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Life’s simple reminders

images-54Sometimes in the hectic pace of life, we need some reminders.

Nothing Is Permanent.

This is a fact that should encourage you to revel in the joy your life brings, and minimize your frustration when you encounter circumstances you don’t like. There is something in your life right now that is not permanent. If it is something you love, in what way can you embrace and enjoy it more? If it’s something you dread, just hold on a little longer. This too shall pass.

You are either Living on Purpose or Living by Accident.
Too many people wander through life haphazardly – latching on to people, jobs, and things just because they crossed their path. Then they wake up one day wondering, “How on earth did I get here?” That is called “living by accident.” In order to create a fulfilling life, you have to be purposeful in your decisions.
Don’t make your decisions without reflecting on how your decision will impact you long-term. Pursue the things that empower you to express your values and talents. Choose to be around people you feel good being around – inspiring, supportive people who are moving in the same direction as you. Know your purpose, and live in it every day in your work, relationships, health, finances, and spiritual life.

Fear Does Not Necessarily Mean ‘Stop’.
Fear is as powerful as you allow it to be. Most of us feel fear and interpret that feeling as a warning to stop moving forward. In truth, we should interpret most fear as a natural emotion that pops up every time we venture to do something outside of our comfort zone. When you feel fear, keep moving. It’ll stretch you beyond your comfort zone and closer to your goals

Less is More.
More than ever, our culture is fixated on proving your worth through your money and material possessions. Entire televisions shows are dedicated to showing you all the stuff other people have. After a while, it can be pretty challenging not to compare your “stuff” to everyone else’s.
True self-empowerment comes from knowing that nothing material will ever prove your worth. Your worth comes from who you are and the impact you make in the lives of others. Don’t worry about impressing everyone else. Instead, focus on impressing God by living the purpose for which He created you: Serving and blessing others in a way that only you can.

The Power to Change Your Life is in the Choices You Make.
Better choices create better circumstances. It’s not what happens to you that most impacts your life. It is how you respond. Your choices create your future. What kind of future are you creating with the choices you are making today?
You can choose to enjoy your life or to be miserable. You can choose to be flexible or keep hitting a brick wall at work or in a relationship. You can choose to pursue your dreams or keep making excuses for why you can’t achieve them.
The choice is ours.

images-53I mean, for better, of course, but still, in the sleep-deprived state you go through with the arrival your child, it may just do you some good to keep in mind that having a newborn can also drastically affect your relationship with your partner in a few ways such as…

You will become a team always in action.

The tag-team approach begins with a baby’s cry, the one that pierces the night and shatters any sleep you were envisioning ahead of you. Team work starts with you passing a diaper and wipes to your partner, then he kicks into high or low gear, changes baby, swaddles the baby and hand her off to you for feeding, and the sessions ends approximately 45 minutes later when you place baby back to bed slowly in hopes of crawling back in your own bed.

You will bond in episodes.
With a new born it is almost difficult to have special time with your partner for hours. So when a few seconds arise take them whole heartedly because you never know what the next minute with bring with it. Baby might decide to take all your attention and energy. When she lies down to sleep, catch up with your loved one, talk while changing diapers or when mum is nursing the baby.

You become contestants of “Survivor: Newborn Edition” in your mind.
While you may think that your relationship will become stretched out in some shapeless form, it may also surprise you to find that you and your partner will bond together in the toughest reality show – your life. Surviving life with a newborn is one of the hardest work you will ever do and in a weird way, it bonds you together when you can commiserate over the sleepless nights, poopy diaper explosions, and midnight feedings.

You will delight when the other one gets pooped on.

The bodily functions that may have once revolted you will now become a source of merriment when your innocent, beautiful little baby deposits an entire feeding-full of poop onto your partner with no warning whatsoever. Especially, when you try to warn your partner that they really need to put the clean diaper underneath the dirty one so that the baby doesn’t pee on the bed. Just in case he doesn’t listen, what do you say? Told you so, honey.

You will wonder how he can ever look at you normally again.
I mean, honestly, after what your body went through and continue to go through in the postpartum phase, It’s normal to have a hard time believing that your partner doesn’t look at you like some kind of freak show. It could probably be the folding stomach that can cover your baby like a kangaroo, so your body confidence is not 100% . But the most amazing thing is Mums bounce back and the romance kick back in. Let’s just keep telling ourselves that he will be in awe of your body, not repulsed by it, OK?

