Thursday, July 26, 2018

Busy As a Badge of Honor

Hi, guys! 

As a (pseudo) entrepreneur, healthy living blogger, and mom, I often receive questions about how I “do it all.” The answer you would expect might include things like:

“I have an assistant!”

“I work on the weekends!”

“I meditate for 10 minutes!”

But the truth is, my response doesn’t include any of the above (although I’m not saying those things don’t work). In fact, when asked how I do it all, all of the time, my answer is:

“I don’t.”

Actually…

“I don’t at all.”

There was a time, however, when I tried to, and I was miserable. Miserable. I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, splitting hours between CNC, DTFN, and NHS – all while trying to fit in time with family and friends, being a mom, and, you know… sleeping. I was certifiably “busy,” perhaps the busiest I’ve ever been – but despite how “important” I felt, I definitely wasn’t happy. In fact, I was stressed out, anxious, and experiencing adverse health effects, like eczema. WTF? 

Despite knowing something was off, it wasn’t until I started reading “The One Thing” by Keller-Williams founder Gary Keller that a lightbulb went off in my head. The book dives deep into why we should dedicate ourselves to the one thing we REALLY love (our “big purpose”) is what will make the most lasting impact on our lives, and Keller emphasizes that distractions can ultimately destroy our dreams. It inspired me to ask myself: What IS my dream? And am I really making it my focus?

I realized that I was doing too many things at once and wearing my overly “can-do” attitude like a badge of honor. I envisioned myself ten years from now if I kept going down the same path – maybe I would have a fancy title and the cash flow that comes with it, but I would likely be exhausted, worn-out, and perhaps alone from alienating the important people in my life, like my husband. Poor Mal went through so much undeserved crap (from me) during this time, and it was definitely a rocky point in our marriage. We both knew I was not the woman he married during this time. 

Ok, that was a little tangent, but this, my friends, was NOT the way I wanted to live. It was SUCH a wake-up call!

At the time, there was no task too large for me, and I mysteriously found ways to get everything done. Waking up at 3:30 AM to work? Uh, yea, it happened a lot. Though, in reality, I had a constant nagging feeling that I would never be able to get it all done. I was definitely having a hard time saying no, and I found that when I did, it was usually to fun stuff like a night on the couch with a movie or happy hour with friends. I’d come to the realization that I was just far too busy, and my schedule was packed to the brim with activities that mostly just overwhelmed me. My insane schedule was impacting my mental well-being, my health, and my family.

I was never a person who wanted to just work, work, and work, but that’s who I was slowly becoming. Was it because work was what truly made me happy? No way, and I think some of it was due to societal pressures to push yourself to achieve career and financial success – no matter what the cost. But what do those things really mean if I can’t even sleep at night due to all the anxious, racing thoughts in my head? It took some seriously self-reflection, but I’ve come to terms that all the money and importance in the world isn’t what I want, and I am ok with a simpler life that allows me to put my efforts into something I am truly passionate about – and that’s my little corner of the internet, right here, and coaching clients one-on-one to find that happy balance between carrots and cake! 

It was hard saying no and eventually goodbye to those projects that I had given my blood, sweat, and tears to. Initially, I didn’t want to step away because doing so meant (in my head) that all of the effort I had put in was a waste because I had ultimately “failed.” Luckily, it took just a few days to see that stepping away allowed me to finally have a little breathing room, and I realized that I’m not a failure – I’m just freaking human.

Now, I marvel at the fact that I have extra time to spend doing what I want – growing CNC by bringing all of the skills I can offer in-house, hanging out with family and friends, or just simply taking a moment to rest and give my mind a break (a luxury I didn’t have when I was constantly busy). My good ol’ spontaneity has also returned – something I definitely missed when every minute of every day was penciled in on my calendar. And now when Mal or a friend wants to grab a bite to eat or a drink, it’s wonderful to not stress about what work I *should* be doing instead. The reality is that work will always be there, but I still deserve to take breaks and step away even when I haven’t checked all the boxes off of my to-do list.

