THIS Is How You Know YOU. NEED. A. RESET. (Giveaway Inside!)

(Enter to WIN at the bottom of the page!)

THIS is how you know you need a RESET.

The other day, I was working, tidying up around the house, and baking all at the same time. I had a few things to drop off at a friend’s house in the neighborhood, and after I got back home, I ran inside to realize I had 27 glorious minutes to do something – ANYTHING – before I had to go pick the kids up.

You should’ve heard the positive self-talk going on in my head. “You have 27 minutes. You will not waste these precious moments. You will take a look at your 6-page-long to-do list, choose something, and handle it like the boss you are. You will not use this time to scroll Facebook or get lost down the rabbit trail of Insta Stories. You. Will. Not. Waste. This. You can’t afford to dilly-dally, so you will be amazing and have the most productive 27 minutes this side of the Mississippi.”

It went something like that.

 
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And it worked.

So much that I accidentally used 33 glorious minutes (no biggie, right?!), ran out of my house like the madwoman I am, hit the driveway, and jumped back in dismay. My car was running.

“Who in the world started my car? The kids in this neighborhood must think this is some kind of funny joke.”

And then I realized how stupid that sounded. What a lame prank – to start someone’s car and then just leave it in their driveway???

It was me. I had left the car running. For 33 “glorious” minutes. In the driveway. For absolutely no reason except for one.

I need a break. A RESET, if you will.

My brain is so full of all the tasks I’m doing and need to do. So full of my full-time job, my radio job, my writing job, my RESET conference, my What’s True About You Guided Journals that are printing as we speak (!!!!!!!!!). So full of what I wish I could do and have absolutely no capacity to do. And so full of the opportunities and moments I missed being so scattered with all of the other things.

And most importantly, my brain is so full of my family. Their needs. Their schedules. Their dinner preferences and lunch requests. Their struggles and shortcomings. The boy’s diaper changes and his need to learn the alphabet. The girl’s endless “decorating” and her need to learn how to better control her big emotions. The husband’s unmatched socks and his need to settle into a job that he loves.

Oh, and me, too. I guess. I do find pockets of time for self-care, but sometimes self-care feels like sleeping until the kids wake me up instead of setting my alarm and drinking coffee alone in a dark, quiet house. Sometimes I trade the gym for a trip around Target because I’ve been borrowing my husband’s deodorant for 3 weeks.

But mostly, lately, I have traded self-care that needs to come in the form of true rest for the compulsion to check something else off of my list of to-dos.

So I need a RESET.

I’m pretty sure you do, too. You may not have my story and list of demands, but you’ve got your own, and I know it’s heavy. I understand how stressful managing the needs of a family can be. I totally get how buried you may feel as you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.

And underneath your schedule and list and laundry piles, there’s a woman who used to know herself better. A woman who used to feel just a little more free. A woman who feels like it’s selfish to recapture a bit of her former, pre-mama self.

A woman who needs a RESET. I believe it’s wrong for you to feel unsure of how to live life as the very best version of yourself. The process of BECOMING the woman you’ve always been – the one that God created you to be – is a slow, sometimes painful one that feels next-to impossible.

But we’ve got to try. Regardless of our circumstances, our world needs us to be exactly who we are. Not so we can always be perfect, but so that we can be peaceful and present, no matter our surroundings.

 
 

That’s one of the reasons my friends and I created the RESET Women’s Event – that doesn’t suck and isn’t precious. It’s designed for you – the frazzled mom or the put together mom. The confident mom or the no-one-look-at-me mom. The patient mom or the yelling mom. The single mom or the married again mom. The tired mom or the energized mom. (It’s actually designed for all women, from teens to empty-nesters!)

This event is for you. I know not all of you all local to the Indianapolis area, but if you can make the trip, I promise it’ll be so worth it. I’m sure we can rally the troops to find you a cozy guest room at another Mother of the Year’s home.

RESET is going to be fun and funny. But more than that, it will serve as a resource for you to rediscover and learn how to value your voice, tell yourself the truth, imagine and walk into your freedom, and unleash your incredible capacity for love.

