3 Tips to Living a Less Anxious Motherhood

I’m not great at being present. I used to think I was, but I am not really a moment liver in a sense I hadn’t discovered yet.

I’m speaking in relation to my kids mostly, but I guess in my marriage and all relationships too really; I think I could pinpoint my anxiety massively to the fact that I am worried about what will happen “when”.

When I said to my husband that thing in the moment, will he be mad? Focus and worry about it for hours, ask 100x if he’s mad at me. Apologize for random nothingness out of feeling bad for the wrong I did that I’m not even sure if he’s mad at, even though he’s said no 100x.

When I talked that way to my kiddo as he grabbed the jello packet, will he remember his mom as someone who never trusted him to do things? Let this thought sit in my head all day.

When I got mad at my youngest, newly nicknamed Bam Bam, will he grow up remembering his mom giving the oldest brother more attention than him and that mom gets angry when he needs something? Spend too much time with youngest so make up for it, totally alienating oldest, feeling guilty about both, cry later.

When I spend the day cleaning and still am left with a dirty kitchen at the end of the day, we’ve forgotten to do our school work and my kids are clearly deeply needing connection with me but it’s bedtime and I’ve got nothing left, are they going to grow up thinking I never prioritized them and that mom was always busy getting nothing done and ignoring them?

When I get angry and retreat to my cell phone, will they remember a mom who was never really there and that her phone was more important than them?

These are the thoughts that plague my daily existence. There are millions more, all future focused. None here, none now.

And I realized tonight that a future with teenage boys is not a guarantee. What if I lose one? What if they lose me?

Anxiety exists in the future, it doesn’t exist in the now.

It can’t, because there’s nothing to be anxious about if it’s already happened, right?

I told my husband the other day that everything I do as a parent revolves around my relationship with each of them, and what that will evolve to as we grow as a family.

Will they come to me if they want to have sex with a girl but don’t know if they should because they aren’t really sure about the whole God thing and waiting?

Will they come to me if they tried drugs? Will they call me in a bad situation to get them out of it because they trust me?

And if they don’t, it’s because I failed them as a mom right now, in this moment. High stress right?

You see, anxiety is ignorant of people’s ability to make their own choices and the fact that they will struggle with their own things regardless of me.

Anxiety believes everything is the fault of the one feeling it.

Anxiety constantly asks me to relive every conversation, every fight, every moment, every post on social media or blog post because someone out there might be mad at something I’ve said and maybe that’s why no one I love has talked to me in a bit.

I don’t see anxiety often, it can honestly be really difficult to pinpoint and identify. I was not aware of my constant worry of someone being mad at me until recently, yet I recall a situation where the boy I liked in grade 8 and how sick I felt because I thought he was mad at me.

I see depression less. It’s even trickier for me to see. I mean … so I’m sleepy a lot, right? So what if some days I just want to cry. Isn’t that just motherhood? That’s what people tell me. PS you’re not helping.

Maybe that’s why anxiety and depression are so hard for people without them to understand, because those of us who have it often don’t see it either. It takes a lot of work to become aware, stay aware and make the necessary changes on our own.

And really, how can you share something in a way that is understood, when it hides from your own awareness? How do you ask for help with something like that?

And so I find myself in these situations where I’m upset, crying on the kitchen floor at 11:48 PM on  Monday night *ahem current sitch* because it pounces on me every now and again and suddenly I see how it’s been there all along.

If depression were a dark cloud in your heart leaving you sad and heavy, anxiety would be the bug in your ear whispering “what if…” with the worst possible scenario tied to it.

So when I realized that I’m not as present as I thought I was as a parent, or even a partner, this rocked my senses a bit. Parenting is my single greatest joy and challenge; Marriage is hard and beautiful and ever changing. And here I am faced with this reality that the two things I hold dearest in my life, I’m not even really here for.

Part of my morning routine is that I write down my intentions of how I want to show up for my family that day. How can I serve each soul at their highest level by showing up in mine? I am re training my brain to be present focused. Because when we take care of the present, the future comes into focus on it’s own.

The whispers of anxiety are truths, shown as they really happened, but they’re tainted with regret. With guilt. With shame. With snapshots of my future with kids who hate me for the awful things I said / did / made them feel, so my intentions take those truths and align them properly again.

I know rationally speaking, I’m doing great. My kids are well loved. I’m attentive and when I think of it from the standpoint of all I do, I’m a damn good mother and I know I should be proud.  I mean the average parent spends 20 minutes a day playing with their kids and I thought 4 hours of my undivided attention was not enough. So yea, I’m doing ok.

But anxiety doesn’t give a damn about truth.

And anxiety tells me every day that I will never be enough.

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Any other mommas out there feel this way?

No wonder I’m so tired all the time! I’m exhausted thinking about what I just wrote!

And for my lovely friends and followers who will come in and encourage me or their friends feeling this way, know that no amount of kind words, encouragements or incredibly kind words of truth will make this go away. They will be received warmly, probably with tears and immense gratitude, but you cannot compliment away anxiety.

What we have to understand is that if these are not rational thoughts, normal rational advice will never be good enough.

