The most common question I get asked is hands down, "how do you do it?" And I will be the first to admit- having 5 kids under the age of 6 and running a business and attempting to maintain a healthy marriage, friendships, volunteer in my community, etc. is hard work. I don't have a secret formula answer to this question, but what I often share is that I make time for what is important, and I am disciplined about what doesn't get my time. Jamie at the Poptart Diaries wrote an awesome post on this topic and Iw as thrilled to be included.
Here's the thing- I think we are capable of more than we think we are- and while we shouldn't compare our thresholds with other people, I do think it's healthy to examine ourselves so we can perform at our best to deliver the best for our families, our work and our communities.
If you are trying to figure out what should really get your time, here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself to discern how you can have the greatest impact and ensure your time is best spent.
1. WHAT AM I REALLY GOOD AT?
I have written lots about Strengths Finder because it was really a pivotal tool for me in figuring out what I was best at so I could have more joy, work less hard and complete things in less time. Once you take it, as my friend Lisa Ferguson of Strengths Mentor suggests, reverse engineer things from your strengths. For example, analyzing my strengths led me to realize I can provide a lot of value through consulting as I use 4 out of 5 of my strengths in a 2-hour consult! So I reverse engineered so to speak and dedicate more time to this part of my business to ensure I can help more people in this manner. I also examined what I am terrible at- and I basically outsource as much of those things as possible.
2. WHAT DO PEOPLE SAY I AM GOOD AT?
Ask around. As part of a business coaching program, I asked 20 people via email the first 3 words that popped into their heads when they thought of me. The answers were really fun to examine- and surprisingly (or not surprisingly?) there were a few obvious patterns that emerged. If you're not sure what you're really good at, or what strengths you naturally possess that you can't see yourself- ask around.
3. WHAT DO I STAND FOR?
This is a great question to ask in general and was one that really challenged me in a recent course I just completed called B-School, by the fantastic Marie Forleo. What do you stand for? What would you fight for if given the chance? What do you wish everyone knew more about or could experience? The simple question of what do you fight for is a provocative one- and can be significant in examining how you spend your time.
4. WHO DO I WANT TO HELP?
This goes beyond who your target market is- it really is a deeper question than demographics. Who can you, with your unique gifts and talents, genuinely help? Who can your personal stories uplift and connect with? What can your experience, your failures and your triumphs teach someone else? While we all want to run profitable businesses, helping people is truly at the core of successful ones. Someone I think does this well is Michael Hyatt. It's pretty apparent in his podcasts how much he cares about his tribe. Find your tribe. Love them hard.
5. WHAT WOULD I DO IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT?
If you could do absolutely anything without any concern for making money, what would that be? Would it contain elements of what you are doing now? Why or why not?
Finally, i stumbled upon this image on purpose and it is too good not to share (vie IttyBittyBookCo).
So good, right? Love to know if these questions strike a chord with you, or if you have any questions you would add!
With 5 kids under 6 years of age the opportunity to sit down is ALWAYS WELCOME. So when I was offered the opportunity to test out the iRobot Braava I was very excited. So were my kids, let me tell you!
The pros: This is a pretty nifty piece of technology. A small cube (placed on my island in the video) is essentially the GPS system for the unit. The mop navigates its way through a room and backs up at area rugs, baseboards, furniture pieces. The little guy weaved its way through all the legs of my stools on my kitchen island and under benches and side tables. And inspection of the microfibre cloth that comes with the unit revealed how dirty my floors were- and all done without me exerting much energy at all (I did run around with the vacuum first and made sure that there were no crayons or other things that could get under the mop and be dragged around).
The cons: The cloth doesn’t really scrub- so if you have dried liquid spills or sticky stuff don’t rely on it to clean up that mess. And don’t attempt to use this with toddlers around- I tried to use this with my 1 year old on the prowl and she kept pressing the buttons and copnfusing the poor little guy’s mopping path.
Time saving strategy: It is suggested in the instructions that you monitor the unit so it doesn’t fall down stairs or drag potential harmful things that would mark your floors under it. But of course I need time hacks! Earlier this week, I was getting ready for a girlfriend to come over to meet our new baby and I realized in a mild panic our bathroom was horrendous. The Braava saved the day- I checked the floor first, put the unit in, closed the door and by the time my friend was over I had clean floors. Pretty awesome tool in my time starved life.
If you want to save time on mopping your floors check out the product here. And for more products that save on my cleaning up time check out my newest article over at SavvyMom.ca!
What cleaning time hacks have you got? Love to know in the comments below!
Affiliate link used.
Recently I was interviewed by BuzzBuzzHome on the topic of how to decorate a small outdoor space. It was a super fun piece to shoot (and gave me some motivation to decorate my own outdoor space, which I usually neglect to be quite frank!)
My patio set is PC Home– love the pop of colour and streamlined, whimsical design. I picked up on the colour with Flor carpet tiles in turquoise.
I used some fun graphic outdoor pillows from Bouclair Home.
Little hits of yellow continue in accessories from Bouclair.
To create a little bit of coziness and privacy I used 3 reclaimed architectural salvage doors from the Door Store in Toronto fastened to my fence, and hung small candle lanterns from Bouclair using twine.
For more of my tips watch on the video here– happy outdoor decorating!
Thanks to Bouclair Home for providing the fun outdoor accessories for this feature!
