If I won the lottery tomorrow, after doling out a number of substantial donations to the causes that matter most to me, and sharing the wealth with family and friends, I would . . .
Hire a chef! Someone whose only responsibility would be to feed my family healthy, well balanced, organic, non-GMO, made from scratch food that tastes delicious and everyone would eat, without a fuss. I’d never have to think about meal prep again. Said chef would also be a sommelier who could pour me a perfectly paired glass of wine with every meal—obviously.
Hire a full-time laundry folding professional. Someone to take my freshly laundered clothes out of the dryer while they’re actually still warm, fold them neatly, and put them away in the right places. No longer would I have baskets of laundry all over my house, piles of clothes that have been folded but not yet put away, and washed laundry that accidentally sits in the washing machine until it starts to smell. My linen closet would be so organized I’d actually be able to find a crib sheet when I needed one, and towels wouldn’t fall out on top of me every time I open the door.
Enlist the help of a parenting professional who could come in every morning to get my kids ready for school. I’d never have to scream the words, “WE’RE LATE!” again. Instead, I’d sit back and drink my coffee (that hasn’t been re-heated three times) while my kids were brushed, washed, and dressed by someone with infinite patience and impeccable parenting skills. I’d then meet my kids at the front door and walk them to school, all singsongy and smiling, because we wouldn't be late and we wouldn't be frazzled.
Build a little house behind my house (which would have a sprawling backyard with a gazebo for an ‘outdoor office’) where my “Self-Care Team” would live. This team would be made up of a massage therapist, osteopath, yoga instructor, and life coach/therapist. They’d all work on an on-call basis whenever I needed a little me-time intervention! Since I’m a bit of a hypochondriac, I’d probably have a personal doctor/pediatrician as part of the team too, and maybe a naturopath for good measure. Come to think of it, perhaps a hair stylist and manicurist would be a nice addition to the team, as well.
Next I'd hire a travel agent whose only job would be to plan little getaways for my hubby and me, where we’d be able to have conversations without being constantly interrupted, and actually work on our relationship without trying to run a household at the same time. Obviously, I’d also hire an incredible babysitter who my kids would adore and would be happy to stay with while we were away eating in delicious adult restaurants, seeing movies in the theatre, and taking long walks together . . . after 7pm.
There's more I could add to this list, but it seems dinner isn’t going to make itself. Back to reality.
What would you do if you won the lottery tomorrow?
I'm in need of a bad news intervention. I read Facebook and Google News like an addict in need of a fix. I can't help myself. I click on headlines that promise a hefty dose of fear and I read what follows insatiably. If only I can stay informed and on top of all the bad news, I’ll be able to rest easy. WRONG!
Filling yourself up with bad news is like filling yourself up with sugar. The more you eat it, the more your body craves it, and the worse you feel as a result. Frankly, all this fear is giving me a stomach ache.
The world is full of bad news right now: contagious diseases, mysterious viruses, sex offenders, car crashes, shootings, stabbing, natural disasters, and global warming. It's enough to make anyone crazy, especially a mother who’s trying to make sense of the chaos she’s brought her kids into.
But there's something important we've got to understand. The world is also full of media outlets, bloggers, and news networks, all vying for our attention. They all need us to click on their headlines, to consume their bad news, and to come back for more, because they all need to remain profitable to stay in business. There is a very powerful machine turning out a lot of fear, and it’s our choice as to whether we’ll buy in or not.
We’ve been lead to believe that we must click, and read, and refresh so that we don’t miss out on something "really important." We're working for these media outlets. Every time we read a bad news story and we share it with our networks (online and offline) we're perpetuating the cycle of fear. It's not enough that we feel utterly terrified and helpless; we need to ensure everyone else we know feels the same way.
We're contributing to a culture of fear—and frankly, it's got to stop!
This week I called my life coach, Ellen White, for a fear intervention. Ellen is a mother too, and because she helps people all day long, she's also subject to all of their fear and bad news. These are the strategies she's developed to stay sane, and happy, amidst the fear.
1. Tune in and know when you've had enough. If you're binging on sugar and you start to feel sick, you probably stop eating. The same must be true for bad news. Know when to unplug, turn off the television, disconnect from Facebook, and tune in to the here and now. Most of what you're reading, you can't do anything about anyway, so why not focus on the things you do have control over. There’s nothing wrong with unplugging for a week or two. If there’s something really important that needs your attention, you’ll find out about it, I promise. Focus on what's in front of you and you'll likely have a lot more fun and feel much happier.
