Alexandra Hughes

Coaching Mothers to a Place of

calm & joyful living

Receive 3 simple strategies to joyful calm

Photo credit. John Taylor

Joy & Gratitude

Last night I lay in bed.

It had been a rough day.

An anger moment with my husband.

A feeling of being undervalued by my daughter.

And lots to do before I close “shop” before the long weekend.


I was tired but my mind was buzzing.


Meanwhile, humming around at the back of my mind was this wonderful message I’d heard from the famous Brené Brown:

There is no joy, without gratitude, she had said.


And so, in my desperate pursuit for joy last night

I decided to start practicing gratitude.

To give it a go, anyway.


I snuggled into bed and got comfortable.

I switched the light off.

I ignored my husband’s snores.

I lay on my back, focusing on the weight of my body on the mattress.

I placed one hand on my heart.

I placed the other on my belly.

And I began…


I said to myself:


I am grateful for this mattress.

I am grateful for my husband’s warm body.

I am grateful for his love.

I am grateful for his commitment to me.

I am grateful for his commitment to this family.

I am grateful for his steady job.

I am grateful that he likes his job.


I am grateful for my health.

I am grateful for my body.

For its energy.

For its strength.

For every single cell that works for me every single day.


I am ever so grateful for my children.

Their health.

Their curiousity.

Their forgiveness.

Their love.

Their cuddles.

Their teachings.


I am grateful for the work I love.

I am grateful for the women I come to get to know through this work

Their trust.

Their hearts.

Their commitment.

Their teachings.

Their warmth.

Their friendship.


I am grateful for the house.

I am grateful for the school.

I am grateful…

I am grateful…

I am grateful..


And as I went on, I felt warmer, bathed in this sense of safe sweet security.

There was no doubt about it.

It was joy.


I mean how lucky am I?


Sure, shit happens.

Life is tough.

Motherhood can suck.

Being a wife can suck even more.


But there is always always always something to be grateful for.

And isn’t it amazing that when we are

Perspective shifts

And joy comes.


Take some time to practice gratitude this weekend, Mom.

You may be tired.

You may be annoyed.

You may even feel resentful (for having done it all, or for having put up with more than you needed to)


But know that you can do this.

You can bring the joy back in.

You can feel it.


Because ultimately there is more of the big stuff to celebrate.

And more little stuff to let slide.


One hand on heart.

Other hand on belly.

Breath and be grateful, Mama.


Wishing you all a Thanksgiving laced with love, laughter and JOY,




The Jones’s

In my neighborhood, the Jones’ live in a nice Colonial Revival brick house.


Mr. and Mrs. Jones both have well paying high status jobs.

They have a house they pay a mortgage on.

They have two cars that get them where they want to go.


Mr. and Mrs. Jones have kids, too.

Their kids do well at school

(All “A”s I’m pretty sure).

They do soccer.

They take piano lessons.

They have lots of toys and screens.

They behave.


For fun, Mr. and Mrs. Jones go on family holidays once or twice a year.

They take their family skiing in the winter

The kids go to camp in the summer.


Mr. and Mrs. Jones are good people.

They give to many charity organizations.

They are part of the school’s PTA.


They throw the most wonderful Halloween party every year.


Mr. and Mrs. Jones have a pension and a 401K.

Their kids’ college funds are nicely growing.

And one day they will tell me that their children got into one of the many amazing university’s around here.


Mr. and Mrs. Jones smile.

A lot.


Mr. and Mrs. Jones are not hot heads.


For a long time, I looked at Mr. and Mrs. Jones carefully.

I wanted to own a house like they did.

I wanted to go skiing like they did.

I wanted financial security like they have.

I wanted the nicely growing college fund for my kids, like they have.

And hey, I wanted my kids to behave.


But then something happened.

I don’t know if it was a serious look at my bank account statement.

Or, my Mom’s passing.

Or just maturity?


I stopped looking at Mr. and Mrs. Jones.

I decided to look somewhere else.

I decided to look inwards.

At my own internal radar.

At what I really feel truly, madly, deeply about.


I came to terms with the fact that not only can we not afford to live up to the Jones’s but that I was ok with it.


I came to terms with the fact that we rent the house we live in.

That the garden is in shambles (and that a scruffy look is ok, for now).

That the ski trip won’t happen this year.

That my mid-life career change has put a small damper on the 401K and the growing college fund.

