Week 4

1 // Mama Sets the Tone!

Mama sets the tone for the day! I’ve found that playing music really affects my mood and helps me to set the tone for the day…but it’s important for us as mamas to remember that we actually sets the tone the most, even more than playing music does. Take a moment to reflect on your emotional “power,” if you will, as the mother in your household. You have a lot of influence.

We can choose each day how we will act as we start out the day, and how we will react to things that happen during the day. And we often have a lot of little eyes watching us! We can’t disregard the fact that as mothers, we have an audience. We can easily become the mom who stresses everyone out…or not! This tip is not meant as negative pressure. It should be motivating to realize the influence we do have! And for me, it’s convicting. I can think back on days where my attitude or general grumpiness actually set off a string of events – resulting in subsequent unhappy attitudes in my kids, and unhappy moments for everyone! “Happiness is contagious.” (And I definitely think grumpiness is, too!) Life happens, and it’s unpredictable, but we can still set the general tone for our family.

2 // Your New “Reset” Button For the Day!

Books are a fabulous “reset” button for the day. My mom found this to be true for me when I was a child. If I was having a rough day behaviorally or emotionally, she knew that some quality time spent cuddled up and enjoying books together (even for a few minutes) would help to turn the situation around. To this day, reading is a wonderful way for me to reset (I think many of us have found this to be the case!).

As a former elementary teacher, I understand that not every child has the same attention span or even the desire to hear a story. However, I’d say that it’s always, always worth it. We’ve all heard that reading with our child is one of the best things we can do with them. My suggestion is to try out a “reading reset” with your child at an unconventional or unexpected time of the day! You may be surprised at the “results” and the enjoyment you both get out of it. Sometimes when our children are having a rough time or are acting out, our default is to give everyone more space, or even to pull away emotionally ourselves. But – choosing to close the gap relationally with your little one, to pull them close, and to fill their cup with some positive focused time can help to strengthen that mama-child bond! Intentionality with books is never wasted.

3 // Simplify Visual Space!

Simplify your visual space! Here’s an example: Even if all of those notebooks, pens, and sticky notes are supposed to be on your desk, if they are all spread out and piled haphazardly, your desk will still look messy! Our eyes and therefore our minds can easily become overwhelmed by visual clutter. So stack the notebooks or store them vertically out of the way, take the time to stick the pens in a pencil cup, throw away any wrappers, and lay the sticky notes nicely off to the side. This rule works wonders on any flat surface. If I only have half an hour to clean the house, I attack horizontal surfaces – the counters and tables first, then the floor. It’s amazing what simplifying visual space can do – organizationally and for your mood! One quick reminder: simplifying visual space does not mean pushing your clutter into a closet! I’ve tried this one before. 🙂 Hiding the mess is not the same as addressing the mess. It’s worth it to sort through it if you’ve got the time!

4 // When To-Do Lists AREN’T a Good Thing

Let me start this by saying I am not against to-do lists! I am very much for keeping lists and managing life’s commitments and priorities that way! However, it’s healthy to reflect on the many systems in our life, and our to-do list system is one of them.

Organizing and compartmentalizing all the chaos in life is a favorite thing of mine! To seize some abstract task or worry out of midair, and twist and mold it into words on paper in a neat little list…it makes me feel all better! I’ve come to realize over time that we can have an unhealthy relationship with our beloved lists. Some things have got to change, and it’s crucial that we approach our list-making in a healthy way moving forward. I’m definitely preaching to myself today, but I hope you feel encouraged in your list-making as well!

5 // Use Sound Machines For Better Sleep

A sound machine (even more than one, if you have more than one child!) is one of my favorite mom hacks or tips. We have one called the Dreamegg and it is great! (We also own two travel sound machines, which can be taken on the go, on a trip, or in a stroller, and easily recharged in a hotel room.) I’ve linked both types of sound machines below.

Even if your child falls asleep just fine most nights without white noise, having the routine of turning on white noise every night can help signal to your child (regardless of the location) that it’s time to sleep, and it will help cover up noise on nights or during nap times that are not the usual quiet. (For example, our apartment maintenance had to come in and do some work in our kitchen but the kids’ sound machine helped to cover that noise and keep them blissfully unaware of the power tools going on!).

6 // “Magic Thread” Moments

Be aware of any “pulling the thread” moments. And lean into enjoying even those more intense moments. For instance, driving home with the groceries in the car and the children tired and fussy, and wishing it were an hour from now… Instead of wishing time away, think of what you can be grateful for in the moment. You don’t have to pretend the struggle isn’t there, but there is always something to be grateful for!

** A little homework for you: Read the story of “Peter and the Magic Thread,” linked below!

BONUS! Quick Ways to Declutter Your Life

Sometimes, we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed with clutter – in our home and also in terms of digital clutter. Luckily, there are a few ways you can simplify your life very quickly! This might not seem related to motherhood, but it is, because the more simplified and calm the rest of your life feels, the more present and calm you can be for your children!

BONUS! Benefits of Meal Planning – Plus Some Tips!

For this video, I wanted to talk about the benefits of meal planning – plus some tips I’ve gathered along the way! If you’re on the fence, I hope this provides you with some inspiration! If you already meal plan, then I hope it further motivates you or gives you some new strategies to try!

BONUS! Don’t Forget to Laugh!

Don’t forget to laugh! I know that there are certain seasons of motherhood that are intense and hard, where you potentially smile less (and I don’t want to negate things like postpartum anxiety or depression) but it can really brighten your day as a mom to hold onto small things that make you laugh.