MomUP Ep. 27 | Fitness, Nutrition & Motherhood with Ashley Wiseman

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I know what you’re thinking. It’s about time! I know many of you have been wishing and waiting for an episode on fitness and nutrition and while I am no expert in that area, I had the privilege of interviewing someone who is! On this week’s episode I got to chat with Ashley Wiseman, a wife, mom of 2 and fitness professional (including both personal trainer and group fitness instructor) and picked her brain on all things food and fitness as a mom of little people.

Ashley has such a neat story and has really worked her way up to where she is today, helping so many women on their journey to healthier, happier lives. Ashley was even sweeter “in person” than she seems (which is hard to believe!), and I feel like our conversation just got better and better the longer we talked. Ashley tells about her background, how she got into fitness and started her entrepreneurial journey, what changed since she’s become a mom and her favorite workout and food tips. I know you’re gonna love this episode! Check out the links below to find Ashley online - she’s a wealth of knowledge and inspiration!

MomUP Ep. 26 | Becoming a Full Time YouTuber Mom with Hayley Paige

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Friends.. I could not be more excited to share this episode with you. I’m gonna go ahead and say that this has to be my favorite interview to date. On Episode 26 I got to interview Hayley Paige Johnson, who is a fellow Charleston mom, wife and full time YOUTUBER. I know some of you will be baffled or even super confused by that idea and if that’s you, you definitely want to listen to this conversation. Hayley and her husband, Doug, were recently able to make YouTube their primary income while also pursuing some other online businesses and I had the privilege of picking her brain and asking her all about it.

We chat about how she got started with YouTube, how they make money, what it’s like to be a mom and a YouTuber and so much more. Not only was this episode fascinating and inspiring (Hayley is the epitome of a girl boss and she’s 100% killing it) but Hayley was SO easy and so fun to talk to, and I totally felt like I was talking to an old friend. If you’ve ever wondered how moms mysteriously make a full income online, Hayley does a great job of giving a real life and detailed view of what goes on behind the scenes of being a YouTuber. Plus once you hear her, I guarantee you’ll be hooked and immediately want to go check out her channel! I hope you enjoy this fun and educational episode with Hayley!

MomUP Ep. 25 | Different Personality Types in Marriage (with my Husband!)

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You’re in for a treat. Today I’m welcoming back my husband and partner in (really low stake) crime, Dustin Raley. We thought it would be fun to discuss different personality types in marriage. Digging into our different personality types has been something we’ve been doing for years, and I would say it’s one of the most helpful things we’ve done for our marriage. So today we decided to dish out everything we’ve learned about have totally different personalities and how it’s helped us build a stronger marriage. Even though your personalities may be different than ours, I hope it’s helpful for you as well!

MomUP Ep. 24 | 5 Self Care Habits That Make Me a Better Mom

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Self care sometimes get a bad rap for being selfish. Allow me to go ahead and squash that ridiculous notion right here and now. Today I'm bringing you 5 ways I practice self care that make me a better mom. And we’re not just talking long baths and mani-pedis (although I’d never turn down a good manicure!) — but more so overall health and well being and why it’s important not to let yourself drown while you’re trying to give motherhood your all. Amen?! Listen below or find Episode #24 wherever you listen to your podcasts! Don’t forget to come find me on Instagram and Facebook - I’d love to hear how you practice self care?!

LINKS MENTIONED:

Episode #20

MomUP Ep. 23 | How to Prioritize Service & Teach Your Kids by Example with Monica Tanner

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Do you often feel like you want to teach your kids to love and serve others but feel confused about opportunities to look for or how to lead by example? Mama, this episode is for you! In today's episode I got to interview Monica Tanner - wife, mom of four, fellow Podcaster and creator of Just Do Some Good - a nonprofit devoted to creating a better online experience by sharing service, kindness and love. 

In this episode, Monica shares all about why this topic matters her, what kids are seeing in the online world today and what we can do to create change and serve others. As a mom of four she's also had some great experience in seeking out opportunities to involve her children in blessing the lives of others, and has some wise words to share! I think you will be very encouraged by this episode. 

Also be sure go to check out Monica's podcast! I was honored be a guest on her podcast (Ep #32)  as well and I think you'd really enjoy our chat on time management! Go check it out and give Monica some love! 

LINKS MENTIONED:

On the Brighter Side of Things Podcast

Just Do Some Good

Just Do Some Good FB Page

Follow Monica on Instagram

Katey McPherson

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Dont forget to come say hi on Insta!

MomUP Facebook Page

MomUP Ep. 22 | Walking with God When Your Child is Sick with Lindsey Renee

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Hello friends! Today I have the joy of sharing a special story with you. In episode I interviewed Lindsey Renee - a wife, a mom, a nurse, and author of a daily devotional for women called "45 Days of Prayer". Lindsey comes on and shares her amazing story of how they walked through the journey of a rare tumor disorder with her oldest son, how they got through the difficult times and how it inspired her to write her book and encourage other women to take time to pray. It's really an inspiring story. Lindsey is one strong mama and I hope her story encourages you if you are also a Mama walking through suffering. God is big enough for this too, and you are not alone. 

