Pitfalls to Avoid on the Road Back to Work

The road back to work for many of us can feel like entering the enchanted forest from the Wizard of Oz or the Fire Swamp for all you Princess Bride fans; scary, unknown and full of pitfalls. There are numerous places to get stuck along the path to purposeful work and I am happy to share a few that I have navigated.

Here are a few pitfalls to avoid:

 “I’m not sure what I want to do.” 

Many mothers have spent so much time serving others that theydo not know what they really want anymore. If you are unclear about what your purposeful work is, think about what inspires you. Feel free to dream outside the lines here.  What did you like to do as a child? How do you love to show up for people? Focus on what is important to you and activities that ignite your passion.

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Gathering up your life: Transitioning to Fall

September is the new Summer for Moms!

It’s the first week of Fall, but for many moms with young children it feels like summer has just begun.  The kids are back in school full swing and activities have been sorted out.  Moms can take a collective exhale and breathe some new life into themselves. How about taking a few of those precious moments to gather all of the seemingly disparate parts of your life to see how they fit together?  Hint: Even if your kids are not yet school aged, Fall is a great time for gathering.

Gathering up your life

Why is gathering important?  For me being pulled in many directions is discombobulating, frustrating and exhausting. Taking time out to gather up all the activities, to do’s, schedules and desires in my life and putting them into one place is a necessary exercise to get me back on track.

Gathering also helps integrate the seemingly disparate parts of your life. It is difficult to create meaning when our days are filled with pressure and anxiety from work, kids, meal preparation, volunteer commitments, errands, chores and more kids. Spending our evenings flopped in front of a screen doesn’t help either. This constant state of inattention leaves us out of touch with our emotional life and functioning on autopilot. Gathering helps us to understand what is important and creates a framework to ensure that we focus on the important pieces.

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Taking the Hit as a Gift

The Hit

About three months ago, my husband was unexpectedly laid off.  It was a huge blow for him and our family as we were unprepared for this situation.  However, as the news started to sink in, I found myself strangely happy and relieved.  I saw his layoff as gift; it presented an opportunity for him to find a more positive environment where his skills and expertise would be utilized and he would feel challenged.

My aikido teacher, George Leonard, called this awareness, “taking the hit as a gift.”  At various times in life we all receive “hits.”  They can take the form of injury or accident, relationship struggles, career pitfalls, family crises or disappointments.  Some are more forceful than others.  When we receive the hit and label it as “bad” or “negative” we lose the opportunity to grow.  If we receive the hit and look at it as a “gift” we can open up to the possibility to change a pattern, belief, behavior or relationship in our life that is no longer serving us.  We are empowered by this wake-up-call to act in a way that improves our health and wholeness thus embracing the pain or challenge for what it is…an opportunity.

Here are a couple of ways that you can take your next “hit” as a gift:

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A Season of Smart Service: How to Avoid Giver Burnout

Are You a Selfless Giver?

This time of year is made for givers with countless opportunities to offer time, money, ideas, skills and cheer. However, after giving thanks, giving gifts and giving toasts we can be left fatigued or burned out. Burnout looks and feels differently for many of us, but for me it typically surfaces with feelings of resentment, lack of interest and sloppy work with little follow-through. If you have a giving personality, you’ve probably felt like this from time to time.

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Reentering the Workforce on Your Terms

Picture this, you have been given a gift of two free days to spend as you would like, without your children or spouse. How would you choose to spend those days?   I would choose to work!  Yes, work is what fuels my soul and how I show up in the world outside of my family.  I, like many people, have a to-do list that is a mile long.  I also have dreams of girl’s weekends with spa treatments.  However, working gives me a place to express my ideas and have my talents validated by that other important thing…money!

Does this sound familiar?

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Tips for Parents to Transition into Summer

The warm weather in Marin the last few weeks has created a bit of spring fever. Many of us have already been to the beach and hosted early season barbeques. Fueled by this warm weather and the taste of summer, I decided to begin my summer planning. I opened my calendar and clicked through June filled with recitals, graduations, ceremonies and the last day of regularly scheduled activities. Then came July and August. The open weeks stretched out like blank pages in a writing test booklet. Suddenly, I was facing two months with no plans…help!

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Setting Goals From the Inside Out

I don’t know about you, but when those year-end magazine issues appear on the newsstands, a feeling of dread comes over me. I know that I will begin to look back and assess the year according to what I did or did not get around to. I will review the best and worst moments and feel guilty for time lost or time ill spent.

My feeling of dread really sinks in when I review my to-do list. I find it interesting that the items left undone are those I am not passionate about or invested in. Further, these items are not linked to any of my goals, but put on the list out of a responsibility

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The Sustainable Mom

The Sustainable Mom: Building a Stronger Family Through Self-Care
When I first heard the popular saying, “if a mom is happy the family is happy,” I cringed a bit with a sense of yearning and dread. In theory, I know that I am responsible for creating my own happiness and that if I do not attend to my own needs that my family structure suffers. In practice, I have a difficult time putting my happiness and myself first. I also know that I am not alone in this struggle. I would like to share two of the most common challenges to a mother’s self-care and present some strategies

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