Why is it so hard to ask for help?

I sat with my phone in hand, staring at the text message app with tears streaming down my face. My son was due in a couple of weeks, and all I needed to do was ask a friend to accompany me to a doctor’s appointment. I was scared to go alone, and I couldn’t type the words without bawling my eyes out.

Why on earth was it so hard to ask for help?

At the end of my pregnancy, things started getting complicated as he was still breech and the due date was creeping closer. My midwife was sending me to see an OB. My husband was out of town for work, and all my family members had work schedules they couldn’t adjust. I had to weigh out which fear was harder to swallow, going to this doctor’s appointment alone or asking for help.

In the end, I had three appointments where I had to ask for different friends to join me. Each time I cried through sending the request.

Since then, I’ve become acutely aware of how hard it is for me to ask for help.

It manifests in many ways. Piling all the tasks for work projects onto my list and having the hardest time asking other people to manage some of the weight.

Hearing the request of “let me know if you need anything,” and never letting anyone know when I need something.

Taking on more than I can handle, and then letting things slip through the cracks.

And so much more.

Two years ago, sitting with my phone in my hand while the tears fell, was a cross point of three fears. The fear of lack of control, the fear of rejection, and the fear of vulnerability.

I remember being most scared that they may say no. It’s as if I was attaching my self-worth to whether they saw my request as a priority in their lives. All three times I had to ask for a companion I started it with “do you have plans on ____.” That way if they were busy I could move on to the next option without having to hear no.

It became obvious to me that I like to be seen as strong and independent. I desperately wanted everything to be okay and for me to be able to rock these appointments solo like it was all no big deal. In asking, I had to admit to them that I was very scared. I had to admit I wasn’t okay. I had to admit I needed a support system to get through this experience.

The other fear was rooted in a lack of control. I had researched all the birth plan options. All the best providers and locations. All the Plan B’s. All of the “if this, then this” scenarios. But I didn’t map this one out. Having a breech baby and changing literally every detail of the birth plan the last couple weeks of the pregnancy wasn’t in the playbook. I felt vulnerable. I felt unprepared. I felt highly uncomfortable. Needing help just added to the vulnerable state I was in.

Since this experience, I have tried practicing asking for help more often. It’s still really hard for me, but at least now I don’t cry through the asks. Here are a few of the things I have learned:

  • Don’t be the friend that says “If you need anything let me know.” Most people don’t even know what they need and if they do, it’s so far out of their comfort zone to communicate it. It will be so hard for them to ask you to help with something, that they will probably stay silent. Just show up. Just do something.
  • The more you practice asking for help, the easier it becomes to recognize the old habits that aren’t serving you. Now when the overwhelm starts to hit, I have a much stronger radar for “I probably need to invite someone into this process to help me carry this load.”
  • Asking for help is a sign of strength. I believe one of the reasons it’s so challenging is it makes us feel weak to ask for help. In reality, it takes great courage.
  • Most people really like to help, they just don’t know how. Letting them know how you could use some help will empower them to feel wanted and needed. Being direct about our needs can actually be helpful to our friends and family.

Thanks for making it to the end of this blog post! Two options to keep going if you want more:

Looking to create more peace in your life? Then I highly recommend downloading the free E-book from my site, Create Peace. Just drop your email below and it will be sent to you.

If you enjoy reading these posts, then drop your email into the box at the footer of the website and you will get an email from me each week with a new post.

Don’t should on me

Yesterday at church I was talking to my priest and mentioned that I’ve been coming as much as I can, but I’m juggling a lot right now. It was obvious she could hear the guilt in my undertone, and she quickly reminded me that the world doesn’t revolve around how we spend our Sunday mornings, and she was delighted to see me whenever I could make it.

It was like she lifted a weight off my shoulders.

It flashed me back to a conversation several years ago. I was invited to a girls night out with a new friend, and I ended up sitting across from her bad ass entrepreneur friend. I was struggling with what to order because they didn’t have a single thing on the menu I wanted. She said to me, “Oh…I see what’s happening here. You’re still catching other people’s guilt.”

Huh?

She said that she stopped participating in the guilt game. There are people who walk around throwing guilt on others, and there are people who walk around catching guilt. Once she realized it was happening, she stopped participating. If there is not something on the menu I want, I don’t HAVE to order something. This concept was too much to wrap my mind around in the moment so I settled on a hot tea, deciding that passing on any food items was enough outside my comfort zone.

I’ve never seen this delightful human again, but she helped change me that night. She told me that when someone starts “shoulding” all over her (telling her what she “should” be doing) she just smiles and says “are you trying to make me feel guilty?”

Since then, there have been a couple times that I’ve felt extremely uncomfortable as someone tried to throw guilt on me, and I decided to test the idea. I smiled and said “are you trying to make me feel guilty right now?” Bam. Conversation ended. It freaking worked.