Tune in to hear Lindsey's story and hear about her book, 45 Days of Prayer! 

LINKS MENTIONED:

45 Days of Prayer

Lindsey's Blog

Lindsey on Instagram

Jennie Allen

IF GATHERING

Well Watered Women

MomUP Ep. 21 | Simplifying Life in the Kitchen with Kate Strickler (Naptime Kitchen)

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YOU GUYS! I come to you with a very grateful heart in episode 21, because I had the pure JOY of interviewing Kate Strickler from Naptime Kitchen! Kate is a wife and mom of 2 littles with one on the way. She has a food blog and an active Instagram where she not only shares her personal recipes, but also her everyday life in the kitchen and essentially how she goes about feeding herself and her family in a way that is simple, healthy, efficient, and even fun! As I have followed Kate for the past couple of years, I've learned so much from her including new recipes, great kitchen hacks and even a few dance moves ;) So I thought as the valuable resource that she is, the podcast world needed to hear from her too. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and get some valuable insights from this smart and savvy Mama. Enjoy! 

LINKS MENTIONED:

Instagram - @naptimekitchen

Blog - www.naptimekitchen.com

The Lazy Genius

Burts Bees Oil

Want to set routines that stick and simplify your day to day?! I got you girl. Here's my Basic Routines Starter Guide that will walk you through all the steps you need to set routines that serve YOU and not the other way around. 

MomUP Ep. 20 | 10 Ways to Support Your Mental Health (Sharing My Postpartum Story)

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Mental health is one of those topics that affects so many people and yet isn't talked about all that often. Especially postpartum mental health. So in today's episode I tell you my postpartum mental health story and give you my top 10 ways that I support my mental health practically. 

It's impossible to talk about goals and dreams and moving forward in your life without talking about mental health. Because as I mention in the episode, struggling with anxiety or depression or anything else that effects your mental health is like trying to drive a car with a blanket over your head. You cant think, you cant see and you can't get anywhere before you deal with the blanket. And so I think it's really important to tell our stories and talk about mental health as moms because it's so common and yet sometimes it's hard to detect. So I hope this episode helps you out in some way if you're someone who has struggled or even will struggle with mental health and gives you some encouragement as well as some practical tools you can apply and keep in mind for those rough seasons. 

LINKS MENTIONED:

The Broken Brain Documentary

The Broken Brain Podcast

Rachel Hollis

MomUP Ep. 19 | How to Set Long Term Goals When You Don't Know Where You Want to Go

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Today's episode is HUGE. Huuuuuge. Today we're essentially covering step 1 of life change. The first move on your mountain climb. We're talking how to set LONG TERM GOALS. And I literally want to YELL IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS because it's so important and I seriously don't want you to miss it! It hit me recently as I'm over here talking about accomplishment, action and achievement that "Oh my gosh! A lot of women haven't even set long term goals!" How can you start taking action when  you don't even know where you want to go? We need to talk about that! So that's what we're doing today. Figuring out just what you need to do to set your goals. Which.. by the way.. you ABSOLUTELY need to do. Because if you're not setting goals, you are living your life by accident. And friends don't let friends live their lives by accident. So, friend... are you ready? Let's do it. 

Ready to set some AWESOME long term goals? Don't waste another day. Grab your Goal Setting Workbook where I help you ask the right questions to point you in the direction you want to go! 

MomUP Ep. 18 | Why We Compare Ourselves to Others & How to Cut It Out Already

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Ohhh I love today's topic guys. Something we all struggle with but don't address nearly enough. And that is.. COMPARISON. Ick. It's a dirty word in the world of women and one we're all familiar with. There's not a woman alive who hasn't compared herself to another woman in a way that makes her feel bad about herself. It's the sad, sad truth! And I say it's time to start kicking comparison to the curb. Because it's one thing to be INSPIRED by other women. But comparison usually leaves us feeling less than (or could be better than - still gross - but today I'm tackling the former). So today I chat with you about WHY we compare ourselves to others and some encouragement on how to cut it the heck out already. It's time to step into who you are. Because you're pretty dang awesome if you ask me!

If you enjoyed this episode, go check out Episode 3 on self worth! Another one worth hearing, for sure. 

MomUP Ep. 17 | How to Reverse Engineer Your Goals for Motivation

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Happy Tuesday friends! I know I say this a lot but I really love today's topic. It's one that's near and dear to my heart and I hope it has the same effect on you that it's had on me. Once I understood the concepts I talk about in this episode.. a lot changed in my life. And that's why I love talking about it! If you enjoyed this episode please please pleeeeease come tell me! I do this for YOU! There's no point in me putting out content that you don't like.. so come tell me what you thought over on Instagram or Facebook or send me an email if you really wanna get fancy. But I just really covet your feedback. Agreed?! Awesome. 

If you haven't already, I'd love it if you took a minute to leave an iTunes review! It means the world to me and it really helps more people find the show! I read each and every review and I love getting your feedback! Thanks for your support, friends. 

Don't forget to find me on Instagram (@avery_raley) and Facebook! I love seeing your faces and connecting with you! Don't be a stranger!