That two cars just feel like too many for me.

That so many toys and screens aren’t what I want for my family.

That my kids don’t always behave – and that’s ok (sort of).

And that, well, I am a passionate woman and hot head

Who does not smile perhaps quite as much as my neighbors.


After spending years trying to live up to the Jones’s,

I got tired.

I woke up.

I decided that my job, my house, my kids’ schedule, the way I give and the way I live is my own.


It is not the Jones’s life I’m living.

It is not Pinterest’s images I’m replicating.

It is not Facebook smiles I’m looking for.


For better or for worse

Mine is a messy stressy life full of



Exploratory learning,


Love and Connections.


And for this, for the mess, stress, mistakes, passion, learning, celebrations, love and connections I am thankful.


So I say to you Mom, when you are making choices, planning and creating your life,

Take a moment to breath, deeply, slowly and reflect on what is truly, madly, deeply most critical to you right now.

Log out from Pinterest.

Log out from Facebook.

Shut the screen off!

Turn away from the Jones’s

And look inside.


Look and listen.


What do you want to take away from life?

What do you want to take away from this season with little ones?

What are you thankful for?


Take note.


Breath. Deeply. Slowly.


Create a mantra that reflects your deep seeded self-loving values.

Mine are:

Sweet & Simple.

Calm & Joyful.

Love & Connection.

Resume planning.


Let mantra guide plan.






Beloved Mama, when we hold ourselves to others’ standards, to others’ dreams, to external images of perfect and right, we are not only fooling ourselves (perfection doesn’t really exist), we are fueling our shoulditis, not enoughitis and perfectionist tendencies. And this, in turn, fuels the hot head moments and the disconnections they give birth to.


So, I’ll say it again…


Mom, when you are making choices, planning and executive life take a moment to breath, deeply, slowly and reflect on what is truly, madly, deeply most critical to you right now.


Log out from Pinterest.

Log out from Facebook.

Shut the screen off!

Turn away from the Jones’s

And look inside.


Look and listen.


What do you want to take away from life?

What do you want to take away from this season with little ones?

What are you thankful for?


Take note.


Breath. Deeply. Slowly.


Create a mantra that reflects your deep seeded self-loving values.


Mine are:

Sweet & Simple.

Calm & Joyful.

Love & Connection.



Resume planning.


Let mantra guide plan.






I’d love to hear your mantras, Mama. When you are plugged in, please share them on my facebook page or if you are reading this on my website, pop them in the turquoise comment box below when you have a moment.


Sent with hot head hugs and much gratitude (as always),




P.S. As the winter holidays approach, us Moms become so vulnerable to the Jones’s standards. I want this to S.T.O.P.

I want Moms to enjoy, rest and rejuvenate over the December break.

I will be hosting a webinar to help Moms do just that.

Do yourself a favor and join me in my upcoming Webinar to explore 3 simple steps to a sweeter and simpler approach to December holidays. It’s called Ditch Stress and Be Merry. Click here to register. There are 18 spaces left.


Photo credit. Steven Martin

photo credit: J E Theriot

Suffering from shoulditis?

Ok, so if you’ve been following this series, you will now have a few strategies in your toolkit to help you manage those hot head moments, including a great first step in preventing the explosion itself.

Today we are going to dive a bit deeper in understanding some of your personal whys, behind your hothead moment.

(Scroll down to the podcast if you want to plug yourself in and listen rather than read).


Let’s go back a bit…

So we now know 2 things about Momstress and what triggers us during those MOMzilla hot-head moments:

  1. The brain doesn’t distinguish between psychological and physiological danger, and activates the same bodily response in each case

And in following,

  1. How we respond to the event that stresses us is not always about the event, but rather about what the event means to us or what meaning we attribute to the event.


This makes sense, of course, because in modern life we get stressed out a lot even though we seldom face immediate life-threatening dangers.






So, what’s going on?


It seems that stress is less about meeting up with this guy:



Than about looking like this crazy animal:

modern mom slide 8


Because today, in our motherly wisdom (?) we believe and tell ourselves that we have to be everything to everyone.

We should dress fashionably.

We should have Angelina Jolie’s body.

We should not be tired.

In fact, we should have enough energy to support a super sex life

In our should-be super happy romantic relationship.


We should parent consciously

Yet with boundaries

Calm, cool and collected.


We should raise clean, polite, clever, curious, kind children

Who go to soccer, piano, swimming, yoga and a plethora of playdates

With their clever, kind and polite friends.