It’s been almost four years since that night, and I have come so far in managing my guilt. I realized not only did I frequently catch others’ guilt, but I was also regularly projecting onto others as well.

The most common occurrence I’ve noticed of this usually involves the word “should.” What I/you SHOULD be doing or SHOULD NOT be doing. Or maybe SHOULD HAVE done by now. Guilt is usually at the core of this phrase. When I hear the word “should” in my own thoughts I try to ask “according to who?” Often times it’s a result of the comparison game or an unfounded belief system.

A great replacement when having these thoughts or speaking these words is to exchange should with could. “I could have gone, but I chose not to because….” I love using could because it returns the power where it belongs. It gives me back my personal responsibility to do what’s best for my situation, and not what did or didn’t work for others. 

Obviously, I will be working on this for the rest of my life. I mean, just yesterday I was apparently concerned with the fact I thought the priest was thinking I “should” be showing up in the pew more often.

If you are still playing in the game of guilt throwing and catching, I hope you find your path to freedom as well. Just because it’s happening all around us, doesn’t mean we have to participate.

Lower the Standards



We are two weeks into our 12 week course Create Peace, and I’m seeing a reoccurring pattern that is extremely common with the women I coach.

I find myself encouraging them to lower the standards.

This doesn’t seem like what you would expect from a coaching conversation and yet it happens constantly.

What I have noticed is that the women I work with have this innate drive to improve, but the expectations often don’t match the reality.

In a recent coaching conversation, a mom shared with me that she is already waking up at 4:15am to get some quiet time alone before the family starts waking up. In an effort to improve one of her spokes, she was looking for more time in the day and said “I’m struggling with the fact that I can’t wake up any earlier than I already am.”

Woah. Stop right there. Let’s flip the script.

A full night’s rest is an extremely high priority that I always encourage people to rearrange their lives around. Let’s not adjust there.

I shared with her that I look at my priorities and habits alongside each other constantly. I also measure them against the season of life I’m in and what’s realistic.

Currently, I’m in a season where I am not carving out time for a traditional workout, and I refuse to feel any shame about it. My kids are early risers so they wake me up in the mornings and it’s go-go until everyone is at work and school. I pick them up and we go straight into dinner and bedtime routines. By 8:00pm I have my quiet time before I crash. I choose to use that time for writing, coaching, quality time with my husband, social time with friends, self-care, or the 1,000 tasks weighing on my mind.

However, health is still a priority to me. So what that spoke looks like right now is I got a standing desk at work. I jump on the trampoline with my kids to get my heart rate up. We go on walks in the neighborhood and I try to add in some jogging to have a little cardio. I am regularly lifting my 35 pound toddler.

In addition, I pay very close attention to what I’m eating and am maintaining my health through good food choices, which is 80% of it anyway. I do not budge on prioritizing my water intake and my sleep.

I know eventually my seasons will shift and I won’t have a two year old who always wants to crawl on me. One day, I will return to my love of a structured yoga practice and running triathlons. One day I will be in fantastic shape. I will enjoy the rewards and feeling that come with a fit body. In the meantime, I am releasing the shame around these thunder thighs.


But right now, in this season, balancing these priorities, I am not trying to be superwoman. For some women, their workout is a non-negotiable and that’s fantastic. My health is a non-negotiable, but I’ve just had to find ways to stay healthy that look a little different right now.

To bring it back around to the 4:15 a.m. mom, after we talked it through, what she needed wasn’t more hours in the day. What she needed was to tweak the hours she has to be most efficient. She went from setting a habit goal around how early she rises to looking at her habits around social media and setting goals to prevent her from getting sucked into the scroll.

Another client had to lower the standards by releasing the idea that she had to complete this 12 week course in 12 weeks. It remains online indefinitely, so she is now looking to get through the material over the next 6 months instead because life is throwing her some curve balls.

I regularly find myself helping people slow down, take a deep breath and adjust their expectations.

May we all find the grace with our lives and our circumstances to set expectations that match the capacity we have to do and give in our current reality.


Grace and peace my friends,


Sophia Hyde


Thanks for making it to the end of this blog post! Two options to keep going if you want more:

Looking to create more peace in your life? Then I highly recommend downloading the free E-book from my site, Create Peace. Just drop your email below and it will be sent to you.

If you enjoy reading these posts, then drop your email into the box at the footer of the website and you will get an email from me each week with a new post.

When Friendship Hurts

 

In private conversations with mothers, I’ve heard the exact same story over and over again. A new mother wondering what happened with her closest friendships. It’s a painful story I resonate with in deep parts of my soul, but also one I’ve finally come to a peaceful place with and feel healed enough to talk about.

