How to Make Mom Friends and Beat Stay at Home Mom Depression

How to Make Mom Friends and Beat Stay at Home Mom Depression

How to Make Mom Friends and Beat Stay at Home Mom Depression

 

It can be lonely  as a stay at home mom and easy to slip into stay at home mom depression if you don’t intentionally surround yourself with other mom friends.

 

So often our spouse doesn’t understand what we’re going through, our family and friends might not be in the same season of their life, and the expectations that we put on ourselves (or society or loved ones) can make the mom guilt unbearable intense.

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.

 

 

 

After my son (who is currently a year old) was born, I struggled with Postpartum Anxiety and Depression. I found myself isolating myself from even my other SAHM friends, withdrawing from my family, and feeling generally worthless. It was one of the hardest times of my life and I’m thankful that I currently have seen the ‘light on the other side of the rainbow’.


But during that period, I struggled deeply and felt so alone. I am so thankful that I had a mom tribe that I connected with, both in person and online, because it helped me realize that, no matter how tough things were, I wasn’t alone.

 

What type of SAHM are you?

 

My first suggestion when it comes to connecting and meeting other moms is to think about the type of SAHM you identify with.

 

When I first started to meet up with moms at the library or ones that I met in groups, I made the mistake of thinking that I would immediately connect with them all right away. And while I still am close friends with some of the first moms I met, there are many that I didn’t connect with.

 

Your energy is so valuable and you don’t want to spend it with people who are going to bring you down or make you feel bad about the type of mom you are. And it’s OKAY if you don’t connect with everyone.

 

There are a lot of different types of moms out there so you’ll want to find your tribe. If you’re a “Pinterest Mom” you might not want to spend your time with moms who make you feel bad about wanting to craft with your kids.

 

Or if you’re more of an “Amazon Prime” mom, you might not want to spend time with moms who want to spend more time creating homemade decorations for every event.

 

Give yourself permission to feel other moms out on playdates or in groups but know that you don’t have to vibe with them all. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilted into a friendship that makes you feel bad about yourself or drains all of your energy. You deserve to be around others that make you laugh and feel joy!

 

 

 

 

Finding Mom Friends Near  You

 

There are two main ways I’ve been able to connect with other moms friends and that is in person and online. There is an incredible power in meeting up with like minded moms in person for coffee, a walk, or just to get some sanity and talk to another grown up.

 

Some of my closest mom friends are ones that I have randomly met in Facebook groups and we’ve just clicked. We connected because our 2.5 year old were super close in age as babies and now, we all have 1 year olds too!

Once A Month Meals

 

The first place you should go to find moms near you is Facebook! Search and see if you can find a local moms group. You can be bold and simply post that you’re looking for like minded moms, and put a few words to describe this mom (coffee loving, like to craft but isn’t that good at it, enjoys working out, primarily seen in a mom bun… wait I’m describing me!) and suggest a time and place to meet up.

 

One of the easiest suggestions is to suggest going for a walk at a local park or place where you can get to actually talk to them. I’ve met up with moms places where it was super busy or my kids were all over the place and I felt like I didn’t get to talk to them at all!

 

Always start with meeting at a public place (free is best!) before inviting them over for a playdate! There is nothing more awkward than having a mom come over for the first time and you don’t vibe or your kids don’t get along (and I’ve been there!)

 

You should also look and check and see what local mom groups already exist (we have a MOMS group in our town), check out your church or religious center or see if you can find a MOPS group (Moms of Preschoolers)!

 

Often many of these places will offer child care for you and it can be a great time to refuel yourself and connect with others!

 

Meet like minded friends online

 

Because life is so busy, I sometimes only see my ‘in person’ mom friends once a month. I knew that I wanted to feel more connected on a daily basis and needed someone other than my kids to talk to.

 

Insert my virtual MOM TRIBE!

 

Over the past few years I’ve been able connect with so many moms from around the world who are feeling similarly than me all online! Heck, it’s one of the reasons that I created A Purpose Driven Mom! I knew that there were more moms out there like me, I just had to find them!

 

 

 

Social media is going to be the best place for you to connect with other like minded moms. You can use hashtag or group searches to find other communities where your ‘mom’ is hanging out.

 

Search things like ‘crunchy breastfeeding moms’ or ‘work at home moms’ or ‘2 under 2 moms’ and a BUNCH of suggestions come up (make sure you search A Purpose Driven Mom and come join our group too!)

 

Become active in those groups, answer questions from other moms and ask questions! I can’t tell you how life saving it was at 3am when I was cluster feeding my daughter to have other moms awake in baby sleep groups to talk to!

 

Once you find mom groups you love, ask for suggestions for podcasts or other groups that they love. I have found so many other members of my mom tribe by connecting with other podcasts and blogs that moms have suggested to me!

 

Some of my favorite podcasts for moms include;

Young Wife’s Guide

Cultivating the Lovely

Mom Struggling Well

God Centered Mom

Raising Arrows

Hello Mornings

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these are perfect podcasts for Christian Moms who want to get some inspiration and find communities that they can connect with! Many of these bloggers also host virtual conferences which can help you feel even more connected!

 

Virtual conferences are my FAV (Heck I even ran my own this past year! You can go back and get all the recordings here) because you don’t have to leave your house and you can connect with some many incredible women.

 

One of my favorite ones is coming up in just a few weeks so, if you’re looking for a great place to start connecting with moms, I highly recommend the Homemaking Ministries Conference this upcoming September! And if you're reading this after September, go and grab the recordings!

Stay at Home Mom Quotes

 

Being a stay at home mom is tough. We get lost, we feel lonely and stay at home mom depression is a real thing.

 

So when you’re feeling lost, make sure you reach out to other moms, connect with people, and surround yourself with positive influences that bring you joy!

 

In the meantime, check out this list of positive mom quotes and affirmations (you can grab a copy of my fav ones here) to build you up when it’s tough.

