Why Date Your Spouse + 28 Free Date Ideas

Why Date Your Spouse + 28 Free Date Ideas

Free and Cheap Date Night Ideas

 

When it comes to date night it’s important to me to make sure we find cheap or free ideas to stay on our budget.

 

I’ve been married to my husband now for almost 5 years and we never really ‘dated’ each other. When we started dating, he was an Assistant Principal and I was a teacher and we had to keep our relationship semi-hidden since we didn’t want anyone to think that there was any favoritism.

 

That meant for us, date nights and getting to know each other better happened a lot at home and movie night and take out was our go to. Even after we shared our relationship, our lives were so busy that we didn’t often take the time to date each other as we should and I knew that when we got married, if we didn’t take the time to ‘date’, than romance would be out the door.

 

This year, with the addition of a 3rd kid to our family, we knew we would have to be super intentional about our time together. Add on top of it that my husband had been out of work for 7 months (starting again soon, yay!) so we’ve been together A LOT and it was hard to separate those romantic moments from our day to day.

 

So, we made a resolution to date each other more this year.

 

To do this we knew we had to set intentional measures (and we’re both data nerds) so we determined that we’d do AT LEAST one ‘home date’ a month and one out of the house date every other month. We knew this wasn’t 100% as much time together as we wanted, but it was a much more realistic goal for us. Plus, these goals are STILL a reach for us since honestly, the only ‘dating’ we did was if we got invited to a wedding a few times a year.

 

cheap-date-nights

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

Why You Need To Date Your Spouse

 

Your relationship matters

 

As life gets busier and busier for us moms a few things get pushed back in our lives; ourselves and our husbands.

 

It’s sad but true.

 

We take care of ourselves less and we often forget, in between the day to day conversations about cooking dinner, picking up diapers, or who is going to do bath time, that our husbands (and us!) deserve to feel special too.

 

Your relationship with our husband matters. Remember, that when your children are grown and gone, it will just be you two again. And when you are both in love and happy with each other (a byproduct of dating each other!) your home feels happier and that trickles down to your children.

 

Feel like YOU again

 

There are a lot of really great benefits on your relationships when you make the effort to date each other but let’s focus on the effects it has on YOU.

 

I often get stuck in the day to day drudgery. I can’t remember the last time I washed my hair, I’m constantly covered in spit-up, and by the end of the day, I am just over being touched by someone each day.

 

Even if you choose to do a ‘home date’, can I encourage you to get dressed and out of those yoga pants?

 

Now don’t get confused, I don’t think women have to wear makeup or dress a certain way to be happy or feel good about themselves but, let’s be real, changing your clothes and taking a few minutes on you does make you feel better. I make it a rule to get dressed first thing in the morning (even if I’m changing into my ‘nice yoga pants’) because it makes me feel better, more in control, and less frumpy.

 

On those occasions, you decide to get a sitter and go on a date outside of the house, take the time to put on something that makes you feel good, smile at yourself in the mirror and remember that person you were before all the stress and craziness.

 

That woman is still in there, smiling and waiting for you to remember her too!

Schedule it

Schedule It

 

Okay mamas, this HAS to go on the calendar or it’s not going to happen. Life happens, we get tired, and it’s so easy to say “let’s just do it another night”. By putting it on the calendar and committing to each other that there is NO negotiation on that date, you can ensure that your date happens.

 

Invest in a sitter or date in

 

We often do our date nights in because we’re  in a season where we have little kids who go to bed early. We rarely are out after dark and we’re okay with it.

 

This means, our date nights in can be done super easily! Now that the baby (currently 5 months) is going to bed at the same time as our toddler, we can put them to bed and go downstairs for our date.

 

On the times we want to leave the house, we make sure to lock in a sitter (for us that’s my mother in law) so that we can leave the house. Having secured that someone is going to come over gives us even more accountability to actually making our date happen.

 

28 Ideas Free or Cheap Ideas

 

So what do you do on your date night; whether they are in the house or not?

 

If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend a ton of money (or maybe you’re in a season like us where we can’t spend a ton of money) on your dates and are tired of saying “you just want to pick something on Netflix?”, I’ve got some ideas to get you started!

 

I came up with my list of 28 date ideas that you can use to mix up your dates AND the best part is that they are FREE or CHEAP so they won’t break the bank. So often ‘not having money’ is just another excuse we use to not do the things we know is important and I hope this list helps give you some ideas!