As most of us experience, a majority of friendships are for a season. The season that the two of you share the bond that brought you together. It could have been classmates, coworkers, a church community, a project you were both working on, a neighbor, or a plethora of other commonalities. I came to accept that it was normal to grow apart from some amazing people I shared life with because our seasons no longer aligned. I have a fiercely loyal personality, so this was a hard pill for me to swallow in my twenties.

But none of that could prepare me for the changes that motherhood brought on.

Overtime we develop certain friendships that we believe are our ride-or-dies. Relationships that can withstand any hurdle and are just as intimate as family. The friendship is bigger than our geographic location, career changes, and personal life changes. But as I have experienced, and so many women I have I spoken with, sometimes those are seasons too. When those shift, they catch you by the most surprise and leave you feeling wounded.

Becoming a mother shifts your entire world in a moment. Once that child enters the world, it’s like an earthquake. Everything centers around keeping this human alive. If you are a mother that also chooses to (or needs to) go back to work, that becomes your max capacity. Keeping you and that child alive, fed and bathed while maintaining a career becomes all you have the width and breadth to manage. Your little spare time will most likely go to self-care or a rare date night with your significant other.

When I had my first daughter, on top of the usual adjustments, we also were in the middle of a personal life crisis. We lost our home, moved in with my parents and then moved when she was two weeks old and tried to set up a new home with both of us working from home and taking care of a newborn. It was overwhelming.

When she was about six months old, I picked my head up and realized that during that very challenging season there were some friends that showed up more than I could have expected. They helped us move, brought over a meal, just came and sat with me to be company, even mowed our lawn when my husband left for a month for work when she was five months old. And then I realized there were some people who I thought were my inner circle that had not even come to meet her.

I’m not a woman that keeps a scorecard. I always give the benefit of the doubt, but something this time felt different. My husband, being the peacemaker he is, kept reassuring me that I was overthinking things and these people still loved me and cared about me, they were just busy. So I tried to reach out and make plans but I was given excuse after excuse.

By the time my daughter was a year old, I was finally able to accept that these were seasonal friendships. By “able to accept” I mean I wept many tears and grieved the losses. (At the time they felt like losses, as I healed I realized they were just normal seasonal shifts that I didn’t adjust to very well.)

A similar pruning happened after I had my son. For most of the pregnancy I was in a ton of pain, barely functional, and solo-parenting. After he arrived I had about a month I was home with him before I was back to work. And when he was two months old he landed in the Pediatric ICU for two weeks, five days of which he was on life support. I tear up just thinking of how close we came to losing him and the compassion of the nurses and doctors that carried us through that time.

Again, through that six month period there were people who checked on us regularly and showed up for us. Even my friend who was living in the Middle East sent a baby shower gift, a care package for his arrival and managed to be a support system to us while I was living at the hospital with him. Between our friends and our family, I felt overwhelmed in love. We had been so blessed.

Months later, after the stress and trauma had settled down and I was no longer in survival mode, I reflected back. There were certain people who I had in my inner circle who managed to go missing during that time. A reason for why they couldn’t make the baby shower, too busy to come sit with me when I was home with him, absent during the hospital stay. And these were people that in my mind I would have paused the entire world and inconvenienced my family to show up for them.

If you are a working mom then you know, our time to pour into our friendships is so limited, and it has to be very intentional. Every invitation we say yes to leaves something else in our life neglected. Moments at home with our family to just rest (not clean, or meal prep or grocery shop) are far and few between. To maintain our health and our family’s health, we have to set clear priorities.

Most of the time, I am managing how I spend my time, energy and resources by what or whom can most afford to be neglected, not what I most want or desire to do.

Fast forward a couple years and I am so blessed with amazing people in my life. When I say that, I am including the ones I was referencing in this post that I felt caused pain. (Minus one who I realized was a narcissistic abuser and I had to get help to heal from that one, but that’s a different post for a different day, HAHA! I have absolutely 0 contact with her in any form now)

The arrival of both children taught me so much. Here is what I have learned:

  • I choose to tell myself a story that the actions (or typically lack thereof) that hurt me the most were never, ever them realizing they were hurting me. They were in their own state of survival and they were doing the best they could to get themselves and their families through each day.
  • When I am going to pause the needs of myself and my family to invest in my friendships, I am going to pour into the people that pour into me. I will be a mirror to those I love so that I do not accidentally hurt anyone I care the most about. There is a well-known concept I took to heart, “you are a reflection of the five people you spend the most time with.” After the experience with my second child left me feeling disappointed when some of the people I invested the most time in were not the ones that showed up for me on my darkest of days, I literally got out a sheet of paper. I knew that with two kids, a marriage, a full-time job and a side hustle I would be investing very little time into friendships. I wrote down five names that I wanted to love on the hardest and make sure I always showed up for in the ways they needed me and everything else was bonus.  
  • I have gotten very good at saying no to invitations. It’s never, ever, ever because I don’t WANT to go to something. I am an Enneagram 7. I absolutely LOVE socializing, spontaneous fun and making new memories. Literally…the driving fear of a 7 is FOMO, the fear of missing out. I want to be at all the things, party with all the people and maximize the amount of laughs I can have on this planet.