So after all that has been said, here’s my 3 best tips that have nothing to do with encouraging you, for living with mom guilt from anxiety and how to rise above water sometimes just enough, because when you’re having a bad day sometimes that’s all we want. Is a breath. I hope I can offer you that, but in a proactive way. There’s enough out there telling you how to get through the moment, I’m here to help you create a lifestyle around it.

**Please note that I always recommend you speak to your Dr, naturopath, shaman, healer, BFF or the gal doing your hair, WHOEVER, about your struggles. It doesn’t serve you to stay silent. The more you speak up, the stronger you will feel in order to conquer it and the better help you will get**

3 STEPS TO CREATING A LIFESTYLE THAT MINIMIZES ANXIETY

  1. Thank you Jesus can I get an amen for some gratitude! Every morning I sit down and write out at least three thing I am grateful for. I keep going as long as I am moved to and I get my kids on it too. Sometimes they are simple, sometimes they are not, and with the kids we usually end up laughing. I never spend too much time thinking about it and it is the bestway to start the day. If you sit there for 20 minutes just trying to find something to be grateful for, you’re trying to hard. Start with being grateful for the pen to write with and go from there.  This will start to retrain your brain to start looking for the positive things in your day and it might sound small, but the reaction deep within the cells of your body that shift when you start to think positively I swear have the power to cure diseases. Gratitude is medicine. Stop reading and think of 3 things you’re grateful for. Go. Faster.
  2. Get outside and spend some quiet time in your own mind. This is kind of two birds one stone. Every morning I get up and go for a walk with my giant, dog aggressive on leash German Shepherd. I can only walk her in the morning before my husband goes to work, I cannot take her out with the kids, and she must be walked and worked daily. This is a giant time suck of my day, and yet something I have become deeply grateful for. This time alone time is the best dang part of my day. I pop in a podcast for some ofit but I make sure to spend at least 15 minutes listening to just nature. The snow crunching beneath my feet. The leaves crackling with each step. You may not have a dog, you may not have a husband or wife to give you that free time outside alone, but you can find time. I swear your kids will be OK if you step outside your front door by yourself (yes in winter too) in all your jammie glory and just take 3 slow, deep intentional breaths by yourself. Jump up and down a few times and smile. You’d never believe changing your life and mindset was so simple. And trust me, 10 minutes is all I used to get too. It’s been a year and a half of determination to get this sorted for myself, so be patient. It will come.
  3. To do lists. Maybe this won’t help you, but dang it helps me. It gives me clarity on what I need to do in a day and also helps me feel hella accomplished. I put do one load of dishes, start one load of laundry, fold one load of laundry, get groceries, things I have to do and know will get done because it feels so good to cross things off the list because with kids you just don’t know what the day will really turn out like. I also put on my to do list read with kids, uninterrupted for 45 minutes, yoga and go outside along side toilets, scrub bathtub and book dental appointments . I don’t know about you, but mental illness makes me damn forgetful. I used to write brush teeth on my list at the start of this journey. Ask me how my teeth are right now *hint, not awesome*
    I’m not a big fan of putting a lot on my list that I know will be difficult to accomplish in a day. I’m like a 4 task max kinda gal. But I use my lists as a way to take the jumbled mess in my mind and settle it down. It’s like the words are pricked from floating around in my mind and flow out of my pencil onto paper, and there they rest for the rest of the day. If you’re just starting out and you’re like me, go ahead and put everything down on the list that is just self care.My sample list from a year ago was something like shower, brush teeth, put on nice clothes, listen to music I like not just kids music, eat breakfast sitting down. True story. I had to remind myself to do all those things in one morning because it was all just too damn much. So it’s ok if your list starts off that way, it’s a great place to being.

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WOW. So, I could go on obviously because it’s me, but I think that’s enough for now.

I hope if you don’t understand anxiety or depression that you have a deeper grasp on it and that if you have anxiety, I pray my tips help you, because they’ve sure helped me.

Feel free to repeat each step throughout the day as you learn to cope and manage these feelings, and it’s taken me over a year and a half to sit down and write this blog post as I feel freer than ever before. Panic attack free, clean home, having sex again with my husband *we’ll talk more about that later* and doing things I love every day like singing, learning to play guitar and blogging. What is my life that I have so much time to do all these things as a mom who could barely clean a toilet before? My life is damn good. Damn good.

A while ago I started a hashtag on instagram called #unlearninganxiety, because anxiety is learned; we weren’t born this way. Yes, it can run in families, but that is through learned behaviours, not genetics. Genetics are not destiny.

Maybe you’ve had it since you were little, but I promise youit’s not how you have to live for the rest of your life. There is help for you. Medication helps, yes, but I truly believe we should be prescribed the things I’ve listed above as well when talking about anxiety. There are so many more things I could add here but I’ll end with this;

An anxious free life is not only possible, but available to you.

And even though I know words won’t cure it, momma, you’re doing great. And the kids will be OK.IMG-7696

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Would that I had served my God that way

Would that I had served my God the way I had watched my waistline – Thomas Wolsey

“Fitness saved me.”

