How to Get Healthy Food on the Table

dinner

It can be hard when routines change (back to school, new schedules) to be able to fit everything in that you have had set on a pretty rigid schedule up until now. Simple evening activities like showering, homework for children or chores can be thrown for a loop even with a 1 hour change in your routine or schedule.

One of the tasks that can be the most daunting and time consuming for mom business owners can be simply making dinner for their families and themselves. Getting food made, on the table and the family fed can feel like an impossible mission on some days, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Now if you have been following me for awhile, you know that not only is cooking a passion of mine, but it is also fundamentally in my business plan. What I mean by that is that it is part of my schedule everyday. I’m committed to making it happen as much and as successfully as possible. It is one of my defined goals is to have a home-cooked meal on the table for my family at least 5 nights a week by around 6:30.

I have been successful with this goal for the most part in the past, but it is getting much more difficult with my children getting older. They have their own schedules, commitments to work around instead of just the adults.

I have used these four basic principles to help me to remember how to prioritize meal times:

Make It a Commitment

Commit to yourself and your family to making your mealtimes a family connection time. Try having no technology at the table: no tvs, computers, phones. Try just talking, connection and sharing together. This can be a magical time, even if it is only 20 minutes. Also, be sure to put it on your schedule. Try to have a set goal time for dinner every night. Make sure that everyone knows when that is and to not schedule other (avoidable) things at that time. And, just because it is a commitment, does not mean you have to be rigid about it. Be flexible, sometimes it will be a picnic at soccer or at the park, it will be a box in the minivan, but it is still a home cooked meal that you are having with your family.

Make It Simple

Don’t overthink meal time. Don’t put so much pressure on needed a freshly-cooked, just-out-of-the-oven full meal every night. That’s unrealistic and very difficult to do. Instead, try and make extras when you do cook to be frozen already prepared. Having things pre-cooked, pre-chopped and packaged for future meals will help immensely when you are short on time. You can pull them out and thaw / warm them even when you need to run out the door and still have a home cooked meal on the go!

Make it fun

Make a conscious effort to involve your kids and spouse in the meal-time process. Encourage selecting your dishes for the week as a family and allow them to help you prep and cook meals whenever possible. Not only will this give you more family bonding time but it will also teach your children a valuable, important life skill for their future. Win-win!

Make it matter

Make mealtime an important part of your family time. Dinner time doesn’t have to be long-stemmed candles and linens. It simply means sitting down, enjoying your food and being together. It means truly connection and conversation without the constant distractions of our busy lives. It may only be about 20 minutes, but it can be a 20 minutes that really, truly matters. If you have to have dinner separately due to certain (unavoidable) commitments, then make an effort to possibly sit down once you are all home to have dessert together, or a family breakfast time the next day.

Being a mompreneur is about keeping your priorities in order—and dinner is one way I make sure I’m meeting all my goals. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to set more concrete measurements for your home life, even if dinner may not be one of yours. Even personal goals need to be specific and measurable, just like your business goals.

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Why Striving for Work/Life Balance is Stupid

balance

Did my title get your attention? Great! Now, I will admit it was a little bit misleading because it may seem very contradictory with my mission when you first hear it. You all know that I am a business coach especially for mother entrepreneurs, so when you hear me say striving for work life balance is stupid you may be like “wait, what?” But just hear me out!

In this blog, we’re going to revisit my humble beginnings in business and in motherhood. I like to refer to this time in my life as my “perfect storm”. I started out becoming both a business owner/coach and a mother at the same time. I know, right? Hello, stress! I went from just a person one day to so very much more in such a short time. And you guessed it: I struggled. Just like you probably have as well.

I have very high standards for my business as well as my family life. I had a business coach of my very own at the time kept and she kept noticing my unhealthy relationship my work/life balance. She noticed that I wasn’t living it. She noticed I complained for being unable to accept new clients by spending too much time on my baby. Yet, caring for my baby and living up to my own standards as a mother had become all encompassing for me.

