I have been neglecting this blog. I have been neglecting myself. In Miles’ first year of life my main focus was him and rightfully so. I sacrificed sleep, my body, my heart, my life to keep him alive. It was the best, most important work I have ever done.
Now that Miles is a year old, transitioning from sweet, bouncing baby to a screaming, silly, wild toddler- I am finding myself again. If you have a baby under the age of one I am thinking of you. Sending you light and love in this season of raising your little one. This post may not resonate with you right now. In this season of life with your babe- give yourself so much grace. Forgive yourself everything and love yourself well. Now is a time to lean into convenience and easy buttons. Now is a time to be so very gentle with yourself.
If you are beyond age one, if you are looking to care for your heart and your mind and to nourish your soul- read on sister.
As soon as the sun set on Christmas day, presents opened and family loved well, I had my eyes on 2019. Ready for newness. Ready to thank and close this past year and plan for the next. One of my favorite content creators, Muchelle B., has a wonderful video series to help you plan and prep for the new year. (Find the video series here.) I have distilled her content into a format that was inspiring and meaningful for me below.
First, my wins of 2018. What went well? What needs to be celebrated? We kept a human alive for a whole year, we found the most perfect family to care for baby while we work, we bought a house, we celebrated one year of marriage, we hiked, we rescued two new pets (Moose & Marie), I worked for and transitioned to a new job, I did some very helpful therapy, I worked through traumas and toward personal growth, I read some beautiful books, and we decluttered and reordered our home to better fit our 2019 goals.
What are your wins from 2018? (If you need help making your list look back at social media, journals, or your camera roll on your phone for highlights.)
Next, life lessons of 2018. With all the wins of 2018 there were also some lows and losses. And from them I’ve learned so much: I am loved, unconditionally. I am in control of my life, my emotions and what I make happen. I am bright and beautiful and capable no matter what my subconscious tries to tell me. I am a badass.
What did 2018 teach you? Make a list on paper or on your notes app, after you’ve made your list thank 2018 for its highs and lows, for its wins and losses. No year is all good or all bad, thank you 2018.
Now that 2018 is a wrap I am looking for 2019 focusing on the three questions: what, why, and how? What do I want to achieve? Why do I want to achieve it? How will I do it?
We may think we know what we hope and plan to do in the coming year but if we don’t take the time to create it and write it down our chance of success is not high. The power of writing down your goals is real, just ask Rachel Hollis. As you do this make sure you keep your eyes on your own page. It doesn’t matter what your goals and dreams look like next to someone else’s- that’s not your life. It doesn’t matter if your dreams are big and bold and crazy and real, don’t limit yourself, don’t compare yourself.
If you need some inspiration for the coming year try making a vision board. To save on paper waste and reduce clutter I make my vision board on Pinterest, click here to see mine so far.
It can also help to have a word (or words) for the year. My 2019 word is adventure. Some of my supporting words are: freedom, nature, outdoors, camping, hiking, open air, simplify, French, simplicity, Paris, Parisian and magnificent. In 2019 I want to be free, healthy, strong, Parisian, at peace and full of energy. The actions I take will align with these words and ideas.
I have already started walking around the house pretending I’m in Paris and saying to Chase, “how very French,” about my own actions, it makes us laugh but it also adds intention and mindfulness to my daily actions. I’ve swapped out many inexpensive household items for second hand, high quality, french inspired homewares that will last us a lifetime. We’ve let go of the TV in our main living room and created a beautiful, happy space free of technology. I’ve already noticed I’m thinking and moving more- leaning into adventure.
What is your word this year? What word or idea keeps coming to you and won’t leave you alone- feed what you are drawn to. The universe is calling.
My final tip for planning the year ahead is to create “start” and “stop” lists. What are the things you would like to stop doing? What would you like to start?
I would like to stop: making so much waste, spending money on items that won’t last a lifetime, buying things Miles doesn’t need, spending mindless time on TV and phone, spending money we don’t have, eating food that doesn’t nourish my body and mind.