 

You can print it out and use it as a checklist with your spouse! We alternate dates on who picks which idea, and our goal is to complete the list by the end of the year! So put it on your fridge as inspiration, and a reminder, to date your spouse!

 

Banana Oat Pancakes

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Using the Love Languages To Spark Date Night

Using the Love Languages To Spark Date Night

How to use the Love Languages to Better Your Marriage

 

The Love Languages test can help you understand your partner, communicate better with others and spark your marriage and life.

A few years ago, on a 22-hour drive to visit my family, I stumbled across the Love Languages test while scrolling my phone.

I turned to my husband and said “what the heck, wanna take it?”, so we spent some time going through the questions and getting to know each other’s love languages.

Mine is words of affirmation.

His is physical touch.

love-languages-marriage

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

 

 

We spent the rest of the car ride talking about what that looked like for each of us, stuff that makes us feel loved, and how we could make a better effort at speaking each other’s languages.

 

Why love languages matter?

 

Everyone is different, has different needs, and if we treat each relationship the same way we’re bound to hit some brick walls.

When you speak someone’s language, you’ll connect with them better, conversations are easier and it really shows that you care.

Communication is tough in marriage, heck in any relationship and, even though I know my husband’s love language, it doesn’t mean that we still don’t go toe-to-toe sometimes. But, knowing how to speak his language allows me to apologize and explain myself in a way that he understands and connects to.

Take the Love Language Test Here to find out yours! 

Use the love languages to spark romance

 

 

 

I’ve come up with a list of 28 free or cheap dates that are organized by love languages to get you started so drop your email below to grab them!

 

 

 

 

But I’m gonna be honest…  I am not very creative. Pinterest gives me 90% of my ideas and inspiration and I love anything that saves me time and gives me a great idea.

 

Enter the dating divas!

 

I came across their site and fell in love! They have so much expertise, beautiful downloads and a ton of tips on putting that spark in your marriage! I went through and found some of their awesome products that fit your partner’s love language and the best part…. You can download and print them for a date night TONIGHT! No need to wait to take some action on your love life at all! 

 

Acts of Service:

7 days of spoiling

 

Quality Time:

Conversation Starters 

 

Word of Affirmation:

Love letters Kit 2.0 

 

Physical Touch: 

The Ultimate Intimacy Pack

 

Gift Giving: 

5 Senses Gifts

 

Hope these ideas spark some romance and help you better speak your partners love language RIGHT NOW! And if you want some ideas to use for a great date night, drop your email and I’ll send it right over now!

 

What are some of your top date night ideas? Post them below in the comments!

Banana Oat Pancakes

21 day fix approved pancakes   These banana oat pancakes from the 21 day fix program and delicious, easy to make and kid approved! I make a batch of these each week and put them in the freezer for an easy and yummy breakfast!   This year I've been working to cook more...

How to Fit Self Care into Your Day

Self Care Ideas for Moms    What is self care for moms? The term ‘self care’ has most definitely become a buzzword recently. And while it sounds like it’s mostly spa days and taking naps, self care is so much more.   Self care means realizing that you need to ‘fill...

Using Behavior Charts with Toddlers to Help Tantrums and Power Struggles

Using Behavior Charts with Toddlers to Help Tantrums and Power Struggles

Using Behavior Charts with Toddlers to Help Tantrums

 

Using behavior charts with toddlers can help tremendously reinforce behaviors that you want to see and decrease the negative behaviors that you don’t want your child to exhibit.

 

When my daughter turned 2.5 I started to see that ‘threenager’ begin to creep in. I knew it was coming (if you speak to any mom, they’ll probably tell you that “3s are worse than 2s”) so I wasn’t surprised when she became less easy to reason with, increasingly independent, and more grown up.

 

What I was surprised about was my personal impatience with her.

 

Around this time my son was born (he is currently 17 months old) and I began to be stretched too thin between my kids. It has harder for me to have 1:1 time with her, which I knew was also a cause of many behavior issues and we started to have more and more power struggles.

 

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This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

 

Tantrums in Toddlers

 

Between 2.5 and 4, our children will start to have more and more tantrums. These tantrums are different from the ones that I see my 17 month old having, though the root cause is similar.

 

Both tantrums come because of frustration. While my little guy is frustrated because he is struggling to talk and communicate his needs, my daughter is frustrated because (even though she talks plenty) she isn’t sure of her feelings and emotions.

 

One time while she was crying over getting the wrong colored cup at lunch, I asked her to why she was crying and told her to stop, she simply looked at me and said, “I don’t know why I’m crying”.