But I have come to realize that I cannot do all the things. My children literally cry when someone other than mommy tucks them in bed. My job supports our family. My husband craves time with me. I’m blessed with parents and siblings (plus nieces and nephews) that live nearby and I treasure the time we can be together like they are gifts sent directly from God himself. These things will fill up a calendar quickly.

All that to say, when the invitations start coming in for birthday parties, Christmas parties, backyard barbecues or whatever the festivity may be, I pause. I didn’t used to pause. I used to look at the calendar and see if there was a conflict and if not I always went. Now I realize “dinner with my family and putting my kids to bed myself” is an event.

Now I say yes if it’s a mutual friendship (meaning someone that also shows up for me). Or I will say yes if the invitation in an investment in my self-care.

  • I’ve found other ways to love on friends. My love language is quality time and that’s how I WANT to show up for EVERYONE. I just simply can’t. So now I try to show up with words of affirmation a lot because it’s really all I can manage. Maybe it’s a social media comment or DM, maybe it’s a text to check in, or maybe it’s some other form of communication (I don’t make phone calls…don’t be offended, lol). But this is a way I can manage to make someone feel loved without taking away from my family or career.
  • I focus on the gratitude for the people who are in this season. Whether it’s because of a commonality with our children, our careers, living in the same vicinity or whatever we share, I enjoy them to fullest with no expectations. I appreciate the friendships around me for what they are right now, and I don’t expect anyone to still be here when I’m 80. I laugh with them, I cry with them, and I (on rare occasions) make plans with them. Because I’ve been hurt, I don’t hold anyone to the expectation anymore that they can weather all my seasons. It’s not fair. Neither of us know what life can bring. Some of my most favorite friendships I have right now are with people I have only known for the last 2-3 years and that’s okay. They bring so much joy into my life and have been a gift on a silver platter. We will enjoy each other’s company, learn from one another, and one day life may separate us, and now I am perfectly at peace with this truth.

Thanks for making it to the end of this blog post! Two options to keep going if you want more:

Looking to create more peace in your life? Then I highly recommend downloading the free E-book from my site, Create Peace. Just drop your email below and it will be sent to you.

If you enjoy reading these posts, then drop your email into the box at the footer of the website and you will get an email from me each week with a new post.

Dear World…I Give Up

Dear World,

I give up. I give up trying to please you. You are absolutely impossible. You are full of contradictions and hypocrisies. I refuse to let you get under my skin anymore.

I refuse to be yelled at anymore for following my convictions.

I refuse to be belittled because I made a choice different than the one you wanted me to choose.

I will turn you off when you start making me feel like less of a woman, less of a mother, less of a human because I don’t see the world through your lens.

You see, as women, and especially mothers, we have been given so many mixed messages and contradictions that I cannot even keep up with them anymore.

Don’t let your kid have too much sugar, but also never deprive them of an opportunity to “just be a kid” so I will make you feel guilty every time you decline the free sugar being thrown in their face everywhere you go.

Here are 1,000,000 ways to lose the weight and get into shape immediately but also love yourself just as you are and you don’t need to listen to what society says about your body…except for that here’s all the health risks for not having an exercise and food plan that is on point…but YOLO so eat the tiramisu.

Post all the pics of your kids. We love them so much. It makes the world brighter. Don’t post any pics of your kids, you’re invading their privacy and subjecting them to the risk of being on a porn site.

You’re a horrible human if you don’t follow the CDC schedule for vaccinations for a baby but also, here’s all the potential side effects and risks that inherently come with injecting something foreign into your small child.

Do whatever it takes to get your child into the most affluent school you can afford, or the best public school that you can afford the real estate to get into the district. But oh, all the parents abandoning neighborhood schools are ruining the public education system and causing education inequality.

Never let your child out of your sight but don’t be a psychotic helicopter parent.

Here is every book, podcast, Pinterest board, magazine and documentary on how to organize your house and keep it clean, but also don’t be OCD and stressed out over a messy house.

Dear society, you told me to aim for the sky and dream of being whatever I wanted when I grew up and aspire to climb the highest mountains. Then you shamed me when I wanted to follow those aspirations and be a mother too. I was apparently supposed to sacrifice all of that to be a “good mom.” And you shamed my friends when they decided they were so dedicated to those dreams they didn’t want to be a wife or a mother. So which is it?

2020, I can’t with you anymore.

