motherhood community

Fall Rhythms and Routines

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The house is quiet this morning. I showered and put on mascara without a tiny interrupter asking if she could have second breakfast yet. Anyone else have kids with Hobbit-like stomachs? 

But not today. Today we launched our two girls into the world after their favorite breakfast, a quick prayer and extra hugs. The prep work of getting them back into school is mostly done. We bought the notebooks, extra folders, a new lunchbox and non-itchy socks. They are ready! Mission accomplished, right?

In years past, this is where I’ve missed a step. I’ve focused so hard on the launching, I haven’t considered the questions around re-entry. What’s the plan for when they get home? And I don’t just mean questions about snacks and screen time, but what kind of mood and spirit do I want the afternoons and evenings to look like? And how can I teach them more autonomy this year? How can I get them on board with packing healthy lunches for themselves and not leaving their water bottles and shoes strewn all over the house?!

We need new rhythms. Ones for each point in the day that build on themselves as the kids find their new normal routine. I don’t expect them to have it all together the first week (or month!) but I do want to teach them more skills and responsibility with each school year as they grow.

Here are some preliminary thoughts as we kick off Fall. Maybe it will be helpful for you as you launch and prepare for re-entry with your own kiddos.


The 3 R’s of Establishing a Fall Rhythm


  1. Retraining - This started before the first day of school, but I know it will take several weeks to implement. Getting up, dressed, breakfast, brush teeth, get meds, etc. It’s a lot of small steps to get done, and I don’t want to have to repeat it everyday for the rest of my days. But they still need these reminders. What tools or strategies can I implement to help retrain my kids this Fall? Do we need a checklist? A dry erase board? Alarm clocks? Or just more practice and grace? Yes, always more grace.


  1. Resetting - This is a huge struggle in our house. Prepping for the next day tends to get forgotten between dinner cleanup and bath time. Then the next morning, we’re scrabbling to find notebooks and that favorite sweatshirt. Making this an evening rhythm will take some effort on my part, but habits don’t happen overnight. It’s worth the extra time and energy for a peaceful morning.


  1. Reflecting - Sitting down each Sunday and taking a look at the past week is so helpful. What went smooth? What could be changed or adjusted? What do we need to pay attention to? What can we let go? Getting my kids into this habit will hopefully be a skill they use and implement often. Reflection is too often overlooked, but so valuable for moving forward.


This is where I’m putting my energy this Fall when it comes to establishing new rhythms. If you’re curious how I implement them, be sure to follow along on Instagram. I’ll start a highlight there for Fall routines and rhythms. We’re in this together!


Happy September, friends!

xo

Erin

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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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

 

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

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