Man + baby = A sight to behold.
There’s just something incredibly irresistible about a man and a baby, isn’t there? And if you don’t believe it, have your man accompany you to the supermarket and then stand approximately ten feet behind him holding your baby and watch the old ladies ogle. Luckily, you’re the one that gets to go home with both of them.

You will hate him for being a man.
It’s the sad and sorry truth, but it is almost guaranteed that in the first few weeks, months, and perhaps even years following your child’s birth, you will despise your husband, partner, or boyfriend simply for the fact that he was not the one to give birth. He will never, ever be able to understand what you have gone through and as much as you’d like to force him to undergo the morning sickness, the contraction pain, or the horror that is peeing after birth even for one minute, he won’t get it. So your relationship comes to the point of reconciling the fact that you are sorely flying solo on the fact that you have crossed a threshold he just can’t follow. Hopefully he respects you more for it and hopefully you forgive him for it, but either way, there’s no going back.

You are forever intertwined.
Stronger than the bonds of relationships are the bonds of parenthood. After your first meet the little being who took your breaths away, there is a deeper awareness of what it means to truly be united as a couple. No matter what happens between you, you are always parents together.

images-52Be conscious of how you are living and raising your children. Happy families do things a little differently. They are happier because they live intentionally and practice positive habits that instill lifelong values into their children. It doesn’t mean everything is perfect, but their habits make the difference and the good outweighs the bad. Of course, not every family can be happy all the time, but with a few little hints to help you along the way you CAN be most of the time.

Here are few tips that you can use to create a happy family too starting today!

Have family traditions.
The word busy seems to be the new most overused word these days. Everyone is so busy with tasks and activities that families are lucky to spend a few hours per week together. So, now more than ever, it’s important to set aside a time for the whole family just to be together doing things consistently every week, every month, and on holidays to create life long memories and family traditions. For example, it can be as easy and simple as family breakfast on Sunday mornings, movie night on Friday nights, an outdoor hike on the weekend, visiting family out of town once a month….. and the list goes on.

Happy families are giving.
As the song goes, “We all need somebody to lean on“. There’s nothing better than giving back to those in need. You may have been in need at some time, and someone has helped you. In the same respect, you never know when you might be in need so it’s good to store up some of that instant positive karma. It’s important to give often and allow your children to personally give as well. Giving back as a family only amplifies the positive gesture. It unites the family while also teaching children about doing good deeds for others and sharing. There are so many different things you can do too – like: Participate in a walk/jog/run that benefits a special charity or a group affected by a certain disease or disability. Give away things around the house that you no longer need or use. Donating clothes that are too small or not worn.

Practice peace, kindness, and compassion.
Yes it’s true. Siblings argue sometimes, and that’s about as normal as it gets. However, huge explosions can be prevented when you practice peace internally. Intentionally use kindness and compassion in situations that would normally create anger or upset. Declare and make a family rule that only positive, kind words are allowed to be spoken to each other. When feelings of anger arise, teach your children how to take deep belly breaths to diffuse the negative emotion. The best way to teach these habits are to practice them yourself.

A higher being
Consistently teaching your children about life and our Creator will set them up for so much success and happiness in their life. No doubt there is a driving force in this Universe that creates and flows through everything. Whatever you personally believe is up to you. It’s important to teach that belief to your child. Even if later down the road they decide to believe something different. Ultimately it is up to all of us as individuals on how we connect with the divine. Teaching our children that is exists an that we can communicate with that power is what creates well being in a person. Well being creates a happier and healthier family and life. To do this effectively you can can simply personally practice your religion or spiritual beliefs daily and lead by example.

Worry less.
So many families tend to miss out on the simple joys of life, because they just have “too many” other things they decide to worry about. Happy families don’t stress and strain, they plan and act. When a less than desirable situation arises they deal with it quickly and calmly. They don’t let little things turn into big things and they feel gratitude for the beauty and love in their life. Happy families might still be “busy” with school, work, hobbies and extra activities, but they make the most of life because they created it. They diffuse problems quickly. When a big problem arises, they effectively handle it and communicate their emotions. They may share concerns in a more peaceful way to help the whole family co-exist more easily.

