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Creative Business, Motherhood

I half-ass my life and I’m whole-ass ok with it

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At least once a week I get an acquaintance who asks me or emails me this one question: “How do you do it all? Teach me your ways!”

And I get a good laugh.

Two things come to mind: 1. I’m doing a really bad job of portraying myself realistically on social media, and 2. Doing it all is bullshit and no one should feel like they have to. I sure don’t.

I think about the Four Burners Theory a lot. Like, a lot a lot. It is a concept that represents work-life balance. Imagine your life is a stove with four burners: the first burner represents family, the second represents friends, the third health and the fourth work. In order to be successful, you must completely turn off one of the burners. To be really successful you must turn off two. NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING.

Or, if you’re me, you half ass it. Turn all of those burners to 50% heat and you’ve got enough of yourself to go around. This is a different form of “balance” (side note: hate that word) and it helps me function.

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Take these photos for example. On the right is an Olympic inspired photoshoot I did in my home office for an outfit post I was working on. On the left is Sullivan, pissed that I won’t give him more Cheerios and didn’t let him wear my American flag shorts until I was done. He sat there the entire time I was shooting (maaaybe 3 minutes). I had to turn that mom burner down so I could fire up that work burner and not miss a deadline.

This is the half-assers version of balance.

More often than I’d like to admit, my kids get PB&Js for dinner. Some nights, I sit next to my husband and mindlessly scroll to decompress. I ignore text messages. My BGD shipping turnaround time is terrible right now. Multiple times per week, I plop my kids in front of screens so I can answer emails. I watch trashy TV. I sacrifice running for sleep. I sacrifice sleep to run. I have hid in my closet with a glass of wine. I avoid making new friends because I’m terrible at keeping up with the ones I have. I never do laundry. I forget to wash my face.

I used to let these things eat at me until I was driven crazy by guilt. But now, when I know one burner is going cold I focus on the one heating up.

The boys ate PB&J because we had a blast swimming at a friend’s house all afternoon. I ignored texts because I was super inspired to create new BGD products. I don’t seek out new friends because the ones I have are beyond stellar; they understand who I am and what I stand for. The laundry suffers but I keep the kids fed and (mostly) happy all day. I’m exhausted but still get up and run miles with friends in the mountains, for my sanity.

It’s a little give, a little take and a freakload of flexibility. 

It works for us. It works for me.

The kicker that allows me to be at peace with being a half-asser is that I know these days won’t last forever. This season of my life will end. Kids grow up and won’t need me to fulfill 732 snack requests before 8 a.m. (Ok, maybe I won’t miss that part.)

What are your day to day tricks to keep it all in “balance”? Comment below!

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Gifting, Holi-YAY, Motherhood

Gift Giving For the Little People

Gifting at Christmastime can get pretty out of hand.  I really like the idea of limiting how much we give the kids and being intentional about what we give them rather than getting stuff just for the sake of having boxes under the tree.

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This is only our third Christmas with kids, so we’re still figuring it out.  I came across the idea of something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read a few years back and I really like that idea. At first I thought it seemed really cheap to only get your kids four gifts.  But when you figure in all the relatives and Santa it adds up really quickly.  Not to mention the gratitude it teaches since in all honesty our kids want for nothing, especially since they’re not even old enough to understand the gift concept at all!

So here’s our run down on the need/want/wear/read gifting strategy this year. I think it will evolve next year when Isla is a little more savvy about how this whole Santa thing works, but in the mean time, I plan to take full advantage of them not having a clue.

  1. Save the big flashy gifts for when they’re old enough to understand. Pretty much anything from the Dollar Spot is like gold, so why spend more?
  2. At 2 and 7 months, the real gift is the paper, tissue paper and ribbon. I took care of the Something To Wear category with their new winter clothes.  I stocked up on Black Friday when Carter’s did their big 60% off sale. Both kids needed warmer clothes in the next size, so I stocked up and wrapped it all up. I definitely cheated since it’s more than one item, but it was something I would have bought regardless of the holiday and this way it counts as a gift.
  3. Keep it simple, especially for the Want category. If your toddler is like mine they could find 500 things they “want” within the first 30 seconds of entering a toy store. Chances are no matter what you get they’ll be entertained for about 10 minutes tops before they’re onto something else (probably the box the toy came in).
  4. Make your life easier with the Need category.  Think about something your kids have (or don’t have) that complicate your life. Are the lace up shoes slowing you down every morning? Get them a slip on pair.  Do you find yourself doing a special load of laundry so the favorite shirt is clean? Buy a second. In our house the baby is getting a new sleep sack because I’m tired of timing the laundry so it’s not in the washer at bed time.
  5. Farm out the boring stuffIf the thought of buying something boring like a sleep sack is too much, offer that up as an idea for a family member. That way you can double up on the fun stuff!

While I can’t guarantee this will eliminate noisy toys that come in a million pieces from your holiday season (you know, the ones usually bought by a grandparent), it will hopefully make you a little more intentional with your purchases.

How do you decide what to get your kids for Christmas?