 

 

MomUP Ep. 16 | Ideas for Entertaining (and Even Educating!) Your Kids This Summer

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Okay Mamas. We're almost halfway through July... anyone else's summer motivation starting to fizzle out?? NEVER FEAR! In Episode 16 I'm chatting with you about how to keep your kids entertained at home this summer. Not only that.. but specifically I'm focusing on activities that could ALSO be educational. FYI these activities are best suited for preschool aged children, as that's where my kids are -- but you could definitely take some of these ideas and tweak them for older kiddos as well. My main goal with this episode is to get your wheels spinning when it comes to creative play you can do at home! There are so many ideas that are cheap, easy and lots of fun! Let me know if you try any of them at home! 

If you haven't already, I'd love it if you took a minute to leave an iTunes review! It means the world to me and it really helps more people find the show! I read each and every review and I love getting your feedback! Thanks for your support, friends. 

Don't forget to find me on Instagram (@avery_raley) and Facebook! I love seeing your faces and connecting with you! Don't be a stranger!

MomUP Ep. 15 | How to Channel Productivity and Get Things Done

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Hellooooo lovely listeners. I'm excited to share today's episode with you. In episode 15 I have compiled all of my best tips and tricks to help you channel productivity and get things done - even in a house full of kids. Productivity is a muscle you'll have to flex. It takes practice and repetition for it to become a habit. If you're someone who currently struggles to stay on task and procrastinates like it's goin' out of style.. don't fret. You can still become a productivity powerhouse. It's going to take practice and you keeping yourself accountable... but hey, YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS! 

In this episode I cover:

  • How to self motivate when you're feeling tired or uninspired
  • How to keep yourself accountable and on task
  • Tips for making your to-do list more actionable
  • Why your mindset makes all the difference
  • And lots more!

I hope you enjoy this episode and that it inspires you to move forward on something you've been putting off (or at the very least save some time in your day). These are all of the things I do to keep my own butt in motion and make the best use of my time. Let me know which strategy speaks to you the most!

If you haven't already, I'd love it if you took a minute to leave an iTunes review! It means the world to me and it really helps more people find the show! I read each and every review and I love getting your feedback! Thanks for your support, friends. 

Don't forget to find me on Instagram (@avery_raley) and Facebook! I love seeing your faces and connecting with you! Don't be a stranger!

LINKS MENTIONED:

Trello

Carrots 'n Cake

Motivational Cleaning Video

Why You Aren't Taking Action | Amy Porterfield

1% Better Everyday | Melyssa Griffin

MomUP Ep. 14 | Tips for Keeping Your Home Squeaky Clean

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Happy Tuesday friends! Today's episode is a fun one. Jen Gardner is back again to chat with me about how the heck she keeps her home so dang clean ;) Jen is one of the cleanest people I know and I've literally swiped her surfaces for dust before and let me tell you... you won't find any. So I decided to bring her on and pick her brain about how she keeps things clean even with a busy toddler and an Etsy shop to run. We had a lot of fun and I think you'll find some really great tips and tricks you can implement in your home as well. I know I did! Some things we covered were:

  • When Jen finds time for the nitty gritty stuff (you know.. scrubbing bathrooms and dusting baseboards)
  • Hacks to keep the grime at bay before it starts
  • How her to-do-list system keeps her on top of the cleaning
  • Our favorite go-to cleaning products

Have a listen and then let me know in the show notes what your biggest takeaways were! Here's to clean homes and clear minds!

LINKS MENTIONED:

If you haven't already, I'd love it if you took a minute to leave an iTunes review! It means the world to me and it really helps more people find the show! I read each and every review and I love getting your feedback! Thanks for your support, friends. 

Don't forget to find me on Instagram (@avery_raley) and Facebook! I love seeing your faces and connecting with you! Don't be a stranger!

ATTENTION!! Want one of my BEST cleaning hacks?! Check out my Power Hour Cheatsheet to up your cleaning game (and save a ton of time!) It's my #1 cleaning tip! 

MomUP Ep. 13 | Finding the Time to Run an Etsy Shop From Home (with kids!)

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Hey friends! Welcome back! Today I'm super excited to share this episode with you where I chat with my friend Kait Waggoner about running an Etsy shop from home with kids! Kait is the owner and artist behind The Salted Lantern on Etsy where she sells wood signs of all shapes, sizes and styles (one of her signs in the photo above!). Go check her out and tell her I sent you! In this episode we talk about:

  • How Kait's Etsy shop unexpectedly became their full time job
  • How and when she squeezes in hours of work every day with 2 small kids at home
  • What happened when her husband went back to work outside the house
  • Her time saving tricks to get everything done

If you have an Etsy shop (or have ever wanted one) or work from home, this is a great episode! Come over to the show notes and let me know your thoughts!

If you haven't already, I'd love it if you took a minute to leave an iTunes review! It means the world to me and it really helps more people find the show! I read each and every review and I love getting your feedback! Thanks for your support, friends. 

Don't forget to find me on Instagram (@avery_raley) and Facebook! I love seeing your faces and connecting with you! Don't be a stranger!

PS. I have no idea what happened but the audio quality is really wonky on this particular episode. So I apologize for the technical difficulties!