“I sustain myself with the love of family.” – Maya Angelou

images-49Once in a while it’s good to give your kids a big hug and kiss goodbye then turn off the “eyes in the back of you head” for hours. Calling time away from your kids a “break” may sound bad, but it’s not, it is necessary. Not having to be in mum-mode for even a little while can be relaxing, restorative, and just the recharge you need to be a great parent when you’re back with your kids.

Adult time doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. A weekend away with girlfriends is nice, but most of the time even just an hour without kids running around can flip your mood around and boost your long-term stores of energy that are so necessary to keep your home operating smoothly.

The thing is, adult time is nearly essential to be a happy, stress free mum. You have likely heard that investing time in date night is important for a marriage; so is taking time away from kiddie-land and focusing just on yourself. Whether it’s an hour, a day, or a weekend, it can be the thing that keeps you from losing your mind in a world of “Mummy, I need this” or “Mummy, do that.”

Do not make parenting you number one priority and let it to take over your very own needs. Understand and accept that carving out time to spend with just your husband or a group of girlfriends is also investing into your bank of mummy skills. You are not less of a mum by not physically being with your child at every opportunity.

When you take sometime “off” you come back energized and desperately wanting to spend time with your kids. Let me tell you: anything that makes you want to spend more time with your kids is a good thing. You will realized that investing in adult time is well worth the time away from the kids, even if you do miss them while away. I could say the same thing about taking date nights with your husband for no other reason than that it’s nice to have an uninterrupted conversation and catch up on each other’s lives outside of your parenting identities.

Taking time for yourself or spending time with your friends recharges you to be a more engaged parent. It’s amazing how much more present you can be with your kids when you’ve had a chance to step back for a minute. If you haven’t been doing so all along, it’s time to give yourself some adult time too, no strings (or guilt!) attached.

images-46Motherhood is full of plates we must spin. Plates that are packed full of illusions like perfection and happiness-equals-two-kids-and-a-pet. I think it’s made worse by the “perfect” lives we see our “friends” (that we haven’t had a conversation with since high school) displaying on social media sites.
What is the worst that would happen if we dropped those plates a little and risk both judgment and true connection with those who are worthy of our stories? It is a proven fact that our silence breeds “aloneness.” As a mum, I think it’s important that we move past the illusion of perfect kids and perfect lives and sometimes tell each other, heaven forbid, that we need a little help and support. I don’t always have it all together, why do I often think I have to look like I do? It’s not like any one of us has ever done this before.

Motherhood is hard, and sometimes so is life. We all have bad days. We all make mistakes. We do our true selves a dis-service when we believe that every mother around us has it all together. Because we tuck our true selves away, out of site, to make room for the illusion of having it all together.
I realize that I am describing real bravery here, because leaning in and opening up to motherhood and life as it is… messy and real… is an act full of vulnerability and courage. It leaves us out of control in so many ways, but it also gives our true selves the space to show up and foster healthy connections in a world full of fake social media statuses.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Be so grateful for friends who risk moments of authenticity. Moments of true connection, where nothing is perfect but everything is refreshingly real.
Autheniticty is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are:-

Choosing authenticity means
Cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
Exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe we are enough.

When we really see each other, in all our imperfect and brave mummy-ness, we can understand that motherhood is not about who is the best and most involved PTA mum or CEO mum or small business mum… it’s about connecting and journeying together and daring to show up with our true selves on that journey.

You are not alone.

Timages-43here is a certain quote that I feel sums up motherhood quite well. It states, “The days are long, but the years are short.”  In a blink of an eye these little babies are going to be off to college and the photographs that you capture today will be your most treasured possessions tomorrow.

Capture as many meaningful images of you children as you can as they grow. You don’t have to get a fancy camera, most phones cameras can do.

Take a minute and think about what you love about each stage your child is in? Is it how your baby sucks his two fingers? Do you love those little feet walking in their first pair of shoes? Is there a 2-foot tall stuffed bear that your child can’t get enough of? All of these things are fleeting, and make for incredible photographs documenting this stage in their life.

The best camera is the one in your hand. Check out some of the fun photography related apps, such as Instagram, which adds vintage filters to your images. Don’t let a moment pass simply because your regular camera is at home.