 

Because mama…. It’s going to be TOUGH! But you’re doing a GREAT JOB! 

 

 

Make sure you SHARE this post with of SAHM who probably feel just like you! PIN it to read for later!

 

10+ Fun and Unique Elf on the Shelf Ideas

10+ Easy Ideas for Elf on the Shelf   Kids love elf on the shelf but it can become a parents nightmare when they run out of fun and unique things for their elf on the shelf to do each day! As parents, we often forget to move the elf, don’t want to take a lot of time...

10+ Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget

Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget Hopefully you’ve been joining us for this series on enjoying Christmas on a Budget. This post is going to focus on homemade Christmas card ideas on a budget! And no, you don’t have to be super crafty to make your own holiday...

How to Set up Your Week To Be More Productive

How to Set up Your Week To Be More Productive

How to Set Up Your Week for Productivity

I intentionally take one day off a week. I started this practice 2 months ago and am so thankful that I did. Prior to this, I was just go, go, go and didn’t rest, felt pulled by my to-do list, and was starting to burn out again. I knew the feelings of burn out, I had been there before. 5 years ago, I left teaching to become a full-time entrepreneur and work at home mom because I felt the same feelings start to creep in. Now that I’m running my own business and family, I decided I needed some preventative measures to make sure that I was still taking care of me.

 

Hence… my Saturday’s off. I decided to take Saturday ‘off’ so that I could really just do what matters. The only work that I do on Saturday is what I just feel like doing, no pressure or to do list. On Saturdays, if I don’t want to do laundry, house cleaning, or other ‘mom duties’, I don’t. I don’t really make too many plans unless it’s something we really want to do. Oh… and I take a nap.

 

I really love my Saturday nap.

 

But in order to make my Saturday rest day really work for me, I needed to make sure that I had a system for being very productive the rest of the week so I could relax, guilt-free. And once I decided that I was going to schedule out a day of rest, it became so freeing. The week started to go more smoothly because I knew that I had a day to chill coming up, I didn’t feel guilty anymore about letting myself decompress, and I just started to laugh and enjoy our family time more.

 

productive mom

 

I chose to have my rest day on Saturday rather than Sunday for a few reasons. Sundays, since we go to church, still have us on a schedule to make sure we get out of the house on time. My husband delivers the newspaper as a side job right now so, he works Sunday mornings and I want to make sure I can give him rest time when get gets back at 6 am before we go to church. Sundays are also my day to set my week up for success. I may do some grocery shopping (though I often like to do that on Saturdays. I actually really like grocery shopping because I love to coupon and it’s a hobby for me and on Saturdays I get to go without kids!), I’ll meal prep so that I can save time during the week, and I’ll work on organizing my week, my planner, and other work tasks that I need to have a super successful and productive week.

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.

 

There are a few things that I like to do on Sundays to make sure that my week goes as smoothly as possible and I am going to share my system and routine with you! I think that if you spend some time on Sunday (or whatever day you choose to set up your day) preparing for the week then, the rest of the week CAN be more productive and run smoother. I find on the weeks that we are away or I don’t take the time to do this system, the week is much harder. Things fall through the cracks, I feel more stressed and I start the week feeling behind and having to play catch up on Monday (which then sets my whole week back)

Creating a Sunday Routine

Meal Prep

The #1 thing that I suggest you start your Sunday with is meal planning and preparation. I actually have a system where I make the meal plan on Friday, shop on Saturday and cook on Sunday so that I don’t do it all on one day.

However you decide to do it, make sure you plan out your meals for the week. We keep it pretty basic and have a rotation of 2-3 breakfast, lunch and dinner options each week. My husband doesn’t mind eating the same thing each day and it’s easy to be predictable with the kids.

I’ll spend some time doing some basic preparation like cutting up fruits and veggies, making salads, cooking up rice, steaming veggies, browning some ground turkey for quick lunches, and boiling some eggs.

I then make sure that I have listed out what’s for dinner each week so that I can check the fridge and see what I still need to get at the store. I try my best to make our plan from what we already have to save money and not have to go to the store as much.

I suggest even packing out as many salads for lunches in Tupperware as much as possible (even if you stay home) because then you can grab and go instead of preparing things. This helps a ton if we decide last minute to go to the park, or meet up with friends because the food is ready to go. It also prevents me from running out of what we need or knowing what i have to stop for.

Cleaning and Organizing

 I have a cleaning system where I do a little cleaning each day so that it doesn’t pile up but that doesn’t mean I don’t do anything on the weekends. Often after my Saturdays off, my house needs a little more TLC since I probably didn’t do as many dishes or pick up as much. And what I have now just come to accept as a mom is that my house will probably always be covered in stuff, things will be out of place, and everything will just be sticky.

 But that doesn’t mean I won’t try to make it just a little cleaner. I also find that when the clutter builds up, my anxiety peaks and for me ‘outer order leads to inner calm’ so taking time on Sundays to clean up really helps.

 My suggested Sunday system includes laundry (I do 1-2 loads each day so that it’s easy to put away so my Sunday laundry is normally the same), sweep and mop the floors, vacuuming the playroom, and doing a Zone clean up.

 We do a Zone Clean Up as a family after church on Sundays where everyone is in charge of a room or area (My 11 year old or husband normally does a zone with my toddler). I put on a 15 minute timer and everyone is in charge of putting away things that don’t belong in their zone. This really helps all of the out of place items to find their way back home and means that I”m not the only one picking up the books that have been on the floor for 2 days and everyone walks around (you know what I’m saying!)

 Before I go to bed on Sunday, I make sure that I’ve done my typical evening routine and an additional 15 minute clean up. There is nothing more exciting for me (I know this is going to sound really nerdy haha) than waking up on a Monday morning where there are no dishes in the sink, my kitchen table is cleaned up, and the clutter is gone. It’s really my favorite way to start the week.

