Yeah, I get it. We're crazy. We've had 3 babies in 4 years. I understand that we are not your normal family with one of each and spaced apart nicely. I get it that we don't do things that others see as "normal" and our family marches to the beat of our own drum. We definitely like to make our own choices. So why did we do it? Simple. We wanted to.
Our first two are only 15 months apart. This was a difficult transition, simply because we had to learn to juggle, balance, and get used to having more than one baby constantly needing something. It was two in diapers, two at bath time and two car seats to buckle. During this time, I was working heavily on getting my real estate business rolling and my husband was in the beginning stages of starting his own business so he was working long hours and traveling a lot. I prayed a lot. We were balancing two new businesses and two babies. Literally. But it got easier over time. Much easier.
When our third blessing arrived, we went to "zone defense". For the rest of our lives actually. Two to three was a pretty seamless transition. The "big kids" were able to walk around, do a few things on their own, stay entertained by a TV show when needed and had set schedules so I knew when they would be napping, eating and their bedtime routines were established. We were both established in our businesses by this point so it was easier to work from home and plan our schedules.
Not everyone will understand your desire to have a big family. Not everyone will be happy for you. And that's okay. Our kiddos are such a blessing and have taught me so much about being a Mom and about unconditional love. We are trying to teach them the values of walking daily with God, the importance of attending church on Sundays, the desire to be outside and work hard for what they want. When we are working outside in the yard, they are there right along with us. When I'm cleaning inside, they are doing their part. When we go on a long hike, they are there hiking or riding along. They are experiencing life and it's many lessons by our side.
Life with three littles is not always easy but it's always worth it. They are constant companions, can always keep each other entertained with a game, a "campout" or an imaginary storyline they create. It's so neat to watch their imaginations work and their team building skills come to life. One of my favorite things is watching all three of them playing together. When I'm doing dishes and watching them from the kitchen window, it makes me so happy.
I am also TOTALLY able to relate to my clients with children and friends raising young ones. I think this helps me in my business of selling homes and on my podcast. I love encouraging other Moms, because I have been there. And I'm so thankful to say that though it's crazy, it's crazy wonderful.
"It's not how much time you spend, it's how you spend your time." -Brian Buffini
This year has been full of growth for me. I finally get it. I'm 30 years old ya'll...and I finally get it! Life is all about living intentionally. It's NOT waking up each day to discover what's going to happen to us, it's NOT doing our best when the opportunities present themselves, it's NOT about letting life "happen to us". It's about making the most out of our time and LIVING ON PURPOSE.
We all have the same amount of time in each day. 24 hours. How we prioritize that time is up to us. As moms, we dedicate so much of that time to our children. And that's as it should be. When we own a business, that business is our "baby" and takes a lot of time and nurturing as well. Many days, the 24 hours we are given is not enough. But, we must make it count. Here are the ways I make sure my time is being spent well:
Do one thing every day. This is so important when you have a long-term goal in mind for your business, your family or both! Even though you cannot do it ALL every day. You can do a little bit every day, every single day. If you are trying to grow your business, set a goal to make 5 new contacts every day, write 5 note cards or 5 make phone calls. If you are trying to spend more quality time with your children, read one book per day, sing 3 songs together each day or spend 20 minutes outside together. All the little things will add up to become BIG THINGS.
The key to all of this is to LIVE INTENTIONALLY. Have a purpose behind why you do what you do. When you discover the value to intentional living, that's when your BEST LIFE can begin.
"Make sure you put the BIG things FIRST."
Our pastor, Joshua Cossey, said these words during church service this week. During this message, he spoke about finding your rhythm. He did a demonstration with rocks and sand. In a vase, he stacked up the big rocks first, followed by smaller pebbles and then finally, sand. When the materials were arranged in this manner, everything fit. The foundation was stable, so it had room for the little pebbles and the sand. Lesson- Building your life on a firm foundation (Jesus and his word) allows you to live peacefully and not just survive, but thrive!
In the world of motherhood, we have so many things coming at us at once! Raising the kids, working, taking care of the house, grocery shopping, taking care of our husband, planning the kids' schedules and so much more! We do a lot. There is no doubt. But if we don't build the framework correctly, things will shift and come toppling down all around us! I see it all the time. Mommas wonder why they cannot make it all fit. They wonder why they cannot find balance. Here are the elements the way that I see them:
In order to balance our lives and wear the many hats that are required of us, we must first make sure our foundation is firm. Here is how to build a strong foundation:
Do these things and you will succeed. Build a firm foundation, prioritize your life and make sure your big rocks, pebbles and sand are in line.
This was a tough one to write because I feel vulnerable writing about the past. However, it's been on my heart a lot lately so here I go!
