why you need to let go of mom guilt

This is why:

Listen. We all have those moments where we mess up. We drop the ball, we yell, we get short tempered, we mess up, and all of that. We have moments where we wish we would have done something or responded differently and all of that.

Don’t let those moments define you.

Instead. Let it go.

You can learn from it. I’ve learned that I make a big deal out of things that don’t matter. I’ve learned that sometimes I just need to slow down and listen. I’ve learned to have extra patience. I’ve learned. But I’m not hard on myself for the mistakes and all of that. Or at least I’m not as hard on myself.

So my challenge? Work to let it go. You see the mom guilt keeps us stuck. It makes is so that we don’t see the awesome in the moment. It makes us worry and wonder if we’re enough. Trust me, you’re enough. What you do everyday makes a difference. A life changing, kid raising, loving your family difference.

There is freedom in letting that mom guilt go by the curb and you instead just focusing on today.

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So today? Today the challenge is to let go of that mom guilt. And to just be awesome.

Carry on brave mother.

Carry on.

the real mantra of motherhood

I’m exhausted.

Most days. It’s become a fact that in my house if I sit down for more than seven minutes that the chances that I will fall asleep wherever I may be are exponentially high. If I was a betting person, other than playing the quarter slots and always losing, I’d make sure to bet that I’d fall asleep just like my son Samuel does in the hallway while I work. Yep, that’s him. Sleeping while I write. Just so you know, he was supposed to be in his room.

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I give. I work. I love.

That’s kind of the mantra of motherhood.

Give. Work. Love.

It’s the mantra I try to tell myself as I stumble down the stairs in the morning waiting for my coffee to brew. Somedays it seems to brew so slowly that instead of waiting I challenge myself to try to get all the dishes unloaded before it’s done. It’s this race between me and the machine.

So silly, really. But so true an illustration about life.

It’s this race from the moment one wakes until one slumbers. Race to here to there on hyper speed. And sometimes the race doesn’t feel like one is racing. Sometimes it can feel slow and tedious and seem to draw out forever (any parent who has gone throw potty-training can raise their hands at this one. By far my least favorite weeks of parenting.) And yet, at the end of the day when slumber hits you’re exhausted.

And sleep? I’ve forgotten what it’s like to really sleep. Lately sleep is just this sort blip in time that I get if I’m really lucky. Most often it’s work, then sleep for a bit, then waking. And if you’re like me sleep is punctuated with these moments of wake ups – from little ones, thunder, and the anxiety that you’re forgetting something.

Which even if you were doesn’t help at three am. Especially if you’re awake with that cute 4.5 year old.

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Sometimes I find myself short with the kids because I’m tired. I so want to be the good, patient, and the always loving mom, but alas the work wears me out. So I get tired and snappy and throw my hands in the air and exclaim I don’t care. have a popsicle and then just go to bed. And most times they’re unhappy because they wanted the grape. Or the kiwi – which, in case you are wondering, is what Samuel calls lime.

I so love them.

I know you love your kids too.

I know you love them on those short days when you’re temper flares a bit. I know you love them when you just want them to go to bed. I know you love them even when they exasperate you like crazy. I know you love them when they can’t find their shoes and you’ve told them 83 times to put them in the box by the door. I know you love them when they don’t really want to talk with you.  I know you love them when you work and give and love.

Don’t let you beat yourself up for those exhausted tired days. Don’t be hard on yourself because it seems like you’re not getting anything done (read 10 Tips for the To-do list). Don’t go to bed worrying that you’re enough when it seems like you’re doing the same thing. Don’t overlook you.

I really want you to know that you’re not alone. Like really know this. Like know that you’re not the only mom that looks at those little people and loves them but is also so tired.

Not one bit.

I know that sometimes motherhood is a lonely place. I know that it may seem like everyone else has it all together. Listen. We’re all in this together. Even if we don’t let on that we are in the same spot. We all deal with sick kids, relationship stuff, and that no no sleep. Here’s the truth: I don’t think anyone can get through motherhood without giving, working, and loving. And with that comes a great big dose of being tired and exhausted.  Tired and exhausted is such a normal part of motherhood. You can’t prep for it, you can’t stock up on extra sleep, you just kind of learn to deal with it.