MomUP Ep. 12 | How to Stop Making Meal Planning Harder Than It Has to Be

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Do you sort-of-maybe-kind-of hate cooking dinner some nights? Does it sneak up on you and then you're all frazzled because you realize your chicken from last week went bad, someone ate the leftovers you thought you had and there's no way you're making that 47 step Pinterest recipe you planned? I got you, Mama. I don't like cooking. Or meal planning. Or prepping. But alas, my people have to eat.. and preferably not junk. So what's a mom to do? Tune in to episode 12 to listen to how I got fed up with meal planning and started making it work for me instead of against me. Dinner doesn't have to be the worst! Let's stop making it so hard. Enjoy the episode!

If you haven't already, I'd love it if you took a minute to leave an iTunes review! It means the world to me and it really helps more people find the show! I read each and every review and I love getting your feedback! Thanks for your support, friends. 

Don't forget to find me on Instagram (@avery_raley) and Facebook! I love seeing your faces and connecting with you! Don't be a stranger!

Before you go! Struggling to find the motivation to cook?? Been there. Check out my Ultimate Motivation & Energy Cheatsheet where I go over all my basic principals for kicking your own butt into high gear! 

MomUP Ep. 11 | How to Structure Your Summer for Success

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Helloooo everybody! Today's episode is a fun one. For all you mamas that are wondering what on earth you're gonna do with those hooligans all summer long -- I GOT YOU. This Episode walks you STEP BY STEP through how to plan your summer all in one go so that you can kick back and relax (at least mentally) all summer long knowing you've set yourself up for success. I cover all the bases from keeping them entertained both at home and out of the house, travel plans, work duties and even scheduling in your "fun mom stuff" too! 

This is how we plan our summer season and I PROMISE it's gonna make your life ten times easier. Listen in and let me know what you think!

If you haven't already, I'd love it if you took a minute to leave an iTunes review! It means the world to me and it really helps more people find the show! I read each and every review and I love getting your feedback! Thanks for your support, friends. 

Don't forget to find me on Instagram (@avery_raley) and Facebook! I love seeing your faces and connecting with you! 

ATTENTION!! The Nine Steps Summer Guide has sadly been retired. BUT! No fear.. I have a similar freebie that might help you out. Check out my Basic Routines Starter Guide to start setting up routines that work FOR you and not against you. You're well on your way to much less stress!  

 

 

 

 

MomUP Ep. 10 | A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT + How to Balance Ministry & Family

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Ahhh! It's announcement day! Listen to the clip before the episode to find out how MomUP will be changing course, the reason behind it and what's to come! Thanks for all of your support and for lending me your ears each week. I can't wait to flex this new muscle and journey into the next big thing! I hope you'll come along!

***Rather read along instead?? I've typed up the episode for you as well!

Before we get into this episode, I just want to remind you that this is a hard topic because it will look totally different depending on what your particular situation is – what your husbands role is, what your own role is, what life is like inside your particular church, what city you live in, how many kids you have… all play in a role in the answer to this question. What I’m giving you today is what I’ve learned from our years in ministry and from my point of view.

So the question is this – how do you balance time between serving your family inside your home and serving or ministering to others outside of the home? It’s an age old question for many families. But also one that’s ever changing and evolving as church culture, ministry expectations, family expectations and other things change as well. And ultimately only you and your family can answer what this will look like in your home, because it’s truly such a person to person topic depending on what your life is like. However – I will give you my best advice and personal opinions on the topic from where I stand.

Here’s the thing – from my point of view there’s a LOT of pressure on moms in the church. Whether you work in ministry or you husband does or your family is just really involved and giving of your time when it comes to your church family (which is awesome) – there’s a lot of pressure on moms, mostly because in many cases moms are the ones wearing the most hats. It’s very likely that in addition to your role or your involvement in the church, you’re taking care of one or multiple young children, you’re taking care of your home by grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, you’re likely handling the family’s schedule and things like dr appointments and soccer games and preschool events, and you may even work from home or out of the home as well. I’m gonna just go ahead and guess that your plate is a FULL one. And if you’re children are babies or toddlers, you’re likely barely finding time to shower – nevermind perfectly execute all of the other things you need to do. And I assume that your ministry involvement, whatever that looks like, feels very important to you. Which is wonderful, and says so much about your heart to serve others. HOW.EVER. With that comes years of expectations you have placed on yourself (or maybe others, or the culture around you) about exactly what ministry must look like, when it happens, where it happens and how often it happens. But when you’re adding your family, or even if you just have things going on at home that make it hard for you to continue in the habits that you were originally in, it often requires your time spent pouring into those outside of your family to be cut back. The problem is.. I think for many of us.. we subconsciously hold ourselves to these CRAZY expectations of where we should be spending our time and it’s not realistic or helpful. Listen, I can’t speak directly to your situation. But what I can do is be your loud and obnoxious reminder that YOU CANT DO EVERYTHING! And if you try, you won’t do ANYTHING well. If you are a mom of young children.. that is where (I assume) your priorities lie (behind your husband) and your time should reflect that. This may need to be a season where you step back and away from many commitments that happen outside of your home. I think many of us believe that we’re not good Christians if we’re not taking care of our home and our families, and we’re leading a bible study, and we’re at the church serving 3 nights a week, and we’re volunteering every Sunday morning AND we’re hosting dinners AND we’re etc etc etc, oh my gosh. Just stop. So let me say it again. You can’t do everything. And if you try, you won’t do ANYTHING well. Not to mention the fact that ministry is so much more than events and group gatherings. We live in a world where church programming is taking over everything. Our churches have turned into businesses and we’re just so caught up in event planning that I think we lose sight of why we started doing those things in the first place. So as a mom, might I encourage you to just take a step back and consider decluttering your ministry expectations? Let’s simplify and get back to the basics – especially in this season of raising young children. So I’m gonna walk you through just some basic things to think about if you’re a mom of little people who’s struggling to find time to serve both inside and outside of your home.

