Now that we have began to spread the news of my second pregnancy, and my work projects seem to be ramping up, I can feel the stagnant energy moving out and making way for creativity and execution. I'm looking forward to the next few months!
As I look back on last month, I am reminding myself what these commitments are about. What other larger-picture thing are they rooted in? What goals are they helping me work towards? Above all else: how are these commitments making me feel? Let's dig in to it.
For now, these commitments are helping guide my daily decisions in positive ways, so I'll stick with them. And I hold them lightly knowing they may need to shift and evolve throughout the year. Life, especially pregnancy, and work can be unpredictable, so I want to be solid enough in my values to weather storms, and also have room to go with the flow.
I hope you have an incredible month of April, I'm spending my first weekend of the month in beautiful Banff for the first MAVEN Retreat and I'm so excited!
And then I got pregnant.
Some may assume the reaction to this would be "yay!", another baby, wonderful news! And the excitement my friends and family have shown has been so heartwarming and lovely and has helped to build my excitement as well. But my initial internal response was not all rainbows and sunshine.
Although this pregnancy was absolutely planned - we were "trying" again - it felt a bit unexpected. My first pregnancy took a while, and we ended up getting the support of science to help it along, and we felt very lucky and excited that we did get pregnant, have a healthy pregnancy, and birth a healthy baby.
I know there are other moms with children close in age (planned or not) that can understand the mixture of emotions that comes with this turn of events. Here are just a few of the emotions that were flying around:
Sadness: for the sacrifice/potential loss of projects and ideas that I wanted to achieve and may no longer have the resources (time/energy/money/attention) to do them.
Disappointment: at myself for not having done more to bring my body to a more physically prepared place (let's be clear, this body is not the body I had when I got pregnant with my first, it has changed, and will likely never be exactly what it once was)
Fear: for the unknown and unexpected that comes with bringing new life into this world and growing our family, and for the postpartum journey itself - it can be a lonely and trying time, to say the very least.
Guilt: for not being more excited about this pregnancy when I have friends that are going through their own fertility struggles - how dare I take this miracle for granted?!
More Guilt: for the baby growing inside of my body and me not giving it the same excitement I did to my first pregnancy
Overwhelm/anxiety: for holyshithowarewegoingtodothis?
As I have moved through the first trimester, bogged down with lethargy and this shit storm of thoughts, it was when we started to tell people that things really began to shift for me. When people showed me their excitement about our news, it reflected to me that this is a time for celebration, and that I am capable of not only handling this next leg of the journey, but it's actually something I said I wanted. They are showing excitement because it's a dream coming true for us. I wanted two kids, and we will soon have our complete family. Thank you, support circle, for helping me move through this.
At a time when my world began to feel small, I also regularly needed to remind myself to take the long view, look at the big picture, take stock of all that I have accomplished and continue to accomplish daily. All of this has been going on while we also moved to a new home and neighborhood, moved our kid to new childcare, became landlords to renters, experienced major changes at my place of work, and began to build a studio in our basement. When I consider the patience and energy it takes just to do all that, I deserve a freaking medal! And it's no wonder it's felt overwhelming.
As roadblocks have come up, I have handled some well, and others not so much. The vision I had for this year has shifted, and in this time of uncertainty I thought it would be a powerful exercise to reflect back on times when I felt like I had momentum, energy, and excitement and share some stories about these times and celebrate how far I have come on this journey of running a business, holding down a full-time job, and becoming a momma.
When things don't go as planned, celebrate anyway.
Whether that is focusing on the work you put in, even if the outcome wasn't what you desired. Or reflecting back on times when things did have momentum and excitement and celebrating what you created then, and then getting curious about what ingredients were involved in that feeling of success. Or simply patting yourself on the back for having the courage to try.
A lot has happened in the last few years! I will be sharing some stories here and on my Instagram feed and I hope it encourages you to appreciate yourself and how far you have come as well.
As I work to get a space built out, hold down a 9-5, be a rad wife, and raise a little one, my hope is to keep cool about it all and to find a flow in a season that feels full. If you've got any tips or tricks for managing, let a mama know in the comments!
I'm not sure if it was being off of social media (for the most part) in November that had it feel much more mellow, but it was a relaxing time either way. I wrote a lot more this month - 10 blogs in 10 days, in fact - and it really helped quiet my mind and drop into myself this month.
These monthly check-ins were mostly intended to keep me honest and accountable to my commitments, and I realize now they have also been so key in recognizing how much one can grow from month to month. And it's really incredible what growth you can squeeze into a year. Here's how it's going with my 2018 commitments!
No new clothing purchased in 2018 - Sticking so hard to this one and all those bags of clothes I had in my house last month are now officially gone to consignment!
