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Have you ever dreamed of leaving everything behind and traveling the world with your children?

If so, you’re sure to love listening to my conversation with Heather Greenwood Davis, mom of two boys, travel writer and the creator of the blog Globetrotting Mama.  Two years (ish) ago, Heather, her husband and two kids embarked on a year-long journey around the globe, spending time in 29 continents and six countries. Her story is so inspiring for anyone who’s ever wanted to take a risk or do something unusual with their families – and definitely encouraged me to move those “can’ts” out of the way and create the kind of family life I want to live.

Listen now! 

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We’ve started dedicating Monday mornings to a single tip or simple idea to get your week off to a better start. This week it’s my turn! -Sarah

plan a better week
Are you a pen-and-paper planner or a digital listmaker? As I’ve shared here before, I am a bit of both. I love the convenience of “the cloud” when it comes to managing work, home and family life in a streamlined way, but I also cling fiercely to a good old fashioned list.

(There’s nothing that helps sort out a jumbled brain full of tasks and to-do’s like the physical act of writing them down, right?)

But the reality of life in 2014 is, of course, that much of what crosses my desk never actually, um, crosses any desk at all. It pings in with a little notification sound by text or email. It lives online in a shared Google Doc. It hides behind the green Evernote app icon. It unfolds in a Facebook conversation thread. It streams through the speakers in my minivan, which connect via bluetooth to my phone. We live in crazy times, don’t we?

It’s all well and good until the going gets tough. I have my own little systems for staying organized by turning an email into a reminder, or capturing a thought digitally while I’m driving my car. I live by the search function in my email, which allows me to quickly look up that thing Meagan and I were discussing last week that I might have forgotten about. And while it does help to write out a to-do list to get focused for the day or the week, I find that in times where I’ve got a LOT on my plate, there’s only one way to get my brain out of the cloud(s) and onto firm ground where I can begin to make sense of it all.

I start printing stuff out.

Print
Printing a hard copy of something that I usually interact with on a screen has a calming effect. If I can hold it in my hands, mark it up with a pen, and leave it out in plain view on the counter or pin it up on a bulletin board, it seems somehow tackle-able. So during overwhelming times, I print. I print project lists for work, emails from the kids’ schools, and hard copies of my digital calendar. It’s all stuff I can access easily online from multiple devices, but when I feel my digital brain starting to overheat, the hard copies help it seem more manageable.

If your home and work life happen largely online or on-screen and you’re feeling stressed, why not give this a try this week? Here are a handful of ideas of things to print: [click to continue…]

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Every Sunday morning I share a moment from my week and something it illustrated about motherhood, family life, or simply being human. I invite you to set aside a moment out of your weekend for reflection and join me for Sunday Morning Tea. -Meagan

folded laundry

As I write this, a jumble of jeans, shirts, and those elusive clean socks, warm from the dryer and exuding the sort of soapy/outdoorsy smell that can only be generated in a laboratory, is piling up by my feet at the foot end of my bed. It’s been hectic around our house lately, and with my impending book launch I’ve been delegating the tasks of running loads to and from the basement to my husband and kids.

Sure, it wouldn’t be too much to ask someone else to deal with the clean clothes too, but one task I cling to – that I’m loathe to give up during all but the most desperate times – is that much-maligned chore: doing the laundry. And even when my work load makes it difficult for me to do the whole job myself, I still insist on being the one to fold all those jeans and shirts and towels.

I know that might sound crazy. As a working mom of many, I’d be more than justified in sweeping this task off my plate forever, and I’ve definitely got the workforce to take over the job. As a mother of teens, it’s even been suggested to me that I’m doing my bigger boys a disservice by washing their clothes for them.

I don’t disagree that being versed in laundry basics is a necessary life skill, and my boys definitely know how to load and start the washer, run the dryer, fold and put away. It’s just that I rarely – almost never, really – ask them to do it. [click to continue…]

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Heather Reid Podcast Interview
I admit that whenever I find out that a professional actress, dancer, or musician is also a mom, I feel a little jolt of surprise. “How does she do it?” I wonder, for a half second imagining the life of a working performer to be so incredibly glamorous that it couldn’t possibly coincide with piles of laundry and Lego.