 

Organize Your Weekly Calendar and To Do List

 

The last thing that I do to set my week up for success is to make sure I have a plan in place. Often, people ask me how I can be so productive and get so much done and, while I have some hacks that help, one of the things that helps is that I always take the time to plan.

 I took a training with the Franklin/Covey system once that really changed the way that I planned. I learned all about the power of weekly and nightly planning and have since been implementing it for years. It’s what I do in my life, what I teach the moms that I coach and what I teach in my e-book and course; Design Your Day; Time Management for the Busy Woman.

 

On Sundays, I take out my planner (I use a mix of a paper planner from Erin Condren, google calendar, and Trello) and look at my week ahead.

 I start with putting in all the dates of things that I cannot change like doctor appointments or meetings. We use a family calendar in the kitchen so these things always get written on their first and then transferred to my digital system.

 After those dates are in, I then plan out what tasks I want to accomplish that week. I create a list of personal items, business items, and projects (around the house and for work) that I want to complete. I break them down into 20 minute tasks so that I know they are manageable and easily can be accomplished in a day, rather than overplanning myself and getting frustrated when it doesn’t get done. 

Next, I go into my planner and actually assign 3-5 tasks for each day. I split them up so that I Pick 1 personal task (call grandma, put pictures in frames etc….), 3 work tasks (write a blog post, create images, email clients….) and 1 project task (brainstorm ideas for a birthday party, work on mother’s day scrapbook etc….).

 Assigning those things to a day BEFORE the week starts allows me to know what is going to happen and have a plan. This way, when it’s nap time and I get to work, or I have free time after dinner and want to work on a project, I’m not wasting time thinking about what to do, I can just take action.

 

 Trust me when I say that if you set up your week for success you WILL be able to get more done, feel more accomplished and actually take a day off to rest and not feel the mom guilt!

 I challenge you to start using this system (or one that works for you) to take more control in your life!

If these tips helped, make sure you share on your social media and PIN them for later!!

 

10+ Fun and Unique Elf on the Shelf Ideas

10+ Easy Ideas for Elf on the Shelf   Kids love elf on the shelf but it can become a parents nightmare when they run out of fun and unique things for their elf on the shelf to do each day! As parents, we often forget to move the elf, don’t want to take a lot of time...

10+ Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget

Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget Hopefully you’ve been joining us for this series on enjoying Christmas on a Budget. This post is going to focus on homemade Christmas card ideas on a budget! And no, you don’t have to be super crafty to make your own holiday...

The Best Way To Organize Your Goals

The Best Way To Organize Your Goals

Creating a Goal Setting System

I’ m a goal setting junkie, like I’m sure most of us are around January 1st.

 

Does this sound like you;

  • Dream big about what you want out of life.
  • Get a new notebook or planner and make a million lists.
  • Decide THIS is the year you focus on you.
  • Have a really great first few days or week once you’ve picked your goals.
  • Life gets busy.
  • You forget about your goals.
  • You get put on the backburner.
  • Those notebooks get lost on the junk table.
  • The end of the year comes and you have no idea if you’ve even gotten any closer to achieving those goals.

 

It sounds like me a lot of times too. I am the queen of buying cute notebooks, love to write things on my to-do list just so I can cross it off, and love to dream big. But I also love data. I love systems. And I love giving myself a gold star whenever I achieve even a small goal.

 

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but help me fund this page. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

 trello for goal setting

 

Organizing Your Goals

I got tired of all the paper clutter and making lists that I never checked in on, so I knew that I had to find a system that would work better for me.

Enter Trello.

Trello is an online website and app that allows you to create charts, workflows, and organize anything in your life. It is PERFECT for creating goal charts that you will actually check, stick to, and accomplish.

If you’re typically a paper and pencil girl, stick with me on this. While Trello may move you into the digital age, it will also help you check in with your goals more and keep them organized. Trello lets me see what I’m prioritizing for the current and next few months, shows me where I may not be as balanced, and lets me have a massive thought catcher for things i want to accomplish, suggestions other people give me, link and website I want to check out, all while tracking my progress towards me goals.

Trello is perfect for us busy moms who already have a million things to remember. We don’t need another paper system that might get thrown away or colored in by our toddler. We need our own space that will sync up with our phones and give us alerts and reminders when it’s time to kick butt and work on us. It’s super simple to use and is much more streamlined than putting a million notes in your phone that you forget to look at (guilty!)

 

I want to share with you a step by step walkthrough on how I use and create boards on Trello to track my goals and keep my life less of a hot mess! I’ve already done a few other videos that you can check out on how I organize my prayer time, cleaning routines, and birthday party organization so make sure you go and read those too!

 

You can watch the video above to create the board with me or just read through the steps below! You also can directly copy my board and save it to edit with your own goals!

 

 

Step #1: How to Copy My Boards

 

If you want to copy the board, you’ll need a Trello account to do so but it’s free so that rocks. Once you log in and go to the link, head right on over to the right where it says SHOW MENU. Next, hit the MORE button and hit COPY BOARD. When you copy the board, you can decide if you want to rename it and where you want it to go. Feel free to use it as a template, to get ideas, and customize however you want!

 

 

Step #2: Create Workflow Cards

 

The first thing that you’ll want to do is create lists with all of the headings for your goals. I suggest creating a list of the general topics such as;

 

-Personal

-Professional

-Social

-Finance

-Health

 

I also like to create lists for the time frames I want to complete them. This allows me to really be focused on a goal because I can drag the appropriate cards over to either ‘This Month” or “Next Month” or even “December” and know that I have a plan for when I will complete them.

 

 

Under each list, create cards for that specific goal. For example, if your list is ‘health goals’ you could create a goal card that says ‘lose 15 pounds’, ‘run a half marathon’, or ‘track my meals’. Dream big and create whatever goals your heart desires! If you need help figuring out what areas of your life could use a boost or how to create goals, check out this series I did on just that!

