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Motherhood

Why Getting Rid of My To-Do List Has Made Me Happier

 

 

 

 

I live my life by a strict schedule. My mantra was always “if you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late.”; sounds pretty straight forward right? And remaining on this strict schedule meant that I had lists for everything. Groceries, cleaning, errands, school stuff, my stuff, my husband’s stuff. I am a Post-It note, journal having nutcase.

While some may argue that getting rid of to-do lists makes you more productive, I tend not to agree. I do believe that having a list can make and keep you productive, however, I also realize that it varies person to person. For me, getting rid of my tedious and very overwhelming to-do lists, just made me happier.

I think it’s safe to say we all want to feel happy. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in life is that happiness is a choice. You can feel happy and healthy regardless of what’s going on in your life. It starts with little choices we make each day that helps shape our attitude and overall feeling of well being. When it came to my never-ending and super tedious planning and schedule, I realized that in the end it just wasn’t making me happy (no matter how productive I was).

Out of everything that I used my to-do lists for, I never actually used a single one to ensure that I was taking care of my needs as well. Over the last month, I have made a point to spend more time focusing on life rather than focusing on my lists. Needless to say, I think everyone in my home (including me) have become much happier. Here are some things I have learned and done since chucking my daily to-do list.

Life Audit: This may seem a little strange, and you are probably thinking what the heck is a life audit?”. But this is so important for each of us to do on a regular basis. I have taken long deep hard thoughts about the things that make me happy and don’t. If it doesn’t add value to my life, I get rid of it. If it makes me happy, I try and do more of it. One of the major things missing from life is an experience. By that, I mean traveling new places and meeting new people. I don’t want to look back and wish I had done something more. The life audit has allowed me to set clear goals to help me meet any needs or changes I wanted to make in my life.

Appreciate Chaos: I know that doesn’t sound as appealing as it could. But there is something about everything going to hell in a handbasket that I learned to appreciate it. For one, when it happens I am much less apt to freak out, as I previously would. The imperfect moments I have experienced over the last few weeks are happiness. No amount of lists in the world would be able to give me some of the wonderful, spur of the moment times I have had with my kids lately.

Just Be: I don’t have to be everything to everyone all of the time. My lists always gave a visual rundown of what I was supposed to do. But a lot of it was things I knew already. Bills, shopping, kids-Duh? What it didn’t do was give me a chance to just be Tasha, or mom, or wife. It’s silly to think that a little piece of paper or journal could have that much control, but in some ways it does. When you are used to running a tight ship, it can be difficult to change. No matter how late it was, I’m glad that I “saw the light”.

 

Do you use lists? If so do you feel you could be as productive without them? Let me know in the comments below!

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.

How Self Discovery Led Me to Become A Better Mother

 

 

 

 

Growing up being a mom was something I looked forward to more than anything else. I couldn’t wait for the day to have kids of my own. When I had my first child there were days that were so beautiful that I knew being a mother was meant for me; then there were other days that seemed as if I had been thrust into the pits of hell and I couldn’t figure out what on Earth ever prompted me to have kids. I had one of those rough days last week where I was completely drained. I had a couple crazy days at work, my house was a mess, I had barely slept, B was whining over everything and I just broke down. I called Cody and was like I need you to take the kids – I need a couple hours to myself.

Even 13 years later I still have those pits of hell days. There was one day in particular last week where I just couldn’t pull it together no matter what I did. My house looked like a train wreck, I literally ordered take out all week long, and I was just over everything. On top of not being able to sleep because I was stressed out and overwhelmed, I finally cracked and had a complete break down in my husband’s arms.  It was then I realized that I wasn’t taking care of myself like I should be.

I know I have written about the importance of self-care before. This is such an easy and important topic to write about, however, making sure you do it is a completely different beast.

Pre-kids I would always set time aside for me. Even with the first couple of kids I always made sure that I took time for myself. Whether it was going to get my hair done or getting a massage. However, since #3 and 4, it has been very difficult for me to always get the time I need to take care of myself.

We often don’t realize that by not taking care of ourselves, not only are we hurting us, we are hurting our family as well.