If you're like me, you learned a lot from your past experiences. High school and college were big teachers and even though there were difficult circumstances in each, looking back, I am thankful for them all. Growing up, I was always the young girl who was in charge of the "club". My friends and I would start a lemonade club, babysitters club, bible study club, you name it. And I always wanted to be the one in charge. One thing each of these had in common was that the "popular crowd" made fun of these and laughed at us. I always included whoever wanted to join, all the kids who were mistreated or didn't fit in. I didn't think much of it at the time but looking back, I realize that. People were always just people to me, I didn't separate them based on social status, color or popularity. That's to the credit of the way my parents raised me. When my best friends and I were in junior high, we held bible study at lunch each day, many of the cool kids laughing the background. Later, these same kids would tell me how much they admired my friends and I for our beliefs and bravery.
I don't know how to explain where I fit in. I was not unpopular, but I didn't hang out with the cool crowd. I was friends with everyone. I hung out with my parents on most weekends if I wasn't playing sports. I won Homecoming Queen my sophomore year. I dealt with a ton of jealousy during basketball season. We all know there are mean girls and well, I was surrounded by them. I was defeated often and didn't reach my potential because I let their meanness hurt me. Sports taught me SO much about working hard for a goal, being tough both mentally and physically and accomplishing goals through teamwork. Looking back, although painful at times, most of my lessons learned came from a basketball court.
In college, I was in my element. I was friends with everyone, played all the sports available and was a part of everything! I even won Homecoming Queen during my sophomore year at SWOSU. I loved school, I loved the activities and I loved being a leader. However, there were definitely some mean girls and once again, I let them run over me more than I should have. Fast forward.
Now, I am thirty and thriving. I learned so much from sports, including overcoming jealousy, standing up for myself, being confident in who I am and just believing in my purpose. I have chosen to let the past fuel me. And you know what? It's freeing! I have achieved so much now that I don't worry about jealousy or what others think. I am strong, independent and confident. And those mean girls? Ha! Who's laughing now?
I encourage you to let your past fuel you! Let it be your teacher. Let it make you better.
It's so true that as women, we are fueled by the people we surround ourselves with. Whether that be family, friends or work associates, we become who we hang out with. As Pastor Craig Groeschel says "Show me your friends and I will show you your future".
I have such a passion for inspiring other women to live their best lives! That can only be done when we first change our "circle" to ensure we are surrounded by positive individuals. I'm not saying we can't have friends who are on the negative side or that we can't take a friend out for coffee who is down in the dumps. In fact, it's necessary to sow into other people who need encouragement! It becomes a downfall when you allow these people to influence your behavior and attitude. That happens when we spend too much time in negative situations with negative personalities. Jesus calls us to be "a light unto the World" and we should be! If we don't showcase his light, who will? But, in order to be equipped to do this, we must be surrounded by individuals who motivate, inspire and cause us to be the best versions of ourselves.
In order to do this, we need to periodically evaluate our friend list. It's okay to distance yourself from friends who don't fit well into---you becoming a better YOU! Never, ever burn bridges but put a space in there if necessary, through prayer and following God's leading.
I've been reading a book this week, "Girl Code" and the author, Cara Alwill Leyba, says "Your vibe attracts your tribe". This really stuck with me! I find so much truth in this! When you're positive, you attract positive people. That's just the way it is. When you have a good outlook on life, are happy and wear a smile, like-minded individuals will surface and be added into your circle.
Look for ways to compliment other women. As females, we need compliments every now and then! Tell a friend or even a stranger that you like her outfit, her hair, etc. And be genuine when you say it! This can make a world of difference in someone's day. And when we bless others, we in turn, are blessed.
I am so honored to be surrounded by wonderful women on my Real Estate team. They are all positive, Christian ladies working toward a common goal and I honestly could not be more proud to call them my tribe. I also have several friend groups including my bible study group, real estate friends and friends with kiddos. I make it a point to spend time with each of these groups in order to build relationships and cultivate growth and trust.
Another way we can surround ourselves with positive influences is by reading and listening to good content. Whether that be Christian radio, an upbeat podcast or a great book, these are all avenues to lift our spirits. I love reading books about other female entrepreneurs who have achieved success. I can learn from them and cast a vision for my future. I also love a good podcast when I'm driving. They allow me to zone in, focus and listen to some helpful content. Fill your mind with things that matter!
Be your best, surround yourself with positivity and pour into others. When you feel inspired, you will most definitely be the best YOU.
Being a Mompreneur is wonderful. It's tough. It's great. It's trying.
This is because we are not a full-time 8-5 employee, yet we are not full-time stay-at-home mom either. We blend both worlds into some kind of controlled chaos. This is a picture of me working on a contract while in the airport getting ready to leave for a trip, while also, you guessed it, feeding babies and refereeing toddlers! Just another day in paradise.