So here’s the deal. I want to give YOU AND A FRIEND a ticket to RESET. Here’s all you have to do:

NOMINATE: Nominate either yourself or a friend who needs a RESET. It can be as silly as leaving your car running in the driveway for 33 minutes, or something more significant. You can also nominate more than one person!

ADVOCATE: Advocate for more mamas to enter the contest. The more you tag, share, and nominate, the more chances you’ll have to win!

CELEBRATE: The winner and her nominee will be celebrating all the way to the RESET Women’s Event. And even if you aren’t chosen, you’ll still get an awesome discount.

Listen, I know schedules are busy and life gets a little nuts. If you aren’t local or can’t make September 14th for one reason or another, pretty please take a little time to RESET yourself in the best ways you know how. It’s totally and completely worth the investment!

As always, just in case no one else tells you today, you are a really great mom!

Lisa GraftComment
Motherhood: Expectation vs. Reality, Part 2

Apparently the ole expectation vs. reality blog from last week really resonated with you guys! It’s funny because every single day can become a recipe for disaster if we let our unmet expectations take the lead in our hearts and lives.

And you know how I always say that I LOVE hearing from you guys? It’s true, and I do. Last week I got a flood of emails on this topic, so I wanted to share some of the other ways that we, as mothers, struggle with this concept of expectation vs. reality. My bet is that you’ll be able to find yourself in these stories!

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Mother of the Year Michele shared: MOMMY / DADDY GETAWAYS

On a recent trip to Austin, Texas with my husband, Eric, expectation vs. reality hit me smack in the face. Eric had to work "some" but I expected that we would have plenty of time to connect, in all the ways... uninterrupted... and my love language of quality time would be filled to overflowing.

The next morning, Eric had to give the keynote at his forensics conference, and I had registered myself for it so that I could listen. I waltz up to the table, expecting a welcome deserving of the wife of the keynote speaker (hello, ugly pride rearing its head) only to find that I did not, in fact, have a tag and I was not even on the list of attendees. Eventually someone "got me in" and allowed me to see Eric's speech - hiding in the back row, of course.

I had planned to join Eric for lunch in the speaker “Green Room” and was met with "plus ones are not allowed to use the speaker room amenities, nor the meal services there." I spent the next hour in my hotel room crying.

Overall, we did have fun together in the evenings and I made the most out of my alone time. The trip was not at all what I expected, as far as connection with Eric, but instead it became about connection with myself!! I shifted my expectations to the reality of the situation, after a day of pouting and pity-party-throwing, of course.

Mother of the Year Alexis shared a couple of her struggles, too: DISCIPLINE

Expectation: I have taught students for 11 years (including special education for at least half of that) and discipline has always been my strong suit. I literally had 10 year old boys with rough home lives following me like ducks in a row down the hall during my teaching years. I will most likely have something in this arsenal of experience to get through to my own kids!

Reality: HA! I’m becoming more and more convinced my 4-year-old is a good mix of ADHD and fierce strong will. Whatever I had in my arsenal of experience has flown out the window by now and been trampled on by one of her ridiculous meltdowns. She is not a duck and will not follow me anywhere as if she was. Whatever worked as a teacher has escaped me as a mother, and is mostly just causing me lots of anger and resentment towards my own kid at the moment.

STAY AT HOME MOM LIFE

Expectation: A perfect fit for our family! The home will be so well-run, the children so happy and the husband will come home to a hot dinner every night. And the mother? Of course, she will be home all the time so she will never feel guilt for a night out with friends or date nights. In fact, it will become part of her regular routine because she is always home! That, along with play dates and joining all the local moms groups, will complete her need for socialization.

Reality: HA! Social life consists of daily chats with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Play dates are hard to come by because, at least in my small town, no one else seems to be a stay-at-home-mom. My husband is constantly working overtime to pay the bills since I am no longer contributing financially, and dinners are never hot, maybe lukewarm by the time I figure out how to cook them with 1 hand because baby is always fussy at this time. The 4-year-old would probably gladly see me go out once in a while so we can get a break from each other, but the baby is overly-attached to the boob and her mommy, so there goes that idea!

Yikes.