 

That’s when something clicked in me. I realized that for us to thrive during these late toddler years, we’d have to work on helping her communicate through her feelings, me being more patient with her as we navigated this road, and helping her see which behaviors would improve the situation compared to which ones would make it tougher.

 

At 3 years old, our toddlers are having power struggles and tantrums because, as they strive to be more and more independent, they aren’t sure how to communicate their needs and their emotions swing from a crazy pendulum all day long. As frustrated as we are with them, they are doubly frustrated with not being able to figure out this world they are in.

 

 

 

 

Helping Toddlers Communicate

 

One of the new strategies we’ve started with my 3 year old is helping her navigate through her feelings and explain to use what she needs without tears or frustration.

 

Many times all she needs is to stop in the moment to give herself time to take a breath and think about her needs at the moment.

 

When you’re not in the middle of a 3 year old crying session, talk to your toddler about the best ways to get what they need from mommy and daddy.

 

Our conversation looked like this;

 

“Arianna, I would love to help you get what you need but, it’s hard for me to understand you when you’re crying, screaming or not using kind words. When this happens, mommy is going to ask you to STOP, take a breathe and ask you to talk calmly about what you really need.”

 

The first few weeks we tried this approach, I would have to walk her through it every single time she began screaming about wanting a different snack, not being able to watch her show, or whatever reason she was upset at the moment.

 

I would literally say that statement over and over and repeat STOP until she was able to take a breath with me and we’d walk through her thinking about her needs. She didn’t always get what she wanted if it wasn’t an available choice (which led to more tantrums) but it was a good way for us to start communicating.

 

Now that we’ve done this approach for a few months, whenever she starts to cry or whine or tantrum, I can simply say “STOP” in a firm yet loving voice (this is NOT the time to yell. Kids will mimic our tone and the temperature we put out in the room so if we yell, they’ll just yell back… believe me we’ve been there too!) and she can go through the processes on her own.

 

Using Behavior Charts with Toddlers

 

As a former special education teacher, I have a bunch of behavior modification tools in my toolbox.

 

I seem to have forgotten all of them as a parent.

 

I don’t know what it is but, I struggle to have those skills always translate from the classroom to my home. I taught students with behavioral disabilities so I understand the science behind positive behavior support and reinforcing behaviors that you want to see. But, with my child, I was starting to resort to time out immediately.

 

After almost 6 weeks of struggling with my daughter getting out of her bed at night, not staying in her room during quiet hour, speaking unkindly to us and hitting or pushing her little brother, I had to stop and reassess what I could do as a parent to help the situation.

 

I started with prayer (which I always will suggest! Go to the Lord with your needs for He loves them more than we do!) and will continue to pray for my spirited child daily.

 

I also made her a positive behavior chart to reward the behaviors we wanted to see. It’s not enough to just punish and tell them what we don’t want to see (“stop doing that” seems to be a phrase I was saying WAY too often) but we have to couple it with what we want them to be doing.

 

Many times people act out because they are seeking attention and when our kids see that they can get attention from doing the wrong thing, they’ll continue doing it because they don’t care what kind of attention they get. If your child has ever looked right at out as you asked them not to dump the play-doh on the floor and then dumps it (what, just mine?) then you know what I’m talking about.

 

I suggest picking 1-3 behaviors you want them to exhibit and start to reinforce them. A LOT.

 

We created a simple chart for her that she LOVED (and drop your email below to get your own copy). We have a conversation about what mommy and daddy wanted to see for her to earn her circle (for us it was staying in her bed at night, being kind to her brother and talking nicely) and every time she did it she would get to color in a circle. With each line she colored in, she’d get to pick a prize at the dollar tree (you could also pre-pick them and have them at home but there is something about letting them choose that helps) and if she filled her whole chart, we’d go on an “Ari and Mommy date” to the Chick-Fil-A.

Reinforcing Behaviors with Toddlers

 

It’s super important in the beginning that you reinforce and let them color in their chart A LOT. Like WAYYYYY more than you think necessary. She was completing at least one row once a day in the beginning because I was working to catch her do those things as much as I could.

 

We’ve only been doing this 3 weeks and I’ve seen a great difference in her behavior. She’s been staying in her bed, intentionally kinder to her brother and us, and when she doesn’t do the right thing, she can clearly state what she did amidst less tears.

