled summer, I need to get organized and remember not. to. panic!

Here's the plan: 

Big Picture Planning.  

I am the type of person that needs to plan things out.  I am always jealous of the people that on-a-whim will take a drive up the coast or something like that.  Or go bowling on a Saturday.  I am always baffled and live in amazement at how they can do that.  Ummm, but don't you have to go to the store? Or have take your kids to soccer practice?  If I don't write down what and when we will do an activity, I promise you this, it won't get done.  

So I have made a Big Picture Plan for the summer.  This is what I want to do with my family.  This is what I want to do with my work.  And this is how healthy I want to live.  (Ugh - add in more workouts!) 

Calendar Blocking. 

Do you do it?  I just started, like, really started and find it is beyond eye-opening! 

I started by putting all the activities I need to accomplish for one week into my Google Calendar on Sunday as a placeholder.  Then I ensured all the girls' activities are in place and any prior scheduled meetings set in stone.  Finally, I distributed the activities placed on Sunday throughout the week.  I fill up my “free” time and calendar block out the activities I must complete.  

Oh. My. Goodness.  It's eye-opening. 

It's completely fascinating!  And admittedly a work in progress.  I will use the calendar as the resource it is.  I will schedule out what work I have and what I want to do with the girls and then  

Ordering. 

I have all but given up on cooking during the week.  I dream of family dinners and am happy that we get a few during the week but life is just too busy right now.  That's where I have thrown in the towel.  I have considered ordering one of those services like Blue Apron but we have allergies in the family, I am sure my kids will be picky and they need to eat on the fly.  Please don't judge, every now and then I return to my ideal life and envision my kids eat like the French Kids Who Eat Everything. But they don't.  Not this summer.  We are not there, quite yet.  

Anyway, so I order.  And I realize I don't have to order Chinese or Pizza.  I can order a salad.  Actually, my current favorite salad is from Fresh Brothers.  My kids can eat that or get pizza.  I always have Trader Joe's meatballs on hand and fresh fruit.  So, I am happy to order dinner during the week and make dinner on the weekends!

No preparation.  No worries.   

Hard-Core Prioritizing. 

Is it me or do you slightly roll your eyes when someone talks about prioritizing? Doesn't it kind of sound like that person has too much time on their hands?  I mean sure - we all know how to prioritize to some degree.  We all wake up, maybe do a workout, get the kiddos off and to school, start our workday, etc etc etc.  And we finish out the day as we always do.   Sure there's things we can do better but in general, it's a good life right?

I am there with you. 

Actually I love to "prioritize" because it gives me another reason to officially organize something else. Truth is more often than not LIFE gets in the way and my prioritized lists are out the window.  

That's the truth behind prioritization, right?

But here's the thing.  Or here's my thing.  I have learned, in order to accomplish anything, you must hard-core prioritize.  There must be some non-negotiables.  Just like any challenge you take on, if you are truly interested in making a healthy lifestyle change, then you will commit.  In my case, if I truly want to do X, Y, or Z no matter how busy or tired I am, I have to commit and press forward.

It's that simple and that hard.   Hard-core prioritization and setting some non-negotiables. 

Being Present & Having Fun. 

Okay, put away the eye roll.  It's true right?  We need to be present to find joy and to feel grateful.  That, I too have to remember, will be the difference maker in the summer.  

It's easy to get wrapped up in the day, the work, and what you have to get done.  

Again, I am guilty of it too.  

But if I take walks and shake off the energy.  If I smile even when it's forced, change occurs.  Joy comes in.  I want my family to know the good times as well as the hard work times.   So this is my plan to be productive, stay connected, all while balancing work and family.

I'm curious, what do you do to survive a summer?  How do you stay productive when there unlimited distractions?


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