 

 

Step #3 Breakdown Cards

 

After you’ve created each card, you can customize them to not only keep lists of things you need to do to accomplish your goal, but a timeline of when it will happen, and links you might want to check out. I tend to always add things to Pinterest but forget to go back to them when I need them! I like to add them to my Trello cards for that specific goal so, when I am ready, it’s just a click away.

 

 

I suggest putting a few checklists on each card. You can create one for things you need to do AND create one to track what gets done. For example, if a goal of yours is to read 2 books a month, you can have a checklist with books you want to read or that others have suggested to you and a second checklist that tracks if you’ve accomplished it. This might say “January Book 1” and “January Book 2”.

 

If you don’t track the progress to your goals, how will you know if you’ve achieved it! And instead of using a separate planner or checklist, Trello allows you to keep the to-do list AND the tracker in one spot!

 

On the right-hand side, you can also add in labels to organize what type of goal they are or maybe what month you want to complete the goal in. This will let you see a big picture of your goals when you glance at your board as a whole.

 

 

The right-hand column of each card gives you a ton of things that you can use to customize the card. You can add in a due date of when you will accomplish something or a LINK or IMAGE you want to go back to later! These are listed under ATTACHMENTS and, as I previously mentioned, are the perfect place to put blog articles or PINS you come across and want to check out!

 

Trello is a super easy and efficient way to track goals, progress, and remember to take care of what matters to YOU too! Hopefully, this tutorial helped you feel ready to conquer the world (and decrease paper clutter!)

 

trello for prayer requests 

Did this help you get organized?? Loved some tips? Do me a fav?? Hit that Share or PIN IT to help another mama!

 

 

10+ Fun and Unique Elf on the Shelf Ideas

10+ Easy Ideas for Elf on the Shelf   Kids love elf on the shelf but it can become a parents nightmare when they run out of fun and unique things for their elf on the shelf to do each day! As parents, we often forget to move the elf, don’t want to take a lot of time...

10+ Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget

Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget Hopefully you’ve been joining us for this series on enjoying Christmas on a Budget. This post is going to focus on homemade Christmas card ideas on a budget! And no, you don’t have to be super crafty to make your own holiday...

I am 1 in 5: The Truth Behind Post Partum Depression and Anxiety

I am 1 in 5: The Truth Behind Post Partum Depression and Anxiety

I was sitting in my therapist office one day and we were talking about guilt and shame and why I always feel like if something goes wrong, it’s automatically my fault.

“Well, that’s the depression talking”, she said so calmly.

Wow.

We had talked earlier on in our sessions about my anxiety and it was very clear that I was struggling with Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) but we had never talked specifically about Postpartum Depression (PPD).

To me PPD felt so much more real, so scary, and it honestly just made me feel so much more broken.

I felt like I could ‘deal’ with having PPA, I mean isn’t everyone just a stressed out mom? But PPD was so foreign to me. I felt fearful that people would think I was a bad mom, that I couldn’t take care of my kids, that there was something wrong with me. I mean I didn’t feel depressed. I wasn’t under the covers crying and unable to get out of bed (which was my previous experience with my depression when I was in high school) and I felt like I was getting better.

But there it was, clear as day and right out of my therapists mouth. I was a woman who had Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.

cara harvey

Did you know that 1 in 5 women suffer from either PPA or PPD? And so many moms out there just suffer in silence. They are afraid, just like I was and sometimes still am.

“What will people think of me?”

“Am I really crazy?”

“Why can’t I just get it together?”

For me, my anxiety isn’t always panic attacks or heavy breathing like they show so often on  TV but more of a mental tug and what we refer to in my home as my ‘spiral’.

It starts with the smallest trigger, mostly connected to me feeling like I’ve made a mistake or am inadequate in some way and it turns into spiraling thoughts that I struggle to shut down. Something as simple as getting the wrong thing at the grocery store can become catastrophic.

“Ugh, I don’t have time to go back out”

“I always do this”

“I am so forgetful”

“See this is what happens because you never pay attention”

“Why are you so stupid?”

“Ugh, why are you thinking like this again?”

“See, now no one wants to talk to you because you’re crazy and ruined dinner.”

This spiral is followed by some tears on my part, my family looking confused because they don’t know what to say to me, and me feeling even more guilty because I ‘ruined it again’.

It wasn’t until this pattern had happened for a few months in a row, and a LOT more crying on the middle of my kitchen floor that I realized I needed help. I told my husband I had to do something, I was tired of feeling so tired, and life was just exhausting me. As a life coach, I felt like an even bigger fraud because I felt even less together than I ever had been, and I knew that it was going to have bigger repercussions for my family if I didn’t get help.

So one day, I bravely walked into a therapist office and just said it “I think something is wrong with me”… followed by those ever flowing tears.

 

Cara Harvey

 

After a few sessions, she had diagnosed my PPA (and later my PPD) and we had come up with some coping techniques that have helped me get through my days better. I share them openly with my husband, though honestly I sometimes worry that I am TOO vulnerable with him, and they help him help me with my anxiety when it gets really bad.

In the 5 months since I realized that I needed help, I am proud to say that many of the techniques (from counting, to breathing, to reframing, and more) have really helped me when I am in a spiral. And while I would love to say that my spirals are gone, at least I can say that when I am in the moment, I can self identify what’s happening and bring myself out of it much quicker.

So many of us are afraid to speak our truths because we don’t want to be judged. We don’t want to admit that something is wrong with us. We love our kids and want to be seen as a ‘good mom’. But in keeping our struggles silent, we not only harm ourselves but our family and other women who are suffering in silence.

