How To Know When To Get Relationship Help

One of my earliest posts for My Mommy Manual was How To Move Past the Nit-Pick.  I have taken my own advice.  There has been a lot of deep breathing, accentuating the positive, and looking toward the long distance.  However, it’s come to a point where I just cannot click and move on.  In fact, there’s been a lot of clicking, but we’re not moving on.  I am stuck with the question of how do I accept another’s shortcomings and still be authentic about what’s not working in our relationship.

My husband and I are at an impasse. We’re not communicating well. We’re not having sex. We can barely have a conversation right now without one of us taking a sassy tone with the other.

I’ve seen other relationships crack under the same pressure. He works too much. I feel over-burdened by having to manage all things related to the house. You know…keeping the house picked up (kids’ toys!), cleaning, laundry (oh the never-ending piles of laundry that need to be washed, folded or simply put away), meal planning and cooking, paying the bills and balancing the checkbook. Then there are our two boys with drop offs and pick-ups, soccer practice, swim class, homework and play dates.  Let’s not forget the trips to the library, Target or whatever other household need there is. I’ve asked Husband to do the dishes after meals that I cook and yes, he has had to put away a load of laundry now and again. He’s complained that he’s doing a lot more around the house and I’m not doing enough. Them are fighting words, Buster Brown.

[Read more…]

How to Put Your Face On In 7 Minutes (Daytime)

What I lack in skill and style, my sister Carmen (professional makeup artist) more than makes up for! I have a whole day’s worth of practical tips for all us busy, self-care-starved moms. Today we covered an easy, every day makeup routine.

So Carmen says…

Makeup is just like painting and coloring, right? We start with the outlines. Then we fill in with color. I like to think of daytime makeup as the outlining part. Our goal is to define the features. So we just want to even out the skin tones, outline, and then just add a little color.

Moisturize/Foundation
Start with a tinted moisturizer. This a great way to save time. You get 3-in-1. It moisturizes, evens skin tone, and if it has SPF, it also protects your skin. And don’t forget that SPF isn’t just for the sun but for computers too, mom blogger! [Read more…]

How to Thwart A Devil’s Plans

We want him to be in maximum uncertainty, so that his mind will be filled with unpredictable pictures of the future, every one of which arouses hope or fear. There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy.

~ C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

If you are not familiar with The Screwtape Letters, it might help to know that it’s written from the perspective of a devil named Screwtape. The Enemy is God. And C.S. Lewis (I think) is brilliant. How insightful he is on the nature of us humans to be obsessed with “what if….”

The day that I left for the Type A Mom Conference, my daughter had a “crisis” with her homework. By crisis, I mean she had a complete and total meltdown about a book report that was due in two days. When I asked her what was the matter she cried to me, “My teacher is going to be so mad and I’ll have to sit in at recess and finish it and it will be only the second time in my whole history of school that I will have to sit in at recess!!!!!!!!”

Whoah!

But none of that has happened yet? You don’t know that it’s going to happen at all!

She’s only eight and already her mind has created pictures of the future – fearful ones at that.

So I coached her back to the present, using the breathing techniques we teach in Yoga Parenting. I like to say that our bodies are the only parts of us that have no choice but to be in the Present! There is real Grace in inhabiting our bodies. Uncle Screwtape wants to keep us mortals obsessed with the yet-to-be named future. And since he’s a demon, I’m making it my intention to stay firmly in the “Enemy’s” Now Camp. [Read more…]

How To: Fresh Neutral Face in 5 Minutes

With the arrival of each season, comes new and exciting make-up to play with. And while there are plenty of remarkable purple hues for fall, the right neutrals are essential to get you from day to day.

If you’re like me, you don’t have a ton of time for make-up application each morning. Flattering hues and easy-to-use products (with stay-put-ability) are a must.

I’ve made some fantastic additions to my cosmetics bag for fall. These items have become indispensable … I couldn’t live without them.

The players:

[Read more…]

How to Stop Punching Each Other In the Face

In civilized life domestic hatred usually expresses itself by saying things which would seem quite harmless on paper (the words are not offensive) but in such a voice, or at such a moment, that they are not far short of a blow in the face.
– C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

We KNOW this to be true, don’t we? The exasperation in our voices as we tell our child for the umpteenth time to BRUSH YOUR TEEEEEETH! Or for the love of all things holy, could you remember to put the tooth paste cap on??!