My coach did something for me at that time that I will never forget and that has continued to help me grow even to this day. She forced me to have a terrible coaching call one day that ended in tears, and I thank her for that immensely. See, she knew my unhealthy attempt at balancing my life, so she scheduled a coaching session with me while I took my baby to the public pool. I thought she was crazy, but I obliged after much urging. That call was an absolute mess that I was constantly pausing trying to focus on both baby at the pool and the session at the same time. I wound up, unsurprisingly, in puddle of tears

I had been so heavily compartmentalizing my life and she could see that. I was trying desperately to keep my work life and my parenting life entirely separate and if they ever collided I got very upset. I felt like I couldn’t handle anything fully. I learned that day and every day since that life isn’t about balance. It isn’t about giving your best to both your business and your parenting at the same time and balancing them together. It’s about integration.

Focus on your priorities. I have 4 of my own. They are my well being, my marriage, my family, and my business. Rather than trying to evenly split myself between those 4 things, I integrate them together. It’s impossible to have precise balance between all your priorities.

What I mean is this: recently I had a speaking engagement in Las Vegas that happened to fall on the weekend of my wedding anniversary. So, instead of feeling the need to choose between a work engagement and my marriage/husband, I integrated them together. My husband came out with me to Las Vegas for the entire weekend before my speaking engagement on Monday. We spent the weekend together and made a mini-vacation out of the experience. Not to mention, we hiked and explored outside in the beautiful area outside of Las Vegas. In just that weekend, I integrated together my husband/marriage, my business and my wellbeing. All at the same time. And I loved every minute of it! Similarly, when I go for runs from home, I will often invite my son to run with me. This integrates my wellbeing and my family.

Instead of striving for balance, strive to integrate your priorities together. I promise you will feel more relaxed, fulfilled and you will have more time to truly devote to each one, individually and together.

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Doing What You Want to Do on Your Own Terms

your terms

I have noticed a pattern in some of my coaching recently. I have been working a lot with clients on defining how to live their lives on their own terms. Helping them to gather the skills and confidence required to really getting to the core of their why and how they want their life to feel.

I have a client who recently suffered great loss. Both her mother and father passed on close together. In her eulogy, she was sharing that there were some great parts of life and love, but there were also some parts of her father’s life that she cannot forgive.

She has worked so hard to live life on her own terms and making choices for herself everyday. And I really challenge you to do the same. What can you do in order to make sure that when you pass on, you are satisfied, fulfilled and happy? By living a life on your own terms and having done what you really wanted to and what really mattered to you.

It is all too simple to sometimes feel like your whole life revolves around your obligations. It can feel like all you do is worry about what your kids need, spouse needs, house needs, what your business wants and needs from you. These are and absolutely should be priorities. But at the end of the day, are there parts of your life that you are forgetting about or not fully fulfilling that really matter deep down to you?

Living life according to your most basic values can be so rewarding and yet so much more difficult than it seems it should be.

There was a woman who wrote a about entitled Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, she was a nurse who spent a lot time caring for those at the end of their time. In this book, written by a nurse, individuals talk about getting caught up in daily life and the needs and expectations of others, and letting life pass you by. It can be hard to get around to what truly matters most to you when you have so many things pulling you in different directions. In her book, she says that most people regret working too much, and expressing their thoughts or feelings too little. It’s easy to fall into work and become a workaholic or fall into the rabbit hole of always seeking more money or success, but at the end of the day, that’s not what is most important for us.

Most everyone has a family member or a friendship in our lives that needs our attention and nurturing, but that can be hard to keep up with if you are distracted consistently. It should be important to spend time connecting with that person or making time for them.

Mindset can be a very powerful thing as well. It is common for people to sometimes feel like they don’t deserve something, or are getting too much. It is normal to have a lot of inner voices in your head, but at the end of the day they can convince you that you shouldn’t try, or make the effort because there is no point. But that can easily breed regret in the future.

Considering instead of reasoning or making excuses, trying to ask yourself if, doing something, will make you happy. Make it less complicated and just ask yourself “Will trying this make me happy?” It can feel foreign, but it can really produce a more authentic response.