Live debt-free - November might be the most challenging month for spending with all the hoopla around Black Friday sales and holiday gift shopping. I am proud to say I resisted getting sucked into over-spending. A great strategy we have used for curbing excessive gift buying is doing a secret Santa exchange with our families. One gift, with a spending limit that is comfortable for everyone, makes it easy to stay within a budget and I find it makes the one gift you get far more intentional and special.
Plan ahead for family time - Not only are we headed to Montreal for the holidays, we also have another long weekend on the books for December to hang out as a family before the full schedules of the holidays ramp up. #winning
Do one crossword and read for 10 minutes every night - Whoa did reading fall off last month! I planned to read Brene Brown's new book and ordered it online, and the Canada Post strike totally pushed that deadline back! I just got the book in my hands this week and I'm excited to get into it this month.
We are in the last month of 2018 and it's become a yearly practice of mine to do both a holiday bucket list and an annual personal restrospective. I already have my list started for experiences I want to have this holiday break! These monthly check-ins also help to look back on the year and note my accomplishments and the challenges and will help set the stage for the following year. I'm looking forward to re-reading them when I sit down to write my 2018 retrospective!
I wish you an incredible last month of the year!
I have been thinking about all the tools in my toolkit that can go for stretches without being used. I have seen many people seek out a new skill or tool. Often, they learn something new, fail to integrate it into their behaviour, and point the finger of blame at the resource or tool for not getting the job done.
That's like going to Home Depot, buying a shovel, bringing it home and putting it in your garage to collect dust and then blaming Home Depot when your drive way is still covered in snow. You have to actually put the thing to use to experience to desired result. The provider of the resource isn't necessarily where you need to be looking.
We all have life tool kits. Some have more tools than others, but what use are any of them if they never get utilized? When I'm feeling in a rut or complacent, I often seek out a new and flashy thing instead of looking right under my nose at my existing tools. There are some tried and true strategies that I know can support me and bring me back on course with what I want to create in my life.
Doing the actual work is where the magic happens. USE your tools.
I believe in YOU.
The you who knows you have unique gifts you want to share with the world.
The you who wants to use your time here to make a positive impact.
The you who knows you have boundless potential and will do the work to max it out.
The you who is open to learning and growing, forever.
The you who knows the power of choice and exercises it.
The you who wants to create a full life, on your own terms.
The you who wants to experience the magic of life.
I believe in ME.
The me who provides you with tools to identify your unique gifts and help make a plan for you to use them in the world.
The me who knows your time is precious and won't waste it.
The me who holds you capable of doing the things I know you can.
The me who is open to learning and growing alongside you, forever.
The me who can set an example of the power of choice.
The me who can give you tools and coaching to help you create a full life, on your own terms.
The me who creates magical experiences for us.
Each time you bring yourself to one of my offerings, you are investing in yourself, and you are investing in me getting to realize my own goals. So thank YOU.
I believe in us working together to make moves in this life.
I see the potential in you and believe you are capable of creating an incredible life for yourself. I see the potential in myself and believe I am capable of helping you create an incredible life for yourself, through curating experiences that leave you feeling like you can conquer anything.
With this in mind, I wanted to share why I chose the name MAVEN. The history of the word for me is rooted in my time working with lululemon athletica. Malcolm Gladwell's, The Tipping Point was part of the core library of books employees were encouraged to read. Maven's in his context are those that make change happen through ideas; they are "information brokers, sharing and trading what they know".
My experience of "Maven's" within lululemon was that they were people who were ahead of the curve with innovations, they were well connected and very good at making new, creative ideas come to life. The dictionary definition of a maven is "an expert or connoisseur". Well la-di-da. Here's how I define a MAVEN:
Am I saying that I am an "expert"? Well, yes. AND I am saying that you are too. I chose the word because I see each and every one of us as stewards of our own lives. The more we become experts on ourselves, the more free we become to make powerful choices for our lives. Just as the Mavens in Gladwell's book make change happen through ideas, I believe that, given the best information, you [and I] can implement practices that improve the quality, purpose, and depth of our lives.
YOU truly know what is going to make the most of your days. YOU have the ability to choose how you spend your life.
I am here to provide tools, resources, coaching, and an example of how to curate life on your terms. You're the expert at doing you. In this way, we are all MAVEN's.
No new clothing purchased in 2018 - Still #killingit.
Live debt-free - Damn, it's incredible the mindfulness and discipline this is taking to break old habits that have caused unnecessary over-spending in the past. I am still on the minimalist journey, and recently read Slow by Brooke McAlary and am reflecting more and more on what my behaviours are rooted in (ie. why I do what I do, without really thinking). I have had some great ah-ha moments about how and where I spend my money and am working on being more intentional about it.