In that vain, I’ve had a few amazing women be willing to speak out on their struggles and share their personal experiences with PPA/PPD. Because the things is, it affects everyone so differently, which is why it’s also hard to identify right away. We might just think we’re stressed or hormonal or just having a bad day. But mama, if you feel off, if you’re struggle lasts a bit, if you know something just doesn’t feel right, can I encourage you to go and talk to someone, be it another mom, your doctor, or a family member? Because you don’t have to feel stuck, you don’t have to feel alone, and you don’t have to feel lost. Because YOU are not alone!

I’ve wrote a bit more about my PPA on other pages so feel free to check out my guests posts over on;

Scary Mommy

Jessica Grace Blog

post-partum-anxiety-depression

What Postpartum Mental Illness Looks Like; 4 Moms Stories

Alyssia’s Story

I got pregnant with my 1st child within 2 weeks of going off the pill.  My 2nd was not as easy and I had secondary infertility. After many doctors appointments, medications, and months of tests I got pregnant.  

From the moment I got pregnant with my 2nd child, Reilley, she did things her own way.  The pregnancy was rough.  I felt like a beached whale from day one.  A few months into the pregnancy I found out I had placenta previa. I planned my C-section and little miss decided a few days before it was time to party! The C-section went well and I felt physically okay afterwords.  

In the weeks after getting home with the most beautiful baby girl on Earth, I felt sad, emotional, and disconnected from my entire family.  Nursing went very well. (It was the opposite of my first.) I began to resent her for never taking a bottle and her constant need for me. She hated my husband for the first 9 month of her life. (I wish I was joking.)

I knew something was not right and I talked to my OB at my 6 week check up.  I recognized depression from years before and explained exactly what I was feeling.  At the time I didn’t talk to anyone other than my doctor about my feelings. They put me on a safe for breastfeeding, antidepressant.  It helped BUT it put me to sleep! I couldn’t fall asleep on the sofa with an active toddler running around.

After about 4 weeks I just stopped the medication.  I don’t recommend this to anyone! I was already told I was on the only medication safe for breastfeeding and my baby girl wouldn’t take a bottle EVER (and never did!) I went back to not feeling myself and feeling disconnected from the world. I didn’t take as many pictures with her as I did with my first.  I didn’t snuggle her or sing to her as much as my oldest. If she was happy with someone else, I let them hold her for as long as possible. I cried while nursing her all the time. About month 8 I started feeling myself. I had eaten my feelings and felt awful in my own skin.

Now, 5 years later, Reilley is my little mini me!  She is the sweetest and sassiest little girl you will ever meet!  I catch myself taking more pictures of her and snuggling her more now!  The guilt I have for my feelings toward her are sometimes overwhelming. We now have 3 children and after her baby sister was born I had a moment of panic in the hospital.  I cried in my husbands arms because I was so scared of feeling the same way again. I was ok but very aware of every little feeling I had in those first few month postpartum. I look back and know I could have done more for myself and my family but I can’t go back.  I was lucky because everything turned out ok and hope to help other women now they are not alone!

Linda’s Story


I think when I had thought of PPD/PPA initially, prior to my postpartum experience, I thought it was something that hit you like a ton of bricks right away. You’d give birth and just know right away that this was something you were going to have to deal with. This was not my experience at all…and the more I speak with other women who have dealt with PPD/PPA, this is not their experience either.

For me, PPD/PPA crept in really slowly, building overtime mysteriously in a way that it was disguised underneath sleep deprivation, sleep training, lack of proper nutrition, a huge life transition from being a full-time working mom to a stay-at- home mom, and a long cold winter setting in.

One day, I realized that my husband was looking at me differently and treading softly around me. I thought back to the past week or two and realized that he had asked me if I was “okay”multiple times and called to “just check in” numerous times in a day. I had been losing my patience with him and our 8-month old boy pretty regularly, especially around naptime, bedtime, and middle of the night wakings.

PPD/PPA did not feel like what I thought it would feel like. I did not feel “sad” or “unable to bond” with my baby. Instead, I felt angry and frustrated…but with what I didn’t know. It almost felt like really intense PMS.

I reached out on social media to my mom friends and found so many had been through this as well. I received a lot of sound advice on ways to deal with it, but most importantly, I found support.

I am now 13 months in to my postpartum journey and I’ve been dealing with PPD/PPA for five months. I have learned that the most important piece is giving yourself a voice. A voice to say “I’m having a difficult day,” or “I need to get out of the house tonight,” or just “I need a hug.” My advice to other moms is that if something doesn’t feel right, no matter what that “feeling” is,

talk to someone. Ask others around you for help. You don’t have to silently deal with it alone.

 

Danielle’s Story 

PP Anxiety…. you never think it will happen to you. 

 With each child the anxiety grew stronger, but I hid it. Why? I felt so ashamed like it was something I should have controlled, something I could have prevented. Four years later and hear I sit, writing about my story. My struggle, still raw and real.

 I always thought I would be the Mom who has it all together. Even when my first was born, overwhelmed and unsure I put on my face, fake it til you make it right? 

 Until one day, It happened… I had an anxiety attack. It came out of no where, I couldn’t stop it. I sobbed, felt terrified, felt like a bad mom for the overwhelming feelings. Feelings that started out of what felt like no where. 

I’ve realized a few things since that night over three years ago; 

Post partum anxiety doesn’t make me weak. When I look at my wonderful (and wild) toddlers I see the beautiful things I created! Wow!

It’s okay to need help; we lost my husbands parents, one around the time we brought each of our beautiful children into the world. That’s hard. That huge loss and becoming parents at the same time triggered anxiety that wasn’t explainable; that hasn’t really stopped since.

I struggle every day, trying to balance being a good mom, holding a career, trying to save money, helping women through my blog and passion, maintaining great friendships. Adulting is SO HARD. Add in parenting, no wonder we struggle right?