Last week, I shared, “We can lament that motherhood is not what we expected it to be, and become more angry, anxious, or apathetic. OR, we see motherhood for the messy, beautiful, soul-sucking, soul-filling gift that it is and take on each moment for what it is.”

I still believe that to be true, but I missed something significant. Remember what Michele said about throwing herself a pity party? I think that’s ok. That’s the missing piece sometimes – allowing ourselves to throw our expectations a funeral, bury ourselves in the tissues and globs of snot, and maybe even a loved one’s shoulder, and invite ourselves into the world’s strangest funeral.

My friend and Radio Theology co-host Daron Earlewine calls this the “death of a dream.” And when there is death, there is generally a funeral. A celebration of life. Followed by a burial.

Sometimes, it may not be until you bury and grieve your expectations that you find the freedom to truly live in the reality. Ann Voskamp has this amazing quote that stirs me every time I remember it, and it’s this: “Joy and pain. They are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living.”

And if we want to do anything, as women, as mothers, as wives, neighbors, and friends, it’s LIVE. Really LIVE. So don’t let unmet expectations keep you from living life as the best version of yourself. Keep chasing down your health, your worth, and your freedom from those pesky unmet expectations.

As always, I’m cheering you on! If there’s anything you ever want to bounce off me, my inbox is always open!

ANDDDDDDDDDDDD I’d love to see your beautiful face at RESET: The Women’s Event that doesn’t suck and isn’t precious. It’s right around the corner, friend! Do you have your tickets? (If not, don’t forget to use the code MOTY20 for $20 off!)

Love you guys!

Lisa GraftComment
Motherhood: Expectation vs. Reality
 
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6 years ago this week, I went skydiving for the very first and very last time. As an mild adrenaline junkie -- meaning, I’m never ever going to be a base jumper or anything too extreme – skydiving was ALWAYS on my bucket list. Plus, I got to share the whole experience with my dad, which was everything!

But skydiving wasn’t exactly what I had hoped it would be. See, I had expected to feel the roller coaster stomach drop sensation during our ONE. MILE. DOWN. freefall. But I didn’t. We were falling so fast that I couldn’t even tell we were falling. All my mind knew was that death was imminent.

So for ONE. WHOLE. MILE. (that’s 5,280 feet that you cover in about 90 seconds), I freaked all the way out. I was so out of my mind that I couldn’t even remember how to close my own mouth, so I just kept taking on air as my cheeks flapped.

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What’s the point?

All this reminiscing about a past adventure and a bucket list item checked off got me thinking about why I will never go skydiving again. It’s because it wasn’t what I expected it to be. Had it been what I expected – the thrill and rush of your heart in your throat -- you couldn’t keep me on the ground. I’d be a professional jumper by now, probably performing one of those Guinness Book of World Records where they all hold hands in the air. But it wasn’t, and so I won’t.

A simple case of expectations vs. reality.

Which got me thinking about the biggest case of expectations I’ve ever had blow up in my face. Motherhood.

If we’re being honest, my expectations of motherhood were that, while there would be some challenges along the way, it would come easily to me. So many things in life came easily to me, that it didn’t really occur to me that something I wanted so badly and was created to do, would not.

And the longer I’m a mother and the more kids I have (I only have 2, but sometimes it feels like I’m trying to raise the entire cast of Eight Is Enough), the harder it gets and the less easily it comes to me.

Every single day I question whether or not I’m fit to be a mom. Once a week I wonder if God maybe made a mistake by giving me my kids. Once a month I have a full-out breakdown because I just can’t.

Well-meaning people (read: experienced mothers with older children) encourage me not to wish away these days. They’re right. I constantly fight to stay present, no matter how ill-equipped I feel in each moment. I let myself feel the ups and the downs.

And please don’t get me wrong. There are so so so many wonderful moments filling each day. I love my kids so much I could cry. And sometimes I do. And sometimes they make me cry because they drive me to the absolute edge of my sanity (a quick trip most days!)

Let’s run through some expectations vs. realities, shall we?! And I’ll try to wrap this up in a pretty little hope-filled bow.

(Quick disclaimer: these may not be your reality, but they were and are mine. So just laugh, ok?! And if you can, let me know I’m not alone.)