“Personal development saved me.”

“This business saved me.”

But the one thing that kept ticking in the back of my head was, why wasn’t it God? Or was it? Did He give me all these things? I don’t feel him.

Let me back track a bit in case you don’t know my story…

I’d never been on a diet in my entire life until I got it in my head to do a bikini competition a year after my second child.

I had spent the last 10 years loving health and fitness, being in damn good shape and having never counted a single calorie or ever recall hating my body much or worrying about what I should and shouldn’t eat. The diet world and calorie counting was totally foreign to me.

I was just shy of top 1o out of 200 people in my competition and I still felt I had inches to lose, areas to improve on. I look back and think … what on earth did I see!? What did I think was so awful?

But it’s called body dysmorphia, and your flaws are crippling even if they’re made up.

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#70

Fast forward to now, not quite 15 lbs heavier, a year and a few months post competition and I’m finally falling in love with myself again. I hope you can see the softness in my smile, the bits of joy flecked across my face, because it’s there.

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September 2018; 1 year post competition

It took until probably 8 months post competition for me to hit true burnout. I was trying so hard to maintain my fitness, to maintain my body, it was slipping away from me and I was too tired to hold on.

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June 2018

And so then I was left with this post partum body that was supposed to be gone forever. My happiness was tied up in the fit body I created and then it was gone. And I was left with this … with this message that said fitness and personal development had saved me, but that salvation was temporary and based solely on my high performance, and as soon as I couldn’t perform any longer, well I was ruined.

I was more depressed than ever, and before all you thin body shamers start freaking out because I’m still small and how can a thin person talk about their pain in weight gain etc etc just hold your plus size horses for a second and let me talk.

Ahem.

I was more depressed than ever. My body was slow. Weak. I felt it in every movement. I wasn’t working out anymore, I was eating food I didn’t even LIKE like sugary junk food (the body does weird things to recover from famine) and I felt like a failure. I felt embarrassed to see anyone who knew me, because I was now that mom who let herself go. I see this photo now and am shocked at how differently I saw myself then.

Disgusting. Fat. Ugly. Whale.

I can’t begin to describe to you how I saw myself entirely different then, then I do now. Now? Just a woman wearing a bikini that’s too small for her. But perfectly beautiful regardless.

I was tortured by my mind, by societies rules, by my weight and my pants that taunted me for not fitting anymore.

I’m better now you know.

I haven’t lost the weight, I don’t lift weights or do HIIT workouts anymore.

I yoga.

That is all.

Well and I walk my dog. Hardly a rigorous fitness regime by today’s standards.

How dare I be happy?

And yet, here I stand. A little beaten, a little bruised, but happy.

And I’m haunted by this quote … would that I had served my God the way I had watched my waistline …

Imagine a world where we focus inward, and upward.

Imagine women with the freed up mental space where they aren’t worrying about their bodies, and instead are moving forward in their dreams as fully aware and present beings.

Hell imagine MEN that way too because Lord knows the assault on men’s body image is here too.

So let’s commit together; no more chasing the perfect body. Acknowledge your cellulite as apart of you. Acknowledge that new dip at the bottom of your stomach where your pants dip into. Acknowledge you can’t get even one thigh into your old pants. Acknowledge your weary dark circles under your eyes, and with all of that choose to believe you are worthy of loving yourself.

Let’s not just say it, let’s spend time sitting with our current circumstance. Our goal is to be confident in our body and who we are, so spend time actually feeling into what that feels like. Work up those feelings in your body. Get excited. Picture yourself walking down the street and drum up the feeling of confidence. How do you walk? Head high? Smile on your face?

And then start doing that.

You can live that right now, in the body you are in, and then spend that extra time on your relationship with God, with your family, with yourself. Learn, grow, chase dreams. Your weight should never hold you back.

I am 15lbs heavier, and I have never felt lighter.

 

 

First Day of School

I’ve been nervous for this day. My oldest, A, he’s only 4 and he’s been begging me for school for about 6 months.

He is a dedicated self learner, an intense why asker with a deep curiosity for the world around him.

That was a huge part of our decision to have me, Michelle, be a full time mom and homeschool our boys. We don’t want the why squished out of our kids, the curiosity and natural love of learning … we want to keep those. Cultivate them. Nourish them.

Is school great for some? Sure. But for my husband and I, we know we can give our kids everything and more a traditional school can, and even still. I have been and still am, totally nervous.

I’m not a teacher with a formal education, how am I supposed to do this?

Through the support of a minimalist homeschoolers group, I found that every mom fears the same. We all feel inadequate and at times totally overwhelmed by the thought until we are reminded of how incredibly simple it can be.

Today was the kids first day of school and honestly, it was not much different than a normal day for us.

I picked up a couple pre k math, reading and writing books, some French flashcards and we aim to keep it pretty simple. He is only 4 after all.

We woke up at 7:15 AM (say what now? That’s a sleep in for us!) and started our day with oatmeal and apple slices. We then cleaned the table as a team with the boys taking turns vacuuming up all the crumbs on the floor and then headed to the living room for yoga.

