Personality Profile

daily habit tracker to feel more confident – #yearofbeautiful


daily-habit-tracker

It’s time to get back on track with my #yearofbeautiful initiative, and this time, I’m working on my goal of FEELING more confident. To do this, I wanted a visual that shows areas where I rock. It will also show areas where I am skipping out so I’m hoping that means if I’m not feeling confident, I’ll get an idea of areas where I could spend a little more time. The visual I drew up today is in my bullet journal (a recent trend in organizing your life and journaling based on this website): Larrie’s daily habit tracker. There are many versions online of something similar or with varying ways to draw it up. In fact, you can even hit up Etsy and purchase designs done by really professional folks. Mine is simply sketched in my little journal with a number of things that I’d like to work on for myself. You can see them all on my rad picture above. I know. So rad. My items fall into four categories:

  1. Personal health: yoga, sleep, water, less sugar, and exercise
  2. Spiritual health: gratitude (#3goodthings tweets), reading, prayers, and temple
  3. Work: monthly projects, freelance projects
  4. Fun: instagram posts, sending birthday cards, doodling, and piano (is that fun?!)

I’m hoping that by the end of the month, there will be a good amount of the squares filled in, but I’m not demanding it. Certainly, some of those items are not daily necessities, though some, I really would like to become such. Maybe, by the end, it will be a gradient going from blank to lots and lots of turquoise. Bring on the turquoise!

How it works (for those that would like a brief explanation):

  1. I have one page in my bullet journal dedicated to September’s daily habits and I’ve entered it on my index page.
  2. I have a list, going down the page, of the items from each of my four areas above.
  3. I have the numbers going across the page for each day of the month.
  4. Using a ruler (let’s look neat here, folks), I drew the outline of my grid.
  5. The dots in my journal create the rest of the grid.
  6. I fill in each square for the item I did on the corresponding day of the month.

What items would you put on your daily habits list? Would you feel motivated by something like this, or overwhelmed?

And as a reminder, here are the past thoughts and posts about my #yearofbeautiful efforts:

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Writing, then forgetting, then finding it again…


I have found my own words, in writing, without memory of writing them.

The first time I can remember this happening was when I was first home from a summer of door-to-door sales. I opened up a tape recorder (because it was the year 2000, yo) to replace the batteries and found a tiny, folded note inside. It was my handwriting. I didn’t remember writing the note.

A few years later, I found a folded up note in my bedroom, tucked under my PC keyboard. I unfolded it to find a poem inside. It was my handwriting. I didn’t remember writing the poem.

This evening, I noticed that there was a draft sitting in my blog posts, unpublished.

“Hmm, what’s this?” I thought.

I opened it. I began reading.

Obviously, I can’t tell if it’s my handwriting, but as I have not given anybody else access nor told anyone the password to my blog dashboard, who else could be composing drafts in The Sciolist?

Was it you?!

Anyway, the draft post is below.

What do you make of it?

I don’t remember writing it. I don’t remember its purpose. It doesn’t seem to have a direction.

Have you ever had an experience like this (or perhaps, multiple experiences?!)?

Do you find record of your past self that you don’t recall?


“Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts, but they keep their butt in the chair. That’s the secretive way. That’s probably the main difference between you and them. They just do it. They do it by prearrangement with themselves. They do it as a debt of honor. They tell stories that come through them, one day at a time, little by little.”

“Just take it bird by bird.” (referencing her dad teaching her brother how to

“If you don’t know where to start, remember that every single thing that happened to you is yours and you get to tell it. If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

“You’re going to feel like hell if you wake up some day and you never wrote the stuff that is tugging at the sleeves of your heart: your stories, memories, visions, and songs; your truth, your version of things, in your own voice. That’s really all you have to offer us and that’s also why you were born.”

Families

Families are hard hard hard no matter how cherished and astonishing they may be.

In all cases that any of us, specifically, were conceived and born. Earth is forgiveness school. It begins with forgiving yourself and then you might as well start at the dinner table.

3 mom myths that fuel my “mommy guilt”


Fake news.

Do you see that phrase often enough these days? I think it’s an outcome of one of the biggest issues we face today: misinformation.

“Beware of the person who can’t be bothered by details,” said William Feather. (Cool name, huh? Bill Feather.)

I’m sure each industry is ripe with misconceptions that are upheld by emotions, personal beliefs, and misinformation. Well, I want to argue that the SAHM industry is also ripe with such misinformation. We don’t know (or care to know) the facts sometimes.

