Caring For Yourself, Happy Family, Q+A

Q+A: Dropping Mom-Guilt

It’s our second Q+A video and this one is about mom-guilt. And I had been thinking… what do I have to say NO to, in order to drop mom-guilt. I talk about that here!

Hope you enjoyed our second video Q+A video! These videos will be quick, informal, straight-to-the-point, and delivered in 3-ish minutes. Easily digestible answers to your important questions, one at a time!

Have a question about parenting, self-care, finding more happiness in your life? Follow me on Instagram @thathappymom and stay tuned for the next question roundup!

Dropping Mom-Guilt

Caring For Yourself, Happy Family, Q+A

Q+A: How To Be An Introvert and A Mom

Thank goodness for this freeze-frame! Haha! Our first Q+A is here as promised!

Hope you enjoyed our very first video Q+A video! These videos will be quick, informal, straight-to-the-point, and delivered in 3 minutes or less. Easily digestible answers to your important questions, one at a time!

Have a question about parenting, self-care, finding more happiness in your life? Follow me on Instagram @thathappymom and stay tuned for the next question roundup!

Caring For Yourself

The Opposite of Busy Isn’t Lazy

I’ve noticed that there are two descriptors I have been using without much thought to what exactly they mean — busy and lazy. And I’ve been labelling myself as both many times throughout the same day. And while it is possible to be both busy and lazy, I am using them as if they are opposites and it is confusing and inaccurate. And I know other moms do this too and I just want to talk about it!

When I’m on-the-go. Cleaning up. Doing work in my office. I’m busy. (Kinda, but there are so many better words: absorbed, engrossed, um… driving?)

When I take a rest and sit down to sip some tea. I’m being lazy. (No I’m not. I’m recharging, resting, putting my feet up!)

Home studio

Rethinking these words recently has been essential to my happiness. I have been trying not to throw either word around as much, but hey, it still happens! They are deeply imbedded in our mom-culture (busy) and my vocabulary (lazy).

I wrote down a list of what I really mean when I say BUSY.

  • Overwhelmed by the thoughts/to-do/schedules in my head.
  • Working.
  • On a deadline.
  • Cleaning up.
  • Late getting somewhere.
  • Tired/Exhausted.

Then I wrote down what I’m really doing when I’m being LAZY.

  • Recharging.
  • Taking a breather.
  • Relaxing.
  • Enjoying down-time.
  • Resting.

It was eye-opening. First of all, I’m stirring different pots all day, but I’m not necessarily overly occupied. There is time for it all or the important things. I have noticed that when I say busy most often, I mean tired or overwhelmed.

Friend at preschool pick-up: How are you?

Me: Busy!

What I really mean: I’m tired. I didn’t sleep well and I’m having trouble keeping schedules straight even after writing them down. I need a moment to really recharge but I don’t see that happening soon. I want to go home and close my eyes, but I know that won’t happen and it’s stressing me out.

I’m the first person (and only person) to call myself “lazy” when I sit down.

Husband: Hey, babe! How was your day?

Me: It was pretty good! Laundry is done and preschool pickup went well! We even got to play at the playground for an hour! And I finally figured out that YouTube issue I was having! And Ivy said the cutest thing ever today! But I don’t know what to do for dinner because we ran out of rotini pasta and it’s the one thing I forgot to pick up on our errands this afternoon. And now I’m sitting here being lazy.

It’s dangerous because these words have very real meanings, but I’m not using them that way and it distorts the reality of my day. I don’t want to have busy days. I want to have productive days or even exhausting days, if that’s the truth. I want to enjoy recharging or taking a few breaths without putting such a negative/stereotypical label on myself.

I’ll be working on this more. I find, more often than not, I’m trying to take back the word busy or lazy once I’ve said it. So it’s slow going, but I will get there!

Do you throw around words like busy and lazy in the same way? Do you have different words that you find yourself using that may not accurately describe your reality? Let me know in the comments below or tell me over at @thathappymom on Instagram!

The Opposite of Busy Isn't Lazy

Caring For Yourself

Stop With The Oxygen Mask Metaphor

Here’s the deal. The Oxygen Mask Metaphor is the worst self-care metaphor in the land, ESPECIALLY for moms.

oxygen mask instructions

The problem is that the Oxygen Mask scenario starts with an emergency. So what this metaphor is REALLY saying is: In the event of an emergency, take care of yourself.