Have you ever felt the friction in your life, of putting someone else’s expectations of you, above your own values? Do you think when it is your turn to be in the hospital, talking to the nurse, that you will feel fulfilled? Spend some time this week evaluating your to do list and find those things that really matter. If there’s nothing on that list for you, it’s time to clean it up!

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Why is it So Hard for Mompreneurs to See Themselves as Successful?

successful

What is success and what does it mean to you? Success is not the same for every person, so why do we always seem to slip into trying a one-size-fits-all approach to what it means to be successful? Why is is so hard for us to figure out what success really means to us?

This is a topic that repeatedly comes up in my coaching business. Are you trying to figure out what is next for you or what your next step is? It is important when trying to figure that out, that you have a defined idea of what success really means to you. Not only that, but also your own “yardstick” or way of telling if you really measure up to that definition.

Why do we feel so much pressure? The reason you may feel like you’re not measuring up consistently is because you are using the wrong yardstick. Your definition of success get polluted, bent and misshapen as time goes on. Your goals and aspirations will always continuously evolve as you evolve and accomplish certain things that you set out to accomplish. Your yardstick needs to consistently grow and change with you. It’s very hard to remember to do this with your own definition of success.

Sometimes you just really need to understand that when we say “success” we are really searching for a deep-seated feeling of happiness. Success can look so many different ways to different people, but it never fails that it is rooted in happiness. That’s when life starts looking and feeling the way you want it to. It can be very hard to get there and distractions are so easy to get caught up in as a mom entrepreneur. It is easy to get caught up in doing what others “expect” for us to do, instead of following our heart or our own definition of success. Doing what others expect, you would get a lot of external encouragement and acknowledgement, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right for you.

Another common yardstick that can trip you up is the yardstick that measures your physical belongings and current life situation. Maybe you have the perfect house, that new car or the perfect body you’ve always wanted. You can be so proud of those things and accomplishments, but sometimes that is still the wrong yardstick for measuring your individual success.

Research has shown repeatedly that more “things” does not equal more happiness. Keep collecting more things, working out more or going on more luxurious trips that we think will “prove“ to us that we are successful based on what we have seen in society of “successful people”.

It is important to really define success for yourself and keep the important things on your radar so you know if you are on your way. The first step is to determine your own standards. Don’t worry about how other people measure their success, what is truly important to you? After establishing your standards, it is crucial to doing something that is related to your purpose and that is aligned with your passions. And lastly, focus on intrinsic goals, what will make you feel better instead of on money or time based goals.

If you haven’t already, be sure to grab a copy of my book Moms Mean Business, because you will benefit greatly from this being covered in the first 3 chapters as well as the assessments to help you define your own meaning of success!

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11 Steps To Owning Your Path

your path

Owning your path. That sounds like a great idea, right? We’re all on a path, most of them winding, some quite crooked, with a fair amount of bumps along the way. But that path is ours, so let’s dig into what it means to really own it and how we can apply that to our businesses so that we are moving forward into our future with confidence and intent.

  1. VISION. Your vision is your focus—what your eyes are fixed on. Whatever you focus on you get more of. So adjust your focus to the positive, to what you hope for, to where you want to go.
  2. WHY. Things are going to get tough. Things are going to get messy. You’re going to get confused, distracted, discouraged. Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing ensures that your motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward is coming from within, not based on all the external circumstances that you’re facing.
  3. CULTURE. Who you are, how you’ve done things up to this point, your habits, and your mindset are critical forces in determining the path you will choose. All these things come together to make you who you are. Embrace it!
  4. POSSIBILITIES. Don’t get trapped by a “But this is how I’ve always done it” mentality. Open yourself up to the world of possibilities that awaits you when you replace old habits that aren’t serving you with a mindset that says, “This is possible.”
  5. EXPERIENCE. Experience is the skills, knowledge, and expertise that you have acquired over the course of your life. Acknowledge your strengths, the things you are best at, and determine how you may use them going forward.
  6. COMMITMENTS. This is the “owning” part of owning your path. This is where you put a stake in the ground and declare, “It will be done because it matters to me!”
  7. PRACTICE. Practice is the opposite of perfectionism. It’s the opposite of fear. It is being willing to stink at something and keep trying until we get it right. Keep practicing!
  8. SUPPORT. Support is so critical to owning your path—both giving and receiving it. Get the help you need from others and invest time and energy into others to help them on their own paths.
  9. ACTION. This is where the rubber meets the road! Baby steps are still steps. Take action and make it happen!
  10. ACCOUNTABILITY. As internal as owning your path may seem, we need external drivers to keep us on track. Accountability is a good and necessary element of success, whether it is enlisting the guidance of a coach or simply checking in with a likeminded accountability buddy.
  11. CHOICE. This is all about your choice. It’s at the heart of everything. There is freedom in realizing that no one is making you do this, that this path you’re on is your choice, and that nobody can take away the success you find along the way because nobody but you has gotten you there.