You want me to stand up for what is right except when it isn’t want you want to hear. Apparently that doesn’t apply when we have a difference of opinion on what “right” looks like, or more realistically, how to get there.

So I’ve decided…I dissent.

I will beat to my own drum. I will live a life that requires no one’s approval. I will begin each day in my quiet meditation with my God. I will discuss my decisions with my partner because my choices affect his life. But everyone else is optional.

I don’t care if my presence makes you feel uncomfortable.

I don’t care if what you thought was best for your kid is different than what I thought was best for mine.

I don’t care if my clothes choices aren’t in style right now. I literally could not care less what Instagram influencers are wearing in their feeds.

I don’t owe you any explanations.

To all my female friends, may you find the strength to mute the voices.

May you step into your greatness, without needing anyone’s approval.

May you find the joy and the peace that comes from showing up in this world with full authenticity.  

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson



The Countdown is On

Yesterday I launched a countdown series on social media.

On Wednesday, the cart closes to my 12 week course Create Peace and each day as it creeps closer, I will be offering a tip on how to create peace in your life.

Today’s tip is centered around the spiritual spoke. In Create Peace we define the spiritual spoke as having a defined set of values and living in alignment with those values.

Personally, the words I have chosen for my value system come from the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Then, I add gratitude to that list as well.

2020 has absolutely pushed my boundaries on living in alignment with my values. Being able to maintain a state of joy, peace and patience this year has been challenging.

Just yesterday I found myself getting short and snappy with my family over every little thing. The reality was, I was stressed. I was unsettled. My spirit was very off. Both my self-care spoke and my spiritual spoke were very low. When I got frustrated at the kids my husband said,

“This is you. This isn’t them. You’re going to need to figure something out. I think YOU need the calm down corner.” (The calm down corner is a place we send my daughter when her anxiety is hitting high levels and she needs to regroup.)

Yesterday was one of those jam-packed Saturdays where there are a million places to be and it isn’t a true day off because there’s no resting. What my soul and my body were craving was rest and to be home, so it manifested as me having a short fuse.

Today I made it priority to ground myself. The things that bring me back into a healthy state are some quiet meditation, getting something off my task-list that’s weighing over me, going to church, and spending quality time with my family. After practicing several of these, I still felt a heavy weight on me. I ended up crashing on the bed with my son for his nap time and waking up three hours later. Sometimes the best rest is actual rest.

Gandhi said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him… We need not wait to see what others do.”

As I long for more love, joy, peace and patience in this world we are living in today, I know I must first work on manifesting those values in myself.


If you would like to finish 2020 with more peace in your life than you are experiencing right now, come join us. I have opened my digital course Create Peace until September 23. A group of us will be going through twelve modules between now and the end of the year to Create Peace.

If you want to learn more, the last webinar before the cart closes is Monday, Sept 21 at 8:30pm. Register here.

It’s here!

Today is the day! The free webinar at 8:30pm kicks off the opening of the cart for Create Peace, a 12 week course for the mom who loves her career AND her family but craves more peace.

For this week’s blog, I asked Sam to guest post. She just completed the 12 week course that ran June-August. I’ll let her words speak for themselves:

I have a good life. I have been through a lot in my years but overall, I am so grateful. I have 2 amazing kids, a loving partner, wonderful friends and family, and an awesome job. But who doesn’t need a little more peace in their life? Let me tell you, this course, will give you just that. WHEREVER you are looking for it. My life is changed forever.

This year started out super crazy. For most of the world. For me, personally, it felt extremely hard. Early February, the love of my life had a bit of a health scare. The next week, one of my best friends passed away due to ALS. I miss her laughter, wit and smile daily. Also in February, my father took a fall that almost ended his life. He was in the hospital for months and we weren’t sure he would ever be coming home. And just when you think you’ve hit your quota, enter COVID.

Now, with 2 kids at home trying to finish the school year (yay e-Learning), our office being shut down, and trying to work from home while I teach KG and 4th grade to my kids, my father being hospitalized and not being allowed to see him, and trying to figure out what was going to happen if he got to come home (Spoiler alert: dad is doing well. My amazing sister moved him in her home and cares for him every day while she runs her house and works full time)… I was losing it. Completely losing it. Every single little hiccup became a major issue. The slightest thing made me feel completely frazzled. Every night was a struggle to sleep. I was not taking care of myself. Taking care of myself felt like just one more thing on my plate. And every day I would think, “that one more thing may make me snap.” I was stressed, and sad, and not healthy.               

In May, Sophia approached me about her course. I was very authentic with her and told her that I didn’t think I was in the frame of mind to take on “one more thing.” She understood completely and recommended I do a small exercise in her newsletter just to see how that one thing made me feel. I printed it. And set it aside. I had already made up my mind and was just trying to be nice. Jason, my man who knows me oh so well, picked up the packet and within the first page he set it down and looked me in the eye and said “This is for you. This was meant for you. Right now. You need to do this” So, without even reading the rest of it, I agreed and let Sophia know. So, thanks, babe. Thank you so much.                

