Last weekend I stumbled upon this quote. Digging deeper, I found this blog post by Emily Ley. It’s definitely worth a read, especially if you struggle with the concept of grace.
Having become a parent in my early thirties, I had plenty of years under my belt where my main concern was simply me. My Guy and I chose to start a family soon after marriage, so I went from completely single to married to mom in about two years. And when I say single, I’m talking over ten years—all of my twenties and barely into my thirties—single.
That said, it’s been a huge learning curve, discovering what it means to be a good partner and a good parent. Obviously I’ve only just begun on these lessons, but after two years of motherhood, one thing is abundantly clear:
Photo by Getty Images, public domain
Motherhood requires laying down your life every day, and sometimes every second. But that does not mean you just roll over and let life happen to you. Over and over these past two years I’ve had a picture in my mind of the flight attendant telling me to put my own mask on first.
When I put on my own mask first, I’m thinking more clearly and responding more appropriately to what life throws my way, whether it’s a cranky toddler, unexpected visitors, sickness, or simply an overbooked schedule. By making myself a priority in this way, I’m able to be closer to the ideal mom I want to be. And when I’m a better mom, I’m raising a better, more emotionally stable kid.
Here are a few of ways I’ve chosen to—ususally—do this:
Wake up at least fifteen to thirty minutes before the Little Butt.
This isn’t always fun, and I don’t always follow through on this. But I’ve found that my day and my attitude are much better if I have a few moments of quiet to wake up before putting on my mom hat.
During a business training, I heard Laryn Weaver say that we must wake up before our small children; otherwise we will end up resenting them for waking us up. I have found this to be true in my case.
Obviously there are ramifications to this. In order to be capable of waking early, I must go to bed at a decent time. If my work schedule prohibits this (and I’m lucky that I have this option), I need to take a nap.
Make self-care a priority.
Exercise is a priority in my life. Well, it usually is. Except for this week, and it shows—not so much in my body as in my state of mind. Exercise releases good endorphins and just sets you up for a better day. Now that the Little Butt sometimes decides to get up before I’ve had a chance to work out, he joins me and Jillian and jumps around the room yelling, “Go! Go! Go!” It’s frustrating not to have the perfect workout session, but I’m fitting it in and teaching him to take care of his own body.
Another priority for me is having time to be still and quiet. Some days this means reading the Bible or another book, journaling, praying, or just sitting. Every mother knows that once the kids are awake, stillness and quiet are unattainable. This is why, even though getting up 15-30 minutes early is my goal, I really try to get up about 90 minutes before the Little Butt. That way I can take care of myself in these two ways.
Self-care also means maintaining healthy relationships with other adults including My Guy. And while I don’t have time to do a girls’ night every week or even every month, playdates with my friends whose children are close in age to mine help. I also have friends over who are willing to put up with the noise of a toddler even though they don’t have one of their own. My three sisters and I have a continuous text conversation going all the time, so I’m plugged into some of my best relationships right there. Thankfully my line of work enables me to spend time with fun women several times each week, but if it didn’t, quick coffee dates would be a priority.
Show myself grace.
Before I was a parent and then when my little one was an infant, I determined he would not watch TV. Then it was he probably wouldn’t watch TV. Now the goal is to limit how much TV he watches.
Parenting is hard work, whether you work full-time, part-time, from home, or your main job is parenting. It’s exhausting. For me, the TV and independent playtime are tools I use so that I can grab some time for myself or my work in the middle of a busy day. Grace towards myself means determining what an appropriate use of the television is, making that my goal, and using a timer to stick to that goal.
However, grace plays into everything. We mess up. I mess up several times each day and wonder just how much I’m damaging the Little Butt. I wonder if I’ll get any aspect of parenting right.
While the ways you put on your oxygen mask may be different from mine, the point is this: in some ways, it’s okay and even vital to put ourselves first. Recently a friend told me what her pediatrician told her: if you’re worried about being a good mom, then you’re being a good mom. The other moms don’t even give it a thought.
So give yourself grace. And while you’re at it, give yourself credit by sharing with us how you put on your oxygen mask. That way we can all benefit.
I think I’ve made it clear that I’m a sucker for anything organizationally related, and that I am addicted to paper. So you might not be that surprised to hear me raving about a planner, but bear with me. It really is that amazing.