I turned on some kids yoga for the boys on one TV and then continued to do my own from my laptop. This is the first time I’ve put on their own yoga or workout for them while I do mine, usually I try to include them in what I’m doing or join them for theirs but to be honest, I just need my own time and I’m not ready to start waking up before them, so this was a huge win for us today because they loved it so much! And there would be pictures, but my little N (2 years old) is a bit of a free bird. Potty training you know?

After yoga I asked A what he wanted to learn today and he asked for Math. He did 2 worksheets, the first is writing the letter 1 and the second writing the word one. I marked them, gave stickers, we read a story, and called it good.

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A writing the number 1, N colouring; Sept 4 2016

Then came my favourite part. We packed up, headed into the city to a special micro creamery called Made by Marcus for our first, first day of school tradition, getting ice cream. It was a bit of a drive, but totally worth it for the fresh chocolate fudge brownie vegan ice cream, regular chocolate for the boys.

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Vegan Chocolate Fudge Brownie for mom

We were the first ones there, we laughed, played and enjoyed our treat.

This is just as much a treat for me as it is for them, reminding me homeschooling can be lighthearted and we can take it slow, letting my kids lead. Probably with ice cream.

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One day they may ask to go to school, and I’ll never hold them back from taking control of their own education and exploring their learning styles and favourite places to learn. But today, today is for us.

Today is for keeping my boys together so they can continue to grow their relationship before being separated into different classes, for allowing them to get up and run around if they need a break, for choosing what they want to learn and for how long they want to learn it for.

Am I worried I won’t be able to give them everything they need? Yes, but not in the learning sense, because they will be responsible for their learning as well. But in the sense of being organized enough, in actually having the material they want to learn and giving them the structure they love, because they do love some structure and we all need it, but it can be a challenge for me.

But that’s homeschooling I’ve been learning. It’s a journey, it changes year to year, sometimes month to month. We learn together. I learn what their learning styles are and I help them learn what they love and teach them how to learn in a way that helps them succeed. Something that would have been invaluable to me as a kid.

Would you ever consider homeschooling? What’s holding you back?

It’s Been a While

Deep breaths.

A big mug full of hot water to sip on.

Fluffy plaid slippers.

A story on for my son to listen to.

The other is napping.

The cat asleep on the couch beside me.

The dog waiting impatiently for her walk.

This is my life. Moments compiled together which in my head, create stories.

The past 3 years, most of my moments shared on social media have had one goal in mind, creating an income online.

Have they been helpful? Yes, I’m told by many how uplifting, inspiring and helpful my posts have been.They have been vulnerable, real, honest, raw, personal and for me, healing. So I’m not saying it’s been BAD, and making money is also not bad, but I have grown. I have become more aware. And with that, there has been a shift in my heart which has created upheaval in my entrepreneurial journey.

I don’t care anymore about what posts catch your eye, or break the almighty algorithm for more visibility and thus sales and business. More than ever, I want impact, not popularity. I really wanted to belong for a long time, to find somewhere to fit in, to find a group that takes me in and loves who I am.

And I’ve found that. And it wasn’t enough. Because money and finding others to love me never fulfilled me. It exposed the chink in my shell as it were.

It couldn’t sound more cliche or trite than this, but here it is.

I didn’t love myself. I wasn’t content with myself. Money and somewhere to belong is external validation. What if that person leaves my team? What if my income drops? I just kept seeing over and over in my failure that I was still moving forward in joy, in contentment and falling more and more in love with my life.

My idea of success has changed completely!

Success is not six figures, it’s not $500 … success is being present with my kids, even if I’m not able to pay for next week groceries with my #sidehustle. Success is doing what we can, being responsible with what we have and trusting that God will care for my family.

Success is not having my schedule figured out and time blocked perfectly so I can get everything done in a day, but instead it’s having some kind of routine while still allowing flexibility for my kids to be kids, and to create quiet times in our day where we sit down and write, read and listen to stories. Success is being able to relax in the midst of chaos, and not living for the hustle.

Do I want an income that will help my family and give us the lifestyle we dream of? Yes! Of course! But lately that endeavour has felt at the expense of my soul.

Over the past four years I’ve been chasing worldly desires, and left behind chasing God and His desires for my life. I’ve missed passion, I’ve missed worship, I’ve missed being deeply apart of God’s family. He’s never left me, but I in the depths of depression and anxiety I’ve felt invisible and lost.

I don’t know how to create an income online in a way that aligns with my entire soul.

Which is why here, that’s not what I’m trying to do.

I’m here to share.

To create conversation.

To ask important questions like why the hell do we pray when bad things still happen? And are the beliefs I hold actually true, or is the Jesus we think we know a lot more radical and kind of sick of the way we do church right now?

Or … why do so many mothers suffer anxiety and depression now? Is it just talked about more or is it happening more?

Do cell phones and social media kill relationships? Families? What is technology doing to us really? Or is it just some of us?

Can we sell it all and live on the road in a trailer with my kids, dog, cat and WIFI?

Are we robbing our children of roots, childhood friendships and a church home or am I gifting them experiences beyond their imagination and the ability to see that it’s ok to live and be different?

