Let go of things that no longer serve you.
See the little bit of green left in these tomato plants? Honestly, a small part of me felt guilty for ripping them out of the ground.
But they needed to go. Their tomato-producing days were over. We had to pull them up to make way for new plants.
Now that they are gone, we've begun planting a new crop. In their place, we are now growing tiny broccoli plants.
I'm one of the people who struggles to let stuff go. Our garden pushes me to work on this.
After two years of fighting with ugly hornworms, birds, and even rats, I'm giving up trying to grow tomato plants for awhile.
Why did I keep trying to force it? There are so many other plants. So many other possibilities.
I know we'll still have to battle garden pests, but we're ready for some new vegetables.
Look around, what do you need to let go of?
Say it to yourself. Memorize it. Keep it in your back pocket.
"I have so much to be grateful for."
Say it to yourself
and again in those moments when the negative emotions and self-talk fill your mind and body.
Maybe look around and take an inventory. Maybe close your eyes and remember. Maybe just use this phrase as a weapon to keep your mind occupied before it spirals into pushing you to think, say or do something you'll regret. Say it until your mind begins to move on.
Sometimes I see myself in the eyes of other mamas, especially first-time mamas with little ones around my son's age.
Often I see these struggling new mama eyes on women sitting alone playing with their infant. Just watching the more experienced moms.
I get it. I fought it, too. It’s been better with my second baby.
Know what's making the biggest difference? Mom friends.
Sometimes, I try to chat with the new mamas. I ask a lot of questions and talk about the standard mama/baby stuff. It can be socially awkward to have an intimate conversation with a stranger, but it's easy to talk about things like birth stories and sleep when you both have babies in your arms.
When Nouarie was small, I blew off having mom friends, because I kept thinking I could do it all alone. I was wrong.
I was that tired, nervous, lonely, and timid mama who wasn’t even at the playground.
Now I often don't get to chat with the new mamas I see because I am too busy catching up with my mama friends.
I'm still tired, but my confidence is stronger and my perspective of the rewarding and challenging experience of raising tiny humans, temper-tantrums and all, is brighter because I’m not alone.
Mamas, find mama friends and make time to hang out with them in real life.
Experience mamas, try a little harder to check in on the new ones in your life...even if they are just timid strangers at the playground.
PS This picture is from the middle of the night when Noutin was three weeks old.
Look around the room you are in right now.
Are there more screens or books? Yes, the cell phone in your hand counts.
Walk into another room. Repeat.
Think about every room in your house, including the restrooms.
If you want to read more, put more books than screens in each room of your house. Put a book next to each place you like to sit. It’s totally okay to read multiple books at once, and it’s okay to reread books.
If you have kids, repeat this. Put picture or chapter books at their level and make them easy to grab.
If you’re a teacher, repeat this. Include all the screens in your students’ pockets and backpacks. Put interesting books where you students can reach them.
Remember to turn off those screens while you're reading and magic will happen. You'll begin to grab the books and read more often. So will the kids.
I just did a count in our house. Including the phone in my hand, we have more books/magazines than screens in every room, except the laundry room and two restrooms. We’re almost there. Next step, make sure we have kid and adult books in every room.
What's the book:screen ratio in your house?
"She looks just like you!"
I have heard this so many times and just brushed it off.
No, Nouarie's huge gorgeous brown eyes and glowing skin do not look like my hazel eyes and fair skin. But, I smile politely and credit our somewhat matching curls.
Know what though, friends? I'm finally letting myself start to see it. Her little mouth and nose totally match mine.
I'm also beginning to see that what makes us look alike is more than our physical features. It's our mannerisms.
I keep seeing and hearing myself in my daughter. Just listen to her tell a long-winded story filled with extraneous details, exaggerated facial expressions, and plenty of "and-then's." Totally my daughter.
My friends with mixed babies, first of all, we sure make some cute babies!
Secondly, in case you're still struggling when people say you're babies "look just like you!" remember that we SO much more than just genetic features. Same to you my gorgeous step, adoptive, and foster mama friends.
Tired teachers, I’m talking to you. Too many of us spend way too much time going above and beyond.
I get it. I used to do it all the time. I gave way too much of myself to school while neglecting other areas of my life.
But, think about it. How many other professions fill their evenings, weekends, and breaks working for free?
Our teacher culture, education leaders, and our personal beliefs keep pushing us to work, work, work.
We don’t have to.
•Focusing on teaching and learning
•Use the tools we have
•Manage our time well
•Learn to strengthen our weaknesses
•Pay more attention to school funding
•Get over the blocks (like guilt for having summers off) that prevent us from having rocking balanced lives
we will begin to view teaching differently. We will become even better teachers
...and have time to actually volunteer for a charity or nonprofit.
Currently, I’m volunteering by helping to plan a reunion for the Girl Scout summer camps where I worked in my 20’s. I can’t wait to be a volunteer Girl Scout troop leader again when my daughter is old enough.
What’s your favorite way to volunteer? No school stuff allowed, unless you are not a teacher.
It’s one thing to take a online course for a grad credit.
It’s also pretty easy to show up, learn, and hang out at a conference.
Agreeing to push yourself to learn for four weeks and actually do homework assignments just because you want to grow is for real badasses.
Gosh, convincing busy teachers to set aside time to work on putting themselves first has been hard!
But take peek at a few of my students in my most recent live Q&A session. 😃
It’s working! The women in You Before School are making changes and learning to view teaching as more of a career than a lifestyle. They’re learning to stop trying to do it all. They’re learning to accept help.
There is only one more week of this first cohort. I’m already excited for the next one!
When I figured it out, I felt guilty...for about two seconds.
Then I realized I loved the the tiny baby snuggled in my arms was as much as my student’s parents love them.
Now I shake my head at how much saviorism had fogged my perspective.
Teacher mamas, I know you understand.
Just in case you need a reminder between all the loud voices telling you otherwise:
•Your babies are your priority
•Your students are already loved
•Your job is to teach
Don’t feel guilty for being a mom first.
When we take care of our needs and our families we become even better teachers.
Drop some emojis of your kids 👶🏽👧🏽 in the comments if you agree with me.
Have you ever taken a course that's not for a grade? What about teaching one?
You should try it.
Here's what I love so far:
-Students who do not have to be there
-Working toward an outcome instead of a grade
I also love that the courses I'm taking and teaching don't involve:
-Discussion board posts
E-courses are more like nonfiction books than traditional classes. You get to pick them and then start, learn, and finish whenever you want. You can even decide whether or not to do the homework.
Here's link to my current course, You Before School: 4 Weeks to a Self-Care Lifestyle. And, an affiliate link to @leonie_dawson 's e-course about creating e-courses if you're interested. Oh! Also, here's one to Nishantha's upcoming iPhone Home Movies course.
Remember how excited I was to finish my units for my district's payscale? It's like e-courses are the sweet dessert after YEARS of mostly painful online grad courses.
What e-courses have you taken? Any you reccomend?
Know what’s better than spending money on eating out?
Spending money on experiences.
We weren't planning on going to the zoo this weekend. But you know those mornings when you wake up and you can just feel the itch for a little adventure? A little break from the to-do lists? A bit of fresh air?
We just decided to go. The Living Desert is 75 miles around the mountain from our house. We stopped at Trader Joe's for more snacks than we needed. Upgraded our tickets to annual passes and added hands-on wristbands.
Total we spent about the same as eating out at a sit-down restaurant two or three times. So worth it.
Experiences last longer than waiting for a server at a restaurant feels.
I'm a teacher, mama, and mentor. I created the You Before School e-course and more. I'm here to encourage and share self-efficacy skills for women.