Speaking as someone who has MANY TIMES waited for an emergency to take care of myself, please do not wait for an emergency. Do not wait for the oxygen to be sucked out of the room to take care of yourself. Do not wait until you are in a crash-and-burn situation to start thinking about yourself and your needs.

The modern mom is pulled in so many directions. And people will say,  “you signed up for it,” and  “you want to do it all.” Maybe we tell ourselves this. And, hell yeah, we want to do it all! (And we can, thank you very much)! But in doing it ALL, we often forget ourselves. With jobs, kids, partner, pets, cooking, housework, play, school… how do you fit YOU in? I’ll tell you the easiest way to start.

Put YOU On Your To-Do

Add yourself to that list of things you have to do everyday. It can be yoga for 30 minutes. Meditation for 8 minutes. A cup of tea for 5 minutes. Whatever it is, whatever you have time for that day, schedule YOU in. And don’t limit you-time to the bandaid treats we talked about in You Need To Stop Treating Yo’ Self.

You need to fit YOU into every single day because:

  1. You are essential to everything happening around you. You NEED to be good to yourself and love yourself as much as you love your kids and fur babies! Taking care of yourself IS directly taking care of your family. Hello! You are part of your family! Take care of yourself.
  2. You get to make your schedule. There are some things each day we HAVE to do, but you have control of parts of your schedule so pen yourself in there. And don’t cross you out! And if you look at your schedule and you see NO ROOM for 30 minutes or 10 minutes or 5 minutes, look at that schedule and figure out what needs to change to make room for you!
  3. It is NOT SELFISH to do something for yourself everyday. This is your life too. Yes, your life. It sounds totally weird, but it’s so obviously true. But somehow we forget that as soon as that child is in our arms. Or we are told to forget that. I don’t know how it happens, but it does. You are an amazing person and you deserve to build your own interests and hobbies. That doesn’t have to stop because you are helping your kids build their hobbies and interests too.
  4. It is NOT LAZY to put your feet up and sip that coffee on the couch. Moms… Moms! I see you doing mental gymnastics to get your boundary-testing toddler into the car without making a scene. I see you chasing your now screaming toddler up a snow-covered hill when that mental gymnastic routine fails (actually that was totally me last Wednesday). I see you holding your kids while they cry their eyes out. I see you getting dishes in the dishwasher while lunch simmers on the stove. I see you do this and SO MUCH MORE all day, every single day. If you saw anyone else work at this pace, you’d say, “Take a seat. Take a break. You deserve it.” Because you do! So take that break!

Whatever you do, please don’t wait for an emergency to start thinking about fitting yourself into your day. If you are in a fatigued sort of place or if adding yourself into your day is new to you, I have complied a list in a PDF file to get you started. You can find the list HERE. Plug at least one into your to-do list each day! Better yet, take a few minutes to come up with your own list of positive self-care ideas to fit your life and interests!

And for bonus points… add to my list by sending me your ideas! Comment below or tell me at @thathappymom on Instagram! I will keep adding to this list!

Stop with the oxygen mask metaphor

Caring For Yourself, That Happy Spark

Dwell On The Positive

I’m so excited to announce a new category on my blog: That Happy Spark. A monthly action-based idea/quotation/question to promote happy feelings, positive thinking, and brain shifts for the positive. Growth stuff. But the key part is action-based. Thinking about something is one thing. Acting on it is another. These are meant to be action-prompts for journaling or social media posts, but take action any way you want! Scribble down your thoughts on a scrap piece of paper or the notes section in your phone, have a conversation, journal on it, write a facebook post, comment below. But if this resonates with you, take your “yes, this!” thought and turn it into an action. And spread happiness within yourself and onto others! Now for the first one…

Dwell On The Positive – That Happy Spark January

This time of the year especially, I hear people talking about what is “wrong” with them — what they don’t like, what they want to fix.

But what if we focused more on what is “right with” ourselves— what we like, our gifts, what we’re doing well?

We’d be a hell of a lot happier, I bet!

But to do that is to fight against programming. We are programmed to highlight the negative rather than the positive. From an evolutionary perspective, this negativity bias kept us safe. If we focused on the bad, we’d avoid it, and survive.

I’m here to tell you that your survival now is not in jeopardy by noticing the good in your life. In fact, your happiness, and thus wellbeing, will benefit from pushing back against negativity bias and seeing all that’s right with you.

What if we dwell on the things we like about ourselves?

So, if you have 2 minutes: Comment below and share at least one thing you are doing right! (I know you have more, but you’re likely feeling shy. Real talk, I am too!)