This is the point when we think to ourselves, “When did I turn into my mother?!” Aaaargh. (no offense, mom!)

As C.S. Lewis knows fully well, it’s habitual incidents like this that chip away at our domestic relationships, create the Mommy Guilt, and build resentment between us and the ones we love most in the world. But what recourse do we have, considering that part of our responsibility in raising these small beings is making sure that they make it to semi-adulthood with most of their teeth intact?!

I have this alternative to offer: disengage from the power struggle. It’s not the words themselves but the tone. So how does one deliver the words without the tone? Use signs. Wha? (VIDEO 1:13)

This is a technique that I learned in the Yoga Parenting lesson on Boundaries. [Read more…]

How To Market Like a Mother: 5 Steps for Entrepreneur Moms

Moms do a lot of things right.

  • We develop networks of friends to help us in a pinch.
  • We sift though countless options for our kids (soccer, piano, or underwater basket weaving) and choose with laser sharpness.
  • And we work efficiently to run our homes, nurture our children and make sure everyone is having a good time with rich experiences.

MyMommyManual's Expert Mom Margee's Book App is now available in iPad too

Marketing like a mother (or father) is about marketing in a way that comes naturally to us as friends and caregivers. To market effectively we need to market authentically. I’ve been reading Monica O’Brien’s Social Pollination and I’ll break down her tips for running a successful blogger outreach campaign in Mom terms. [Read more…]

How to Know If It’s Time to Go

Remember last year when some publishers/publicists/agents had contacted me asking me to do book reviews? And I had said “of course” and then I received free copies of their books? Well, I’ve been *procrastinating*…but am now giving them the attention they deserve…

This book is one I wish I had in hand as I began thinking about my marriage and divorce. Not because it would have changed my decision, but because it would have helped me move forward with more determination and confidence. Why? Because this book explores what characteristics make a marriage or a relationship foundation-ally solid. And understanding those characteristics is worthwhile, whether you are hitting a rough spot or not.

I was hooked from page one, as a woman named Ann experiences one sleepless night after another and finds herself in a fantasy: leaving everything behind and running away from her broken marriage (that’s exactly what I did; actually, I went beyond the fantasy and moved out with babe in hand, in just an hour). [Read more…]

How to Be a Happy (Not Guilty) Mama

So I was supposed to be stepping onto a plane just about now.  I was heading for a weekend in Asheville, North Carolina with my BFF (and business partner) Ria Sharon.

Hotel rooms, dinners, lots of girl time… not to mention the real reason I was going: to speak at the very cool Type A Mom Conference, mingling with ka-jillions of super cool moms that work online like myself.

So what happened? Why am I sitting here in my home office typing while the twins take their afternoon nap? It has to do with two things 1) Mommy Intuition and 2) Mommy Guilt… the very things I planned to speak about at the Conference. [Read more…]

How to Share (and Host a Clothing Swap)

I am NOT a shopper. Period. Going to the mall makes me hyperventilate. I’m making it a life goal NOT to ever step foot into a Norstrom Rack. But I’m a new fan of my neighborhood’s clothing swap.

Last weekend, we congregated in a neighbor’s living-room-turned-giant-dressing-room with our cast-off’s and “I love it but never, ever wear it’s!” Although it was my first time going, I was not a newbie to the neighborhood hand-me-downs. On occasion, a little baggy will show up at my door with a note and a doodle. And wouldn’t you note it, those well-loved, slightly-worn items have always been my wardrobe favorites.

I like to tell of a couple of springs ago when I absolutely refused to go swimsuit shopping. [Read more…]

How to Lose the Mommy Guilt

Is it possible? Not surprisingly, Mommy Guilt is a hot topic. We’re explored that in a session called, “Lose the Mommy Guilt: Juggling Family Life and Blogging” at the Type A Mom Conference.

We were excited to be on a panel with Molly Gold and Kim Coleman to listen to you and how Mommy Guilt manifests. This session was great because each of the panelists are so different, that together we provided a range of solutions and perspectives.