I totally did that with sleep. Initially, I read the baby sleep books, but do you know what happened? My kid did not cooperate with what the book said he should be doing. How rude! Eventually, I had to stop reading the books. I only wanted to read the books that told me exactly what I wanted to hear. If there are facts and statistics about raising kids, I only want to hear the ones that support the things I’m already doing. I only want to hear: “you’re doing this perfectly; you go girl.”

Even with my attempts to ignore literature about the things I don’t do for my kids, my own brain more than makes up for it. My brain likes to remind me of all of my short comings and when it does, I create “mommy guilt” about it. These are based off of emotions, personal belief, and misinformation, instead of something concrete.

With that in mind, here is my list of three things I’ve realized I create “mommy guilt” around. Sometimes, writing them down is good help, or at least good therapy!

  1. Other moms always like their kids. When I look out my windows over to the homes where I know other moms are spending time with their kids, I picture perfect little meals, clean kitchens, organized play rooms, and not-smelling-like-diapers garbage cans. Those moms love and adore every moment with their sweet, little kiddies. Every. Moment. Even the moments when they refuse to nap or they wake during the night for mysterious reasons or they have the worst poopy diaper two minutes before you need to get out the door for an appointment. When I am frustrated about the emotional ups and downs or dealing with a toddler and preschooler all day, I guilt myself for not looking past it all because these small human beings carry my genes. I guilt myself for not living up to the mythical images in my head of my perfect neighbors. I also wonder how in the world those neighbors get the stinky smell out of the diaper garbage cans! Seriously.
  2. Other moms spend a lot of times with their kids–on the floor, even. As I type this, Gabs is taking her nap and Dom is playing on his Kindle. By his self. He watches shows on that without me. He plays games on his own. He tells me about them and I sometimes listen. Do you know what’s happening in my mythical images of the other moms? They’re sitting with their sweet offspring while watching one single episode of Daniel Tiger and they’re talking about the messages of the show. Also, they’ve somehow managed to clean up lunch, put away toys, and fold laundry without taking away from any bonding time. Then, when that one show is over, they get down on the floor with their kids to build trains, pretend with dolls, read stories, draw pictures, and make messes (which will be cleaned up together in a really fun clean up game where the kid learns to pick up after themselves). None of those moms are trying to come up with games that will convince their kids to walk on their back (massage!) or pretend it’s mommy’s nap time, or just play on their own so I can go to the bathroom. Actually, I’m honestly not sure when those other moms use the potty. Probably after bedtime. And only then.
  3. Other moms have it all perfectly balanced. Both of my above points already touched on this part of the mythical image: other moms manage to scrub their bathrooms with bleach, keep the floor under the dining table swept and mopped, workout so they’re back to pre-baby weight, teach their kids discipline while also playing their favorite games with them, and get their own jobs done (whether it’s work or a hobby or church stuff). I, on the other hand, choose to ignore all of the other options on the list each time I focus on one item. For instance: as I write to get some work done, there are probably mountains of Ritz-crack crumbs piled under the table, rings as many and varied as Saturn developing within the toilet bowls, fat cells growing and expanding (but only around my waist!) within my body, and a tablet/screen is raising my kid. But I wrote some blog posts about cyber security and risk management! Oooo.

What would you put on your list? What misinformation do you feed yourself about the mythical perfect moms (or dads) living around you?

Here’s what I’m trying to do to fight the SAHM fake news in my head: recognize my own limitations.

Also, I have some pretty good tribes around for support.

I just asked Dom what game he’s playing on his tablet: chess.

Ha!

3 new things I’ve learned to live authentically


live-authentically

The second item on my #yearofbeautiful list is to live authentically.

Something that I did for that was for a life coach session with the fabulous Julie de Azevedo Hanks. I have an entire page of thoughts and notes from Skyping with her. If you want your own page of notes, I think you should chat with her, too. We had an excellent hour. From all of it, there is a gem that I would like to share with you.

Also, my session sparked conversations with both a good neighbor of mine and also my husband. I have something to share with you from each of those, as well. Ready? Here my three things I have to help me live authentically. As a mom and as a woman.

Do something every day where you feel alive

This came from Julie.

Kids need to see you alive.

I spend a lot of energy caring for my kids. It feels exhausting day in and day out. I lose myself in their demands. I often forget to do something so that ME, MOM, THE MOTHER, feels alive, in FRONT OF THEM. My kids notice when I’m frustrated, exhausted, running low, or short-tempered. So, of course, it makes sense that they will notice when I am feeling happy, accomplished, and ALIVE.

What do you love to do? What are you good at?

By answering those questions, you can make a good list of things to do where you kids can see you alive. My list includes writing, doodling, and playing the piano.

You create their world

This came from Nathan.