I hope these tips help inspire you to really own your path. Do you have others you would add to the list? Let me know on Facebook!

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5 Things I’ve Learned Coaching Mompreneurs

mompreneurs

A recent project has had me looking back at my years of clients (can you believe I’m a terrible record keeper?) and thinking about ways these women’s lives have changed after working with me. Now, don’t get me wrong—this is not about patting myself on the back. I can only ask the questions and get the wheels turning; each woman I work with has to come to the right conclusions for her and then take action. Sure, I help think through decisions and then add a layer of accountability, but when it comes to getting the work done? That’s for my clients to do!

As I’ve looked back, I’ve also realized some important lessons I’ve learned as I work with a variety of women in all stages of life who work in vastly different industries with different goals. That’s what I want to share with you today, so here they are:

  1. Everyone (especially mompreneurs) need to get clear about their priorities. This is EVERYTHING about success as a mom business owner. How will you know you’re “succeeding” if you don’t know what that looks like for you? (Shameless book plug: in Moms Mean Business we walk you through the process of identifying your priorities. Order it here!)
  2. Even now, most women need to let go of what success looks like for stereotypical entrepreneurs or even what the women themselves think their success should look like based on external factors. We are not twenty-somethings who are bootstrapping the next Facebook in our basement. We can’t work 60-80 hours per week fueled on Taco Bell and Red Bull. We also probably won’t have a picture-perfect Pinterest house and a perfect coif. We can’t be all the things to all the people. We define success for ourselves!
  3. After identifying priorities, we need to follow those to their most likely result and then be realistic about our expectations. If family, marriage, and business are your priorities, then sitting on other community committees and volunteering for other organizations may have to wait for another phase of life. Asking yourself: if these are my priorities, what kind of life will I have?
  4. Once we are clear about their version of success, we have to follow through with those priorities. Which is why finding out what those priorities really are is paramount to success. If you’re neglecting your business to volunteer for hours at your kids’ school, you’ll just end up resenting that time if copying worksheets is not one of your priorities. And vice versa: if your marriage is falling apart because you spend every evening working on your business, you’re going to be similarly unhappy if that marriage is one of your priorities.
  5. It is absolutely, 100% okay to ask for help. Whether it’s from coach, a friend, a mentor, a mental health professional, our family, whatever, asking for help is not weak. When you have a strong support team, you are better equipped for the many challenges of owning a business and having a family (or either of those on their own)! Asking for help does not mean you’re not cut out for the life you have or that you can’t do what you’ve set out to do. In fact, you won’t be able to do what you want without the right help. So circle the wagons and get some people around you who you can trust!
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Conditions of Satisfaction—How, When, and Why to Say No

satisfaction

We mompreneurs, as we’re working hard to grow and develop our businesses, can sometimes slip into a pattern of saying yes to things that really don’t serve or work for us. In fact, we may even find ourselves signing clients or accepting projects that flat-out stress, drain, or overwhelm us… which can’t be good for us or our businesses! We say yes to these things for many reasons, many based on fear: fear that we may miss out on an opportunity, fear that no one else may ever hire us again, fear that we won’t have enough money, or fear that if we don’t say yes to absolutely everything our businesses will fail to grow. Well, let me tell you, ladies—fear is no way to grow a business!

So today I want to talk about the benefits of learning how, when, and why to say no. My hope for you is that you won’t operate out of fear, but from a place of strength, power, and worth, and it’s my belief that saying no, when appropriate, is an amazing tool to help you do just that.