I would like to start: buying for life, going on adventures with Miles, only watching TV in our family room, saving up money and paying off debts, eating more plants healthy fats and grains, packing snacks and lunches, drinking more tea than coffee.
What ever has happened this past year, be thankful for where it has brought you. Where you are now is where you’re meant to be.
“And suddenly you know…it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
Don’t live the same year for 85 years and call it a life, each new moment is a chance to start again.
“You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people.”
I’ve spent a lot of my time here on earth re-learning what I was naturally gifted at birth- the knowledge that I am loved. My little one entered this world fully and unconditionally loved as well, we all did.
I watch Miles dance and laugh and scream and eat and talk without concern. Little ones do not care what others think of them, they know how incredible they are. It’s us, our world, that teaches them to be concerned.
We shush and we scold. We reward quiet, obedient behavior. We tell little ones they are “good” when they are quiet and small. We are ripped away from the inherent knowledge that we are loved unconditionally, and shaped by the world into something else. We are told we are not pretty enough, young enough- not good enough. The world, and often the way we are told to parent, shames us into shapes unrecognizable from the bouncing, joyful form we showed up in.
Ask any parent what they want their child to grow up to be and you’ll hear the opposite of quiet, obedient, and small. We want our babies to be resilient and strong. Wise and kind. Creative and successful.
Our long term goal of raising wild, passionate, intelligent creatures (and being wild, passionate, intelligent creatures) does not match the way we parent short term. Time outs and sticker charts do not create a generation of free thinkers.
Unconditional love and parenting is possible and I believe it starts with the self. If we do not love ourselves fully- if we cannot recognize the parts of ourselves we are working on- how can we parent unconditionally? After all, we know little ones learn through role modeling. It does not matter how many times you say something, little ones learn by watching you. Others learn about you by watching you.
If you stand in front of the mirror picking yourself apart and shaming your body, your little one will too. If you yell at your partner and solve conflicts with violence, your little one will too. If you gossip and shame others, your little one will too.
If you celebrate your body and women’s bodies everywhere, your little one will too. If you treat your partner like your best friend and work everyday to see the best in them, your little one will too.
I’ve been honored recently reading your messages and comments about what a wonderful mama I am, and while it is very kind, at the end of the day it does not matter. I don’t mean that you don’t matter or that I don’t appreciate your kindness. What I mean is that I already know. I know that I am an exceptional mama and an awesome wife. I know what I bring to the table at work. I know this because I know I am loved.
Unconditionally, I am loved. Not by any one else, but by myself.
I am not defined by the world around me, by the people that love me, or by the people that don’t love me. I am loved fully and completely and messily all on my own. I am not defined by past decisions or mistakes, I am defined by the next decision I make.
This superpower of loving myself means that my relationships with my baby, my husband my family, and my friends naturally improve and grow because I am no longer doubting myself. I do not rely on external validation to tell me what I already know- that I am loved. And so are you.
The more you love yourself, the less toxic nonsense you will tolerate. The more love you pour into yourself the more your cup will fill, and eventually, overflow and spill on to the people in your life.
You can be the love you never received.
You are not defined by your childhood, by your job title, or by your roles in life. You can examine these things to unpack your bad habits or the mean things your subconscious is telling you- but you are in control here. You can change your life and it all starts with reminding yourself that you are loved.
If you want to change your life, your country, your world- start with yourself.
Hey y’all- I’m late. Friday comes fast, doesn’t it? This is more of an observation than an excuse for missing these past two weeks.
Sunday nights are my new me time. My time to reflect and reset before the week to come. So I’m moving my “Better” series to Sunday evenings, I hope that’s alright. Maybe this is your quiet time too.
Here it is, my list of ten things making our world better this week.
1. This blog post. YES this is the same Rachel Hollis that wrote the life changing book Girl, Wash Your Face.In this post Rachel shares 5 documentaries you can watch on a rainy day, or any day. I love documentaries- a few have quite literally changed my life. Maybe put one of these on after your Thanksgiving dinner!