At first, I wasn’t completely into it. Trying to figure out what I wanted to get from the course. Feeling like I didn’t know how to answer some of the questions it posed.Really, it was my stubborn self… resisting out of principal. Anyone else like that? But then I had a coaching call with Sophia (if you are ever lucky enough to do one of these… OMG!) And it was the most eye-opening thing ever. Essentially, I knew what I needed… and she helped me get there. She quoted me passages from the book that I loved, and helped me see why they touched me and how they applied to me.

After that, I was hooked. I soaked up all I could and was ready to find some peace. Some of the things I learned and read, I apply daily. I quote the book to people and have used what I learned in many situations! Now, I am not going to share any of the amazing nuggets from the course because those may not speak to you like they did to me, plus, I don’t want to give away all the goods!

But I will tell you this… No matter where you are or what is happening in your life, SOMETHING from this book and these activities will scream out to you. It will hit you in the face, stick in your brain, and change you! If you could take just ONE thing away from this you will be a better person. I literally cannot rave about this enough. It saved me. It saved me when I didn’t know I needed some saving.

Sophia is offering a free webinar to just go over some basics of how to create peace for working moms. I highly recommend spending an hour of your life to get some of these tips totally for free.                

Click the button. Register for a time. Watch the webinar. Invest in yourself. I promise you will never regret it.

Is this for you?

It’s been a long time in the making, but I am super excited to share with you guys that I am offering a FREE WEBINAR called “Create Peace: A free webinar for the mom who loves her career AND her family but craves more peace” You can choose which next step is best for you. There are two ways to plug in:

1. Sign up for the free webinar. It will be offered 4 times over the course of a week to accommodate everyone’s schedule. Register here:

Sunday, September 13 at 8:30pm

Wednesday, September 16 at 8:30pm

Friday, September 18 at 8:30pm

Monday, September 21 at 8:30pm

2. Help a mom out by sharing the free webinar with her so she can benefit from the content. Do you know a mom that could use more peace, either internally or externally?

Here’s what you can expect to learn during our one hour together:

  • What your strengths and your areas for improvement are
  • The 7 Spokes of the Wheel of Life and how to create a balance that will help you thrive
  • What area of your life could be holding you back and what to do about it
  • How to create habits that will alleviate stress and bring more peace
  • How to let yourself off the hook where you need to
  • How to manage the constant “back and forth tug” between work life and home life

And many other tips that will help restore peace in your life.

The webinars do have a cap on their attendance so reserve your spot today to guarantee you have a slot.

The “Balance” of a Yo-Yo and Seesaw Life

Let’s talk about balancing ALL THE THINGS when you’re solo parenting.

In case you don’t know my situation, my husband is in the film industry. What this means is that he goes between extremes. When he is not on set, he is Super Dad. He has extreme flexibility in his schedule and mostly works from home. He carries almost all the weight of grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. Yes. I’m aware I have it made.

But there’s a trade off.

When he’s gone, he’s GONE. Like, he physically leaves and isn’t around to help with one single task.

So what does that mean for me? Solo parenting. Much like the spouses of so many other careers. From military and first responders to business professionals who leave the state or country for trade shows and meetings. Many of us face this seesaw lifestyle.

When I have to wear the hat of solo parenting, here’s how I manage the different priorities. I’ll go through each spoke of the Wheel of Life:

Mental

I do not complain. It doesn’t help anything. I choose to have an attitude of gratitude and pour all my energy into the tasks in front of me. Some days are harder than others (like when he left for most of my extremely challenging second pregnancy, and I had a three year old, and we both got sick, but I had to store my days off for maternity leave). On those hard days I try very hard to check myself. I may lose my composure and complain about the situation but never about him or his career.

If it gets overwhelming, I have found the most calming thing I can do for myself is put the kids to bed, turn on a favorite podcast and deep clean something. This usually will reset me. Something about a monotonous task and a completed project are cathartic. I always choose a podcast that will leave me better off than it found me.

Physical

This is where the life coach is expected to say, “I wake up at 5am before the kids so that I get in that workout because it’s so important for all the reasons.” Nope. Not true. The motivation behind my blog isn’t to hand out advice because I’ve got it all together. The motivation of my blog is to share my stories so other women know we are in this together, and I’m next to you in the trenches.

The reality is, this is the spoke on the Wheel of Life that gives up the most when he’s gone. I try to take great care of her when I can because I depend on her like a pack mule when I’m solo parenting.