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And in it you become brave and awesome and the mother you were meant to be. You learn when to pick your battles and when to spend $3 on gum at the gas station just because. You learn that bedtime doesn’t always need to be on time and that shoes should most of the time be on the right feet. You learn that cooking macaroni and cheese from a box is normal and that sometimes the answer is to go through the drive thru at Starbucks – for you. You learn to not care so much what everyone else is doing but rather start to focus on you and what your kids need.

You’re probably not the mother that you thought you’d be back when you started the mom journey.  You’re not your own mother. You’re not like the mother next door. Or the mom at Target. Or on television. Or at church. Or at work. But you’re you. Listen, there is something really truly and profoundly beautiful about you. Even with the mistakes, tired, not feeling confident, or feeling like the best you.

There’s only one of you for your kids.

Don’t dismiss that beauty of that statement. Embrace it. Embrace how they love you even when you mess up. Embrace that even if they seem to hate you that deep down you know that you’re their mom and they love you. Embrace you. Embrace the funny things you do, the things that just you and your kids get, and how hard you try every single day.

The messy imperfect trying you.

Motherhood is an extra shot of espresso crazy giving of you.

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The mantra of motherhood isn’t about do more, be more, and all of that. The mantra is really simple.

Be you. You give. You work. You love. 

That’s not small.

That’s a life changing helping babes turn into adults thing.

From one exhausted racing from the moment she wakes up mom to you.

And if you’re still wondering about that exhausted part watch this short video on why you need to let go of mom guilt. Trust me. You don’t need it. At all.

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For more reminders about why motherhood matters check out my my dear mom letter ebook - it’s full of letters reminding you why you matter and why you’re not failing and honestly, why mothers are absolutely amazing.

10 Tips for the Days When the To-Do List Drives You Crazy

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Tip 1: Don’t let it drive you crazy. It’s just a to-do list. Stuff to complete. Completing the to-do list isn’t a measure of success. In fact, sometimes allowing yourself grace to do your best is more awesome than racing through a never ending to-do list and driving yourself batty with work. Life is too short to allow overwhelm from a list of things to do. You know why? Because for the rest of your life you’ll have a to-do list. Think of it as a guide. Not a ruler.

Tip 2: Write a list. I know, I know, silly, right? But, listen. I’m notorious for having the to-do list in my head. And when it’s in my head and not down on paper it can become even more overwhelming. It’s kind of like with my kids – when they imagine how scary something can be – like the hypothetical monster in the closet (where does that come from) – it’s way worse than actually getting up, opening the door, and realizing it’s just a pile of clothes. Because, yes, sometimes my kids go through their clothes, pull them down, and pile them up (just keeping it real). So write it down. Plan your attack.

Tip 3: Step back. If the to-do list is threatening your mood and you’re overwhelmed and not knowing where to start so you find yourself doing nothing but browsing pinterest or staring mindlessly out the window trying to avoid the reality of tasks then this is the time to step back. For me it’s going to Starbucks, calling a friend, taking a shower, letting the kids watch a show on Netflix while I write the list, and so on. Give yourself just a bit of space to reset your mood. Mindset matters. And maybe it’s just packing up the wild kids, going out with your bff, and giving yourself a moment to reset.

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Tip 4: Prioritize the to-do list. I first started doing this with my Blogging Concentrated business partner, Dan R. Morris. We were working on lists and had this gigantic to-do list and we split it into money making to-do and other to-do. Having a focus and trajectory for each item really helped us know where to spend time. So I do that in my house. You can too. Part of it might be “getting the house in order so I can breathe” to-do items or items that you need to do with your kids and so on. Giving things a rank will truly help.

Tip 5: Don’t put laundry on the list. Or if you do don’t ever think you’ll cross it off and complete it. I know, I know, I’ve written that before, but it really needs to be reiterated. Laundry is like breathing. It never ever ends. As long as there are people in your home and you walking around there will be laundry. Certain items just need to be part of the rhythm of life. Laundry, cooking, etc…

Tip 6: Get your kids involved. Sometimes. And sometimes just get them busy. How’s that for a tip? Here’s the truth: sometimes it can help to have your kids help you while you work on that list. Have them run the toys to the rooms where they need to go. Let them wash walls. Help fold clothes, etc… But, in the same breath, know that there are other times where you simply need to get them busy with a task and work hard. That is okay. Not every moment can be a teaching moment of household and to-do list management. Sometimes you just need the moments to get your head back on straight and some of the to-do list done.