1) Know your limits – don’t just “serve” for the sake of serving. Because when you just start doing things without intention and without the stamina to really be 100% there, you’re just going to burn out really quickly. Do what you feel led to do, serve where you feel called to serve within your energy and sanity limits. Remember that you are in a season right now. Your children will only be this small once and THEY (along with your husband) NEED your best energy and your first fruits. You are building a foundation with them when they’re young and that takes time and it takes energy. So just know what you can handle. And if that means you need to bow out of some things for a few years then that IS TOTALLY OKAY! You don’t have to be the bible study leader or the room mom or the retreat planner or the whatever it is for 10 years straight. You can take a few years off while you sacrifice all of your available time and energy to your children while the require it.. and that’s okay! Especially if you just had a baby. Mama, please. Give yourself time (and time may even mean a couple of YEARS) but give yourself time to catch your breath and get back on your feet and figure out your new normal. There are so many able bodies who can stand in your place. Those opportunities will still be there when you come back but your kids (and not to mention your own physical and emotional health) need you now.

2) Along those same lines -- Consider your season and your situation. I know many of you have husbands who work full time for the church like mine does, and so it makes sense that most of your time would be spent in his area of ministry and with those people – and what a blessing that you get to do that as a family! But as you have children and you go through various transitions and changes it’s okay if your “service” outside of your home changes too. Remember that it’s a season and your situation will change yet again and you will have more or less opportunities to serve in the ways that you feel called to depending on where you are. The important thing is to remember that ITS OKAY if you have a season where you’re ONLY at home with your kids. Don’t let the enemy (or anyone else for that matter) make you feel guilty or that serving just your family is anything less than a HIGH calling and enormously selfless role. With that being said, if you’re children are in a season where you’re breathing a little and you feel like you CAN get everyone up and out of the house and you feel ready and able to serve in those ways, then PLEASE DO. But if it feels overwhelming and stressful because you’re trying to breastfeed and juggle naps and you’re getting 4 hours of sleep… you don’t have to also be the first one to volunteer just because you feel that there’s an expectation on you to do so. Maybe you need to give others the opportunity to serve you. I get it – I know as the mom you feel like you need to be the one to constantly give give give give. But allowing others to serve you, serves them as well. So just be open to that.

3) Learn to say NO. I’m just gonna cut the chase here. Ministry moms are notorious people pleasers and are so often the ones that end up bending over backwards in 50 directions to their own detriment because they have a hard time turning down other people or even just open opportunities. You need to learn to say no. It doesn’t mean you need to say no to EVERYTHING. It doesn’t mean you have to say no FOREVER. But if you have small children, you will inevitably need to say no to many things that you may have been used to saying yes to. You may need to just stay home. You may need to not sign up for that thing. You may need to not host that dinner or that group gathering. Again, you can totally say yes to some of those things. But when you start feeling that overwhelm creep in, or the stress of the busy schedule or that feeling like you were around your k.. let that be your reminder that maybe you’ve been saying yes to too much. Your life in ministry is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t need to do ALL OF THE THINGS right now in this season. There will be another season for some of those things. Right now, you need to keep your calendar in check and learn to say no sometimes, and learn to guard your time on behalf of your young family.

4) Get creative. Regardless of what your family roles look like within your particular church or area of ministry, there are so many other ways for you to practice ministering to others that actually involve the whole family, and that won’t take you away from your kids or necessarily require you to haul your small army across town. So consider things like – inviting a young woman into your home for example. Just simply building a relationship with a younger woman (or even young girl) and letting them into your life, your home, your family – I’m sure you know this, but the impact you can have on someone’s life is unprecedented. And I can say that because I’ve been that young woman who was welcomed in. But inviting anyone into your home is certainly a very impactful way to minister – and not only that, but it allows you to be home with your family, and often even get some extra hands on help by allowing someone into the normal flow of your day. Which I love because while seemingly simple, sometimes the simplest things have the biggest impact on others. It’s just basic life on life. Or maybe you could double a dinner recipe and take a meal to a new mom, or someone who’s sick, or a family who’s lost a loved one. Involve your kids the in the making of the meal and explain to them why you’d want to serve another family or individual in that way. Because keep in mind that for your children, the simplest moments are truly the ones they will remember that most. There are also great opportunities to offer someone you don’t know. Some of these things I’m gonna list are actually things that are on our bucket list this summer as ways to serve as a family. In fact, make sure you’re subscribed to MomUP in your podcasts, because soon I’ll be doing an episode on my own summer flow and what’s on our bucket list this summer. But here’s some of those ideas to get you started. So, maybe you can take some treats and some thank you cards to a local fire station and thank the firemen for their service. Or a police station. Or a military family. Talk to your kids about what they do and why we’re grateful and let them make cards to give out. Let them know you’ll be praying for them and their families. Or go spend some time at a retirement center -- guys there’s nothing that elderly people love more than little children. Have the kids draw them some pictures, let them tell you some stories. Just offering your company would bless them immensely. Or send some cards to some hospitalized children. There’s a website called www.cardsforhospitalizedkids.com. Basically you can make cards for kids who are in the hospital, and send them to this organization who will then distribute them to children across all 50 states who are in the hospital. Again, such a wonderful way to involve your kids in caring for others who may be suffering, praying for them and blessing them with a small act of kindness. If you’d like to do this with your family just make sure you go to the website and read their guidelines for the cards as well as the address to send them to!