We shared our Yoga Parenting tools on how to manage the beast! Of course, the Universe provided ample material!

As I prepared to leave for the conference, in characteristic “Practical Mommy” fashion, I had my T-48 hours to departure To-Do List. Of course, the problem with having everything so perfectly orchestrated is that any one hitch in plans means the wheels go flying off the bus, right? So on the day I was supposed to get on a plane, my daughter had an “emergency” with her homework and my son wets the bed! And as I navigated all this, I chuckled to myself because as Zen Mommy always says, “We teach what we most need to learn.” Balance. Aaaaah.

Linda Sellers, our moderator, started the session with the Webster’s Definition of “Guilt:” a feeling of culpability for offenses.

Where does that feeling of culpability, of having done something wrong stem from? I contend that it comes from our tendency to JUDGE OURSELVES.

For example,  I can’t live without my to-do lists. As Practical Mommy and not unlike @MyGoMom, it’s one of my go-to solutions.  But it is important to remember that the list is a tool, a means to an end rather than an end in itself. My tendency is to look at the list at the end of the day and evaluate the success of my day by the number of items I got to check off the list. It’s our human nature, er, habit to judge something/everything as either GOOD or BAD. Judgement is the root of Mommy Guilt and really, all guilt.

However, if we can withhold judgement and remember that when things don’t go according to plan, it doesn’t mean #FAIL! It just meant that reality did not match your preconceived vision. Did I mention that Zen Mommy had to cancel at the last minute? Our panel was planned as a panel of FOUR. Instead it was three plus a video post from Zen Mommy on How to Be a Happy (Not Guilty) Mama!

I loved Kim’s response to Mommy Guilt. She explained that she does not fall victim to this very often but when she does, it must mean that something is truly out of balance. Guilt is a red flag that lets her know that something in her life needs to change because the way she’s doing it at the moment, is not working, which led to the next topic.

Life Balance
We asked the audience for their definition of balance and you responded: Peace. Stability.

I happen to agree. I used to think that being balanced meant that all the different “silos” of my life were equal: my house column, my children column, my career column, my personal fulfillment column… if I had devoted equal amounts of time and energy towards each of these in a given period of time, say a day or a week or a month, yay for me! I was “balanced.” I realized that as Molly pointed out, this is “a myth!”

As my life has shifted, I realized that I can tap into feelings of peace and stability at any time. Any moment. Really. By taking a deep breath and getting re-settled in my body, I can be balanced. And when I am balanced, I can more clearly see what priorities need to go on my to-do lists and tackle those to-do’s with intention rather than frenetic energy… which I believe is the experience we are all trying to avoid, right?

My favorite trick is using the breath, Yoga-style of course, to tune and re-center myself. Here’s a quick video demonstration:

Kim also pointed out that everything is constantly changing. There are times when you will spend more time on work and other times you’ll spend more time with your family, depending on what needs attending or even what stage of life your children are in. I loved her takeaway that whatever is happening, nothing lasts for very long — good or bad.

Molly also reminded everyone that it’s important to figure out what works for you because each mom and family is different. What may seem like too much for you (like going to kids’ sporting events endlessly), may be a joy for another mom.

Someone in the audience brought up the challenge of blogging versus family, especially when blogging is not yet contributing to the family financially.

Of course you know me… I am a strong advocate for moms (anyone, really) going after their dreams and passions. A passion infuses happy energy into everything we do, even and especially our parenting. As moms, don’t we want our children to go after their dreams? If we are not willing to allow ourselves our own dreams, how do we expect them to do it?!

If you attended the session and have any more questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. I would love, love, love for us to share more on mommy guilt and on life balance. We can all learn from each other.

Thank you so much, Molly, Kim and Linda. I’m sure I missed some sage words of advice so if you can remember more from the panel, please add them here.

Related Articles

How to Keep Following Your Bliss

How to Minimize Mommy Guilt

How to Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself

How to Be Enough

How to Recognize Warning Signs

An Interview with Sarah Susanka, bestselling author of The Not So Big Life

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon, co-creator of the Yoga Parenting course. Are you ready for parenting to be easier, more fun and less stressful?