Back in February my friend Katherine introduced me to the wonderful world of Erin Condren and I wrote about it here. Erin Condren is a designer who has created one of the coolest planners I’ve ever found, along with many other fun and handy products. Even though I owned a perfectly good, brand new 2014 planner created by my company specifically for their consultants, I ordered my EC Life Planner (ECLP) within 36 hours of learning of their existence. It arrived on Friday, March 7 amid much fanfare.
My Guy still wonders what all the hoopla is about.
While many reviews have been written on the ECLP, this one will be specifically focused on its use with a business, especially one in the direct sales industry. That said, this review will offer information that I hope anyone considering an ECLP will find helpful.
*This post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided…and I only post products I’ve tried and believe in. Thanks for supporting the Scattered Fashionista!
How I use my planner:
For me, monthly views are where I record everything: all appointments, playdates, jewelry shows, downline meetings, or any other important events. If you look at this picture, the pink strips of washi tape are all my shows for this month, including the hostesses’ name and my gift to her. (Right now I’m using gift cards.) What’s beautiful about putting my shows on washi is that when someone reschedules, it’s movable! I just peel up the washi and move her to the newly scheduled date. (If she’s not sure of her new date, I’ll move her to a section in the back of my planner, which I’ll show you later). No more using white out or boring pencil. I also use washi to block out trips or vacation days, as in the month of July.
The stars are my open dates. This makes it easy for a hostess to know what is open, and it tells me what I still need to book. Once the date is filled, the washi label covers up the star. Oh, and you see that scribbled out label on June 5th? That’s one of my EC labels. Last year they were permanent, but with the newly released ECLP these labels are repositionable. No more scribbles!
I’ve always been a sucker for the weekly spreads in any calendar. If it doesn’t work for me, the planner is worthless. That was one of the biggest selling points in the ECLP for me. Erin has broken the weekly spreads down in to morning, afternoon, and night with extra space for notes down the left column and on the bottom.
And… I totally can’t work like that. I need to see my agenda for the day—usually it’s pretty basic—but the bigger thing for me is my to-do list. So I use washi tape (are you seeing a trend?) to cover up the sections I don’t want to see, and also to create a block for me to record my daily contacts.
Speaking of contacts, if you’re familiar with Ilene Meckley’s High Five Club (speaking to five business contacts per day), this is one of the initial reasons I was excited about my ECLP. I had attempted to use Ilene’s Contact Tracker, but it was just one more notebook for me to lug around and write in. With my ECLP, I use the night section as my contacts section. Here I track whom I’ve spoken with each day, and make a note of what kind of contact it was: customer care call (CCC), a purchase (P), someone interested in starting their own business (O), or someone interested in hosting a party (H).
Other random things I use my weekly spread for are:
-tracking my water intake
-tracking my exercise (working out earns me a smiley sticker)
-my weight (which I’ve happily blocked out for you)
Your ECLP will come with a fabulous notes section. Mine has 21 lined pages and 10 unlined pages, all decorated with Erin’s fun art designs. This is perfect for whatever, but I use my lined pages for:
-thank-you notes I need to write
-my daily, weekly, and monthly checklists
-shopping lists (I keep mine on post-its, so it’s more of a dashboard in that respect)
-quotes I love (and end up sharing here on Quotable Friday)
-prayer requests and answers
My unlined pages are really fun. I’ve taken one spread to keep track of women who want to either host a party or become a consultant at a later date. I jot down their names in the month when they’d like to be contacted. This is where I stick my washi labels from postponed shows that have not yet been rescheduled.
I also use a spread to track whom I’ve shared my business with. Generally women take 2-4 months to decide to join a company after hearing about it, so here is where I can keep an eye on when ladies are most likely to become a consultant.
Since I love tracking everything, I washi tape my Building That Counts chart into one page, so I can track whether I am working my business as a hobby, simply maintaining, or building. I also use a page to track my progress on my current sales goal, so I can see if I’m on schedule, ahead, or need to work a little harder.
The back of your ECLP includes a sturdy, two-sided pocket. This is handy for brochures, mini catalogs, notecards, and training handouts. Then you have the plastic zip-pouch. I like to fill mine with stamps, stickers, business cards, and washi labels for when I book shows or schedule other events.One of my absolute favorite aspects of the ECLP is that you can order it for either 12 or 18 months. The 18 month planner releases every June for July of that year through December of the following year. This is pure gold for anyone in event planning. It’s only June and I have jewelry shows scheduled for 2015—I need a planner that lets me actually plan ahead. As I like to have a planner dedicated to each year, I’ll continue to use my 2014 planner until December 31, but my 2014-2015 planner will accompany me to events so that I can work as far out as my hostesses need to book.