I am sure that many of you are in or have been in the same place. Women, especially, are pressured to “do more” – take care of our homes and families on top of the expectation that we will also excel professionally. Sometimes it’s not even society’s pressure – it’s our own standards that are often unrealistically high. (This is SO me.) It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of “busy” and the way it makes us feel – that we are worth something, that we accomplished something. But I hope you hear me when I say that your self-worth doesn’t come from being busy. For me, I want to be the best version of myself and maybe that version doesn’t include the traditional markers of success. I am happy with the simple life and maybe that’s silly of me or means I’m not “ambitious.” But you know what… I’d rather have my health, my sanity, and a happy family than all the money and success in the world.

I talk a lot about balance in living a healthy lifestyle, but that balance extends to work as well. Zooming around from meeting to meeting, from project to project with no downtime is not balance for anyone. So, let’s take a break. We are enough as is, and we are more than the badge of our busyness. It’s ok to step away and say no, to take a break and say I’m sorry, but this is too much for me. Having minutes, hours, even days where you have nothing on the schedule doesn’t mean you are lazy. We just can’t “do it all” all at once. When it comes down to it, there is no joy to be found in always being busy, and it’s not a badge of honor. It’s simply a sign that it’s time to slow down, rest, recharge, and come back to better the next day!

 

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Day Date to Abby Park + Trillium Brewing Company

Hi, guys!

Mal and I had quite the fun afternoon together. Hooray for summer day dates! 🙂 The nice folks from Abby Park in East Milton Square (the same owners as Novara, which we LOVE) invited us for lunch, so we were more than happy to take them up on their offer!

Back in the day, when Mal and I lived right near East Milton Square, we used to walk to Abby Park for their “Appy Hour,” which is half priced appetizers (Monday – Thursday, 3-6pm), which we were glad to see that they still have today. If we lived closer, we would definitely frequent Abby Park. The bar area is so fun!

Before we walked into the restaurant, I asked Mal to snap a photo “for the blog” (#bloghusband). It was super sunny outside, and I forgot my sunglasses, so we just could not get a good photo. The whole situation was funny and ridiculous (blog life is so weird), so I just had to share – and, hey, OOTD! 🙂

Drinks to start – cheers!

Then, we shared the Mediterranean Plate, which was served with hummus, tzatziki, whipped feta, olive tapenade, and the best grilled GLUTEN-FREE pita. I was so impressed by all of the TASTY gluten-free options Abby Park had on the menu!

My handsome date loved the Mediterranean Plate too and could not stop raving about it!

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For my entree, I ordered the Salmon Burger on a gluten-free roll with a delicious toasted sesame miso aioli. Mmm! I definitely made the right decision with this meal – holy yum! The salmon burger was cooked to perfection and the flavors were spot on!

Mal ordered the Steak Frites and kindly shared his Truffle Fries with me! 🙂

After lunch, we took an adventure to Trillium Brewing Company – my first time! We’re visiting friends on the Cape tomorrow, so Mal wanted to stock up.

We ended up running into some CrossFit friends at the brewery, so we stayed and had a drink with them. I’m not a huge beer drinker nowadays, but the PM Dawn just sounded too delicious to pass up. It was stout mixed with cold brew coffee, and it was incredible!

It was quite the fun afternoon! Have I mentioned I never want summer to end?! 🙂

Questions of the Day

Local readers: Have you ever been to Trillium?

Are you a beer drinker? If so, what’s your favorite kind? 



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New Metal Cups + Straws (So Long Plastic Sippy Cups)

So, I was NOT up and at ’em this morning. Meh. I usually set my Fitbit Versa for 5:01 during the week to wake up before my boys to get some work done, but I slept through my silent (vibrating) alarm. Ugh, sleeping through an alarm is so not like me, but I guess I really needed the sleep.

Even Murphy was surprised that I slept so late. Usually, he has his breakfast promptly at 5:05 AM, but it was past 7:00 AM by the time I fed him. Doesn’t he look like he was wasting away? Poor pug.

Once I fed Murphy, it was iced coffee time. Woohoo! I really look forward to this part of my morning! 🙂

Recently, I’m mixing my morning tumbler with vanilla Ripple milk and collagen. I like the Ripple because it tastes delicious, mixes well with iced coffee and collagen, has 8g plant-based protein per serving, Omega-3s, and more calcium and iron than dairy milk. Fancy, right? LOVE!