We should forever be growing as professionals

Living our potential

Changing the world for the better.


And needless to say,

We should eat whole and organic

Run a house that is not only safe and tidy

But stylish and color coordinated.


I mean no wonder we are driving ourselves crazy.


And how on Mother Earth did we allow ourselves to get swept up in all of this?


I call it shoulditis.


Oh, and it doesn’t matter what parenting school or political party you sign up to, Mom.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home Mom, a work-at-home Mom, a work-at-work Mom, a granola-live-in-the-country-attachment-parenting Mom or a let-baby-cry-get-down-to-business Mom, you subscribe to shoulds.

Because every school has shoulds.


I should behave like this.

I should look like that.


My kids should do this.

My kids should like that.


My husband shouldn’t do that.

My husband should do this.


My house should look like this.

This meal should’ve tasted different.


Should. Should. Should.

Barf. Barf. Barf.


And so, my post-barf question to you is: What happens to you when your shoulds aren’t met?


Is this a MOMzilla hot-head moment trigger?

Do you freak out?


I’m an open book and you know it.


I do.

I freak out, I mean.


So, I’ve had to work on my shoulds a bit..

Let them go.

You know…

In order to stop freaking out so much.


Here’s what I did.

I brought those nasty shoulds to light.


With the sun shining down on them, they are more likely to lose their power over you.

(Like a vampire exposed to daylight).


I invite you to do the same.

Bring your shoulds to light using another trick from my toolkit – my shoulditis remedy.

Print out my I Should worksheet and take a moment to list your shoulds


And with them in the light of your consciousness,

Observe how they live in your reactions to life’s little challenges.



Oh! And if you liked this blog and podcast, know that it is part of a series of blogs and podcasts that are designed to help hot head Moms manage hot head moments. Explore them here, or click here to get them in your inbox.

And two big favours:

Please do share your feedback with me – I love to hear from you, and learn to improve my offerings this way.

And please, please, please, if you found this useful, share it with other Mom friends. I’m working to grow my community and would be so grateful if you could spread the word. All you need to do is click on one of the social media buttons below and vavoom…it’ll be sent off into your on-line friend land. Thank you in advance for doing that!!

Hot head hugs as always,



photo credit martinak15

A quick & easy way to prevent Hot Head Momstress Explosions BEFORE they happen

You know when your 4-year old boy is (or was) just about to step into tantrum mode.

You know how sometimes you saw it coming and you could veer it off.

(Ok, so I can count those times on one hand but alas…)

And you remember how veering it off felt oh, so good.

“Phew. What a relief. Life can go on despite him not getting lolly pops for breakfast”, you said to yourself. “Maybe I’m not such a bad Mom after all? Hmmm…”


Well it’s much the same for us hot head Moms.

We can sometimes manage to veer ourselves away from our hot head moments.

And there are indeed, a few tricks of the trade to help us do that.


But for me, most of the time, the easiest thing to stop me from getting lost in that hot head moment is coming at it from a good place.

And by good place, I mean a well-rested, well-fed, having-moved-my-body kind of place.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Benjamin Franklin, said.

Yes, for the most part it’s  about prevention.

Which in turn is all about self-care.




Well, yeah, most of the time.

And maybe I’m on the extreme end of hot-headedness (likely).

But maybe other Moms also have those OMG-how-did-that-little-monster-trigger-me-after-my-relaxation-yoga-class moments?

Or that embarrassing “Get out of here, I’m meditating!!” moment.

Those moments, where no matter how good you are feeling inside and out, a button is pressed and you burst.


I hate those.

Read More

photo credit: Amy McTigue

6 Simple Strategies to Manage that UGLY BAD Mom Moment

You know those moments, those really UGLY BAD Mom moments.

Those Tyranossaurus Rex moments.


You’re tired. You’ve had it.

Blood is rushing through your veins,

your head is pumping,

you see red.


The moment you say something you know you will regret.


The moment you can’t stop.


You know that moment.


Yup, sadly, I know it too.

(All too well!)


See, I’m a hot head Mom.


Now (sometimes) I’m a recovering hot head Mom who, with certain preventative ninja strategies and a strict self-care regime, is equipped to STOP that moment.


Here are 6 quick and easy strategies to help you STOP and CALM in that moment.
Read More


Header Style

Accent Color

Accent Color 2