So many days it feels mundane to make meals and snacks, clean up after meals and snacks, go through the routine of trying to keep naptimes consistent, struggle through the bedtime routines, and do all of the in-between things like potty training, cleaning up ALL THE TOYS, and consistently discovering new walls, furniture, or lamp shades with Sharpie on them.

This matters, though. My kids feel safe. They feel secure.

Kids that don’t have stability in their lives are forced to live in survival mode. Nathan has seen this a lot working at many of the schools he’s been in. When kids live that way their brain is on hyper alert, their world is a scary place, and they cannot thrive.

At the end of MY  day, I may not feel like I’ve realized any quantifiable accomplishments, but if I’m able to step back and see the day-to-day stability and predictability through the eyes of my toddler and preschooler, then I can see the environment I am creating for them wherein they can be well-nourished.

Your service models the life of our Savior

This came from my neighbor, Nora.

On the morning of my life coaching session, I told her about how I was really looking forward to my appointment and what kinds of things I might talk about it. She told me that she really wanted to hear how it went and I said, deal. Later that day, she emailed me with some of her thoughts. One of these was on how similar the role of a mom is to the life of Jesus Christ. I had not thought of this before. Or at least, not in a concrete way, so reading her thoughts was a big a-ha moment for me.

The Savior cares of each one of us.

I care for each one of my children.

He fed the 5000.

I feed my family.

He washed the feet of His disciples.

I wash hands, faces, snotty noses, and bathe my children.

He healed the sick.

Just last week, I was up in the night with sick kids, holding them, giving them medicine, and praying for their health.

He taught constantly.

I teach my kids constantly.

He gave His life for each one of us.

In a small way, I give my life as I sacrifice my sleep, time, and energy.

So this month, I feel I am doing better at living authentically because I better understand my divine role as a mom, how I’m creating a safe and nurturing world for my kids, and that it is important for them to see me doing things that make me feel alive.

So what things would you put on your “I’m Alive!” list?

The meaningful work of being a mom


meaningful-mom-job

Now hiring: no pay, no quarterly bonus, no promotion, work long hours, no vacations, and difficult working conditions (cleaning the poop out of cloth diapers, yes!). Who would apply for such a job? And yet.

And yet, in spite of the conditions, I chose to be a mom.

And yet, I chose to have a second kid.

And yet, I chose to quit my career and stay home.

And yet, I still choose to be home after doing this for over a year.

And yet, I choose to put my babe in cloth diapers. Because poop.

What makes The Mom a meaningful job?

In my search for ways to be more authentic, I read an article from MIT, “What makes work meaningful — or meaningless” (sorry for the paywall). They came up with five unexpected features of meaningful work after interviewing 135 people in 10 different occupations. When you think of your job (or jobs), do they hit all the right feels for you in these five areas: self-transcendent, poignant, episodic, reflective, personal. Let’s discuss these in list style. Because lists.

  1. Self-Transcendent: Do you feel that your work matters to others more just to yourself?

Being The Mom requires massive amounts of unselfishness. Amounts I didn’t have before and it took time for me to learn to make enough. My kids need The Mom. I try to show them they are loved. I tried to teach them values so they will make a positive impact on our community. If I do good work, I make a big impact on my kids and on how they treat others.

  1. Poignant: Does your work affect you both painfully and deeply?

As The Mom, I am overwhelmed by the array of emotions I experience every single day. When I’m in a moment of negative emotions, I obviously don’t feel appreciative. But turns out, if all I ever experienced was positive experiences, that would steal the rich and challenging times from me. I need those. The experience of fighting through these times creates a sense of meaningfulness.

  1. Episodic: Does your work sometimes feel meaningful, but many times not?

Being The Mom is the most episodic job I’ve ever had. There is nothing emotionally steady about it. It’s not even keel. Not monotonous. Many times, I can only describe it as The Struggle. Meaningful feelings don’t exist for me in those moments. Instead, I feel exasperated and in need of a break. But the ups, man, those are pretty incredible, right? They just come and go. And sometimes, it doesn’t feel like there’s been anything meaningful for days or weeks or maybe months (like the months and months where Gabbi cried from 6pm-midnight, with brief spouts of quiet when we lulled her into scanty sleep). I may work for years and years to try and teach my kids kindness before I finally see one of them take the initiative to reach out to the injured kid in a group. I can’t force them to want to be kind. I can’t force meaningful moments to happen.