 

Don’t worry about this chart being a crutch for them or creating a habit where they only do things to get a prize. They are TODDLERS. This is the time when we teach the behaviors we want to see. Remember, our job is to create adult citizens in this world, and parenting is shaping those small people.

 

As time goes by, you can reward the behaviors less and less (instead of every time, maybe every other time or every few times) and they’ll begin to do it just because it’s the way they have been taught to act.

 

This won’t happen overnight, tantrums and bad behavior will happen, and life moves on. Just remember that parenting isn’t just about yelling, time out and telling them what they shouldn’t do (though honestly that can sometimes be my go to) but helping them learn how to behave and react to situations in the correct way.

 

Along the way, make sure you’re modeling for them how to react (if they see you yell when you don’t get your way, they’ll do the same), reinforcing what you want to see, and having conversations with them when they are calm about what happened.

 

Parenting is a hard and crazy juggling act and it’s never going to be perfect. Do your best to be intentional and your kids will respond.

 

Oh, and in case you needed to hear it today… you’re an amazing mom. You are doing your best, you love your kids, and you rock!

 

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PIN this post to come back to later and go and download the chart to use with your kids! I’d love to hear how it goes, so drop a comment!

Banana Oat Pancakes

21 day fix approved pancakes   These banana oat pancakes from the 21 day fix program and delicious, easy to make and kid approved! I make a batch of these each week and put them in the freezer for an easy and yummy breakfast!   This year I've been working to cook more...

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20+ Ways to Teach Handwriting to Toddlers

20+ Ways to Teach Handwriting to Toddlers

Get Your FREE Tot School Weekly Planner!

How to Teach Handwriting to Toddlers

Learning handwriting can be hard to teach to toddlers. They don’t always have the fine motor skills to hold a pencil. Their letters go all over the place. You get frustrated at their pace. And as parents, we don’t always know the best way to get started.

My daughter came home with a note from her teacher saying that the goal for the rest of the year was for her to learn to write her name.

“What? So soon! She’s only 3!”, I thought to myself when I read it.

But I realized that my little baby is no longer my little baby. She’ll be going to the pre-k4 class in the fall and attending 5 days a week. She knows how to spell her name and soon will be learning to write it and how to read.

After crying and staring at baby pictures for a good hour, I realized I had to brush out some of my skills from my student teaching in kindergarten and do what I could to help me daughter write her name.

And while yes, they would spend time in her classroom writing her name, teaching her the direction of the letters and getting in practice, I knew that it was my job to reinforce the skill at home.

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This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

Using Pre-Writing to Teach Handwriting

While your toddler is getting ready to understand writing letters, you can get them started with pre-writing skills. This includes things like using pencils and strengthening their fine motor skills and drawing shapes or tracing lines.


Check below for some great resources to use when starting pre-writing with your toddler!

Outer Space Prewriting Practice from Simple Fun for Kids

Farm Animal Prewriting Practice from Simple Fun for Kids

Prewriting Practice Sheets from 3 Dinosaurs

Preschool Prewriting with Magnets from Days with Grey

Writing with Shaving Cream from a Dash of Learning

I Can Change the World

Handwriting Activities for Toddlers

In the beginning, when you want to make handwriting exciting and fun and start to introduce the letters to your toddler, you will want to try some sensory activities for kinesthetic ways to help them learn how to make their letters and even the concept that the lines put together in this way make a letter.

I’ve pulled together some great and fun activities you can do with your toddler to teach them handwriting.

Differentiated Activities from Lessons 4 Little Ones

Rainbow Roll Game from Teachers Pay Teachers

 

Slime Writing from the OT Tool Box

 

Lego Handwriting Mat from This Reading Mama

Handwriting Sheets for Toddlers

There are a lot of great resources out there when it comes to handwriting sheets for your toddler! There are also a lot of great programs such as Handwriting without Tears which you can get on Amazon. As a former teacher, I know that repeated practice and things like rote handwriting sheets actually do make a difference.

And while they aren’t the most exciting way to learn handwriting, actually practicing the skill of handwriting with a pencil matters!

Check out some great places you can get free or cheap handwriting printables for your toddler!

Teacher Appreciation Letter from The Suburban Mom

 

Cow Activities and Mazes from Simple Fun for Kids

 

200+ Handwriting Worksheets from The Measured Mom

 

We’re starting now, at age 3, to incorporate handwriting activities into my daughter’s day. Though I know she’ll get practice at school, we’ll be adding in handwriting every other day (in some form) to start to help her fine motor skills and muscle memory of the letters develop!

