Give Yourself Permission To Hire Help

5 Benefits Of Not Doing It All Yourself

Do you ever struggle with feeling guilty about needing some extra help around the house? Why is it so hard to ask for help? Why do we think we have to do it all ourselves? Why can we relax our standards for other people but at the same time raise them on ourselves?

I do not always have the answers to these questions and struggle with them just like you probably do. I have my different reasons from day to day (pride, failure to plan, fear of inconveniencing someone, desire for control), but I have challenged myself to ask for help more often by giving myself permission to NOT do it all. More than anything, I have lowered my standards for the betterment of my sanity (and everyone else’s in my household, for that matter.)

When I was pregnant with my second child, I was basically put on bed rest. Up until this point, I had been responsible for the cleaning of my home exclusively. At one point in a previous life (aka, before kids) I was working full time and had a short stint of having a house keeper during a very busy season. But, ever since, I have been the dish washer, dust bunny catcher, bathroom scrubber, floor shiner, and kitchen degunker extraordinaire. And I felt like because I “stayed at home” that it was in my job description to clean the whole house by myself every week. Once this bed rest period was upon us, my husband was taking on the extra care for me and our daughter, and I was forced to ask friends or pay a babysitter a little extra to mop the floors. I was still clinging to the idea that I could not hire a house cleaner because part of my “job” was to clean the house. If I could not clean it, then I must be failing at my role! Can anyone relate? Continue Reading>>

Traveling With An Infant On Southwest Airlines

Tips To Make Air Travel With Your Baby A Success

So, you’re a new parent and freaking out about traveling with an infant for the very first time. Or, have you had a few ‘mishaps’ on recent trips and are looking for some better ways of making air travel with your baby a success? You know that you will probably over pack, lose some sleep, and get out of the sacred routine that you have worked so hard on, but you know the day has come when you must attempt air travel with your precious cargo.

If you have had the opportunity to travel more than a handful of times, you know that it is not always the easiest endeavor, especially with kids. Travel teaches you all sorts of things: patience, flexibility, quick decision making, patience, communication and negotiation skills, packing skills, and patience.  Throw in some kids in the mix and you get to learn of a whole new level of, you guessed it, patience.  Don’t get me wrong, travel is exciting, full of adventure, and an education in and of itself.  However, without the right knowledge or skills, it can quickly turn into a disaster.

I have also noticed that many parents really fear traveling with their kids and hold off on flying out of fear of the unknown. And many, many times, the first flight goes off without a hitch, and the weeks of anxiety are just not worth it.

We have had the extraordinary privilege of taking our kids on lots of airplane adventures.  It did not take us long to make Southwest Airlines our exclusive airline of choice for traveling with an infant and kids. Their customer service, value of family, ‘transfarency’, open seating, and fleet of airplanes made this our one stop shop for air travel.  If Southwest does not fly to our destination, well, we just don’t go.  Actually, that’s not true.  But, it does make a significant impact on our decision making.

Here are my step by step tips for traveling with an infant on Southwest Airlines:

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Make Your Vote Count

An Election Day Post for Women

Do you have a hard time making it out to vote? Last year, our school system decided to give the students a holiday on election day. Now, there’s nothing wrong with giving the students a random Tuesday off from school.  I’m sure there was some good reason about using schools for polling sites or…well, I can’t think of another good reason. I doubt they purposefully were seeking to add one more challenge to working parents’ schedules. But, alas, I’m not in charge and that’s a good thing.

I noticed an unfortunate consequence of that school holiday as well as other influences, though.  A lot of women, and probably men too, found it too challenging to vote that day. Between additional childcare needed because of school being out, the daunting idea of standing in the voting line with four kids, or simply not planning in advance, voting ended up being the task that was erased from the list.  I don’t blame them.  There are so many things demanding our time and attention, and sometimes that one simple task can become so complicated that we just give up.

I have had these same experiences, too. Last year, we decided to make it a family affair and we did not eat dinner until it was past our girls’ bedtime. I’ve stood in the voting line with a screaming two year old. I’ve gone to the wrong polling site and waited in line for an hour because our new address was in a city that had only ONE neighborhood (ours!) in the OTHER county that we should have been voting in. Actually making it out to vote can be flat out HARD.

Today’s off-year election will only be held in certain counties in certain states so many of you will not be voting today.  However, this next year, we vote for our next President and other leadership in our country, and there may be crucial referendums in your city, county or state as well. Hopefully, most of you will vote in these elections because they are the big, super-important, federal level elections. However, and I by no means mean this as an accusation, do you make it a priority to vote for the smaller elections, too?  Please understand that I am FOR you, not against you. I understand how hard it can be. Can we have a little chat about something I am passionate about, though? Continue Reading >>

How To Protect Your Most Precious Resource

When The Rest Of The World Wants To Own It For You (Part 2 of 2)

Over the last decade or so, I have learned the importance of protecting my time and keeping an edge or border around my most precious resource. Finding margin, fighting for margin, and protecting margin are some of my biggest responsibilities for my family. By creating margin in our lives, we are able to rest, recover, and then flourish in the areas that we focus on. In order to set us up for success, we must evaluate our time to create and sustain margin.

6 Steps To Create and Sustain Margin In Your Life:

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Scheduling For The Unscheduled

The Importance Of Margin In Our Daily Lives (Part 1 of 2)

I loved my high school English teacher, Ms. Webb. She was smart, creative, kind, and yet her class was HARD. She somehow managed to get most of us to love her, despite her high expectations. The negative emotion was usually related to the use of the MLA Style (Modern Language Association) of writing, and the very precise expectations for how the paper should be formatted and cited. In case you forgot, 1″ margins were the standard, and as much as we all tried to sneak 1.25″ margins so our papers would meet the 5 page length required, we were always caught.

