Limitless Motherhood

My Top Apps for Real, Meaningful Connection

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Okay, I promise this is not a social media blast post where I tell you all about the evils of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. About how they are actually doing the opposite of what they set out to do. I certainly love me some IG stories and sending random GIFS and hearts to all my online pals. I see the good that has come from social media, and I still want to champion it as a means of bringing people together.


Besides, you probably already know all the negative side effects of too much social media. The comparison. The self doubt. The proverbial highlight reel. The constant scrolling. The she-went-on-another-vacation-and-I’m-here-scrubbing-toilets moment. Okay, maybe that last one is just me?


In his latest book, Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport unpacks how as social creatures, we have hit a tipping point with our consumption of media apps. He states, “the key issue is that using social media tends to take people away from the real-world socializing that’s massively more valuable…the more you use social media, the less time you tend to devote to offline interaction, and therefore the worse this value deficit becomes-leaving the heaviest social media users much more likely to be lonely and miserable.” Essentially, the more we click, the emptier we can feel.


I’m raising my hand here, because I have witnessed this first hand in my own life. This past year, I have been pretty vulnerable in sharing how lonely I have felt. Not because my relationships have suffered, but because when your work is predominately in front of a screen at home, it can feel isolating.

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Extrovert, introvert, we all need more time face-to-face. But what happens when schedules are busy and we can’t always make that happen? Or our closest friends live half a world away? How can we move past the quick Instagram like/comment habit into a more authentic way of connecting with those we love?


Let’s talk about what apps on your phone actually foster REAL and meaningful friendship. Because if you’re anything like me, you’re hungry for authentic conversation. I want face-to-face or voice-to-voice camaraderie, support and growth. People being people-y together. I’m so here for it.

  1. Voxer:

    If you’re a business owner, this one is probably nothing new. Voxer is essentially an app that allows you to walkie-talkie with friends. You can check it when it’s convenient for you. There’s something really lovely in hearing the voice of a friend after a particularly hard day of mothering. The intonation of her voice when she tells you something important. The laughter that makes it feel she’s right there beside you. This has been a gift to me in more ways than I can express. If you’re missing girlfriends or relatives, have them download this app with you! Set a weekly Vox date and make it happen.

  2. Marco Polo:

    This is another helpful app when you’re craving some face-to-face time. It’s a video chat service that allows for group chats and shares, so you can essentially get all your college besties in the same “room”. One of my closest friends lives in Hawaii, so she often sends me Polos of her kids and their daily life. We’ve had some real heart to heart chats and prayed through events in our lives together via that app. There is no replacement for seeing someone’s face. Download this app for better connection with people you value and want more face time with!

  3. Actual Phone

    I know, this is revolutionary, but stay with me. I am trying to be better about keeping actual phone conversations with certain friends. Not everyone I love wants to keep these apps, and taking the time to connect over a phone call means I care about growing that friendship. In high school, I’d talk for HOURS and now I can barely be bothered to pick up. I don’t want to be that way. When was the last time you had a good, lengthy phone conversation?

The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities.
— Steven Covey

I challenge you to set aside time for these other ways of connecting. If you can’t meet over coffee this week (or month!) then get creative with how you cultivate friendships. I don’t think there’s ever been a more difficult time to keep adult friendships. Even with ALL the media and apps and methods at our disposable, we still struggle to prioritize our relationships. If you’re craving real connection and not only surface small talk, it will take some intention. But it’s so worth the extra effort. Promise.

xo

Erin

 

Limitless Motherhood Facebook Community!

Motherhood Facebook Community

I believe that social media should be just that…social! I’m so tired of ads, political rants and people yelling at the internet. One way I’ve found the fun on social media is through Facebook groups. I’m in a variety of amazing groups where the focus is connection, collaboration and growth. Okay, and there’s usually some pretty epic GIF threads happening as well LOL.


Twice a month I send out the Limitless Motherhood newsletter to readers, but I’ve been missing connecting with them every day. So, we carried the conversation over into a Facebook group and we’re having so much fun getting to know one another!

Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much
— Helen Keller

Our topics have ranged from favorite podcasts on motherhood to morning routines. It’s my hope to use this group as an encouragement and not just add to the noise of Facebook. If you’re looking for a group with a more positive and uplifting atmosphere, then I hope you’ll join us!