2. Get informed. When something scares you, search for unbiased, balanced information about it. Rather than relying on one news source or the links your social networks are sharing, do some digging of your own and find out everything you need to know. Then make a decision as to whether this issue needs your concern or not. Do everything in your power to protect yourself and your family. Then let it go and have some faith that you will be okay!
3. Exercise discernment when sharing. Stop the cycle by committing to think before you share. Like the worst diseases, fear can be fatal. You wouldn't want to spread illness to those you love, so stop spreading fear. Instead of clicking ‘share’ every time you read something scary, consider instead how you can cope with what you’re feeling in a more healthy way. Talk about how you’re feeling rather than sharing the source that induced that fear in the first place.
4. Focus on what you want rather than what you don't want. Mother Teresa said it best: "I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there." What you give your attention to becomes your experience. If you focus your attention on the things that scare you, you're going to get a whole lot more scary things showing up in your life. If you focus instead on the experience you want to have, the peace, then you're more likely to get just that. Read good news stories and share them like crazy. Focus on the positive things happening in the world. Make a donation to a cause that worries you. Find out how you can help. Bring as much positive energy to the things you're afraid of and watch how the world around you starts to shift.
Bad news may be inevitable, but how you deal with it is very much in your control. It's time we all take back our power and our newsfeeds. Are you with me?
If you liked this post, you should really read these: Why You Should Put On Your Rose Coloured Glasses and How To Get Happy Now: Three Steps to Transform Your Mood
Parenting advice. There's a lot of it out there—speakers and authors telling you what to do, other moms offering up often unsolicited advice, message boards where everyone is free to weigh in, and even your own mother, or mother-in-law, or step-mother, or grandmother, with well-meaning advice . . . that you can't always take.
As my second daughter turns 18 months, there is something I'm coming to realize about parenting—it's a lot like creativity. Thanks to a session we Yummy Mummy bloggers had recently with the talented and oh so brilliant Leslie Ehm, I've been thinking a lot about this.
What do parenting and creativity have in common?
For starters, they're both something we all possess—the ability to be creative and the ability to be a parent.
You know those times when you're feeling so creative that you can't stop the ideas from flowing? Whether you're writing a blog post, creating a painting, or solving a problem . . . you're just nailing it! If you know what I mean, you probably also know the feeling of being completely creatively blocked. When no matter what you do, you can't generate a single creative thought that you'd deem worthy.
The same is true for parenting.
As a mom, you've probably experienced it. There are times when you're on your game, when you’re making decisions left, right, and centre, handling things your kids throw at you, riding the wave of their emotions without getting knocked down. Those moments occur when you're in, what Leslie refers to as, "the flow."
Essentially, your inner critic, or ego (you know the one that serves up all the self-doubt and criticism) is keeping its pesky mouth shut, and you have a clear line to your "gut" or instinct. That's where all the best stuff resides. When you're parenting in the flow, you don't need Google to tell you what to do. You know how you feel, and you know that you can trust yourself to make the best decisions for your kids.
When you're in the flow, the only place you need to turn for parenting advice is inward.
But how do you get there?
Begin by having a little faith. You know what you're doing. Your mommy instincts kicked in the moment your baby was placed in your arms for the first time—all you need to do is listen to it. Tune in to yourself and tune out all the background noise.
Stop the self-doubt! Remember that not everyone will do things like you do. When you do make a decision, don't feel you need to justify it to other moms on Facebook or in your book club. Just because someone doesn't agree with your decision, doesn't make it wrong. If the decisions you're making are right for you and your kids, then they're right.
Next, give yourself a break.If you're going to parent in the flow, you can't be exhausted, stressed-out, or on your last legs. You need a little rest, some self-care, and some time to breathe without your kids around. The best decisions are made from a place of feeling good about yourself.
That said, not every parenting decision will come instantly. If you don't know what to do right away, don't assume you need to turn to sources outside yourself. Try instead checking in. Free flow journaling can work well. For me, taking a bath or shower and "turning off" my brain often result in the best ideas. Solve parenting challenges in the same way you'd deal with writer's block. If your thing is running, or walking, or hitting the gym—do that. If it's cooking, or meditating, or gardening—do that. Give yourself some space to get into your "zone" and watch how easily the solutions will come to you.
I'm not saying it doesn't take a village to raise a child—because it totally does. I'm just saying, you can handle a lot more than you give yourself credit for (and so can I!).
Strangers, friends, in-laws: No matter who is offering it, these are the perfect 15 responses to use when you are given unsolicited advice.
Want to be a rock star mom? Well all you need to do is this and you're in the club.