  1. Reflective: Do you realize that you’ve experienced meaningful moments after the fact?

It’s often not until we look back on experiences that we realize they were meaningful, so states MIT. So in this area, as The Mom, I am missing out on something that would help me in my job (because I clearly need to add another area of responsibility to my job description!); I am forgetting to reflect on my day. Sometimes I do it, a little bit, when I tell Nathan about some of the things that happened while he was at work. I accompany this with flipping through my phone to show him any pictures or videos I took at the time. But this is only brief reflection. I should improve in this area. Suggestions? When we did chores as kids, my parents would often have us look back at the difference we made when we were done and it was rewarding to see the weeded garden, the clean bedroom, or the folded clothes. Reflecting on The Mom work is more abstract. How do you find time to retrospect on your Mom work?

  1. Personal: Does your work matter to more than just you, but also to the important people in your life?

Yes. It matters to me that what I do matters to the people closest to me. So I think, in this area, I’d like to improve on how I recognize the other parents in my life and the work that they do because I know how much it affects me when somebody tells me, with specificity, about the times that I done good. It’s more than stating: “you’re a good mom.” That’s nice. Now add a phrase full of something meaningful. I’m going to work on this. And I can probably tell myself these things because I want to FEEL more competent.

I’m The Mom. I do things. I do transcendent things. I rock.

Motherhood might smother your authentic self


authentic-momMotherhood can be the overpowering job title that defines you. It’s constantly demanding: breakfast, naptime, middle of the night, when you need to take a poop. Children don’t let you clock out. You have to force yourself to step outside of the role, to take a break, to ask for help and focus on yourself. That’s hard to do.

So at times, I’ve lost myself in motherhood, but not in a good way. Not because I’m enveloped in the smell of a newborn and the rest of the world melts away. Not because I cherish the little hugs from my polite little preschooler. I’ve lost myself in motherhood from exhaustion and sleep deprivation, lack of patience after answering “why?” after “why?” after “why?”, or anxiety from a baby who won’t nap and won’t stop crying. I’ve lost myself in motherhood because I lose track of my personal hopes and dreams.

Motherhood is beautiful, but there’s more to me than raising two small kids.

One of my goals this year is to make it a point to live authentically. I’m on a mission, right now, to figure out HOW.

Any suggestions?

I’ve been asking the internet and I’m on a search for some good books. One book in particular, I’m going to revisit, and that’s Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly: “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

Okay. Authenticity ties into self-acceptance.

Which is another goal this year: FEELING more competent at what I do. My goal isn’t to BE more competent. It’s to FEEL more competent. And that comes back to how I talk to myself.

I’m curious: what do you call yourself when you talk to yourself?

I call myself Larrie.

I don’t know why. I can’t remember when it started. Obviously, not prior to high school, since that’s when my nickname was born (thanks, Jarv). For some reason, when I talk to myself (usually in my head), it’s in the third-person and I talk to Larrie.

I’m typically upset with Larrie. I’m telling her that she’s not competent. I’m reminding her of her mistakes. I’m verbally berating her. Poor Larrie.

Be nice to Larrie.

Larrie is beautiful.

This month:

  1. I will be nice to Larrie.
  2. I will also reread Daring Greatly.
  3. I will research how to live authentically.

Living authentically and feeling competent = beautiful. #yearofbeautiful yo.

If you happen to have any good articles on this, please, send them my way!

#yearofbeautiful


I want to be more positive. I want to be less critical. I want to be more content. I want to be less envious. I want to be more giving, less self-centered, more present, less distracted, happier, and someone I would want to be around. So I’m dubbing this my year of beautiful.
I thought about this while washing dishes the other night. I do have a concern and it’s that I’ll come off like the “perfect little Pinterest mom” who seriously is seriously so blessed. If I’m constantly posting the beautiful things I find, I’m constantly bombarding you with So. Much. OMGawsh. Amazing!

I hope I don’t.

My life is not perfect. I know. And I mean, I KNOW. I’m my worst critic. If being critical was a talent, I’d be in the running for America’s Best. I mean, I can still tell you about my last basketball game, senior year of high school, state playoffs, and I can describe the specific turnover I had just before the half court line and the time I didn’t box out and my player had an offensive rebound and scored. I remember my mistakes.

And I know I’m overly critical of others. This, obviously, is not conducive to flowing relationships. Bad Larrie.

So this year, I will focus on what is beautiful. For me, I expect the learning curve to be steep. I’m really going to try, though. So watch out for my excessive use of my hashtag. Or join in, if you feel so inclined. It is more fun to do things in groups, anyway.

To start my Year of Beautiful, these are my three goals (coming from the self-determination theory if you’ve heard of it):

  1. I will FEEL more competent at what I do
  2. I will live authentically
  3. I will strengthen my connection with others

What a beautiful list. Why thanks!