And if you’re not on the email list yet, start there! I promise nothing spammy, just two short emails a month from yours truly. Hint: Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day topic is about the 5 Love Languages!

P.S. If you’re still reading, I’m sending you all the non-creepy internet hugs! I have some BIG writing goals over the next several months. Would you help hold me accountable? I’ll be sharing more of my process over on Instagram. AND there is a super fun giveaway starting todaaaay! So hop on over - you can find me @erinammons there.

See you soon!

Erin

The Latest from Instagram…

There's Nothing Magical About January | Limitless Motherhood

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Doesn’t this month feel approximately 537 days long? Clearly we’ve been January-ing for at least 2 months now.


You know what January feels like to me at this point? It feels like striving. Striving to stay on course with our sunny New Years resolutions and try-harder-next-times. 


January feels like homework.

January feels like a budget.


It’s freezing outside, but not snowing.

Everyone has raw noses.

We checked so many boxes, but not that one.

We’re having the best start to the year EVER…or we’re nowhere close.


Wherever you find yourself at the end of January, know this:

There is nothing magical about January.

But there is something magical in letting go of all the striving. Silencing the voice that reminds you that you’re not quite where you wanted to be. It whispers about how your aim faltered or shattered way off course. 

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Or maybe your January has been incredible and you feel extra pressure to make February even better. Worried you’ll slip off track next time, convinced that your bubble will burst. Am I the only one who worries about being too happy?


But if your January looked imperfect, you’re in good company. 

Let’s remember that we can change our minds. 

We can decide something isn’t working. 

We can choose to sit and wait. 

We can get up and go. 

We can try again or not.

It’s only a month and there are eleven more just like it.


Focus that attention on what you did right or where you witnessed kindness. Things that made you smile and look up from your to-do list. 


Thank January for what it taught you and carry along any good habits it brought. Forgive all the rest.


P.S. If you’re a Mom in the middle of striving, I have a community just for us. Hop over to the Facebook group and introduce yourself. I can’t wait to meet you!

Best,

Erin

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The Latest From Instagram:

My Word of the Year + Social Media Break(thru)

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Happy 2019, friends! I hope you had a restful and joy-filled holiday. I know the other parents out there are probably relieved the kids are back to school, but also sad because holiday break is officially over. I’m definitely in that bittersweet camp. I’m ready for our routine to return, but I so loved our pajamas-till-noon-Christmas-movie-marathon week of cookies and snuggles. My soul needed it!

There’s lots of chatter around the start of January about choosing a word for the year. One word that acts as an anchor for your intentions in the coming seasons. I have been doing this for several years now and find it really helps me prepare for the months ahead.

In the past few years, my words have been:

2016 - Brave

2017 - Intentional

2018 - Patient

I thought my word for 2019 was going to be clarity. But, as I mined through my powersheets, the word ‘keep’ came to the front of my mind. Keep is a small, seemingly inconsequential word. What could it possibly do for me? It didn’t feel weighty or important enough.

But that word just wouldn’t leave me alone. I considered all the different uses and meanings. There’s a lot for such a little word! And many of them apply to where my heart is right now.

as in:

…keep going

…keep pursuing

…keep the faith

…keep it up

…keep staying open

…keep showing up


Once I dove into
thesarus.com and began to unpack ALL the meanings and sub-meanings around this word, I was blown away.

Synonyms: carry, enjoy, manage, preserve, save, direct, grasp, retain

In many ways, all these synonyms feel like behaviors that would bring me more clarity. In this keeping, I’ll unlock certainty in different areas of my life. I’m ready to ‘keep’ 2019.

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Since November, I’d been planning on taking a more extended social media sabbatical. When you run a business, Facebook and Instagram are (like it or not) necessary tools to grow and reach an audience. It had been on my heart though that it was time to put the phone down over Christmas break and be present with the people I love best.

Even though my decision felt resolute, I was worried that the temptation to check my notifications would still be there. Would the habit be too strong to shake? 

Welp, it’s been over 10 days and I’m so proud of myself for keeping the commitment. If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of taking a longer break, do it!