 

handwriting-toddlers

Make sure you PIN this post to come back to later when you need some ideas or free printables! When did you start handwriting with your kids? Leave a comment and let me know!

Banana Oat Pancakes

21 day fix approved pancakes   These banana oat pancakes from the 21 day fix program and delicious, easy to make and kid approved! I make a batch of these each week and put them in the freezer for an easy and yummy breakfast!   This year I've been working to cook more...

How to Fit Self Care into Your Day

Self Care Ideas for Moms    What is self care for moms? The term ‘self care’ has most definitely become a buzzword recently. And while it sounds like it’s mostly spa days and taking naps, self care is so much more.   Self care means realizing that you need to ‘fill...

30+ Motivating Quotes for Women from the book “I am that Girl”

30+ Motivating Quotes for Women from the book “I am that Girl”

I am that Girl by Alexis Jones

 

This past month in the Purpose Driven Mom Club, our book club book was “I am that Girl” by Alexis Jones. I picked this book to kick off our year because I know that working on a growth and positive mindset matters more than all the goal setting in the world.

 

When you live with a negative mindset, when you feel like you can’t accomplish things, when you play the victim, and when you just let life happen to you, it’s really hard to actually accomplish goals that light your soul on fire.

 

I am that Girl was our catalyst into kicking limiting beliefs to the curb and really and truly starting to believe that, even as busy moms, we can design a life we love!

 

If you are looking for a positive community of moms that help push you towards your goals, hold you accountable, and work to live a more purpose driven life, then head over and check out the Purpose Driven Mom Club! We’d love to have you! Check it out here!

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

Here is the description from Amazon of “I am that Girl”.

 

In a crazy, media distracted world the important questions often get lost like: What’s your passion? What’s your purpose? Who do you want to be? Alexis Jones has built a career listening to and helping girls around the world figure out those questions in order to inspire them to think for themselves, to speak their truth, to discover their purpose, and to dream HUGE! Alexis believes that you’re not broken nor do you need to be fixed. You already are that girl who creates magic wherever she goes, who lives fearlessly, who inspires those around her to dream bigger, and who will leave the world better, just for having been in it. Stop listening to that voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough. Stop worrying that you don’t have the perfect body, perfect job, perfect relationship, or perfect anything for that matter. Stop letting other people draw boundaries and limits around your life. And start living the life that you truly want (now!), the one you didn’t think you had the courage to imagine, but the one that’s absolutely possible! Including stories from thirty incredible women, Alexis has compiled everything she’s learned into one complete guide to being That Girl, the best version of you.

 

In the Purpose Driven Mom Club, we have bi-weekly chats about the book of the Month and a live video chat with the main topics! While I can’t share all the goodies from the Club here, I wanted to share with you over 50+ quotes that I LOVED from the book I am that Girl!

 

I’ve created some as images so make sure you PIN the ones you love to your favorite board! All quotes below are credited to the author Alexis Jones unless stated otherwise.

i-am-that-girl

Quotes from I am that Girl by Alexis Jones

 

 

 

“I am tired of feeling inadequate, imperfect, desperate for approval, and chronically insecure. I’m exhausted from feeling like I’m always falling behind in some invisible race against the clock, against other women and even against myself. It is a race I don’t remember beginning, but one that I’ve decided to stop running. I decided, instead, to learn how to be who I am and to understand that that itself is more than enough, it’s extraordinary.”

 

 

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“I am tired of feeling inadequate, imperfect, desperate for approval, and chronically insecure. I’m exhausted from feeling like I’m always falling behind in some invisible race against the clock, against other women and even against myself. It is a race I don’t remember beginning, but one that I’ve decided to stop running. I decided, instead, to learn how to be who I am and to understand that that itself is more than enough, it’s extraordinary.”

 

 

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“Living a ‘perfect’ life is like watching television in black and white; you take out all of the color. We need the adventure, all of the highs and lows, the unexpected heartbreaks, the ecstasy, the challenges, and the sweet, smooth sailing. Life isn’t about picking out the parts you like and leaving the rest, it’s learning to coexist with it all and choosing to see the beauty, the grace, and the hilarity while also experiencing the inevitable disappointment and failure.”

 

 

 

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“Clues to your passion are always around you. The sequence of events that led me to that stage began when I least expected it, but I was on the lookout for something more, something meaningful in my ilife. And even then I had to battle my natural instincts to experience it. You’ll only find your passion if you search and fight to discover it.”