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Tip 7: Identify overwhelming triggers. In the video that I’ve attached I talked about how my kitchen island is a trigger for the permission for a mess to happen in my home. Because I know that when the island is messy that it leads to other messes I make a point of working to keep it clean. At all times. It’s about me having that breath in my day – space to look at and think that I’m on top of things. So work to identify trigger areas that could be adding to the overwhelm. Put those at the top of the to-do list.

Tip 8: Focus on the next thing. Or like I always like to say do one thing and do it well. This one is so critical for me the queen of multi-tasking. I am busy. Plain and simple I am crazy busy (had to add that adjective). Sometimes instead of focusing on one task I’ll split my attention into doing a dozen. Which is normal as a mom. But, on the days when the to-do list is crazy I also focus on one item on my to-do list while expecting interruptions (watch this video on why that is important). So maybe it’s getting the kitchen clean and in the midst of doing that I tie shoes, make lunch, answer the phone, respond to an email, but as far as the concrete to-do list my focus is on the kitchen. And then I move to the next thing. Trust me. This helps.

Tip 9: Keep perspective. See the big picture. The other day I had to go to the grocery store to pick up plastic lunch baggies and juice boxes (sigh, forgot about Music Camp for my boys). I needed to hurry. As we were there my almost 7 year old, Elijah, saw one of those M&M statues. He wanted his picture taken with it. I was in a hurry and kept going. He wanted a picture. I then realized that me taking 1-2 minutes taking his picture with it was worth WAY more than me racing 1-2 minutes in the store. Keep perspective. Big picture.

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Tip 10: Cross out those completed things. Oh yeah. Cross them out. X them. Highlight them. Call a friend and tell them. But celebrate what you DO complete. It’s way too easy to go to bed at night thinking that you didn’t accomplish anything. Don’t let a to-do list define you in that way. See everything that you did complete. Maybe it’s one thing. Maybe you got the dishes away. But you did it. So record what you finish – it helps with the perspective – and helps motivate.

There you go. Ten tips to help with the daunting to-do list days. The video above is from my YouTube channel where we’re going to be discussing tips and tricks for those crazy motherhood days. Hope you enjoy that as well.

And if you’d like to continue the discussion on motherhood and being awesome (because that is what moms are) connect with us on the Finding Joy Blog Facebook page  <– that’s the awesome link. It’s only real. Not perfect. But real crazy cool moms. Like you.

why you’re worth more than the perfect selfie

I’ll admit it. I’ve done the selfie thing.

Sit in the car or at the table, get the kids behind, look up and smile. Try again. One of them was looking away. Try again. The shadow on my face was wrong. Again. And again. And again.

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There’s this article about restaurant turnover time in the last ten years and that it’s an hour longer due to our phone use. Part of the time? It’s the group pic. Taken again and again.

But the selfie?

It’s got me thinking.

Why do I post selfies? Why does anyone post selfies? Or a stream of selfies?

It’s so different than pics of my kids. Or the sunrise. Or birthdays together. Holidays. You with your diploma. You with your family. You at Disneyworld.  Or something interesting. This isn’t about those pics that celebrate life and moments and friends together. This is different.

Sometimes I think selfies seem to be the need to be needed.

Put a selfie up and get likes, comments, love, and attention from others online. Get others to look at you. Get others to tell you that you look great. Or insert whatever comment the selfie is trying to create.

I realized that in some ways it was like a need to try to validate self.

I went and browsed Facebook and saw pic after pic after pic. They seemed to scream –  Look at me. Look how wonderful I am. Or how sexy. Or how beautiful. Happy. Laughing. And insert whatever reason anyone has for posting a flood of selfies.

Now, I’m not saying they’re intrinsically bad. That’s not my thing.

What is the intent behind a stream of self picture after self picture after self picture? Is it about sharing you with the world? Or is it a need for attention?

It’s an interesting dichotomy, honestly. We live in a world where we celebrate the power of self. We look at those who overcome and push through and carry on. And yet, yet there is this trend of needing to spend time taking pictures of ourselves and then putting them up. Instead of just being together we now have the need to selfie our time together to share with everyone. Get in the car with friends and snap a picture and post it. Lay suntanning and look at the sky and take a picture. Make duck faces together and post. Give the sexy look and post.