It’s really all about what I call “conditions of satisfaction.” These are the things that bring you fulfillment, that make or break this business for you, that work for you, and that ultimately bring you satisfaction in your business, home, and life in general. These are your non-negotiables when it comes to what makes you happy, and these are what should drive your decision to say yes or no when an opportunity comes knocking at your door.

Here are some examples of how your conditions of satisfaction can help you know when to say no:

  • If working from home so you can be with your children and not have to put them in daycare is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job will require you to travel or work from a remote location.
  • If working with other mom entrepreneurs is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job will require you to work primarily with businessmen in corporate America.
  • If doing work that is meaningful and stimulating is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job that bores you or conflicts with your conscience comes up.
  • If working only Monday through Friday during business hours is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a project requires that you be available evenings or weekends.

Take time to nail down your conditions of satisfaction. They are different for everyone. There are no right or wrong answers here. But the point is: you get to choose what brings you satisfaction! You get to decide what is important to you, what you’re passionate about, and what makes you happy to be doing what you do. Those are the things by which to live your life, work your business, and help you decide when to say yes to the opportunities that move you in that direction and no to those that don’t.

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Why Your Kids Need to Have Chores

chores

We have a theme going this month—hopefully helping you get your kids lined up and organized for the summer. This includes schedules, chores, and hopefully imposing a little order on how your days go this summer. Typically, summer is a time of fly by the seat of your pants improvisation for moms and kids alike. Which is fine, sometimes. Many of us welcome the break from the rigidity of school year calendars, while some of us dread it. Or maybe we all fit in there in the middle somewhere. I know I do. However, one of the things I love about the summer is the flexibility to do with it what I want! And this summer is no exception.

My situation is probably a little different from many of you. My kids are older now (the youngest is 8), making it much easier for me to put them to work independently while I get things done. They can do a lot of helpful things around the house, too, lightening my housekeeping load and learning some life skills along the way! Which brings me to my main point today: kids need chores. They need responsibilities, even tiny ones (tiny people and tiny jobs). And the sooner you start them doing chores, the better—it becomes a part of their normal routine.

Here are some things to remember when giving kids chores:

  1. Set expectations. When the chore is to “straighten bedroom” tell them what that means. Be specific, and be ready to remind them (probably a couple of times) what your expectations are. Once they get the hang of a task, you won’t have to keep telling them what you mean when you assign them the task.
  2. Be realistic. A 6 year old will have different abilities than a 10 year old. His vacumming job is just not going to be like yours. Keep that in mind when you assign jobs and make sure the tasks are age-appropriate. (I have a list of jobs by age coming out in my next newsletter. Be sure you’re signed up!)
  3. Don’t redo the job. If your daughter worked hard to mop the kitchen floor, and you went behind her and redid it, how will she feel? Why would she try the next time she does a job if she knows you’re going to just do it yourself anyway? It can be tricky, especially if you are detail-oriented, but instead of redoing it, try this: “Great job honey! Let me show you a trick I’ve learned for next time you do it.”
  4. It’s not about you. If it were, you could just hire a cleaning crew and call it a day. Chores are about learning life skills, developing fine and gross motor skills, being part of the family, and learning to be responsible. Remember that is your main goal, especially when kids are younger and just learning to do a lot of the tasks.
  5. Keep it in perspective. This shouldn’t make or break your day. Sometimes, kids will pitch in, do the jobs, and be awesome. Sometimes, they will be jerks and you’ll have to nag them the whole day. Most days, they’ll fall somewhere in the middle. Just try to remember that it’s not the end of the world, it’s just chores, and you’ll all survive!

So that’s it! Kids can do a lot of chores and help you out, if you let them. They’ll also go off into the world knowing how to make a bed, do laundry, clean a kitchen, and take out the garbage. Not a bad deal when you think about it! How do you get your kids to do their chores? Weigh in on my Facebook page!

