Is It OK to Be More Than ‘Just a Mom’?

by Alicia at BalancingMotherhood.com on March 18, 2014

I just wrapped up my HuffPost Live interview with the super sweet host Nancy Redd. She had four moms on her panel talking about balancing mothetherhood. HMM, I think I know a little blog with that title :) The actual title is, “Balancing Parenting & Everything Else.” It was such a great experience, but even more, it’s an important topic — and conversation.

We talked about how we struggle to find time for ourselves and answer the question: is it OK to be “more than just a mom?” One of the show’s guests was Kristin Armstrong who wrote a piece for HuffPost.com, titled “The Dollhouse Years,” where she talks about being a mother and a person. She writes,

The era of small children is enough to wring every last drop of energy and identity out of a woman. We temporarily forget who we are and even when we have lucid moments, we’re too tired and overwhelmed to do much about it anyway.

She continues later in the article to say,

I am not sure how this happens, but we weirdly forget the things we love, the gifts that make us unique and the talents that point us in the direction of our purpose.

I believe this is true for many of us. We put everyone else ahead of us and we need to make sure we prioritize our desires (even if it’s only every now and then). Otherwise, what will happen when the children are grown, living on their own? Who will we be then?

On the chat, Kristen talked about something that has become close to my heart: grace. In the piece, Kristen talks about giving grace. Giving grace to ourselves and to one another. This is so important. We need to not beat ourselves up when we need to ask for time alone, for a date with our spouse, or a weekend away. By allowing grace to enter, we give permission to what is needed in our lives.

There were two other moms who offered great advice from their own experiences — Bethany Ramos, a work-at-home mom (who also has a husband who works at home too) who has two small children close in age, and another working mom, Tessa Barnett who talked about the importance of taking time for herself, even if it’s just some time in the tub!

The conversation was short, but anything that gets women thinking about how to best balance their own lives is a win in my book.
Watch the video and let me know what you think.

How do you balance motherhood? Tell us in the comments below.

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Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

by Alicia at BalancingMotherhood.com on March 17, 2014

shamrockI’m not Irish, so why do I find joy in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?

In my pre-kid days it was an excuse to go out for a drink. In the office, it was an excuse to do something fun: have a pot luck, give an award for the best “green” shirt. It was a day that was different. I guess that’s why it’s still fun today.

This morning the kids found a certain Leprechaun cereal sitting out on the table with their names spelled out in mini-marshmallows, along with an Oreo cookie (I know, not Irish, or even green, but sugar for breakfast says, Yeah! today is a fun day!)  And I think a Leprechaun used the bathroom on his visit last night.

In Chicago, the river is turned GREEN for the day. Parades abound around this holiday. People don green outfits, wear green plastic beads around their necks, and drink green beer (or green milk in our house). It’s such a silly tradition, but sometimes don’t we need things like this?

Not everyone gets into the spirit of the holiday, and I can understand. But it’s fun to have a day where there is some excitement and giddiness to break up the monotony of every day living.

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

photo credit: lumix2004

 

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Doing Something Instead of Giving Up Something for Lent

by Alicia at BalancingMotherhood.com on March 6, 2014

crossYesterday was Ash Wednesday, the official start of the Lenten season. This is usually the time of year, that for 6 weeks, people give up something.

According to my very official source (dictionary.com) Lent means, “(in the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.”

For the past several years I have been doing something instead of giving up something. Yes, just the opposite of what most people do. I have friends who give up soda, one who goes off Facebook, and another who gives up sweets. I think it’s great to give up something that you don’t need, that’s not good for you, or is just a show of sacrifice to better yourself. But …

What about adding something that is good for you?

For the last two years my kids and I picked up trash in our neighborhood as our Lent activity. Now, we didn’t do this every day, but if we saw trash we picked it up: at the Home Depot parking lot, at our school, while on a walk to the playground. Then, at least one time, we went on a long walk in a designated area and picked up every piece of trash we saw.

I’m not the only one who adds something. I was on Fire Mom’s (of StopDropand Blog.com) Instagram feed the other day where she posted, “My Lenten activity: Walking Callie at least one mile every day to spend some quiet time with God. I went through many things to take away but what I really need this Lent is to walk, quite literally, with God. And so I will. #40daysdogandgod.”

I love this! Not only is this good for her body (and good exercise for her dog!), but it’s great for her mentally and spiritually.

This year I’m doing both: giving up something (sugar) and doing something.  I decided that I needed motivation to do something good for me – thus, the no sugar. I’ve done this twice before (against my will) and came out better for not having sugar. It’s going to be hard, and I’m not even sure I can do it, but I’m here to try. Lent is a great excuse to do something hard. There is purpose and a goal – getting to and celebrating Easter! I’m not sure what my “doing something” is going to be yet, but I just can’t let this opportunity pass without adding something good.

Do you celebrate by giving or giving up?

Photo credit: ba1969

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Creating Margin In Your Life

by Alicia at BalancingMotherhood.com on February 19, 2014

relaxationLast night I participated in a webinar hosted by Andy Traub where the discussion centered around how every woman can find margin.

Margin.

Brilliant. A balanced life has margin.

Many people in the discussion, asked, “what is margin?” They needed this defined.

I believe margin is the area in your life where you can rest. You can think. It’s the time you can choose what you do. It’s extra time.

But don’t confuse extra time with time you don’t need. Think of it as extraordinary time. Time that is so important it can’t be left out. It’s essential time for your well being.

So, how do we create margin? Traub interviewed Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com and she said several key things that were spot on:

  • “Say no to unnecessary things
  • Focus on essentials
  • Cut down to the basics
  • Get on a basic routine.”

These seem quite simple, but we know all too well how hard these things are to do. If they were easy, we’d all to them and not need to attend a webinar to remind us. The important part of all of this is to know you are allowed to need margin in your life. You are allowed to ask for help. You are allowed to say out loud that you’ve had enough and just need a break.

You are allowed.

Paine also had another great bullet point — “look for opportunities for breathing room.”

Ahh, breathing room. AKA — margin.

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testing Tuesday

by Alicia at BalancingMotherhood.com on February 11, 2014

testing if I can save this

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