12 Ways To Increase Your Happiness & Become a Better Mother

  1. GET ENOUGH SLEEP – If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you need to do everything in your power to ensure you start. This whole notion of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is absolutely ridiculous. Lack of sleep contributes to a lot of issues, but most importantly overall it just isn’t good in the grand scheme of things.  When I don’t get a full night sleep needless to say I my patience is short and my attitude is bad. Because of this I actively try and make sure I get as much sleep as possible. Granted I work between 6pm-Midnight, at the latest 1 am. And I will often sleep until 6 am. My kids will sleep until 8 am, so I can often sleep in longer if I have nothing to work on, but I like to get up before them and get in a bit of yoga and enjoy a cup of coffee.
  2. HAVE YOU TIME – You need time to yourself! I don’t always have the opportunity to get out during the day like I used to, so I have to get it in where I can fit it in. As previously mentioned that is before the kids wake up.
  3. DONT COMPARE YOURSELF – Social media has a way of making us feel inept or inadequate about our parenting. But the last thing we need to do is compare ourselves to other. As someone who has been in the blogging and social media game for a while, a lot of times these things are staged simply for social media. So just because a picture shows someone with a picture perfect home and Pinterest worthy cooking, that doesn’t mean they aren’t having a hard time.Remember social media is such a small glimpse of people’s lives!
  4. LEARN TO LAUGH – Parenting is tough, but instead of dwelling on how hard it is, learn to laugh. Even in the moments of chaos, a good laugh can make you feel better.
  5. GET READY FOR THE DAY – While it’s all good to wear the standard mom uniform (yoga pants and a tee), every now and then you want to actually want to get dressed. Do your hair and your makeup. It’s not about looking good for anyone, but getting dressed can instantly make you feel better. A good shower and a fresh look are all you need! Embrace the glow up!
  6. WAKE UP EARLY – Waking up early was probably one of the best things I have done for my well being. I absolutely need that time to myself before my kids get up. Being with them 24/7 literally is tough enough as it is, so I always make the extra effort to get in as much time to myself as possible.
  7.  BE GRATEFUL – As with learning to laugh, it’s also important to be grateful for all the moments, both big and small, good and bad that occur.
  8. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE – I am really bad at sitting in the house for days on end (sometimes weeks) with out going anywhere. But it’s important for your sanity and your kids to make sure you get out of the house. You need and the kids both need a change of scenery. Even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood. You don’t have to drive somewhere, but it’s just important to make sure that you at least try to get out every few days.
  9. ENCOURAGE OTHER MOMS –It’s important for you to recognize you are not alone. If you have friends or family members who are young mothers connect with them and talk about what’s going on. Often times you will find that you are not the only one going through the pits of motherhood. It’s become so taboo that often times we hold it in, so that we can all pretend we have this picture perfect Pinterest-type life, not realizing that by not talking about it, we are doing ourselves and other mothers a disservice.
  10. LET IT GO – Don’t stress about being picture perfect. If something is a mess and you just aren’t feeling doing anything don’t stress getting it done. Whether it’s picking up the house, or finishing those emails for work, sometimes you just need to let it go. You don’t have to try and be super mom.
  11. DON’T FORGET YOUR SPOUSE – It’s important that the two of you continue to take time out for one another. Even if you can’t have regular date nights, try and have one outing at least twice a month. The rest of the time you can always have in-home date nights with one another.
  12. LISTEN TO THEM LAUGH – Embrace this time when they are little. Children grow up so quickly and before you know it they will be off to college. Have fun, get messy and laugh a lot!
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.

3 Ways To Embrace Peaceful Parenting

 

 

 

Sometimes a nice relaxing getaway or daycation is all we need to get feel rejuvenated!

 

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Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.

A Few Good Reasons Why Your Kid Is Just Not Into You

By into you, I mean overly affectionate or lovey dovey. As the mother of a nine-year-old with ADHD & Autism, I am used to my son not telling outwardly that he loves me or giving me hugs. As it would with any mother, of course, it hurts, but I have learned over the years that there are other ways he shows his love. Read more

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.

Ain’t No Love Like Toddler Love

The Greatest Love of All is from a Toddler // www.gritsngrace.com

Please read our copyright and privacy statement here. 

My oldest will soon be a teenager, and my second oldest is on his way to becoming a tween. This realization has caused me to reflect on just how fast children grow up right before your eyes.  It’s true, you have to relish in every moment, even if the moments aren’t that great. But it’s those not so great moments that you begin to appreciate as you see them registering for classes for high school, or when you have to have “the talk”. Read more

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.

That time I was pregnant and decided to refurbish a chest of drawers

diy refinish furniture

Yep….what was I thinking? It was 7 months pregnant in the South during the summer and decided I was going to tackle this impossible project…because….Pinterest. A few years ago I went through this really annoying and highly expensive Pinterest phase. I’m out of it now and still own tons of wood glue, spray enamel and filler to prove it. Many of my projects were successful (at least to me) but my biggest undertaking had to be this dang dresser that I was determined to refinish before my daughter was born.