Should we as Christians be vegan? Or look for ethical meat? Does God care? Did God give us animals to consume them?

How do you have sex when you’re tired, depressed, anxious, trying to mom and create an income online? Who are these super women? Why am I broken?

How do you find the fun and carefreeness you had post kids in your relationship now when you have preschoolers and toddlers, mental health issues and no money?

I have so many “oh I’m gunna go there” Things for here.

No more games, no more live videos on FB sharing for viewership.

Blogging aligns with my soul. I feel content here. Undistracted. At ease.

See you next week.

This is gunna be fun.

 

 

• why I was embarrassed by my after photos •

IMG_5178The first set of photos is me one week post competition.

The way I was eating was totally unsustainable for me, and one I won’t ever be doing again, because it’s honestly been a really hard road finding normal again.

The bottom set of photos is me 3 weeks into my new program, which I am LOVING. It makes me feel fast, like an athlete. I feel very strong and capable.

But as it’s been a hard road, I didn’t commit to the nutrition and was surprised I had any results to show at all, which goes to show you it’s about showing up and doing the best you can and just committing to get better every day.

What I didn’t expect was my reaction to my after photo … specifically the bottom right. I was 100% going to change clothes and “fix” what I saw before sharing these outside of my private VIP community, but there’s a lesson here, so underwear and all *sorry* here’s my biggest insecurity.

Love handles.

Now, let me explain.

I believe fitness is a feeling, not a size.

If you’re 300lbs now and you can’t find it within yourself to love and speak kindness to yourself, you’ll feel and see yourself as 300lbs no matter how much weight you’ll lose.

And you’ll continue to speak that way to yourself forever, and you’ll be heavy of heart, even if your body is light. Yes, you’ll have more confidence, but freedom comes from loving yourself in the journey.

I am on my own journey of self acceptance, and I get a lot of flack for NOT being 100% confident in my body because hey, I’m skinny. *ps don’t call people that*

But everyone thinks their problems will be magically solved when their body looks the way they think it should look.

After all, isn’t having a six pack everything?

Well I was really confident and happy in my competition body for one reason, the area I have highlighted in the bottom photo, what I see as love handles, was finally gone.

I had figured it out, and it was unsustainable.

I have had a really hard time accepting my post competition body, more than I did my post baby body  because I know I don’t ever want to live restricted, just to look a certain way.

Why does this matter? Why say anything?

I look at this photo and in my head I KNOW it’s nothing because I’ve done the mind work.

I love myself more now than I ever have, but one day over 10 years ago, someone changed how I saw my body, and now I choose to love what I see, but I’m not sure I’ll ever unsee it.

You see, I did a photo shoot for a local boutique and modelled a bikini, and my photos were photoshopped.

That area I’ve highlighted was so neatly “smoothed out” as she put it.

She put a nice little gap in between my thighs, touched up the imperfect razor burns I had, and it felt icky.

I had no voice then. I had no idea this wasn’t OK.

I remember being SO confident with my body until that day. I was never this fit in high school, but I never once recall being embarrassed by my body. Maybe because my dad has called me beautiful every day for as long as I can remember that I never questioned my worth in that way, but that changed in an instant.

I remember feeling shame as she showed me what she did. I don’t know that I could have described it then but I now know it as a violation.

• My eyes were robbed of seeing the beauty •

That day I became a mean girl to myself.

I have since then always hated my love handles. Hated my lower belly. I started comparing myself to others.

I STILL catch myself, to this day and THIS SIZE sucking in my belly in an effort to reduce attention to that area of my body.

What this means for you? Someone who is maybe bigger than me hoping to one day be fit, toned, thin?

This means your answer to self loathing lies within.

This means you need to re-format your thinking.

It’s time for a shift.

It’s time we rise up and STOP setting these insane standards for our kids, for each OTHER.

It’s time we ACCEPT every body type and every insecurity that comes with each one.

I love being fit.

I love exercising and the power it gives me, heart body and soul. I love connecting to my inner warrior and letting her out as fierce as she can be.

And what I do with that warrior is I fight all the negative thoughts that come my way and I begin to stand in my freaking power and choose to believe that I am beautiful.

I refuse to continue to see my body in a negative light.

• For we are fearfully and wonderfully made •

This has not only helped me with how I see myself, it’s helped me how I see others.

I truthfully didn’t believe fitness was a feeling not a size two years ago.

I judged.

I cringed at certain body types.

I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart, because now that I see women with a healed heart and healing eyes it breaks me that they don’t see their beauty.

To end, I ask that when you work with me, or any other fitness coach, that you do the work.

I ask that you sweat.

That you track your food and that you stay committed to choosing food that fuels the long energetic life you want to live.

I ask that you stay committed and connected to your WHY.

But mostly, I ask that you learn to love yourself.

So that when you look at your photos all you have is love, pride and joy.

With love and grit,
Xoxo
Braids & Brass

Yes it’s your hair; no I won’t make you blonde today

We’ve all been there. And if you haven’t, you probably will be one day.