Here are a few takeaways from my social media sabbatical:

  • Feeling more even-keeled and less quick to anger over small frustrations.

  • I can leave my phone behind sometimes. I did forget it on a quick grocery store run, and embraced how free it felt.

  • Taking pictures for the joy of my family and not just to share online.

  • Less FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) and feeling truly content.

  • I slowed down and made room to just do nothing.

My best breakthrough? It was way easier and painless than I had anticipated. I’d envisioned it being so much harder, but truthfully…I was ready for the break.

The week between Christmas and New Year feels like a sort of time warp. It goes quickly but seems to stretch and linger. Can you relate?

I hope you got a chance to breath and reset for the new year. If you have a word for 2019, drop it in the comments below - I’d love to hear!

Best,

Erin

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Join the Limitless Motherhood community and be encouraged in 2019!

'Quiet the Noise' Newsletter Series! | Limitless Motherhood

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My ever insightful sister texted this to me yesterday…

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…was anything ever more true?! If you just laughed or snorted or nodded your head, friend - you.are.not.alone.

It’s coming. The joy and excitement of the holidays! And yet, (uh oh, here comes the and yet) we are busier than ever during a season meant for slowing and savoring.

Let me start by saying I have zero intentions of adding more to your already fully loaded plate. Next week that plate will be loaded with Thanksgiving dinner yumminess, but will your head and heart match up with the spirit of the day? These are the things I ruminate over. I know, it’s weird.

But, here we are.

So, I’m creating a simple step for us. A way to limit all that noise, noise…noise!

And no, I’m not talking about little Cindy Lou making a racket down in WhoVille.

I’m talking about the noise from our newsfeeds, email accounts and piles of clutter. The holiday season can be so loud, and I don’t want that stealing my joy.

Because if we can limit just a fraction of the noise and stress coming at us, maybe we can find some space to breath. Just maybe there’s a bit of white space waiting for us to lean into. A pair of cozy slippers for our overwhelmed minds.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be sending out a short series of challenges in the Limitless Motherhood newsletter. These challenges are meant to give you one simple step to quieting the noise. This series will include 3 challenges, all sent out over the weeks leading up to Christmas. It’s my hope they will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to celebrate with intention!

Not on the list yet? Click below and join the newsletter so you don’t miss a thing!

The first challenge is coming tomorrow! Use the following hashtag over on instagram so I can find and cheer you on throughout the series this season!

#quietthenoise2018

I can’t wait for us to all find more white space this holiday season. Let’s end the year with purpose and a peaceful mind! Chat soon.

Best,

Erin

She Speaks Studio Top Takeaways! | Personal

If you ever get the opportunity to invest in a dream that’s so big you-can’t-say-it-aloud-because-OMG-it-is-terrifying….do it. Book the room, pack way too many shoes, board that plane, find a babysitter, leave before dawn…whatever it is you need to do. Make. It. Happen.

Hurricane Florence pushed back the date of the She Speaks Studio to November, and I had been anxiously awaiting it now for months.

She Speaks Studio was put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries, and if you have no idea what this organization is - I suggest you check it out if you’re looking for resources to grow in your faith.


This was the first Studio event and it was organized with instructional time, keynote speakers and hands-on workshop time. I signed up for the writing track and immediately made some amazing new friendships. I love how God cares enough about the details to make sure we were all sitting together at the same table!


Confession: I cried at least 395 times over the span of 1 1/2 days. Here are a few takeaways I never want to forget: 

  • Listening to best-selling author and speaker, Lysa TerKeurst, remind us that God does not want to be explained away, but invited in

  • When author, Suzie Eller said “when we hesitate in our calling, it becomes about us and not about God.”

  • The personal and heartbreaking stories of some of the strongest women I’ve ever met. Getting to hug them and process through some big emotions was an honor.

  • Having a mentor I respect, read my writing, look me in the eye and say “This is really, really good. Go write this.” #totallysobbed

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I am beyond grateful for this experience and I can’t wait to see how God is going to use it!

Curious what I’m doing? 

Join the Limitless Motherhood and come along for the ride!