I completed it and almost sent myself into labor several times while doing so. I’m sure there was a reason I was so hellbent on doing this, but years later the only thing I remember is my pregnant self,  dragging this solid wood dresser through the house trying to get it outside. And subsequently using every swear word I could think of when I couldn’t get it through the door.

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Water, melanin, bones, blood. In route to death, while I’m here, might as well get shit accomplished.

Photographer, fitness enthusiast, blogger, and mother of two.

Using Photography to Boost Your Child’s Confidence

Using Photographer To Boost Your Child's Confidence // gritsngrace.com

Using photography to boost your child’s confidence can be huge in allowing them to be themselves. Whether you’re taking their picture or handing the camera over to them and letting them take the reigns, this can be huge in allowing your child to be more confident in what they do. I talk about this exact thing over on my photography blog here, feel free to read and comment.

A while back I handed my son the camera and told him to make a story. He decided to take photos of his favorite toys and called it “Toy Story Before Time” (which subsequently is similar to the title of an actual Toy Story short).

using photography to boost your child's confidence

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Water, melanin, bones, blood. In route to death, while I’m here, might as well get shit accomplished.

Photographer, fitness enthusiast, blogger, and mother of two.

Favorite Me Time Indulgences: Self-care for Optimal Motherhood

Me Time: Easy Ways to Decompress and Get Rid of Stress // www.gritsngrace.com

Everyone needs a little me time every once and a while. My favorite me time indulgences have usually included a nap or rage cleaning the baseboards and bathroom, but I promise I enjoy other things too.

As a mother, we have a tendency to forget about ourselves. More importantly, we forget that we deserve a break as well. This leads to major tension and mom’s short temper when she forgets she needs self-care in order to maintain. Whether you enjoy a night out with the girls, dinner a Chick-Fil-A solo or an evening with a glass of wine and Netflix, taking care of yourself is an absolute must!!

Sneaking a little bit of alone time into your day is crucial. Stay are home moms often report significant depression and alienation, more than their working mother counterparts. Having been a stay at home/work at home mom for 8 years, I can definitely attest to this fact. Burnout affects everyone, but when mom is burned out everyone has a tendency to suffer.

Whether you decide to put the kids to bed early and enjoy a bubble bath and relaxing music or stay up and enjoy a quiet game of candy crush, taking time out for yourself helps release any stress you may be feeling and will allow you to reset for the next day. If you were like me (when I was married) and unable to take time out of the house for yourself due to a spouse’s work schedule, don’t be afraid to put the kids down for a nap, especially if you feel as if you have reached your breaking point. I would tend to send the kids outside to play so that I could clean in peace, but I quickly realized cleaning isn’t really me-time and in fact was just me doing what I was supposed to do. So I started putting them to bed a little earlier some nights or waking up and hour to two hours earlier in the morning so that I could read and enjoy a cup of coffee in peace.

When you do get a chance to sneak out of the house please do!! It’s always a great idea to get out of the house every now and then and just be alone. I often found myself driving around the block or sitting alone enjoying a chicken sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. It was a cheap activity that I could do when I really wanted no other interaction.

Remember as a parent that your happiness matters as well. As a mother we tend to lose ourselves in our children and our marriage, this doesn’t have to be the case!! You should never feel guilty for needing time to recharge your batteries. Stay at home mom, working mom, single mom—we all deserve a break (dads too).

With all of that here are a few of my favorite me time indulgences:

What are some of your favorite me time indulgences? How do you ensure you are at your best every day as a mother? If you aren’t taking time for self-care, why not? Sound off in the comments below!!

Water, melanin, bones, blood. In route to death, while I’m here, might as well get shit accomplished.

Photographer, fitness enthusiast, blogger, and mother of two.

10 Small Parenting Wins You Should Always Celebrate

10 Parenting Wins You Should Always Celebrate //www.gritsngrace.com

Being a parent is probably one of the most amazing feelings in the world. However, it can also be filled with some of the toughest moments you may ever experience. Unlike living with a partner who snores or the neighbor who refuses to cut their grass every two weeks per HOA rules, there are things about parenting, that you just can’t learn to adjust to. Being a parent means some days flying high on your unicorn, while others days everything including the kitchen sink is being thrown at you. Read more

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.

Why I Enjoy Time Away From My Kids

I have said it before, and I will say it again: Motherhood is not about making yourself a martyr. We are still individuals outside of the tiny humans that we helped create and bring into this world.  Read more

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.