Some of my favorite planner products:
I’m always curious to see the preferred products of others in the planner community, so here are a few of mine.
$10 Discount Code:
I hope this review was helpful for you! If you’d like to give the ECLP a try, or simply try any one of Erin Condren’s fun products, you can use this code to receive $10 off your first purchase. The $10 discount does expire 30 days after activation, so keep that in mind. If you use my discount code, not only will you receive $10 off your next order. I will as well! Then you can get your own code to share with your friends as you get excited about your ECLP. It’s one of the many things I love about this company. ***Note: You need to click on the link above and create your account through the link in order to receive the $10 discount. The discount code will be sent to your email within a few hours of signing up.***
While I don’t usually comment on the quotes I post, I wanted to make a quick note here. When de Sales made this statement, he was referring to being the best in whatever role God has given us: that of parent, spouse, teacher, friend, leader…the list is endless. Whatever your role is, go be the best.
Last week we talked about the first three of “Kendra’s Five Rules for Successful (or Not Terrible) Online Dating”: Choose your service wisely, be honest, and work it like a part-time job. This week we’re wrapping it up with the last two rules.
4. Be open minded
This one is slightly tricky. There’s a cautious balance between being open minded and letting go of what you genuinely want/need. So weigh that concept against everything I say.
When I began online, I was *incredibly* shy and awkward. No, really. If you know me now, take me at my most awkward and multiply by ten. It had been over ten years since I’d been in a serious relationship and everything scared me. So, my sisters being the brilliant women that they are, told me I had to date everyone who asked me out and looked safe.
This got me past a large portion of my awkwardness, but it also reminded me that while I wasn’t going to end up with most of these men, they had definite friend potential, even for a short time.
Another thing I learned is that you have no idea what Mr/s. Right looks like. According to my end of things, when I was matched with my man, eHarmony told me it was a “flexible match,” meaning we didn’t line up 100% but they thought it could be a good thing. Usually I deleted these matches first thing (why settle for less than perfect, right?), but my guy was persistent in contacting me. Plus, he was a darn good writer and made me laugh so I gave him a break. But as I told a friend when I was getting dressed to go on our first date, “It’s just dinner. Seriously, nothing with this guy is going to go anywhere.”
Keep that in mind. You may know exactly what you need, you may have a faint idea what you need, or you may have absolutely no idea what you need.
And while we’re on the subject of being open minded, realize that while you are putting in your time online, Mr/s. Right could be waiting elsewhere. Keep all your options open while trying creative methods for meeting people.
5. Give it enough time
In my conversations with you all, I heard from “Emily,” who met her man on Match on the first try. I also heard from “Amy” who persistently worked Christian Café for four-and-a-half years before finding Mr. Right. Amy went through several Mr. Wrongs, but she never gave up. And…she worked it like a part-time job all those years. Can someone say exhausting?
I’ve also heard from some of you that you’ve been trying to meet someone for up to seven years with nothing but bad luck. That hurts and is beyond discouraging.
But don’t give up. If you really want this, do not give up. I swear, there is something to the saying that it’s the darkest before dawn. While I was only online for a total of nine months or so, I remember telling my dad I was throwing in the towel somewhere around January of 2010. Since my subscription ran until March or April, he said to stick it out and, well, work it like a part-time job. I huffed and sighed and flipped open my laptop again.
A week or two later I had a new dilemma: now there were two guys with serious potential. Obviously I cleared up which one was the true winner.
I don’t know what enough time looks like, but if you’re serious, don’t give up. I’ve heard it all:
“It costs too much. I can’t afford to keep this up.”
“I have bad luck. There’s no one out there for me.”
“Everyone else is just lucky.”
“I don’t have time for this.”
Not to be harsh or anything, but if you truly believe those statements, enough with the whining. Just give up in both action and desire.
I know—and I think deep down you do, too—that we make time for and budget for and work at what is important to us. So ask yourself—is finding someone important to you?
Please know that none of this is intended to be harsh. Online dating is mostly awful with good moments thrown in here and there. My only hope is that, if you truly want this, you hang in there. I’m in your corner, cheering for you. I want you to find what you want and need. I hope these five tips help you on your journey.