Your hair is dark, and you want to be blonde. A Kardashian (I couldn’t tell you which one) did it in one day so why can’t you?

I get it, I do. You’re paying, you want it done now and you are frustrated that no one seems to be able to do it.

Let me preface it by saying we are all able to. It has nothing to do with our capability and more to do with our integrity, and the integrity of your hair.

If your stylist knows you and your hair history, the chances of you getting blonde faster is higher so I recommend finding a stylist and getting cozy. Much like a doctor, we keep records of your hair history so we know exactly what has been done, how you keep it maintained at home and what you’re going to do when you’re blonde. This is so valuable for major hair changes so stop bouncing from chair to chair, find someone you like and get over the fact that she books “so far ahead” and be grateful she’s talented and sought after and just pre-book mk?

Now that that is out of the way, let’s move on to reasons a stylist says no to making you blonde in one day:

  1. How much time do you have? Did you book a consultation prior to this appointment and set aside 4-5 hours? Because if you are just sitting down for a colour that’s not going to cut it. Colour corrections are finnicky and if your stylist doesn’t have an assistant, it’s nearly impossible to do if double booked with other clients.
  2. It’s not just the lifting that takes time, it’s the treatments in between, because sure I can maybe make all your hair blonde today, but I just might end up sending it home with you in a plastic bag and a fancy new $600 platinum pixie cut.
  3. On that note, what’s your budget? Colour corrections vary by stylist, salon, experience and product used. There is no guarantee on cost when going into a colour correction and your budget needs to make room for *oh crap you have a ton of hair* or *we need to lift again / highlight* or even better? You have banding weeeeee
  4. More budget … again, treatments cost money and they vary on salons and procedure. There can be a couple done in one visit depending on your process and don’t forget to factor in your new shampoo, conditioner, protein and deep moisture treatments, styling treatments and to do it all again in 4-5 weeks (minus the products, but hey, they run out and you’ll need more)

Here’s the reality, most people don’t have 8 hours to spend in the salon going from black to blonde in one day, nor do they have the budget. It’s much easier to spread it out over a few months, or in my case a year. Yes, I’m a stylist, no I don’t pay your prices for colour and I still took a year.

Why? Because I wanted healthy (ish) blonde hair. Because even with all the treatments in the world, coloured and lifted hair is damaged hair and damaged hair is great! I can’t stand when my hair is too healthy because news flash! It doesn’t style well.

Blonde in my world = volume. Praise the Lord.

Ok, so you have the time, you have the budget, your hair history is with your current stylist and you’ve never coloured your hair at home and she still won’t do it.

Why?

There are no guarantees.

She might be scared to say yes because she knows that some hair is harder to lift (like mine needs two processes in one visit on a root touch up to be platinum) and she knows that you won’t be happy if you don’t leave Gwen Stefani blonde today and we just can’t guarantee it will happen and we truthfully don’t need you going around town badmouthing our work and how “warm it still is” when we exhausted all our options making your blonde dreams come true.

I recommend being willing to spend 2-3 visits going blonde, and hey maybe you get lucky and it happens straight away!

I’ve personally done a technique that got my client to a perfect, healthy platinum blonde in one visit but it was a 5 hour visit and $600 and that doesn’t happen often and people are rarely willing to pay. She was unhappy with the price even though she agreed her hair felt perfect and she figured she could have seen someone else for cheaper and gotten the same result.

Ouch.

So yes, I’m a little leery about taking people blonde because I have personally found if the price isn’t $200 and perfectly white the client isn’t happy, even with a properly discussed consultation.

So if you’re ready to ride the platinum train be willing to:

  1. Manage your expectations for the end result and work for that perfect blonde within a few visits
  2. Pay for it and pay well #notaboxedblonde and expect the “quote” to be loose
  3. Visit in 4-6 weeks (preferably 4) depending on growth and yes, pay for it again.
  4. Be happy with your toner for 1-2 weeks and then wish you had never washed your hair ever
  5. Learn to wash your hair less.
  6. Have photos (pictured is my hair warm and cool; know the difference and show the difference because we all see colour differently)
  7. Trust your stylist

 

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below and submit your hair questions to braidsandbrassfitness@gmail.com 

Health, Wealth and Happiness

I have spent a long time thinking; “I’ll be totally happy when…” 
Don’t get me wrong, I was happy, but I believed I’d be MORE happy when I had more money for clothes, more money to fix broken things, more money for anything. 
I thought my problem was money. I knew it wasn’t the answer but something deep in me ached. A dissatisfaction. 
Today as I type this, my blender works but I have to cover the top with my hand as a piece broke off (I don’t pay for things until they’re completely and utterly irreparable) the magic bullet died, the coffee machine is dying, our TV is second hand and shuts off occasionally, I own 2 pairs of shorts and 6 pairs of underwear. 
All very MINIMAL first world issues that used to feel HUGE. 
I would feel crushed under the weight of all that we “needed” to pay for and here I sit today, content. 
I have found wealth in the strangest of places; in my own heart. It has been building, and will continue to build even greater and the funny thing is, with that builds income. It just comes. 
I HATED when people said true wealth starts inside. Shut up Tony Robbins I want to fly to Tahiti with nothing but my purse and buy everything on my trip! That’s wealth!
And then my eyes were opened. Slowly. Pried maybe. But opened none the less. 
Now I see, truly that wealth is gratitude. Wealth is the daily practice into self. 
Because when I’m connected to myself, I can still my mind and connect to God. Wealth is connection. 