I have finally realized something…. it’s okay. It’s okay to ask for help. To struggle sometimes, feeling overwhelmed and unsure. To admit that it’s too much, that I need rest too.

I’m not weak, I’m strong and I’m brave, because I fight the odds. I’m raising two brave and beautiful kids who love me no matter how I’m feeling; unconditionally through the good or bad. I remain positive (99% of the time) and continue to do what’s best for myself and for my family…. each and every day.

If there’s ever a day you feel you aren’t good enough or strong enough, please remember this. Tomorrow is a new day, thank God!

With each new day I hope to be the mom, wife, person I need and want to be without limitations.

To anyone else struggling, I’m here. You are not alone. You are God’s masterpiece just as you are. 

To connect more with Danielle, check her out on her blog Coffee, Grace and Tomato Paste or over on Instagram!

 

 

Jess’s Story

 

 

These three pictures were taken at very different times. True, they are only a few years apart, but the person in them is different. The first was taken in December  2012, The second in May 2017, and the last, in April 2018. It’s the same person on the outside, but a very different person on the inside.

 The girl in the first picture is scared, haunted by obsessive thoughts and feeling like a bad mother for wanting nothing to do with the baby she can’t believe is hers. This girl would be put on medication for the short term, but then suffered with crippling anxiety and rage long after. This girl was a one and done with children. This girl thinks she just made the biggest mistake of her life. She hates the baby, her husband, and herself. She overcompensates by keeping her house obsessively clean and working out for hours on end. She cooks months worth of homemade organic meals and keeps herself up at night making homemade graham crackers. She is not me anymore.

 The girl in the second picture can’t believe she did this again. She can’t believe she’s feeling this way again. She had it right this time: exercised and ate healthy all through pregnancy, switched from her  OB to a more natural minded midwife, had a natural birth, encapsulated her placenta, took magnesium supplements and had read every book out there. Yet, once again, she’s plagued by sleepless nights, panic attacks, and a crippling depression. She’s heartbroken to see a safe haven sign and learn that she can only drop off a baby 30 days old, and her son is 33 days old. She has visions of dropping her newborn down the stairs. However, she’s  acting as if nothing has changed, and she can totally handle life. She repeats to herself: This is normal. It will pass. She is not me anymore.

 Then that girl got the help she needed. That girl started therapy, found the right medication, and met her people. She made it her job to go to every possible event at the Center for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety disorder. She learned she has struggled with anxiety her entire life. She learned that therapy, meditation, mindfulness, writing, exercise in moderation, medication and acupuncture could help her thrive.

 The woman in the third picture is not without her battles. The difference now is that smile is genuine. Sure, her kids drive her nuts sometimes and she still struggles with anxiety and not having a constant sense of order. But, she knows how to handle it. She laughs more and stresses less. She’s found a sisterhood of amazing women who accept her for who she is. It’s hard work changing her mindset, but she’s committed. She loves her boys fiercely and knows that she was brought to this place for a reason. This woman is me.

Maternal Mental Illness is a REAL thing and 1 in 5 women (at least) will struggle with it post partum. There is nothing to be embaressed or ashamed about. Know that YOU mama are strong and if you, or a mom you know is suffering, there is help out there for you. Mom life is hard. Don’t do it alone!

If these stories inspired or helped you, do me a favor? Make sure you SHARE them! Share this article over on your Facebook or hit that PIN IT button on the image below!

 

Post Partum Anxiety and Depression

10+ Fun and Unique Elf on the Shelf Ideas

10+ Easy Ideas for Elf on the Shelf   Kids love elf on the shelf but it can become a parents nightmare when they run out of fun and unique things for their elf on the shelf to do each day! As parents, we often forget to move the elf, don’t want to take a lot of time...

10+ Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget

Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget Hopefully you’ve been joining us for this series on enjoying Christmas on a Budget. This post is going to focus on homemade Christmas card ideas on a budget! And no, you don’t have to be super crafty to make your own holiday...

Declutter Your Mind + Decrease Stress in 3 Easy Steps

Declutter Your Mind + Decrease Stress in 3 Easy Steps

I once heard that a woman’s mind is similar to an internet browser being open with a million tabs.

 

That sounds exactly what my head is like.

 

I am constantly running through a mental to do list; groceries, tasks, things I need to do months from now, things I’ve already forgotten to do. Honestly it’s exhausting just thinking about all that I think about.

 

Add to all those lists, the fact that my mind is constantly spinning around thoughts, feelings, emotions and these dang post partum hormones, it’s enough to go crazy.


I find myself often feeling stressed, inadequate, and lost in what I am supposed to be doing because my brain is overflowing with information and noise.

 

When I feel my anxiety starting to grow, I am reminded to take a step back and evaluate just what exactly is going on in my head. Which types of thoughts are consuming me? Am I fixated on something? How positive do I feel on a daily basis?

 

And when I realize that my brain is just too full… it’s time to do a clean out of my mind.

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but help me fund this page. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

 

3 Ways to Clean Out Your Mind

 

1. Brain Dump

 

One of the ways I’ve been able to cope with my post partum anxiety better is by doing a nightly and weekly brain dump of tasks. Often my anxiety leaves me with racing thoughts that leave me feeling behind and like I am a failure because I can’t get things done like I ‘should’ be. Getting all of my thoughts down on paper allows me to free up the space for more positive thoughts and a sharp focus on what’s important.

 

I use a really simple template that follows the Franklin/Covey method of organization that not only allows me to dump out all of the tasks that I need to get done but helps me prioritize them so that the next day, I can actually attack the things that matter… not just the things that other people need me to do or that I think are priorities but are really just procrastination techniques.

 

 

Using these quadrants (drop your email below if you want to download your own copy of this sheet) I can get down all of the thoughts of tasks that I need to complete, projects I want to work on, or goals I am dreaming of.