In the sleepless haze of new baby time, it's so easy to forget important dates coming up- Father's Day is Sunday June 21 this year, incase you needed help remembering also.
This image is from a Father's Day segment I did on the Marilyn Denis Show where we built a man cave in studio- some fun products from Gladiator Garage Works, Bean Bag Boss, Indigo and more.
Instead of a gift guide, I want to take some time to brainstorm how to thank dads for being great dads. I often struggle with these holidays as I have great hopes to do something to make my dad / my husband feel special, but then I put so much pressure on myself when it isn't perfect I get frustrated- anyone else have this complex?
So I'm trying to think of a genuine, but relaxed way to show/tell the men in my life that I care about them. Is it a relaxed brunch? A framed photo? Do I serenade them? Love to know your suggestions in the comments below : )
Just over a week ago we had our 5th baby and it has been an interesting week to say the least! As I have eluded to on some of my instagram posts it has definitely been a transition, growing our family from 4 kids to 5, and I am in need of my own motivation! So this blog post is for all those new moms out there, whether for the first time or adding to your fam. I stand in solidarity with you!!!
TIP 1: RECALIBRATE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
This is a hard one, especially if you're used to performing at a really high capacity. Or just enjoy doing things uninterrupted, lol. But try your best to RELAX. Enjoy this time. Let projects go, let your standards for house tidyness go longer than you normally would (really hard for me!), and REST. I struggle with this but trust me, force yourself to just relax. Your body needs it, your mind needs it and your baby needs it. So take a deep breath, close your eyes and LET GO. Resting and bonding with baby are kind of crucial in the early days- remember giving birth is tons of physical work and you need to recoup!
TIP 2: MAKE SMALL SIMPLE GOALS
Letting go of everything makes me feel totally crazy… so I love to make small, manageable goal lists. I am gentle on myself if I don't get them done, but I do make them. Daily lists for me are like 3-4 things and include simple things like taking a shower, updating my instagram account, reading a chapter of a book, clearing out a junk drawer, being quiet for 15 minutes to pray. Your personal list will look totally different- but the point is if you make a small goal, even if it is as simple as taking a shower, and then meet it- you will feel accomplished and can help break up the sleepless grogginess that can happen in first days of a new baby.
TIP 3: LIVE IN YOUR STRENGTHS
The emotions you can have when you have a new baby can be kind of extreme at times. Personally, I have vacillated between completely elated and so happy to totally destitute there wasn't enough milk to top up my coffee. The combination of hormones, sleep deprivation, other children wanting your attention if you are in that situation, and more hormones, can make you feel crazy and not yourself. So when I am feeling down, I turn to my Strengths Finder assessment of my top 5 strengths and I try to do something within them. For example, Strategy is my number 2 strength- which means I LOVE taking a big picture and thinking through the best outcomes, connections, strategies to satisfy a goal. This past week my husband had something he had to sort out for work and we chatted about it for 30 minutes while I was nursing- and boy did it instantly elevate my mood. While you are off with baby might be a great time to do your assessment too! Zero affiliate or personal gain for me here- I just really think this is a transformative tool for people who want to be happier, productive and more engaged.
TIP 4: KISS YOUR HUSBAND
Yes, childbirth is a ton of work, both physically and mentally. But dads have to work hard too- they take care of us and if you've got other kids like me, dads will be pretty occupied with them. I think it's easy to forget how hard dads have to work too. So kiss them- the endorphins released are good for everyone : )
TIP 5: REMEMBER IT IS A SEASON
As a mom who has done this 5 times now, I can PROMISE you that the hard seasons pass. The sleepless nights pass, colic babies sort themselves out eventually, and a new normal is established that I promise is worth every challenge. I think parenthood is the cure for selfishness- it forces you to live outside of yourself, put others first, be humbled by lack of control- it is a good thing. And this time, when they are newborn and sweet and tiny and so vulnerable- trust me again when I say time goes by so so fast. Treasure this time.
TIP 6: YOU MIGHT NOT FEEL LIKE "YOUR OLD SELF," AND THAT IS A GOOD THING
As I mentioned previously new baby time can make you feel kinda crazy- sleep deprivation and hormones and emotions in general can kind of play tricks on your psyche and absolutely make you not feel like yourself. And there are totally times when this is serious (I definitely had post partum blues with my 4th child immediately after giving birth) and you should chat with your doctor about it. But in other cases, the "I wishes" might creep in- I wish I could do X again.. I wish I could feel like this again… I wish I wish I wish… and some wishes are totally normal, like feeling fit or wanting more energy. But I challenge you to adjust your expectations and accept that things will never go back to the way they were before- and that is a REALLY GOOD THING. You have brought a human being into the world who is unique, unrepeatable, that has so much value. This little person will teach you so much about yourself, will increase your capacity to love, will challenge you to be the best version of yourself I argue. And yes there are hard parts about it, both physically and emotionally- but I would not trade this time for anything. I am 100% a better person as a result of having children, and while life with 5 under the age of 7 is absolutely crazy sometimes, when I witness love diffused and offered in a multitude of ways, when I witness sacrifice offered in a multitude of ways, when I think of how selfish I was when I was a single person and how much better my marriage is as a result of having kids- it is all worth it. Not feeling like my "old self" is a good thing.
What are your tips for getting through the first groggy days of parenthood with a newborn? Love to know your tips!