Wealth is the ability to not care about the now in a sense of dread because I am connected to the knowledge that we are on our way up, that God has taken care of us already and that coffee machines don’t matter. 
Lives matter. 
I’m working with people to change deep seeded disbelief  in their value, their ability, their image. 
Getting up early every morning and taking time to run my dog is the single best part of my day, and it allows me to FULLY enjoy the rest of my day. Ok not always fully, but I’m more present and connected with as a mom is a huge gift to my children. 
This practice of biking, not being touched by another person, having the wind in my hair and the smell of the day freshly starting, this is what I have needed for so long. 
This time invested in me, connected to me, has allowed me to see clearly all I have. And that I have all I need and more. 
I’m so excited about this act of getting up and spending time on myself away from everyone and everything that I’m actually developing a 5 day morning boot camp for my team of coaches who are looking to elevate their own lives. 
I believe it’s time to rise; that it’s possible and tangible. 
I believe for the first time in my life I can have it all, and I can give it all to others. 

I’m grateful for the morning, because with it comes two little miracles that give me a reason to invest in myself more than ever. 
Now is the time friends; if you’ve ever considered being a coach on my team now is the time. Just hit contact me and let me know where you’re at, because this training for now, will be  exclusive to my team. Those that have said yes, I’m ready for change; I don’t know how, but I’m willing to try. 
That’s all I need. A small seed of belief that says yes, I think I can. 
With that, together we can change it all. 


On my inner mean girl

“I wish I looked as good as I feel” I said to myself this morning. 
“When people meet me, they’re probably disappointed that I don’t look better than I am” 
These are the thoughts rambling about my head today, and it’s not ok. 
I’m a firm believer that body image affects us all, big or small, because we haven’t dealt with our inner voices that tear us down. 
You can lose all the weight in the world and build all the muscle in the world but if you can’t speak KINDLY to yourself and love yourself in your current imperfections, how on earth can you expect to love yourself when you’re at your goal weight? 
The truth is you won’t. 
The truth is you’ll be disappointed that the girl staring back at you is the same girl, and you’ll be sad. 
You’ll feel good, you’ll have more energy and you’ll have all those things you hoped you’d have, but you’ll still feel not done yet. 
You’ll still feel incomplete. 
Because the real work starts in the heart. 
The real work starts with strengthening your MIND. 
I should wake up and tell myself daily that I look FREAKING AMAZING but instead I’m brought down by this little layer of fat? Maybe it’s just skin? My mind is so bent I can’t even tell you what it is. 
The truth is exercise is important. Eating healthy is important.
But if you lose the ability to move your legs one day and suddenly you have it all ripped from you and you have to sit with yourself every day and you gain a few pounds, are you less worthy? 


Are you less worthy? 


No! You’re freaking not! 
You should wake up every morning and look at yourself in the mirror and think I’M A FRICKEN GODDESS YAAAAAS!  
This is not a mindset reserved for the fit and thin! This is available to everyone right freaking now if you just CHOOSE IT!
Yes still work towards a healthy lifestyle, have strength goals, have Self LOVE goals but for fricks sake love your life and love your damn body. 

What’s wrong with the world where someone like ME has tears in her eyes as she takes these photos? 
If you’re overweight let me tell you, SKINNY ISNT THE CURE TO YOUR LOATHING. 
It’s just not. 
You have to work on you. You have to fight more than weights. More than food. More than sore muscles. 
You have to fight your inner demons. 
And that why so many fail, and that is why so many of my clients succeed. I’m here to tell you, we are worth more. We fight these vicious thoughts. 
We fight. 
I won’t find the love I desire by cutting 700 calories and carb cycling. 
I’ll find it by telling myself every day I’m freaking powerful. 
I’m strong. 
I’m beautiful. 
Here’s to living loved. 

I Am Braids and Brass

My truth:
I am a mom of two! One beautiful 2 year old and one hilariously happy 9 month old.
I workout 30 minutes a day MAYBE 45 depending on my kids moods.
I eat mostly clean and swing in and out of being a total zealot and not caring.
I have gone from results focused, to healthy living focused, back to results focused and am finding my way back into a happy heart focus.
I’ve gained a booty in two months, muscles I’ve never seen on my arms before and quads that are noticeable. I search for more but am pulling back that search for being happy and content while still striving for those goals and not getting lazy in my eating habits.
That is my balance.
I am imperfect and insecure but at the same time strong, mindful and powerful.
I don’t have a lot of money.
I shop sales racks, I buy groceries based on sales and I use coupons.
I shop at thrift stores partly because it’s cheaper and partly because I love finding unique clothes no one else is wearing right now.
I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt in my entire life and I’ve only been lifting weights for two months while expecting the results of someone who’s been doing it two years.
None of my pants fit.
Sometimes I yell at my children when I don’t mean to.
Sometimes I’m the most loving calm mother ever.
I drink Shakeology every day and another protein from a local store that isn’t related to beachbody at all.
I love home workouts, I love going to gyms, I love hot yoga and all things outdoors.
I love getting my nails done when I can afford it, but stick to French tips or clear because I hate nail polish; having my hair the perfect colour is always a must.
I love lipstick, I hate mascara.
I love getting dirty playing outside with my kids, I hate getting my hair wet when I go swimming.
I do not fit in a box.
Accepting that is my transformation.