 

 

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“Don’t be afraid to try new things– it is only important that you do something that fuels you. Discovering how you can you contribute to the world in a unique way makes you feel useful, inspired, and alive. It doesn’t have to come in some pretty package or make sense to anyone else, just you.

Our life’s mission is not to achieve the appearance of success or whatever version f success you parents, friends, or teachers want tour you. Nor should you sit around and wait for someone to drop something wonderful into your lap. It is to discover that thing that makes you tick and then to spend a lifetime doing it. So fight to find it, to figure it out, to stumble upon it, and to chase it down. When you do, your passion will shine so brightly through you that it’s contagious.”

 

 

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“Regardless of your circumstances or the hand you were dealt, we have no excuses not to rock and roll in this lifetime. No matter how you got here, what challenges you’ve had to overcome or are still dealing with, I promise that you can find your true heart and learn how to trust yourself. Now is the time to start steering you own ship, regardless of where other people think you should sail.”

 

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“People will judge you and your dreams. They’ll tell you you’re crazy and try to convince you that mediocrity is the smarter choice And that’s because it’s easier if you buy into the same lie they have, that no one person can really make a difference and that life is about ‘growing up’ instead of working toward you personally authored, happily ever after.”

 

 

 

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“It’s the time itself that has the value, not the millions of tasks and chores and to dos we try to pull off within the time. Time is precious, limited and the single most important resource supporting your genius. You don’t manage time, you spend it.”

 

 

 

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“When you’re feeling overwhelmed or your body is giving you signs that you’re overdoing it,: stop,breathe, and remember one thing: everything can wait. Fall in love with you. Love, support, validate, and nourish a relationship with yourself. Give yourself what so many of us are trying to get from others and just watch how much the world steps up to support you.”

 

 

 

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“Your time is important, your energy is finite, and your attention is precious, so value who and where you spend it accordingly. You are the only one who can set those kinds of expectations and teach people how to treat you. Be selfish, and I promise everyone will benefit.”

 

 

 

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“So instead of trying to fit a mold- size, color, boyfriend or career path- find out who you are and what is your true voice in this world. There is no point in trying to become something you are not. There is a reason for you being who you are, and it is your job to find out what that is, because no one, and I mean no one on the planet, can be a better version of you than you can.. And if they don’t like what they see, they can simply look away.”

 

 

 

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“We all have excuses, and they are as independent as each of us. What is it that you want but haven’t done, haven’t accomplished? We all have that ‘thing’ we didn’t do, an opportunity missed, that haunts us. Regret is the worst, but it’s important to focus less on the things you haven’t done in life, and more on why you haven’t done them.”

 

 

 

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“So when you begin to feel intimidated, question you goals or find yourself avoiding a task or project, get quiet and think about what you want and whether you still want it. Reread your manifesto and ask if what you’re doing and how you’re doing it aligns with your values, If it does, this will give you confirmation that you’re on the right track and perhaps the boost you need to get moving again.

And if you did that your path does not need some adjusting, you can do that with the clarity and confidence that your decision came from a place of careful consideration and not solely due to outside pressures and expectations.”

 

 

 

 

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“Here’s the truth: most people are afraid to dream big so they live their lives with small dreams, with great self-imposed limitations, and with countless excuses to justify it. Living small and dreaming small is easy because you will never run out of excuses and why you don’t want to do something bigger. Excuses keep you safe, comfortable, certain and create an illusion of control. But they are the fastest way to burst your dream’s bubble and knock down your hope-filled sand castle.”

 

 

 

 

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“At a certain point in your life, you’ll have to realize the sacrifices necessary to make your dreams come true, and you’ll be at the crossroads of the same tough choices. Will you be dedicated to the path that gets you where you want to go, despite it being far more difficult ,or will you sell out to an easy breezy bath that makes you in the opposite direction of where you really want to go? We are faced with these kinds of choices every single day, and fortunately we get to decide which path we take.”

 

 

 

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“Dreaming is a gift you give yourself an the one place you should be able to create and imagine anything with no judgement. The main reason we don’t dream is because we shut down the possibility before we even get the idea into our brains. Let go and dream. Big, if not downright huge.”

 

 

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“Keep in mind that getting what you want is not necessarily the goal here, and that’s because the outcome of your actions is not always in your control. The real victory is in knowing that you are the kind of person who takes a shot every time, regardless of whether you’re guaranteed a basket.”