On The Minimalists Podcast, one of the guys said something to the effect of "I was making good money. I was spending even better money. I was giving the appearance of wealth, but was actually broke." - and it really hit home with me. We live in a world where credit (a.k.a. debt) is so available to us that we can very easily get caught up in over-extending ourselves. I have put myself in dicey financial positions a few times and it really didn't take long to get there. I say this, not to scare anyone, but to remind myself that my values are rooted in connection and relationships, and having lots of things is really not that important to the quality of my life. I am far from perfect, and am still currently chipping away at some debt, but I have a plan and am working that plan every day. I'll call that a win.
Plan ahead for family time - We planned well in advance for holidays in August and it made it so much more enjoyable and relaxing. Not only did we get to enjoy the time away together, but we also got to experience the excitement of looking forward to our plans. Double whammy.
September's dance card is already full with tons of activities as a family, with friends, and some things just for me (last month of maternity leave!). Here are a few of the things we will be up to:
Do one crossword and read for 10 minutes every night - Still totally nerding out with my crossword puzzles and books. I definitely did watch some Netflix in bed a few of the nights we were on vacation and I regret nothing. In just the past month I have also become much better at noticing how often and how long I spend doing mindless things on my phone, and screen time is decreasing drastically and is being replaced with more presence and quality time with the people I love.
All in all, I would say August has been great for sticking with my commitments. I am definitely in need of a Vision and Goals refresh and will be putting something together for new moms in the coming weeks so stay tuned for that! Here's to a great September!
In conversations with my hubby, I have asked questions like: "If the slate were wiped totally clean, if we owned nothing, and had no ties (job, location, etc.), what would we choose?" It's a question that is difficult to answer, especially when you are 30-something and own a home in the city you grew up in, have a job you enjoy, run your own business whose clients are from a specific location...and the list goes on. Trying to think about choice from the lens of not having any roots is challenging.
Over the last 2-3 years, I have been downsizing in some really tangible ways like giving away things we don't need or use. It's become pretty easy for me to let go of material possessions, curb the urge to buy more, and live with less. For example, I just got back from a 10-day trip to Croatia with our baby and we didn't check any bags!
But what about the intangible excess and waste? The conversation about social media and it's place in my life has gone in all different directions, and my addiction to my phone is for real. And what about my TV consumption? I am a part of the "Netflix and chill" generation and admit I watch TV every night before bed.
This Minimalists Podcast introduced me to the concept of "pacifiers", the things we use to distract, avoid, numb and kill time. Becoming more aware of my own pacifiers hasn't necessarily impacted my behaviour in major ways. I'm even afraid to get that one app that tells you how much time you spend on your phone because I would probably be sick about the facts it would present. Whatever your relationship is to screens, I know what's true for me is that my screen time is more than I would like, and it's cutting in to time for fully living my life in the ways I want to.
So my spring cleaning project is focused on cleaning up how I spend my time. Less time on social media and watching TV are at the top of my list. I'm still working through what this will look like, but I'll be sure to report back as I move through this process. The overall aim is this: more creation, less consumption.
I spent a lot of time investigating my "idle hands syndrome" this past month. Asking myself why I couldn't just sit still (ahem, for 5 simple minutes), or not check my phone, and even started to question why I was going to some of the workout classes that I had been attending. As a new mom, you get a lot of tips on places to go and activities to do with your little one, so I would sign us up, never really thinking about whether or not I was really that interested in the thing. So for May, I have decided to reel it in on the number of things in my calendar each week and give some thought to how I truly want to spend my time. I'll let you know how it goes. For now, let's take a look at how well I kept my word in April.
No new clothing purchased in 2018 - This one is getting so easy to stay committed to! I have really accepted that the clothes I have right now are all I need and have a new appreciation for them. My husband, however, asked me if I have simply moved my spending habit from myself to our kid and the answer is yes, absolutely. There have been some occasions where I have definitely made an impulse purchase for our son and regretted it later. But I will say that I am very aware of what I do purchase and more often than not, I don't buy what we don't need. I am learning and working on it, and I feel good about sticking to my commitment for no new clothing for myself.
Live debt-free - Tax season is a real kick in the pants. Every year, I think I have put enough aside for the tax man and somehow I end up having to pay more than I thought. This year caused me to go into a bit of debt in order to pay taxes, so I am going to have to flex, and this commitment is going to be changed to: "I put money towards my tax debt every month."
Plan ahead for family time - Killing it in this department! In April, we spent a long weekend in Montreal visiting family and spent another weekend away with friends, and we have our son in swimming lessons every Saturday which keeps family time on the schedule for the next couple months.
Meditate for five minutes daily - So I big time failed at my new commitment of meditating for five minutes daily. I have no excuse, I just absolutely let it fall off. I am human after all! I did meditate for five minutes about 7 times this month, so that's at least better than any other month in my life #progress. I also discovered a new mediation app that I will be trying out for May. Let's try this again!
I welcome May with open arms!