Here are the reasons why I love what I do:
1) I feel that I get to give 100% in all areas. My kids, husband, home and career all get my time and I can accomplish this while giving time and care in all areas. This does not mean each gets 100% daily. Some days, my kids get 90% of my energy, other days, I am working on my business and it takes up most of my day. But, you know what? That's okay. Even on these days where the scale tips heavily to one side, I know the other side is taken care of because I have invested my time wisely during other days.
2) I make my own schedule. My schedule does not control me. I work when I want to, vacation when I want to and plan my schedule around my life.
3) I can keep up with my home and do the things I love because of my lifestyle. My hard work allows me to achieve, set goals and reach summits. This gives me the freedom to make smart financial choices, investments and try new things!
While all these things are grand and I honestly would not change my life for the world, there are definitely days that are hard and it's not for everyone. Here are the reasons why it's challenging:
1) I'm needed in all areas. Without a babysitter close by and my husband working full-time, I am my kids' everything. Caretaker, scheduler, chauffer, teacher, coach, you name it. I know many moms can relate to this!
2) I am often working with a baby in my lap. Some days, well a lot of days, are spent sending e-mails, writing contracts and doing paperwork with a baby on my lap, a child talking in my ear while getting sippy cups and emptying the dishwasher, all at once. I kid you not. If you want to be a Mompreneur, you better be a multi-tasker.
3) Sometimes I just want to work. Sometimes I have so much I need to do but my family comes first. Always. My kids are able to help me sometimes and it's great for them to see what Momma does. But, I cannot just hop up and get in the grind! My husband just told me yesterday (after being on a trip with our three kids for over a week) that being home with the kids all day is WAY harder than going into the office! Ha!
With all this being said, is there anything better than being a Mompreneur? We get to run our businesses while raising our babies and it brings so much joy on both sides! I am super thankful for my career in real estate! It has helped me achieve great heights, help so many people find new homes (over 200 in 5 years) and allowed me to fulfill God's calling on my life! I'll be sharing some of my favorite books that have helped me in my journey. I hope they help you too!
My advice for all mompreneurs would be: DO YOUR BEST, WORK HARD and HAVE FAITH.
We are now home from a 9-day adventure with our three children! What an adventure that was! Dragging three little ones across the country for a trip across three states is anything but a "vacation". But, let me tell you, it was full of memories. The kids had a ton of fun, we all came back feeling stronger as a family and we are rejuvenated as we get back into the swing of daily life! I am ready to dive in head first as I get back to work marketing a selling houses, working with buyers and developing "Y'all Are Crazy".
One morning on our trip, we went on a long hike and it really inspired my creativity and my mind went into overdrive. I started thinking about my "life priorities" and lessons I wanted to teach my children. I discovered some things that I wanted to share:
1) Make everyday an adventure- When you're raising little ones, even little things can be super fun! Whether it's going out for a walk, to the park or to the grocery store, make it fun and teach them something along the way.
2) Use daily tasks as lessons- When we were climbing that mountain, my two big kids (3 and 4) on foot, they begin to pout and complain. I encouraged them and told them that "champions were made when things got tough". When we reached the summit, they were so proud. I told them "There aren't many people at the top. It's hard work, it takes a lot of courage and hard work, but SEE, it's worth it". Each task can be used to teach your children a wise lesson.
3) Enjoy the moment- We saw several families with grown kids or with couples all alone. We yearned for the days when our kids are older so we can take them white water rafting or kayaking. But, we also stopped to remember that "it won't be like this for long" and that we need to enjoy THIS stage. Every stage.
Having three babies in four years and traveling often with my real estate career and my husband's insurance business, I have learned a lot about how to travel with kids. I'll share my tips with you here:
1) Always bring a stroller- You can push it all the way to the gate. Even if your kids don't sit in it, you can use it to push your luggage.
2) Bring snacks- Goldfish, Puffs, Fruit Snacks. Whatever it takes to keep them entertained, just do it.
3) Be patient- Most people will be friendly and understanding. Don't sweat it. If your baby cries, don't stress. Do your best and keep your head up. Side note: I had a lady come up to me one night at dinner and tell my friend and I that we were doing an "awesome job". This was after our babies had thrown crackers on the floor, cried, spilled water and everything you would expect. She said "I had babies not long ago and I know what it's like. I just wanted to tell you that you are great Moms". Talk about a pep talk! It definitely made me want to continue this chain of love.
We had an amazing trip full of wonderful times. I'm so glad we went. I'm so glad to be home. I'm so ready for bed. It's go time tomorrow!