 

 

 

 

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“Dreaming is essential to manifesting your future, but it’s all too easy to sink into the trap that life is always greener somewhere else. Part of dreaming is being content where you are at this precise moment, choosing happiness not instead of you’re happy being contingent on ‘when all your dreams come true.”

 

 

 

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“Perseverance will take you along, long way. It will make a great difference in your life – the difference between achieving your goals and just sitting ac wishing things would change. Perseverance s means not taking no for an answer. It means just because one person doesn’t’ believe in your dreams, you aren’t any less enthusiastic.

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I hope these quotes inspired you, motivated you to do more and gave you that confidence to take on the day! Make sure you go to Amazon and grab this book now and PIN this for later when you need that inspiration!

 

Want to get more support on your goals and join the next book club? Head over and join the Purpose Driven Mom Club now!

 

 

 

 

How to Find Time To Read As a Busy Mom

How to Find Time To Read As a Busy Mom

How to Find Time To Read As a Busy Mom

 

How is it possible to find time to read when you’re a busy mom?

 

The first few years I felt like I barely had time to read my grocery list let alone a book. I felt like a victim of parenting and treated my ‘mom duties’ and children like they were ‘in the way’ of what I wanted to do.

 

In the past few months, I had a mindset shift. I stopped saying “I don’t have time” and when someone asked me how I was, I worked my hardest to not just respond with ‘tired… very tired’.

 

Now don’t get me wrong. Being a mom is tough. I am tired, I am overwhelmed, and I do feel behind often.

 

But that’s not all I am and not all motherhood is.

 

So if you’re like me and want to be ‘more than mom’ and work on your goals, I want to encourage you that you CAN do that. You can work on that project, take a shower, or read a book. It might not look the same as it did pre-kids and it will never be perfect but it IS possible!

 

In November I made a goal to read more and was super excited that since then (in just 3 months), I’ve finished 12 books! That’s a more book than I read in all of 2017 when I had my son.

 

 

 

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This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

 

Ways to Find Time To Read

 

My first suggestion when it comes to finding time to read is to create a routine and habit trigger. A habit trigger is something you do directly before the habit you want to develop. It usually is something that you already do.

 

If, for example, you want to read right before bed, your habit trigger might be brushing your teeth before bed. If you want to read when your kids take a nap, putting them down for a nap is your trigger.

 

If you don’t plan out when in your day you want to read, it’s not going to happen. Our days are so go-go-go all the time; things that are not strategically planned will get skipped.

 

Now I’m not saying you need to say ‘every day at 1:35 I will read’ because we know that won’t happen but, I suggest giving yourself a suggested time and use time blocking.

 

Related Post: Time Blocking to Get More Done

 

I make it a goal to sit and read for at least 10 minutes 2x a day. After my 17-month-old goes down for a nap, my three-year-old and I have reading time. I read a chapter of my non-fiction or self-development book and she does an independent craft, color, play play-do or work on a puzzle.

 

I like to read non-fiction when she’s around because, if I have to stop to help her, then I can easily get back into what I am reading. It’s also a great pick me up in the middle of the day when I know I need a boost.

 

Another great time to read is right before bed but, I don’t recommend that you read non-fiction. I suggest picking an exciting fiction book that will keep you awake and be just for you. In January I did a ‘no TV’ month for myself and it was incredible! Sure I missed watching some great Netflix shows but, after the kids went to bed and I worked, I would sit down and read and get totally lost in a book. Before, when I was watching more TV, I felt like I ‘never had time to read’ when in reality I was just prioritizing mindless TV instead.

 

 

 

Using Audio Books to Find Time to Read

 

If you’re struggling to even imagine sitting to read like I’m describing, let me encourage you to start to use audiobooks!

 

I don’t love fiction books on audio personally but can definitely get into non-fiction! Between non-fiction books on apps like Audible, Hoopla, Scrod or Overdrive and podcasts, I feel like I spend so much of my day fueling my brain!

 

Check out Audible if you don’t have a membership! My link will get you 2 free books and a 30-day trial!

 

Audio is a great way to get in books because there really is a ton of time to listen. Every time you are in the car can become your own little university! I have learned so much with self-help audios while driving! Even if you only have a 10-minute commute to drop the kids to school each day that’s 10 more minutes than you were getting before.

 

Related Post: 5 Podcasts to Jumpstart your Positivity 

 

There are a ton of other times in the day when you can use audiobooks. I like to have them playing while I fold laundry, cook dinner or do other boring household chores. It makes the time go super fast and makes my chores even more fun (if that’s possible at all!)