But then I get a dose of reality and remember that many people also consider the writing life to be impossibly glamorous, all about scribbling notes on napkins in coffee shops and having “a room of one’s own” (Sounds nice, Virginia Woolf, but it’s not the reality for most of us.)

It’s all about perspective, and the life of a working mother – especially those of who don’t have live-in nannies and household staff – is a tricky juggle regardless of what that work is.

heather reid

So I was so excited to talk with musician Heather Reid for today’s episode of The Home Hour Podcast.

In the show, Heather and I discuss her early roots as a member of the 90s alt-rock band The Murmurs, her transitions along the way (she wrote a musical!) and her life now as a working musician and the mother of twin 4-year-old boys. 

Listen now! 

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We’ve started dedicating Monday mornings to a single tip or simple idea to get your week off to a better start. Enjoy! -Meagan

plan a better week

Yesterday was a lovely day here in Southwest Michigan. The sun shone brightly, the birds sang. The kids biked up and down our alley frantically, as though trying to expel four months’ worth of pent-up energy. 

Which, to a certain extent, I guess they were. Luckily my boys get a decent opportunity to burn off steam between school recess, gym, walking to and from school, sports, etc; but there’s no doubt that we’ve been way more sedentary this winter than we usually are. And poor Clara has hardly been outside at all. I guess at some point, when it became too difficult to maneuver our ice- and snow-covered yard and we were on the 30th below-freezing day in a row and I hadn’t seen the sun in at least a week, I just gave up on the outdoors.

If you also live in one of the regions hard-hit by this year’s winter, maybe you can relate. And hopefully, you are now seeing signs of life, like I am: Sun. Birds. Grass (brown and dead though it may be.)

If so, it’s definitely time to go soak up some of that vitamin D-boosting sunshine, smell the spring air and get the kind of mental boost only those first warm early spring days can deliver.

But if you’re like me, maybe you’ve also gotten a little…out of habit when it comes to going outside. Maybe it almost feels like you’ve forgotten how! If so, here are some ideas to get you back in the spring mentality: [click to continue…]

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Every Sunday morning I share a moment from my week and something it illustrated about motherhood, family life, or simply being human. I invite you to set aside a moment out of your weekend for reflection and join me for Sunday Morning Tea. -Meagan

yogamat

Recently I started working with a wellness coach. It wasn’t something I’d planned – I haven’t been putting much emphasis on fitness or diet over the last few years, but still felt like I was living a reasonably healthy lifestyle. But when my yoga instructor, Kathleen, announced in class that she needed a few free clients to finish up her certification process, I remembered that I would like my pants to fit better and impulsively threw my hat in the ring.

During our first face-to-face session, Kathleen asked me to set a 10-12 week goal. I told her that I would like to make it through one of the more difficult yoga classes at our gym “without dying” and shared that I had been sticking to the gentle yoga classes out of fear that the harder ones would prove to be too challenging for me to make it all the way through without stopping.

“Well, that’s okay,” she said. “You can always go to the mat.”

You can always go to the mat! Of course. This is part of the reason yoga speaks to me so much more than other kinds of fitness classes: the knowledge that the mat is always available to me – that in fact, I am encouraged to use it if I think I need it. [click to continue…]

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how to listen to podcasts.jpg

I’ve mentioned before that podcasts are an important part of my day. They keep me entertained during my “kitchen hour,” make long car rides more interesting, and now that we’ve drastically reduced our cable package, also keep me company while I fold laundry! 

But I have to admit that until very recently – okay, just a few months ago – I didn’t really understand how to subscribe to podcasts or make the listening process more organized. I’d go right to the podcast’s website and listen from my browser, usually. It got the job done, but wasn’t exactly a streamlined experience. 

