life balance

The Guilt-Free Guide for Back-to-School

back-to-school, mom guilt


Well, it’s that time of year again. The hot and steamy wasteland of August is finally coming to an end. My kids are sufficiently packed, prepped and waiting anxiously for their meet-the-teacher Open House.


It’s also that time where I take stock of our Summer. Did we do everything we talked about? Did we connect, rest and have fun? I hope so. I experience every emotion the week before my kids go back to school. I have butterflies, (will they have friends in their class?) anxieties, (will Amelia be okay at the peanut-free lunch table?) and hopeful anticipation (will the teacher get her?).


And all of this is mixed with my own feelings of inadequacy and a sufficient dose of Mom guilt. Can you relate? If this sounds like you at all, here are five steps I’ve been using to shed that guilt. We could all use less guilt and more grace this school year.

5 Steps for Easing Back into School with Less Guilt and More Grace:


Step 1: LEAVE IT UNFINISHED.

Lots of things are left undone on the Bucket List we diligently crafted in June. June Mom was do-all-the-things! But August Mom.Is.Tired. And that’s okay. 

Circle one or two things from that big, dreamy bucket list and shelf them for next year. OR, better yet, let’s work them into our Fall or Winter Break calendar. If you didn’t make it to the water park, maybe head to the carnival when it’s in town. Swap that Summer specific item for something that can work in a later season.

We are not machines, we cannot (and should not) make EVERYTHING happen when we want it to happen. Give yourself grace on what’s left undone. 


Step 2:  LET IT BE A MESS. OR DON’T.

There’s a strong chance at this point of Summer Vacation that your house looks like a bomb went off. Repeat after me: It’s fine. It’s all going to be fine.

Eventually, the legos will be cleared off the dining room table and your kitchen will smell like citrus cleaning spray instead of moldy pool towels.

You’ll get there. Let the mess linger for just a bit longer. If it’s really making you crazy, then mandate Summer-Clean-Up day with the kids. Reward with popsicles, screen time or a pool afternoon. 

Ultimately, do whatever you need to do to feel like a person. It’s going to be fine.

back-to-school, mom guilt


Step 3: FEEL YOUR FEELINGS.

You may feel simultaneously gleeful and broken-hearted about another Summer ending. We have the capacity to feel both. Do not be shamed by the threat-like reminder of “We only have 18 Summers with our kids!”. Don’t let that guilt determine how you go through your days. We can be excited for the space and time again, but also wish we could hold on to that freedom and fun a bit longer. Motherhood is full of grey space and randomly crying for no reason. If you start to get worked up, see Step 1.


Step 4: DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT.

If you’re staring down a shopping or to-do list a mile long (been there), fear not. It’ll all get done…eventually. It just might not happen this week. Some of these loose ends might not be figured out until September. If at all. 

Buy the notebooks, do the things, but let go of everything being perfectly ready for school on day one. Inevitably, they’ll come home with another list or assignment that you missed or couldn’t anticipate. Do what you can do and let go of the rest. Remember, done is better than perfect.


Step 5: PLAN YOUR DAY ONE.

Plan your Day One now. Nope, not for the kids. You. How will you mark the the first day of school? Will you park it in front of Netflix for an hour or swing thru the Starbucks lane? It’s a big deal for the kids, but also for you. It’s the ending of a season and the start of something new. Take a moment to notice your feelings, mark the day and treat yourself.


I’m cheering you on! Happy First Day, Momma.


 

P.S. Looking for community this Fall? Join our Limitless Motherhood group! We share our weekly goals, dinner tips and lots of encouragement. See you there!

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

Finding-Balance-Moms

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

Battling Mom Guilt and Seeking Truth | Personal | #MomLife

“Mom, I haven’t had ANY time with you! I'm tired of you working all the time.”

Right in the heart pangs.

I sat on the edge of her bed and attempted to reason with a very dramatic (where does she get this from?!) eight-year-old. 

I am pretty sure that no Mom escapes the guilt from time to time. No matter if you work outside of the home full time, or you're with your kids at home. It affects us all! I am no exception to this and the balance of working from home has been a tricky one with young kids. Navigating each season of my business and our family's needs has had it's own frustrations and victories. 

As I left that evening, I had to go through my own gut check. I searched for the truth under the guilt and doubt.

- Am I working too much?

The Truth: Busy season is ramping up, but I only commit to 2-3 sessions a week and my kids will see me most of the coming weekends. I block off specific dates and trips so I'm available for family time. We make time for individual dates with our girls each month. I'm home for bedtime and books most nights of the week. I attend field trips and volunteer in their classrooms. 

The truth is that I've learned to build boundaries into my business and to schedule our family time first.

And when I zoom out, I can see all the quality time and connection we really have. Do I want them to remember me jumping on their beds belting out the 1980’s Gummy Bears cartoon theme song?! Yep, that happened last week. And yes, I want them to know that their Mom is silly and goony and can shake off the role of ‘rule enforcer and snack-maker’ on occasion. 

"...bouncing here and there and everywhere..."

"...bouncing here and there and everywhere..."

When I can let go of those lingering doubts, I can look at the past week, month and season. The truth is, we have an abundance of valuable family time. My most recent favorite is introducing the kids to my fav board game - Clue!

Side Note: It's -always- Mr. Green or Miss Scarlet... I mean, they just look guilty - right?

I have learned that quality can sometimes trump quantity with my kids, and this has ebbed and flowed as they've grown. When I say ‘yes’ to doing something they love together, it fills their cup. It might only be 20 minutes, but the length of time is irrelevant. Sometimes Mommy can only handle playing Batman for 20 minutes, and that's okay!

Now, I’m never going to get it all right, because, that’s life. I know the Mom Guilt will come and I'll have to go through my gut check all over again. But I pray I am creating these points of purposeful connection with my girls to be stored into their memory banks for a lifetime. 

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Explaining to my kids that I work from home is challenging. Just because I’m here, doesn’t always mean I’m available. As we merge into Summer Vacation, I have already talked with them about certain time boundaries, but that we will still have plenty of fun together. Setting the right expectations before that last week of school will hopefully save my sanity. Check in with me mid-August and we’ll see how it’s going, ha! ;)

If you're hit with the pangs of Mom Guilt, remember to have a gut check. Ask yourself the tough questions, but then take a step back.

On the hard days, remind yourself of the truth. The truth is we're all doing our very best with these gifts God has entrusted us with. And each season comes with new challenges, changes and triumphs.

Let's shake off the guilt and choose truth together. xoxo 

Best,

Erin