 

Using E-Books and E-Readers to Read as a Busy Mom

 

Another way to sneak in reading time is to use an e-book or an e-reader. I love to hold an actual book so my preferred method of reading is to do it rationally but I’ve gotten so many books to read on e-readers.

When I was up late nursing my son, I put my phone on ‘bedtime’ or dim mode and could read a few pages, when I am waiting to pick up my daughter from school I can spend a few minute reading instead of scrolling social media, if we’re waiting in line at the doctors office or the kids are playing at the library or mall, I can easily sneak in some pages while they play.

We often think that if things don’t look perfect and the way we picture them in our heads that we shouldn’t even bother but I want to give you permission to get rid of that type of thinking. Forget that you want things perfect and work to make things workable for your season of life. Don’t give up on things and hobbies that make you happy but instead, find ways to fit them into your life in a way that makes sense.

Related Post: 31 Days of Positive Affirmations for Moms

Once A Month Meals

Creating a Habit of Reading with Your Kids

 

It is really important to me that we create lifelong readers with our kids. I grew up loving to read (books were my sanctuary for a long time) and still love to do it. And while I know I can’t force my hobbies on my kids, I want to do my best to encourage them to read as much as possible, to love to learn and question, and to see reading being modeled for them.

When my daughter was a super tiny newborn, I would read from my personal development books out loud to her each day. We read every single night before bed and numerous times during the day. And my daughter knows now that after her brother goes down for a nap, it’s reading time.

 These are all habits you can create with your family. If you start now to make it the norm that after dinner, instead of all retreating to separate rooms or going right to the TV, everyone gets a book and does 15 minutes of reading, it can become the norm.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the power of the read-aloud for all ages and am looking to incorporate more read aloud in our day. We just picked up our first set of chapter books from the library (we’re reading the Mercy Watson series) and now I read a chapter a day after breakfast. Work with your kids to have them reading before the TV or electronics get turned on every day.

In the beginning, it will seem like so much more work for you but know, as the years go on, it can and may rub off on them. Even at 3 years old my daughter knows the routines and what we do during reading time. My 17-month-old son knows that if he grabs a book and brings it to me, I’ll read it.

You can also create a morning basket where they can pick books out for the week and you grab them after breakfast. Each kid gets the chance to grab books that they want and you can read a few aloud each day.

Encourage your kids to start reading aloud to them as well. Even though my daughter can’t read, I’ve taught her that she can look at a story and make up the words just fine.

Repeated reading is another great way to get them into a reading habit. The more that you read a story with your kids, the more they remember the words. After months and months of reading Old Hat, New Hat my daughter can ‘read’ the whole thing without knowing the words.

Our kids are adaptable and capable of much more than we give them credit. Decide what you want reading to look like in your home and work to create the structure around it. It won’t always be perfect, you might not always get time to read, and you’ll probably get frustrated. But don’t let that entire stop you from doing something that will fill your cup and make you feel good about taking care of yourself!

 

Related Post: How to Fit Self Care Into Your Day

 

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Reading Habits that Make Reading Fun

 

To make your reading habit fun and stick, start with creating a list of books that you want to read, get recommendations from friends or use Good Reads to see what people are liking (add me as a friend on Good Reads!).

 

When I first got back into the habit of reading I had to test out a few genres to see what I liked. I remember loving young adult novels but that really isn’t what I gravitate towards.

 

Check out the top lists and read 1-3 in that genre before decided whether you think that’s where you want to invest your time. And don’t be afraid to stop reading a book! I can’t tell you how many books I try so hard to finish just because I started! This holds back my reading goals and makes reading so much more of a chore again!

 

 

Related Post: 30+ Must Read Books for the Christian Woman

 

Speaking of reading goals, make sure you make some! Think about how much reading you are doing now and make a realistic goal for yourself. If you haven’t read a book in 6 months, making a goal to finish 1 book in a month is HUGE! If you’re already reading a book a week, try to double that!

 

I also suggest starting a book quote journal or Trello board! I use Trello because I can take pictures of quotes or screenshots on my phone and upload them directly. Each book gets its own card and I can add quotes, thoughts, or ideas right there. This makes it easy to go back to and reference later, particularly if I borrowed the book from the library

 

Did this post give you some ideas and motivation to get reading? I hope so! PIN it to come back to later when you feel time trying to steal your joy again and put In the comments what book you are reading now!