That's it friends! If you haven't already, I'd love it if you took a minute to leave an iTunes review! It means the world to me and it really helps more people find the show! I read each and every review and I love getting your feedback! Thanks for your support, friends. 

Don't forget to find me on Instagram (@avery_raley) and Facebook! I love seeing your faces and connecting with you! 

LINKS MENTIONED:

Cards for Hospitalized Kids

MomUP Ep. 9 | A Foster and Adoption Story

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Hey friends! I'm thrilled to share today's episode with you where I chat with Jean Shuba about fostering and adoption. I'll be the first to admit that I knew next to nothing about fostering and I was so grateful that Jean was willing to share her story and help to fill in some information gaps regarding fostering and adoption. She and her husband have a beautiful story as to how their family has been knit together thus far and it was a joy to hear her tell it! If you've ever been curious about foster or adoption I would definitely recommend listening to this episode. Not only was Jean super fun to talk to but her passion for this topic is inspiring to say the least. Give it a listen and let us know what you think in the comments!

Also, if you enjoyed this episode, would you consider leaving MomUP an iTunes review? Those reviews make a huge difference for the podcast getting discovered and I would really appreciate your help! Thanks in advance! If you're not already come hang out with me on Instagram (@avery_raley) and Facebook! I love to see your faces! 

Find Jean:

  1. jshuba27@gmail.com
  2. @jeanshuba on Instagram

MomUP Ep. 8 | Why You Shouldn't Follow a Schedule (and what to do instead)

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***Prefer to read along instead?? I've typed out the entire show for you below! 

I have to say, I feel like today’s episode on why you shouldn't follow a schedule is going to be a bit of a  take it or leave it episode. I am not naive enough to think that what works for me will work for every mom on the planet. If you’re super type A and you couldn’t imagine your life without your baby or your kids being on a SUPER strict schedule, than this may not be your jam. That’s totally fine! However if you’re one of those moms like I was who felt like your children NEEDED to be on some sort of, super down-to-the-minute eat, play, sleep or die schedule because all the experts said so, but you found it difficult and frustrating to stick to it, than allow me to be your sigh of relief.

And -- if this episode speaks to you, be sure to listen until the end where I give YOU a freebie to help you create your own routines that work for you.

As a disclaimer here: I’m really big on time management and figuring out systems to accomplish the most things in the least amount of time. Efficiency is my love language. But --  personally I don’t think schedules are the best way to accomplish things. And I would consider myself a type A person. But I have tried setting up schedules for all sorts of things.. a schedule for my kids eat/sleep habits, a schedule for my cleaning habits, a schedule for workout, scheduling my meal plan. But no matter what I tried, they just never worked for me. They always sounded great in theory but when I tried to apply them to my life it never worked – because inevitably, life ALWAYS happens.. something always changes, something *always* comes up. There’s no such thing as a normal week. So then what happens is your schedule gets thrown off and then you have to readjust this and do that at this time instead and blah blah blah STRESSFUL. And then what happens? You feel guilty because you “got off schedule” and confused because now you have to pick which items gets removed or rearranged so you can get back on the wagon.

I tried this with my first child. And I mean I really tried it. I didn’t like do it half way and then claim it didn’t work. I tried Babywise, I tried MomsOnCall, I tried this schedule and that schedule and Lord-please-help-my-baby-sleep-more-because-I’m-gonna-die-if-I-have-to-rearrange-my-life-one-more-time schedule. Nothing changed.

Before I go on let me be clear – I’m talking about a particular KIND of schedule. I’m not saying I don’t believe in SCHEDULING anything. Obviously there has to be set times for things like appointments and meetings and the time something starts and ends. That DOES work. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m not even talking about naptime being at the same time every day. That’s fine! Not what I’m saying either. Also, often I’ll say “schedule” when I’m talking about a “calendar”. As in, “my schedule is busy today or next week or this month”. Again, not what I mean. The “schedule” I’m talking about today a regimented list of things that you need to do IN ORDER at THE EXACT SAME TIME every single day. As in… my child eats lunch at 12:16 and if it’s 12:43 they haven’t eaten yet they will most certainly throw the tantrum of tantrums and the earth will quake and buildings will crumble. And then my child naps at 1:37pm and if it’s 2:00 then basically the earth will stop spinning, the sun will fall out of the sky and we’re all doomed and OH MY GOSH WE CAN’T GET OFF SCHEDULE…… GUYS. THIS IS NO WAY TO LIVE. Because when not if you miss a certain time slot, because life happens, traffic happens, long appointments happen, blow outs happen, losing your keys happens... your heart starts to race and you feel unsettled and anxious that your schedule is getting thrown off. No thank you.