A friend pointed out recently that I use the word ‘margin’ frequently when I make references to my time, and that many people may not relate to that word in that way. I actually had to stop and think about the normal context for the word. Thus, my trip down memory lane to high school English class. Continue Reading >>

Why I Travel With My Husband On Business Trips

5 Benefits Of Integrating Business Travel And Family (Part 2 of 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the benefits of viewing business travel as a necessary investment in your family rather than a necessary evil.  Now, let’s discuss a method to ease it’s negative impact on our families.

Apart from strategic choices that limit business travel all together, one of the ways we have implemented this idea, is by thinking more holistically about our lives and integrating business travel and personal travel as much as possible.  We have made a choice to fly me or our whole family on my husband’s business trips on as many occasions as possible. This is purposeful, intentional and has required a lot of work and financial investment on our part. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it complicated to contend with the school calendar? Yes. Is it hard to leave the kids with a babysitter or family member or friend? Yes. Is it a logistical nightmare sometimes? Yes. Does it mean air travel with kids? Yes. Is it still worth it? YES. YES. YES.

Although your circumstances may be different from ours regarding the plausibility of traveling on business trips, the principles still apply and can be incorporated in your own life using a variety of means. Maybe it’s simply being more intentional with FaceTime, or creating some specific family rituals during business trips.  Whatever it is, make an effort to think more holistically about your life.

Here are 5 benefits of integrating business travel and family:

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Make Business Travel Work For Your Family

An Investment In Your Family's Success (Part 1 of 2)

About ten years ago, my husband began traveling several weekends out of the year for work. As a young couple without kids, business travel was an exciting opportunity for him.  The idea of seeing more of the world while providing for our family and gaining valuable experience along the way was definitely intriguing. Thankfully, he has worked for an incredible company that cares greatly for the well-being of its team members.  The trips he takes for business, are mostly fun, energizing, and vital for his effectiveness and the success of the company.  This does not mean that it is never grueling. 5:00 AM flights before a two hour time zone change, anyone? It can be exhausting, no matter how beautiful the place. It is still work, after all.

If business travel is apart of the job, we need to view it as a necessary investment in our family’s success rather than a necessary evil. The benefits of business travel usually have mostly to do with the success of the traveling spouse’s job, which then helps the family as a whole.  If not, why take the trip in the first place? It is far too easy to accept the benefits of employment, without appreciating the adversity it took to achieve those benefits. If we have chosen as a family to accept the job, we have chosen to accept it, in its entirety.  If that includes business travel, we need to incorporate it into our family life as a whole, as it doesn’t just affect the person that is traveling. It affects every member of the family and multiple days of family time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not excusing workaholic tendencies or a lack of boundaries around personal time.  I am saying that we have a choice about the job. If we don’t like it or it requires too much time away from our family, we need to figure something else out.  Maybe it is simply having a conversation to discuss potential changes or placing some better boundaries around work and family. Whatever it is, we need to choose a proactive approach to our circumstances. Continue Reading >>

Improve Your Frazzled State With One Simple Change

4 Reasons Getting Up Early Is Actually Worth It

I don’t know about you, but this can be an absolutely insane time of year for me. The change of seasons, beginning of school, kick-off of almost every activity, fall festivals galore, and sports mania, almost send me over the edge every year. I thrive on routine and my #1 strength from StrengthsFinder 2.0 is discipline. (Pray for my husband.) Until I figure out how to manage all of the ‘new’ in our lives, chaos threatens my internal world. On top of that, my husband travels for work mostly in the Fall and Spring. So, add on some solo parenting in the midst of all of the aforementioned chaos, and I need an intervention.

After feeling particularly frazzled last week, I have taken a more proactive approach this week and am already reaping the rewards. One simple change can be the edge you and I need to ‘right the ship’ in the waves of commotion. Before you read this, please remember that HOW=Hope of Winning. If this doesn’t work for you, use it as inspiration to find something that does. Your HOW can be different from my HOW. If you are a new mom, fighting an illness, or purposefully catching up on rest, just file this away in the back of your mind for a future time.

So what’s my simple change to help me feel less frazzled? Getting up two hours earlier. Yes, 2! I know, I know. You’ve heard this before and it’s just not your thing.

Before you dismiss it, here are 4 reasons that getting up earlier is actually worth it: Continue Reading >>

One Word That Changes Everything

(At least on important documents)

Have you ever had one of those experiences at the DMV, post office, bank or county clerk’s office?  The kind of experience that makes you want to scream in frustration because even though you thought you had everything you needed to process your documents, you were missing ONE important detail? Or what about having everything you needed, only to show up on a Monday, and it just so happens to be closed on Mondays? Or upon your arrival during your one hour lunch break, you realize the line is as long as the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney World. (I apologize in advance for getting “It’s a Small World” stuck in your head.)

I cringe just thinking about it. Those memories, I mean. Well, the memories and maybe the song, too.

With the many hours I have logged working on important documents, I have learned one important word that changes everything. If you are married and have a relationship based upon honesty and integrity, then this tip is for you!
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What You Do Matters

One of my dearest friends has three kids under the age of five.  She is the epitome of a Southern Martha Stewart, and also has a very successful career in financial planning.  I have often envied her ability to work at an office all day, cook a gourmet dinner for her family, and create a perfect Pinterest craft after the kids go to bed.  I have also watched her struggle to figure out how to balance and integrate work and home.  She makes lots of hard decisions and is constantly reevaluating.  I admire her tenacity to stand firm in what she believes in, while still pursuing a career and raising a family. Continue reading >>