mom guilt

The Guilt-Free Guide for Back-to-School

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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.

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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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Meal Planning Mindsets | #MomLife | Limitless Motherhood

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We can’t talk about meal planning without first talking about perfectionism.

Stay with me.


If we aim to plan our family dinners in a perfectly Pinterest way - we set ourselves up to fail.


If I’m only satisfied when my meal resembles some famous blogger’s Tuesday night dinner - I will crash and burn every time.


Because it turns out, I am not a food blogger. Or an expert chef. Or baker. Or food photographer. I’m clearly none of these things.



But, do I love to serve my family well? Absolutely.

Do I want dinner to be less about prepping and more about connecting? Yep.


Here’s the thing:

Meal planning is less about culinary skill and more about who’s around the table.


If any of that rings true for you, know you’re in good company. I think most of us just want to do this whole meal planning thing better. We’ve got no energy for the 5pm What’s for Dinner?! stress. And the internet and our friends all have solutions. We try their tips for awhile, but then quickly fizzle out. I have so been there. Multiple times.


Anytime I try to emulate somebody else’s meal planning protocol, I fail a few weeks in. Because their life is not my life. We all have different needs, tastes and budgets.


Although we can certainly glean advice from others, (and should!) meal planning feels impossible because we have to tweak it and create it ourselves. That’s the hard truth, because it would be so much easier if the deciding was done for us. Right? I get it.


We’re continuing this conversation over in the Limitless Motherhood Facebook group and newsletter! Don’t worry, there are ZERO pretty PDFs involved telling you how to meal plan. Just practical advice and a dose or reality around dinner time.

We all have different needs, tastes and budgets.


I can’t wait to hear what works for you and what doesn’t. Let’s tackle meal planning together!

Best,

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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'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

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!

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