The fastest way to drastically improve the wow factor in your baby photography is to change your perspective. We are used to seeing the world from an adult’s vantage point, but maybe not from the level of your toddler. Lay your baby on the bed on her side and place the camera on the bed to take a picture of her at her level. Lay on the floor to take pictures of your preschooler playing.

Simply getting a little bit closer and having your child fill the frame is another simple way to improve the composition of your image. It eliminates distraction and there is no question as to who the subject of the photograph is.

images-42When at all possible try to avoid using your camera’s on camera flash. This is harsh direct light that often results in crazy red monster eyes. Instead, open the blinds of your home and place your child near the window. When they are facing towards the window it will light their face beautifully and light up their eyes.

Capturing true expressions takes work, but it pays off with images that showcase your child’s personality. Laugh, joke, and play peek-a-boo. Don’t forget to capture different expressions. Even though you think that pout is forever seared into your memory, there may come a day that it becomes one of your favorite images.

Don’t forget to take the time to periodically print your images! It’s so easy to capture digital images, download them to the computer and then forget about them. Print photos for scrapbooks or create yearly family photo albums at any of the consumer photo sites.

Above all, just make it a priority to capture your everyday in images. When you look at your photos in 25 years, they will transport you back to this moment in time so you can fondly remember the messy house, sticky fingers, and a 2 foot tall stuffed bear.

Balancing Motherhood and Life

images-34There is no single formula for attaining a balanced life. It is a personal decision how one combines their career, spouse/significant other, children, friends and self into an integrated whole. The key is to develop creative solutions as you approach the challenges of balancing the responsibilities and joys of your multiple roles. Some of the same skills and strategies you use at work such as planning, organizing, communicating, setting limits and delegating can be used effectively on the home-front for achieving a satisfying, fulfilling and well-balanced life both personally and professionally.

Here are a few tips

Build a Support Network

Ask for help and allow yourself to be helped and contributed to. Get your children involved–work together as a team.

Let Go of Guilt

Guilt is one of the greatest wastes of emotional energy. It causes you to become immobilized in the present because you are dwelling on the past. Guilt can be very debilitating. By introducing logic to help counter-balance the guilt, you can avoid sabotaging your efforts toward work/family balance and stay better on course.

Establish Limits and Boundaries and Remember They are Necessary for Balancing Work and Family

Boundaries are an imaginary line of protection that you draw around yourself. They are about protecting you from other people’s actions. Determine for yourself what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior from other people. Boundaries and limits define how you take charge of your time and space and get in touch with your feelings. They express the extent of your responsibilities and power and show others what you are willing to do or accept. Without limits it’s difficult to say “no”. Remind yourself often that your boundaries are necessary for balancing work and family.

Determine Your Own Standards

Get rid of the notion of being a perfectionist. Wean yourself off it by making compromises–figure out where the best places to make the compromises are without short-changing yourself, your spouse, your children, your boss, etc. Live by your own standards rather than someone else’s. Standards are about YOU and refer to the behavior and actions you are willing to hold yourself to.

Create Time for Yourself

Being a good parent, partner and professional means being good to yourself first. Use your mind to make some affirmations for yourself. Find ways to relax, relieve tension and minimize stress. Taking some time off for yourself will not only benefit you, but it will benefit your work and family tremendously, as well!

Get Organized

Set priorities, work smarter not harder, delegate (and really let go!). Create lists and save them for re-use. Keep a main calendar centrally located to post everyone’s activities.

Balancing Work and Family Requires You to Be Flexible

Forgive yourself when things don’t get done. Understand that with children things change at a moment’s notice. Be ready and willing to assume responsibility for any of the tasks that need to get done at any time. Never get too comfortable, because as soon as you seem to get things under control, they change! Also, realize that in order to achieve success many women have had to give up their original goals and substitute new ones with different but equal challenges. Negotiate for what you need.

Enjoy Quality Family Time

Spend quality/focused time with your family. Give them your full attention. Develop rituals you can all look forward to. Create relationships with your spouse and children that are not incidental but rather instrumental to your success.

Find Reliable Child Care

Leave your kids in capable hands. Find someone you feel comfortable and confident in.  Get involved with your child’s care providers by communicating frequently and observing interactions between caregiver and your child.

Achieve an Integrated Life

Keep things in perspective. Create harmony in your life–a mixture of work, family and friends. Remember, there is no single formula for balancing work and family. It is a personal decision how one combines spouse, children and career.