Check out Instagram for more behind-the-scenes moments!

xo

Erin

Why Regina George Scares Me | Limitless Motherhood

Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from my monthly newsletter, the Limitless Motherhood. If you find yourself nodding along, sign up for these encouraging twice-monthly emails! Or send this link to a friend who needs to accept a compliment because she’s all things amazing.

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“I really love that new rug. You did a great job decorating this room!”

 

“Well, don’t look in the kids’ bedrooms. SUCH a mess.”

 

“Love your haircut, you look so pretty!”

 

“Glad you didn’t see me an hour ago, ha!”

 

“What a great party! You outdid yourself planning the details.”

 

“Oh, I found everything on Pinterest. There’s no way I could think all this up!”

 

When someone offers you a compliment, what’s your initial response? If you’re anything like me, you might:

  • sidestep that compliment with the skills of a verbal ninja

  • make a joke in which my looks or abilities are the inevitable punch line

  • thank the person, but always with some limiting “but…” so they don’t think I think I’m better than everyone (perfect logic - right?)

  • be as self-effacing as possible…I wouldn’t want to appear "snooty"

  • boomerang the compliment and immediately redirect the focus back on the other person

Enough is enough.

Why do I feel the need to belittle every kind word thrown my way? For the majority of my adult life, this has been my automatic response. Afterwards, I’ll replay the scene in my mind, and am embarrassed that I still respond this way. 

When I have graciously accepted a compliment before, I do so with a smile, eye contact and a direct “thank you!” Even if I feel a little sick in my stomach the entire time.

It doesn’t always make a difference who delivers the compliment, a stranger, friend or even my husband. My response is usually the same. In my jumbled brain, the act of humbling myself against the onslaught of a compliment protects me from becoming *gasp*….a snob.

Ridiculous, right? As if accepting a genuine compliment makes me appear egocentric and pretentious. My ugly fear of being perceived as a Regina George is its' own inner Mean Girl.

Recently, I’ve noticed how my six-year-old daughter responds after I compliment her. 

 

“Did you make that all by yourself? Wow, you’re so creative!”

 

“Thanks! I really like it.”

 

As simple as that. She accepts and enjoys my compliment. She allows my words to wash over her fill her emotional cup. 

Why can’t I always do the same?

My daughters are watching and listening. If whenever their Mom is complimented and she brushes it off, what will they learn? 

  • They will learn to limit themselves. 

  • To downplay their gifts and abilities. 

  • They might listen to their own inner mean girls.

  • They’ll believe that self assurance is conceited. 

 

Clearly, this is not what I want for them - or for myself. There is a time and place for teaching our children humility, but they also need to learn the art of accepting a compliment with grace.

The next time I receive praise, I’ll accept it with a smile and a genuine thank you

No side stepping or Regina-phobia allowed.

 

Best,

Erin

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Finding Imperfect Balance this Fall | Limitless Motherhood

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In July, I launched the Limitless Motherhood Newsletter. Twice a month, readers get a short and sweet note straight to their inboxes. These emails offer encouragement for Moms who want more from their lives.

It's my hope these emails will inspire, motivate and help other women feel a little less alone. Even in a world with so many social media platforms... we still crave real connection with others. The Limitless Motherhood is my answer to all the noise. If you haven't yet, I hope you'll join us!

A fresh newsletter is coming tomorrow where we'll chat about how September feels like the new January. If you've been feeling conflicted over this new season, or even if you're ready for aaaall the pumpkin treats - it's okay to own that. I'll also be sharing a list of my current favorite books, podcasts, movies, and products if you're on the lookout for some inspiration this Fall! 

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When you sign up for the newsletter, you'll also receive Finding Imperfect Balance: A Guide to Getting Unstuck, no Matter your Season for free! This is a 5-page printable that helps you emotionally and physically prep for Fall. With a handful of purposeful questions and space to brainstorm, it's my hope this will help Moms feel more equipped this season! 

Take a moment before this busy season starts and consider what really matter right now. Not what's important to someone else or what's on Pinterest. It's not about finding perfect balance, because I'm not convinced that really exists. It's more about purposely choosing to hold on to just a few things instead of everything. 

If you're already signed up, your guide will be delivered in tomorrow's newsletter. Be sure to use our hashtag, #limitlessmotherhood so we can connect on Instagram!