CHILDBIRTH

Expectation: Childbirth is a magical and glorious process where female warriors birth their tiny angel babies. Sure, there’s pain, but you forget about all that as soon as you hold your precious peanut in your arms. You lock eyes with your tiny one. Instant connection. All the feels.

Reality: Childbirth is disgusting. Every possible bodily fluid is involved in one way or the other. Screaming, sweating, shaking, swearing. Exhaustion. Pushing. More exhaustion. Until your sweet bundle tears through you (literally), and the bloody, cottage-cheesy mess gets plopped onto your chest. Oh, and she smells horrific, by the way. So you let the nurse take her away to do all the things. No eye-locking. No instant connection.

GROCERY STORE RUNS

Expectation: My child will never be allowed to throw a fit in the grocery store. Ever. I mean, obviously these moms have no control over their children. My child will ride in the cart like the angel baby she is. She will say please and thank you, and will not beg for cookies or candy or the Minnie Mouse balloons floating at each check-out lane.

Reality: Grocery store runs with the kids are for the birds. Each of my offspring have each taken their turn(s) transitioning from sweet cart-riders to out-of-control, out-of-their-minds hellions with the sole mission of destroying everyone and everything in their paths – including my dignity. Two words: Kroger Clicklist.

SELF-CARE

Expectation: Bubble baths, dark chocolate, an endless supply of date nights and girls’ nights out. All you really need to do is plan for it, and it will happen seamlessly. With a newborn, you’ll be able to sleep when the baby sleeps. With a toddler, you’ll bask in the glory of the afternoon nap while you paint your nails and catch up on Netflix. With elementary kids, the world is your oyster!

Reality: Self-care is an extraordinary battle to maintain your sanity and identity. Self-care is sacrificial and requires more effort than you think to reap the rewards. Bubble baths are replaced by showers where your kids pound on the door until you let them in. Dark chocolate becomes the 15-second break you get when you hide in the pantry. Still self-care, but not the fill-to-the-brim kind.

Look at this beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness to us! This is a picture (of a print) of one of the pieces of art that is in the soon-to-be-released   What’s True About You Guided Journal  . It’s one of 10 glorious pieces of art with messages that answer the questions What’s True About HIM?  and  What’s True About YOU?   All water colored and hand-lettered by the talented Ami Atkocaitis of  Wellspring Art Shoppe !

Look at this beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness to us! This is a picture (of a print) of one of the pieces of art that is in the soon-to-be-released What’s True About You Guided Journal. It’s one of 10 glorious pieces of art with messages that answer the questionsWhat’s True About HIM? and What’s True About YOU? All water colored and hand-lettered by the talented Ami Atkocaitis of Wellspring Art Shoppe!

Ready for the pretty little hope-bow? Me too.

The way I see it, we have two choices.

We can lament that motherhood is not what we expected it to be, and become more angry, anxious, or apathetic. OR, we see motherhood for the messy, beautiful, soul-sucking, soul-filling gift that it is and take on each moment for what it is.

While I certainly over-dramatized a few of those expectations vs. reality (not the childbirth one. That is real. Very, very real.), I still bring my kids with me to the grocery store. Of course, they each get a sucker to keep them occupied, and my Josie girl helps me look for moms to give Mother of the Year award stickers to. Man, I’ll tell ya. Nothing like looking for the good in another to help you see the good in yourself.

And I still take bubble baths on occasion. Sometimes, for a real treat, I throw a towel over the rubber duckies and plastic boats. I do prioritize date nights and girls’ nights out. And through some deep digging and very hard work, I’ve discovered so many things in my life that serve as self-care and I chase them down as often as I can.

And as for motherhood? Yeah, I’m in the thick of it. And so are you. No matter where you land on the expectation vs. reality scale, I want you to know that you’re doing a great job. You’re the perfect mom for your kids, even when you’re not perfect. Whether you’re in your mothering sweet spot, or you’re praying that you have a sweet spot at all, you’re not alone. You’re awesome. You’re doing it. And God? Yeah, He’s with us and His mercies are new every. single. morning.

And, as always, you are Mother of the Year!

So tell me, do you have an “expectations vs. reality” story? Pretty please, share!

Lisa GraftComment