 

Quadrant 1 contains all the things that are important AND urgent to complete. This could be something I have to pick up from the store for dinner the next day or a work email I have to write or respond to first thing in the morning.

 

Quadrant 2 is all of the things that are important but NOT urgent. Examples of what could go in this block include things like plan your child’s birthday party, make that dentist appointment for next month, or work on your meal plan for next week.

 

Quadrant 3 includes things that are not important BUT urgent. Now I’m not saying some of these examples aren’t important to someone.. But they just might not be to you. This could be things like make those homemade cupcakes for the bake sale tomorrow (because you know you could just buy them right?) or go out of your way to pick up something a family member MUST have at the store near you.

 

Finally, quadrant 4 contains all those things in your mind that are not important and not really urgent at all. Let’s call these ones ‘time fillers’ or ways you procrastinate. This could be the fact that you want to rewatch all of Grey’s Anatomy before the new season starts or rearranging your closet.

 

By using this form when I do a nightly or weekly brain dump, it saves me time because, as I write things down, I can categorize them and refocus myself for the week with getting done the things that must get done and that matter!

2. Evaluate Your Circle

Another great way to start to clean out your mind is to see who you’ve been spending time with.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the people in my life a lot, but there are some who are just energy vampires.

Do you ever stop and evaluate the mood YOU are in after you talk to specific people? Are you irritated? Does spending time with them cause you to complain or gossip more? Does your productivity stop when you have certain friends stop by for a little bit?

We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with, and when you notice your brain getting more full of stuff that doesn’t matter, such as gossip or negative thoughts, you should stop and see who you’ve been around.

If you primarily around people who complain a lot or always play the victim, you’ll find that to be what happens to you as well. If they are people who get stuck in other’s drama or always gossiping about what they see on social media, I bet you find your head getting clouded with the same types of thoughts. And if those people aren’t very ambitious or goal oriented.. Well you get the picture!

That being said, I don’t think you need to just cut people out of your life but I do think taking a “space break” is not a terrible idea. When I realize and can pinpoint which people in my circle seem to be changing my mood or mindset the most, I either take some time away from talking to them (I may even unfollow them on social media for a while) or I try to become more aware of how I am changing as a results in spending time with them.

Sometimes just a day or two is enough to get your head on straight, let you put on your positivity panties, and get moving! Other time, you may need to do a long term reevaluation of the role that person plays in your life and how you see the relationship continuing.

3. Add in some Positivity

Once you’ve emptied your mind of the clutter and negative influences, it’s time to add in some positivity.

I firmly believe that your thoughts become your belief system and when you are able to put in as much positivity as possible into your brain, all those negative thoughts don’t stand a fighting chance!

I am a HUGE believer in getting in at least 10 minutes a day of personal growth or development. This can be reading a book, listening to a podcast, or hearing someone read an audio book! You can pick and choose what types  of things you want to hear and need at the moment and dive in! Here is a list of some of my top positive mindset books for moms to get you started!

Another great way to add more positivity into your mind is to add in some positive affirmations! I have been doing this for a few months now and it really has done wonders to change my mindset!

 

I read one a day and repeat as needed! I have affirmations now in my planner, on my fridge and as the lock screen of my phone! My favorite is this set of Positive Affirmations for Moms!

 

Anytime your brain needs a break, you feel overwhelmed, and the stress of the day to day is cluttering your thoughts, I highly recommend taking a deep breathe, putting on some music to help you relax and taking some time to clear your mind and prime it for positivity! It’s worth it to take the time to ‘slow down to speed up’ and take care of you!

 

Think this advice can help someone else??? PIN IT or SHARE IT now!

10+ Fun and Unique Elf on the Shelf Ideas

10+ Easy Ideas for Elf on the Shelf   Kids love elf on the shelf but it can become a parents nightmare when they run out of fun and unique things for their elf on the shelf to do each day! As parents, we often forget to move the elf, don’t want to take a lot of time...

10+ Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget

Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget Hopefully you’ve been joining us for this series on enjoying Christmas on a Budget. This post is going to focus on homemade Christmas card ideas on a budget! And no, you don’t have to be super crafty to make your own holiday...

4 Benefits of Healthy Living

4 Benefits of Healthy Living

Hey you…

Yes you busy mom.

I know that it can be hard to focus on yourself. I know that your needs are the last ones that cross your mind each day. I know it can feel selfish to take care of yourself and your health. I know you feel like you don’t have the time to worry about yourself.

But can I tell you something… YOU HAVE TO.

Taking care of your health is a catalyst into self love and positivity. When you make the conscious choice to decide to care about you, your health, and your mental wellbeing, you take massive steps towards being a more positive and purposeful mom.

I really want to touch on the impact of exercising and healthy eating for us moms. I get that these things are tough to get done but know that when you make the time to get in daily exercise and focus more on your eating, you are setting the example for your family of living a healthy lifestyle.

 

Now that I am 5 months postpartum with my 2nd baby, I realize how much harder it is to get in even just 30 minutes of exercise each day. My demands are greater, I’m more exhausted, and honestly I just don’t feel like it. Once they go to bed, I just want to curl up with some Netflix or close my eyes.

 

But I know, if I take time to take care of me, I am more in love with myself and a better mom for them.

 

 

 

 

So why should you take care of yourself and your health?  

 

 

More Energy

 

Ladies, we NEED energy to keep up with little people. I currently have a 5 month old, a 2 year old and an 11 year old. They keep me on my toes for sure! I need as much energy as possible to keep up with our day to day lives and not drag my feet all day. And while I love a good cup of coffee (or two), I know that I need natural energy to to feel good and keep our ship running tight.

 

In the beginning when you start working out, you get into this cycle of feeling ‘too tired’ to work out. It can be tough for us moms because normally, the only time we have to workout is either super early in the morning before they get up, or after bedtime (that’s my time) when you just want to crash.