Schedules are a very controversial topic in motherhood. So if tight schedules are your thing and you love it and you think it’s working for you, AWESOME. You do you. But for all the moms out there who are just doing it because no one came in and gave them another option… this is for you.

So here’s the big secret. Ready? Do you know why schedules are such a hot topic? Do you know why so many people think it’s the only way their baby will sleep or the only way their life will have any sort of order or normalcy? The secret behind a schedule... is a routine. A schedule takes all the credit from routines, steals the thunder and tries to act like it was all the schedules idea.  But the routine is the real star, and the secret to well synced kids, moms and families. A routine is a rhythm of doing a series of events in relatively the same order each time. Eat, play, sleep. Wake up, brush teeth, drink coffee. Bath, story-time, bed. Pretty simple. A schedule takes a routine and allots a certain amount of time to those events. Wake up at 7. Breakfast at 8. Nap at 9. The clock strictly determines what comes next and how long it lasts.

I don’t like schedules, because life happens and schedules, inevitably, are (in my opinion) impossible and unrealistic for even the most diligent moms. And in my experience, when the schedule is thrown off, it causes you undue stress and the need to constantly re-calibrate to get back on track. Whether it’s a tight baby sleep schedule, work schedule, a cleaning schedule, or another area of your life that you’re in need of more structure, it’s important to allow room for frequent flexibility and change. This is what a routine offers.

A routine will allow you to have structure, without chains. It helps you stay on track and feel like you’ve got a plan and a home base, while offering grace when things get crazy.

Let’s use baby sleep schedules as an example. Before my oldest was born, I read alllll the books. I took notes, I made mental preparations, I had a plan. My goal was to get her into a rhythm that was predicable for both her and me. So that she would know (and get tired) when it was time to sleep, and I would have something to refer to to tell me what time to give my baby a nap so she would sleep well. Because let’s be honest, sometimes with newborns we just want someone, anyone, to tell us what to do and when to do it. Thinking is hard when you have a tiny human. So, the short version is, it didn’t work. So I tried another version. Nope. And another. Still a no go. I couldn’t keep up with how meticulous the timing was and even when I could, my baby was obviously a baby and didn’t follow the “rules” of when she was supposed to nap. But when everyone around you and everyone on the internet says “this is what you’re supposed to do, this is how you get a baby to sleep through the night!” it’s hard to stray from the common thread.

Let me tell you a secret about babies. Not just my babies. Babies in general. Many babies fall into their own sleep rhythms around 3 months old. The 3 naps a day? That’s not man made. That’s a common sleep pattern that many babies fall into naturally. I saw it happen in my oldest but when my 2nd child followed the same pattern, I was confident this was true. Schedule, or no schedule, it’s around this age that many babies “wake up” and stretch out their daytime hours in favor of nighttime hours and often fall into their own natural sleep rhythms. So if your schedule started magically working around 3 months... it’s possible that your baby’s natural rhythms just kicked in. Once I realized that my kids were falling into their own sleep patterns without any help from me, it was easy to take what they were already leaning towards and guide them into 3 naps a day. I tell you that to say, that discovering this was my wake up call, and my saving grace with schedules. We are all naturally prone to rhythms & routines. Even the most spontaneous and unpredictable people have rhythms in some areas. But we take a good thing and make it impossible when we take a routine and try to force it into a strait jacket schedule.