I can't wait to get to know you better! Thanks for being here. xo

 

Best,

Erin

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Permission to Dream | #MomLife

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Whatever you’re dreaming about, big or small, it all counts.

Sometimes I still feel like I’m a ten-year-old dressed up as an adult, trying to fool everyone. Trying to prove that I’m a for-real-grown-up person. As if it’s a sham and at any moment, a REAL adult is going to ask for my ID to prove that I’m who I say. But instead of an ID, I'll just present them with a handful of pocket fuzz, paper clips and stale M&Ms.

Do you ever feel like there’s something you want to do, but you’re waiting for permission? Maybe you analyze this desire from every angle. Maybe you talk with your friends and your sister and seek everyone else’s opinion. 

Maybe this dream you have is so vast and consuming, it feels impossibly selfish. It feels indulgent and extra. You know you’ll never get permission, but it still pulls at you. 

Moms, why do we keep waiting for permission?

If there is something stirring in your heart, nobody is going to give you permission to pursue it except yourself. I believe that stirring is a direct calling from your maker, but if you believe differently… it’s still a feeling we should follow. 

Maybe you dream of…

  • being Room Mom for your kids this year

  • starting a side hustle by selling crafts on Etsy

  • traveling to another country with your family

  • learning how to play the violin

  • taking a watercolor class

  • launching a blog

  • learning to cook the perfect veggie lasagna

Whatever you’re dreaming about, big or small, it all counts.

We sometimes wait, squash down our own wants and decide this is just “not our season”. I must have said this at least a dozen times in my lifetime. And maybe that’s true. Maybe you have a new baby and your main goal right now is sleep. I get it. Your health and life commitments must sometimes take precedent. But this season won't last forever. 

Can I challenge you not to shelf your dream forever? Can I encourage you to write it down? Say it aloud. Let it sit for awhile in your heart. Because there is no other person who will give you permission to seek out your dream. It has to be cultivated within you and then released to the world. 

What’s holding you back? Friend, consider this your signed permission slip. You're a grown up and you get to decide about your wildest (or tamest) dreams.

I can't wait to see what you do next.

Best,

Erin


If you're searching for more encouragement, join the Limitless Motherhood! You'll get two short and sweet emails a month filled with inspiration and resources on living our most fulfilling lives as Mothers. Chat soon!

'Limitless Motherhood' Newsletter! | Free Guide: Finding Imperfect Balance

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I’ve always considered myself a multi passionate person. The things I loved as an 8-years-old, are mostly what I still hold dear. Thankfully though, I no longer collect those smelly Strawberry Shortcake dolls. #sostinky

I was the kid reading with a flashlight under the covers at night. As a moody teen, I was scribbling poems and singing along to show tunes on my Discman. I became an English major, and then a middle school teacher. 

Lately, I feel a deep calling to communicate and encourage.  I want to come alongside other Mothers on their journeys. Offer notes of encouragement and maybe a helpful tip or two I've gleaned over the years. 

Although nothing will change with the portrait side of my business, I DO have a way you can follow along on this writing journey with me.

I’ll be sending out two short newsletters a month where I share resources, encouragement and gentle insight for Moms who are feeling stuck or overwhelmed. It’s my hope these emails will be a light in your busy day as you try to do the next right thing. We’ll chat about balance, getting unstuck and thriving in our day-to-day lives. The newsletter is called Limitless Motherhood, because that is exactly what I want for us! 

lim·it·less

adjective

without end, limit, or boundary.

When you sign up, you’ll immediately get access to a special free gift I made just for you. It’s called, Finding Imperfect Balance: A Guide to Getting Unstuck, no Matter your Season. In this printable pdf, you’ll find a roadmap for getting unstuck this Summer. Whether you’re feeling lost in many areas of your life right now or just need a quick reboot, I hope this guide will help direct your next right step. 

We still have at least eight weeks of Summer to go. Whether you’re a stay-at-home Mom, running your side hustle or working a 9-5 schedule this Summer, there is still LOTS of time to thrive right where you are!

Moms, I hope you’ll grab the guide and join the conversation.

Let’s grow stronger together! 

- xo Erin