I’m no Luddite, but I’ve never been big on trying out new apps or programs. I’m more the type who sticks with whatever “works” until I’m essentially forced to rethink my approach – and then I’m usually glad I did!

And so it went with podcasts. As I discovered more and more shows that I wanted to add to my regular listening schedule, I realized I had to find a way to keep them all in one place and make them easy to download and listen to.

I’m guessing some of you can relate, and have wanted to check out those “podcasts” people keep talking about but aren’t really sure how to get started. So I thought I’d share my setup for finding, organizing, and listening to shows so that it might help you. [click to continue…]

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We’ve started dedicating Monday mornings to a single tip or simple idea to get your week off to a better start. This week it’s my turn! -Sarah

fresh flowers in a mason jar

I used to think that displaying fresh flowers in a vase was something other people did. Martha Stewart types, or people with more taste and style than I had, or more disposable income, or a more exciting social life. Every once in a while I would get a bouquet as a gift and enjoy it while it lasted, but the idea of buying flowers for myself seemed somehow excessive or frivolous.

But a couple of years ago, I started making fresh flowers part of my weekly grocery shopping routine. It started with daffodils at Trader Joe’s one spring – priced so low I couldn’t resist them – and at the time it felt like a special treat. At $1.99, though, it was hardly indulgent (a Starbucks coffee cost more, after all), and the cheery yellow blooms lasted a whole week.

plan a better week
Over time, it became a fun little challenge for myself: Could I find flowers for less than $5.00 and make them last all week? It turns out, I almost always could. And here are a few things I discovered in the process: [click to continue…]

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Every Sunday morning I share a moment from my week and something it illustrated about motherhood, family life, or simply being human. I invite you to set aside a moment out of your weekend for reflection and join me for Sunday Morning Tea. -Meagan

holding hands

This week the world was abuzz with the news that Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin are divorcing, announced in what many folks on my social networks seemed to feel was the most obnoxious divorce announcement of all time. The actual notice was brief, vague, and, I thought, classy. But Gwyneth’s choice to title the post “Conscious Uncoupling” – and to follow the announcement with a lengthy description of what conscious uncoupling is and why it’s better than plain-old divorce – definitely rubbed people the wrong way.

I clicked through to the post expecting to be irritated, but reading the accompanying article – which I think it’s important to point out, was written by Dr. Habib Sadeghi & Dr. Sherry Sami, not Gwyneth herself – I actually was surprised by how much of it resonated with me.

I’m not sure I can get behind the idea they seem to be presenting that the human race has evolved past lifelong monogamy – I believe we are more adaptable and capable of long-term commitment than the article suggests – but I definitely agreed with their premise that much of the anger that surrounds divorce is caused by shame and guilt, that we lash out at the other person so strongly because we believe the dissolution of a relationship must equal failure. And the deeper we retreat to protect ourselves from a perceived battle, the more bitter and angry and even meaner we get. 

I certainly experienced that when Jon and I separated and divorced. If you know the end of the story, you know that we eventually reconciled, remarried – recoupled, if you will – and have been back together now for over a decade, with more children, strong, solid, and with all the promises of “happily ever after” that this uncertain life can offer. [click to continue…]

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RookieMoms
If you’re a new mom, you’ve probably found yourself facing some tricky questions, like: how the heck do I manage a trip to the grocery store with a new baby? And wait, once I’ve done my shopping, how do I get both the baby and the groceries back in the house at the same time?

Whitney Moss and Heather Flett started RookieMoms.com to address obstacles just like this one and help moms get out and enjoy more time with (and without!) their babies. On the show today the three of us discuss how the “rookie mom” experience has evolved over the years, the decision to add more babies to the family and how technology is changing motherhood and infancy. 

Also, Kate Hanley is back on the show to discuss simple, quick things you can introduce more serenity into your daily life. From “kitchen yoga” to easy meditation (promise!) you’ll love her tips and be able to put them into practice today. 

Listen now!

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Want to know more? Here are links to some of the things discussed on the show today: [click to continue…]

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