Alexandra Hughes

Coaching Mothers to a Place of

calm & joyful living

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Stepping out is OK: make family traditions work for you.

So, Friday evenings have always been about taking it easy for us as a couple – even before kids came along.

Post-kid, they have become a bit more about “There is no way I am cooking another dinner! Let’s go for pizza! (In the car N.O.W.)”

So Fridays have become a family tradition: Pizza Night.

But most recently, I have found that outings to our beloved neighbourhood pizza joint have become less enjoyable for me.

But when I’ve resisted this weekly treat, my husband and kids are so disappointed. It has become something they so look forward to.

And so, I have gone along with it FOR THEM.

The thing is, that while I go for them, I am pretty miserable company TO THEM.

I get there so tired, and there is so much noise and havoc (at the table and beyond), that I find it quite exhausting and stressful.

I dish out threat after threat: “If you don’t sit still, there’ll be no pocket money.” “If you don’t stop yelling, there’ll be no desert.” It has stopped being fun.

 

Weekend are full-on for many Moms.

In the old days Fridays used to be the beginning of a respite.

Now, with kids, they are often less relaxing than the weekday routine (for me, anyway).

The house is full of 5 big personalities, their emotions, their needs, their energies. It wares me out a lot of the time.

It has taken me a while to figure out that preparing for them emotionally and mentally is a key factor to having fun family weekends.

 

And I’ve finally come to the conclusion that going out for pizza, is not a good start.

So, I decided to try something new.

I’m stepping out!

 

This last Friday I told my husband to please go ahead and take the kids for pizza WITHOUT ME, and to enjoy it. And I’ll admit…it felt a bit scary. Yikes.

 

I recalled the recent article in the Washington Post, confirming that it is indeed quality time (versus quantity of time) with parents that most positively impacts children.  

“This”, I said to myself, “is what I need to aim for.”

“But you SHOULD do this – it’s FAMILY TIME. It’s your precious family tradition”, I heard.

My “shoulditis” was creeping in.

 

I consciously chose to listen to another voice there and then.

I told myself that it was ok for me to relinquish family time in exchange for alone time doing some beloved NOTHINGNESS that ensured quality interactions later on.

Stepping out was ok- even on pizza night.

I let go of worries that my tired husband couldn’t manage three tired kids in the crowded pizzeria on a Friday night. (“Trust him.”I whispered. “He’ll manage.”)

I listened to the voice that said (and that I’d spoken to one of my own clients earlier in the week!): make choices that serve YOU. It is only when you are best served, that you can best serve others.

I reminded myself that it was OK to be absent from what had become a family tradition. They’d have more fun without me.

Yes, stepping out was good idea.

 

I waved to them as they drove off to the pizzeria, looking back at me slightly confused. (I was breaking tradition, after all?!)

I prepared my salad, poured myself some lemonade and sat on the couch in search of a good HBO series.

 

And guess what? They got back alive and chipper to a responsive Mom who was ready to cuddle (versus the usual Friday night Mom who wants to run away from home).

We snuggled on the sofa – all five of us – and watched a little bit more TV as a family (this is something we NEVER do).

And then we ALL went off to bed in a good mood.

I was out by 9:30 pm and up and ready for a fun Easter weekend by 7!

 

A new family tradition?   Hmmmm….

 

Mom, have you set up family traditions that don’t work for you? Do you need to step out of them once in a while? How can you rejig these with a conscious self-loving “I’m going for quality, not quantity” mindset?

Remember, a happy Mom makes for a happy family!

Listen to that inner voice and make your choices serve you.

 

photo credit: Alessandra Kocman

 

photo credit: Stefan Insam

Guest post: Musings from an introverted Mom

I always tell my clients that in order to have a strong relationships with others, including those that stress them out the most (i.e., kids and partners), it is critical that they develop strong relationships with themSELVES.

A first step in doing so is, of course, getting to know yourSELF.

I met with Jeanine Cogan, The Intelligent Introvert blogger and Coach, a few weeks back and became fascinated with the different experiences of life that mothers have depending on whether they are introverted or extroverted.

I began to ponder. What am I? An introvert or an extrovert?

I didn’t know the answer to the question, but after some self-observation I think I’m figuring it out.

It’s been a worthwhile journey for me – a way to better understand myself, my responses and experiences.

And so I invited Jeanine to write a blog to my Mom community. It’s an invitation to you, to begin self-reflecting.

So today I throw a question out to you – which are you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Read on to learn how introvert and extroverts may perceive of the same every day Mom scenario in totally different ways…

With love & acknowledgment,

Alex

 

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photo source: jenny downing

The business of Mom busy-ness, stress and why we need to relax

busyMOMonTHEgoLife is busy.

Everyone is on the go.

All the time.

But nobody is busier than today’s working Mom (and by working Mom, I don’t necessarily mean paid-to-work working Mom).

My research suggests that mothers in the D.C. area’s top three complaints: lack of time, pace of life and accumulated exhaustion are primary causes of stress – all results of go-go-go busy-ness.

 

The Business of go-go-go Busy-ness & stress

“I’ve never been good at resting, taking time out, or giving in to exhaustion. For years, I bought into the mantra that doing is better than being, that productivity is the measure of self-worth. An active life is a good and laudable thing…”Andréana E. Lefton 

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photo credit: wolfgangfoto

Build Moms’ self-confidence #LikeAGirl

Did you see that great Always #LikeAGirl ad?

Today is International Women’s Day and I was reminded of it.

See, the fact that girls’ self-confidence levels peak at 8 really hit home for me (as a girl’s Mom and as a girl, myself).

Parents work so hard these days to build up their children’s self-confidence – boys and girls alike.

Our efforts are affirmed when we see videos like Jessica’s Daily Affirmation, which go viral on Facebook and Twitter.

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photo credit: protoflux

Toothfairy F&*^-Up

Ok, so Mr. 7 lost his tooth yesterday which he was super excited about.

Sure, I was happy for him but hey, he’s number two and I’ve kind of gotten over the tooth fairy thing as my daughters almost lost all her teeth now.

Plus I was distracted by a couple of other things…lingering thoughts about my husband’s two week work trip, a few workshops and retreats that were coming up – two of which I’d managed to double book. Suffice it to say, my mind was elsewhere.

And Mr. 7 is a fairly quiet boy who simply trusts that the Universe will do as it should, so he didn’t make too much of a fuss about the toothfairy. He simply popped his tooth in the little orange plastic treasure chest the school had given him, slipped them under his pillow and quietly (more than usual), went to bed.

I.e., NO REMINDER FOR ME.

I hardly ever work in the evenings, but needed to finish up on some admin tasks for the biz, so again, with my focus elsewhere, I spent that evening at my kitchen desk sortying stuff out.

And then, off to bed I went – later and slightly more tired than usual.

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