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I worked for a little while and then heard Quinn’s bedroom door open. The tiny human was awake, and he slept until 7:40 AM! We put an air conditioner in his room recently, and he’s really digging it on the wake-up front.

Once Quinn was awake, I make us breakfast since we both slept in and woke up pretty hungry. I had cauliflower gnocchi (from Trader Joe’s) mixed with butter, Parmesan, and arugula. Mmm!

After breakfast, I poured myself another iced coffee and got Murphy ready for his morning walk. When I opened the front door, there was a wet package from Amazon waiting for me. Inside was new set of stainless steel cups with lids and straws to replace Quinn’s plastic cups and straws. We’re really trying to reduce the amount of plastic we use in our lives and his sippy cups just do not get clean anymore – no matter how hard we try. Plus, plastic straws are getting a lot of negative attention right now, so we figured we should switch over to all reusable ones. I own a few glass straws, but Mal doesn’t like them, so he was ALL about using the metal ones.

Quinn was pumped too since he got to pick the red cup to use this morning! 🙂

Off to school! 🙂

It’s work time for me, and I need to boogie because Mal and I have a fun lunch date planned later this afternoon!

See ya later!



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Birth 2.0

Word on the street is that first time moms are nervous about giving birth because they don’t know what to expect, and second time moms are equally as nervous because they DO know what to expect!

After my water broke with Mazen…waiting for contractions to start with acupuncture

I am reaching the point of pregnancy where I am starting to realize that my baby is going to have to come out one way or another. It’s kind of a paralyzing feeling because there is no easy way out. I felt a heel or knee the other day – some kind of limb – from the outside and it was HUGE! (I also know that when I am *hopefully* 39.9 weeks along I will laugh that I thought the limb I felt at the end of the second trimester was “huge.”)

MY OTHER RECIPES

I would say in general I am much less nervous about labor this time around. That is partly because I know what to expect (although this birth could go in a completely different direction, I am aware.) But also because I am convinced that it will be shorter and easier than Mazen’s birth. Of the many second birth stories I have heard/read, very few births (if any) were longer/harder than the older siblings’. (Third babies, on the other hand, seem to be a wild card!) In fact, quite a few of the second birth stories I’ve heard have happened in almost alarming short periods of time – 2-3 hours from first contraction to birth, “I barely made it to the hospital” style. That’s not to say that there aren’t tons of second-timer stories out there to prove me wrong, but of the people I know and have talked to, many of the second births took what seems like half the time of the first (while just as intense, as it always will be.) At the very least I am hoping this belief might act as a placebo effect to work in my favor to move things along quickly!

I hoped to have a drug-free, natural birth with Mazen, and that is my plan for this baby as well.

If you read Mazen’s birth story, you’ll find that I wrote the following a week or so later:

So would I go drug free again? I don’t know. A day later I was telling people no. A week later….as I write this story….I think maybe. 3 years from now? I might have the courage to try it again. My number one goal for going drug-free was just to experience what womankind has gone through for ages. That goal has now been achieved. Maybe next time I’ll get an epidural and have one of those A Baby Story labors where the women sleep until they are 10 cm and push with a smile on their faces. But the good news is that I don’t have to choose now or even with my next pregnancy. I will have until I’m in the moment of labor to decide, and if my next labor is anything like this one, I’m guessing I just don’t even think about an epidural as an option. It felt so off limits to me – not because I wouldn’t “give in” but because I didn’t even know how to ask for one, who to call or how it all worked. If I didn’t have time to fix my pony tail, how was I to focus on getting pain relief? It was almost easier just to keep doing what I was doing.

I most definitely have some kind of amnesia about the pain because when I think back to what was hard about Mazen’s birth, I think about throwing up, or how the tub water got cold, or about the loud growling sound that came from my mouth, but I don’t really think about how it felt. I remember an intense all-consuming pain just above my pubic bone and how out of it I was, but I almost look forward to feeling that again. Isn’t that kind of odd? It has to be a hormonal reaction.