To keep with the baby example, I’ll tell you how we apply this to my kids and their naps. After this realization with my oldest, I gave up on scheduling her naps down to the minute. Instead we adopted a “routine” of one morning, one mid day, and one late afternoon nap. But I didn’t watch the clock anymore. She woke up when she woke up – unless we had to be somewhere there was no way I was waking her up just to stick to a nap “schedule”. She would eat, we would play, we would do whatever we needed to do and then, whenever she was giving cues that she was tired, I would put her down for her morning nap. That’s it. It’s amazing how much better they nap when they’re actually tired instead of when the clock says it’s time. She napped for however long – I didn’t hold expectations too tightly. And then she’d wake up and we’d take our routine from there. When she was tired again mid day, I’d put her down again. But if she got tired earlier? Great! Take an earlier nap! No sense in making her miserable just to hold to a schedule. In my experience that did NOT help get her to sleep through the night any sooner. But quick disclaimer: I am obviously NOT a sleep specialist. I’m not telling you how to get your baby to sleep through the night. I’m simply sharing the power of a good routine with you. With that said -- if she didn’t seem tired I’d still put her down around her typical nap time and I’d let her fuss if needed. Once she fell into her own patterns, we created our routine around that and stuck to it. It was important to me that my kids weren’t glued to the clock, but rather glued to the habits we were setting. So while naptimes were not happening at the exact same time every day (more like between 9 and 10, around 12 or 1, etc) once she was tired and it was naptime, and she was in the crib (or wherever their main sleep space is).. she knew that naptime was a non negotiable. The choice is either lay down and sleep, or roll and around and babble and play. But either way I have them stay in that crib for their allotted naptime and I wasn’t coming to rescue them from naptime. Personally I let my children cry to a reasonable extent. Every mom knows the difference between like wahh I don’t wanna take a nap cry and screaming bloody murder I’m not okay, where’s my mommy cry. You also probably know if your child has a flare for the dramatic or not. You of course use your discretion with your own children to decide what needs your intervention and what doesn’t. The point is, it was important to me that my kids learned “hey I’m in my crib, that means I take a nap and afterwards mom will come get me again”. That was the ROUTINE. However, unlike a schedule, we didn’t stick to a particular time firmly because 1 it didn’t feel realistic and 2 I wanted them to expect the nap when they were tired or when I offered it, not when the clock demanded it. Even more so once my second was born, I realized it was vital to my sanity that the kids knew naptime was defined by the circumstance, not the clock. This was HUGE in allowing us the freedom to not be tethered to the house because the nap schedule wouldn’t allow it. It helped my kids learn to go with flow. Creating these expectations meant that whether or not they felt like taking a nap, they knew that once in that crib they could sleep or not sleep but it was it was naptime – and they almost always chose to sleep. So if they were tired and we were out – that’s fine, take a nap in your carseat. But when we get home you still have your allotted naptime. And if they choose not to sleep, fine. But it still happens. And then by giving them an hour or however long you choose in the crib, they’re much more likely to actually fall back asleep after a short car nap than if the nap is attempted but they cry a little and get out of it. Here’s the most important thing I learned about kids and routines. Babies and children will take on whatever habits you teach them. Wake up times, nap times, bed times, meal times... just like us, they will operate on what they know. A flexible routine helps me help my kids not expect certain things at exact times and be able to go with the flow when things change, as they so often do. It cuts down on the meltdowns and the whining, and really just gives us all a little more freedom.

But routines aren’t just for kids. In addition to flexibility, routines also offer you a way to create new habits that foster productivity. As moms, we’re constantly playing catch up. Since we wear so many hats, there’s always 5 to do lists happening at once and a million things demanding our attention that all feel important. When so many things inevitably don’t get done at the end of the day, it leaves us feeling behind and overwhelmed. Building routines into our everyday habits helps us to tackle the things we know are coming before they have a chance to overwhelm us. Which in turn frees up the rest of our time to use in ways we actually want to. If for example, you can get into the habit of a morning routine that includes reading your bible, making your bed, putting in a load of laundry and unloading the dishwasher – before you do anything else, then you’re already one step ahead of your day before things get crazy. It doesn’t mean you have to wake up at 6, read until 6:30, make the bed at 7 and so on. But just doing things in the same order each time forms the habit of getting them done. If every night before dinner you do a 10 minute pick up around the house, you’ve just saved yourself from wandering around the house absentmindedly after the kids are in bed trying to clean up, and wasting that time you could be using to spend time with your spouse or relax to your favorite tv show.

With routines, you can habitually fit in the things you need to do anyway without having to plan or think about it. It saves time and energy because once a routine is established, you can flow through it automatically without willing yourself to do them throughout the day (a work out is a great example of this). Having a routine offers you freedom by efficiently prioritizing and checking off the things you want to make absolutely sure get done.

So this is why routines hold a special place in my heart. I value my time and I don’t like the feeling of chores, errands and to do’s stacking up on my plate. Routines allow me to foster flexibility in my children’s expectations as well as get things done that I need to, which frees up my best time to spend it where I want to – with my family.  I hope this was helpful for you guys and gives you something to think about – or gives you some freedom if you’re a mom who felt trapped in the tight grip of unrealistic expectations you’ve placed on yourself. Because as you know, life is messy and imperfect. Having the best routine in the world won’t change that there are days that go south. But for me, my use of time is a HUGE way that I can “MomUP” and give my husband and my kids my best time, while not falling prey to an overwhelming list of to do’s and keeping my other responsibilities in check.

If this episode resonated with you, I have something for you. I’ve created a FREE Basic Routines Starter Guide. It gives you a step by step breakdown of creating routines that serve you and your family and give you back that time you so desperately crave. All you have to do is enter your email in the blue sign up box at the top of the page, and it will come straight to your inbox! Again, it’s 100% free because I love you :) I can’t wait to hear what routines you’ve created and what you’re doing with all that freed up time!

Don’t forget to make sure your subscribed to the podcast (check out the links on the right!) so you won’t miss the newest MomUP episodes. Also come hang out with me on Instagram @avery_raley OR on our Mom Up Podcast Facebook page. I love seeing your faces online – especially Instagram, and I hope you’ll come find me.

And lastly, if you haven’t already, would you leave MomUP an iTunes review? As a brand new podcast it’s super easy to get lost in the sea of other podcasts. YOUR reviews help me and this podcast get found on iTunes. If you're loving this content, hop over to iTunes or your podcast app and let me know how MomUP has helped you! I’m pouring my heart and soul into creating this free content for YOU sweet listeners and I would love it if you could write me quick review. Thank you always!