Humbly, at least that is what I realized about me. I realized that sometimes I was putting selfies up so that I would temporarily feel good about me. Do others really care that I’m in the car or all of that? Do they need to see pics of me with the kids smiling again and again? Do I want worth based on likes on a picture that has a filter over it? What do I want my daughters to know about selfies? What do I want my sons to know about selfies?

I want them to realize that most times selfies aren’t a reflection of self. I want them to realize that sometimes it’s a zillion shots to get the perfect selfie.

I don’t want my girls to think that they need to take pic after pic after pic of themselves and base their worth on trying to look sexy, beautiful, provocative, crazy, and all of that. Their worth, your worth, isn’t based on a 2 second shot that is instagrammed and put online.

Your worth is about the things you do, how hard you try, and just being you. Not how you look.

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We all grow old. We’re going to remember moments, places, and things we do. Probably not the perfect selfie shot.

So for the selfie loving me and world and culture – I don’t know the answer. I know that I’ve read articles about the more selfies one puts up the more unrelatable and unlikeable that person is perceived. Isn’t that crazy? Instead of creating connections with others the constant stream of selfies is actually distancing the selfie taker from others.

Does it mean to stop taking selfies? I don’t think so. In fact – no. That’s not the answer. I think it’s fun with friends to take that pic together. You run a race and hit the finish line and celebrate. Your with your love. You conquered a dream. Your sharing your work. It’s Father’s Day and your with your dad. Your kindergartener just won an award.  One of my favorite selfies is of me in Haiti surrounded by Haitian children. Or of me with my daughter after she shot a wedding.  Sometimes this is how I get in the pic with my kids. But pic after pic after pic after pic?? Maybe that’s where you step back, reflect, and ask yourself why you need that picture shared.

For me it was trying to fill a hole of worth.

And I’ve realized I don’t want people to love me for how I look or what I’m doing at the moment.

I want them to love me for me.

This isn’t a judgment against those who are selfie crazy. This is, perhaps, a moment to step back and to look at the reason why the selfies are flooding your stream. Is it really about you sharing to the world your hair or your coffee moment or all of that? Or is it about you looking for the validation from others?

I figured it out for me.

I think that selfies can be an empowering thing. They can celebrate victory, they can show strength, they can share love, and all of that. That is awesome. Don’t stop taking them. Just think about them. The why behind them. Is it about sharing awesome with the world? Or is it about you needing to fill a hole in your life? Or to get validation?

You’re worth way more than the perfect selfie.

That’s all.

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10 Ways to Burn Out as a Mom (and how to avoid them)

These ten things contribute to mom burnout. We don’t want burnout. We want awesome. When we know the triggers we can learn how to avoid them. Here’s the list awesome mom. 

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1. Not taking time to rest. Listen sweet mom. I know that you have a to-do list that rivals google (I used to give the example of an encyclopedia, but quickly discovered that dated me and my 39.5 years old that I am. So now, now it’s simple google.) I know that you have more to keep up on than there is time in the day, but listen, if you don’t rest you will burn out. There is no ifs ands or buts about this statement. If you have little children try to rest when they rest. Seriously. There is no shame, guilt, or any of that with resting. When you rest you take care of you which makes you better for them.

2. Clinging to mom guilt. It’s there. I know it. We’ve got mom guilt over the times we’ve yelled when we said we never would. There is mom guilt for working or staying at home. There’s mom guilt over not doing a birthday party. There’s mom guilt for skipping bedtime and the routine (that one – I say – skip it now and then). But that mom guilt? It doesn’t need to be there. The mom guilt can lead to perfectionism which can lead to burn out. There is no perfect mom. Even if Pinterest gives us the illusion that there might be.

3. Not letting your kids be kids. Stand up straight, get back here, make your bed, no talking, don’t run off. Do you say those things? Don’t make a mess, don’t play with the glitter (ouch, tough one there for me), and on and on… Let your kids be kids. And for the times that they throw a tantrum in Target remember that you are not alone in that. Every single mom goes through those moments where they think where in the world did that child come from? So no guilt for those times either. Just let your kids be kids. Kids make messes. There will be handprints on the windows and the walls. Marker stains on the tables. Those things are normal.

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4. Being over scheduled. Remember point one? I know you can choose tons of activities for you and your kids. But try not to do that. Please. An over scheduled life can only last for so long until the stress kicks in. Not just for you, but also for your kids. Sometimes less is more even if it seems counter culture. I recently read an article about kids and sports and being over scheduled and not diversifying their activities. Sometimes the craziness doesn’t allow space for the wonder moments of childhood.