If you have 5 minutes: Post on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere and inspire someone else to think about and talk about what they are doing right!

If you have 10 minutes: Grab your journal or a piece of paper and brainstorm all the things you are doing right. Then bookmark that page or hold onto that paper and return to it when negativity bias has got you down and you need a boost!

I’ll be journaling my positives later today and perhaps I’ll share them on my Instagram so stay tuned!

Have a great day, happy moms!💖

Gillian, Your Happiness Guide and Fellow Seeker


Caring For Yourself

You Need To Stop Treating Yo’ Self

We have all been there, mamas… The kids have been crying way more than usual and you’re trying to keep it together but you’re one more temper tantrum away from crying yourself. On top of it all, you found a weird leak in the basement and broke your favorite coffee mug. Oh! And your partner is out of town and you feel CRUSHED.

And most of us, myself included, turn to Facebook for just a bit of… anything else to look at. Anything that’s not the shards of the mug you left on the counter because you “couldn’t even,” the list of plumbers you’ve already called and left messages with, the mess you just don’t want to dare ask your kids to clean up because you’re not up for the push-back right now.

And a large part of the Facebook and social-media mommy culture being created has the same message for us, “Mom-ing is tough! Treat yo’ self! Pour a glass of wine and break off a piece of that chocolate bar because you deserve it!” And you are like, “They get it! They get me! I do deserve it! I’m going to pour that glass and stuff this chocolate in my face right now and be a part of this mom-club who gets me!”

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 12.23.47 PM
Image Cred:

And the glass of wine and that chocolate bar feels SOOOOOO good because it’s now more than a glass of wine and a chunk of chocolate — It’s a connection with other exasperated moms, it’s a trophy you won for being a mom on a super rough day, it’s something you EARNED. And doesn’t it just feel nice to have EARNED something palpable in this mom gig? Even if it is just a glass of wine or bar of chocolate?

But the problem with that wine or chocolate (or tiny online shopping splurge) is that it is just treating the symptoms, not the cause, of your stress and exhaustion. That is not self-care. That is a boozy bandaid. A chocolate crutch. A shopping cart simply supplanting your needs.

Question: So if you keep treating yo’ self because you had a rough day instead of addressing the stress, what’s going to change? Well, probably nothing. 

How About CARE FOR Yourself?

What can we do instead… or in addition?

  • Check in with yourself. When your kids are upset or expressing big feelings, you don’t likely ignore them or start putting on a puppet show to distract them. You check in. So why not treat yourself with the same respect? Write down in a journal how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. What can you reframe? What has a solution? What could you ask for help with? Don’t want to journal it out? Try to systematically go through this process mentally. (I do this with great success.)
  • Sleep. Are you getting enough? Another way I like to “treat myself” is staying up way too late to fit in all the me-time I crave after a draining day. I just want to soak up as much of that that quiet and peace as I can when the kids go to bed. BUT I’m left starting the next day feeling more exhausted than I did the previous. And the crap-cycle continues. No good. And as a chronic insomniac, I know I need to sleep at night as soon as I can, whenever I can. (More on that in another post.)
  • Eat Well. Nourish your body with healthful foods. Not easy to do when you are exhausted, right? It’s easier and more comforting to grab a handful of potato chips than make yourself a lunch. But the days I take the time to make myself a healthy lunch, I swear I feel better! Partially because I know I did something for ME. And that feels AMAZING! And partially because I’m properly fueled up!
  • You Time (Without the Wine and Chocolate). What does that look like for you? For me it looks like hand sewing and reading. A little Netflix and chill by myself if I’m bingeing on a show. (Have you seen The Great British Baking Show? I can’t bake to save my life, but it is truly a feel-good show and I’m in awe of the magic that is baking!) You-time is whatever you want it to be that fills YOU up and sustains you. Meditation, a long walk, a bubble bath, coffee with friends. Extroverts help me here, I just shared a list of an introvert’s happy places! Haha! If sipping something is a habit that helps you regulate emotions, switch to a fancy tea or a bubbly water!

Takeaway: So do I think you deserve treats? ABSOLUTELY. Sure, go ahead and treat yo’ self! But not at the expense of actually *caring for* yourself. (mic drop)

Share this if any of this rings true to you. Or add your thoughts below! I want to know what YOU TIME (without the wine) looks like. Are you a die-hard treat yo’ self proponent? Tell me all about it!

you need to stop treating yo self-2