The yo-yo I play with my body is I will take a fizz stick with dinner around 6pm to give me the bolster I need to survive bedtime routine. Then, after the kids go to bed I do the picking up and the prepping that’s necessary. Not to mention the basic daily tasks like showering and replying to personal emails or paying bills. Or writing this blog.

When I realize it’s getting too late, I reverse the effects of the fizz stick with melatonin usually around midnight or so. Then I’m up with the kids generally around 6:30am.

I need 8 hours of sleep, so often times what it looks like is two nights in a row of pushing it and then the next night I don’t do one single task and I crash with the kids and get 10 hours of sleep.

I typically eat pretty well when he’s gone because I know that if I’m not always getting a full night’s rest and I’m not exercising (chasing them around is my exercise) then I definitely cannot afford the additional burden of poor eating choices.

Spiritual

My best spiritual experiences are my quiet time. I would love to tell you that I put the kids to bed and go meditate but that’s b.s. I go wash the dishes. My meditations typically happen in the bathtub. I can rest my mind. This is my time to reflect and to listen to anything God has been trying to get through my cluttered brain and busy lifestyle.

Pre-Covid I would try very hard to make it to church since I found my happy place. Especially since they would take the kids, and I could have a moment to pause. The sanctuary at my church feels so holy that just stepping in the building I feel the peace of the Spirit. But childcare is still on pause thanks to the virus, so we aren’t churching it up right now.

Everything is spiritual. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. So the more I am willing to slow down, enjoy the laughter around me, and take in the beauty of the small moments, the more peace in my soul I can find. Last weekend I took the kids on a nature walk, which for me, turned out to be a beautifully spiritual experience. (And it had nothing to do with the monk who rode by on his bicycle whilst holding an umbrella, but he did make me smile)

Career

When I’m solo parenting, my time has to be spent very efficiently. I try my hardest to stay focused at work and get the projects completed on time each day because I have to jump through way too many hoops to even stay half an hour late.

I rely on my hard boundaries. When I am at work, I am fully present there and give 100%. And then when I leave the building, I give 100% to my family. In February, hubby was gone, and it was our busiest month of the entire year at work. I relied on my support system to help watch the kids to get me through. (By that I mean that my kids spent 3 out of 4 Saturdays in February at my mom’s house.)

In speaking with many moms about their ability to succeed in their careers, a strong support system is a necessity. Many women do it away from families, but they build up networks of reliable babysitters, nannies, friends, church groups, etc. If we are going to succeed at work and at home, it will not be alone.

Financial

I feel like this is one of the major things that separates solo-parenting from single parenting, and why I will never say that I “single parent” when he’s gone. The reality is, this is the spoke that doesn’t look any different. Even when he’s not physically here, his paychecks still hit the checking account, for which I am so grateful .


Family

Our kids are used to it at this point. “Daddy is away at work and we get to see him again on ______.” Our six year old has it down, but the two year old still gets a little confused. Fortunately, they’re still at the age that they cling to mom the most, so dad being gone doesn’t rock their world as much as it may later.

Also in this spoke falls our marriage. This is probably the hardest part of him being gone. I can manage the household, regardless of how chaotic it may get at times. But he is my person. At the end of every day, I unload my thoughts on him. I married a listener because I am a person who processes through conversation. The biggest hole I can’t replace when he’s away is our discussions after the kids are in bed. I just keep everything in and when certain weights become too much to bare I may email about them.

Eventually, the storing up of all these thoughts and emotions usually manifests as me over reacting and lashing out over something completely asinine like a broken glass or the dog peeing on the floor. This is where the next spoke comes in.


Self-Care

I try to stay very in-tuned to this need when he’s gone because I know the gravity of its importance.

If I do not take care of myself, the whole house of cards comes crashing down. There isn’t someone else to carry the load.

I try to listen to my mind, body and spirit’s greatest needs and priorities. These usually change day-to-day. One day I may need nothing more than a clean house because sanitizing that kitchen gives me a sense of peace and control. Other days, I will let the dishes go unwashed so I can soak in the bathtub and unwind.

Other self-care needs will arise like having to say no to LOTS of things and decline invitations. Or I may make plans and have to cancel them if I get to the weekend and life is too chaotic. Sometimes there isn’t room for anything other than cleaning, grocery shopping and meal prepping.

In contrast, sometimes the only thing I need is quality time with a girlfriend, and I just say I’ll figure the rest out later.

I try very hard to stay in tune to what the most pressing need is to help me feel empowered to make it through another day.

Solo-parenting is something that many of us face. I have also seen the strain that it places on marriages lead to divorce. It can definitely be exhausting, but I hope you are able to find your coping mechanisms and best balancing as we have done.

Unfortunately, I have seen many wives of film industry professionals become angry or bitter at their career needs. They can’t deal with how unavailable their spouse becomes (physically and emotionally) when on set. If you ever find yourself approaching a breaking point of frustration, reach out. I get it mama. Send me a private message, and I’m happy to chat.