5. Not accepting help. When you have a new baby I want you to accept help. I want you to say thank you and take the meals, cleaning, help with the other kids. Accepting help makes you a better giver. But, beyond that, I want you to be okay with both asking and accepting help. Motherhood was not meant to be a solo journey. Work together with your friends to divide duties, driving, and such. And when you need help so thank you.

6. Not giving yourself grace – meals, house, friends, expectations. Just like I always write – you’ll mess up. There is no perfect. You’ll forget to pack lunch for school or your kid’s clothes will be stained or you won’t have boots that fit. Those things happen. Your teenager could rebel, your house could be a mess (even though it was perfect 4.5 minutes earlier), and you might not want to make dinner. Real, real, real. Give yourself grace. Please?

7. Having too much stuff. Stuff equals management. Management equals stress. Stress equals burnout. I probably don’t need to go into more detail about this one, do I? Less is more, moms. Less is more. When a toy comes in then let one go. You want to be a mom. Not a manager of stuff.

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8. Ignoring your feelings. I’m fine. That works sometimes. But all the time? No. If you need a friend or help or someone to listen to then reach out. Our feelings teach us about ourselves. When you feel overwhelm it’s an indicator that something in your life needs to shift. Maybe there is too much on your schedule. Maybe you need to just get outside and start to laugh again. Yes, yes, yes, laugh. It’s way too easy to be so busy that we forget to nurture ourselves. What is something that you love to do? Do that. Who makes you happy? Call them. Hug your kids.

9. Trying to suck the awesomeness out of every single moment. I think when that happens we get those creeping nagging thoughts thinking we’re not doing enough. Like we’re failing even when we’re trying. You know, trying isn’t failing. (Read Dear Mom Who Feels Like She is Failing for more thoughts.) Here’s the deal. You know it and I know it. Most of life isn’t filled with awesome Hallmark moments. Accept that. But also leave space in your day and posture to have those moments. Like letting the kids be kids and serving breakfast for dinner. Or staying up late. Or seeing a midnight premiere. Those are life moments.

10. Forgetting to be grateful and seeing the gigantic enormous life picture. What are you going to remember when you’re old? What will wish you had spent more time doing and less time doing? Those are things to try to spend time on. And sometimes it’s working hard and providing. Sometimes it’s cleaning even when they’re clamoring for another story. And sometimes it’s simply saying no or yes and sitting with them just being. Be grateful, sweet mother. Even if life isn’t perfect. For those days when you feel burnout I challenge you to write a list. A simple list. Three things. For two minutes. A Facebook update. Call a friend. But I simply want you to look at your day and not only discover what was wonderful but also what you did right.

Burnout oftentimes leaves then. In fact, gratitude washes away much of the burnout.

For another favorite list post read 10 Things Happy Moms Don’t Do. 10ThingsHappyMomsDon'tDoFINAL

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want finding joy in your email (and to get my ebook 40 Motherhood Tips)? join here.

what moms need to see.

Today I held ice to a cut underneath the eye of my four year old while he held his head in my chest and sobbed over his lost battle with the handles on the television cabinet.

Today I worked, answered emails, designed graphics, made phone calls, and uttered in a minute to that same four year old. And then I stood up, found him, looked him in the eye, and told him that he was super duper important to me and that he can always come ask me a question even if it’s during the hours when I work.

Today I made dinner and washed dishes with food that had decided to form a permanent bond with the surface. I listened as there was grumbling over chicken with Italian seasoning and that no one really liked the broccoli even with extra cheese.

Today I found clothes in my washing machine that I forgot to move to the dryer. So I added more detergent and ran them again as I tried to find matches for socks that mysteriously seemed to have vanished.

Today I stood at the bottom of my stairs and surveyed the sea of legos that was covering the floor upstairs and wondered to myself why in the world so much money had been spent on items that at times drove me crazy.

Today I didn’t make my bed. I wore my hair in a ponytail. I forgot to get the mail until it was dark and it was so freezing outside and I slipped walking down my icy sloped driveway.

Today I had coffee. Two cups. Okay three.

And I’ll do similar tomorrow. Well, maybe not the three cups of coffee. But, you know, kind of the same.

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And the next day. And the next. And the next. And the next.

You will too.

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