It started with a dumbbell.
I am Braids and Brass.

I said yes, while my whole being said no…

 

I said yes. I gave my full consent. As the needle went in, as I was cut open and unknown hands entered my body, I felt completely violated even though I said yes.

I’m talking about my c-section on July 30, 2014 when my first son was born. It was to be a day I recalled as the most joyful day of my life, and one day I will not only say it was, I will feel it.

But today is not that day.

Today is my first step towards that goal, by speaking out what I’ve hidden so long in my own heart that it remained a mystery even to me.

I wanted a natural birth. Not for the glory or accolades that come with it from other so called birth hero’s, but simply because I believed it to be the first gift I could give my child; life born uninterrupted.

I was OK with the thought of a life saving c-section. I knew it would devastate me, but not more so than the loss of my son. I had no grand illusions of fighting for an ideal, but what I didn’t expect was to be pressured by those deemed more powerful than myself.

I was told my son was SGA (small for gestational size) and that at 40 weeks it looked like there was low fluid in the womb and I was told he had to come that day by emergency C-Section.

As long as I go into labour, the outcome doesn’t matter.

Understand that I love and respect so much of the medical community, and I believe they had the best intentions for me and my son, but our beliefs on what that looked like differed greatly.

I knew in my heart he was fine. I knew he could stay. He was reading perfect on all NST’s (non stress tests). I could feel my intuition kicking in, my fight. I would not be pushed into this.

My Dr, God bless her, stayed and talked with me for 2 hours. She gave me all her information from her side. Numbers. Statistics. Tests that aren’t proven accurate.

I was set on no. We were headed that way, and then they said something to me that stopped me in my tracks.

He’s fine now, but he could be dead in 24 hours.

Now looking back, I see what that was. Their fear. Not fact, fear.

I was a scared new mom who only wanted my child’s life, and I felt that I no longer had a decision, for if I didn’t do what they said I would be held responsible for the death of my baby boy.

I didn’t have the resolve, the nerve and the self trust I have no to say no.

So I did what I can only describe as complete and total sacrifice of my body, my choice and my rights, for my son.

You see, the entire thought of being cut into and having my baby removed from me was a terrifying thought, and one my entire being screamed no to, and so while I was saying no, I said yes.

I cried for 4 hours leading up to the surgery.

I cried walking down the stairs, into the elevator, sitting in the chair waiting and finally walking into that sterile lonely room alone.

I couldn’t describe it then but I can now; I didn’t cry out of fear … I was crying because what was about to happen to my body was not my choice.

I know that seems contradictory, and consent is a funny thing that way. I signed the papers, I nodded my head, but the answer was no the entire time.

I can only call it sacrifice.

I was willing to let someone violate my body for fear of my son’s life.

I use the term violate because that is completely the feeling I have to this day. I am repulsed at the thought of “a little pressure and tugging”. I was open. My insides were on the outside. If it’s no big deal to you, that’s fine, but to me it is nothing short of violating.

I’m sure had I had a week to really sit with it and make a yes and let that settle in my heart, I wouldn’t have felt this way. But I had 2 hours. I had no time to research.

I had fear.

And then it was over, and as my body recovered, my mind deteriorated. I know now that this was the cause of my anxiety, my spiral into depression. In pictures I smiled, love was there, joy was there, but so was something darker.

It’s why I now (among other things) can’t handle a loss of control; a crying baby I can’t stop and why cutting my finger open 3 days ago and having a Doctor aggressively and against my hearts will dig into my cut sent me hurdling backwards to that sensation of being “done to”.

Because my ‘no’ was perceived as a momentary lapse in courage, not a cry for a discussion of my options.

Because my choice wasn’t real to me.

The only reason I have the courage to write this, is because my husband who sat beside me the entire time for both occasions, who saw me say yes, who held my hand as I cried, completely and entirely validated my hurt. I could never say this without that support.

And after it all, going back to that day almost 3 years ago, I can say truly that I would give myself up to it again and knowingly go through the same demons I fought for a long, dark two years.

And that, according to my husband, is what makes me the bravest woman he knows.

And he is proud of me.

And now I can heal.

I can be proud of me too … because I can look back on it as a mark of courage. I can look at my boy and tell him of the day I gave up my own perceived safety for his.

And that my friends, is a beautiful day indeed.

 

 

**I was able to give birth to my second vaginally on July 8th, 2016; I fought through very similar circumstances which helped form and confirm my feelings on my csection; if you’d like to read the birth story of my second, visit here **