2. Farm Sanctuary’s celebration for the turkeys! Listen. I know meat tastes great, I know that- but it is messing up our planet bb’s. And oh boy is it heartbreaking watching those turkey slaughter trucks go by on my way to work each day. Each year, farm sanctuary hosts a vegan feast for their beautiful rescued turkeys. 1. Watch this video. 2. Smile, laugh, cry. 3. Then try a tofurkey or nut loaf this holiday season. Your body, our planet, and the turkeys thank you.
4. This song that I’m 100% sure Gaga and Bradley wrote just for me and my husband.
5. This podcast. Jonathan Van Ness is a gift to this world and everything he does is perfect. This particular episode was fascinating to me, I recently got back from Colorado where weed is legal throughout the state and it’s really something we need to be doing countrywide- the possibilities are endless and it was only outlawed because of some white man BS back in the day- give it a listen.
6. This breast pump. I can’t believe a pump like this didn’t exist before. Cordless, wireless, rechargeable, and pump straight into the bag. It’s an investment at 479 dollars but oh my goodness this is a game changer. Run, tell the other mamas.
7. This cup. Stojo is on a mission to drastically reduce disposable cup use. Americans toss an estimated 58 billion disposable cups annually. The global estimate is 500 billion- this collapsible, pocket to go cup is genius.
8. These baby shoes (pictured above). As Miles learns to walk in these winter months we wanted to protect his feet without hurting them. Many baby shoes can make walking harder for little ones, or hurt their little growing feet. The Surprize by Stride Rite (we found ours at Target) are affordable, adorable and won’t hurt or inhibit little one. (We have the cute snow boots too.)
9. This instagram. A beautiful reminder that you don’t need a lot of space to live well (even with two little ones).
10. This video. If you haven’t heard, Steve Carell hosted SNL and it was amazing. He even poked fun at Grease- The Office and Grease combined!? I ask you, what could be better?
That’s all for this week. Remember- good things happen, love is real, and we will be okay.
Another week, another list of ten things making our world better.
1. This instagram. Jen Winston of girlpowersupply is a beautiful mixture of inspiration, laughter, joy, sorrow, anger and love. Her posts wake you up to the realities of the world and allow learning without shame. All of her posts are important.
2. This vegan creamer. November is here and the leaves are finally starting to change in Virginia. This vegan pumpkin spice creamer is just the best. I’m not a hard core pumpkin spice fan but oh baby this stuff is good- I may have waited 30 minutes for a very kind, patient Target employee to find it in the back for me because I refused to go through the week without it.
3. This playlist. In my new open workspace it can get very quiet. Sometimes I appreciate the gentle silence but other times I love a bit of background noise. This playlist is beautiful and soothing. It acts like white noise, just more calming. I play it in my headphones when I need to focus. I’m playing it now, as I write.
5. This podcast. An amazing friend mentioned this podcast and I’ve fallen in love with it. Arianna Huffington sits down with notable leaders, celebrities, athletes and influencers to learn how prioritizing well-being — instead of burnout and overwork — has made them happier and more successful. Chelsea Handler’s episode is my current favorite.
6. This youtuber. Estee Lalonde is a Canadian youtuber living in London. She is creative, refreshing and fun to watch. Her podcast and her instagram are beautiful as well.
7. This blogger. Heather is a plant base, Canadian, millennial mama to the most adorable little one. Her blog and instagram are so bright and beautiful.
8. This book. Brene Brown’s new book- need I say more? Brene is answering questions about the book on her LinkedIn each week as well. She is brave, smart, kind and challenges me- lovely.
9. This charity. Glennon Doyle is a human empathy machine. When I don’t know how to help or what to do I turn to her.
10. This mama. Kitty Cotten is mama to little Harriet. I love literally everything about her.
“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” Maya Angelou