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Time Management Tips for Mompreneurs

timetips

timetips
If you—like I do—sometimes feel that you’re only barely managing to juggle motherhood and all the ins and outs of running a business, then it’s time to take a good, hard look at how you spend your time. Especially on the cusp of 2015, after the frenzy and chaos of the holidays, the following are some of my favorite time management tips to help you manage your juggling act a little better!

1. Get a routine. Now I understand that there are those of you who will balk at the idea of a formalized routine. But hear me out. While it’s totally not necessary to plan your day in strict, 15-minute increments, a regular schedule of sorts will support the flexibility you value in your life, allowing you time to work on and in your business, as well as time for household chores and family events. Start by creating a loose schedule—morning, lunchtime, afternoon, dinnertime, evening—for Monday through Friday, blocking off office hours and your regularly scheduled daily activities, like packing lunches, getting kids off to school, and so on.

2. Break down your office hours into manageable chunks. This one is simple, and you can block off time by just observing your habits. Is there a particular time you tend to work on the computer? How about returning emails or phone calls? Schedule time to work on your business—marketing and the things that cause your business to grow—and in your business—actual, billable hours of production or face-to-face client time.

3. Make appointments for yourself. You would never stand up a client with an appointment. Why not show yourself that same respect? Need to work on your website redesign? Make an appointment! Have a marketing concept that needs to be fully fleshed out? Set a time for yourself to work on it. Give importance to the things you want to accomplish by putting that time and date on the calendar, and then showing up for that appointment.

4. Schedule downtime. Yes, productivity is important. Yes, as mom entrepreneurs, it seems that 24 hours is never enough. But taking care of yourself is a priority, and it needs to be planned for! Try alternating tasks that require mental focus with good-for-you breaks—a walk around the block, a healthy snack, a phone conversation with a friend—whatever relaxes and recharges you. You may be surprised at how productivity soars when you’re fresh and energized.

These are a few tips that I use to manage my time as a busy mompreneur. All of this will help you round out a really ideal schedule for you, adding up to more time to get things done in a way that makes you feel productive and purposeful—not overwhelmed. I hope these are helpful to you!

Which of these tips can you implement today to help you get control of your time?
What other tips would you include that keep you focused and productive?

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The Definition Of Insanity

Albert Einstein Quote

Albert Einstein Quote“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein

 

Sounds simple enough. Even if it’s not completely insane, I think we can all agree that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something different is at the very least… well, not very bright, right? But yet, I can speak for myself when I say that in business, and especially in motherhood, there have been times I know I’ve been certifiable, according to this definition of insanity! We’ve all been there. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we waste our time repeating actions and patterns that don’t yield the results we want?

 

Let’s take a look at some of the common places in our lives that we could be exhibiting signs of insanity, according to the definition above.

 

  1. Are you struggling with your kids during the same time of day, day after day after day? Before school, dinnertime, bedtime—you know the drill! I refer to it as “the witching hour.” Whenever it is at your house, you dread it, because the same thing goes down every. single. day.

 

  1. Are you having the same argument with your spouse or partner over and over and over again? You know how this one plays out. There is a topic that always sets you or your partner off, without fail. Someone says the word, and it’s all downhill from there—you say this, he says that, and the end result is nothing short of predictable.

 

  1. Are you marketing and networking like crazy but still not getting the sales, new customers, or more money that you desperately need? You’re in massive action. I mean you are just out there making it happen. But it’s not producing the results you’re after.

 

  1. Are you having a hard time finding time for your own health and well-being, even though you claim it’s one of your top priorities? You can just never seem to get enough sleep. It is impossible to find time to exercise. Date nights or girls’ weekends are a thing of the past. These are all things that are important to you, but for some reason or another, they’re just not happening.

 

These four areas are very common pitfalls for us mompreneurs to get stuck in. These are the areas where we tend to compromise some of our best skills, talents, knowledge, and expertise, in favor of getting stuck in a rut of routine that simply doesn’t serve us. So ladies, it’s not really about insanity, is it? Look around you. Look at those kids around your ankles that will one day be great big teenagers. Look at that brand new business that could one day be an empire. Things change. We need to be ready to change along with them.

 

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

 

In which area are you exhibiting signs of insanity?

 

What patterns, habits, or routines are no longer serving you?

 

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