 

But know, after 2-3 weeks of exercising at the same time consistently you leave the ‘I’m too tired” stage and join the “Exercise gives me energy” stage.

 

Keep with it and know that the energy moving your body gives you will pay off!

 

 

Less Stress

 

After my second baby (my son Isaiah) I struggled with Postpartum Anxiety. I was having a tough time holding it together, was crying more often than I ever imaged, and felt my stress levels going through the roof. This was also a time when my husband was out of work (for 7 months total) and just thinking about finances had me eating my feelings.

 

 

Once I developed a healthy workout habit, I felt my stress levels decrease a ton. Doing some at home kickboxing, lifting weights in my home gym, and checking in with my virtual accountability groups, made me instantly feel less stressed and more in control.

 

 

Adding in healthier foods to my day to day diet also changed things tremendously with my anxiety. On the days I may have ate more processed foods or had a binge, my anxiety was through the roof. When I had times I stuck to whole foods and used my food to fuel my body and not my emotions, I felt amazing.

 

So if you are like every other mom out there and have stressors coming at you every few minutes, know that by taking care of your health you are healing your body not just physically but mentally. Yes, living a healthier lifestyle can help you live longer to be with your kids but it can also make your mental health feel more in control and balanced.

 

 

Confidence

I spent my daughter’s second birthday party hiding from the camera. I was 3 months postpartum with my son and haven’t lost any of the baby weight. Between the holidays, postpartum anxiety and stress eating, I was the same weight I was the day I gave birth.

 

And I was embarrassed.

 

I missed out on so many moments because of how uncomfortable I felt in my skin. I didn’t want to be in any pictures, I was wearing the same 3-5 outfits because they were the only things that I felt semi comfortable in, and I would cringe every time my husband touched me.

 

My confidence was at an all time low and I was miserable in my own skin.

 

But here is the thing. This had nothing to do with the number on the scale. That was just a number. If pregnancy taught me anything, it was how amazing my body was and I finally broke through of the tie I had to that dang number.

 

What it had to do with was my confidence. I felt like a failure because I knew that not having taken care of my health truly meant that I was failing myself and my family. I knew that, for me, it meant I was not making myself a priority because I didn’t think that I mattered at all.

 

I found myself avoiding going to meet up with friends, or wanting to even leave my house because of how I looked. When I walked in the store, I would look at my feet and just assume everyone was judging me since i still looked 6 months pregnant. This weight was not only affecting me physically (it was seriously hard to get up the stairs, let alone carry 30+ pounds of kids at the same time) but it was mentally making me beat myself up each day.

 

I had stopped loving myself. I had stopped believing I was worth the time and effort it took to gain control of my health again. I had stopped feeling like myself.

 

Once I began to workout regularly and cook myself and my family healthier meals, things changed. I was proud of myself for working hard, I was proud of myself for taking a little more time to get our meals set for the week, I was proud because I knew that I was working each day to love myself more.

 

The confidence you gain when you take care of yourself plays out in so many places in your life. You don’t realize how much of a hit your confidence has taken until you start to make changes to take care of you.

 

 

More Positivity 

 

Once you start to take care of your health , your mood will start to dramatically change. For me, taking care of me with healthy eating and exercise can turn me from being Ta Ka to Te Fiti in just a few minutes.

 

The other day I was so cranky. I was tired of my daughter tugging on me and everything everyone was doing was getting under my skin for no reason at all. My husband asked me kindly “did you workout yet today”? I realized at that point, I hadn’t. Actually, I hadn’t dont anything for me at all today.

 

So I stopped, laced up my sneakers, and got to work. I didn’t have a lot of time so I streamed a 30 minute cardio kickboxing workout, got rid of my stress and ended the workout feeling so accomplished and proud of myself.

 

I stepped out of that gym red in the face, sweaty and with a big smile on my face.

 

Exercise give you happy endorphins and a huge byproduct of that is a happier attitude and mindset.

 

And here is the thing, as moms we set the mood and atmosphere in our home. When we are negative, naggy, and always in a bad mood, it impacts our family. I had a period before I started to take care of myself when I could feel my family walking on eggshells around me. I could tell that they were worried that I might change the mood of the room with my negativity.

 

That is no way to live, for both them and me. Taking care of you will change your mindset, change the mood in your home, and allows you to be a role model for your kids.

 

Would you rather their role model be one that is negative or one that is positive? You’ll impact them no matter what, so it’s up to you to decide how!

 

 

I preach self care for a lot of reasons, and I listed 4 of them above. When you take care of your body and your health  you start to believe in yourself more, you believe that you can accomplish more, you believe that you are worth the time and effort to take care of yourself and you love yourself more.

 

When you believe all of those things, you accomplish more, you’re more productive and you start to see your UNLIMITED potential.

 

If you find yourself stuck in a rut and not sure where to start, can I encourage you to start with focusing on you and your health. Get in a little bit of exercise each day or start to change some of your habits to be healthier. Over time, you’ll start to see things shift and change and you’ll believe in yourself more.

 

You are worth prioritizing your health so can I encourage you to just believe in yourself today? I’m giving you permission to take time to love yourself today, for you, for your health, for your mental well being, and for your family. YOU ARE WORTH IT.

Want to get started on healthier habits NOW?? Head over and get my E-Book and start prioritizing yourself TODAY! 

Click HERE to check it out!

10+ Fun and Unique Elf on the Shelf Ideas

10+ Easy Ideas for Elf on the Shelf   Kids love elf on the shelf but it can become a parents nightmare when they run out of fun and unique things for their elf on the shelf to do each day! As parents, we often forget to move the elf, don’t want to take a lot of time...

10+ Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget

Homemade Christmas Card Ideas on a Budget Hopefully you’ve been joining us for this series on enjoying Christmas on a Budget. This post is going to focus on homemade Christmas card ideas on a budget! And no, you don’t have to be super crafty to make your own holiday...