Thanks for making it to the end of this blog post! Two options to keep going if you want more:

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How to Reduce Your Stress During Election Season

Election years are always challenging on social media. We feel bombarded with information we didn’t ask to receive and often times it can ignite anger, frustration, sadness or other emotions.
 
One of the spokes on the Wheel of Life is the mental spoke, and I think I would be doing my readers a disservice if I didn’t start a conversation about how we will make it through the rest of 2020. The mental strain of the pandemic, the racial and social justice movement, and the election are taking a toll on our collective mental and physical health.
 
Recently I was listening to an interview with a neuroscientist who was talking about this very issue in our nation. Several of the points he made were so powerful that I couldn’t resist sharing them with you. Here are just a handful of points he shared*:
 

  • The brain takes up a small percentage of the body’s weight and mass, but it disproportionately consumes energy. Just to get through a standard day with no challenges, the brain consumes 20% of our calories. On a particularly mentally straining day, it can consume as much as 40% of our energy.

  • The brain gravitates towards patterns. It cannot equally process all the information coming at it in every moment, so we survive by compartmentalizing. This causes us to rely on labels, stereotypes and assumptions to categorize information. Unfortunately, it will lead to us believing perceptions as facts.

  • When we come across information that we love, something that reiterates our belief system, the brain releases “happy hormones” like serotonin or dopamine. They give us a quick win and that feeling will last in the body for 5-10 minutes

  • When we come across information that angers us and makes us feel powerless to do anything about it, the brain releases cortisol. This is our “fight or flight” taking over. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and is released into our blood stream and will linger there for 3-4 hours.

  • The cortisol becomes particularly concerning when we consider how much time is spent on social media and the evening news. It’s possible to continuously receive “stressful” information over and over again throughout the day before the body has even stabilized from the last “hit.”

  • There are two main physical concerns with this ongoing release of cortisol in the body. First, it can lead to cardio vascular issues. (Think people who have a stress-induced heart attack). Second, over a prolonged period of time this will degrade the synaptic connections in the brain. The doctor then humorously said, “so basically it makes you physically unhealthy and stupid at the same time.”

So what do we do with this information? He had two recommendations:

  • Maintain a state of curiosity. The brain’s tendency to create patterns and labels creates problems not only in politics but in our ability to have healthy communities. By choosing to respond to a new piece of information with a desire to understand someone else’s perspective, we can grow.

  • You need to make sure you are giving your body a healthy break. Plan large chunks of time in your day where you are not exposed to the news or social media. One simple word can be enough to trigger your brain to release cortisol if you have a strong emotional reaction when you hear that word or phrase.

By sharing this information with you, please do not think I have mastered it. My personal opinion is that the good of social media outweighs the bad, but it still requires a unique discipline to navigate through it. I also personally value staying informed about local, state and national politics so I cannot unplug entirely from information.

I am sharing this with you because I believe it’s important that we try. As Tom Ziglar said, and I often requote, “the fastest way to success is to replace bad habits with good habits.”

I am fully aware that I need more boundaries around my intake of information, and I am working on them. The two positive changes that I made years ago that helped me tremendously were:

  • I do not watch any news stations. I consume all my information through written word. The articles tend to have less “drama” added to them (outside of the headlines) because they are competing for clicks, verses news stations that need to keep viewers glued to the screen. In addition, TV media need to keep their stories short and sweet. Online articles can fill the text with more information and hyperlinks to more resources. This helps me get a clearer picture of the full story than TV.

  • I unfollow people on social media who trigger me into stress. I enjoy having connections to people with a variety of political opinions, but there are certain things that cause me stress. I didn’t realize it was a cortisol release, but I did recognize I didn’t like the way it made me feel and the feeling lingered. Personally, my triggers are memes that haven’t been fact checked, screaming at “the other side” like they’re stupid, and posting daily (or more often) about your viewpoint. These things cause me to get all worked up, so anyone who triggers me gets unfollowed because social media for me is something I do for fun, not to induce stress.


There has never been a more important time to evaluate our habits around receiving information. For our physical and mental health, we have no choice but to address our habits and boundaries around receiving information during this very volatile time in our society.

*I paraphrased his information for the purpose of this blog post. The interview I was referring to can be found on the Independent Voter Podcast from July 15 titled Paul Meshanko and the Neuroscience Behind Political Behavior


Thanks for making it to the end of this blog post! Two options to keep going if you want more:

Looking to create more peace in your life? Then I highly recommend downloading the free E-book from my site, Create Peace. Just drop your email below and it will be sent to you.

If you enjoy reading these posts, then drop your email into the box at the footer of the website and you will get an email from me each Wednesday with a new post.