When things started to get real…

I am still terrified of long needles. And catheters. And slowing labor down. And feeling out of control of my own body. So epidurals are still a scary option for me. I’ve done natural birth before; I haven’t had an epidural before. So if we’re weighing them equally, I’d rather go down the path I have gone down before.

I did spend some time on a forum reading about 100 posts from people who had had both kinds of birth – drug free and epidural. While there were definitely people who said their epidural was a dream, an overwhelming majority of the people who had had both preferred the drug-free delivery for a variety of reasons: the epidural hurt, it didn’t work properly, they had epidural side effects like terrible headaches, they got more of a natural rush from the drug-free birth, they liked feeling their bodies in the drug-free birth, the recovery was easier, etc. Reading about these women’s experiences having had both options, I’m still not really interested in an epidural.

There are only two ways you could convince me to go into labor wanting one:

  1. If I just had to take a pill or snap a finger – aka there was no needle, no catheter, but the pain would go away. Duh, I’d choose pain free. (I know there are people who say “I couldn’t feel the needle at all!” But there are others who say you can and it was bad, and I have to assume I’d end up with one of those experiences.)
  2. If you could guarantee that I would have a lovely, smiley, pain-free birth that went complication free for both me and the baby. I could tolerate a needle/numbness for that.

But obviously those two things are not possible. To me going drug free again, especially since I am really hoping for a shorter birth, is the easy choice. My whole family thinks I’m a little crazy for wanting to go natural again, Thomas included, but I just have to do what makes me feel most comfortable.

I do feel the need to state that I’m talking about healthy baby, healthy mama scenarios here. That is the most important thing for every mom approaching birth. If I need a medicated induction, pitocin, or a C-section for any reason that relates to the baby’s safety, all of my fears and choices go out the window. But as long as I have a choice, I’m planning to go into this birth with the same plan as last time: husband, doula, natural.

We have arranged for a doula again, although she’s a different one from last time. Jen wasn’t available, and I’ve become friends with our new doula, Betsy, through the gym. She was a childbirth educator for many years, and we’ll be meeting with her once or twice this summer at home so Thomas can learn a bit more about labor and delivery. (I can’t wait to make him squeeze the ice cube to simulate contraction coping!) There is a small chance she might miss our birth because her daughter is pregnant and due a few weeks after me, and if that happens we will put our trust in the wonderful nurses at Martha Jefferson.

Baby Mazey!

In terms of contraction coping, one thing I want to focus on changing this time around is my attitude towards the contractions. Last time they were 90 seconds each, back to back, and I had no break in between. I did a LOT of moaning, yelling, growling – all the loud noises. I do think a certain amount of that was uncontrollable, but I would like to try to relax through them a bit more instead of tensing up so much. I think tensing led me to accidentally pushing, which led to the cervical lip swelling, which probably made my birth a little longer and harder than it could have been. This time I want to try to make my body a ragdoll and really relax into each contraction so they can do their job. (Easier said than done, right?!) But I don’t want everyone in the room to think I’m not feeling anything or not experiencing a tremendous amount of intensity. I’d like for my support team to ask me how I’m feeling on a scale of 1-10 so I can communicate in a short answer like “a nine!!!!” without needing to yell to let them know it hurts. Does that make sense? Again this might all go out the window the second I have my first strong contraction, but it’s something I have been pondering.

I’m also not planning to do any acupuncture this time (unless I am facing a medicated induction the next day) because I think that’s what caused my water to break first, which is not the ideal order of things in terms of pain and pressure! (So I have heard based on personal experiences.)

I’d love to hear your questions and stories about birth!

Links of Interest

Oh Boy!

Oh Joy!

The First Trimester

On Healthy Living While Pregnant

Nesting

Weeks 14-16

Weeks 17-18

Nervous + Excited

Halfway

6 Months



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20 Clean Eating Zucchini Harvest Recipes

Today I’ve got 20 clean eating zucchini harvest recipes for you.

It’s that time of year where zucchini is prolific! And if you’re not careful, it’s easy to have some of them go bad if you don’t… Read more →



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